Category Archives: Learning stories

16-18 months

Besides working/playing with toys/Montessori materials, we do a range of other activities. There are days that we just don’t do much and there are days we are very busy. Here are some examples of what we have been up to!

very proud of our little herb garden, love the smell of our basil leaves, they are thriving and looking absolutely gorgeous, S loves to pick the leaves and smell them, feel them, and put them in her mouth, what great sensorial learning! We are right in the middle of a very wet winter, can’t wait for the spring, we got all our child size gardening tools ready and a huge front yard with a big vege garden that has been neglected lately!!!

SAM_5943 SAM_6401

this is such a cool ride on toy

                   SAM_6140   SAM_6139

rice and beans, exploring texture and sound, sorting (separating them, mixing them)!!!

SAM_6803 SAM_6798

lots and lots of art activities

SAM_6770 SAM_6851

SAM_7152 SAM_7156

S enjoys pushing her pram rather than being pushed in the pram!! yes our short walk can become rather long but let’s look at it from our little intrepid explorer’s eyes

SAM_7006 SAM_7007

We are learning how to put shoes on and how to take them off independently! S can do it all by herself at 17 months. This is something that she has learnt all on her own (observing adults in the environment and imitating them in her self-formation journey). To find out what type of shoes is appropriate for children who are learning to walk see this post from Kylie from howwemontessori.

SAM_7019 SAM_7014

exploring colours in different ways

SAM_7063 SAM_7053

SAM_7189 SAM_7186

learning the concept of floating and sink, soluble and unsoluble

Sand, oil and water in one bottle, water and rocks in another

SAM_7267 SAM_7274

sensory learning experience, coloured rice, got the idea from here

SAM_7227 SAM_7234

SAM_7247 SAM_7258

we are refining our self-help and self-care skills, developing concentration, independence, and self-esteem through learning to self-feed at our weaning table

SAM_7091 SAM_7089

SAM_6914 SAM_6948

a short walk on a cold winter day, the feeling of a gentle breeze,  feeling safe and secure with Daddy!

 SAM_7010

how much learning occurs by just being free in the nature? being able to feel the texture of sand with your whole body, walking,rolling,crawling on the leaves of trees on a beautiful autumn day, walking bare feet on grass, rocks, sand! take in the beauty of nature with all senses! We MUST allow learning to unfold naturally and what better place than in nature, our beautiful mother earth!!

20140216_164920 SAM_5652 SAM_5704 SAM_5710

“As a child, one has that magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unself- consciously to the soughing of the trees.”

Valerie Andrews, A Passion for this Earth

SAM_6452 SAM_6472SAM_6497 SAM_6503 SAM_6507 SAM_6540

learning to play on the beat with our African drum!

SAM_7108 SAM_7275

ball skills, throwing, catching, kicking, very important for coordination, gross motor and cognitive development

SAM_7131 SAM_7127

the dirty dishes go in the dishwasher after finishing our snack (we are in the process of setting up a washing station)

SAM_7141 SAM_7142

Please share with us some other DIY activities you do with your toddler?

Love of reading

From early days S loved looking at books. she didn’t so much liked being read to during early months but loved looking at pictures and very soon learnt to turn the pages over. Reading books is now one of our daily activities. We visit our local library once every two or three weeks to borrow books. I like the library environment alot specially the children’s corner. We have just started going to a wriggle and rhyme programme that is run by our Library once a week, which means we get to visit more often and borrow more books which is very exciting. I have to say S loves chewing on the books too, so yes we are still only borrowing hard cover books. S has just started to bring books over to me, sits on my lap, and turns pages over for me so I can read to her. I find it very relaxing and we both enjoy it so much. I mainly choose books with real pictures or drawings so her early understanding of the world is based on reality. e.g. a real picture of a dog gives so much more accurate information than a cartoon type picture. We have baskets of books in every corner of the house and I find S reading to herself in all the funny and weird places 🙂

20140422_132940  SAM_6423

20140503_193020

S working on her concentration skill

“The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. A child who concentrates is immensely happy” (Maria Montessori).

Image

This morning after I nursed baby S I lay her down on the top of her lambskin rug and put a basket of some grasping objects next to her, close enough to reach. Then I left her to explore the items on her own. I sat on a chair nearby reading my new book and observing her at the same time. Here is my observation, S picked something from the basket with one hand, held it in her hands, manipulated it with both hands, put it in her mouth, dropped it and started all over again. At the same time, she was kicking her feet on the floor, pushing her tummy up. She was moving herself down the rug and pushing the basket down at the same time. 25 minutes later and she was still fully engaged and was at the bottom of the rug because of the constant and slow movement of her feet and her body. S was completely engaged for 30 minutes until the phone rang and her concentration was broken. She started to fuss. I intervened and put her on her tummy and left her to work on her own again. S was happy and engaged for another 10 minutes.

What learning do I see here?

As Montessori believed newborns are incomplete beings whose tasks are to construct their own personalities through lifetime of learning and experiences. They work hard to further their self-formation task through exploring their environment. To assist the newborn in this great task, adults must provide learning opportunities appropriate for their stage of development. The most important thing is to provide an environment that encourages concentration. It is very tempting to break the child’s concentration by making comments such as “wonderful”, “well-done”, “good job” when we see their achievement or to just give them a big kiss. But when a child is fully engaged such acts from adults draw the child’s attention from the task they are involved in to the adults. This makes the child self-conscious, making it difficult to concentrate at the job in hand. This is what we need to avoid. For instance, when you give a speech if you are so self-conscious about what you are wearing you cant focus on the job at hand which is the speech itself. In this story for instance, I just sat back and observed her. It is very important to allow the child from early days to practice concentration. Of course S gets plenty of cuddles and interactions throughout the day as interaction is also very important in absorbing language and having a well-balanced life but when the opportunity comes and you see your baby engaged take a step back and allow them to get absorbed in the task.

What could I have done differently?

clothing that assists free movement, S is working so hard to practice movement and a very important way to aid her is to dress her with appropriate clothing. Shorts are the best as they do not get in the way when she tries to use her feet to slide down the rug. (uncovered legs and feet). This was in the middle of winter and was very cold, but it would have been best to turn up the heater and put some feetless pants on instead.