Montessori cosmic education teaches children about the interconnectedness of all living things. In the first plane (0-6) this is experienced with sensory learning and connecting with nature. Sensorial experiences are also incorporated in the classroom to deepen the understanding of our planet.
Once the child is introduced to cosmic nesting boxes and sandpaper globe, we begin our study of the planet Earth. These topics are introduced in the form of Unit Study in the classroom. Not all unit studies will interest all children, so it really depends how deep you delve in the unit study topic based on your child’s interests.
Cosmic education starts with macro (whole) and moves toward micro (parts) of the Earth. The lessons in early childhood (3-6) includes: Land, Air, Water Sorting, Sandpaper Globe, Montessori Puzzle Maps, Study of Planet Earth, Botany, Science, Geography, Geology, History, and more.
In our Monti-Story Box, we decided to look at the layers of the Earth. The book we chose for this box, represented illustrations of planets to as accurate as possible and the activities are simple but purposeful. There are 5 activities pertaining each curriculum of Montessori classroom and 1 art activity based on the artist study of the box.
Transfer with tong activities prepare hands for writing. It promotes and strengthens tripod grasp. This activity builds concentration and allows repetition. With repetition comes normalization.
One to one correspondence with ten frames. Ten frames are a great graphic tool to teach children place value. This graphic organizer can also be used for simple addition and subtraction activity
Always pick a book with realistic illustrations for younger children
“Pointillism, also called divisionism in painting, the practice of applying small strokes or dots of color to a surface so that from a distance they visually blend together.”
Impressionistic lesson of Layers of the Earth. We used avocado pit for inner core, ketchup for outer core, gravel for mantle, and apple skin for crust
This box also comes with sensorial activity, paint, parts of Earth layers three-part cards, digital downloadable instructions. All of this you can get for only $50 in our Etsy Shop
Lately, on social media I am seeing a trend, almost a push to make toddlers into these mini adults. While I do believe toddlers are extremely capable and can do a lot of things, but this perceived independence associated with Montessori is really a misconception of independence. There are things toddlers are learning to do in the area of self-care, which is a very big sensitive period; however, these tasks aren’t mastered in this stage, nor it should be forced as a level of mastery. That is developmentally not appropriate.
Toddlers are more in a stage of collaboration versus independence. We collaborate so they can learn the skills that they will need to be independent.
Independence is a big mistaken goal of an adult. In United States, there is this push to make children independent early on. My favorite one is that they should be able to sleep in their own crib by themselves. From early on, we force independence. It isn’t an independence that comes naturally without healthy connection. That’s a forced goal by adults who are terribly misguided by social media and false advetisement.
Brain does, what?
A child’s most important and basic need is a need for SAFETY. They feel safe when they are closer to their primary caregiver. In the first stage of child’s life, a child is completely dependent on us for food, love, warmth, safety, cleanliness. When these basic needs are met, child develops TRUST. Child’s need for safety is so much greater at this stage that we are still researching and learning the full effects on brain when these needs are not met. Studies have confirmed that when infants and children need for safety and love goes unmet, they produce a stress hormone called cortisol. ” Children who are continuously exposed to traumatic and stressful situations, which is if they are left alone to cry for longer period of time, or when their emotional and attachment needs go unmet, they develop a hyper-reactive stress response. This destroys the developing brain’s architecture and has harmful effects on a child’s ability to learn.”
Yet, we push for sleeping independently and playing independently. Why? What exactly are we afraid of? That our children will be too attached to us!
Is independence in toddlerhood a realistic goal?
A simple search on Google on this topic gives us all the tools, tips, and strategies to make our toddlers independent. However, none talks about the connection. I wonder when or why this push for independence in the mainstream became so big.
When our children are infants, we are in tuned with their need for connection but suddenly when that same infant begins to talk and walk, we begin to think they should be doing more. They should be cooking breakfast, eating independently, playing alone by themselves, putting their shoes on, clothes, giving themselves a bath etc. We start the process of making them adults. I am not saying that they shouldn’t be doing all those things when they are ready or that we shouldn’t introduce those care of self-care lessons; I am saying that it shouldn’t be a goal. It should be a natural process that simply happens because of prepared environment not from the frenzy of an adult deciding that today my child will put his socks on by himself and will achieve the mastery in a week.
In toddlerhood, children are beginning to gain a LITTLE independence. And I want to emphasize on this word, little. In this stage, when child’s basic need of connection is met, he will exert independence and will. Doing this with a healthy connection will develop healthy autonomy in our children.
So, if your toddler isn’t ready to be independent yet that’s okay, they are fulfilling their strongest human need, a need for connection. Let them be a little closer to you now so they can develop a healthy independence.
Montessori materials are very intentional. There is a science behind each and every material. In Montessori (3-6) classroom, children get the first introduction to mathematics. This abstract concept is very concrete for Montessori children. In fact, it is so concrete that children learn binomial theorem with material and can learn to manipulate this abstract concept in a concrete way. Did I spark your interest in Montessori math yet?
Needless to say, Montessori math is my favorite. It begins in a sensorial area, where children learn to visually discriminate among different sizes and learn three dimension and two-dimension shapes.
Montessori math follows a pattern of left-right, concrete to abstract. The very first material that your child will ever work with is Number Rods. Number Rods are so big and concrete for children to deeply understand the difference between rising quantities. The number 10 rod is exactly 10 times more than the number 1 rod. This concept is fascinating for children.
As we move away from concrete and more into abstract, the first introduction is to the short beads material. Montessori short beads material is small compared to Number Rods and Spindle Box. This is the first lesson that will build a solid foundation in Montessori math material. The colors of the bead repeat in other Montessori materials such as bead chains, decanomial work, checkerboard, and more.
Children do this work over and over that they learn the colors for each number. This lesson is so appealing to children due to their sensitive period for counting and for small objects.
Did you like this material? You can get this now in our shop. We also added some printable activities that you can do with your little one after the presentation.
Do you want to raise confident, caring, and resilient children? That starts with not reading and mathematics but teaching children social emotional awareness. Social Emotional Awareness means:
Learning about me
Learning about others
Learning about coexisting on this planet
Research shows that about 80% of the job success is social emotional awareness. It is our ability to learn our emotions and manage them in a positive way helps us understand and relate to others’ emotions. Our daily interaction with the world is based on our social emotional awareness.
For toddlers this is a new feeling and something they struggle to understand. They feel it in their bodies but do not know what it means and how to deal with those big emotions. When toddler is going through this big emotional wave, it is best to ride it out instead of redirecting or interrupting that behavior. However, adding some social emotional learning activities can help your child understand their own emotions. It will give your child appropriate vocabulary to express what they are feeling.
This week on our shelf, we’ve added some fun social emotional learning activities. Here is a small glimpse of how we are supporting our son’s social emotional awareness.
Make your own Calming Bottle
This calming bottle is a part of our self-calming/peace corner. It helps children to slow down and observe the movement of confetti
Being able to identify each face with the emotions is a big step for toddler. This subtle differences in faces with emotions helps the children to understand more about feelings. The wooden emotions discs and matching cards are included in our Monti-Story Box.
Sorting by Colors
Give the emotions some colors so child can understand this abstract concept. Let your child drop a pom-pom in a cup based on their feelings.
This coloring activity is a part of our Monti-Story Box but it is a great self-calming strategy
Identify My Feelings
This is a great way to let your child choose how they are feeling. This is also an activity included in our Monti-Story Box
Playdough is the best sensory and calming activity for toddlers. I often make a simple salt dough at home and provide some cookie cutters in a tray. This work sits on our shelf.
Our recent Monti-Story Box includes most of these activities for your toddlers and preschoolers.
Dr. Montessori have mentioned a lot about the different planes of development. She has spoken widely on the importance of planes of development and the sensitive periods in each planes. Below is a chart by Aubrey Hargis that helps us understand these planes a little better.
The first period of child’s mind is what Montessori called it “The Unconscious Absorbent Mind” which lasts about the age of 3. In this period the child just absorbs through their senses. They learn about the world unconsciously and absorbs from the environment without any effort. This is a very sensitive period in child’s life and it is extremely important for us to prepare her environment carefully as this environment will transform her to an independent child.
The second period of child’s mind is called “The Conscious Absorbent Mind”. This period is still in the first plane of development but this period is between 3-6 years of age. In this period, the child is no longer a helpless infant who is mastering her neck muscles but this is the period of learning and refining those skills that she learned as a baby. This is period of repetition where the most cognitive development will take place. In this period, most children learn to read, develops the memory, and can do multi-step lessons.
The second plane of development which is between 6-12 years of age, which we call it “The Mathematical Mind”. Dr. Montessori also refers this phase as peaceful period. In this period, child has a reasoning mind and it all about big ideas, social justice, social connection, and also an ability to do conscious learning. In this phase the child is no longer absorbing from the environment. In this plane, the child is actually memorizing, analyzing, computing, and organizing.
Hope you enjoyed this brief overview on planes of development. Please share it with your mom friends who and give some love to our blog and our instagram page!
Reading is an advanced mental process, which requires some complex cognitive skills such as analysis and synthesis.
There are four stages of Language Development: Stage 1: Spoken Language Stage 2: Phonemic Awareness Stage 3: Creating Words Stage 4: Reading
Before a child can tackle reading, we need to expose them to the skills that will aid in the process of reading. Pre-reading activities prepare younger children for reading later. Visual discrimination, auditory discrimination, sequencing, pattern recognition, sorting, spoken language are all precursors to reading. All of these activities aid in the process of reading development. For younger children the more concrete these activities are, the better they grasp these concepts.
10 Pre-Reading Activities Ideas
This is the most simple and easiest activity you can do with your child. Even if you cannot get time to do anything else, you can only read every day to your child. Reading aloud with your child will help him or her emotionally, socially, and academically. It will create a lasting bond and will promote a healthy emotional state in your child. Research shows that children who are read to every day have a better grasp on reading.
Note: You can read to your child anytime at your convenience. It doesn’t have to be at bedtime. Find the time that works for your family!
Object to Object Matching
This is a very concrete activity for toddlers and the easiest to prepare with what you have around the house. The idea is to have the exact same objects to match. For example, if they are matching spoons both spoons should look exactly alike for the initial experience. For this activity, have a basket of objects that look the same and then line a set on the left. Name each object as you line them and then model matching each object. Place it all back in the basket and then have your child repeat the activity. It is very important to show the entire process from start to finish to your child. Putting the work away is also a big part of learning.
Note: For a young toddler keep the objects limited to 2 or 3 set for matching.
Challenging Version of Object-Object Matching
Object to Picture Matching
This is the same concept of matching but this time we are adding a bit of a challenge by doing it abstract. Pictures are not as concrete as the objects. What we see in 3D and 2D are two separate experience. Thus, for a younger child it is a bit of challenge and a good practice to distinguish objects from 3 dimension to 2 dimension.
Backyard Birds Matching
Picture to Picture Matching
Now, we are taking away the concrete completely and introducing only abstract concept of matching. This lesson comes after the child has successfully matched objects to picture.
Patterning is such an important skill for children to learn for reading. When we are reading a language or learning a new language, it is all patterns of letters put together to make a word or a sentence. Patterning helps children make prediction to what comes next and use logical connections.
This is a very important preschool activity. Sequencing help children understand the patterns of things. For example, using your daily schedule for sequencing can help children understand what to expect next. This is also an important skill for reading because then a child can compartmentalize the concept of first, next, then, and last.
Any sorting activity you can find around the house will help your child understand to put things into category. A basket of spoons, forks, and knives can be a great sorting activity for a younger children to understand the concept of organization. Not only it prepares the mind for reading but also for writing and math.
Sorting by Colors
I-spy games are great for working memory and building that visual discrimination. In order to read we need to have phonemic awareness and also we rely on our memory of hearing that sound or word before. This game can be played at various stages. For this activity have a basket of different object that the child is familiar with and then you can do I-spy for each object either by color or touch. For an older toddler or Pre-K student who is learning the phonetic sounds, you can say, “I-spy an object that starts with the sound “s”. You can mix it up by doing the ending sound or middle sound depending on the child.
These are great addition for pre-reading shelf. They help build inference knowledge in children. Oral language development is a first step to reading development. Conversation Cards also helps child understand the concept of questions and answering.
The sand paper letters is the way we introduce letter sounds in the Montessori classroom. Tracing the letter and associating it with letter sound prepares the hand and the mind. It build the muscle memory as child internalize and remember the sound by tracing the symbol.