Montessori Resources including: Where to find Info? What is Montessori? What to look for - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 83 Old 04-08-2008, 08:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by freistms View Post
I don't know if it is stating the obvious, but for people who are not familiar with Montessori method, I think the following are important:


4. There is no need for a computer in the classroom, and the children shouldn't be using one. (Yes, I've seen this, too.)
In Primary yes absolutely, but in Elementary I think there should be access to one at least. Lots of the elementary program is based on researching information and in all honesty the ability for children to have keyboard and basic computer skills to do this is important.
I think the difference is that a: the children are through the concrete stage and b: MM started this in the 1800s well before the day and age of computers. Today, to prepare our children properly for life, there needs to be a degree of computer competence.

But I am digressing from what is an excellent list. I just wanted to add that it differs from the age group that you observe too. Maybe we should start another list for elementary??
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#62 of 83 Old 04-08-2008, 10:57 AM
 
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In Primary yes absolutely, but in Elementary I think there should be access to one at least. Lots of the elementary program is based on researching information and in all honesty the ability for children to have keyboard and basic computer skills to do this is important.
ITA!

I was definitely thinking more of a 3-6 classroom. IMO, there is nothing out there that indicates that computer programs do a better job of teaching children the basic skills they are trying to acquire at that age [literacy, math and sensorial skills, etc.] than the traditional Montessori materials. In fact, there is a significant amount of research that shows that Montessori method is far better at teaching these skills than other forms of education.

Admittedly, once the children are past acquiring these foundational skills, computer literacy is a necessity for success in our society, and I agree that children should gain appropriately monitored computer literacy skills at the earliest practical stage of their education!
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#63 of 83 Old 04-16-2008, 05:28 PM
 
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This thread has been really helpful. Just a couple days ago I called the 2 Montessori schools in my area and asked some questions. One whispered to me that the kids were napping so I needed to call back. i crossed that one off the list immediately because there is no way my 5 yr old will nap at noon, and no way I can afford to pay tuition for her to nap.

The other one is sending me information and I will probably call soon to observe.

My DD has been in a playschool co-op for the last year and a half. I wonder how she will be welcomed since she didn't start out in Montessori at age 2 like many of the others probably did. She wasn't ready for any sort of school environment until 3 1/2. I doubt public school kindergarten will be a good match for her learning style. She does not like to be directly "taught". She wants to learn everything for herself, hands on. Montessori seems great from what I have learned so far.

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Lastly, to me it was very important when looking at elementary programs that the schools insist that every child, with very few exceptions, had the full 3 or 4 year cycle in primary prior to elementary. I also felt it was important that schools asked for a written (or in many cases, a $500 or more deposit) guarantee that if accepted, the family was committed to the full elementary cycle. Elementary communities work best with stable enrollments!
That seems really unfair and exclusive. I don't think Montessori would have been a good fit for my daughter when she was that young. I can understand why you would want a stable community, but wouldn't a one year agreement be more reasonable? We probably won't be able to afford to have 2 kids in Montessori either, so once it is time for DD2 to go, I'd have to pull out DD1.

It seems like the tuition assures that the population is all fairly affluent. How does this affect the children's sense of our society? I grew up in a low income household, in public schools, and moved a lot. My experience was obviously not ideal, but I wonder how the other extreme would be.
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#64 of 83 Old 04-16-2008, 08:06 PM
 
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I also feel that a written contract for schools with out the affluence of most of the private schools would work too---however, in order for the elementary classroom to work for all of the children, there has to be a certain level of committment by each family to keep their child in the environment for the full 3 or 4 year cycle. The problem with NOT expecting that level of commitment to the program from families is that you end up with Montessori preschool rooms with 13 three year olds, 9 four year olds, and 2 "extended day" kindergarten-aged kids, instead of the ideal 1/3 of each year making up the class. ALL of the children benefit from most (if not all) of the children having the full cycle experience. And I totally agree that expansion of public Montessori programs as well as expansion of scholarship programs would be ideal.........but for those affluent families, a deposit that is forfeited if the cycle isn't completed weeds out many families who aren't committed to the method. There are many families of means who enroll in Montessori because of the name-recognition, rather than a conscious evaluation of the school and other alternatives. It is just so hard to see an entire class somewhat ruined by an exodus of the children from the last year of the cycle (whether primary or elementary). I think even a nominal fee for families with financial struggles at least gives you an indication of their commitment to the school.

As an example from my medical practice. I live in a community where close to 30% of children are uninsured, so I do pro bono work for one of my fave progressive high schools for their kids without insurance. Five years ago, I charged these kids and families NOTHING, and had over the year about a 60% "no show" rate. So, then I started "charging" the families $5 per session, but $10 per session if they blew it off without calling 24 hours in advance. This was a signed "contract" prior to starting our work together. Over the last year, my no show rate has been exactly 2 no-shows out of 47 scheduled appointments. There is something about having some sort of an investment that makes people more serious about the commitment. Oh, and before anybody worries about me and my unexpected windfall, it goes right back to the high school.
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#65 of 83 Old 04-17-2008, 11:56 PM
 
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Slightly hijacking here....how would you go about evaluating a school when it doesn't exist yet? My town got a grant to start a Public Montessori and they are starting with a 3-6 classroom in the fall. So there is no place for me to visit, no classroom to observe yet. They don't even have materials purchased or the space set up.....the building it is slated to be held in is now maybe on a chopping block for renovation/demolition next year....so.......how in the heck do I go about trying to figure out if the program is going to be any good or not? I'm honestly not even sure of the teachers have been hired yet....
So, assuming all you have to go on is an administrator or possibly teacher/directress to interview, and it is going to be a public Montessori that is being made by the local public school system, what kinds of things should I ask?
My *serious* fear is that it is not going to be a "true" Montessori experience, and instead, some sort of public school/Montessori hybrid that is not at ALL what I want. What are some of the key elements of what a Montessori school should NOT have that a public school has? Like, if you were going to complete the following phrase "
"In a Montessori school, the kids would never...."
"In a Montessori school, the rules would never include..."
"In a Montessori school, the teachers would never..."
On the flip side, what about those statements in the positive?
"A Montessori school should have...."
"A Montessori teacher should..."

i'm just afraid they are going to use a few Montessori principles or something, and *call* it Montessori, but it will really just be public school, but I don't feel like I knwo enough about Montessori to even make that distinction......am I making any sense?

CPST
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#66 of 83 Old 04-18-2008, 03:54 AM
 
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You're making perfect sense.

I would start by contacting both AMS and AMI and seeing if the school is associated with them in any way. You could likely get more information that way.

Matt
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#67 of 83 Old 04-18-2008, 11:10 AM
 
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I think you have to find out first whether they have hired a teacher. If they have, then you have someone to interrogate. If they haven't, then you could probably ask things about what their hiring requirements are and where their pool is drawn from. Also, if they got a grant, then they should have some sort of written plan for the classroom. Most likely, that will involve plans for what their capital expenditures will be, so you should be able to find out from administration what they plan to buy, even if they haven't bought it yet. I think you have to be a super sleuth. Sounds like a tough situation. Good luck!
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#68 of 83 Old 04-19-2008, 02:19 AM
 
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One other thought. Are there teacher training areas near you? It is likely that, if it's going to be a good school, they would seek out those training centers for teachers. You may be able to find out from them who is working at the school, what their qualifications are, etc.
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#69 of 83 Old 04-20-2008, 06:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MattBronsil View Post
One other thought. Are there teacher training areas near you? It is likely that, if it's going to be a good school, they would seek out those training centers for teachers. You may be able to find out from them who is working at the school, what their qualifications are, etc.
Thanks, that wouldnt have occurred to me! The local university has a montessori certification program, its a big thing there.....

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#70 of 83 Old 04-25-2008, 12:26 AM
 
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I posted this in another forum. It may help.

_______

I sometimes jump on yahoo answers and answer Montessori questions. I came across the question, "What exactly does a Montessori School teach?"

I started typing and it took about a half hour to answer. So I wanted to share it with others. The last part is the most important part, in my opinion.

__________________________

Since you asked in preschool, I assume you're asking about the Montessori 3-6 classroom. Although there are programs in Montessori for infant all the way up through high school, I'll answer with 3-6 and try to give you a good, broad picture of the rest of the educational system as well.

Maria Montessori was actually a medical doctor who later became in charge of a small day care area where she wanted to see if her ideas on education that she formed while working with mentally retarded children would work on children that generally had no known medical issues that would inhibit their learning. This is important because, being a doctor and scientist, the Montessori method is a very scientific method of education.

What Maria Montessori did was observe children. She set up an environment where children were free to explore. Through the practical life materials, they began to develop life skills of how to care for themselves. They began to develop their senses through the sensorial materials. They began building their concentration to fascinating levels. They began taking on an inner discipline that confused teachers who came in to try to give them rewards, to children very uninterested in medals, candy, and other such external rewards. Everyone was amazed at how easily these children learned to read and write, do math, and treat each other with respect. They did it all while loving it as well, which is even more amazing.

It wasn't long before Montessori schools branched out into what are traditionally thought of as more academic areas. In the 3-6 curriculum, there are 6 overall areas:

--Practical Life: This area is designed to help students develop a care for themselves, the environment, and each other. Children learn how to do things from pouring and scooping, using various kitchen utensils, washing dishes, shining objects, scrubbing tables, and cleaning up. They also learn how to dress themselves, tie their shoes, wash their hands, and other various self-care needs. They learn these through a wide variety of materials and activities.

While caring for yourself and your environment is an important part of Montessori Practical Life education in these years, it also prepares the child for so much more. The activities build a child's concentration as well as being designed in many cases to prepare the child for writing. For the first three years of life, children absorb a sense of order in their environment. They learn how to act a certain way naturally by absorbing it. These ages, from 3-6, the children are learning how to both build their own order and discover, understand, and refine the order they already know. So it's typical for you to see a child spend a half hour working on one practical life activity with a strong concentration and attention to detail. Language preparation comes in many forms in the practical life area. The setup is from left to right, top to bottom, as much as possible. Many of the fine motor skills being used involve a pencil grip and help the child develop that grip to be able to later use a pencil more easily.

--Sensorial: All learning first comes to us through the senses. By isolating something we are trying to teach the child, the child can more easily focus on it. For example, we do not teach colors by having the child think of everything that is blue - blue jeans, the sky, iceburgs, a picture of a blue cartoon elephant hanging on a wall. We teach them by using color tablets. The color tablets are all exactly the same except for one thing - their color in the middle. This helps take away the confusion for the child and helps them to focus on specifically what blue is. We also feel it is important to be exact with children and provide them with correct information. We do not call an oval an "egg shape." An egg isn't even in the shape of an oval - it's in the shape of an ovoid. Children learn much more quickly if you're exact and accurate with them, since it takes away so much of the confusion. The sensorial area also falls over into the math area quite regularly. The red rods in the sensorial area are a direct link to the segmented rods in math that teach 1-10. The pink tower has a connection to units and thousands that the child learns later in the 3-6 curriculum. Even the trinomial cube will be used in the elementary years to figure out complex mathmatical formulas.

--Cultural: This includes both the studies of the world and various cultures. Montessori children come out of a 3-6 environment not only understanding the concept of a continent, country, and state, but also the names of many countries around the world. I had one student that fell in love with the Montessori maps and decided to learn all the countries of the world by the time he was finished with Kindergarten. More power to him. He came pretty close, but just had fun doing it and it was easy for him, so why stand in his way?

More importantly, the goal is to get an understanding that there are various cultures and these cultures have a lot to offer us. When a student is doing the map of Asia, pictures, stories, facts about different Asian countries, and a variety of learning opportunities open up to give the child a real sense of the world and how it is different - even within the same area.

--Science: Children at this age are very detail oriented. They know what a bird is. Now they want to know the various body part of a bird. They want to know the life cycle of different animals. They begin to really look at the parts of a plant and wonder, "What are those long things coming out of the middle of a flower?" The science curriculum takes the opportunity for the child's natural questioning and draws a fascinating curriculum for the 3-6 age range. What I really enjoy about this area is this is where I learn the most. Children ask questions I cannot answer, so I have to find it out. Or we might be studying something I know nothing about, so I have to learn as well. When the teacher is learning, the children really see that and get excited about learning too.

Language: The language curriculum involves everything from vocabulary development to writing to reading. Children learn their basic letter sounds through the use of sandpaper letters, where the letters are cut from sandpaper and glued to a wooden board. As the child traces the letter, they get a real image for how the letter feels. They can also feel if a mistake was made because of the different feel of the sandpaper from the board. They begin making words before they can read words with the movable alphabet. It's fun to watch children spell out a word, but not be able to read it. Quite interesting, too.

--Math: The math area is the area most people find the most fascinating. Children go from a very concrete understanding of math to a more abstract concept. Children in a Montessori classroom know the difference between 1, 10, 100, and 1000 because they have felt it countless times. They felt it originally in the pink tower and later in the math materials. It includes things such as addition and subtraction of 4 digit numbers, basic multiplication and division, and the understanding of various mathmatical concepts such as odd and even.

The learning goals of Montessori are quite different than that of traditional education. By not having set goals that have to be met, the child is free to explore these materials and activities when he or she is ready. As a result, we get the maximum results the child can produce rather than something set by a syllabus. If we were to say that Montessori does have goals, it would be to develop a person who:

--Has a lifelong love of learning
--Has a more empathetic view to the world
--Is self-motivated
--Is able to form answers and analyse situations on his or her own rather than relying on someone else, such as a teacher.
--Has internalized discipline
--Understands that no matter what they do, they are an important part of society

With that comes a very individual respect for each child by the teacher. The teacher sees them not as either children that can follow the rules or can't follow the rules. The teacher sees them as a developing person who has great potential that should be fostered.

Hope this helped!
Matt
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#71 of 83 Old 05-28-2008, 09:10 AM
 
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Can we make this a sticky topic? I've referenced it and pointed people to it a few times, but always have to go searching for it.
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#72 of 83 Old 06-07-2008, 06:48 PM
 
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This is a GREAT thread!
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#73 of 83 Old 07-15-2008, 09:27 PM
 
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Providing materials for directresses to beautify their classrooms and attract the child:
http://montessoridetails.com/

Montessori books and language card materials:
http://maitrilearning.com/

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#74 of 83 Old 08-04-2008, 12:34 AM
 
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For general information as well as lessons and materials:
http://www.infomontessori.com/index.htm

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#75 of 83 Old 08-07-2008, 12:56 AM
 
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A little more information.

My friend is making a web site about Montessori and asked me to help answer some questions. Here's what I just sent her and thought I would pass it on.

Her web site is http://montessori.weebly.com

_______________________________________

Q: Montessori teachers do not teach -they leave that to the materials and the older children.

A: There is a common misconception that Montessori teachers do not teach. This is because when we think of teaching, we imagine a person standing in front of a room telling things to people and they try to take it all in. This is one way to teach, but as Montessori schools show, it is not the ONLY way to teach.

What teachers really do is help us to understand, remember, and process information. That is what really defines the role of the teacher. In Montessori, there is almost a "back door" method used to teaching. Where traditionally, teachers tell students new information and they take time to practice it. In Montessori, students practice the information and once they have a clear understanding, they are taught the information. In essence, by the time the teacher steps in to help the child learn the vocabulary of a work or directly pointing out specific concepts, the child already has his or her own experience of the work to draw upon.


Q: Montessori only works for smart children
Montessori only works for self motivated children
Montessori only works for children from wealthy families
Montessori does not work for learning disabled children


A: All the "Montessori only works for..." type statements are not quite correct. Is Montessori a perfect solution to every situation? It would not quite be correct to say yes to that. However, the match does not really fit into a stereotyped mold of what certain children are like. To say it will only work for "wealthy families" denies the fact that it started in the slums of Italy. That is where the magic really began.

To say it only works for "smart children" is actually confusing to a Montessori person, because we view all children as smart.

What Montessori seeks to do is move EVERY child ahead. That's our goal. We're not trying to get some children to a certain standard then stop teaching them so everyone else can catch up. We're not taking a child that has many difficulties and letting them fall behind or rushing to get them to a certain point. What we are trying to do is move children ahead. We take where they are and keep them progressing in social, academic, emotional, and physical development.

Many of these stereotypes are, unfortunately, justified by experience. Anyone can open a school and decide to put "Montessori" in the name. Sometimes that means people open a school and decide, "I'm also going to push out the children that have any behavioral or learning problems." It is a terrible thing, but it happens. Is it Montessori? No. And I hope this web site helps to clarify what is good Montessori and what is not.

Montessori is also often very costly. There are not enough public Montessori schools and I hope more and more parents begin to put pressure on the school boards to bring about that change. The cost of running a private school is expensive. So the stereotype comes in that Montessori is only for rich families. I hope that changes. Most schools are competitive with local private school prices.

Where I see problems with Montessori "not working" are in two cases:
1) When the school is not a real Montessori school (discussed above)
2) When children are in a good Montessori school, but the parents are not on board with Montessori philosophy.

Many parents send their child to Montessori because they know the academics are stronger. Or they have an incorrect idea about Montessori and think children are just "allowed to do whatever they want" or "are controlled all the time." What Montessori seeks to do is provide inner discipline. It also provides a safe environment for the child to develop his or her own personality. That is something that conflicts with many parents who have a strictly authoritative style to parenting or want conformity to a certain ideal.

Either way, what matters is the question, "Is Montessori ideal for MY child?" That means taking the time to visit the school, see how things are working, and asking a lot of questions. You might even find some Montessori schools that are wonderful, but just do not feel right for your particular family's needs. Do not worry about the stereotype of "Montessori is only right for ____ type of child." They are ALL wrong. Montessori is right for the children who are in a good school and have good parental and teacher support. That's the only stereotype that fits.


Q: Montessori teachers don't believe in discipline

A: My response to this is always, "Then why are the children working so well and so disciplined?"
When there are 20-30 children all working together and respecting each other while learning a lot, what more could you want from a disciplined classroom? Isn't that the very definition of discipline?
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#76 of 83 Old 05-14-2009, 12:33 AM
 
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Here is a wonderful website dedicated to using the Montessori Method at home for the ages of birth - 3:
www.dailymontessori.com

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#77 of 83 Old 05-14-2009, 02:32 PM
 
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If you've got questions about Montessori, you've got to read this new book out called [I]Montessori Madness! A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education[I]It is very accessible, folksy, a fun-read with the meaty Montessori stuff woven in. Dad's will love it too. I know, I'm one. I haven't seen it available except at the website www.montessorimadness.com
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#78 of 83 Old 05-14-2009, 06:42 PM
 
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Hi MontDad!!
This book looks very well done, thanks for posting.
Lots of Montessori down there in Texas, right?

My sweetie and I have a lovely little lady 07/02 and 3 cats
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#79 of 83 Old 05-14-2009, 09:59 PM
 
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Just e-mailed and asked how much it will cost to send it here. Can't wait to order it
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#80 of 83 Old 05-14-2009, 10:33 PM
 
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Financial aid and scholarships
http://www.montessori-omi.org/7.html

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#81 of 83 Old 06-04-2009, 10:26 PM
 
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Here is something I recently wrote on this topic to add:
Basic Montessori fundamentals:
3 year age span - except in toddler
3 hour work cycle - no interruptions for compulsive circle time or whole group "specials"
well prepared, complete set of Montessori materials and progression of lessons
well trained Directress (I prefer AMI, this is my training. Other training programs have sometimes slight, sometimes significant differences in sensorial, language and math presentations)
Other considerations:
mistakes and their corrections: mistakes should be addressed at neutral moments in a positive, not punitive, lesson
control of error: children should be solving their own problems and correcting errors independently with the didactic materials
The atmosphere should be one of calm, peaceful and productive harmony. The discipline we are seeking is active and spontaneous.
The materials should be kept in good condition with thought put into aesthetically pleasing and natural materials.
You should see the older children working with advanced materials in language and math. They should be challenged and joyfully engaged.
Younger children spend alot of time observing the older children and participating in practical life, music and movement activities.
Respect and care for self, others and the environment is a prominent theme.
The emphasis is not so much on what the children are learning but on how they are learning...are they learning to direct themselves to productive activity, are they learning how to organize their work and how to persist through challenges? These are the points that mark an authentic Montessori environment.
Good luck!

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#82 of 83 Old 06-05-2009, 12:55 AM
 
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Great post, Lillianna.

I'd also like to add the practical life also includes stuff that the older children would find interesting. It shouldn't just be a lot of pouring work, but scrubbing, polishing, washing, etc. should be included...multi-step activities that engage the 6 year old as well.

Matt
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#83 of 83 Old 06-07-2009, 10:21 PM
 
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Yes Matt, so true. The children continue to benefit from practical life throughout the various planes of development yet it is tailored to offer increasing challenge. For the oldest children in primary, we have a few food preparation activities such as baking pretzels, pizza, granola and muffins, they love the work bench (hammer, drill and screws) and the advanced sewing activities as well.

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