This weeks music lesson focused on Hanukkah. The children learned some new celebratory songs and rhymes. The children all love this weekly activity, particularly the ‘free dancing’ to music at the end of the lesson 🙂
Lately we have been taking some of the ‘traditional’ Israeli stories and telling them in English. I have found that because most of the children have a good knowledge of the story, they are able to concentrate for longer and enjoy the retelling in English. This week we have been reading a fun story about Balloons. This story is great for learning colors. And by making use of story props, the children were also encouraged to return to the story by themselves during the day and to tell the story to one another. This was also reinforced later in the week when the children each made their own balloon. For this activity they used stickers for the first day. Although it was a little challenging on the fine motor skills, they thoroughly enjoyed this activity, focusing well for a good period of time.
How precious is this! Emily usually spends one day out of the week with us at the gan. The children absolutly love this, and you really see the benefit of having a spread in age as suggested by the Montessori method. The younger children look up to the older ones, learning from them, while the older children benefit by learning to take responsibility for the younger ones, and have their own learning reinforced through passing on their own knowledge and skills. Here is Emily doing a storytime, using puppets and songs, and making it up as she goes along.
Teaching children to count is easy. One, two, three etc. But to get them to the understanding that each of these words actually represents a quantity is something different. Montessori makes use of a number of brilliant methods to get this point across. Here, I use the numbers and counters method, combined with our theme of winter. Each cloud has a number and the children have to allocate the right number of raindrops to each. For this lesson I begin with a fun demonstration, and the children each try it for themselves. Each attempt is praised regardless of being right or wrong. The reason for this is that, for me, the MAIN task for any teacher is to instill in the child a love for learning. Right or wrong is of very little consequence at this stage, but to give a child a love and motivation for learning, this will serve them well through life.
Keeping with the theme of changes in nature, the children and I spoke about how bears hibernate during the winter months. To reinforce this learning, they learnt a new song about bears. They also made some very cute bear masks, built their own caver and played at being bears hibernating. They are all becoming far more patient when it comes to art activities, spending more time completing their projects, and becoming more presise in how they go about the task.