Fine motor skills are the small muscle movements, which occur in the figures, in coordination with the eyes. A large portion of our activities at the nursery, such as sticking, cutting, play dough, gluing, and threading, are aimed at working and refining these muscle movements.Research has shown a clear connection between fine motor skills and cognitive development, which can be seen in the connection between the areas in the brain responsible for cognition and fine motor skills. Research has found that these movements are related to later success in math, reading and science related subjects. By working on these and developing these we strengthen this connection and better prepare them for entering school.
We are a couple of weeks away from Tubishvat, and started this week by learning ‘Parts of a Tree’. Today we looked at images of trees and identified the four main parts – leaves, branches, trunk and roots. To reinforce this, the children used four different colors of stinkers to indicate the different parts. This was a good group learning exercise, which focused on reinforcing knowledge of their natural world, building vocabulary, and working fine motor skills.
Traditionally, classes are made up of children of one age group. The montessori approach to education differs slightly in their grouping. There are obviously positive and negatives to both approach, as with most things in life, but I have found, and research supports the mixing of age groups. The benefits can be seen in that the INTERACTION between the children differing ages creates an environment in which children learn to help and are helped by others, they interact at different ability levels and have been seen to develop an appreciation for their own as well as others skills. WORKING AT THEIR OWN PACE is another positive benefit, as children are not pressurized to move at the pace of the group, but are able to stay and practice until they feel ready to move forward, or as it occurs with others, they are able to move forward without being held back. BUILDING A COMMUNITY, by staying with the same group of children in the same setting, the children develop a sense of community, rather than being moved constantly to a new group for each age. LEARNING FROM EACH OTHER is another important aspect. The montessori classroom does not have a ‘teacher’ figure, but rather adults present to facilitators and guides. The children are encouraged by one another to try new things, and a natural learning occurs through observing one another, and being each others
Today was all about the color orange! The children arrived to nursery dressed in our theme color for the day, we spoke about oranges during our morning circle, and then we heading out for an ‘orange hunt’. We took a walk to pick oranges, and on the way we had to spot as many orange objects as possible. This was a lovely activity, and the children all took part with great enthusiasm. Playing this sort of game while out walking with children is a fun way to engage them in the environment and improves their skills for observation. They are distracted from the actual ‘task’ of walking, and become engrossed in the nature.
This week we are learning about Oranges and citrus fruit. Today the children learnt about where orange comes from and how we squeeze the juice from the orange. This practical life activity reinforces their learning, and works on their motor skills. Drinking the juice from the oranges they themselves squeezed was a very exciting activity, it gives the children a sense of independence and mastery. Setting up a little activity table in the kitchen at home such as this is a good way to get the children involved in food preparation.