Monday, December 22, 2008

Ripley's Montessori School

On Friday, Ripley's Montessori School had a "Holiday" Celebration. The best part of the whole event was that parents were allowed to go into the classrooms and "work" along side their children. Every time I go to his school I'm amazed and inspired by the clever tools they use to teach the students. Of course, when I arrived, Ripley was busily working away on this puzzle -- which we have at home! He can do the entire thing without help and knows a lot of the states by name.

This is such a clever idea. It's thick clay inside a wooden box. Kids hammer "nails" - or golf tees - into the clay.

The infamous Tower Cubes and Brown Stairs. This is another child's work, but I took a picture of it because it's Ripley's favorite. For days on end when I asked him what he did at school he told me that he worked with the Tower Cubes and the Brown Stairs, to the point where it became a joke between us. "You worked with them again?!" I'd exclaim. "No, I'm just teasing you." Ripley would say.

I loved this work. The little basket of items (basket #6) coordinate with these wooden sandpaper letter cards (kept in slot #6). Each item is put next to the letter the word begins with. So, as you can see kaleidoscope, kangaroo and koala are placed at the top of the letter K. Jet, jack-o-lantern, jeep and jack-in-the-box are placed at the top of the letter J. Isn't that fabulous?! It would be so simple to make these projects at home. (Incidentally, sandpaper letters are used as a work. The children practice tracing the letters with the texture underneath their fingers.)

Here is their snack area. Only two children can be in the snack area "snacking". To indicate the they are taking their turn, they put on a little bell necklace that hangs around one of the two chairs at the small snack table. They are responsible for pouring their own juice or milk, and often times have to count out how many pretzels or crackers they can have. The chalk board will read for example "4 Pretzels" along with 4 individually drawn pretzels along side. Isn't that fabulous? Teaching them Independence, gross motor skills and counting all at the same time!

This is a small little thing that I saw just as we were getting ready to leave. I took a picture of it because I thought it was so clever and adorable. All of the various "works" sit simply and organized on shelves that are eye level for the children. Here is a miniature Christmas Tree and a basket that is full of little decorations. Cute?! Is it not?


Kristi said...

Everything looks so organized as well. Letting the children fix their own snacks is a great idea. Giving them specific directions on how much, makes it all that much more educational. Hmmm...Maybe I'll this out and make specific menus for my girl's Christmas holidays and let them try their hand at making lunch for everyone each day.

Anonymous said...

Okay, you are pushing me over the edge here! how come everything I want you already have? I can not wait for my children to go to Montessori school but must wait until the youngest to go so that I can go back to work to pay for it (the oldest just has to wait...) I think they are the best schools and I have a bs and ms in elem ed and taught public school for 7 years and will again but my children will go to Montessori. I think they are just fab. And you are too perfect, you are going to run me off your sight due to your perfection!
down south

Sandy said...

Hey Jo Down South ... you should see my house right about now! After having "Christmas" over at our house ... it is chaos. And do you know what? We just went straight to bed and let it all sit there. It's OK with me, but it's not Martha Stewart to be sure. :) Tripped onto the Montessori School through my SIL who sent my niece to one in Providence. Ripley is doing VERY well there and we love it. My SIL found that my niece wasn't doing as well there b/c she never "chose" to do reading, for example. (As you know, generally the students guide their own choices for education in Montessori)It's possible that the teacher there could have been doing a better job guiding and encouraging ... I don't know. But, now Ripley goes and my niece does not. My older son just goes to the local elementary school b/c we didn't know about this Montessori School. But he would have really excelled there b/c he is EXTREMELY self motivated. Anywho. I'm passionate about a lot of stuff, but millions of miles away from perfection to be sure! Thanks for the compliment and encouragement though. -Sandy, up north.