MontessoriMom Education that everyone can do

Montessori Newsletter 11


Brought to you by Practical Life for the Family, Granola Crunch, Fantasy and Young Children, How to teach your preschooler how to paint, Milk Paint recipe, Ant City and Reading Fun and Montessori Quotes.


Practical Life for the Family-
Straighten out drawers, toys, closets, using a Montessori sorting method with your children. You can clean and organize your or your child's things-desk area, junk drawers, toy boxes, etc. by using muffin tins, baskets and boxes to organize according to type of objects. For example, use a muffin tin to clean out your office area. Put paper clips in one cup and rubber bands in another. Any small items can be sorted this way. Use shoeboxes and clothes baskets for bigger items. Your children can use this method to tidy their rooms when they are older.


Granola Crunch
A great pick me up to take with you on walks and outings.

You will need:
An oven
Bowl and spoon
Cookie sheet or pan
Waxed paper or paper towels
Oatmeal (1 cup)
Wheat germ (2 tablespoons) or sesame seeds (2 tablespoons)
Nuts or coconut  (1/4 cup)
Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (1/4 cup)
Cinnamon or nutmeg  (1 teaspoon)
Honey or maple syrup (4 tablespoons)
Vegetable oil (3 tablespoons)
Vanilla or almond extract (2 teaspoons)

Mix together all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Your child can help measure and stir together the
ingredients- You can let your child mix with clean hands too. Add honey, oil, spices and extracts, and mix well. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn. It's all right to stir it once or twice. Cool on waxed paper or paper towels. Eat for breakfast with milk or dry as a snack.

Try this:

  1. Taste each food before you mix the raw granola together. How does the granola crunch taste after you bake it?
  2. What part of the mixture makes the granola stick together in pieces after you bake it? (The sugar melts and glues the granola crunch together.)
  3. How does the baked oatmeal (granola) taste compared to the raw oatmeal?

You can add to the granola mixture dried fruit, such as raisins, figs, apricots, mango, cranberries, strawberries, blueberries and dates. Have your child cut the dried fruit, such as figs or apricots with a safe knife or scissors.


Fantasy and Young Children-

Many people believe that Dr. Montessori was against fairy tales and fantasy play for young children. In reality, she didn't have an opinion either way when she started her developmental approach to education. However, she observed that young children became bored with fairy tales during story time in her Children's House. 

Montessori teachers were not forbidden to tell stories of any kind. Montessori did notice that the children would drift away to other activities during story time. Parents would tell her that their children loved stories at home and begged the parents to read to them. Dr. Montessori felt that a child's demand for stories was possibly caused from boredom or a need to attract attention from the parent.
(Obviously, my children were always bored or neglected at home with me!)

Montessori, however, did not believe that telling stories was a waste of time. She felt that after children had enough activity during the day, there were times of relaxation that a "good" story could introduce new ideas, animals, locations, and illustrations that would enrich a child's vocabulary and listening skills. She thought one of the most valuable things a parent could do was read a bedtime story that included beautiful pictures. 

Montessori's concern about story telling is that a young child would believe any fantasy story read to him or her as the truth. Montessori training emphasized that violent and far fetched fairy tales could cause needless fear and anxieties. She felt that books should have great pictures, ideas, and fun lyrics, but they should not cause nightmares. 

Dr. Montessori believed that you should not treat fantasies in too serious of a fashion. Even Father Christmas and Santa Clause could be part of a fun routine of hanging up the stockings. However, when your children ask, "Who really brings the gifts?" -Montessori believed you should tell your child the truth as kindly as possible.

Preschool children have great imaginations, but at the same time they are seeking the truth. Tall tales at this age are not uncommon. When a young child tells you a far-fetched story, it's best to acknowledge it by saying, "That's a great pretend story." Usually, the storyteller will smile and nod knowingly. This phase of story telling is a part of testing the truth for a young child.

In seeking the truth, a preschool child can be confused by movies and television as well. Very sensitive children can hear scary music, words, and screaming while sleeping. It's best to keep everything rated "g" (g for good for your child) in your child's environment. Even the nightly news can be frightening for a developing child.

You can read happy fairy tales and fiction to your young children; watch fun fictional movies and television, just tell your child the story is pretend. This is a great time to talk about what is "real and what isn't real." I especially like to talk to children about super heroes and their pretend powers.
It's fine to tell your child that superman really can't fly, but the movie makes it look real.

Ms. Child reflected Montessori's belief about fantasy at this age as follows:
"There is no need to be afraid of the children's fantasies, they represent a stage in development, it is a necessary stage and it is usually outgrown without difficulty. We want to point out that teachers and parents should be prepared to help and not hinder. If we tell them what is not true, even if it is a pretty fancy, it is a lie and may do harm."

Here are some more ideas about fantasy and children.

Montessori Fantasy and Reality

Montessori Fantasy and Reality II

Montessori Fantasy and Reality III

Fantasy and the Free Game

The Trick with Montessori

Imagination and Montessori




Introduction to  Painting
After your child can hold a crayon and draw fairly well you can easily introduce painting.

You will need:
A pot of tempera or milk paint-one color for the first lesson.
A paintbrush. Provide a medium sized paintbrush (the brush should be about 1/4 inch to 1 centimeter wide).
Use metal inset shapes to draw a basic shape on a piece of absorbent paper.
You can draw the shapes if you don't have insets such as a square, circle & triangle. Paper-brown paper bags cut into squares or wrapping paper work great!

Shapes drawn on paper are fun to cover with paint. Your child will discover that painting a circle takes a different type of brush stroke (curved) compared to the up and down movements used to paint a triangle.

Show your child-

  1. How to hold the brush correctly-like a crayon, only higher up on the stem of the brush.
  2. Slowly show how to put only the point of the brush into the pot of paint.
  3. Paint lightly on the paper.
  4. Cover the whole shape with paint.
  5. When your child is older, she or he will enjoy drawing large shapes (houses buses trees)

Control of error- Spilling paint Painting outside of the lines The "hair" will come out of the painting brush if your child scrubs with the paintbrush while painting.

Hint-add a drop of dishwashing liquid for an easier cleanup. Also, you can purchase at a local beauty outlet a plastic "bib" to cover your child when painting or doing messy projects.

Clean up-Show your child how to wash the dirty brush in a basin of warm water. Gently rub the brush with thumb and index finger. Dry with a paper towel. Place in container for storage. Put away to the shelf or storage area.

Milk Paint Recipe-
You will need:
Powdered milk
Paint pigments-you can use food coloring for lighter colors or powdered ones for darker colors

Mix together-
Equal parts of powdered milk to equal parts of water- 1/4 cup water to 1/4 cups of powdered milk

Add as much color as you want to make it the right color. Leave plain to make white paint. White paint works great on colored paper.

Milk paint dries into a glossy semi transparent finish. It dries quickly. Because it is somewhat elastic it doesn't chip or come off like tempera paint. 

If the paint is too thick, thin with water. Use warm water to clean the paint brushes.

Store in a tightly covered pot or jar in your refrigerator.

Here are some more  easy and creative painting ideas.

Ant City
Many parents and teachers are using labels to teach reading. Some are using different items such as farms, dollhouses, cars garage sets, and other toys. 

Labeling is great for reading comprehension. This activity bridges together the actual object to the
written word. 

You can use an ant farm to observe a great ecosystem and do reading labeling as well.

I get large restaurant pickle jars when I make an indoor ant colony. Ants are very busy insects and make their colony quickly. They will keep your child occupied for hours. 

Here are some ideas for Ant City labeling activities. On note cards or slips of paper you or your child can write these words and label the objects. This book will give ideas for words to make into labels. Ants are Everywhere

Phonetic words (nouns)

Challenge words (nouns)

verbs (you can observe or talk about these ant actions and activities)
Challenge words (verbs)

adjectives-again observe features that you can label

( You can use different colored note cards for each category of words( for example- blue for nouns, pink for verbs, white for adjectives or use different colored ink for each different category) )


Notable Quotes from Dr. Montessori- Montessori explains how writing is easier for a young preschool child to master than fluent reading.

Montessori Method-Chapter 16
    "I have noticed, also, in normal children, that the muscular sense is most easily developed in infancy, and this makes writing exceedingly easy for children. It is not so with reading, which requires a much longer course of instruction, and which calls for a superior intellectual development, since it treats of the interpretation of signs, and of the modulation of accents of the voice, in order that the word may be understood. [Page 267]

And all this is a purely mental task, while in writing, the child, under dictation, materially translates sounds into signs, and moves, a thing which is always easy and pleasant for him.  Writing develops in the little child with facility and spontaneity, analogous to the development of spoken language-which is a motor translation of audible sounds.  Reading, on the contrary, makes part of an abstract intellectual culture, which is the interpretation of ideas from graphic symbols, and is only acquired later on."


Writing is a large part of reading readiness in a Montessori classroom. It is  a concrete aspect of reading. According to Montessori, a child goes through a sensitive period for writing that is similar to the sensitive period when a child learns spoken language. Fluent reading, on the other hand, is a much more abstract and dynamic skill for a child to master. Some children are early readers, and some follow a normal timetable, but there are some that take a longer time to read. Regardless of your child's timetable, it's important to continually provide the building blocks for reading.


Montessori Language Analysis

Happy Learning!


Similar Pages:

Cooking with Kids and Learning the Alphabet too!


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