Washing Clothes the Montessori Way

Washing Clothes the Montessori Way

How many times have you thought about adding a proper washing clothes lesson to your Practical Life area, but have lacked the funds to purchase all the required items?  It’s usually the table/basin set up that is so incredibly expensive, or it’s the shipping costs associated with purchasing this item online that make it cost prohibitive.As Montessori teachers and parents, we’ve all spent time surfing the net trying to find an affordable alternative to the washing station that we’ve all dreamed of (but can’t afford)…

Montessori Clothes laundering stationPhoto from Montessori Services

This morning, much to my delight, I stumbled across a Montessori blog that I never knew existed – How We Montessori.  I love finding new Montessori blogs – it’s like discovering a mouth-watering treat you never knew existed.

Low and behold, the most recent post was about a clothes washing station that was repurposed/homemade!! If you’re wanting to add hand washing clothing to your Practical Life activities, you most definitely want to read this post.

Photo from How We Montessori

Nothing warms my heart more than seeing a child engaged in purposeful Practical Life activities. Here are 12 reasons to include P.L activities in your home/school.

Practical Life activities lead to…

1.  Construction and integration of the child’s personality through their freedom of choice, and through the variety of their choices. Freedom of choice is necessary for the healthy development of the will.

2.  Spontaneous purposeful activity that is only possible when children are allowed to exercise their curiosity through repetition. It is only through repetition that abstraction is possible. This abstraction brings about a feeling of completion for the growing child.

3.  Development of co-ordination of movement. The child thinks of the activity, wills himself to the activity, and then does the activity.

4.  Development of the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of the child.

5.  Purposeful movement that helps the development of the mind, and a sense of achievement. The development of the child’s mind, movement, and senses will in turn, develop the will.

6.  Concentration: The child will concentrate on completing an activity as perfectly as
possible; all activities are intelligible, logical, sequential, and
exact. Children will internalize this and try to repeat the exercises as
perfectly as possible; all exercises have a motive for perfection.

7.  Orderly work habits. The children need to internalize presentations in an orderly manner in order to reproduce it in an orderly manner.

8.  The practical life exercises develop logical thought through the definite logic in the exercises. There is a beginning, middle, and end to each exercise.

9.  The exercises give the children a sense of responsibility from the result of freedom (freedom which is a result of co-ordination of movement and awareness of the
environment). Children have the freedom and ability to exercise their will within their environment.

10. Social development. All of the practical life exercises teach the children grace, courtesy, patience, and respect. These elements of social development are re-enforced through the actions of the other children and through the actions of the teacher.

11. Establish a sense of reality, rooted in real activities (nothing is make-believe). Exercises are lucid, logical, and realistic. This helps the children pursue reality. If an activity is not meaningful and purposeful than the mind cannot develop or construct itself.

12. Emotional stability helps the children become familiar with the real world and their environment. It builds self-esteem, and through that, their dignity will flourish. Materials and activities are therapeutic, meaning the mind and body work together.

We wrote a full post on Montessori Practical Life Scope and Sequence on website to assist those who are not familiar with the Montessori Practical Life area.


Dog Nomenclature Cards and Book

Dog Nomenclature Cards and Book

A recent request from a customer/reader for Parts of the Dog has brought this Dog Nomenclature Cards and Book to our store.  Did you know a dog has ‘stifles’, ‘hocks’, and a ‘brisket’ … kind of sounded like Sunday dinner to me – until the research was completed. The sets of Dog Nomenclature Cards and Book include: dog, muzzle, stop, ears, withers, shoulder, elbows, back, paws, hocks, thigh, stifles, tail, brisket, and abdomen. 

It’s a fun lesson that children, especially those who have a dog at home, will enjoy. Learning about pets (including their anatomy) is an important part of
being a responsible pet owner.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Dog Nomenclature CardsDog Nomenclature Cards by Montessori Print ShopDog Nomenclature BookDog Nomenclature Book by Montessori Print Shop.

Story Telling – Guest Post

Storytelling with Early Years – Guest Post by Julie Meighan

The following are some pointers you should use when story telling to young children. The first thing that a teacher/educator should do is identify the children’s interestExamples of topics that children may be interested in are animals, stories where children their age are heroes, stories about things children like to do, getting dirty, playing with an adult around, trying something new for the first time, etc.

Another question that often comes to light especially with new teachers is “where do I find good and appropriate stories for young children?” The stories can be from your head that you have remembered from childhood or have  made up. The stories can be from picture books particularly useful if trying to encouraging reading.  Libraries have many collections of folktales often compiled in easy format books, or adaptable to your needs. Stories that deal with families are also often very effective.

There are some key elements that you must engage with to make story time successful. You must know and like your story, know and like your audience and make sure the story and audience match each other. Another important point is that you must be flexible.

The next important step is you must learn to tell  a story. First you must learn the bare bones plot (3 pigs left home and each built a house: one of sticks, one of straw, one of bricks. A wolf came and blew down the straw and stick houses. He tried to get into the brick house but got boiled when he went down the chimney into a pot of water. The End; a fox made a crow drop some cheese by flattering her into opening her mouth to sing. The End. Etc.)  Practice it and tell it to yourself while driving. You should tape it and listen to it and if you want look at yourself in the mirror while practicing so you can see your facial expression and body language.

You must make the stories  exciting and fun. The following are the tools of the teller:
•   Voice
•   Body
•   Face
•   Imagination

A good voice exercise is to write some sentences on a blackboard, and have each person say them in different situations. For instance, say “I want a cup of coffee” as though you were tired, happy, angry, disgusted, humiliated, etc. Then change this to an entirely different situation: you are in your boss’s office and he has just fired you. Let them choose the emotion and the voice.

Body language
Have two people hold up a sheet, and two more stand behind it, the sheet covering their torsos and upper legs. Whisper an emotion into their ears, and then say “go.” Have the students point out what made them know which emotions they were imitating. This is called cultural knowledge. We know when people are angry, sad, excited, etc. We don’t always know why we know, but we do know. So do children. In fact, they are sometimes quicker to pick this up because they need it for living by adult rules. So be careful with your face and body language; the children are reading it.

There are many old theatre games that work well here. One I like is the Magic Box – an imaginary box that goes around the circle, each person pulling out and using an object until everyone has guessed what it is. This involves the next tool: cooperation. Someone will choose something complex , and no one will be able to guess. Then we have to cooperate with the audience, help them, give them clues. It is our responsibility, not theirs, to provide the communication needed to make the link to our thoughts.

Remember: you’re not just telling stories; you’re teaching them to be an audience
•   Intersperse with rhymes, finger plays, prop stories
•   Sing
•   Keep stories short

Some examples of good storytelling activities are as follows:
Game: Pop-up Story Book
•   Age: 3 years +
•   Minimum number of participants: 2
•   Resources needed: Clear space, a story book.
•   Other Benefits: This is an excellent listening game that can be played with any number of children. It helps them to engage in the storytelling process.
•   Instructions: The teacher chooses a story to read that the children are familiar with. Each child is given a word. For example if the teacher was reading ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’, child A is given the word Goldilocks, child B, baby, child C, porridge, child D, bed and so on. When each child has been given a word the game can begin. All the children lie on the floor. When the child hears his/her word s/he must jump up. If they miss their turn they are out and can’t pop-up anymore.

Participation/movement stories
Game: The Hungry Tree
•   Age: 5+
•   Minimum number of participants: 3
•   Resources needed: Clear space.
•   Other Benefits: This is an excellent introduction to improvisation as the children are free to explore their imaginations. It also helps with their co-ordination skills.
•   Instructions: The teacher tells the children the following story and they have to improvise the movements in the story. The teacher gets the children to imagine they are an adventurer who wants to go on an adventure. They have to pack up their bags. The teacher asks what they need in the bags. Children’s answers are usually for example water, sandwiches, sun cream, and sunglasses and so on. The children mime putting all these essentials into their bag and then mime all the actions in the adventure below. The teacher says imagine you are walking quickly because you are so happy to be on your adventure. You see a mountain and decide you should climb it. The sun is getting hotter and hotter and you are getting tired. You get very, very tired. You wipe your brow to show how tired you are. You begin to climb slower and slower. You are very thirsty. You take out your water and take a drink. You put it back in your bag and climb the rest of the way up  the mountain. Eventually you get to the top. You are exhausted, very hot and very hungry. You decide it is time for your picnic. You see a lovely tree and you go and sit under its shade. You eat your picnic and go for a nap. Then suddenly you wake up and see the tree moving towards you. The tree grabs you and you realize it is a very hungry tree and wants to eat you. You scream. You struggle. You fight the branches but you are getting weaker and weaker. Then suddenly the tree stops fighting for a moment. You get your chance to escape. You quickly grab your bag, and run back down the mountain. You get to the end and you don’t stop in case the hungry tree is running after you. You run all the way home, lock all the doors and hide under the table.

Some advice on how to keep the children focused while storytelling.

Magic Glue  This is a basic scenario: “Okay, now everybody is standing up, right? Here we go. Pick your right leg up with your hands. Now stick it to the floor with the magic (or imaginary) glue. Push it down hard. Wiggle it around. Is it stuck? Oops, that one’s not stuck; better try again. Everybody stuck? Good, now the left leg. Okay, can you move your feet off the floor? Try.” All sorts of contortions as you show them your feet are stuck. “Okay, now let’s run with our feet stuck to the floor!” If you do it, they will do it.

If you wish to read more ideas about the different dram games that can be used with young children in early years settings and primary school, please go to Drama Start  and enter the coupon JG87H and you will receive a copy of the book for  a special price of  €1-50. Alternatively you can buy the kindle version of the book form amazon.co.uk or amazon.com

Julie Meighan is a lecturer in Drama in Education at the Cork Institute of Technology. She has taught Drama to all age groups and levels. She is the author of “Drama Start”.


Oviparous or Viviparous Animals?

Oviparous or Viviparous Animals?

When studying animals, children always seem to have a curiosity about the babies – just as they seem to do about their own arrival in to this world. An important concept to cover (of course in language and in terms appropriate for children) is Oviparous and Viviparous Animals. For those of you who are not familiar with these terms here is the basic terminology.

Oviparous (oh-vip-er-uhs): Animals that produce eggs that develop and hatch outside the body.

Viviparous (vie-vip-er-uhs): Animals that give birth to living young from within the body, rather than laying eggs.

Fun Fact: Did you know that the platypus and echidna (both found in Australia) are the only two mammals that are oviparous?

In order to help children learn to sort and classify these two types of animals, we have a new animal lesson available in our online store:

Oviparous and Viviparous Animals by Montessori Print Shop

A Week of Surprises – Day 7 Freebie

A very Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there!
Thank you for everything you do. Wishing you a wonderful day with your families.
Today is the last day of our Week of Surprises, and it’s going to be a Freebie for everyone!I was going to share our Solar System Nomenclature Book today with everyone. But it seems one of our customers has already decided to share it with the world – by printing it and selling it for profit on a familiar online selling website. Boy, does this news ever take the wind out of our sails.

The massive majority of you are beyond fantastic!! You take care to uphold our copyright, always asking for clarity on the ‘rules’, or permission to share in certain circumstances. You share reviews on our products, link to us on your blogs, send kind comments through email, by way of Facebook, and Twitter. Your support of our online store helps to feed and house our families – for this we are so truly thankful.

So, on to the freebie!


“Plants We Eat” is a fantastic lesson that allows children to explore a huge variety of plants that we commonly (and sometimes not so commonly) eat. It can open the door for trying new foods (exploring tastes, textures), learning food prep, cooking, baking, and learning new (or improved) healthy food options.

Plants We Eat: Cards and Charts by Montessori Print ShopPlants We Eat includes:

  • 6 labels
  • 6 definition cards
  • 30 photographic plant pictures
  • Color Control Chart of all 30 plants in the correct categories
  • black-line master – Parts of the Plant Control Chart with labels
  • black-line master –  Parts of the Plant Control Chart without labels
    full-color Control
  • black-line master of all 30 plants (clip art)
  • black-line master blank chart for the sorting of the images

Please go
to our Free Montessori Materials page, scroll all the
way to bottom –  and download the Plants We Eat material from there.
It will be available for FREE until Tuesday June 21, 2011 @ 10am (EDT).

So sorry if you’ve missed the time frame for downloading
this Surprise Freebie. Be sure to follow us on this blog,  Facebook and/or Twitter
for quick notification when Freebies are available.

Plants We Eat is available
here in our online store.

A Week of Surprises – Day 6 Freebie!

I had originally planned to make yesterday the last day of Surprises – but everyone is trying SO hard to win something. All of the positive comments are wonderful, and all the ‘need’ that people express for Montessori materials, is simply overwhelming at times. It just seems sad that only 5 people are going to win the following:

Montessori Math CD Rom

Wooden Map of USA

15 printable Animal lessons

Montessori Moveable Alphabet

4 Montessori Teaching Manuals

And by the way, there is still time to enter all the Giveaways as the winner of the first Giveaway will not be selected until Monday June 21, 2011 at Noon (EDT). So click on the above links and enter, if you already haven’t.


In order to make sure that everyone gets something I decided today would be a Surprise Freebie day! Yes, something for everyone, even if you don’t win any of the Giveaways listed above. ‘Cause who doesn’t love free??

These Tomato Nomenclature Cards will go hand in hand with all the vegetable gardens you’ve been planting with your children! Often times, when children plant, grow, and prepare their own food, they are a little more open to trying foods they think they don’t like. So give it whirl, and let us know how it goes!

Tomato Nomenclature Cards by Montessori Print ShopPlease go to our Free Montessori Materials page, scroll all the way to bottom –  and download the Tomato Nomenclature Cards from there. It will be available for FREE until Monday June 20, 2011 @ 9am (EDT).

So sorry if you’ve missed the time frame for downloading the Freebie. Be sure to follow us on this blog,  Facebook and/or Twitter for quick notification when Freebies are available.

These Tomato Nomenclature Cards are available here in our online store.

4 Montessori Teaching Manuals – Giveaway

4 Montessori Teaching Manuals – Giveaway

This Giveaway is CLOSED.
Winner: 6/19/2011 8:53 PM
Gosh! Soooo much great stuff you’re giving away this week!!To close our work-week of surprises, we’re giving away a set of our 4 Primary Montessori Teaching Manuals! These 4 Montessori Teaching manuals cover Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, and Math, for children ages 2½ to 6 years.

.Primary Montessori Teaching Manuals by Montessori Print ShopThe Teaching Manuals have a combined value of $77.96, are in pdf file format, and will be sent to the winner by email. For those of you who don’t win a set, these manuals are available individually in our online store. You can click the manual titles below to access the Table of Contents and sample pages.

This Giveaway includes:

Primary Montessori Practical Life Teaching Manual

  • 102 pages of:

    • theory on the area of Practical Life
    • full step-by-step instructions with diagrams for over 75 Practical
      Life lessons
    • direct links to our online materials that can be purchased for these
    • additional exercises, extensions and games

Primary Montessori Sensorial Teaching Manual

  • 100 pages of:
  • theory on the Sensorial area of the classroom and the child
  • full step-by-step instructions with diagrams for over 45 Sensorial
  • direct links to our online materials that can be purchased for these
  • additional exercises, extensions and games

Primary Montessori Language Teaching Manual

  • 81 pages of:
  • theory on the area of Language
  • full step-by-step instructions with diagrams for over 30 language
  • direct links to our online materials that can be purchased for these
  • additional exercises, extensions and games

Primary Montessori Math Teaching Manual

  • 127 pages of:
  • theory on the area of Math
  • full step-by-step instructions with diagrams for over 52 math
  • direct links to our online materials that can be purchased for these
  • additional exercises, extensions and games

Each of the lessons in the training manuals include:

  • materials list
  • material photo(s)
  • detailed step-by-step instructions
  • notes to the teacher
  • purpose of activity
  • points of interest
  • control of error
  • suggested age for presentation
Rules of this
1. This giveaway is open Worldwide to anyone over the age of 18.

2. No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited.

3. This giveaway starts today (Friday June 17, 2011) and ends Friday June 24, 2011 @ 12 Noon EDT.

4. We will chose 1 winner randomly. Winner will be notified via email and must respond within 48 hours to confirm validity of email address or another winner will be chosen.



Montessori Moveable Alphabet Giveaway!

Montessori Moveable Alphabet Giveaway!

This Giveaway is now CLOSED.
Winner:6/21/2011 8:57 AM
Erika wrote:
I would love to win this for my children. Thanks for the chanceWe designed this affordable, compact, and portable Montessori Moveable Alphabet for families who didn’t want to, or simply couldn’t afford, to spend anywhere from $75 to $200 (depending on the size, material, and quality of it) on a ‘real’ one. We wrote about the Moveable Alphabet and how you can make your own in our “How to” section on our website: www.montessoriprintshop.com. If you’re not feeling crafty, or are short on time, we also have this printable Moveable Alphabet in our online store.

This giveaway is perfect for families who lack a lot of storage space for school materials,
or who like to offer their children educational work/games that are portable.
printable Moveable Alphabet by Montessori Print Shop

  The great thing about this giveaway is that the Moveable Alphabet is ready to use!! The letters are all cut and laminated (as shown in the photo), and the clear storage case is included too!

This giveaway includes:

  • Moveable Alphabet letters (laminated & cut). Red consonants/blue vowels (10 lower case, 3 upper case), and punctuation
  • clear storage case (when lid is closed it does not allow for letters to shift around)
  • a printed (but not cut or laminated) set of Pink Picture Cards (large)
  • instructions on exactly how to present this lesson
This material is all new – it was only printed/laminated/cut for photo purposes for our tutorial on How to Make a  Moveable Alphabet.

Animals, Animals, Animals! A Montessori Material Giveaway.

This Giveaway is now CLOSED.
Winner: 6/15/2011 1:42 PM
Jen wrote: My kids would love this!
Young children love learning about animals. In our online store we have lots of interesting animal lessons that can be added to your Montessori materials. But since we’re having a week of surprises (because who doesn’t love surprises?), we thought we’d give away a bunch of animal lessons!Since today is the 15th of June, we figured 15 lessons would help someone get their Animal lessons off to a great start. Here are the 15 animal lessons (in pdf file format) that are included in this Giveaway:
Animal Coverings: Scales, Fur, Feathers
Animal Skins Matching Cards

Animal Stripes, Spots, or Solid?Animals: Strips, Spots, Solid
Animals – How Many Legs?Animals: How Many Legs
Animals and Their HomesAnimals and Their Homes

Animals and Their NamesAnimals and Their Names

Plant or Animal?Plant or Animal Cards by Montessori Print Shop

Vertebrates Quiz Cards                                 Amphibians 3-Part Cards

Birds 3-Part Cards                                      Fish 3-Part Cards

Mammals 3-Part Cards                                  Reptiles 3-Part Cards


Wooden Map of USA – Giveaway

This Giveaway is now CLOSED.
Winner is: 6/19/2011 9:34 AM
Sandra M wrote: “
I came back just to daydream again of winning it”
Montessori Wooden Map of the USA

It’s not ‘in the package new’ – as it was opened and has been sitting on a storage shelf for about a year and a half. It might have a few small surface scratches, but it’s pretty much as good as new!

It was originally intended for a Montessori school, but it turned out to be a duplicate and wasn’t required.Now it’s destined for one of you!

This map has beautiful, thick wooden pieces with sturdy knobs. Unfortunately the sides of the pieces aren’t fully painted (as you can see in the photo below) – but it’s still functional all the same.


What are the rules of entry you ask? Not many rules on this one – it’s a simple giveaway to thank you (all our customers and readers) for your support over the past 7 years.

1. It’s for Canada or USA shipping addresses only.
So sorry to our International customers – but this map is heavy and shipping anywhere besides Canada or USA is going to break our postal budget.

2. You may gain 1 entry each day by simply leaving a comment below.

3. This Giveaway closes on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @ 12 Noon EDT. A winner will be chosen at random and contacted by email.

P.S – If your comment does not show up immediately, please have patience and do not repeat your comment over and over hoping for it to go through. We have been spammed half to death lately and so our comment filter is set very high. Every few hours (during the day) we will activate any ‘real’ comments that have been filtered out accidentally. Thank you!

Be sure to visit our Free Montessori Materials page for FREE Montessori materials, and come see/like us on Facebook.