I’ve been a bit absent on the Oh Waily Activity of the Week front for quite a bit of time. I’m sure you have noticed.
I have been absent mostly because over Christmas I lost my way a bit. Losing my way came from my lack of any Montessori training and therefore a proper understanding about the use and expected learning outcomes of the “works” and the “materials”. I have been doing my best to learn by reading books and blogs, but I ended up finding myself being seduced by the simplicity and beauty of the materials (you MUST see the Nienhuis catalogue, it is a thing of beauty) and getting fixated on what item I should buy. Then, with too little an understanding of the sequence of learning, I was basically taking a scattergun approach to what Miss Oh was getting to do. Then I began to run out of ideas.
I became disheartened and directionless, but luckily for me I have continued to read and I have, I think, gained a much better understanding of where my starting point should be and what I should be encouraging my 2+ year old to do. I now know where to start with the materials, at least for now, and I will continue to read and learn what order items are presented in.
One of the main things that I have come to realise more fully is that I need to be far more organised about this. By being more organised I can be more relaxed, if that makes any sense. It will also mean that if I have underestimated Miss Oh’s skill and interest, I will have something else ready in reserve, and if I have overestimated I will have more than one activity that will attract her interest.
If you click on the link to the Montessori Pearls of Wisdom post, you will find some sensible advice on starting out. Choose what makes sense to you and start there. I can recommend revisiting this advice on a regular basis so you keep focus on the process.
From today I am taking a more planned and integrated approach, starting with the Practical Life skills. I have already taken the advice of making our house more toddler and child friendly, mostly gleaned from the wonderful How To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin. I will take another look around and see if I have missed anything out, or if there is anything new that Miss Oh can learn or do for herself. After I have done that I will be following the advice given by Jojoebi and integrating Miss Oh’s practical life activities into our everyday work. We started today with pegging clothes to our old indoor drying rack. Some things were pegged to within an inch of their lives, and it goes without saying that nothing really needed to be pegged at all, but it was great practice for Miss Oh and she didn’t even notice the finger strengthening and dexterity training she was receiving.
Before I begin from scratch with the activity posts, here are a few photographs to update what we had already begun to do before I became so fuzzy about it all.
This beautiful little coat stand was one of Miss Oh’s Christmas presents and has already been pressed into service in her new room.
We have two cupboards facing out into the dining area of our living room and one did hold our Cuisine magazines, while the other was doing duty as Miss Oh’s snack cupboard & cleaning supplies cupboard. But it just became too crowded, so I rehomed the magazines and now little Miss Oh has two cupboards to herself. This is her cleaning cupboard.
And today we reinforced our pouring skills by doing it ‘for real’ with our morning snacks. Along with her usual suspects of crackers and dates, Miss Oh poured herself some milk for an accompanying drink. It was nice to see her concentrating and being careful. We had a slightly wild time just before Christmas where concentration and being gentle seemed to have taken their own extended summer holiday. Here is the sequence as she let me take it.
And the final ‘planned’ activity we did today was pegging the laundry. Dexterity can certainly be tested, especially if you have slightly dodgy wooden pegs to use. So here is the result of the pegging effort.
And now I will try to resume normal transmission, although I think the topics may be slightly different for a little while. Hopefully you will stay with me as I get the hang of this. If you have any advice, I’d be very happy to hear it too.