You’ve arrived at Oxford!
Oxford is a city in central southern England best known for it’s prestigious university, established in the 12th century. The University Museum of Natural History has the most complete specimens of the Dodo bird that went extinct in the 17th century. If you fancy taking part in a popular local activity, may I suggest punting. Punting involves tourists sitting in a wooden boat on the river whilst a guide pushes it along with a pole. If the architecture of Oxford looks familiar but you can’t figure out why, it’s because the city was used as a filming location for the Harry Potter movies.
In 1936, the fifth International Montessori Congress was held in Oxford. This meeting was attended by Maria Montessori and was important for the development of further principles of Montessori for Primary and Secondary schools.
Activity: Harry Potter Magic Wand
- PVA glue
Step 1 – Sourcing the perfect wand
Go for a walk around your garden or a local park with a parent or guardian. Gather any sticks you may come across and put them into a bag to bring home.
Step 2 – Time to get creative!
Put some PVA glue in a bowl and add a length of wool or string and coat it in the glue. Wrap the string around your chosen stick and wait for it to dry. Once dry, you can paint over the wand in you colour(s) of choice and sprinkle with glitter, beads or sequins.
Wingardium Leviosa!Read More
First stop Waterford!
Waterford is Irelands oldest city situated on the southeast coast. It was founded by Vikings in 914 A.D and parts of it’s ancient walled core remain today. Waterford is best known for manufacturing glass with Waterford Crystal first being produced in 1783. If you plan on staying a night or two, you can rest your weary head at Waterford Castle Hotel & Resort. The luxury hotel attracts guests from far and wide with it’s distinctive combination of historical and modern features.
Why have we stopped in Waterford you ask? Well, Maria Montessori made a very special visit in 1927 to Newtown School located here. She took great interest in the artistic productions of the children aged 9-12, declaring them unique. Maria’s visit promoted the Montessori philosophy which would shape Ireland’s education system.
Montessori Fun Fact: Maria Montessori has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize (1949, 1950, 1951).
Activity: Cereal Box Viking Helmet
- Empty cereal box
- Grey duct tape
- White duct tape
Step 1 – Create Helmet’s Lower Rim
Open your cereal box and cut out one side of the box. Then, cut the piece in two for the rim. Measure to the size you need for your child’s head. Lay the box flat and cover one side with grey duct tape. Once the rim is covered, fold it over and add a little more tape to the end to keep it in place.
Step 2 – Create Helmet’s Upper Rim
Use one side of the cereal box and cut off the flaps. Cover in grey duct tape for a silver metallic finish. Fold over and tape one end down to the inside of the helmet. Repeat the process on the other side.
Step 3 – Add Your Horns
Using the other side of the cereal box, draw a horn shape and cut it out. You can use the cut-out horn as a template for the second using the remaining cardboard. Cover each horn in white duct tape and create a small fold on the bottom of each. Place the fold of each horn onto each side of the helmet and secure with grey duct tape.
Step 4 – Add Large Studs to Helmet
Using any remaining cardboard or paper if not, carefully cut out some circles and cover with more grey duct tape and tape into place all over the helmet.
Now you’re a Waterford Viking!Read More
You may have heard about the Level 8 BA Honours Montessori Education programme at St Nicholas Montessori College that allows students to graduate before 2023 and register under Route 4 of the Teaching Council, allowing graduates to work in special education settings (see more on Route 4 here!).
While we are thrilled to have this programme, unfortunately this programme is in its last phases due to the removal of Teaching Council registration in 2023. This one year programme will be available until September 2022. As a result, the Level 8 BA Honours programme is available to specific students who meet the entry requirements for either direct entry, RPL entry or Advanced Entry:
Early Years Bachelor Degree holders
Those who hold a Bachelor degree Early Years Education are able to make an RPL application to the Intensive Bridging Programme. Those who successfully complete this programme will be able to make an application to the Level 8 BA Honours Montessori Education, which will begin in September 2022. The application deadline for this programme will be the 14th of February 2022.
Montessori Bachelor Degree holders
Those who hold a Bachelor degree in Montessori Education are able to make a direct application to the Level 8 BA Honours Montessori Education, either beginning in September 2021 and 2022. Application deadlines for both years are the 1st of July 2021 / 2022.
All other Qualifications
Unfortunately, those with non-cognate degrees will not be able to make a successful application to the routes above in the hopes of achieving the Level 8 BA Honours Montessori Education from SNMCI. We would advise those who wish to become Special Education or Primary teachers look into the two year masters in Primary Education (PME). For those who are interested in up-skilling or becoming Montessori and Early Years educators, we advise looking into our Level 7 / Level 8 B.ED Montessori Education programme.
To make a direct and/or RPL application, please complete the application form here and upload the evidence requirement.
Please see the below chart with further information on progression routes.Read More
Insights from Jennifer Brush, Montessori Education for Ageing and Dementia Programme Director
All of us have been impacted by COVID-19 in many ways, both professionally and personally. The presence of the virus has also created some significant challenges for those living with dementia, especially for those living in long term care communities. In addition, as states work to reopen or partially reopen care communities, the common misunderstanding that individuals living with dementia cannot practice social distancing may result in their continued unnecessary and harmful isolation.
Individuals with dementia have the same needs as everyone else—to feel valued and respected. As dementia progresses in the brain, memories of facts and skills for complex thought fade but feelings such as happiness, love, frustration, and sensing respect remain. “Treatment” for dementia is socialization or elimination of boredom.
Focusing on the 4 basic needs that individuals living with dementia have, here are some best practices to consider during this time of COVID-19 and as we move forward.
Allowing safe freedom of movement within the care community.
Everyone should have the opportunity to move about as freely as possible, but changes in the brain caused by dementia may mean that individuals are not able to exercise the judgment and reasoning to do it safely by maintaining a physical distance and wearing a mask. There are a number of reasons why a person with dementia needs to walk about such as the need to engage in a familiar routine, desire to find the bathroom, want of exercise, desire to relive boredom, etc.
Do not try to keep the person seated all day in order to stop the walking about. This may cause anxiety, boredom, incontinence, poor circulation, constipation and overall weakness, thus increasing the risk for falls. Walking helps elders to maintain balance, gross motor skills, and overall healthy functioning of the body’s systems.
Know the person
Leadership should empower all staff to take the time needed to get to know the person and to work with the elder on a routine that keeps the person engaged in activities that meet her or her needs.
Rely on what you know about the person and their past and present habits to try to figure out why the person would like to walk about. Consistent staff assignment is important in order to know the person’s preferences and habits. Once you have identified the cause or suspected cause of the behavior, you can try some solutions. You may have to try several different things before you find the right fit for the person.
Pay attention to when the desire for walking about occurs. It is common for an increase in noise to cause the person to want to get up and leave the area. Activity or noise that used to be easily tolerated or enjoyed such as the TV, radio, staff coming and going at shift change may be overstimulating and uncomfortable.
Ask the physician to help determine if the person is in pain, has a urinary tract infection, or is experiencing side effects of medications.
Create routines that involve movement
Suggest a daily walk. Accompanying the person at a safe distance on a daily walk or enlisting the help of family, friends or volunteers to walk in a safe location such as a courtyard is a simple solution that usually works very well. Build this into the daily routine.
Look for indoor opportunities in well ventilated areas for regular exercise such as an exercise class with a limited number of participants or seated exercises done with a video or internet-based tutorial.
Many people walk about out of boredom or because they are looking for something meaningful to do.
If the person enjoys a certain type of hobby, try setting up a hobby table in their room where they can go and work on a project whenever they like.
Provide cleaning materials such as a broom, dustpan and dusting cloths and invite the person to clean his or her room on a daily basis to encourage movement and purposeful activity.
Try to encourage a healthy sleep routine for the person and avoid napping during the day, particularly due to lack of things to do.
Provide orientation information
Provide information about the time of day. People with dementia often wake throughout the night and becomes confused about time. They may wake up in the middle of the night and get dressed. Having a large digital clock that shows AM and PM may help with the time confusion. Leaving a light on in the bathroom and the hallway may help reduce disorientation at night. Avoiding daytime napping and spending time outdoors will also help encourage normal sleep patterns.
Protecting elders against COVID-19.
People living with dementia may find it difficult to understand health information and to remember to follow infection control guidance like washing their hands or wearing masks.
Consider how much information to convey about COVID-19, to avoid inducing anxiety, but enough to convey the importance of following the guidance. Provide simple information that is easy to understand for a person with cognitive impairment in a large print type size that is easy for elders with visual impairment to read. Encourage the elder to talk about any fears or concerns. Listen, reassure, comfort, and try to maintain a positive attitude.
Help elders make frequent handwashing part of the regular routine. Create positive visual reminders such as signs for the bathroom that state, “Clean hands feel good.” Provide warm cloths at each meal for elders to use prior to eating. Provide encouragement and celebrate accomplishments when the elder remembers to wash his or her hands.
Make tissues, garbage cans, and sanitizer visually accessible throughout the community for easy access and a visual reminder to use.
Help elders make mask wearing part of the regular routine. After the morning routine, suggest placing a mask on one’s face before leaving the room. Provide a hook and reminder note inside the bedrooms, near the door, as a reminder to put on the mask before exiting. Provide staff with a positive statement (mantra) about using masks that each person uses in order to communicate the same positive message.
Remove masks prior to entering elder’s rooms in order to greet the person at a physical distance and allow the person to see the face of the staff member. Wear high contrast large print name tags with the person’s first name only and a large, clear photo of the person. Place name tags on the chest rather than hanging from a lanyard.
Look the person in the eye when communicating with a mask on, use positive gestures, and maintain a calm presence.
Keeping families safely connected with their loved ones.
Social and emotional well-being of both family members and elders often is centered around maintaining frequent contact with one another. Because the physical distance required during COVID-19, families are concerned about their loved one’s health status. In addition, both parties can experience anxiety and loneliness from the separation.
Maintaining positive relationships
Assist elders and families with regular visual assess to their loved ones by setting up recurring appointments for video conferencing.
Provide assistance to elders to connect with loved ones routinely by phone.
Assist elders in writing letters, cards, or emails to family and friends. Provide cards, stationary, and stamps and invite the elder to dictate a letter (or email).
Provide family members with directions and a template for creating a memory book for their loved one. Ask family to drop off the book, or volunteer to print and assemble the book if the family emails an electronic file.
Suggest that families create a memory box or care package with a variety of interesting items such as photos, travel memorabilia, trinkets, favorite snacks, magazines, etc. for the elder to enjoy.
Limit family visits to two people at a time. Ask family members to wear masks and use sanitizer or wash hands immediately upon entering the building. Offer name tags to family members to assist the elder in recognition. Provide a variety of visiting space options in areas that can be ventilated by opening windows. Provide chairs for visiting throughout outdoor spaces.
Provide activity ideas for the families to enjoy together such as gardening, listening to music, games, taking walks, filling bird feeders, etc.
The need to have purpose in one’s life and to be productive doesn’t end once someone reaches a certain age, moves into a care community, or receives a diagnosis of dementia.
Purposeful and satisfying activities should happen as a normal course of the day on one’s own or in small groups. The community should offer opportunities for new learning, religious practices, meditation, art, music, exercise, etc. on a daily basis that meet individuals’ interests and cognitive level. When elders are free to follow their interests and meet their own needs, they feel fulfilled rather than bored.
Personalized materials can be provided and kept in individuals’ rooms, so they are available at all times. Other materials that are sanitized after use, can made available for work on tables throughout different areas of the community. A variety of kits can be assembled with supplies and given to elders who express interest in the topic.
Engagement for individuals living with dementia
Successful activities are often hands-on and involve movement and sensory stimulation they include:
- Arts and crafts
- Writing poetry
- Telling stories, reading books
- Cleaning one’s room
- Washing and folding one’s clothes
- Religious and spiritual practices
- Wood working
- Personalized music listening
- Small group sing-a-longs
- Mindfulness, relaxation and mediation
- Familiar Cards and board games
- Memory books
- Montessori activities (practical life, sensorial, language, mathematics, and culture)
By Jennifer Brush
What is Montessori for Dementia?
I am asked a lot to define Montessori for dementia. Many people have heard of Montessori schools for children, but are not clear how it applies to adults. Montessori philosophy, based on the principles of free choice and purposeful activity, has historically been focused on children’s education. However, its essential principles and practices are increasingly seen as critical to enhancing the lives of the older adults in our care. Central to both the Montessori philosophy and person-centered care are the core values of respect for the individual, the importance of knowing the person deeply, seeking and honoring the elder’s preferences over all aspects of his or her daily life, and creating a supportive environment that allows for continued participation in familiar and preferred activities, inside and outside.
In a Montessori community for elders, persons with a wide range of abilities work both individually and collaboratively on an array of activities from which they are free to choose. Elders have freedom to move within the community and to engage in household roles and responsibilities, with guidance as needed by trained staff. The focus is on the well-being of the whole person, including physical, spiritual, social, mental, and emotional needs. Communities offer occasions for new learning, religious practices, meditation, art, music, exercise, and so forth. In addition, there are opportunities for interaction with children, friends, family, and groups outside of the care community.
What follows is a brief description of each of the essential features of Montessori for dementia communities.
The prepared environment is designed to facilitate maximum independence and exploration by all members of the community. Hands-on adult activities and materials are accessible to elders 24 hours a day. This allows elders to feel ownership of their space, encouraging participation in care of the community.
Freedom of Movement
Elders choose where to sit and what to work on, with guidance or assistance as needed from trained care partners. They are encouraged to move about the environment rather than remaining seated or in one place all day. This freedom of movement helps elders to maintain balance, fine and gross motor skills, and overall healthy functioning of the body’s systems.
Elders work with both specially designed materials and everyday household items. Activities are hands-on and often involve movement and sensory stimulation. Each activity has multiple purposes. These may include strengthening gross or fine motor skills, maintaining hand-eye coordination, developing sustained attention on a task, or providing sensory stimulation. The purpose of an activity may also be artistic expression, enjoyment, or the satisfaction that comes from making a meaningful contribution to the community.
Humans are born with an intrinsic desire to explore and learn. Rather than focusing on keeping elders “busy,” the prepared environment provides opportunities for choice, independence, and meaningful engagement. When elders are free to follow their interests and meet their own needs, they feel fulfilled rather than bored.
With regard to elders, we think of concentration as joyful engagement in work that one finds satisfying. Care partners do not interrupt elders’ concentration when they are engaged in meaningful activity and only offer assistance when it is needed.
Humans are naturally driven toward achieving independence. Therefore, a Montessori prepared environment is set up to facilitate maximum independence for elders. Care partners invite them to engage in daily tasks (either independently or in partnership) rather than completing these tasks for them.
Mixed Abilities of Individuals
Elders of different abilities work together, form friendships, and help each other in a supportive community. Peer collaboration is encouraged; elders share their strengths with others who need more support in those areas. Rather than staff taking over all leadership roles, elders have opportunities to use their leadership skills in areas of strength and interest.
Every elder living in a Montessori community has an individualized plan that is created as a result of assessment of and collaboration with the elder and his or her family (when applicable). This individualized plan is communicated to all staff so that the community as a whole works together to support the elder in meaningful life engagement.
Observation is an integral part of the Montessori philosophy. We recommend routine observations of all elders in the community, both when they are on their own and when interacting with others. Observation enables us to gather information that will help us adjust elders’ individualized care plans to better meet their needs.
Grace and Courtesy
Social skills such as offering and responding to greetings remain relatively intact through aging and dementia, so elders enjoy opportunities to welcome guests, invite friends to join them during activities, help others, and to assist with caring for the community. In a care community, it is the role of the staff to model grace and courtesy at all times and to assist elders who need support with these skills.
Older adults and people living with dementia have the same needs as everyone else—to feel valued and respected. In the absence of a cure for dementia, socialization and engagement in purposeful activities is a powerful treatment for the symptoms associated with dementia. People with dementia still need to feel wanted, learn new information, have relationships with friends and family, and contribute to the community. A Montessori community provides a safe, engaging, and meaningful environment for elders to live a purposeful and rewarding life.Read More
By Jennifer Brush
Engaging, beautiful and purposeful, Montessori materials are great for everyone. Just as Montessori classroom teachers guide and support students instead of lecturing to them, Montessori staff guide and support older adults instead of doing everything for them. Staff and elders work shoulder to shoulder as equally valued members of a shared community. Older adults and people with dementia are invited to take on leadership roles in their areas of interest, such as leading a book discussion group or planning the menu for a holiday meal. Montessori materials for these activities are neatly organized, labeled, and physically accessible all throughout the living area. Staff guide elders with these roles and activities until they build new routines, and their skills improve to the point that most are able to enjoy these activities on their own.
So, what do Montessori materials, roles, and activities for elders look like?
Once learning that an elder enjoys gardening, we may invite her to take on the role of watering and caring for the houseplants in the community. This role allows her to make a meaningful contribution to the community, while also encouraging her to move freely and maintain her balance, allowing her to work on fine and gross motor skills, and participating in something familiar. In addition, staff may introduce this elder to other related activities, such as flower arranging or using nomenclature cards with images of flowers.
Nomenclature cards are Montessori materials that are often used with children for building vocabulary and concepts in all subject areas. Also known as 3-part cards, this Montessori material consists of pictures and matching labels; using the material helps elders to maintain their ability to read, identify and name objects, and sequence the steps of an activity. Nomenclature cards use something called control cards as a way to help the individual to self-correct without interference from staff.
Metal Insets, a cornerstone material in Montessori classrooms, can also be enjoyed by elders. In tracing the various stencils, elders practice their fine motor control, hand eye coordination, concentration, and sequencing. The artistic component of creating different designs with the stencils, drawing lines, and shading is a creative outlet. Elders often use the metal insets to design stationary to use for correspondence with family and friends, and can build the skills necessary for more sophisticated art projects, as well as maintaining independence with activities of daily living that require fine motor control, such as buttoning and spooning.
The Montessori philosophy for adults gives older adults the opportunity to grow, engage, love—and most importantly, live.
Dr. Maria Montessori wrote that “joy, feeling one’s own value, being appreciated and loved by others, feeling useful and capable of production are all factors of enormous value for the human soul” (Montessori, 1987). Montessori is more than an educational model; it is a philosophy of life for people of all ages.
You can change lives and improve elder care by implementing the Montessori philosophy in your care setting, and we can help by training staff and providing step by step coaching to help you be successful.Read More
Join SMSI in the Walk to Chiaravalle, Italy! A fundraising activity inspired by the birthplace of Maria Montessori. Join in with members, parents, faculty staff and students as we walk virtually from Dun Laoghaire to Chiaravalle, ‘passing through’ some well-known (and not so well-known) corners of Europe.
At each ‘stop’ you will receive an update on the top ten places to visit, a fun recipe to make with the family, a children’s activity and a Montessori fact! Let your mind relax and explore on this virtual holiday while we take you to far away and exotic places.
To join is easy, we ask you to commit to the following steps:
- Like our SMSI Facebook page to receive updates.
- Join the fundraising event on Facebook.
- Make a donation or encourage others to donate to SMSI Fundraising where we will continue to use this support to promote our 2025 strategic goals.
- Order a pedometer or track your steps on an app!
- Get a group or go at it alone!
- Count/Log your steps for the day.
- Post your weekly goal on social media with the hashtag #smsiwalktoitaly
From start to finish this trip is over 4,392 kilometres (that is 7,000,000 steps)! On this trip, we will journey from Dun Laoghaire all the way to Chiaravalle, Italy, passing through the following destinations:
Dun Laoghaire, Waterford, Oxford, London, Amsterdam, Noordwijk aan Zee, Brussels, Paris, St Foy de la Grande, Barcelona, Nice, Florence, Rome, Cita de Castello, Chiaravalle.
In each location, we will learn about the destination, places to visit, see beautiful photos, learn a fact or two about the city and Montessori, as well as having a fun family-friendly recipe or activity to do altogether,
We, St. Nicholas Montessori Society are committed to raising money to support Montessori Education in Ireland and throughout the world. Join us in this exciting event to bring your family together in a happy and healthy way!Read More
St Nicholas Montessori Society is hosting the free wellness webinar on Resilience, Mental Health and Wellbeing virtually, “Mood Re-Boot” to give us a kick start on refreshing our mindsets and hearts after a long year.
This free wellness webinar series is available to the general public. Should you wish to make a donation to SMSI, or learn more about our charitable status and vision, please see our Charity page here.
- “A Child Psychologist’s View on Children’s Wellbeing in the Tims of COVID-19” with Catherine Hallessy
SMSI held its first webinar with Catherine Hallessy, a Child Psychologist, who spoke to St Nicholas Montessori School Parents on “Children’s Wellbeing in the times of COVID-19”. To view this, please visit our Youtube Page here.
2. “Perseverance Parenting: Parenting When Your Child Needs Extra Support” with Keith Duffy
Our second webinar is hosted by Emma Corrigan, SMSI Board of Trustees member. With a special introduction by St Nicholas Montessori College’s Special Education lecturer, Tash O’Donnell, Keith Duffy of Boyzone will then speak on his personal experiences as a Parent.
To learn more about the event or get your free ticket, visit the Eventbrite page now!
*Update 25 March 2021: This event has been unexpectedly cancelled.
3. “Purpose in the Pain” with Naomi Kumar
Our third webinar is hosted by Mackenzie Young, SMSI Marketing & Admissions Director. We are proud to welcome Naomi Kumar, founder of Naomi Kumar Yoga, instructor, chronic pain public speaker, poet and yoga instructor is our third speaker in the Mood Re-Boot Webinar Series. On Thursday the 15th of April at 19:30, Kumar will be speaking on “Purpose in the Pain”: her journey with her own chronic pain, seeking purpose in suffering and her life lessons learned.
For more information on Naomi Kumar, please visit her website: https://www.naomikumar.com/
Benji Bennett, author of Adams Cloud, is our fourth speaker in the Mood Re-Boot Webinar Series. On Thursday the 13th of May at 19:30, Bennett will be speaking on “The Value of Reading”, which expands the imagination, thus igniting the brain.
About the Speaker
Benji Bennett & Adams Cloud
Benji is an Irish dad, children’s author and you may be familiar now with the emotional impact and beauty of Adams Cloud books written by Benji for his son Adam. I have enclosed his latest podcasts for research and his honesty, strength, wisdom and positivity hopefully will entice your audience to book this event as he is an excellent guest choice.
Jennifer Brush is one of the world’s foremost experts in Montessori Education for Ageing and Dementia care and Montessori Education for Dementia Programme Director at SNMCI. On Thursday, the 17th of June at 19:30, Brush will provide us with the importance of brain health and cognitive functioning at our fifth and final Mood Re-Boot webinar.Read More
Written by Mackenzie Young West with personal tips and anecdotes as “Siobhan Says” from St Nicholas Montessori Education B.Ed Montessori Education Programme Director, Siobhan O’Reilly.
Tip 1: Sensory Play is Important
Sensory Play is an important part in Montessori education. This is a type of learning for the child that uses the senses: touch, smell, see, hear, taste. This type of play is exciting and fun for the child, while also useful in gaining knowledge on how materials work together and promoting dexterity.
Siobhan says: Parents can easily create fun learning activities, such as making Moonsand or the Colour Game. For easy sensory activities, simply see what you have around the house and consider whether it would be educational for teaching senses. This can be specific montessori activities (see our blog on Sensory Play Activities here) or help in the garden!
Tip 2: Baking and Cooking Has a Role!
Don’t ever underestimate the educational benefits of baking. Children can form maths skills in weighing and measuring. Not only can the child learn useful maths skills, but language development, life skills, independence, and most importantly, it is a fun and engaging family activity.
Siobhan Says: The other day I had my boys help to make banana bread. I am baking and cooking a lot with food I feel may go to waste otherwise: Over ripe bananas for banana bread and pancakes, Egg yolks for homemade custard or carbonara or for binding homemade burgers, over ripe fruit can be also used for smoothies and vegetables can make a soup. These activities help teach the children cooperation, planning, dexterity and sustainable practices!
Tip 3: Do not Fear Screens, Use them Effectively!
Most parents consider screens to be the enemy, but in such a technologically savvy world, screens are an important part of everyday life. Children are able to use screens to learn and play, in a Montessori way!
Siobhan says: Movie making is an excellent way to allow a child to use a screen for educational purposes but still have a lot of fun. Movie Maker on windows or iMovie on the iPad or Mac are very easy to use. Stop-motion animation aids the development of problem solving skills, supports collaboration and cooperation, and allows children to build literacy skills and become critical thinkers.
Tip 4: Self Directed Work Is Possible!
What sets Montessori children apart is that they are used to self-directed work and managing their time and workload. Primary children are used to adhering to strict timetables and a daily routine of workbooks and homework, but in Montessori, the Directress creates a prepared environment in which the child is able to direct their own work over time.
Siobhan says: Work with your children to make up their own daily schedule so they have ownership of when and how they will work throughout the day or week. Be sure to try to prepare the environment as best as possible and allow the child to direct their own studies.
Tip 5: Choice is Key!
Maintaining the idea of choice is integral in Montessori philosophy. The child has the ability and proficiency to choose the topic or activity to complete, thus allowing for independence and authority.
Siobhan says: The idea of choice coincides closely with the idea of self-directed study. The child performs best when given the independence and freedom to choose their activities and direct their own workload. When teaching at home, parents can use this idea of choice by arranging several educational activities for the child, and asking the child what they would like to do.
For more blogs on specific activities to do at home with your children or the activity videos for specific activities for children ages 0-12, please see our Blog page on our website.
All photos, applications, websites and other external ideas are not owned by St Nicholas Montessori Society. All rights and credits reserved for the companies and photographers mentioned.Read More
What are Sensorial Activities?
Sensorial activities are integral in Montessori education. Maria Montessori herself was a firm believer in including the senses in education, because it helps the child become more logical, perceptive and aware. Of course there are so many sensory activities that are done in the Montessori classroom, but we have comprised a short, simple list of sensory activities that anyone can do with their child at home! The purpose and aim of Sensorial work is to allow the child to explore and learn by interacting with their environment through the senses. The child will acquire clear conscious information through this exploration. The below activities are best catered towards the child aged 3-6.
1. The Colour Game
- Refinement of the sense of colour
- To develop awareness of colour in the environment
- Preparation for future art work
This activity aids the development of sensorial and oral language skills.
Lay out all the different colored items. Say the name of each item with the child. Ask the child if they would like to play the colour game (this promotes the Montessori philosophy of choice, as outlined in our blog here).
Ask child to try to find something blue. Now something orange, Now green, Now yellow, Now red, Now pink. Now ask the child, “What are the names of the objects that you found?”
Be sure to have the child group the items in like colours.
- Aids in dexterity development
- Helps the child learn maths skills when measuring
- Promotes creativity and imagination
- Teaches problem solving skills
Moonsand is a great and fun activity that the child can not only play with, but help the parent make! All that is needed to create the moonsand is 8 cups of flour and 1 cup of oil. Be sure to mix the flour and oil well, until the product is well incorporated. Now it’s ready to be molded and conformed to the child’s desire!
Pro-tip: Use baby oil instead of vegetable or olive oil.
3. Walk the Line
- Aids the development of balance
- Helps the development of concentration
Walking on the line is a key Montessori activity. Ideally, the shape to create would be an ellipse as it allows for continuous movement without the need to stop at angles; however, in this image, the parent chose a square as it is easier to make in a home.
The child simply walks on the line with one foot in front of the other and tries to stay on the line. You can then give the child different items to hold such as a glass with a small amount of liquid in it or a bell. A bell is a very good one as they need to try and walk all the way around without ringing it. You can add music as the child walks however when adding music it should not have any marked rhythm.
Pro-Tip: Insulating tape works best as it does not mark the floor.
4. Mystery Bag
- Promotes memory
- Aids fine motor skills
This is a great way to challenge the child’s sense of touch! Allow you and your child to find some small objects from your house or garden. Have a look at them. Feel them. No doubt they all feel very different! Next, put the objects into the bag. When you are ready, have the child reach into the bag and search for an object. Feel the object. Now ask the child, “Can you tell me what the object is, just by touching it?”Read More