This Newsletter is brought to you by fun field trips to the mall, snow sculpting, your questions answered, talking to baby, and Reading Corner.

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Here are two of my favorite math links-
On line Math Worksheet Generator
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Field Trip to the Mall
The Field Trip Factory is a great resource for unique field trips.

If the weather has your children confined, a great field trip is right around the corner. Petco has a wonderful field trip for your children.  The site includes a store finder for the closest Petco near you.
"The tour includes:

• Basic needs for animal care
• Animal habitats and characteristics
• Environmental issues and animal survival
• Animal respect
Here are some activities you can do yourself.
Math at the Mall

This is a great activity for older children. The math activities help build the following-

"In Activity 1, students will

• determine a percent of an amount,
• estimate quantities by using whole numbers,
• create a drawing to estimate area, and
• interpret data presented in a table.

In Activity 2, students will

• estimate using percent,
• compute using percent,
• create a scale drawing, and
• solve problems involving percent and scale drawings."

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Mall Activities for toddlers and preschool children

For your toddler a mall is a great place to walk. Montessori believed that toddlers should have a leisurely walk everyday.  Montessori wrote in The Secret of Childhood "A child between the ages of a year and half and two can walk several miles and clamber up such difficult objects as ramps and stairs, but he has an entirely different purpose in walking than we do." She goes on to describe a toddler as "He is slow...attracted by the objects he sees immediately about him. If an adult is to assist such a child, he must give up his own pace and his own finality."
The parent is just along to follow!

Here are some more activities:
You can identify the different animals at the pet store. Snakes are always fascinating subjects for study.  Also, Snakes and Ladders is a great game for counting and learning numbers.

Preschool children love to look at the mall map and plain how to get to a certain part of the mall.

Many mall areas have slides and climbing equipment for preschool children as well.

Count how many steps it takes to go from one location to another.

Look for different shapes at the mall-squares on the floor tiles, rectangle shaped doors, circles, polygons, lines & intersecting lines.

Counting money and recognizing money. Introduce money using the 3 period lesson before you go the mall. Let your child help you find change for purchases.
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Snow
I love snow sculpting this time of year. The snow is just right. Not too dry and not too wet. Make simple solid shapes with bowls, cubes, bread pans, muffin tins, etc. You can spray the forms with oil so they pop out easier. Also, you can decorate the shapes by putting water and food coloring in a spray bottle. The snow absorbs  the sprayed on water colors very quickly.
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"What can I do with my two year old?

Your child is usually very active and independent at this age. This is a great time to do practical life skills, read, sing, and act out finger plays.
Also, check out your local recreational center for gym classes and swimming with Mom or Dad classes. Also, many libraries have great story time programs for two year olds.  This is a great time to have play dates with a special friend.

Baby Talk-
Montessori believed you should provide a safe and free environment for your baby. Also, she thought interacting and talking to your baby was extremely important because babies absorb language like a sponge.
Baby Talk: Infants Have Much to Say shows the interplay between a parent’s instinct to talk to baby at the baby’s particular stage of development.

It seems babies absorb language easiest in the form of stories. Montessori noted a sensitive period beginning at 18 months through age three when children went through a language explosion. Infants have Keen Memory for Words states
“they[babies] are storing any information away about sound patterns that occur frequently.” ” At about 18 months, a child’s vocabulary and grasp of language suddenly expand and scientists don’t know why. One possible explanation is that children may begin storing the sounds and meanings of words while they are infants, and suddenly they are able to connect the words with meanings.”  One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to talk to your baby.

I used to tutor children in reading with Montessori materials at our local school’s special education class. Most of the reading problems were identified with a “dyslexia” label . It was interesting because each child seemed to have unique and individual problems in learning how to read. Many did not even do letter reversals. The one thing they did have in common was not being able to understands the sounds of the letters of the words they were reading.

New research "is finding, for example, that children with reading impairments rely more heavily on the right hemispheres of their brains, even though language is controlled by the left side.
As well, there’s been a change in the belief that people with dyslexia invert letters, for example, flipping a b upside down into a p.
Joanisse says they’re actually having problems converting the letters they see into the sounds they know.” You can read more at-
Technology may soon tell researchers why some kids have trouble reading. The article is insightful in that it confirms that reading is not any easy skill for many children and adults.

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