Monday, September 30, 2013

Walking on the Line - in the Atrium

Walking on the line is one of those iconic primary Montessori experiences - that fades away in elementary.

Yet I still see the need for it in us all: children and adults alike.

Past Seeking the Plan of God posts on the line:
Adding the Line
Some background

My returning Level 3 children this year - in all 4 level 3 groups I have - requested the line on the first day. They knew it - they loved it - they gained so much from it.

The relaxation; the challenge; the inner balance it achieves especially in these level 3 children whose bodies are growing faster than they can handle and whose emotions are being affected by new hormones.

This year, I am changing the line to a ribbon - leftover from creating a Fettuccia a few years ago. Our carpeting does not hold tape well in the atrium I can place it permanently; the other two atrium spaces, we are not allowed to have tape on the floor.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Prayer Table Decorating

One of the work options in the atrium is to set up the prayer table - in my level 3 atrium, 2 of the first few children to come in can choose to set it up; in the combined atriums, it is typically the children planning communal prayer who decorate or rearrange what is there. Slowly, my older level 1 children will begin setting up a simple prayer table as well.

It always begin with a cloth, includes a Bible and a candle - from there, is anyone's imagination where it will go.

This is a prayer in itself as they select their items, discuss where items will go, and create something that is worthy enough to bring our minds and hearts to communication with God, the angels and the saints.

I love to see the results - especially from children who have tougher outer layers or those who are more quiet and less expressive. This year, I hope to document each created prayer table.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Atrium for the Year

I am not sure how I have been so blessed! I am in the atrium 5 days a week now with public school, homeschool, private school - two different cities with very different cultures - and I get all three age groups!

I am so excited to be back with level 1 again this year - I have not been full-time with a full group of level 1 for a while now; and I have missed it. I just love seeing the children's personalities emerge as they normalize, deepen concentration and learn about their faith on a level that most of us weren't trusted with at the same age. SO beautiful!

I have groups of children that are combined level 2 and level 3; each group has a separate sacramental preparation and one group will be starting soon.

Finally, I have groups of just level 3 children, with only one "new-to-atrium" child per group, which makes an amazing difference over last year, when the 4th graders had been in atrium since kindergarten, and the 5th/6th had only had sacramental preparation in the atrium 3 and 4 years previously. They got right to work the very first day of class - but more on that in another post.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sweet Concentration

I have been slow in picking up the blog this year - with 5 days a week of atrium, 2 home businesses, homeschooling, family and dear friends - well, we're focusing on living life more than recording it ;)

Thus, my first post of the school year arrives - and is likely to be my FAVORITE.

On the move. Usually on the move. 
I am officially back in level 1 this year with a wonderful group of 2-6 year olds. The youngest of the bunch is also the most energetic - but he sure know what he's about! He listens to every word I say, makes himself understand in the sweetest of ways, and loves to make sure you know he is present.

He set up the first altar work our second week of class - and gestured to me to light the candles. I still can't figure out how he did it, as I was on the other side of our very large atrium, but he did it!

I lit the candles for him, after a bit (we reviewed the names of the items first - he knew them all, but was slower with the chalice and paten) - and he wanted to snuff them. I had shown the children the week before, but he had not had a turn, as I wanted to "show" them several times before starting with the oldest children to snuff.

Well, this was his work and he was ready. So I let him snuff the candles - and I observed.
(Montessori principle: observe and respond and observe some more)
We lit and snuffed the candles 3 times over.

Enough said. 

Lesson confirmed:
Observe. Trust.
Lay a strong foundation.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

What is the Bible? Study Cards - Command Cards

Several years ago, I came across some Bible study cards. I edited them and began using them at home with my son. I am not sure of my original source, but I know I did not purchase them... and I've edited a bit. So I think I am ok to share these for free :)

Then one of our local atriums had a situation that these cards seem perfect to fulfill - so I edited them a smidgeon again, re-printed and sent them over.

The oldest children in level 2 and our level 3 children heavily utilize them to get their hands back into the Bible, seeking, exploring, organizing and truly experiencing the Bible.

They are in need of another revision! Very soon, I will be updating the set to include a "Part 2" for children who have had them for a while and are looking for deeper work. I have taken some ideas from the children to implement and am currently working a couple of groups of children who are revealing to me the next steps in this work.

While these are not an official atrium material, we are using them in level 2 (for the 3rd graders) and in level 3 (for all those who have not yet done them, or it has been a while and they need a reminder).

I would love the feedback of others as well!

What is the Bible? Study Cards