Monday 14 February 2011

Montessori Farm - February

Yesterday was our monthly English day at the Montessori Farm, unfortunately 2 of the kids were absent so there were just 6 of them this time. We started outside playing games, we have discovered that the boys need to burn off some energy before they can settle and work, so we do some running games to wear them out a bit. 
This time the parents dropped the kids off then went for coffee, this seemed to work better for the kids. K2-kun joined in straight away, it usually takes him a while to feel comfortable and we usually invite him to join in but let him actually join in when he is ready. M2-chan is the youngest in the class and hasn't started yochien yet, as soon as mommy is out of sight the waterworks start, of course we try to encourage her to come and join in but she refuses. Yasuyo and I wondered if we should call mommy but decided this time not to which meant M2-chan sobbed for over an hour, this felt rather mean but when she starts yochien in April that is what will happen, if the teacher had 20 odd other kids she won't be pampering to those who cry. We didn't stay outside as long this time because it was so cold, so we moved to the Montessori house before lunch.
 When we got to the house, the kids busied themselves, L-kun really likes this work and gets it out everytime.
 M2-chan was still sobbing and thought that her mommy was upstairs so she cried even louder! Eventually I managed to distract her by asking her to show her older brother how to do the washing activity, this is one of her favourite works and K2-kun had never done it before. The trick worked and although we were worried that she would start again as soon as they had finished it was lunch time and she seemed to have forgotten about mommy. 
The older boys prepared the soup using veg picked at the farm.
 Then we all ate together, the kids made their own rice balls and could pick what to put inside. There was a nice atmosphere at lunch, all the children are asked to stay at the table until everyone is finished and then they put their dirty dishes away before going to find work to do. T-kun told us about his new baby sister and L-kun and K2-kun both declared that they wanted baby sisters.
 It felt like writing was the most popular activity of the day, here T-kun and Ebi-kun are filling in words so they can play bingo. They also played another word game together.
 K2-kun did a dinosaur matching activity and then worked with the metal insets and A-kun started a book, he drew some pictures then Yasuyo helped him write the story.
 M2-kun also matched the dinosaurs, I was surprised she knew the names of all of them and could pronounce them better than me! She also worked with the insets and did some bead sorting, hard to believe it was the same child as before lunch. All the children left with some kind of written work clutched in their hands, eager to show mommy and daddy what they had done, so cute! I know the parents want to see what the kids are up to in the class but it is very distracting for the children and their behaviour changes as soon as they know mommy and daddy are there (I am sure any teachers out there know exactly what I mean, I used to hate doing observation days when I was teaching English because the angel children would turn into devils as soon as mommy put foot in the class room!) M2 didn't realise that her parents had come back and were upstairs, I am sure the crying would have started again has she realised. We are hoping that this was a step in the right direction and that it will be easier for her next time.
 We finished off with story time, we read The Great Race about the Chinese zodiac and the My Daddy Is A Pretzel and the kids tried out their yoga moves which was a good way to finish up, there was much giggling...
 and here the are doing the lion!
Next month with be the last day of this course and K1 and M1 will move to the States. Yasuyo does have another English class but her assistant for that day is also going back to the States so we will  only be able to have one class for the next course but with maybe 10 children. I am sure this will change the dynamics of the class but the children have got used to coming to the farm and the rules of the classroom, it is much easier now than it was the first couple of classes. Along with the kids I feel I have learnt so much the last few months, it was a new experience for both Yasuyo and myself and we have worked out the kinks along the way and tried to find the right schedule to suit the kids needs plus the right equipment to have out on the shelves. I think it has been good for the parents too, they tend to hang out together, it is important for moms and dads to have some down time, maybe I will start sneaking off for coffee and leave Yasuyo to it (Just kidding lol)


  1. Hi, Jo. You might find me upstairs, too;-)Thank you for the wonderful day yesterday.

  2. Hi, Jo!
    I think this monthly English day is really good. I'm not a montessori based mom, but I've been following your blog for...years, and has been using your ideas a lot for making my 5 years old boy busy.

    Can my son join you guys? we live in Tokyo :)

  3. Hi,
    Just now we have put the classes on hold, Yasuyo is currently working with quake/tsunami victims and not at the farm. The class is run for 6 months and the families sign up for the 6 month course. The new course, that was supposed to start April was full but then a number of families went overseas after the quake, we are not sure yet how many will be back, at the moment we are playing it by ear. If you send me your email address I will ask Yasuyo to put you on the waiting list. Once we know how many we have for the class we can sort something out.


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