Archive for the 'Montessori' Category

Feb 14 2007

PLE – Sewing

I have introduced sewing to JS using the cross stich cloth. Not doing cross stich pattern but just simple horizontal line ( she haven’t completed the task yet) , I guess the cloth material I got for her is not that suitable , it’s not a proper binca as the holes are quite small and gap quite near.  I remember in my primary school years, my cousin who was from a all girl school did show me some of her sewing work on the binca… just some very simple pattern.

Going to look for the material soon.

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Feb 08 2007

Homemade Spindle Box

Too stingy to invest in a proper spindle box, that’s why I made my own. The spindle box won’t be off long term use. It’s only for introductory to number zero and the reinforcement of number 0 – 9 with its quantity which JS has already mastered and once WH master this , I won’t need this aid anymore hence really no point of investing in one.

I have got the idea to make my own spindle box while reading the book “Teaching Montessori In The Home – The pre-school years” – Elizabeth G. Hainstock. There’s one chapter in the book on “Making Your Home Montessori Equipment”

Written in the book

What you will need :

  • 45 spindles (dowels, popsicle sticks, plastic spoon , etc)
  • A box large enough to be divided into ten compartments into which your chosen spindles can be fitted
  1. Divide your box into ten equal compartment
  2. Number th compartments 0 – 9
  3. place the correct number of spindles in each compartment

What I used is a mooncake box that I have save earlier and I use straws as the spindle. It’s not really a perfect size as the depth is a little too deep and the width a little narrow for my hands , but for my kids still quite alright.

  This is a draft version. I haven’t found a way to beautify my spindle box and secure the partition which were cut out from recycle cardboard

  a closer look of my ugly spindle box.

The spindle box activity

This activity is suitable for kids 3 1/2 years onwards and have known the numeral signs and can relate the quantity to numeral symbols. Usually in a montessori classroom this activity comes after the number rods and sandpaper numerals


  1. Show the kids number Zero on the spindle box and explain the concept to the child that zero means nothing
  2. Directress point to number 1 on the spindle box and asks the child to read it
  3. Ask the child to bring the right quantity of spindles and put it in his non dominant hand and then into the compartment
  4. Directress points to number 2, the child names it and she counts 2 spindles into her non-dominant hand and places in the box
  5. Repeat the same with the next number
  6. Child carries works all the way up to number 9

Direct aims

  1. The first introduction to 0
  2. The child gains a muscular impression of each of the quantities
  3. Making association between fix written symbol with the loose quantities

An alternative from box will be to use a muffin tin, with each cup numbered and use buttons or beads for counters (source from Teaching Montessori In The Home)

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Feb 08 2007

Lesson On Long/Red Rods

I have presented the Long/Red Rods (the mini version though)  activity with JS and WH respectively. The appropriate age for this activity is 2 1/2 years onwards

I thought it would be an easy exercise for JS, but the first few attempts she didn’t quite get it right completely and wasn’t really concentrating during my presentation of the activity. ( I can’t help to think and worry how come a 4 year old cannot build stair with the long rods on the first attempt, I couldn’t help to question her intellectuality. That’s the kiasu me, expect my kids to be super intelligent and able to get it right the first time! ) . I also noticed she doesn’t have the confidence in handling it even though she knows it. Each time she picks up a rod to build the stair , she will stare and asked me ” This one ah?”  She needs my confirmation before placing the rods to make the stairs.

I really do not know if the mini version will serve the same aim as the standard lenght long rods. Will the activity with the mini long rods defeat the purpose of the activity?

The aim of the long/red rods activity are:


  1. To motivate the child to develop visual discrimination of length
  2. To develop understanding of differences in length
  3. Visual and muscular perception of dimension
  4. Awareness of dimension leading to intelligent observation of the environment
  5. To develop habits of concentration
  6. To develop muscular control and co-ordination of movement (The mini version certainly will not serve this aim)
  7. To develop independence and self-confidence


  1. Preparation for mathematics through perception of linear dimension (measurement)
  2. To gie the chlld basic language important in mathematics

Since WH also shows a keen interest in working with the long rods, I also present the activity to him, but I only show him 3 rods instead of all 10. I know he will take some time to build stair with even the three rods…but we have time, he’s just 2 ++

Sadly my kids also abuse the materials after lesson. They thought these rods are just like their normal wooden blocks and they start using it to stack up to whatever they imagine. WH even build stairs by stacking it up instead of placing it parallel on floor.

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Feb 07 2007

Montessori Homeschool Materials

Looks like I’m really seriously into homeschooling. Some other materials that I’ve got. I’ve bid it from ebay and it was quite reasonable compares to market price even after conversion.

 A  set of mini red rods and number rods. It’s neither the size of the normal rods or the small rods in a montessori classroom. The quality is not that good, not very solid wood but I guess it’s good enough for home use.

 A box of short bead stairs for linear counting and later multiplication, will used it together with the number cards I’ve made earlier too.

 Golden beads for decimal system. (not enough as bank of golden beads though)

 cards and counters. Can made by myself…but it’s just too much work and the price of this comes cheaper if I were to make my own ( as in effort and time)

I don’t have a solid step to step plan on how to use this with JS’s lesson. Certainly not according to the structure of the Montessori curiculum. Will skip the one she knows and proceed to where she’s at at the moment , but this set will be good for WH.


4 responses so far

Feb 05 2007

What Do These Names Have In Common?

Published by under Montessori

Saw this post in my friend’s blog and thought it’s interesting…so I copied it here.

What do these names have in common?

1. Jeff Bezoz. Amazon
2. Larry Page. Google
3. Sergey Blink. Google


Some famous people who attended Montessori schools:

  • Prince William and Prince Harry, English Royalty, Heir to the thrown
  • Jeff Bezos, financial analyst and founder of
  • T.Berry Brazelton, noted pediatrician and author
  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of
  • Julia Child, famous chef, hostess of TV cooking show and author of numerous cookbooks
  • George Clooney, Actor (ER, Oceans 11 & 12, etc)
  • Anne Frank – Jewish author of World War II diary (The Diary Of Anne Frank)
  • Melissa and Sarah Gilbert, actresses: Little House On The Prairie and Rosanne, respectively
  • Helen Hunt, actress, Mad About You, As Good As It Gets, etc
  • Gabriel Carcia Marquez, winner Nobel Prize for Literature
  • Katherine Graham, former owner/editor of The Washington Post
  • Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, former First Lady
  • Jimmy Wales, founder Wikepedia
  • Will Wright, designer of The Sims, popular simulation/strategy game

Some famous people who choose a Montessori education for their own children:

  • Patty Duke Austine, actress
  • Cher Bono, Singer/actress
  • John Bradshaw, psychologist and author
  • Yul Brynner, actor
  • William Jefferson & Hillary Rodham Clinton, former president and NY senator, respectively
  • Michael Douglas, actor
  • Yo Yo Ma, Cellist

Some famous people who have supported Montessori education:

  • Alexander Graham Bell, noted inventor, and his wife Mabel provided financial support directly to Dr. Montessori, and founded the Montessori Educational Association at their Washington, D.C. home.
  • Thomas Edison, noted scientist and inventor, helped to found a Montessori school
  • Henry Ford, industrialist
  • Mahatma Gandhi, political and spiritual leader of India/peace educator and activist – spoke at The Montessori Training College, London 1931 after meeting Dr Maria Montessori and finding they had much in common.
  • Helen Keller, author, educator, fundraiser/spokesperson for the handicapped. Anne Sullivan’s teaching method with Helen Keller became a Montessori model.
  • the Dalai Lama, the head of state and spiritual leader of the people of Tibet, founded the Tibetan Children’s Village
  • Fred Rogers, children’s TV personality, Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, was a strong supporter of the Montessori philosophy of education.
  • Woodrow Wilson, former president, had a Montessori classroom in the basement of the Whitehouse during his term in office, his daughter trained as a Montessori teacher. Margaret Wilson was on the committee that brought Dr. Maria Montessori to the US to present her “glass house” school room exhibit at the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in san Francisco, 1915



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Feb 04 2007

PLE: Threading & Screwing

Other PLE activities that can be done at home.

 threading beads. Good for refining the fine motor skills and pincer grip, eyes hand cordination

 Another threading toys. Got it from Watson.

 screwing and unscrewing the toy car that the parts can be taken out and then to put it back like a puzzle.

2 responses so far

Feb 03 2007

Teaching Stroke

I reintroduce the strokes for chinese word writing to JS from the very beginning level again but this time using the sand paper strokes and the sand tray.

There are 20 strokes but each lesson I only introduce 3 at a time and I’m using the three period lessons way.

Three period lessons as in

1st period: This is XXX

2nd period : Show me XXX

3rd period : what is XXX

When I do the 1st period, I trace the strokes with my fingers and JS has to do exactly the same in the same order. We repeat that a few times for each card.

After the 3rd period, when I do the closing, I allow her to trace on the card again and then on the sand tray. What I notice is that when she does it on the sand tray, the way she write is more perfect and correct than when she’s writing on paper.

Manage to take this picture during lesson. Leah asked the other day why I let JS draw on the sand tray with a stick instead of fingers, In fact I get her to trace with her fingers, the photo taken using the stick was after lesson when she was just having some extra fun.

Clean up time after lesson. Scooping – part of PLE

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Feb 02 2007

Sandpaper Strokes

Almost a year after i started introducing strokes to JS, she still can’t really master it. Mum got her this strokes book that she had traced the dotted lines for all strokes and finished the whole book and on top of that I gave her my own homework of practicing stroke writing, but still no result.

The stroke writing exercise book , all about connecting dotted lines to form strokes

JS just couldn’t remember all the stroke and couldn’t write it correctly. It shows clearly that the method of teaching failed. Before that I couldn’t imagine how I could teach Mandarin in a Montessori way as the words cannot be build up by sound, it’s more like remembering the words but then I realize I can teach her the strokes using sand paper strokes. That’s where I made this set of strokes. All 20 basic strokes

Also I spoken to mum the other day. Since she’s still quite in touch with what’s going on in the primary school, she knows what to deliver. Her encounter was that one of her student at primary one was canned by the teacher just because he didn’t know all the radicals (部首) . It actually sent a chilled down my spine that teacher these days still cane the students. (My time it was quite common, in fact my teacher was so strict that every where she goes she has a cane with her, and when she’s in the class, everyone is sat quietly like mouse dare not even make a move, during my 3 years under her teaching, I was caned once) I asked her “Teacher’s these days still use this method to teach? They still cane?” Mum said “Typical Chinese School, some more competitive school in Klang Valley, it’s like that” (Yo….my heart pounding fast…. i forsee a hard life, not only for my children, but for me to coach them too!! However it won’t deter me from sending them to Chinese School)
I really can’t imagine my girl being cane for not knowing the radicals. Through her experience my mum said what is important is the foundation. So the strokes must be right and then teaching them radicals. Now I can recall during early primary schools we did alot of strokes counting, filling up missing strokes, missing radicals , groups the words from the same radicals on top of dictation to write the words.

With this I also made a set of radical cards. Not a full set yet, just a few common one and I didn’t use sandpaper , because it’s too tedious.

Radical cards

What I plan to do is that after JS has master all her stroke, I’m going to teach her the name of these radicals and then will ask her to identify the radicals from all the Chinese words she knows. Hopefully I can better prepare her for standard one in that way. There’s no point of teaching her to write complete word at this moment when the foundation is not strong. As long as she can speak , understand and recognize those basic chinese words, what’s the most important is to build up the foundation for later words writing.

8 responses so far

Jan 30 2007


Looks like I’m really quite serious with my homeschooling task. Been surfing for some materials and at the same time made some of my own. Was searching for LMA (large moveable alphabets) and sand paper letters. Those i found and that which are made of wood are quite expensive and since I’m just using it for homeschool purpose, I’m not too sure if it’s worth to invest.

I found this product “Montessori LMAB” at MPH‘s product list and the price is quite reasonable and I ordered it. Unfortunately they told me it’s already OUT OF PRINT. I did a search again and luck is at my side, I manage to find the manufacturer site in Penang.

Called them up to check whether they are still producing it and they told me they have stock but it’s already very old and hence they do not ship out to retailers anymore. I placed a direct order with them and manage to get a 20% off (since they said it’s already old, the colours abit run out…..) So I got the set with shipping for less than RM120. :) (This is the wonders of internet….can basically shop for anything at the comfort of one’s own home!)

 The LMAB set

Inside consists of 26 pictures books (for each letter) , 1 felt mat, 1 parent/teacher guide, 1 set of LMA and 26 sand paper letters.

 Sand paper letters. This one definately look more proper than those i made.

 LMA. Six pieces for each alphabets. The size of it just like the one we use at training center. The only different is that these are made of cardboard instead of wood.

It’s not a solid set that can last long if it’s for long term use and use by many people, but if handle with care at home…. I guess it can last. It’s all made of cardboard. But it make my life easier instead of making my own and which do not look nice and have the standard size.


5 responses so far

Jan 26 2007

Montessori Home School Kit

When I was doing some surfing , I accidentally stumble on this Montessori Home School Kit

Can’t remember though if I saw it in Ebay or Yahoo Auction, as I no longer can find it today. It cost about SG310. Consist of 27 items (if not mistaken) which are the mini pink tower, mini knobbed cylinder, mini broad stair, mini number rod, binomial cube, constructive triangle, stamp game, snake game, colors pallet, addition board (and the rest I can’t remember what else. The picture is from the manufacturer site and does not have a full description of this product)

In fact I was quite tempted to get one and with that I can start up a proper Montessori style home school for my kids. But again, it’s not very affordable for a income-less homemaker and have to really think twice. It does look very interesting set of kit with a wooden box for easy storage.

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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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