Looking Inside: Sensorial Boxes

Looking Inside: Sensorial Boxes

When you visit a classroom at Winfield Children’s House, you’ll notice children are busy choosing materials from the shelf. How the materials are stored on the shelf depends on which area of the classroom you observe. In the practical life area, the materials are often found on trays with all of the items needed for the work resting on the tray. In the language and cultural areas, works are often stored in baskets or trays where you might notice cards or objects that capture the attention of the child. In the math area, you’ll notice larger materials that are carried carefully to a work mat and smaller materials on trays or in baskets or boxes. In the sensorial area, you’ll see the pink tower and geometric solids. However, many materials are stored in lidded wooden boxes. What’s inside? It’s not so obvious to a casual visitor. Rest assured, though, that the children know what they will find. Let’s take a closer look at some of the sensorial materials.               The Binomial Cube This material is considered a visual material that builds concentration. A child explores this materials by removing the cubes and prisms. Putting the shapes back into the box is like a puzzle because in order to close the box and fit on the lid, the blocks must be put away in the order shown. This material helps children develop spatial awareness, sequencing skills and problem solving ability. This kind of material often sparks a social connection in the classroom. A child who is brand-new to this work may ask for assistance in putting it away for the first time from a peer who has mastered it.               The Constructive Triangles: Triangle Box Constructive Triangles allow a child to explore two-dimensional shapes. This material develops the visual sense as children explore the many combinations possible to create a given shape. In the triangle box, a large gray triangle serves as a model for a shape that can be built with combinations of the smaller triangles. The shapes are colored, which is a control for the child to easily put them together to make the larger shape. Children are free to explore the many other shapes that these small triangles can create. There are four other constructive triangle boxes, two rectangles and two hexagons that encourage children to build more shapes. The constructive triangles are a great material for practicing vocabulary about shapes, as well.               Color Box 3 This material builds a child’s visual perception of color by allowing a child to grade colors by shade. The first two color...

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Michael Olaf on the Home Environment

Michael Olaf on the Home Environment

Michael Olaf is a company specializing in materials for homes and schools that fit the Montessori philosophy. The company started as a mail-order catalog and has moved to an online store model. The print catalogs have some great articles about Montessori education from ages birth-12 and can still be ordered from the website. As the company moved towards an online only model, they began publishing newsletters on different topics. These newsletters have a wealth of information for parents and teachers interested in the Montessori approach. At Winfield Children’s House, one question we often hear is, “How can I bring Montessori to my child at home?” The newsletter from November 2010 gives a great overview of some ideas to consider when incorporating the Montessori philosophy into the home. At the bottom of the newsletter page, you can see a listing of all of the past Michael Olaf newsletters. For children who love exploring the natural world, don’t miss the excellent May 2012 newsletter about Montessori...

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Video: Following the Child

Video: Following the Child

The American Montessori Society created a series of videos that explore some of the concepts of the Montessori philosophy. Although they are a few years old, the messages ring true today. The “Following Your Child” video is an excerpt from a longer video produced by Educational Video Publishing. What does it really mean to follow the child? Listen to interviews with other Montessori parents who are considering this concept as they nurture and educate their children.  ...

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