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Montessori | Atomic Bee Ranch | Page 4

Tag Archives: Montessori

Resources Series: Intro

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After my post last week I spent some time this week focusing on researching Montessori scope and sequences. In the process I stumbled across several excellent resources for teacher’s manuals, products, free printables, scope and sequences, and more. I thought for my own sake, as well as anyone else looking for some guidance, I would create an annotated bibliography of sorts. I figured to make it more manageable I would break it up into a series of posts each one with a different type of resource. The list is by no means exhaustive and if you have a favorite resource feel free to post it in the comments. I am especially glad to have found the teacher resources as that is the area where I feel least prepared to follow Montessori principles.

Obviously I haven’t actually put all of the resources into practice or even read each material cover to cover, so I can’t give them ringing personal endorsements. However I think if you are looking for places to find information these would be good places to start and would be worth taking the time to see if you are interested. If nothing else, it may give you peace of mind that there are materials out there to help you.

Scope and Sequence

There is something I have found very frustrating about the Montessori Method. I can find a hodge-podge of ideas for activities, but I can’t find a scope and sequence of these activities or really even an appropriate time to introduce the activities. I understand it’s when the child is ready, but should I have the materials on hand for land forms at 15 months or 3 years? I don’t even have a place to start from or an idea where to jump in exactly, since I don’t have a list of potential activities that I could just move through sequentially. I have read quite a bit about the history of the method and about the philosophy of the method and this was a great place for me to start. But it isn’t what I need now. It doesn’t provide the day-to-day information I need. Ultimately I don’t have a big picture of the actual method and am finding it to be nearly impossible, or at least extremely daunting, to work with. I think having a scope and sequence will make me a better teacher and will impact the quality of my daughter’s education.

With this concern hanging over my head, I finally took time last week to sit down and write up a plan for homeschooling Cam. It’s mostly a checklist with a lot of research. I would like to mix and match curricula and educational methods in a way that creates a program that is ideal for my daughter. After all, this is the biggest perk of homeschooling. To do that, however, I need a clear sense of where we are going and what skills and accomplishments we are striving for.

The overall goals of my plan are:

  • Research and write a scope and sequence for 0-3 & 3-6 age groups.
  • Create themed monthly units for 1-2 that integrate skill development.
  • Research curricula to use for various subjects to begin at 5 or 6.
  • Research early reading curricula to begin around 3, especially Montessori and Lindamood Bell.
  • Create elementary/primary scope and sequence using chosen curricula.

The first order of business will be to find Montessori scope and sequences and read up on the Method. To that end I have found a few free and a few priced materials. I began reading David Gettman’s book Basic Montessori: Learning Activities for Under-Fives. So far it’s got what I have been looking for and my local public library had it so I was able to avoid buying it. Montessori Print Shop also has a set of teacher’s manuals for the 3-6 set. They do cost, but I don’t find the cost to be exorbitant. Montessori for Everyone has a set of comprehensive skill lists but so far as I can tell they are not connected to the Montessori activities that build the skills. I also find them a bit pricey. Maitri Learning has a couple of resources that look like they may help me. There is a sequence and order of activities for various areas of “study”. There is also a record keeping log that looks especially helpful. Even better, these resources are free.

So that is where I am this month and this week. Cam is enjoying her activities and new schedule (hooray for one long nap!) so I’m not inclined to introduce anything new just yet. We’ll see how my research goes.

Snack Table

Snack Table

About a week ago my husband and I were at the craft store where he spotted this little lap desk. It’s essentially a plastic tray with pockets on either side that can sit on your lap as you work. My husband’s idea was to use it as a little dinner table for Cam by slinging it over a stool and placing it near our table. We tried it out, but it wasn’t nearly as helpful or popular as we thought it would be. In a moment of inspiration, though, I set it on the floor next to our cabinets, placed Cam’s water cup and a little snack bowl on it and turned it into her snack table.

It has been a huge hit with everyone. Cam is able to get herself a drink and little snack whenever she wants. I can monitor when she is hungry and thirsty, but allow her some independence and choice. It has also cut down on a lot of fussing that went on when she would try to communicate that she needed a drink or a little pick-me-up snack. I can still control what she’s snacking on, of course, but she really seems to like it.

Sensory Box: Colored Rice

Wednesday of last week we gave another sensory box a try. I found instructions online on how to dye rice in fall colors. It’s surprisingly simple: Measure out as much rice as you would like into a large Ziploc bag. Put in a couple generous splashes of rubbing alcohol and some squirts of food coloring. Close up the bag and massage and shake the rice around. Once the rice is all evenly coated and as brightly colored as you want it to be ,dump it out onto waxed paper to dry.

My red rice turned a little pink as it dried, but Cam didn’t care. She was super excited to get in there and throw the rice around. She also sampled a handful, after which she made a face and didn’t do it again. I did notice that the rice will leave a dust of food coloring on your hands, so be forewarned. I had Cam play in this in just a diaper and I wiped her hands afterwards. All in all, a winner. Now I want to find some small fall items (apples, pumpkins, spiders, etc.) and hide them in the rice.

Toilet Training: Early Stages

When Cam was about six months old I read the book Diaper Free Before 3. The woman that wrote the book advocates early potty training and I agreed with her ideas and her method. I should note, it is something that fits well with my parenting style, so sticking to it hasn’t been too difficult despite the fact that it’s a bit labor intensive.

You begin by having a small potty chair either in your bathroom or the nursery and just sit the baby on it from time to time. She suggests starting young (six-ish months) in order to get a habit and association formed, plus they can’t run off yet. Slowly you work up to sitting them on the potty each time they wake up, after every meal, and whenever you notice them going. This continues to build the association of going potty in the potty, as well as building “potty breaks” into their routine. At a year or so, you put the child in training pants to begin teaching them the sensation of when they have gone pee.

This is where we are now and I’ve been gradually introducing the training pants (we don’t wear them outside of the house). Sitting Cam on the potty is like trying to pin down a cloud now, but there are times when she picks up the books we keep in a bin by the potty and she spends some quality time on the pot. It’s pretty funny to see actually. To support the potty training we’ve installed little potties in each of our two bathrooms and I set up a “getting ready” area in her bedroom. This is where we change clothes and sit on the potty in the morning and after naps. As a precaution, I laid down an old bath mat to prevent accidents from occurring on the actual carpet. Her clothing drawers are near by and the hamper is behind her. I’m hoping this transitions into the toddler years for teaching her to dress herself.

Sensory Box: Oatmeal

I recently read about sensory boxes and realized I had already done one with water. Per the blog post I read from Pink and Green Mama, I decided to try out some more. I went over to Walmart very early in the morning to avoid the crowds and bought a huge tub of oatmeal as well as a plastic bin and some plastic measuring cups with colorful handles. The day before I had found some large plastic spoons in the dollar bin at our local hardware store. I dumped the oatmeal into the bin and placed the spoons on top.

Cam was thrilled to run her fingers through the oatmeal and scoop it up. She also had a grand time dumping it on the floor. I had my handy little dust pan and whisk on standby, so clean up wasn’t difficult. Cam also tried eating some of the dried oatmeal and fed me a few grains, but that didn’t last long. All in all, it was success and we’ll be doing this again soon. On to colored rice next.

Wonder Boxes

When Cam was about nine months old, maybe even eight, I began putting together what I call Wonder Boxes. They are just little bins of things she can paw through and explore and examine. They’ve been so popular I have kept them around and continue to add to them. Any container will work. I happened to have closet/dresser organizers from IKEA that I was using to organize things in her room. They come in several sizes so I was able to have some smaller and larger Wonder Boxes. I filled them with anything and everything. The box in the kitchen has all kinds of kitchen items that I either had duplicates of (wooden spoons and spatulas, for example) or items that I rarely use (a sushi press I don’t think I’ve ever used).


It’s been really interesting to watch which objects become more interesting to her over time. For awhile she was really into cards so the box from her room has a lot of Starbucks gift cards. Currently the orange spatula from the kitchen box gets carried around A LOT. My husband just found it by his side of the bed the other day. The little pie crust punch, seen in the picture below, has also been a particular favorite.

I feel compelled to note that Cam has always been pretty good about not putting things in her mouth, so I went with some smaller items. However, if you try this, be aware that items can pose a choking hazard.

Sensory Box: Water Play

On Monday I put together a sensory “box” with water for Cam. We have done this several times before and it has always been a big hit. The first time I gave her a bowl of water with some measuring spoons she banged them on the rim and “sang” along. This activity always ends in a huge puddle on the floor and soaked clothes. But it doesn’t matter, Cam loves it. This time around I got smart and put down a huge beach towel before putting the bowl down. It didn’t keep her clothes or the floor from getting wet, but it did keep the puddle to a minimum.

Items for water play:

-plastic balls

-measuring spoons

-plastic spoons

-bath toys

-rubber ducks (a favorite in our household)

-nesting cups

-bath time books



-anything that is water proof!

Encouraging Independence: Toothbrush

Since Cam recently turned a year old we went to the pediatrician for a visit. This resulted in a few shots and a discussion about brushing teeth. Cam has seven teeth right now and the doctor recommended that we try using a tooth brush on her. He did note that it could be quite a battle and, if that was the case, not to worry about it for awhile. I believe his words were, choose your battles. 🙂 Being the first-time parents that we are, we immediately bought her a toothbrush at Target. I wasn’t thrilled with our options since they all seemed to be designed to market some T.V. or movie character, but beggars can’t be choosers and there weren’t any other options. We ended up with an Eeyore toothbrush.

When we got it home I thought about trying to brush Cam’s teeth myself, but I had a feeling that would be, shall we say, a challenge. The pediatrician had said plaque comes off children’s teeth easily so having her swish the brush around in there would be totally adequate for the time being. That fit perfectly with the Montessori philosophy of “never do for the child, what the child can do for herself”, so I went for it. Now to figure out how to get her to put the brush in her mouth and move it around. Cam is a good mimic and that came quite in handy. We now brush our teeth together each morning. She finds the activity quite funny. Go figure.