Archive for the 'Montessori' Category

Mar 23 2007

PLE – Wet Pouring

Published by under Montessori

This activity is similar to the dry pouring, here instead of beans , we use liquid . To make it more interesting, I added a drop of food colouring into the water for them to pour.

Working with full concentration

And he’s very particular with all the spillage and will attempt to wipe it of with the sponge. :D

One response so far

Mar 15 2007

PLE – Dry Pouring

This is the first dry pouring exercise. Pouring from jug to another equal jug. This exercise also enforce the practise on wrist turning.

Materials : Rug, tray, two creamer jugs/pitcher, beans


  1. Carry the tray of materials to the work area
  2. The jug with the beans to be positioned on the left side of the empty jug. The spouts of both jug MUST BE facing each other
  3. Introduce exercise and the materials needed
  4. Lift the jug with the beans , using the right dominant fingers , twist the handle of the jug towards the right dominant hand. Position the left-hand fingers just between the spout and the base of the jug
  5. Start pouring, noting that the spout of the lifted jug must not touch the surface of the empty jug
  6. Once transferred, replace the lifted jug to position and pick the spilled beans on the tray into the jug.
  7. To finish exercise, transfer the beans in the jug of the right hand side back to the left hand jug.

Control of Error

  • Spillage of beans
  • Seeing the jug of beans gradually emptied into the stationed jug
  • Beans in pitcher
  • Clinking sound of jug


  • development of order, concentration, fine and gross motor skills – wrist & finger muscles, pincer grip, judgement at sapce and volume, eye hand co-ordination, independence – to prepare child for daily chores at home, left to right concept, car of environment, developing writing and mathematics – capacity concept.

Point of Interest

  • Sound of pouring beans
  • Quantities of beans are retained when transferring from one jug to an identical jug


2 1/2 onwards


  • To teach children how to pour and control flow when pouring
  • To prepare for wet pouring exercises
  • Sand, rice, macaroni

Both JS and WH have the habit of picking up the left jug with their left hand and refuse to twist the jug around. They conviniently picked up the jug with their left hand and pour it back with the right hand. I know JS’s a left hander except when comes to writing, but i’m not to sure about WH yet, lately he seems to be using his left hand more often. Both of them also have the habit of not holding the spout and they will place the spout over the stationed spout to prevent spilling. I try to refrain myself from correcting them on the spot. I guess it will take practise and their observation on how it’s done correctly.

Both of them still enjoy PLE the most… I have started WH with dry pouring eventhough his scooping from bowl to bowl has not been perfected yet.

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Mar 14 2007

PLE – Transferring Stickers With Tweezers

Material: Rug, tray, two containers/plates, stamps/stickers, tweezers


  1. To carry the tray to the work area
  2. The container/plate with stickers to be positioned on the left-side. On the right side is an empty plate
  3. Introduce the exercise and the materials needed
  4. lift the tweezers from the tray, using the dominant hand
  5. Show the child how to use the tweezers
  6. Then pick and transfer one sticker at a time and transfer them to the empty plate
  7. Show the child how to transfer the sticker back. Put down the tweezers


  1. Development of concentration
  2. Fine and gross motor skills – wrist and finger muscles, pincer grip to prepare for writing, eye hand co-ordination, left to right concept

Points of Interest

The tweezers is a tool


3 1/2 onwards


Rug, tray, container/plates, stickers, tweezers


to teach children to pick delicate materials using tweezers

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Mar 09 2007

PLE IV – Social Grace & Courtesy

Published by under Montessori

The exercises of grace and courtesy promot intellectual and physical development, enabling the children to respond to their environment. This lays the foundation for later academic achievement

The form taken by these exercises varies according to the social customs of the country in which they are being taught, and often the technique of presentation takes the form of ‘acting out” certain situations. I presonally feel that most children nowadays in a way or so have been taught about some social grace & courtesy at home by their parents already

i Intorductory exercises

1. Greeting

  • Hello
  • How do you do?
  • Shaking hands
  • How are you?
  • Making eye contact
  • Syaing good-bye

2. Grooming

  • on arrival at school (combing hair, using the toilet, being ready for lessons)
  • before and after meal
  • before and after outings or time spent in the garden

3. Using the rope for outing

ii. Manners: Child to other children, child to teacher, and most importan of all , teacher to child

  1. how to thank
  2. how to ask for things
  3. how to wait one’s turn
  4. how to apologise
  5. how to excuse oneself
  6. how to ask for permission to leave
  7. how to welcome visitors
  8. how to knowck on doors and how to let people in
  9. how to receive visitors
  10. how to offer a seat or things
  11. how to accompnay people
  12. how to show the way
  13. how to give way
  14. how to pick up things for others
  15. how to introduce oneself and others
  16. how to cough, sneeze or yawn in company
  17. how to offer help to others

iii. Table manners

  1. Washing of hands, getting ready to eat
  2. setting the table according to the custom of the country
  3. basic rules of behaviour on table
  4. how to offer food to others at table, how to pass food to others
  5. how to serve
  6. how to excuse oneself
  7. how to offer more
  8. how to refuse another helping
  9. how to clear away

iv. Behaviour on outings

  1. Observing basic traffic rules
  2. How to walk with friends
  • in twos
  • holding hands in pairs
  • holding the rope

3. How to talk and behave in public places

  • library
  • swimming pool
  • post office
  • musuem
  • restaurant

4. How to deal with things

  • lost property
  • picking up things for people
  • litter
  • clearing of obstructions on pavements

5. How to help people in need

6. How to ask the time

7. How to ask the way

8. How to show the way and give directions

9. How to use private and public telephones

10. How to use the bus

  • Waiting
  • getting on and off
  • buying a ticket

11. How to hail a taxi

v. Preparation of the environment for special occasions and behaviour on these occasions

vi. Silence games

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Mar 08 2007

PLE III – Care Of Self

Published by under Montessori

Activities for the care of self

i Introductory exercises

  1. Washing and drying hands
  2. Washing and drying of face
  3. Using the lavatory
  4. Hanging up coat and putting away shoe

ii Exercises in personal hygiene

1. Learning to use a tissue/handkerchief

- blowing
-throwing away
2. Care of hair

-tying back
3. Care of nails

4. General rules of hygiene and nutrition

5. Cleaning of teeth and the care of teeth

iii. Exercises in dressing and undressing

1. Dressing frame

-large buttons
-small buttons
-press-studs & snap
-hooks and eyes
-open-ended zips
-shoe laces
-boot laces
-safety pins
2. Dress and manipulating clothes

- how to pull and fold sleeves
-how to tuck in and hitch up cloths
-how to put on coats, jackets, overall, aprons, hats , mittens, gloves
-how to hang up clothes on hooks and hangers
-how to do up zips and buttons on coats, trouseres, shirts and skirts
3. Looking after clothes

-removal of spots
4. Care of shoes

-removing mud from shoes and boots
-using a door mat
-where and how to keep shoes ad boots when not in use
5. Putting on shoes

-using a shoe horn
-lacing up shoes
-doing bows
-doing up boots
6. Learning how to knot a tie

-windsor and bow tie

7. learning how to use mirror

8. Learning how to look after spectacles

-putting on
-taking off
-folding up
-laying down
-putting away in case

iv. Exercises for the improvement of balance and grace of posture

  1. walking the line – anticlockwise
  2. walking the line on tiptoe
  3. lifting and carrying a chair
  4. putting the chair down silently
  5. walking round a table as closely as possible without actually touching it with any part of the body
  6. Walking round a floor mat as closely as possible without actually touching it

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Mar 07 2007

PLE II – Care Of Environment

Published by under Montessori

Exercises for the care of environment

i. Excercises to teach the child correct use of objects and their car

1. Opening & Closing

- doors
- drawers
- cupboards
- cases and chests
- windows and shutters
- taps
- screw top bottles and jars
- boxes – with removable lids, with hinged lids
- using aids
- keys
- latches
- padlocks
- combination locks
- unscrew nuts and bolts
- chain

2. Arranging tables and chairs for various activities

3. Cleaning and scrubbing tables and chairs

4. Cleaning the blackboard

5. Dusting

- with duster
- with a feather duster
- using a soft brush

6. Polishing

- silver
- wood
- brass

7. care of the floor

- sweeping into an outlined area
- sweeping an entire floor when necessary
- using a dustpan and brush when necessary
-mopping up small spills
-washing the floor with a mop
-scrubbing the floor with a brush and saop
-polishing the floor
-using a carpet sweeper
-using a carper shampooing machine

8. Care of books

-clean hands first
-how to hold
-how to carry
-how to turn pages
-how to cover
-wrapping book covers

9. Activity in kitchen

- washing dishes, cutlery, pots and pans
- soaking washing
-sorting out
-putting away
-peeling fruit and vegetables
-slicing fruit and vegetables
-spreading butter on bread
-spreding honey on bread
-spreading jam on bread
-using kitchen utensils (egg whisk, gralic press, can opener etc)
-shelling peas, beans & nuts
-mashing potatoes
-sifting flour
-making bread dough and bread
-making cookies
-making cakes

10. Washing of dusters, napkins, tea towels, handkerchief

-handing up to dry

11. Ironing

12. Arranging flowers and look after them

-cutting stalks
-changing water

13. Looking after plants in classroom

-sprinkling with water
-washing leaves
-dusting leaves
-taking cuttings

14. Looking after pets

- feeding

15. Care of the outside environment

-sweeping stairs /school yard
-washing stairs, flagstones
-sweeping leafs
-raking the lawn
-weeding, digging, hoeing
-planting seedlings
-collecting produce

16. Wrapping of presents

-tying of bows
-making a gift tag
-cutting wrapping paper to size

17. care of the computer , tape recorder & other similar equipment

-covering after use
-switching on
-storing disc or tapes
-treatment of keyboard of control

ii. Exercise which develop dexterity and are closely linked with craft activities

1. Threading

-using large wooden beads and shoe lace
-using smaller beads
-using pasta, straw

2. Cutting

-cutting a paper
-cutting along curved lines
-along thick lines wide apart
-along thin lines
-along lines not drwan right to the end
-making a puzzle
-making a place mat
- cutting string, straws, ribbon
-cutting flower stalks, leaves, twigs
-cutting fabric for collage

3. Pasting and gluing (with different type of glues and applicators)

-whole surface
-designated areas
-moistening pre-gummed surface

4. Sewing

-using a sewing card with large holes
-using sewing card with smaller holes
-sewing pictures with running stitch on card
-sewing pictures with running stitch on fabric
-threading a needle and knotting the end
-making a simple object, bean-bag, pinchushion

5. Needlework

-finger crochet
-crochet with a hook

6. Weaving

-paper – large/medium/small
-string or wool on card
-using a frame
-using a loom

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Mar 06 2007

PLE I – Development Of Motor Skills

I will list down the activities for all PLE by category and each activity are actually presented the Montessori way

Exercise for the development of motor skills

i. Introductory exercises

  1. Rolling and unrolling mat
  2. - small work mat
    - larger work mat (the child can walk around the unrolled mat on the floor.)
    - napkin
    - paper
    - blanket

2. Sitting down and standing up
- use of a chair (Pulling out and pushing in)

3. Carrying down and standing up

4. Handling of objects (i.e carrying mat, tray, chair)

ii) Later exercises

These exercise aid the child’s development of co-ordination, fine motor skills & dexterity. Presented after introductory exercises

1. Folding & unfolding

-square cloth

- along stitches marking the median
- along stitches marking the diagonal
- along stitches marking two medians
- along stitches marking two diagonals
- into 1/8
- work mats of various size
- handkerchiefs and tea towels
- origami

2. Exercises for the muscular development of the hand, wrist and fingers

a. Muscular development of the hand: squeezing
- using a sponge to move water from bowl to bowl
- transfer objects (stamps/stickers) with tweezers
- transfer and sort objects (buttons) with tweezers
- transfer objects with chopsticks
- using turkey-baster/pipet/syringe/eye dropper to move water from bowl to bowl
- using tongs to move beads/marbles from bowl to bowl
- using an escargot-holder to move beads/marbles from bowl to bowl

b. Muscular development of the wrist

- using clothes pegs,
- using a board peg
- using paper clips and paper peg
- using a cocktail stick to sort beads
- using a tweezer to sort out long cocktail sticks/wooden sticks

3. Pouring & spooningcan use various size of beans, start from the big one than proceed to smaller beans and rice grains

- spooning

- Beans from bowl to identical bowl
- Beans from bowl to 2 equal bowls
- Beans from bowl to 2 unequal bowls
- Beans from bowl to 3 equal bowls
- Beans from bowl to 3 unequal bowls
- Beans from bowl to bowl with indicator line.
- Spooning rice from a bowl into a jug and pouring back

- Dry pouring

- Beans from jug to jug
- Beans from jug to 2 equal bowls
- Beans from jug to 2 unequal bowls
- Beans fom jug to 3 equal bowls
- Beans from jug to 3 unequal bowls
- Beans from jug to bowl with indicator line

- Wet pouring

- Water from jug to jug
- Water from jug to 2 equal containers
- Water from jug to 2 unequal containers
- Water from jug to 3 equal containers
- Water from jug to 3 unequal containers
- Water from jug to a bottle marked up to a certain level
- Water through sieve
- Water from jug through a funnel to a bottle marked up to a certain level
- Water from bowl to bowl with an eye-dropper/pipet
- Different coloured water from two bowls to a third, making a third colour using a pipet

PS:/ the previous few PLE exercise I’ve done with JS at home expecialy for the pouring, we were using toys utensil. I’ve recently bought a porcelein jug for her to do the activity. She was very proud of using the real life utensil. She said to hubby ” daddy, I can do pouring with a breakable jug” … though I know she can handle the utensil quite well..being a mother… i still worry..heart thumping fast each time she carries the material to work area…can’t quarantee no accident will happen..especially handling breakable materials.

dry pouring from jug to jug

transferring stickers with tweezer

2 responses so far

Mar 05 2007

Practical Life Exercises

Published by under Montessori

The Montessori Pratical Life exercises (PLE as I often referred as ) provide the opportunity for purposeful work and they assist children in their development: physically, cognitively, socialy and emotionally

PLE are designed to teach children life skills. They help the small children develop intelligent and responsible contact with his surroundings. They enhance the children’s control over their movements, exercising the muscles of the whole body with understanding and willed purposes.

As parents , we often teach PLE at home without awaring it and in a Montessori classroom, though it’s done in a structured montessori way, but it’s the least standardized, since almost all the materials are teacher-made or assembled. The quality of the PLE area is dependent on the teacher’s aesthetic sense, creativity, financial support received and cultural background

Benefits of PLE

  • to grow in self knowledge
  • develop the child’s concentration
  • develop fine and gross motor skills
  • help children towards independence
  • to establish order
  • develop a good self image
  • appreciate and understand the limits of his environment
  • develop a sense of responsibility
  • aid the child in his construction

Principles of the Montessori Practical Life Materials

  • Each material must have a definate purpose and be meaningful to the child
  • The difficulty or the error that the child is to discover and understand must be isolated in asingle piece of material
  • The materials progress from simple to more complex design and usage
  • The materials are designed to prepare the child indirectly for future learning
  • The materials begin as concrete expressions of an idea and gradually become more and more abstract representations
  • Must be of the right size, weight, clean & intact
  • Must present many different qualities such as in weight, texture, colour, form, size etc
  • Are identical among themselves with exception of the variable quality which they possess.
  • Must be attractive – colour, brightness & proportion

There are four catergories of PLE

  • Care of the Environment

Cleaning & Polishing

- Transferring

  • Development of Motor Skills
  • Care of Self
  • Social Grace & Courtesy

In each category , there is a logical progression from relatively easy exercises to more difficult ones that involve longer and more complex patterns of movement. The easier exercise in each group are presented to the child at an earlier stage than later ones. The exact point at which any particular exercise will be appropriate for any particular child will depend on that child’s individual development and interest.

In my coming posts I will list down the activities in sequence for age 2 1/2 to 6 for all four categories. It’s best not to skip the sequence unless the child is 4 years and above.

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Mar 02 2007

Maths With Number Rods

Was doing some revision with JS, she seems to have lost the concept of before and after. Example what number comes next and before. It’s like she is reciting the numbers but not fully aware of the sequence. I realize all the K1 workbooks or even in school, small children already been taught about sequence of numbers by filling the blank of numbers in the row. I only remember doing that in primary 1 during my school days. I’m scared to drill JS too much on Maths, worry that she might find maths difficult and not so interesting.

Anyhow I think the number rods and the spindle box will help to enforce the concept of the sequencing of numbers

Placing the number cards accordinly to the rods placed randomly

Building stairs

Place the number cards accordingly

Note: when my kids are working on the materials, I tend to make the mistake to correct them instead of letting them self discovered and self correct…very bad. I try my best not too and remain silent by just observing, but sometimes really can’t help eventhough it’s something very minor they’ve done not accordingly

3 responses so far

Mar 01 2007

Sensorial At Home – Mini Knobbed Cylinder

I’ve got this mini knobbed cylinder for sensorial training at home. 4 blocks with 5 knobbed cylinders on it. The normal size knobbed cylinders have 10 cylinders in each block.

Block 1 : The cylinders vary in both diameter and height.

Block 2 : The cylinders vary in both diameter and height as in block 1 , but the tallest cylinder has the smallest diameter and the shortest has the largest diameter

Block 3: The cylinders vary only in diameter but all have the same height

Block 4: The cylinders vay only in height but of the same diameter.

I find it more challenging for the kids to use the normal size version of blocks where there are 10 cylinders in each block. When I do the lesson at home with JS & WH, they can complete each block very fast.

JS can do it properly – as in taking out each knobbed cylinder correctly by graping the knob, putting it in order.

WH manage to do it with one hand sometimes, but most time he’s impatient and wanted to take out all the cylinders at once. He use to hands, never arrange them properly and at time he even over turn the block to let the cylinder fall off.

Both of them know how to carry and how the cylinder block, though it’s small , I show them the way to carry it just as though we are carrying the normal size blocks.

Since the mini version isn’t that challenging for JS, I have to put more blocks together for her to do, else she easily got bored.

The aims for this activity/material


  1. Development of visual discrimination of dimension which leads to observing one’s environment with an intelligent eye
  2. To enhance understanding of dimensions
  3. To encourage observation of the environment
  4. Development of concentration and independence


  1. Preparation for writing (the fingers and thumb which will later hold the pencil are being used to hold the block)
  2. The understanding of connected language: small-big, short-tall


Block 1 & 2 – thick, thin, as thick as, not as thin as , wide , narrow

Block 2 & 3 – big, bigger, biggest, as big as, not as big as – small, smaller, smallest

Block 4 – Tall, taller, tallest, as tall as , not as tall as – short, shorter, shortest

For holes – deep, shallow – wide, narrow, shallow, shallower, shallowest

The montessori curriculum/materials are so carefully designed that it serves so much direct and indirect aims. It’s sad that many don’t see the wonderful of these. I have heard/seen someone said that Montessori is just for playing. If sent so early, very soon he gets bored with it. I just don’t see how a child can get bored with a wide range selection of activities. Of course it depends on how creative the montessori directress arrange her materials. But it’s sad that many still have the misconception of Montessori method.

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Words Of Wisdom

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

~ Khalil Gibran, The Prophet
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