Friday 29 June 2012


Montessori Activity: Mystery Box

Age: From 1.5 years old

Activity Duration: 5 - 10 minutes

Preparation Time: 10 minutes


1. To gives your child a fun way to practise in identifying and naming objects only through the sense of touch.


1. 1 tissue box with a hole (I use a shoe box instead and covered the hole with a felt "curtain" to conceal the objects).

2. 2 sets of different objects such as apple, orange, animal figures, geometric objects such as cube, a pyramid, a prism, etc.


1. Show your child the objects and name them one-by-one.

2. Put them in the box and close the box.

3. Ask your child to put his hands inside the box and try to find the item you name just by feeling it. He is not allowed to look inside the box.

Here is another variation of the game - the Mystery Bag

Video Demonstration:

Additional Information:

J (3Y3M3W3D) tried this game today, and he enjoyed it. He was too quick at it, and picked one wrong item, but we had a good time laugh together.


- Montessori Play and Learn by Lesley Britton


Thursday 28 June 2012


J's Lunch Box

Consists of strawberries, sweet potato, pasta, corn cob, carrot, goji berries and pumpkin seeds.

School Time/Skoletid/上课时间

Duration: 7 - 8.30pm (1.5 hours)

Montessori Time:

We dissected goji berries and raisins with scissors and took a closer look at it with magnify glass...

Blanket Time:

We read two books...

And a story from the Rhyme Bible...

It was jigsaw puzzle time. I picked the letter puzzle, and Joshua was very very enthusiastic about it. He was very keen to say its name and practicing his ABCs. He did not manage to recite all the letters, but I was very touched by the effort he made. It is important that he enjoys the learning and follows his own pace.

Joshua completed the ABC puzzle, but he wasn't so keen to say each letter's name, after placing it in place.

Desk Time:

We did one page of worksheet today, as the time was getting very late, although Joshua wanted very much to do more.

Bed Time:

We said our night prayer in Mandarin today and sang our usual lullaby.

Wednesday 27 June 2012


J's Lunchbox

Consists of liver pate on rye bread, carrot, rice with salmon and green beans and pear

Sunday 24 June 2012


School Time/Skoletid/上课时间

Duration: 6.30 - 8.30pm (2 hours)

Montessori Time:

Buttoning and unbuttoning..

I did not offer jigsaw puzzle today, but Joshua suggested himself to work with one, surprise surprise, as jigsaw puzzle has never quite been his interest. He seemed to know that Mommy thinks that it is important. He is putting in his own efforts and the motivation came from himself. I was touched by his gesture. I was glad I did not give up on jigsaw puzzle.

He felt a little lost with so many parts lying on the floor and needed a little help with some clues on how to find some of the parts...

But he persevered on to complete it.

Great effort Joshua! That's the most important. Thanks for not giving up. This is a good start. We took a picture to celebrate his completion of the puzzle. He wanted to take a picture of me with the completed puzzle too. He said that I should get half of the credit, since I helped him with it too. Ahh... so sweet!

Blanket Time:

Reading with Daddy...

and then Mommy... with Thomas the train, the Rhyme Bible and one other book - all in English in keeping with our English Sunday theme.

Desk Time:

As time was getting late, I told him that we could only do a couple of pages of the Chinese workbook. He asked for one more page... okie dokie, which I relented.

We moved on to the English workbook, where he completed two pages. He did not ask for more, as he usually does for the Chinese workbook. I could see that he was getting really tired.

Quiet Time:

We recited the same memory verse as we did yesterday, and then we quickly went to bed.

Bed Time:

We said our night prayer in English today. He asked for the usual ritual, before agreeing to let me leave the room. He asked to recite 3 tang dynasty poems. We sang the ABC song and the Singapore National Athem as requested by Joshua. I sang the Night Night song twice... the usual routine. Gave hime a good night kiss, covered him with blanket, and left the room. The time was 8.30pm, way too late!!! We have to shift dinner time earlier up on weekends! We ate dinner at 5.30pm today. It should be moved to 5pm.

Additional Information:

I make efforts to record down this School Time, mostly to celebrate his efforts, perseverance and his joy at learning, and also to a less extent to celebrate his progress and his success, because years down the road, should he encounter set back in school, I will show him how he had not given up, but persevered on, when he was a 3 year old boy.

We would all encounter set backs in school at one point or the other. This will serve to encourage him to regain the fighting spirit and the joy of learning he has shown at age 3.

School Time is a very special time of bonding between Mommy and Joshua, between Daddy and Joshua and I cherish the memory of it. Years down the road, I would like to be able to remember the School Time we did, when Joshua was a preschool.

Do you do school with your child? Do you find it overwhelming and a lot of work? Try it. It can be also a lot of fun and relaxing, if you just take an easy approach. I can assure you that it is a great bonding time. Your child will thank you for it. Years down the road, you would cherish the memory. Why not take a first step to do school with your child, and not just leaving it to tuition teachers and enrichment centres, as most Singaporeans do. Sure, it is a lot of personal sacrifice, but it is very meaningful and fulfilling. You see a direct reward of the effort you sow in the development of a person you are nurturing.

J's Lunch Box

J 's lunch box consists of stir-fry tofu with rice, strawberries, water-melon, cucumber, radish, biscuits with cheese dip treat and carrot (behind the cheese biscuits).

J was very happy when he found the biscuits with cheese dip at Netto. He requested it, because his classmates are having it in their lunch box. He said that he would only get to look at them, during lunch.

I took a label at of the biscuits. It contains many E numbers, not healthy at all. But my heart melted with images of him looking sadly at his classmates enjoying this cheese biscuits, while he had none. So I decided to add a pack into his lunch box. Sometimes, I have to go with the crowd. However, I am limiting it to once a week only.

This is also the first time, I am introducing radish. I doubt J would like it, but I am encouraging him to try new and healthy vegetables.

Montessori Activity: Buttoning & Unbuttoning

A cardigan with big buttons serves this function very well...

...than buying this expensive Montessori Dressing Frame - Buttoning:

Age: From 3 years old


1. To train the child’s hand-eye coordination skill.
2. To train fine motor skills.
3. To teach practical life skills.


1. 1 cardigan with big buttons
2. I tray or basket


1. Show your child how to insert the eyelet of the felt cloth through the button.

2. Encourage your child try it.

Additional Information:

J (3Y3M21D) tried this today 24 June 2012. He could button very well now compared to when he tried buttoning activity last yer around this time. He did 3 rounds of buttoning and it was completed very fast. However, it was more challenging for him to unbutton. It took him a longer time to do it, but he succeeded.

Joshua buttoning

Yes, success!

Joshua unbuttoning

Saturday 23 June 2012


Elaine's Concept of School Time for Preschooler

School time with Joshua is slowly getting more organized and built into our routine. I try to do school with Joshua every day after work, and a little more on Saturday if I can.

As Joshua's attention span and concentration skill improves, we have also weaned away from "Montessori on a Potty" when he was a toddler (to keep him focused and staying in one spot) to "Montessori on a Mat".

Typically, this is how our curriculum looks like currently, although it is still undergoing change as our School Time matures to take its own characteristics. 

4 Concept Components

It consists of 4 concept components, namely:

1. Montessori Time
2. Blanket Time
3. Desk Time
4. Quiet Time

Here is my philosophy behind School Time:

1. Montessori Time

Montessori activity teaches learning in a concrete and tangible way. Montessori activity uses materials other than books and offers sensory experiences, mainly touch, through the child working with the materials. I am currently looking into implementing Montessori Maths Programme to be ready when Joshua is at elementary school age. Montessori as I have found teaches Maths in a very concrete way - brilliant!

We also include jigsaw puzzles in Montessori Time, although we hardly do jigsaw puzzles, as Joshua is not a big fan of it. I have to follow Joshua and at the same time, gently encourage him to play with jigsaw puzzles.

We started Montessori on a Potty Activity when Joshua was two years old, to prevent him from running around, but seated on a potty.

Now that he is older and could sit still for a longer period of time, we have now moved on to Montessori on a Mat Japanese style with 2 cushions. This helps to brings an orientation to where the child should sit and brings a greater sense of order to the Montessori activity. He is not confined to just the cushions, and is allowed to move around, but the cushion will bring him back to where he should be every once in a while. Here is the presentation:

2. Blanket Time

After hands-on Montessori-style activity, this is followed by Blanket Time, which we have started since Joshua was a baby. Currently, we will read 3 books together on the blanket or carpet, if Joshua has taken his nap in the kindergarten. If he has not taken his nap, we would only read 1 book. This is not to punish him, but to take into account his degree of tiredness.

During Blanket Time, we also do rhymes and songs, and board games, if we have the time (so far, we do not have the time for board game).

3. Desk Time

It is a well-known advice from many child development books that in order to encourage a life-long love for books, we have to read to our babies from the day they are born. I believe firmly in that too for school.

In order to encourage a life-long love for school, I think that it is important to start doing school early with our children, as soon as they are developmentally ready. School for us is represented in a tangible way by Desk Time - i.e. the child sits on a kid's size chair with a kid's size table and do homework.

It should be pleasant and fun, so that the child will recall with fond memories about school. Hopefully this will counter the negative experience children often get, when they enter real public school at real school age. Desk Time will be their first encounter with school, and this first encounter will set the attitude they get about the pleasure of doing homework and learning, and carry them through through hard times in real school. So be sure that you are the one to shape their attitude with your concept of school and not the school that they enter at school age.

During Desk Time, Joshua will work on learning that requires patience, concentration and determination such as colouring, writing, doing worksheets or workbooks. Actually many of the workbooks are very fun and colourful and in themselves mini "Montessori-style" activities in print.

The advantage is that it does not require material preparation as compared to Montessori activity. As such the child gets exposed to many many different scenarios, which is not possible with Montessori, as it is limited by the need to prepare materials, and to have the materials available for preparation. However, the disadvantage is that the sensory and 3-dimensional experience is missing in Desk Time. But this is off-set and complemented by Montessori Time as part of School Time. In fact, as iron sharpens iron, I very often find myself getting creative ideas on how to implement Montessori-styled activities from the ideas from the Chinese and Singaporean workbooks. The Desk Time and Montessori Time, as I find, is thus a 2-way exchange. The Desk Time and Montessori Time, as I find, is thus a 2-way exchange. Here, I believe that I am learning to integrate the best from two cultural approaches to learning - the Chinese (Eastern) way and the Italian (Western) way. Both are important and have value.

I believe that cultivating Desk Time from young is important in the long-run for a child to develop the ability to concentrate in school.

4. Quiet Time (QT)

We end School Time with memorizing a Bible verse, learning a biblical lesson and singing a Christian song. I am actually not too pleased that this is the last item in School Time, since God is the most important in our lives, we should give Him first place also in School Time. But our School Time is still taking shape and I have started to introduce QT only recently. I will slowly work on it with prayer.

5. Bed Time

Not listed as a component is the fifth one called Bed Time, as this is carried over from Joshua's bed time tradition. We would recite Tang dynasty poems in his bed. He would always ask for this. We also include the Singapore National Athem occasionally as part of his heritage education.


How long does a typical School Time take?

So far on average it takes 1.5 hour, which is less than 10% of my time a day. Preparation of materials takes approx. 30 mins - 1 hour a week. Reading up is the one that takes time, however, it is because I love to research and read up. Thus, it is like a leisure time activity for me. Reading time could be reduced to 30 min - 1 hour a week. If you does not like to do research, you are welcome to just copy what I am doing with Joshua :-) Try it! It is all worth it!

I am waiting to see whether there will be any emerging trend. In general, it depends on the desire of Joshua, and usually he could not have enough of School Time. I suspect that it is because he doesn't want to go to bed.

I find that Joshua is most motivated to do school in the evening and he could do school for a long time until I have to say stop. It is a different story if it is in the morning or afternoon. 

As a result, it has caused delay to Joshua's bed time to 8.30pm. Currently, Joshua's School Time starts from 6.30pm - 8.30pm, but I hope to bring it forward to 6 - 7.30pm.

How do I start?

You do not have to implement all 4 components at once, if this is the first time you are doing school with your child, as it can be overwhelming. You can start with one component at a time until your child is ready for the next component.

Sample School Time

Here is a sample from our School Time today based on the 4 concept components:

1) Montessori Time: Number recognition with stickers
Component 1) Montessori Time: Number recognition with clock puzzle.
This was requested by Joshua. I took the opportunity to teach him the concept of time, which he seemed to grasp well. For example, I say, "This is the number 3. Can you find the puzzle for number 3?" He would show it to me. I would ask, "Can you show me 3 o'clock?" And he would move the hand of the crown to the number 3.

Joshua showing me 8 o'clock by moving the hand of the crown to the number 8
Component 2) Next was the Blanket Time - Daddy reading Danish books to Joshua using Thomas the Reading Frog
Thomas the reading frog was a reading program introduced by Joshua's kindergarten. His teachers told us the concept and encourage us to borrow the Reading Frog back home for a few days. We did that. Joshua enjoyed it very much. I really appreciate Florian's help with School Time. While he took over this component for today, I quickly went to take a shower.

Component 3) Desk Time: Doing English workbook
Desk Time: Tracing horizontal lines. Joshua narrated on his own iniative after me saying "from left to right, from left to right".
Next, it is from right to left, from right to left
Moving on to Chinese workbook with some Montessori-style exercises, but on paper
Component 4) Quiet Time: Memorizing with mommy a verse.

We focused on Matthew 6:33 this evening
The Bible verse I tried to teach Joshua to memorize today is "Seek ye first the kingdom of God." - Matthew 6:33. We sang this song together and Joshua was moved. He then repeated after me the verse. It helped with the song.

We read a book about Jesus from the Rhyme Bible
Doing school time with Joshua means that I would have less social life. To this, I am reminded of my own mum. My mum is popular among her friends due to her easy-going personality, but yet she hardly go for social events. I once asked her why, and she said that life as a housewife is extremely busy with many chores to do, and children to attend to. In addition, socialization also cost money. It was something that my mother have counted the cost, and have never regretted. Although I am not a stay-at-home mom, but a working mom, I found my mother's words to be very true.

Many Danes hire nanny so that they can go out and socialize with their friends. When I was growing up, our family was poor then, and my mum would not be able to hire nanny so that she can go out with her friends. But as a result I benefitted from my mum's presence in terms of quantity time and quality time. It is sometimes a blessing not to be too afluent and well-off. Our economic situation has improved a lot since my mother's times, but I am following in my mother's footsteps. I am not considering to hire any nanny so that I can go out and socialize. Having worked 5 days a week, weekends are reserved for our child, where we can spend both quantity and quality time together.

Doing School Time with Joshua also means that I have to tread with care and wisdom in order to retain balance in the family life. This requires loving support from Florian, to which I am very grateful.

Montessori Activity: Number Recognition with Stickers

Age: From 3 years old

Activity Duration: 5 - 15 minutes

1. To teach number recognition in a fun way.
2. To train the child's fine motor skills.
3. To teach colours.

1. 1 bowl containing stickers of different numbers.
2. 1 tray or mat

1. Start from the sticker "1" by peeling the paper and stick it onto the child's note book.
2. Invite your child to look for number "2" and for him to peel the paper and stick onto the note book.
3. Continue with the rest of the number

Letter and number stickers: 20 DKK from Tiger

Additional Information:
Joshua (3Y3M18D) tried this activity this evening for about 20 minutes and he enjoyed it. The concentration this activity invites when peeling the numbers and sticking them reinforced the learning of number recognition. He was best with distinguishing between 6 and 9, by turning them around. But it was a challenge for him to look for the numbers inside the bowl though.

It has been a very fun time today, and capture Joshua's attention to focus on the numbers for longer than usual. I hope to buy more stickers and introduce it to our church nursery.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

My Favourite Books

Montessori Materials