Monday, January 23, 2012

Tot School: I is for Igloo - sort of . . . (26 mo)

~ Moose is currently 26 months old ~

Tot School
Letter of the Week: Ii
Object/Theme: Igloo/Winter Fun
Color: Purple
Shape: Circle

I expected last week to be a slightly off week.  As I mentioned in my last Tot School post, Moose was scheduled to move up to the next classroom and I suspected that our alphabet run would be interrupted (and I was right: they did Cc last week and will do Dd this week).  For that reason, and given the season, I planned to focus more on some fun winter activities and be a little less structured.

It was a good thing I did.

Moose has transitioned seamlessly to the next class each and every time until now.  In fact, he is always eager to move onwards and upwards to new toys and new things to learn.  I expected he would be especially keen this time since all but one of his little friends had already moved up in December (and he'd been asking about them ever since).

I was instructed to drop him off in the new class on Tuesday morning.  That part went off without a hitch!  He ditched me at the door and ran to play with his friends.  Apparently it went downhill from there.  He started crying inconsolably during the 9 o'clock hour and by 10 they had taken him back to his old classroom.  When one of his two teachers in his old room went to take her lunchbreak during naptime, he saw her leaving and had a meltdown.  Moose can be a whiner, but he's not a big crier.  This was new to everyone!

In the end he spent Tuesday afternoon in his new classroom (he woke up from his nap and asked for some of his friends).  On Thursday morning, I dropped him off in his old classroom and, within 45 minutes, he asked for his "new class" and spent the rest of the day there.  

I tried to be sensitively to to his unease with this transition, while still maintaining a positive outlook for him (new as it was to me!).  We had a lot of cuddle time on our days home (Wednesday and Friday).  We talked about his new class and the things he would get to do there.  We talked about the fact that he could still see his old teachers even though he wouldn't be with them every day.  

I also threw out completely my little-less-structured ideas for the week, and we focused on fun.

Wednesday morning started very rough (not surprising after Tuesday's disaster).  Then I read this post over at Totally Tots and got inspired to have a Montessori Moment of my own.  I grabbed an activity tray (from Lakeshore Learning), a large bowl, small bowl, and a spoon.  Total prep time was about 60 seconds.

And the results were PHENOMINAL!

First he felt the ice and transferred it to the small bowl with his hands and we talked about how it felt.

Then he tried transferring ice with the spoon, which he did great with.

We had several rounds of moving ice from the large bowl to the smaller one.  When the small one was full, he poured it back into the big one.  A few times, we counted the ice cubes as he transferred them.

By this time the ice was beginning to melt, so we talked about how ice is made.  After I explained that ice is water that gets very cold, he asked for a glass of water.  He drank some and then began experimenting with adding ice to the water.  He mixed up the ice and water in his cup and told me he was "cooking".

More pouring ensued and things got a little messy.  At some point I pulled out a dish towel, and Moose asked if he could help "dry".

In all, he played at this activity for a full 28 minutes! For the Moose, this is an unheard of amount of time!  And we only stopped because we were late for a playdate!  He asked for "ice" again over the weekend (unfortunately at very inopportune times - like in the middle of meal prep, and while walking out the door to my father-in-law's 60th birthday dinner) and the lesson learned for me is that I definitely need to go back through some of the Montessori blogs I've stumbled upon and start assembling more activities like this!

Moose also played with his new Do-A-Dot Markers last week (I'd had them sitting in reserve for when we needed something fresh to liven things up, and they were just the thing for his mood last week).  He didn't quite grasp the concept of making the dot mark in the printed dot, but he had fun.  (The adorable printables are from 2 Teaching Mommies.)

Our physical play was mostly hide and seek (at Moose's request).  We did a little yoga over the weekend, too.

Somehow, out of the wreckage that was last week came some delightful firsts: first counting to ten on his own (spontaneously in the middle of the kitchen floor on Thursday night while I was making dinner: "Mommy, listen," and he counted perfectly 1 to 10); and first poo-poo in the potty.

I peeked in on him (via video) this afternoon and he is still in his new classroom and seems to be doing just fine.  These are the days I wish I could stay home be with him all the time . . .

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