Friday, 3 June 2011

Keeping the Spirit Alive

My sweet baby Muffy attended primary orientation at "big school" last week. Mama's poor heart is aching at the thought of her littlest boarding the big yellow bus in the fall. My emotions, of course, are purely selfish in nature, as I know this boy is so ready to embark on a new journey, face new challenges and make new friends. I will get over it, but for the time being I am savoring the sweet and special one-on-one time we share together.

Muffy currently attends the most wonderful, amazing and inspiring Montessori preschool twice a week. When both boys were still in diapers, I became fascinated with the Montessori approach and felt a deep connection with the philosophies and teaching methods used. I was THRILLED to have the opportunity to send both boys to this special school. I've seen both boys blossom and flourish in the environment and I feel both were so well prepared to enter primary with both the social and academic skills they acquired. It's also been a growing experience for me, as I've been able to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the approach. I've also found great friendship and camaraderie in my now dear friend who runs the school, and the ladies who teach with her. So, it is also with a heavy heart that our family winds up our last days at the school.

That being said, I am committed to carrying on with the approach and lifestyle in our home. Although Chi-Chi is in French Immersion this year, we have continued our Montessori language work at home. I haven't attempted it in French yet as it was getting too complicated. It's so fascinating watching him switch from one language to the other, putting on his "English Hat" for the mat work we do together. I've been doing a fair amount of beginning sound work with Muffy these past few weeks. I spent so much time compiling these materials last spring for Chi-Chi, it was very satisfying to have everything ready and set to go when Muffy started showing some readiness in this area. The small objects we use to match with sounds really do perk his interest in the work. He is super keen to spend that quiet one-on-one time with me and the pride shines through in that dimpled smile of his each time we work together.

With all the butterfly action in these parts, I also created a fun matching game for Muffy to work on his math skills. The game helps him recognize the number of items visually, without having to count them out individually. By simply changing the pattern of the butterflies, it adds some interest and challenge. Four in a row and four in a square are a match!

I may find myself back-peddling on this comment, but I'm really looking forward for classes to end and summer holidays to begin! There are so many fun and interesting projects I'd like to delve into with the boys this summer. I've been cleaning and organizing my craft and science materials in anticipation of the end of the school year. This morning, while the kiddies were in school, I set up this little magnetic study and exploration centre. The boys will have fun "fishing" for magnetic items, and I'm betting they will be a bit surprised about the catch of the day. I know I was! There's always something new for mommy to learn (:

So, although our family's days of formal Montessori schooling are drawing to a close, I will take the wealth of information I have learned and continue on, keeping the Montessori spirit in my mind and heart each day. (and yes Ms. M, I will be coming to visit the classroom for ideas and inspiration next year....and maybe a few ducks and chicks will tag along with me!!)

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