My 6-year-old student loves numbers and counting, so these abstract skip counting exercises is something she can finish in two minutes. I only need to make sure she reads out the numbers she loudly as she is colouring the boxes. She doesn’t know that this is actually a preparation for her to memorize the multiplication table or chart.
Although kids will love to show off their skip counting skill, make sure that they have worked a lot with concrete materials or Montessori’s skip counting beads. And even after they have coloured the boxes with craftsmanship expertise ;), hands on skip counting with beads and labels is still necessary. They can also work with the multiplication board now.
I’m leaving to Sydney on the second Sunday of November to attend an international conference on empowering dementia patients using the Montessori approach. I’m very confident that this will be an enriching experience for me and will certainly expose me to a whole lot of knowledge, skills and wisdom from passionate, patient and compassionate people around the world.
If you have any questions, opinion or doubts regarding the conference’s theme, I will be very pleased to represent you all to consult the professionals at the event. Feel free to leave a comment or email me at enbarani(replace with @)gmail.com.
You can also read my previous post related to the conference here.
If you are looking for a brief version of Maria Montessori’s biography and is not too keen on reading a 500-page book, this video is just what you need to know Dr. Montessori closer. This almost 50 minutes video is also especially appropriate to show to students of Montessori’s courses. Her life and legacy is reflected poignantly in this video.
Last Friday, Malaysia’s Prime Minister announced the nation’s 2015 budget. He strategised a few improvements and revisions with the hope to elevate the quality of education amidst the rising cost of things and living conditions. Here are a few facts which I have gathered from the budget in regard to early childhood and young children’s education.
- Longer child care maternity leave up to one-year-old for mothers in the civil service, including stepchildren, adopted and foster children and children with disabilities. – What a huge relief for mothers working in governmental bodies, but no chance for mothers elsewhere.
- RM56 billion is allocated to Education Ministry for teaching and learning programmes. - I wonder what type of programmes are these?
- RM100 schooling assistance for primary and secondary students. - similar to BRIM and RM250 voucher.
- RM250 million for School Improvement Specialist Coaches and School Improvement Partners programmes – I again wonder what programmes are these?
- RM20 million for 20 new Trust Schools in certain states. - What are Trust Schools?
- RM800 million allocated for schools to have a safe and conducive learning environment – I wonder whether the amount is enough for all schools in Malaysia to repair and refurbish their buildings.
- RM711 million allocated for early childhood education to Education Ministry, Tabika Kemas, Permata and Tabika Perpaduan. – Once again, schools in the private and international sectors must forge out money from their brains and pockets.
Two wonderful projects that I have made and am going to present to my students. The first project was prepared for a very young child of 3 years old, whilst the second project will be demonstrated to twenty 6-year-olds and work with them in a couple of weeks time.
This is a very simple activity to enhance eye-hand coordination and one-to-one correspondent for mathematical understanding. We started to put one bead at a time inside each compartment of the egg tray, then two by two, three by three and so forth. The interesting thing was this child preferred to lay out the beads on the plastic lid in a circular arrangement when she saw the beads for the first time. A very good opportunity for her to observe and explore the shapes of the beads. I brought different types of beads for the following three days. After that I let her chose what beads and how many beads she would like to put in each compartment. At this point, she is learning how to rote count 1-10 in the correct order.
Point to note: I’m glad I reuse the egg tray and wooden beads (without proper holes that make threading impossible). For the next presentation, I must remember to paint and varnish the egg tray with paint and white glue so that it looks more attractive and shiny.
I made 20 booklets from paper the size of drawing block for children to collect information and write their opinion on the topic of ‘Celebration’. I’m also hoping that they would be interested in making their own booklets from used A4 papers which they can bring from home. This would be a really good practical life exercise for them. You can also learn to make the booklet from Susan Gaylord’s website.
Point to note: Experiment with different sizes and quality of papers.
This post is especially for Klang Valley (residing in Malaysia) readers who are looking for mattresses at a slightly cheaper price:
5 unused set of IKEA mattresses suitable for infants and children (still nicely wrapped up), going for RM 20 each.
Length: 120 cm
Width: 60 cm
Thickness: 5 cm
Collect from Old Klang Road or Mont Kiara area.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment if you or anyone else you know is interested.
Christine Harrison, the president of Montessori Australia Foundation, was the keynote speaker at this year’s Montessori Association of Malaysia’s forum, and in her speech, she mentioned briefly about a Montessori conference in Australia on discussing about the application of Montessori’s method or philosophy for old patients with dementia. That attracted my attention right away, and I decided to book a place to attend the conference in November.
This is the first time I’m hearing about Montessori’s knowledge being utilized to expand to other areas of human growth. I mean how amazing is this! Her philosophy started with research on children with special needs, progressively developed to benefiting very young children, infants and teenagers up to the university years, and now has leaped another generation to help the elderly with weak executive function. Simply fantastically amazing!
I am also equally interested and excited of this event due to my mum’s weakening state of mental health. My mum was diagnosed as having depression and that, doctors believed, has caused her to experience very slow mental-physical reaction time, weak eye-hand coordination and less motivation in all activities and work. Her long term memory is superb but her short term memory, or perhaps working memory, is deteriorating. She has lost a big degree of independence ever since. I hope that by attending this conference will inspire and motivate me to gain more knowledge and insight in this area, and see how Montessori’s knowledge is translated in another area of the final phase of human’s growth, as well as helping my mum to gain more confidence and independence.
In order to attend this event, I have spent a huge sum of money on the registration fee (and will be looking for a place to stay in Sydney, as well as booking a flight soon). So now I’m looking for sponsors or a part time job that will help me to pay at least half of the expenditure (registration, accommodation and flight tickets). If any readers of this blog can point me to any directions that will help me to lighten this financial burden, please email me or comment briefly here so that I can return your reply.
Three cheers for me: HIP HIP HOORAY!
I started making my very first garbage fruit enzyme on 7 Mar 2014. Inspired by the Green Educator course in Bali, I gathered information and tips from websites and friends to start on this experiment. I was introduced to fruit enzyme by my neighbour some time last year. She gave me a sample of the enzyme in a 500ml mineral water plastic bottle and urged me to try out the product as a hair conditioner and cleaning dishes and toilets in the house. In addition to that, aunty also gave me a booklet on how to make my own enzyme and the benefits of making enzyme to the environment and humankind.
Before embarking on this project which was really easy to make and took three months to process the garbage, I gathered more information from BMS Organic’s website on the uses and benefits of garbage enzymes. Here is some of the very useful knowledge that I have garnered.
“How we dispose our garbage is important because garbage is categorized as hazardous waste that poses risks to the ecosystem and environment and improper disposal of garbage greatly affects our environment.
How can we protect our environment? One method is through reusing your fruits or vegetable scraps. An enzyme made from these can be seen as a way to help recover the ozone layer and fight against global warming as the process itself helps to reduce temperature. Fruit and veggie scraps enzyme is easy to make at home and has many uses and benefits.
Uses and Benefits of Garbage Enzymes
• All-purpose 100% natural household cleaner with anti-bacterial properties.
• Can prevent blockage for drainpipe by releasing sludge accumulated in drainage pipes.
• Save money as you make your own natural household cleaning liquid.
• Environmentally friendly: Reduces pollution, acts as a natural pesticide and purifies the air and underground water.”
Following the success of my experiment, I intend to share the enzyme that I made with a friend on Saturday and I’ve started to collect fruit skins from everywhere and everybody. I hope to fulfill my pledge to mother Earth! You should start doing the same too.
Last year, I was fortunate to see an advertisement by Marneta Viegas in a yoga magazine. Marneta is the founder of Relax Kids and has designed The Relax Kids 21 Day Plan for children. I downloaded and printed the Calmer Classroom Ebook and saved a couple of scripts in my laptop. That was that. I never used the materials.
This year, I went to Green School’s Educator course and was inspired by the mindfulness and yoga session. I promised to myself that when I return to my classroom I will practice this type of awareness with the children in my classroom. I dug out Marneta’s ebook and laminated her cards. Today, I am practising The Relax Kids 21 Day Plan towards a calmer classroom with children aged 4-5. We are now on Day 16.
When I first started using The Relax Kids plan, I did not put high hope on it. Every morning we spent about ten minutes doing the mindfulness exercise and affirmation. Sometimes there are props, sometimes there are only my words and voice. Some children close their eyes and sit still, others prefer to open their eyes or lie down on their backs or tummies. They can choose to position their bodies in any way as long as they do not interrupt and disturb others’ spaces. On certain days the children respond really well with poise and calmness, and attentiveness level was at the highest.
I urge teachers in any types of classroom to spend three to five minutes in the morning after taking attendance to practice mindfulness with their children. It is a good start to the day, like a good and early jog for an alert mind and body to function the rest of the day.
Make a plan to attend International Montessori Forum this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) at UCSI, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur campus. Keynote Speakers include international educators, Christine Harrison from Montessori Australia Foundation and Mary Evelyn Tucker from Yale University, US, who will give her talk via Skype. There are also 5 concurrent talk sessions by various international and local educationists.
The fee is RM299 for both days, inclusive of food, goodie bag and certificate.