Monday, 10 February 2014

Montessori Inspired African-themed Studies

I've written before about my journey into learning about Montessori and my attempts to introduce some Montessori activities to my toddler and to support my preschooler in his Montessori learning.

After setting up some African-themed activities for Rohan's Safari birthday party, I made the decision to leave them in place for the whole of January and base our usual School Holiday Activity Jars around the African theme.
We kept/moved all of the party decorations in the playroom.  Plastic jungle trees and crepe-paper vines to add to the atmosphere.

Usually I let the kids chose the activities from the jars at random, but some of these required special timing to ensure the necessary background knowledge was obtained before another task could take place.  Our adventures ended up including most of the things I planned...

Let's Go
We took a trip to the library and borrowed some books about Africa.  
I definitely need to buy our own copy of Mama Panya's Pancakes.

Let's Do
  • We researched both traditional African food and musical instruments.
  • We played with the Montessori Continents and Oceans App and the Animals of Africa App on the iPad.
  • After becoming familiar with the continents, we focused on the countries of Africa with the mapping activity I made for the party.
  • We also kept playing with our African animal match.

Let's Create
  • First, we made a Continent Cube - like this one from Nurturing Learning - except we used the Montessori colours for each continent.  Then we used it to practice the names and shapes of six of the continents (we left Antarctica off).

Let's Bake
We made...
  • some delicious, super-healthy Choc Balls,
  • Fruit Ice-blocks
  • a crocodile sandwich
  • Mama Panya's Chapatti Pancakes
  • and planned an International Food Night with African-inspired dishes.

Being the school holidays, I really wanted to stick with the Activity Jars that we've always used.  Had I wanted to arrange all of these activities (and the others mentioned in Rohan's birthday post) in a Montessori environment, it would be like this: 

African Maze

Stories & Guidebooks about Africa

Continent Cube
Continent colouring-in
Objects & jewellery from Africa
Clothing, food and instrument research
My place in the World nesting boxes

Animal match
Animal App
Play dough footprints

African sensory tub
Play dough footprints
African animal puzzles

It was a really fun environment to be in for the month and the kids seemed to enjoy all of the activities we did - especially those featuring African animals.

This month we've decided to do a Space theme!  More on that soon.


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