Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Montessori Weaning Table for Infants: Independence in Eating

Found a great short video on Youtube that I wanted to share!

The table and chair are great, but the rest of the items could be replaced to make it a better experience. Observe the child. The cup is too big to hold well and it makes her movements clumsy as she is not able to practice real coordination skills. Traditional Montessori parents use a small glass that is heavy at the bottom (some shot glasses are made like this). The spoon is also giving her a hard time because it is too big, especially the handle. A smaller spoon would be much better. She could also eat slices of bananas from a smaller bowl. The bowl is also too big. But, hey, it's a good concept!

As the child struggles, it would be better to show her how to eat by herself, holding a smaller spoon. A smaller, deeper bowl would allow her to easily get the banana slices (they could be sliced thicker and cut in half to make pieces that are easier to grab -- she could also use her hands).

Looking for Montessori presentations for infants and toddlers? Check out our Montessori curriculum page!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Montessori Toddler Imbucare Boxes: DIY Suggestions

After reading a post on the excellent Chasing Cheerios blog where someone had commented that her Montessori Imbucare boxes "...smell really bad," I thought it good to do some DIY discussions.

If any of the equipment you purchase for your child has an odd smell, get rid of it. The smell is caused by chemicals in the glue, paint, composites in the wood product, or the way the wood itself was processed. It is a common manufacturing ill from China and other countries.

This Toddler Imbucare box is really easy to make because the main focus for your child is the matching of the colors and hanging the loop around the small hook.

Making the stand out of wood is the best, of course, as it is attractive and provides stability. Just make sure the knit balls hang easily and securely without slipping. Child-safe paint for the circles beneath the balls should be the same shade as the knit balls themselves.

Plain Brown Cardboard Box
Use a small rectangular box that maintains the proportions of the box to balls as shown in the photo above. Get a non-tapered wooden chopstick (or anything similar) and cut it to make pegs. The pieces should be about 3 inches long. Put 3 holes in the box, spaced evenly. Secure the pieces into the holes, leaving about 2 inches inside the box. You can use duct tape on the inside of the box to secure the pegs so they do not wiggle at all. Paint the circles. You are ready to go!

Basically, when you make a piece of equipment for your child, focus on the points of interest. What draws your child to the equipment and what will maintain his or her focus? Why does your child return to use the same piece of equipment over and over again? Once you identify these points of interest, you will get the knack of making equipment that appeals to your child's stage of development.

More coming up!

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Quick Snack Preparation Setup for Infants and Toddlers

Put jam into a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Only put enough for a slice of toast. Provide your child with a small spreading utensil and a slice of toast cut in half. Do not make the toast too crunch when you toast it or it will crumble. Provide a small plate that your child can work on.

Substitute jam with anything health such as yogurt or peanut (apple, almond, tahini, etc) butter. Look for jam that is 100% fruit with no sugar added (and absolutely no artificial sugar!!!)

For any snack or meal, try to see the event from your child's perspective. The portions need to be pre-prepared before you give them to your child -- for example, the concept of taking a scoop of jam out of the jar without using all the jam in the jar is too advanced for this age.

Make sure your child has a small table and chair for all eating activities.

We have a full curriculum in our Montessori House Infant and Toddler teaching albums

Monday, August 9, 2010

Language for Infants and Toddlers: Reading Poetry Aloud

Read beautiful stories and poems to your little ones to help them acquire the structure, vocabulary, and flow of the language.

Try "Snail" by Langston Hughes:

Little Snail,
Dreaming you go,
Weather and rose
Is all you know.

Weather and rose
Is all you see,
The dewdrop's

Look for illustrated children's poetry books so that your child can look at the pictures with the words as you read the poem.

Learn more with our Montessori curriculum for Infants and Toddlers