Montessori Baby Ed: Watch My "Vlog" To See What Your Musical Baby Might Do In The First Six Months!

STARTING AT BIRTH, YOUR MONTESSORI BABY CAN DEVELOP A LOVE FOR MUSIC AND ADVANCE IMPORTANT COGNITIVE SKILLS, AS WELL! Scroll down to watch the video. 



My good friend, Amanda has been applying Montessori principles to her baby's growth and development since he was a newborn, and look at what he loves to do nowadays! 

Amanda's little one was beginning to creep around the Montessori-style home environment that she had set up, when she caught this adorable picture of her little guy playing music for her!


This musical instrument ( I call it a "child-size hammered dulcimer") is introduced to Baby in my Montessori Baby-Ed "Nido Basket" # 3. Read more about the activities in that "basket" by clicking this link: Montessori Baby-Ed #3 "Do You Need 8 Activities With The Arts For Your 3 Month Old?"

We are all so fortunate to have Amanda keeping a photo/video journal of her little one and his musical progress and cognitive development since his introduction to Montessori Baby-Ed when he was barely one month old. So, I have the fun job of putting her footage all together to show you the first 6 months of musical development in my YouTube video below.

I hope you enjoy this adorable "Vlog" that chronicles the first 6 months of Amanda's family and Montessori Baby-Ed. Watch my YouTube video by clicking HERE:




You are welcome to enjoy my Montessori Baby-Ed Blog Posts with full Lesson Plans and links for creating your own monthly Baby-Ed "Nido Baskets" for your musical family. 

Click on these links:






Over the past year, I have been working on my complete On-Line eCourse for Montessori families and caregivers who are searching for a month-to-month curriculum of activities for babies from birth to 12 months of age.

My Montessori Baby-Ed eCourse is almost ready for enrollment! I will be OFFERING A SPECIAL DISCOUNT CODE for enrollment in the course and you'll find it here at my blog in the next few weeks! 


You can join my email list and receive regular notifications and news of my special offers and latest blog article. You'll also receive a complementary download of my eBook, "Musically Montessori: The First Lessons" (retail price $12.99!) Check it out at my  TpT Store HERE!   



I would  love for you to sign up for my email list in the side menu of this blog and receive your complimentary eBook free of charge!

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Currently,  I also offer an on-line eCourse for Montessori educational environments that you might like to explore for your Preschool aged group: Musically Montessori: First Twelve Weeks. 
And please use this DISCOUNT CODE: SUMMIT 2016 and take 20% OFF the Regular Price! 


This Blog article is part of the Montessori Monday Link-up at Living Montessori Now where you'll find resources (some are free!) from Montessori educators all over the world.



Thanks again for visiting my blog today and I hope you have gotten some ideas for your Montessori learning environment!


Advertising Disclosure: Magical Movement Company may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services. Thanks for your support!



   


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Musically Montessori: Wouldn't Your Group Enjoy Opera Singing With "The Magic Flute?"

YOU MIGHT BE DELIGHTFULLY SURPRISED TO FIND THAT YOUR YOUNG CHILDREN ENJOY OPERA WHEN IT COMES FROM MOZART'S "MAGIC FLUTE"! 

And, with my newest TpT product, you can offer a lovely group of lessons featuring the concept of pitch using a scene from "The Magic Flute." I'll be telling you more about that later in this article.


Photo from Adobe Stock

MOZART'S "BIRDCATCHER'S DUET" 

Over the years, I still feel a surprised delight when I see my music groups of little children enjoying  the opera singing in the scene from "The Magic Flute" that features the "Birdcatcher's Duet". This intriguing story (put to music by Mozart) is a fun and interesting piece to explore music concepts with little children and develop an appreciation of opera, too.

As a beginner's introduction to this fanciful opera, I have found that the "Birdcatcher's Duet" is enjoyable for young children because it is a relatively short segment in the opera, and the main words are "Pah...pah...pah...pah...pah...pah!" That makes it playful, too. 

Photo from Adobe Stock

 Statue of bird-catcher Papageno, character of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute, in front of Stadsschouwburg Theatre in Bruges, Belgium


In the story of "The Magic Flute", a young man called "Papageno" plays the role of a birdcatcher dressed in his colorful, feathery costume.  Papageno finally meets a young woman birdcatcher called "Papagena" and that's when they sing their duet. 

Photo from Adobe Stock

FOCUSED LISTENING FOR HIGH PITCH 
AND LOW PITCH

This duet is perfect for children to hear the low pitch of the man's voice and the high pitch of the woman's voice. What a fun way to explore the music concept of pitch (and "duet")! And, when you add stick puppets of "Papageno" and "Papagena" for the children to manipulate while they listen to a recording of that scene from the opera, the experience really comes to life.

Photo from Adobe Stock
Here's the activity:
  • Invite every child to hold a stick puppet in each hand...one that is Papageno, for the low pitch,  and one that is Papagena, for the high pitch. (In the opera, the man sings "Pah-pah-pah-pah-pah-pah" in a low pitch and then the woman answers in her higher pitched voice.) 
  • Then I say: "We're going to listen to 'The Birdcatcher's Duet' from Mozart's opera called 'The Magic Flute'. In this opera the singers tell the story by singing it. The boy birdcatcher, named Papageno sings in a low voice. One day Papageno meets the girl birdcatcher,  named Papagena. Papagena sings in a high voice. When they sing their song together it's called a duet. I'm going to move the boy puppet when I hear the man singing in a low voice and I'm going to move the girl puppet when I hear the woman singing in a high voice."
  • I show how to move each puppet, as I am telling the children about the activity. Then I ask the children to move their puppets along with me as I sing "Ahhh" in a high voice or a low voice. 
  • As we listen to the recording, we can move the appropriate puppet according to which birdcatcher happens to be singing.  With such simple words being sung in the opera, I find that the children (and me!) spontaneously begin singing along, changing the pitch as each birdcatcher sings.


MAKING STICK PUPPETS TO REINFORCE THE CONCEPT OF PITCH

Here are the stick puppets that my granddaughter in Japan drew for the Lesson featuring "Musical Pitch" in my Musically Montessori eCourse, "First 12 Weeks." These templates are also part of the downloads in my newest TpT product, "Pitch, Musical Scale, and Mozart".  More on this new product and my special 2 day sale later in this post!

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

After each child has his/her own Papageno and Papagena puppets in hand, then its fun to move the puppets to "The Birdcatcher's  Duet" like a little puppet show. I like to extend the fun by singing our own versions of the birdcatcher's song with different sounds (ex: singing "Lah-lah-lah-lah" or "Mah-mah-mah-mah", etc)

PLAYING "THE CONDUCTOR GAME"

Here's another fun musical pitch extension: 
  • Invite the children to play "The Conductor Game"
  • Say: "The conductor is the leader of the band. I'll be the conductor and you will be the singers in the band. I'm going to hide the puppets behind my back and then show you one. If I show you the Papageno (boy) puppet you will sing in a low voice. If I show you the Papagena (girl) puppet  you will sing in a high voice." 
  • Hide each puppet behind your back.
  • Choose a favorite song for the group to sing.
  • Show one of the puppets to guide the singers to sing in a low pitch (Papageno puppet) or in a high pitch (Papagena puppet).
  • Invite each child to have a turn to choose the song to sing and then to show a puppet that indicates to the other children whether to sing high or low.

Musically Montessori "Pitch, Musical Scale, & Mozart" 

at My TpT Shop


I just added this new product to my Magical Movement Company TpT Store at the special price of $2 for the next 48 hours

Not only is the "Papageno & Papagena Activities" included in this Packet, but also the "Sunflower Musical Scale Activity" that are both from my on-line eCourse, Musically Montessori eCourse, "First Twelve Weeks".  

You'll have what you need to delight your children with these fun music activities while they learn about an important concept in music: PITCH!


If you have already been enrolled in my "First Twelve Weeks" eCourse, then you already have these Lesson Plans, Visuals, Templates, and even my own mp3 downloads AND MORE! If you've enrolled in my eCourse then you also have access to my more than 50 instructional videos so you can see firsthand all the techniques I use to engage children in music learning...the Montessori way.

If you haven't yet enrolled in my eCourse and you happen to purchase this new TpT product then you will receive the 30 % off coupon code for a substantial discount on my "First Twelve Weeks" eCourse. 

And, for the next 2 days only, you can purchase my newest TpT Musically Montessori Lesson Plan Packet for the special price of $2. 

After March 10th, this product goes back to the regular price!

I am so happy to have you visiting my Blog today, and I hope you have gotten some ideas for fun musical activities to introduce to  your group of little musicians.

If you like this article, you might also like these:



My article here is part of the "Montessori Monday Link-up" at Living Montessori Now where you'll find literally thousands of resources from Deb Chitwood and Montessori educators from all over the world. Click here to check out the Link-up: Montessori Monday Link-up.

Advertising Disclosure: Magical Movement Company may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services. Thanks for your support!



















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Musically Montessori: Six Cognitive Benefits of Exploring Pitch With Young Children

HERE ARE 6 COGNITIVE BENEFITS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN EXPLORING CONCEPTS IN MUSIC...PLAYFULLY, OF COURSE! If you are wondering just how much little children can learn from early music experiences, I have presented a few here for you to read about and even watch in action.
All photos by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company unless otherwise indicated
My Montessori music classes have been zooming along during the past few weeks and it is such a joy to see the skills the children have been developing since the first weeks of school last Autumn! The photo above shows the group at Kiran's Montessori School who are exploring the music concept of pitch while practicing skills with playing child-size castanets.
What exactly is important in early music education?
  
"MAKING" MUSIC makes the difference!
When speaking of "cognitive" development, I will refer to the Miriam Webster's dictionary:  
"Of, relating to, or involving conscious mental activities (such as thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering)" 

I am certain that a well-planned and carefully implemented early music curriculum adds immensely to the cognitive development in the young child. With such a music program, the "fun factor" of making music with instruments is a crucial component in encouraging cognitive skills development. Here is a quote from a recent article in Time magazine.
"Researchers found that after two years, children who not only regularly attended music classes, but also actively participated in the class, showed larger improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers." From a Northwestern University Study cited by this Time Magazine article, "Music Can Alter Your Child's Brain" 12/16/2014 
You can see some quick examples of our fun activities featuring the concept of pitch in music in this youtube video from our Montessori music class a few weeks ago at this link: Magical Movement Company Youtube: "Exploring Pitch". 



The secret to engaging young children in music activities is encouraging their ACTIONS that connect the child to the music concepts being presented

MOVEMENT ACTIVITIES in Music Class encourage the development of BALANCE  and COORDINATION.

Children always enjoy moving to music through large motor activities (ex: dancing, as well as both structured and freeform movement activities). In my groups, the "Movement Activities" portion of each music class is one of the most popular parts of the lesson. I have had so many little children say: "Ms Carolyn, I love doing the 'Movement Activity'!"



Benefit #1: Setting up Movement Activities in your early music curriculum helps children develop skills and confidence in understanding how to balance and coordinate the movement of the body. 
Bodily coordination is necessary for being able to hold a pencil and write/communicate ideas. It is also important in understanding how to play the piano, aim and kick a soccer ball, construct a building, and even brace oneself when facing an emergency such as earthquake, tornado, or even physical assault. Young children are in the sensitive period for movement according to Montessori principles, and little ones are developing their balance and coordination abilities throughout early childhood. Every activity that gives them practice with these skills is important for all subsequent development. Music nearly always causes the young child to move...so we have a great tool within music itself to structure movement activities so that children experience the  concept in their bodies. 



Benefit #2: Offering movement to coincide with concepts in music gives the young child a concrete experience to build understanding of more abstract principles. 
Through movement in music class a child gains more understanding of concepts such as "fast and slow", "loud and quiet", "high and low pitch", and more subtle concepts such as comparing higher and lower, faster and slower, louder and quieter, and classification skills, too. (ex: "When you move to this music are you moving fast or slow?"..."What other things in the world move fast...slow?"..."Is a second in time faster or slower than a minute?")


Introducing MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS to young children encourages SMALL MOTOR DEVELOPMENT, along with UNDERSTANDING THE SCIENCE OF SOUND, 
CAUSE AND EFFECT, and 
THE IMPORTANCE OF FOCUSED LISTENING.

When young children are offered activities with musical instruments, they immediately light up and you can see this by all the big smiles on their faces. But why?
One important reason young children love playing instruments is that the actions involved help feed the young child's developmental needs. 


Benefit #3: Giving children practice in playing instruments offers practice using the small muscles of the hand, important for developing eye-hand coordination skills. 
Recently, our activities have been featuring the concept of pitch in music and each week the children explore different percussion instruments. My older groups (6-9 yr olds) have been learning about pitch using pitched percussion instruments: Xylophones and Glockenspiels. 
With unpitched percussion instruments, such as a tambourine, I have shown my younger groups how to tap on the head of their tambourines on the floor like a drum to make a low sound. Then we shake the tambourines while holding them up high to make a higher pitched sound. Rhythm sticks are also nice for playing on the floor like drum sticks for lower sounds and then tapping them together up high to make a higher pitched sound. 
Last week my groups enjoyed simply moving their castanets up high when they heard music that was higher in pitch and then playing the castanets down near the floor when the music was lower in pitch. We've also used other rhythm instruments in this way as well as props such as rainbow ribbons, a parachute, or a giant stretchy band by simply moving these to a high position for higher pitch in the music and moving them down to a lower position for lower pitch in the music.
Not only are the children listening for the movement in the pitch of the music for the activity, they are also then grasping the instrument or prop and playing/moving it up (for high) and down (for low) as well. This not only requires deciding whether the music is high or low, but then adjusting their instrument/props to match the the pitch of the music. The "grasping" is that important practice with the small muscles of the hand that eventually enable the child to write with a pencil. And, the movement to match the pitch of the instrument involves coordinating playing the instrument and moving it up or down appropriately. (Listening...thinking...acting)
With the older children, this involves actually playing the lower or higher pitch on the barred instruments (Glockenspiel and Xylophone) by coordinating their mallets to strike the bars correctly as well!

Benefit #4: When you give children musical instruments to explore, they begin to understand how different sounds are created.
At birth, the auditory sense is already well developed, and the young child is stimulated by sound. The vibrations of sound flow through the body of the child and when the child is old enough to make sound happen by banging, tapping, striking, and even dropping, then the child is beginning to understand the science of sound. 
While holding a tambourine, the child can actually feel the vibrations of the sound created by tapping on the tambourine head. Then there is a different feeling of the vibrations of the instrument when the tambourine is shaken to create a sound...and this makes a different sound as well.
With older children playing pitched instruments such as the Xylophone, the child can see visually that the longer bars create a lower sound and the shorter bars create a higher sound. 
As you saw in the video above, I played my slide whistle to create a fun game of moving up high or down low according to the pitch I was playing on my whistle. This is yet another way sound occurs that is different from playing a percussion instrument. The children see that I am making the sound by blowing into the metal tube of the whistle and this creates yet another unique sound that is different from the skin sound of the tambourine or the wood sound of the castanets.


STRUCTURING activities with MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS gives young children opportunities for 
DEVELOPING thinking skills that involve MEMORY, DECISION MAKING, and CREATIVE EXPRESSION. 

When children play music together in a group, structured activities will encourage children to practice coordinating their movements with others, to make decisions and plan how to play, when to play, when not to play, and even how to play and sing at the same time. 

Benefit #5: Structuring music activities in a group offers children practice in decision making, collaboration, and purposeful enterprise.
In music, this is called "ensemble playing", and in the adult workplace this is called "team building". As children build on their skills in music class each week, they begin to enjoy activities that involve coordinating their playing in unison with each other. Starting with practicing rhythm patterns together, then beginning and ending a piece all at the same time, to playing differently at different times in the piece (ex: fast for the galloping horse part and slowly for the turtle walking along, or short notes for rain drops and long notes for the wind in a song) 
These kinds of musical experiences involve planning on the part of the teacher so that the children are given a structure that goes well with the music concept that is featured and scaffolds skills developed from week to week.
As a music teacher, I use a combination of resources to create a curriculum that presents activities in a progression suitable to the ages of the children. Currently, I use the principles I learned in my Orff-Schulwerk training, my Montessori training, and my own formal music training as a child (and adult). In addition, as a music specialist, I often use activities from a wonderful curriculum produced by Bushfire Press, called Music Room. 

My On-line eCourse 
Musically Montessori: "First Twelve Weeks"
Over my years of teaching I have developed a sequential Montessori  music curriculum for the classroom teacher that combines all the training I have received and studied over the past 30 years. I offer this music curriculum for classroom teachers in my Musically Montessori on-line eCourses. You can learn more and even enroll if you like at this link: Musically Montessori: First Twelve Weeks
USE this COUPON code for 20% off retail price: TPT20  


Benefit #6: Playing musical instruments over and over, with new challenges introduced each time, helps the child develop confidence and a feeling of success. This eventually leads to a sense of mastery, competence and a life-long love of learning on the part of the child.
As you can see in the video above, I often use familiar songs to develop a new concept in a lesson. I even use the same song in a particular lesson. Sometimes, in a single lesson, the children will enjoy a movement activity that features a music concept (ex: moving up and down to the change in pitch) and then a few minutes later, we will revisit that song and this time we will play rhythm instruments instead of moving our whole bodies. This way, the children have the experience of repetition that builds skills, with a different twist that keeps the children engaged as well as successful!

My next post will have more details of the pitch lesson from the above video. I will also be offering a new Teachers Pay Teachers Lesson Plan Activity pack: "Exploring Pitch" with a special discount price for my email subscribers. Have you subscribed to my email list yet? If not, you can do it right here on the sidebar of this blog. 


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I hope you don't miss the Montessori Monday Link-up at Living Montessori Now! My post is just one of many resources you will find at this wonderful site...many are free, too! Here is that link: Montessori Monday Link-up.



I want to thank you again for visiting my blog today and I hope you have gotten some ideas for music with your own group. If you want to read more of my articles about music with young children click on this link. CAROLYN'S BLOG: MUSIC



Advertising Disclosure: Magical Movement Company may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services. Thanks for your support!




  

  


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Montessori Baby-Ed Vlog: The Many Benefits of Bringing Music and The Arts to Your Baby!

ARE YOU WONDERING JUST WHAT YOUR BABY GAINS DEVELOPMENTALLY FROM EXPLORING MUSIC AND THE ARTS AT AN EARLY AGE? Read on! 


I have been so enjoying working with Amanda's family who has been exploring my monthly "Nido" Baskets, since her Baby was one month old.  You can see Amanda's 6 month old in action in the video just below.

Montessori wrote:
“The child's development follows a path of successive stages of independence, and our knowledge of this must guide us in our behavior towards him. We have to help the child to act, will and think for himself. This is the art of serving the spirit, an art which can be practiced to perfection only when working among children.” (The Absorbent Mind, p. 257)


Giving your baby Montessori-style experiences with Music and The Arts offers so much more than some really fun activities together! 
Through Music and The Arts babies gain cognitive skills in:
  • Large motor development
  • Small motor development
  • Auditory discrimination
  • Bonding within the family
  • Exercising the muscles of the mouth for singing
  • Discovering the voice
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Spontaneously moving to a steady beat
  • And, lots of family fun!



In the video, Amanda's little one is exploring the activities from Montessori Baby-Ed "Nido" Basket # 4. 

You can read more about these activities at the links below:
Montessori Baby-Ed "Nido" Basket #4 Part 1: The Vlog

Montessori Baby-Ed "Nido" Basket #4 Part 2: The Lessons

I am delighted to have you visiting my blog today and I hope you have gotten some new ideas and inspiration!

If you haven't already joined my email list, please sign up here on the sidebar of this blog.
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My Montessori Baby-Ed eCourses are opening soon. You can get on the wait list at this link: Magical Movement Company Montessori Baby-Ed eCourses.

This post is part of the "Montessori Monday Link-up" at Living Montessori Now. If you are looking for lots of free resources for your Montessori group, please check it out here: Montessori Monday Link-up


Advertising Disclosure: Magical Movement Company may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services. Thanks for your support!






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Artfully Montessori: Young Children Unravel the Secret of the Classic Roman Arch!

THE GENIUS OF MONTESSORI IS SEEN IN YET ANOTHER AMAZING ACTIVITY FOR THE YOUNG CHILD: THE HANDS-ON DISCOVERY OF THE SECRET OF THE CLASSIC ROMAN ARCH. Was I ever surprised to find a giant Roman Arch at the Children's Museum that reminds me of the Montessori Roman Arch activity!
During my recent visit to the Discovery Museum with some preschool aged friends of mine, we stumbled upon a giant "Montessori-style  Roman Arch Activity". Our youngest one dived right in and discovered the secret pretty quickly, since she is a real whiz at puzzles of any kind! 

I love the size of blocks for this Roman Arch Exploration. And, the big wooden pieces are outlined with a rubbery textured material that makes them adhere to each other. There are even the control parts (support blocks) that hold up the pieces until they are all assembled so that they then hold each other up. That's when you can take the control parts (support blocks) away! 

Hooray! The Classic structure of the Roman Arch!
What's the secret that causes the blocks to stay in the shape of the arch even when the control parts/support blocks are removed? 
According to Wikipedia:

"An arch is a pure compression form. It can span a large area by resolving forces into compressive stresses and, in turn eliminating tensile stresses. This is sometimes referred to as arch action. As the forces in the arch are carried to the ground, the arch will push outward at the base, called thrust. As the rise, or height of the arch decreases, the outward thrust increases."
When a young child works with blocks that are designed to create a free standing arch, the parts must first fit together according to the angles of the wedge-shaped blocks and then the center block of the arch (called the "keystone") is the very last one placed so that the tension created makes the blocks keep the arch shape!  

However, you will delight in watching this Montessori child putting together the Montessori Roman Arch Activity with amazing finesse and he uses his own technique that works perfectly...without even using the support blocks and without placing the keystone last! How did he do that?




Yet another reason I really love the wonderful way that Montessori children learn through the art of play!

I'm so happy to have you visit my Blog today, and I hope you got some ideas for your own group! 

Don't miss out on any new articles or special deals from Magical Movement Company...join our email list and you'll receive a complimentary copy of my eBook, "Musically Montessori, The First Lessons."  (retail value: $12.99 at my TpT store)

Simply fill out the subscriber's form on the sidebar of this blog!
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I always love posting my blog article each week at the Montessori Monday Linkup at Deb Chitwood's site, Living Montessori Now. Today there are posts from Montessori educators on a wonderful array of topics. Living Montessori Now not only has daily free activities at their Facebook page, but I very much appreciate that Deb invites so many of us to share our ideas on her platform that reaches hundreds of thousands of folks around the world. 


Also, I hope you didn't miss Deb's workshop presentation at the Trillium Montessori Homeschool Summit. YOU CAN CHECK IT OUT AT THIS LINK!



Advertising Disclosure: Magical Movement Company may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services. Thanks for your support!




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Outdoorsy Montessori: Baby's Outdoor Classroom!

DID YOU KNOW THAT YOUR BABY BENEFITS FROM THE OUTDOORS FOR BOTH ENJOYMENT OF NATURE AS WELL AS OPTIMUM COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT?
This is what Maria Montessori had to say:
"….the tiny child’s absorbent mind finds all its nutriment in its surroundings.  Here it has to locate itself, and build itself up from what it takes in.  Especially at the beginning of life must we, therefore, make the environment as interesting and attractive as we can.  The child, as we have seen, passes through successive phases of development and in each of these his surroundings have an important – though different – part to play.  In none have they more importance than immediately after birth." (The Absorbent Mind, p. 88)
Here are some ideas I came up with for your Outdoorsy Montessori Baby! 
First, another informative quote from Dr. Montessori:
"There are many who hold, as I do, that the most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six. For that is the time when man's intelligence itself, his greatest implement, is being formed. But not only his intelligence; the full totality of his psychic powers." (The Absorbent Mind, p. 21)
Ever since my little grandchild was an infant, he has loved being taken outdoors and his favorite pastime has been to  reach out to touch the leaves of the trees.

So, I really enjoyed my recent Thanksgiving visit with my youngest grandchild, who has now entered toddlerhood. He cannot stop walking...and outdoors is his favorite place to do it!

My little one still loves the trees around his home, and he now has a favorite tree, the magnolia, with its seed pods which he enjoys gathering from the ground. Two important words in his developing vocabulary are "tree" and "seeds".  I am sure that his early experiences in infancy of touching the trees,  have contributed to these first favorite words of his! 


Montessori wrote about the activity of the very young child:
"It follows that the child can only develop fully by means of experience on his environment. We call such experience “work”." (The Absorbent Mind, p.80)

The Importance of Movement and
Practical Life (work) Activities in 
the Montessori Baby's Outdoor Environment

On one of our many walks in his wonderful yard, my grandchild and I  spent lots of time in the garage. Why? The garage has a collection of his little push toys, but his favorite area in the garage is the broom section!

He pulled me by the hand over to the clean up tools hanging along one wall and pointed to the broom with the red handle and said, "Een-op"...which is toddler-talk for "clean up." I figured this out when I got the broom for him and he started singing his sweet little version of the Clean Up Song.

He has a short handled "Swiffer" that he uses in the kitchen, and so when he got hold of the outdoor broom he began pushing it around the driveway area, like he pushes his Swiffer.  Even though the  handle of the broom was way too long for him, he continued to push the broom along the cobblestones in an effort to clean up. He spent twenty minutes or more pushing the broom!



I realized that he wasn't quite ready for a regular broom, but he might like a push broom that was his size with a smaller broom head and short handle. So, that's what he got for Christmas from his grandma!
CHILD-SIZE PUSH BROOM

My daughter told me he was very happy sweeping away with his little push broom on his morning walk each day...singing the "Clean Up Song!"

Next, I think I will send him a little dustpan and whisk broom.
My little one is 15 months old, and cleaning up is one of his favorite activities. According to Montessori, this is the time in his life when he is in the SENSITIVE PERIOD for ORDER, and tidying up is an important part of keeping order in the environment. So, offering him a child-size push broom satisfies his desire for walking, cleaning up, and being outdoors.

In the Montessori method, care of the environment is one of the basic activities for any age child; and I observed that, even as a toddler, my grand child was really enthralled with "cleaning up"!

My daughter got inspired to set up a little Montessori-style Outdoor Classroom for him just outside her home office/studio. There is a lovely flat area surrounded by trees that is perfect for an outdoor learning area for a toddler. 

We started looking in catalogues and found some things to set up her little one's "Outdoor Classroom."

The first thing on my daughter's list was a toddler size paint easel. We also made sure there was a little clean up bucket next to the easel so that our "little cleaner-upper" would have a sponge and a little water for wiping the easel when he was done!

OUTDOOR EASEL 

The very young child develops both the large muscles of the arms as well as the small muscles of the hand when painting at a toddler size easel. And, the outdoors is a wonderful place to paint. (ask any Artist!)

The next thing on the list was a child-size wheelbarrow, since there is a child-friendly vegetable garden near our little one's "Outdoor Classroom."

CHILD-SIZE WHEELBARROW
A small wheelbarrow offers the child lots of practice with walking, pushing,  balancing, and doing constructive work! And, of course the garden is an environment chock full of learning opportunities. This is when the toddler has the first concrete experiences with Botany, Ecology, and the Cycles of the Natural World. 

CHILD-FRIENDLY VEGETABLE GARDEN

"Water play" is always a big attraction for the Toddler Aged Child and one of the favorites is watering the garden. Here is Practical Life along with the Sensory Exploration of water, and add a little Eye-hand Coordination, Vocabulary Enhancement, along with Large and Small Muscle Development!

WATERING THE GARDEN

Just take a look at how much fun goes along with the Scientific Learning about volume, exact pouring, carrying and calculating how much, when a child explores pouring and carrying water in a purposeful manner. This is done best in the outdoors, of course!

OUTDOOR WATER PLAY
The toddler aged child is always in motion, and needs to climb and push, pull, balance, pour, carry, and grow... and the outdoors is the place to do it all!

HOMEMADE CLIMBING STRUCTURE

PUSHING A RIDING TOY

RIDING A RIDING TOY!
Above photos are from Adobe Stock

I almost left out my all-time favorite Outdoor Classroom Activity!

FEEDING THE WILD BIRDS

Children of all ages love caring for the plants and animals that live in the environment, but I think the youngest children enjoy these activities most of all.  Just look at all the benefits of having a bird feeder available for your little one: 
  • Developing an appreciation and understanding of the natural world
  • Observing the activities of the birds who come to visit the feeder (even squirrels sometimes!) 
  • As the child grows older, there is learning to identify the different species of birds...in the beginning the child will perhaps notice the colors of the birds and whether they are big or small, but eventually they can be given the names of the different birds (I love this little identification book: Stokes Field Guides to Birds
  • Using the small muscles of the hand to fill the bird feeder
  • Using the large muscles of the legs when climbing a small stepladder to reach the bird feeder
  • Acquiring the vocabulary: bird, wings, flying, feathers, beak, claws, seeds, etc.
  • Developing listening skills when hearing the songs of the various birds 
  • You might even find a nest nearby and then there's a whole new and wonderful adventure into learning!


One of my favorite sites for inspiration about children's Montessori style environments is at this link: Community Playthings. This company makes beautiful indoor and outdoor equipment, and their Blog is a wonderful resource for creating environments and activities that support the development of the whole child. 


Another gem from Dr. Montessori:

"During this early period, education must be understood as a help to the unfolding of the child's inborn psychic powers." (The Absorbent Mind, p. 4)
This article is part of the Montessori Monday Link-up at Living Montessori Now where you'll find lots more resources for your Montessori learning environments, including lots of free downloads. Click on the link to check it out! 

So happy to have you here visiting my Blog and I hope you got some ideas for your little one and the great outdoors, Montessori-style!

If you would like to read more on the topic of the Outdoor Classroom CLICK HERE.

And, if  you'd like to learn more about the Montessori Baby, I invite you to visit my Montessori Baby-Ed Blog Articles HERE.


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