Thursday, October 11th, 2012 10:26 am | By Stephanie Woo
Since we cook rice at home 5-6 days a week, it was great for B and M to learn to make something they eat and experience so regularly. This video was taken over the summer in Denver, when Daisy, my cousin and Montessori teacher of 10 years, came to stay with us. B and M are 19 months here.
Nowadays, I just put the rice cooker at a height they can reach, let one child pour the rice (which I’ve pre-measured and placed in a bowl) and another child pour the water (also premeasured and placed in a pitcher). And then one person gets to close the lid and the other gets to press the ‘on’ button. If you give them the right set-up (rice cooker plugged in, pre-measured rice and water), they can learn to do this on their own without you!
Montessori says, don’t give children ‘pretend’ work because they like real work so much better (this surprised her, she thought it would be the other way around!). Well, this work is easy, real and VERY practical.
P.S. Before this point, they’ve been primarily exposed to Chinese. Notice how much they love pronouncing those new English words. Children at this age just love and soak up language. More on language later.
Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 11:16 am | By Stephanie Woo
Daisy, with B and M, at the Denver Zoo
If you’re wondering what a good Montessori teacher looks like, here is a glimpse of my cousin, Daisy. She is AMI-trained, has 10 years of experience, but her most admirable quality is her constant search to becoming a better Montessori teacher. She came to stay with us for 8 days while we were in Denver and in that short time, she transformed my girls. Before she came, putting things away and cleaning were a hit-and-miss in our house, but while she was with us, it was a constant.
I think this video is remarkable. In 16 short minutes, you will see B and M (19 months here) cleaning crumbs off the floor, clearing the plates and utensils, wiping their table mats, wiping the table, putting things away and washing their hands. But what you will experience is how Daisy asks them to do these things with patience and gentleness. Her language and tone are masterful – never a hint of impatience, aggression or threat no matter what the children do. She is engaged, matter-of-fact and completely present with the child’s process. If you’ve ever encountered a toddler who doesn’t do what you ask him to and you don’t know what to do about it, watch this video and learn!
This video was shot in July 2012. It is 16 minutes and 8 seconds. Here are some video highlights:
00:00 M cleaning up crumbs with a carpet sweeper
00:39 M puts carpet sweeper and chair away
1:47 Daisy asks M to put her dishes away. M walks away. Watch how Daisy handles this.
3:45 B says she’s done eating, then says she wants more. What would you say to her?
5:31 Daisy gives M the space she needs to take care of herself
5:55 B starts putting dishes in the dirty dish basket. Watch how Daisy directs her.
7:06 Toddler needs a lot of collaboration from the adult. This is how it’s done.
7:18 M starts to take cereal out of the box. Ever encounter a toddler doing something totally different than what you asked?
8:21 B drops things in the basket loudly. Watch how Daisy models putting things away quietly and how B imitates her
9:01: Daisy asks B if she would be willing to help put M’s stuff away.
10:20 All plates and bowls are now in the basket
10:44 M wipes the placemats
12:15 Puts wiping sponge away
12:20 Puts placemat away
12:51 Daisy asks M to wipe the table
13:21 B starts to play music in the background and distracts M. What to do?
13:43 Daisy asks M to put the cleaning basket away
13:55 Time to wash hands!
16:08 The end
To learn more about Daisy’s Montessori school in San Francisco, click here.
Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 1:10 pm | By Stephanie Woo
When we first moved to Denver, B and M turned 19 months. That’s when I decided to give them their first pair of scissors. They’ve seen me use scissors around the house and they’ve always shown an interest in it.
Here is Brooke’s first lesson in using scissors.
A week later, here she is, concentrating very hard and making these small cuts. What a victory for her to master this!
We have our scissors out on the shelf at all times. This is so the children have the freedom to use it whenever they want. I sewed a special scissor pouch (see picture above, it’s the one with white and yellow daisies and blue background) to keep the scissors safe. I also keep the scissors in its pouch in a little designated tray. Always start by giving your child long strips of paper slim enough so they can cut through with a single snip. Don’t give them thin paper (like printing paper or thin construction paper), cardstock is much easier to cut and will give them more success. For safety reason, make sure the child’s scissors has a blunt end!
The right material is key for your toddler, make sure you consider the size, weight and feel of each item before purchasing it. Here’s where I bought mine:
Scissor: This one from Montessori Services is great. I also love these scissors from Muji