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reading tips for kids

The books we recommend can be a source of inspiration for experimenting and playing with colors, mixing them, overlapping them … even on our Tavoluccico, our lighting table!

The first book is a classical of children’s literature “Little Blue and Little Yellow” by Leo Lionni. It recounts the strong friendship between two little dots, a blue and a yellow one and when they hug together they become green and their parents cannot recognize them. It may appear at first as very cheerful and slightly superficial but then suddenly it turns into being very deep and demanding.
I confess that the first time I read the story I was speechless, how could the parents not recognize their very own children? a story worth a Greek tragedy! The good news is that children are not impressed the same way as a mother and it’s a great starting point to learn more about primary colours, secondary ones, overlaying and mixtures. All on a bright table!

I have recently discovered the second book by Javier Sáez Castán “The Mister Green Snack”. One day Mr Green invites to his house Mr Yellow, Mr Blue and Mr Purple (etc.) and with them a mysterious door opens on to a multi-coloured world in which after an initial dismay, the participants will have a feast of marmalades of all colours (and flavours). The characters are inspired poetically to Magritte.

The Human Body. Skeleton, muscles and organs: a kaleidoscope of colours. This book that suits probably older readers, is definitely more complex but very interesting at the same time. Drawings of the human body, extremely tangled and invisible to the naked eye, are revealed when observed with coloured lens.

attività montessori

When you have a child, the idea of being able to play again could be exciting … For some people toy car racetracks come to mind, for others Barbie and for others still Lego. Some people think “I can finally buy the Betty Crocker Easy Bake Oven  and understand how it works!” However, when the time comes, we realise that this is also an educational choice. Since we love to play, we can also play with our furniture. We talked to Natalia De Armas, an educator specialised in psychomotor skills.

Natalia, Maria Montessori said that ‘playing is a child’s job’: what does this mean for you?

Playing is the basis of knowledge, because it is the main tool with which children express themselves. From it they begin to understand themselves, others and the world around them. Playing teaches them to learn, to orient themselves in space and time, to manipulate and build, to establish relationships and communicate. But that’s not all. Playing allows them to comprehend and to understand their body in relation to others and the space. It is therefore a privileged and indispensable element for the integral development of the child because it covers all the basic skills: motor, cognitive, emotional and social.

Spending some time during the day playing with an adult, be it parent or another figure like a teacher, a grandparent or another relative, is very important. We know that the fast pace of society has forced us to reduce the time dedicated to shared play, free from distractions like mobile phones, televisions or work, but the adult remains a crucial element. Adults, in fact, have the task of ensuring that the space and the materials used for play are safe, but also that they are educational. On the other hand, children must also learn to play alone, to develop tools and systems to not get bored, without the constant presence of someone to help them.

A feature of our design is the attention to stimuli. But to do so we chose simple materials and forms, not just because they are more sustainable, but also because it seemed to be the most appropriate choice for this purpose. It almost seems to be a contradiction. Perhaps more technological materials could create more stimuli?

The world is in continuous technological evolution, but technology is not strictly necessary for the children, until at least 6 years of age.

Non-figurative games, that give them the space necessary to let their predispositions shine through and to awaken their imagination and creativity, are more appropriate tools. So, simplicity is more than welcome! Besides, we may also remember that when we were children a box could become a car, a plane, a hiding place. A chair or table could become a cave, a house or a train. A book without text, containing only images, could tell a different story for every person that read it.

Very often we believe they need more games, but children can play for hours on end with everyday things. Some seeds, a bit of earth, a pot, a table, a cloth, a rope or the child’s bed itself, are all that’s needed to unleash their creativity and imagination, encouraging their development as a whole.

The use of games and devices where the children are simply spectators if anything produce the opposite effect, as do games that seek to stimulate children to early on. Vibrating bouncers, games with shrill sounds and coloured lights are objects that make the child passive and create addiction. This will make them become  bored more quickly without a sound or visual stimulus within reach, and we will have more overweight children with behavioural difficulties, attention deficit disorders and other problems.

Sometimes the constant movement of the child makes parents panic, and they resort to tricks to keep them quiet. That is not always really necessary. Sometimes following their imaginary journeys and becoming swept up in them can also be exciting for adults.

 

* Natalia has developed her profession in the socio-educational field with children from 0 to 3 years and their families, offering workshops on bonding, play and psychomotor development in contexts of social vulnerability.

He has also worked in the clinical area with children from 2 to 16 years of age with academic, motor, relational and behavioral difficulties and various pathologies such as Down syndrome, corpus callosum agenesis, autism spectrum disorder, etc.

montessori boockshelf

Read for the kids. Hug them and rediscover that moment of intimacy, when they let themselves be lulled by your voice and together with you go to the discovery of a new dimension, which helps calm and concentration.
This precious moments can also become a strategy during the “family crisis”, when the decibels exceed the threshold of tolerance and you appear to have lost control of the situation.

Every child knows his favorite book by heart: re-reading the same story calm him and improves his comprehension of concepts.

When children can recognize quickly their own favourite book from the cover, it increases their autonomy.

For this reason Leggola, the book rack, is one of the first Nini’s product.

Taking advantage of its shape we decided to make it a real three-dimensional product, using also the back.

Books in the front develop imagination, while in the back can continue the symbolic game: a dollhouse to play and to create new stories!

memory montessori

Rhymes and chants help memory and concentration, and help to learn new words, even in foreign languages.

Here are our community’s nursery rhymes!

 

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream,
Merrily merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the brook,
If you catch a little fish
Please let it off the hook

——————-

Round and round the garden
Chasing teddy bears.
One step, two step,
Three step, tickley everwhere!
Round and round the mulberry bush,
Like a little hare,
One Step, two step,
Tickly under there!

——————-

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

—————-

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When this blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, through the night.

Then the traveller in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark;
He could not see where to go,
If you did not twinkle so.

In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye
Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark
Lights the traveller in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

———–

Ainsi font, font, font,
Les petites marionnettes,
Ainsi font, font, font,
Trois p’tits tours et puis s’en vont.

Les mains aux côtés,
Sautez, sautez, marionnettes,
Les mains aux côtés,
Marionnettes, recommencez.

Mais elles reviendront,
Les petites marionnettes,
Mais elles reviendront,
Quand les enfants dormiront.

——————-

Tombolo Dondolo sul muro sedeva,
Tombolo Dondolo dal muro cadeva;
e non bastarono a metterlo in pié
tutti gli uomini e i cavalli del Rè.

——————–

Dondola dondola il cavallino
porta in sella l’allegro bambino
insieme cavalcano verso il tramonto
e si preparan per il giro del mondo,
insieme cavalcano incontro alla sera
attraversano i monti e la selva più nera.
In mezzo al deserto o nel mare aperto fra cow – boys ed indiani
nei villaggi africani
o fra le rovine degli antichi egiziani,
in mezzo alle umide risaie cinesi
visitano insieme civiltà e paesi.
Sfidano mostri, stregoni e draghi
grazie a pozioni di potenti maghi
ed ogni avventura è una grande occasione
per far correre libera l’immaginazione.

—————————-

il cavallo del vecchietto va zoppetto, va zoppetto
il cavallo del giovanotto va a trotto, va a trotto
il cavallo del mio compare come il vento sa … volare!!

———————-

C’era una volta il tonnetto Totonno
che ogni mattina cascava dal sonno,
mentre la sera per farlo dormire
la mamma tonna doveva impazzire.
Il babbo tonno con voce profonda
cantava ninna sul ritmo dell’onda,
ma un occhio solo chiudeva Totonno
mentre suo padre moriva di sonno.

————————-

Su su su cavalo
La mama è andata al balo
Con le tetine piene
Per darle a le putele
Le putele no le vol
Pichete pachete sul culon!

———————

Trotta trotta cavallino
per la strada del mulino
il mulino non c’è più
trotta trotta cadi giù!

 

Come aiutare il bambino a rendersi autonomo?

Sooner or later everyone has to spread their wings and fly. It is the conquest of maturity, when a chick begins to be able to feed themselves, to explore the area around the nest, to grow up and become strong. For humans this is a long process that lasts for many years but even our children must start somewhere. How?  Well, a very simple way to encourage them to do things on their own is to reward them with a satisfied look: “You did it!!” .

For example. A three-year-old can already help set the table for a family meal. It is not just a question of getting them used to “helping out at home”. Setting the table can, in fact, have an educational purpose and become a fun game. If the idea upsets you (they are too young to be put to work!) you might be surprised to know that they have been doing this in nurseries for a while and it works well. Let’s see why.

Learning to lay the tablecloth and then put other objects on it in a certain precise order is an exercise in logical thinking: you have to understand what should go on the table first and what goes on after, work out the number of plates and diners, remember the order of the courses and how the objects should be laid out for the meal. You therefore have to be focused and attentive. Also, to set the table you use your hands and this is by no means of little importance. Learning to handle objects with care, for example a jug of water, is an exercise in balance and develops motor skills (and patience if the first few times you spill a little water on the table!). Maria Montessori believed that this was an important exercise, not only from a physical point of view, because the development of refined motor skills for her was the basis for all learning: “The hands are man’s own intelligence tools,” she wrote. Finally, and in general, the conquest of independence and the feeling of having participated in the construction of a communal moment makes them more sure of themselves, proud of their capabilities, and proud at having received the trust and respect of mum and dad.

And it is not just setting the table. Forms of “playful learning” can be created in many situations: learning to tie their shoes, dress themselves and water the house plants are exercises that can seem trivial to adults but the child will feel that they have played in a constructive way, and for them it will become one of those games led by adults that ends with a big “well done!” and a lot of satisfaction.

Obviously it is the parents who are more concerned than the children. Because, let’s face it, watching a small child doing things independently is a little frightening and sometimes creates discomfort. It means long waits while they put on their trousers, having some fragile objects occasionally fall, and being unable to help them or take over when they have acquired a taste for doing things by themselves. It is normal, but we get over it, and even the discomfort only lasts a short while, because in time it will result in more freedom for everyone. In fact, I bet that as soon as we stop being afraid and we encourage them to do things alone, to spread their wings and fly, we will not want to stop doing it.

cameretta montessori
SILVIA BENCIVELLI

A slap every now and then does them good”: it was a common affirmation among parents (like ours!) in the past, those who really did occasionally give their children a spank or slap. The purpose of a slap was to frighten, to impose authority, to remind the child who was in charge: to put a child who was acting out “back in line”. But is (and was) there really any need for those slaps? No. Simply because the parent’s role is not what it was believed to be at that time – a role that without supremacy crumbled and lost all meaning. Read more