Friday, February 18, 2011

Montessori Method, Letters, and Reading Fun

I have been studying and learning the concept and principles of Montessori.  I have been learning some methods of Montessori and why teaching a child during the open outlet of teaching is so important.  Although these moments of teaching occur during time periods in the earlier years of a child's life, it is imperative to grasp onto them and allow the child to absorb any information provided for them in their environment.  Allowing the child to absorb and create in their environment is the biggest principle in Montessori teaching.  You prepare the environment for the child and see where they decide how to use the tools provided for them.  They also gain knowledge of errors that they make during certain activities, such as simple tasks of lacing shoes or sorting marble colors.  There are different models and different Montessori Tools available that work as the cornerstone for this teaching method.  (Hainstock, 1997)  I am still learning the techniques for Montessori, and although I don't agree with everything that this teaching method offers, I love the fact that it relies on the child's motives and creativity.  I could talk about Dr. Montessori and her methods all day.  For more information, you can visit some of these websites:  Montessori and a real-life teacher/mom of Montessori's blog that I just LOVE reading about, Counting Coconuts.

Learning letters, their function in our language, and their function from a preschool perspective.

The letter's of the week are P, Q, and R.  I try to change up the learning methods for teaching Harmony these letters.. because lets face a fact about most four year old children, they do not have a long attention span especially when they know they could be doing something more exciting.  :)  If Harmony is not intrigued to begin with and seems bored, I might as well skip that lesson and move on. 

I usually always have Harmony do the writing sheets.  She use to struggle with this months ago, but now will complete them with ease.  I often let her use a pen.  She feels that she is rather grown up while doing this.  It makes her day!  Aside from that, we also work on letters by creating shapes out of play dough and using pasta, marbles, paints, textured material that is maneuverable, and other household materials.  I have done research into teaching the alphabet to children and it is important in cognitive development for a child to write and have a visual depiction by using fine motor function skills to complete an image that they create (forming play dough and using pasta to create picture of the example letter).  (CASRC, 2008) 

I am also trying something new, as Harmony and I have been working with phonics as well.  I want her to start familiarizing words with pictures so we place labels on objects that are lying openly around the house so she can associate the letter of the day with her environment.  I definitely walked around for an entire day with "pants" tapped to my leg!

I get so delighted when Harmony surprisingly says a word as I'm reading during story time, whether it's familiar to her or a sight word.  We do run through the sight words flash cards on a daily basis so Harmony can learn them to ease the reading process later on.  She is doing wonderfully with this!

In conclusion, children absorb a lot more information than we give them credit for!  They are truly amazing and are extremely intelligent creatures wrapped up in a cutie-pie package!  I could go on and on and ramble about my teaching methods.  They might not work for you, but at least I can provide you with some resources, personal experience, and ideas for your little one's!

Happy Friday!!
Candice S

CASRC. (2008). How Kids Develop. Retrieved on February 18, 2011, from

Hainstock, E. (1997). Teaching Montessori In The Home. Penguin Group: New York, NY.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Present: For The Couple

I have been wanting to do this for quite some time.  It is a conversation box that contains questions, conversational pieces that allow a couple to learn and discover more about each other.  I loved it then and I loved it now. 

This is a perfect, inexpensive Valentine's Day present that is perfect for every couple!! 


Massive Pickle Jar or Container
More Ribbon
Handwritten Questions or Statements That Allow For Conversation Between Two :)
Hot Glue Gun (I burnt myself pretty good, too!)
And A Little Love....

Happy Valentine's Day

Candice S

Valentine's Day

Mark Jr. and Harmony's mailbox for Valentine's Day!  I have been putting one valentine in it each day for the last week. 

Love it!!

Happy Valentine's Day!!  Enjoy it with your loved ones, crafting with you cuties, or just by providing thoughtful tidbits to your household's day.  Have a great one!

Candice S.

Weekly Preschool Planner: Weather Thematic Unit


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Weather Theme: Book idea's?

Our theme for this upcoming week is weather and I need to pick up some weather geared library books on Tuesday.  Any good books for books that teach children (preschool aged) about the water cycle and other weather related information?

Let me know!!  I so appreciate it!

Candice S.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Science Experiment #2: Varying Sounds and Tones (Making Music!)

Our musical glass jar have had a prosperous life making music for well over an hour.  I decided to use some variety to allow us to hear different sounds other than just tones, so we also used a recycled tin can and a plastic container.

The goal was to determine the changes in tone by feeling up each glass jar with 1 cup water, another with 1/2, and then the last two with a 1/4 cup of water.  Then we added 1-2 drops of food coloring to each glass jar.  Harmony did this successfully while supervised. 

The experiment was to determine which glass jar was louder, why, and the differences in the tones that the jars that were filled with different levels of water.  We whipped out our observation booklet and documented the different tones that each one made, compared and contrasted, and determined what the possibilities (the water) were of the tones being so high, low, loud, quite, etc. 

Preschool+ age appropriate and beyond.  Even our Stud had fun banging wooden spoons around..  Simple enough for us and the supplies were easily accessible without purchase.

Happy Saturday!

Candice S.

Friday, February 11, 2011

February Sensory Box

String and buttons (needle not included)
Art Toys
Cookie Cutters 
Homemade Playdough 
Cupcake Liners
Confetti and Hot Pink Rice
Seashells for scooping

I wanted to share our sensory box with you.  I actually was running WAY behind on getting all of its contents together, seeing as its only a few days from Valentine's Day. 

Our sensory boxes usually end up with My Little Ponies, Strawberry Shortcake Miniature Dolls, and other small gadgets that Harmony enjoys playing with.  It promotes fine motor function and coordination, as well as compliments imaginative qualities and artistic means.  I love it!

(Does anybody else end up picking up quite a bit of rice from all areas of YOUR house?.. hehe)

Happy Friday and Enjoy Your Weekend!!
Candice S.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine's Paper Weight

Aren't they pretty?  They're paper weight's that Harmony and I made for Valentine's Day. 

Ingredients and Supplies:

Baby Food Jar
Corn Syrup
Food Coloring
Construction Paper
Mod Podge
Scrapbook Stuff
Hot Glue Gun

Total Time: 10 Minutes

I so love the fact that I found another great use for those baby food jars (and my husband LOVES to see them go!).  Fill the jar up with corn syrup, have your little one add a few drops of food coloring, and then stir away!  Mod Podge some construction paper (tray a larger lid for size) to cover the baby food jar lid.. and then add some jewels or accessories to spruce it up.  I also used some hot glue to seal the around the edge's of the lid so you can't remove it. 

On the label I wrote, "Your love weighs down my heart."  Super adorable and perfect inexpensive gifts for your loved ones!

Happy Early Valentine's Day!
Candice S.

I'm linking this to....

abc button

Teaching Science To Your Preschooler

"Science is an intellectual activity carried on by humans that is designed to discover information about the natural world in which humans live and to discover the ways in which this information can be organized into meaningful patterns.  A primary aim of science is to collect facts (data).  An ultimate purpose of science is to discern the order that exists between and amongst the various facts."  (Gottlieb, 1997)

Every child has an hypothesis based on a collection of simple data that they over analyize.  A child is constantly exporing the world around them.  They crave learning new things.  It is in the way that material is presented to them that awakes the want to learn and explore.  Science comes quite a bit more naturally to us because the human brain is relentless for asking "why" and "how" things are.  We are always asking questions about the way life works, the way objects work, and how everything falls into place.  Science allows us to form an opinion, to collect data or facts about that opinion, and gain perspective on the information we accumulate.  Children gather information every single day and form opinions on the simplest forms of science.

I am going to start a little series for parents that has idea's on science experiments that allows a child to form an hypothesis and collect data to test their hypotheses.  This series is not made to be so structured that it's boring and it isn't going to just be "experiments" but more "ah ha" moments for a child to really pursue how things work.  To test the simple things such as watching ice melt to applying two colors together to form a new color. 

My goal is to provide other sources for preschool science lessons and experiment's that allow parents to have options.  There is not an adequate of age appropriate material out there that is available without a fee.  wanted to be another Mom to post some fun experiments or "ah ha" moments that we do here at Rattles and Redheads.

I will be posting some science projects that Harmony and I have done over the last few weeks.  I will make an attempt at posting these on Saturday morning's.  In the meantime, check out our tutorial on changing a liquid to a solid.

Happy Thursday!
Candice S.

Gottlieb, S. (1997, April 8). Religion and Science. Retrieved on February 10, 2011, from

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Reading List for February

Here's our nice fun pile of books that we are pursuing for this month!  Usually we keep our books anywhere between 1-2 weeks (an average of 12-20 books) and read most over and over again.  There are some books that are geared towards our thematic units for preschool, while other's we read a chapter or two on a daily basis.  

Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web is a "big girl" book that Harmony and I have been reading during storytime in the day and in the evening before bed.  Although, as I read I ponder if the realistic farm life is a little too difficult for my little mini-me to grasp.  She's intrigued, none the less and loves hearing about Wilbur's adventures.  

Harmony loves the Fancy Nancy Series.  We recently checked out Fancy Nancy: Every Day Is Earth Day (I Can Read Book 1) and Fancy Nancy at the Museum (I Can Read Book 1).  We have read almost all of the Fancy Nancy Books, and I cannot find one reason why every preschool girl who enjoys dress up and succumbing to the princess inside of them cannot enjoy the pleasurable experiences of these books.  

Too Cute!  We have "If you give a pig a pancake"..It discusses the adventures of pigs and the "fun" ..and some trouble that come along with them.  Such a fun book!

Our thematic units for this week are birds and how to tell time.  I do not go strictly to every single aspect of our lessons having geared towards our "theme" but I do try to keep the direction pretty clear, as to not confuse us.  The following books will help us with coordinate with our lesson plans.

Little Red Hen Big Book
Little Red Hen Big Book

Grumpy Bird

My First Book of Time

Owl Moon

It's About Time! (MathStart 1)

Valentine's Day (Rookie Read-About Holidays)

The Graphic Alphabet (Caldecott Honor Book)

Little Wolf's Song

Arthur's Teacher Trouble (Arthur Adventure Series)

Charming Opal (Toot & Puddle)

Will You Still Love Me?

I can't wait to see how amazing these books are!  

..And last but not least.. Some awesome baby books that Mark Jr. and I have been enjoying from our own personal library.

Baby Faces (Look Baby! Books)

If you know of any great Valentine's Day books or more books on learning how to tell time, please share!!

Have a great Wednesday!
Candice S.
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