Way early in the beginning of the year I wrote about one of my activities this year would be starting a nature-based, Montessori inspired playgroup. I’ve spent the last two months researching, gathering supplies, registering children, gathering my nerve and had our first session, just this week.
Some of the steps I took involved visiting my friend L (who I’m really wishing would add content to her blog!!!!) who helped my in so many ways with her rich background in education (and being an awesome mom). I also found this tremendous resource on facebook, Montessori 101, started by Aubrey who writes the blog Montessori Mischief. This facebook group is full of helpful people that dug into the posts I wrote and the pictures I posted to give me great, critical feedback (and a lot of reassurance) on my set up and activities.
While I tried to keep the shelves light on activities to help the children acclimate to the space, I did have an art project that they could work on, walk away from or go back to, whenever they felt like it.
It is a collaborative rainbow, inspired by this blog post. And I really think it helped set the tone for how the playgroup will run. As the children came in, I was already sitting with the mini-ions, showing them how to cut tissue paper and sort it in its appropriate bins.
The children were just able to pick which part, did they want to cut, did they want to glue, did they want to walk away to do something else or comeback a little later. It felt very beautiful to watch the children concentrating on the task they were most interested in completing. And interesting – the orange never really got filled in, but all the green tissue paper was cut!
It is nowhere near completed, which was my hope, so that it can be worked on throughout the semester. I’ll have it set up so whenever a child wants to focus on some cutting or gluing, they will have it available.
It was a great, rewarding first session. It made me really excited to see how the rest of the semester shapes out!