Archive for the 'Montessori' Category

Jul 18 2012

Kids In Kitchen

Published by under Montessori,My Kiddos

I know that in our Malaysia culture, especially the Chinese family who are often over protective and paranoid over their kids had set the kitchen to be off limit by their young children.  Often mothers placed their kids in playpen while they have to work in the kitchen or simply switch on the TV in the living room to babysit their child. There is no such rule in my household.

Every room, every corner of the house, the kids can move about freely in it.

When our ex maid just left home for good, little JE was only 16 months old. She was still very much attached to me. Since then I have brought her into the kitchen each time i need to cook. From the earlier days where I wear her i the sling when I cut, wash, cook.  She just watched from inside the sling while I explained to her what I am doing , what she can go near to and what she can’t and what’s dangerous and what’s not. Later on when she was older and out of the sling, I often placed her on the table top where I work.

Well, why not put some pots and pans on the floor and let her explore and play on her own? Nope. My little girl is very much a person that wants to be in our world to see what we are doing and be involved.  When I placed her on the floor just right next to me, she cries. Not because she is attached to me like a leech, it is simply because she can’t see what I am doing.  I know many parents would get angry and frustrated with this kind of cry and started pushing their child away, but they have failed to understand the need of the child. The child simply wants to be part of their world.

This is how I seated JE at the kitchen top everytime. When I am cooking, I just move her away from the stove and closer to the sink. There she can have a good view of what I am doing. Even when I am washing dishes, she will be seated next to help washing too. Shall i foresee that the cooking may have oil splashes , I will inform her earlier and she will asked to be put down and run away far far in no time. The sense of danger is already instilled in her. She knows what’s the limit.

Teacher Bubu from Taiwan once said ” Knowing where the dangers lie, you will know where is the safest place to be” (~知道危险在那里,就会知道安全在哪里)

Sometimes she stands on the little stool

But the views she gets is not the best

I am never alone in the kitchen. Any of my girls will always be with me

At 2 years 4 months, she started washing her own cup , spoon and bowl without being asked. And mind you… she does a pretty good job.


One response so far

Jul 25 2011

Pre Writing Skill – Inset For Design

Published by under Montessori


2 wooden stands each holding 5 geometric insets. The insets are pink and have blue square frames. All frames are of equal size. Each inset has a knob on it in the centre, for holding in place by the left index finger and thumb. The basic measurement is 14cm.

Inset paper in pastel shades, which are of the same size as the frame

Selection of colour pencils

Small tray to carry materials to work area

Box for finished work

Presentation 1

1. Invite child to the shelf and name the exercise “These are the Insets for Design” as you point to the insets on the shelf.

2. Let him choose any inset he likes and bring the frame to the table along with inset paper, 2 colour pencils in a small tray. The teacher says “Choose a frame of any shape of your liking and 2 colours of your choice”. If he does not choose one, pick one simple design for him.

3. Sit on the dominant (right) side of the child and put the inset paper in front of the child. Tell the child that “Today we are going to make stroke using this frame”

4. Take the frame of the inset, place it exactly on the inset paper, show the child how to hold it firmly and stabilized the frame on the paper with his left hand.

5. Hold the colour pencil with the right and draw around the inside of the frame with one colour. Do it in a single continuous stroke without lifting the hand. Put the frame and the colour pencil away.

6. Turn the inset paper into 45° , take another colour pencil and draw parallel lines from left to right within the outline of the shape , until the whole shape is filled.

7. Put down the colour pencil; invite the child to try on a fresh piece of inset paper.

8. The child does as shown by the directress and is encouraged to repeat on the backside of the paper

9. Child’s finished product has name and date written on it. Tell child to place finished work in the box. The child is encouraged to take another piece of paper and continue the work.

10. All the work can be collected to make a booklet

Presentation 2 (symmetrical design)

1. Follow step 1 to 3 as in Presentation 1.

2. Put the inset paper in front of the child

3. Take the frame of the inset, place it exactly on the inset paper, and show child how to draw around the inside of the frame with one colour

4. Lift the frame from the paper with the right hand and turn it 90 degrees in a clockwise direction before placing it exactly on the inset paper

5. Draw around the inside of the frame with another colour pencil

6. Return the frame and the colour pencil into the pencil stand and take another colour pencil

7. Draw parallel lines from left to right within the outline of the shape until the whole shape is filled.

8. Invite the child to try.

Presentation 3 (Double outline)

1. Follow step 1 to 3 as in Presentation 1.

2. Bring the frame and inset to the work area.

3. Take the frame and place it exactly on the inset paper, how child how to draw around the inside of the frame with one colour.

4. Lift the frame from the paper and place it back into the tray.

5. Bring the inset and place it on top of the outlined that have been drawn earlier. Trace around the inset with another colour.

6. Return inset to the tray and invite child to try.

Presentation 4 (2 Different Frame)

1. Get child to choose two different frames of their choice.

2. Bring it to the work area

3. Place first frame exactly on the inset paper and trace along the inside of the frame with one colour

4. Put the frame back to the tray and take the other frame and place it on the inset paper, trace along the inside with the same colour pencil

5. Return frame to the tray

6. Draw strokes in the design drawn with another colour. Stroke can be horizontal or vertical.

Presentation 5 (One frame, two directions)

1. Get child to choose a frame of his choice

2. Bring the frame and all the colour pencils to the work area

3. Trace the inside of the frame and then tilt the frame into any direction and trace the inside of the frame again.

4. Draw strokes inside the compartment of the design, each with different colours and maybe of different direction of strokes

5. Get child to try.

Points of Interest

1. Child will learn how to grip and guide the writing instrument.

2. He will experience the effects of pressure on the pencil.

3. The very great variety of movements involved in this work, helps the child with control of the writing movements but also with changing directions.

4. Keeping the point of the pencil on the edge of the frame or the inset, helps the child steady his strokes. The movements will go from left to right.

5. The child can learn to make one continuous stroke. This is particularly helpful in cursive script, but some letters in modified print call for it.

6. This work demands eye-hand coordination

Control of error:

1. Edge of frame; outline of inset.

2. The child must keep the pencil lines within these limits when drawing.

3. Seeing the strokes going beyond outside the shape

4. Inside of frame – shape

5. Seeing the strokes going beyond outside the shape


1. Preparation for writing by developing muscles for holding writing instrument

2. Increase awareness of shape, colour, movement and order

3. Develop control of the writing tool

4. Develop concentration and creativity of art

5. Developing lightness of touch and evenness of pressure


3 years onwards


Inset; frame; inset paper, name of colours; colour pencil; pencil stand; names of geometric shapes


Double outline filled in – Stage A, lines far apart; Stage B: Lines closer together (Progressively), Stage C: Completely filled.

Single inset frame & insets

Dark & Light Pressure (Stage A: Half dark and half light), Stage B: From dark to light (progressively)

Making design using more than one shape


• Work should not be rushed.

• Each stage of Exercises should be done well, before introducing the next stage.

• The series offers a great variety of possibilities, and this sustains the child’s interest.

• They enjoy making booklets at every stage of the work

• Metal inset works reveals the measure of normalization in the individual child and in the classroom as a whole.

• Work with insets is sometimes done carelessly, or used as busy work. Children use it to avoid other work. If there is great misuse, they should be taken out of the class for a while. They can then be introduced later with great attention to the care of use.

• Be sure to write the child’s name and date on the finished work, if child is not yet writing. (Most will not be writing in the beginning Exercises.)

• Occasional, the afternoon class can all do insets all together. Beautiful music can be played as a background to this work.

• Save a sample of the child’s work from time to time. This will show the child’s progress and will be useful in parent conferences.

• Always start with narrow frame, eg. Rectangle, ellipse, oval

• Prerequisite before drawing strokes: able to trace frame

• This is not a colouring exercise, line should be drawn in the drawn frame and not coloured.

Comments Off

Jan 19 2011

Order & Concentration

Published by under JL,Montessori

Just after two weeks of schooling, I have noticed that JL had developed better order and concentration.

I once used to worry that she won’t be able to work with the montessori materials as they were intended to. As over the years, she had been playing with it as they way she likes it, treating those materials just like any toys. I can’t keep them away, as the brother and sister need to use it.  But just merely two weeks of school, she comes home working with the materials as it has been intended to and in full work cycle.

I don’t think the teacher had introduced maths materials yet, but two days ago, after her nap, she decided that she wants to work with the spindle box.  I decided to try my luck to present the material to her again, as before she hasn’t had the attention span for it, as well as she just like to pick up any amount of spindle, put them in the slot, take them out and do what’s note.  But two days ago, we managed to complete the work cycle. She even made her own discovery as the amount of spindles she was holding increases. She was saying “It is getting so much now and I can’t hold them all with my hand”

She also work with the mini long rods. I have noticed that she is more observant too. She pick up tiny move that I had made (example tracing the rod before placing it) though I did not highlight it to her or mention to her that she has to do it.  For a very long time, she hasn’t able to build a stairs and always using the rods to build things she like (abuse of material!!) , and surprisingly, she is able to now.

Working with number rods too. She serrated the rods. Then I picked up four of them and gave her a three period lesson by identifying the quantity of the rod , follow by matching the written symbol to the rods.

I have never intentionally taught her to read the numerals, but somehow she can recognized the numbers (nothing to shout about as I know many babies that had been flashed cards to , able to recognize numbers and alphabets as young as 18 months ).

Now perhaps I can skip the sandpaper numeral stage.

I am really excited to see how a Montessori child will fair. I have read so much about it but have not got a chance to experience and witness the goodness of Montessori.  I have never got a chance with the older two especially in Maths area though I am still using the materials to help the older two to have better understanding in what they are learning now in school.  But they were not taught the Montessori Maths from the very basic. I am just curious how JL will progress if I truly follow the Montessori maths syllabus with JL.

Comments Off

Oct 22 2009

Montessori Birthday Walk

Published by under Montessori

The birthday walk is part of the activities under the cultural subject in the Montessori curriculum. It consists part of history, part of science. It is carried out during circle time.

A ellipse is drawn on the floor and a candle is placed in the center of the ellipse. This represents the sun in our universe. The birthday child is to hold the earth/globe and start walking around the sun. The walk represents the earth revolving around the sun, that is to be explained to the children that the earth orbit around the sun and one round around the sun makes up a year.

To start off with the walk, the children are told that the birthday child is waiting to be born and on his birthday, he begins to walk slowly on the ellipse carrying the globe. The child walks around as many years old he or she is and stops on the month and date he or she was born. The child’s personal ‘timeline’ will also be discussed. This is to further raise awareness of the birthday and passage of time.

The birthday celebration is a fun way to introduce the concepts of months, days of the month, the earth, the sun, and how the earth revolves around the sun.

At the end of the walk, the birthday child gets to blow the candle in the center of the ellipse.

For older children , the birthday child can choose a friend to be his moon. The friend then circles the birthday child 12 times as he walks the ellipse to represent the moon’s cycle.

Found a few variation on youtube. Each has interesting songs to go around. I personally like this song to go with the birthday walk as the song is lively

YouTube Preview Image

Here’s another one which is quite interesting

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

Song for birthday walk

he earth goes round the sun,
the sun helps all things grow,
there were animals plants and people her when ___ turned

(To the tune of farmer in the

We celebrate your birth
and your place on the earth
may the moon, sun and stars
bring you peace where you are

(to the tune of “Happy Birthday”)

Here we go around the sun,
Around the sun, around the sun.
Here we go around the sun,
until the year is done.

(to the tune of “Here We Go Round the Mulberry

The earth goes around the
sun tra la la; the sun tra la la; the sun tra la la; the
earth goes around the sun tra la la and “x” turns “#”

(To the tune of “The Wheels On The Bus”)

2 responses so far

Mar 13 2009


Published by under Montessori

Talking about the misuse of Montessori term , this is one of it.

YouTube Preview Image

It is really sending out all the wrong message. I don’t understand the purpose of this video. It defeat the purpose of this material , this activity.

For someone who is not Montessori trained, after watching this video , they will think this is what Montessori is about.

One response so far

Mar 13 2009

Montessori Revived

Published by under Montessori

It has been more than 3 years since I took up the Montessori course. I have always wanted to do the course, ever so since the birth of JS in year 2002. When I started the course, I was so full of enthusiasm and during the course and during the workshop, I was so excited and wanted to apply what I have learned in the coaching of my children. Well, I did try to incorporate the Montessori method of learning into our home environment for a while and then slowly slack behind and moved towards to more conventional learning, especially after the birth of JL and more so after we have shifted from Seremban. (Looking through my past blog posts, I am actually amazed of how much I have done with my children before JL’s arrival) Montessori is still in my heart and still my passion, but I just don’t know why for that period of time, I just slack behind. If only I could be persistent, especially with WH over the past 2 years, I think I can see a more fruitful, optimum and rewarding result. His sensitive period seems to have slipped by. At one point especially during the first year when I started with him, that was his peak period to absorb. Regret!!

At the end of last year, I was telling myself that I should get my butt off and finish off the course (so that not to waste the money I have paid for the course 3 years ago), so to put the complete end to what I have started. But not without doubt. I was walking on the cross road then, not sure if I should really continue, sparing a day from the week to attend class, do assignments and start afresh on the things that I have learned 3 years ago. Will I find the repetition boring during class? Another thing is that i am asking myself what’s the point of getting the qualification. I was and still am disheartened with all the so call Montessori schools in Malaysia. They are no where near to the through Montessori teaching. The more I have learned about Montessori, the more I feel the injustice when I come across those so call Montessori school. That’s why I am asking myself why the hell I have to get myself into the hassle of sitting for exam and doing coursework. Who will appreciate and value my certification? ( I have a secret dream that perhaps I could use it to migrate to Australia. :P That’s another story…coz hub is happy to stay put in Malaysia, never once think of migration.)

Anyhow , I have no regret to attend class again. I enjoy my once a week break from home. I enjoy doing my coursework. The lesson though similar in context but it’s so different from when doing it externally. It somehow revived the spark again and I shall really put what I have learned in good use especially with my children.

I have started surfing all the sites about Montessori again and start visiting blogs on Montessori homeschool. These blogs give me a lot of inspiration and motivation. What I have been doing at home is really very surfaced incorporating to my home environment and children’s characteristic and personality , hence my children are not quite “normalized” and have not benefited from the method! All the Montessorian homeschoolers are not my role model. There’s so much to learn from them. I long to be like them.

I still have a dream. A dream to be able to fully homeschool my children. Using the montessori method but the unschool way.

One response so far

May 29 2008

Sandpaper Pinyin & Sandpaper Radicals

Published by under Montessori

Too lazy to make my own, hence I bought this not too long ago. I’m glad to have found this ready made one. In fact I was 1/2 through making the sandpaper radicals, but it’s too much work and I gave up.

Purpose of these is like the sandpaper letters and numerals. To help the child to recognize the forms of pinyin and radicals by touch, sight & hearing.

Same thing with English phonics, actually can prepare object boxes according to the radicals as well as pinyin. Some might prefer to use Zhu Yin, as they feel that Pinyin might confuse the kids with English phonics. But I guess we do not have any choice here as Pinyin is taught in school.

5 responses so far

May 14 2008

Metal Insets

Months ago, WH’s teacher has commented about his readiness to write. I’m very well aware that he’s not quite ready as in his motor skill in griping the pencil and putting the right force to write on a paper. When the school term started early this year, he was only 3 plus. I wasn’t too worry about his unreadiness and told the teacher to go slow with him.

Meantime, what we do at home is to get him to work on the metal insets.

I have these 2 sets at home. They are like the Montessori school metal insets but the different is that these are made of plastic. It’s more like a stencil. The normal metal insets are really made of metal and they are heavy and space consuming. If you buy the metal ones, they usually comes with 2 stands, which I do not have space at home for that. I keep these stencils in a box instead. The yellow/orange set was an earlier set I’ve got. It only have 6 shapes, the normal one would be 10. Later I manage to scout one the 10 pieces one.

After tracing, he would let his imagination runs wild and proceed to draw something out of the shape he had traced.

Even JS works with the inset to produce some pictures.

I used to cut the A4 paper to size of the frame, but notice that I actually waste a lot of paper (the left over part of the A4 size paper, as I can only cut 2 squares out of it), hence later, I just let them trace on whatever paper there is at home.

A little info about the metal insets:

The metal insets are a traditional Montessori material. Dr. Montessori analyzed the movements which are connected with writing and developed the Metal Insets for directly preparing the child for handwriting. The Metal Insets (ten metal insets and frames) exercises strengthening the three finger grip and coordinate the necessary wrist movements.

Concentrated work with the metal insets leads to a refinement of the small muscle groups used in handwriting and gives the child mastery of all the movements required to form the letters of the alphabet in cursive writing. At the same time, use of this work reinforces recognition of the geometric shapes.

The aim of this material is:

  • To provide a kinesthetic preparation for handwriting.
  • To develop hand-eye coordination.
  • To acquire control and develop concentration.

Physical Description:

The material is a set of 10 square metal, reddish colored frames with blue metal geometric figures inside each frame, five made from straight lines (triangle, square, rectangle, trapezoid and pentagon) and five from curved lines (circle, oval, ellipse, curvilinear triangle, quatrefoil). On each blue shape is a small knob, and the insets are usually kept on two sloping wooden stands.

Use by child:
The child used paper cut the same size as the inset frame and colored pencils to complete their inset work. The geometric shape is first traced and then filled in with colored pencil. Later when concentration is further developed filling in of the shape becomes more detailed as the child uses patterns and multiple colors. To further heighten the complexity, a child might trace two or more of the same shape making multiple sections prior to filling in.

3 responses so far

Mar 11 2008

What Constitute Montessori Teaching

Published by under Montessori

There is no official registry or even definition of what constitutes a Montessori school , but I guess the following will be a basic guideline on what to look for

The Environment

  1. -Is neat and orderly
  2. -Is arranged for free movement without disturbing floor/table work
  3. -Has sufficient tables and chairs
  4. -Has suitably-sized furnishings
  5. -Has a variety of table sizes for individual and group work
  6. -Provides neutral background for materials and eliminates visual distraction
  7. -Has plants and animals. Due to modern day space considerations (and cost thereof), Montessori teachers stock their classrooms with nature shelves, living plants and small pets, or perhaps a window sill garden, allowing children to experience as much of the natural world as possible given modern constraints.
  8. -Has adequate shelving for materials
  9. -Has uncluttered appearance
  10. -Provides free access to materials without involving teacher
  11. -Provides sufficient Montessori materials for sensorial exercises, practical life exercises, maths, language, science, history, geography, art and music
  12. -Has materials which are clean, complete and in good repair
  13. -Has signs or pictures at child’s eye level
  14. -Has free access to outdoor area
  15. -Provides an atmosphere conducive to learning

The Teacher

  1. -Sets good example in neatness and grooming
  2. -Uses good grammar
  3. -Has pleasing tone of voice
  4. -Does not whisper
  5. -Does not shout or raise voice
  6. -Does not talk excessively when giving lessons
  7. -Observes without appearing to do so
  8. -Is aware of total classroom situation
  9. -Prevents disturbance
  10. -Makes notes or records unobtrusively
  11. -Has good self-control
  12. -Controls children who do not have self-control
  13. -Perseveres with children who need help
  14. -Does not do for children what they are able to do for themselves
  15. -Is pleasantly enthusiastic
  16. -Does not make corrections of accidental errors
  17. -Does not continually praise
  18. -Does not give negative criticism
  19. -Does not interfere with concentration
  20. -Gives interesting lessons
  21. -Give lessons of minimum length
  22. -Give group lessons
  23. -Give individual lessons.
  24. -Handles materials carefully
  25. -Handles materials accurately
  26. -Does not neglect certain children
  27. -Does not give too much attention to some children
  28. -Has a good rapport with most children
  29. -Does not “mother’ the children
  30. -Is aware of attention seeking behaviour
  31. -Appears to respect child’s choices
  32. -Abides the same rules as children

One response so far

Dec 18 2007

The Hand

Published by under Montessori

Recently when out shopping, I’ve observed other babies, some are a few months older than JL, all of them still wears a mitten. My JL already got her hands and fingers exposed. I only put on the mitten on her during the first month where we were not allowed to cut her nails and she tends to scratch herself especially her face. After fullmoon, we can already trim her nails, so I left it uncovered.

Maria Montessori said ” The Hand Is The Tool To The Mind” “We should never give to the brain more than we give to the hand”

Babies learn to explore their bodies with their hands, it should really be left uncovered to allow them to learn and explore.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

4 responses so far

Next »

Words Of Wisdom

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

~ Khalil Gibran, The Prophet
This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Shuen_Hanh. Make your own badge here.