Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Patterns in Nature

We recently borrowed the wonderful book Patterns In Nature by Jennifer Rozines Roy from the library.  It explains all about different types of patterns and how they are all around us.  It also shows how we can make our own patterns from things outdoors and in our backyard. 
After reading the book together L was all set to go.  She grabbed her journal and a pencil and we headed out to the back yard.
Here she is copying down her big, little apple pattern into her journal.
 While L was busy with her journal I made this pattern on the clothesline then asked her if she could continue it which she did no problem.  She had a bit of a harder time copying it into her journal as she needed help with the spaces between the clothes pegs.

 We then moved out of the backyard and went on a nature walk around the neighbourhood finding patterns in ferns and other things as well as making our own.

Reading this book and talking about patterns opened up a whole new world to L and she is loving discovering patterns wherever we go now!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Dancers Mobile

The next mobile in the Montessori Infant mobile series is the Dancers mobile.  I was originally going to just eyeball all of the dancers and draw them myself but then I found a pattern and instructions here.  It made life a whole lot easier!
You are meant to use holographic paper for the dancers.  I used different coloured gift bags from the Dollar Store.  The whole thing cost $2!  I have to say it was a pain in the neck trying to hang and tie all of the pieces with the invisible thread but totally worth it in the end.
I introduced this mobile around three months and once again the little guy totally loved it!
At four months he's still enchanted by it.  Although there is another mobile in the series called the Flowing Rhythm mobile I think I'm going to call it a day!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Fighting a loosing battle

Those are what Barbie's measurements would be if she was a real woman!!  Why am I posting this you ask?
Well the other day my not even five year old daughter was over at a friends house playing.  They have two little girls 4.5 and 6.  When she came home she was literally quivering with excitement.  "Look what I got Mommy!"  She was holding two Barbies in her hands.  " They GAVE them to me.  I told them I didn't have any Barbies and they said I could have these!!!!!!"
My heart skipped a beat.... I took a deep breath and my mind was racing.. how to respond, how to respond.......
I ended up saying wow isn't that nice of them.  Well you can play with them for a bit and then give them back.  Of course her response was.  "No Mommy they GAVE them to me to keep.  Their mommy said it was okay."  I repeated my first statement and then let it go.  All the time the wheels turning trying to figure out how to get them out of the house.

Now at this point you may be asking yourself what's the big deal?  They're only toys and she doesn't know about the fact that if Barbie were a real woman she wouldn't have enough body fat to menstruate or that her neck would be twice as long a any real woman or the fact that her feet are permanently on tip toe for high heels.  She's just a little girl who likes to play with dolls.
Well consider this.  My daughter is still not yet five and therefor she still has what Maria Montessori calls an absorbent mind.  This means she absorbs everything in her environment without even trying.  Montessori knew this and this is why she made her materials with exceptional attention to detail.  The pink tower may just appear to be a collection of pink cubes which the child stacks but the top cube just happens to measure 1cm3.  The rest of the cubes increase progressively in the algebraic series of the third power. Coincidence? No way!  Each material is so much more than it seems.  The child doesn't know this but is absorbing it all for later use.

Now think for a moment.  My daughter is touching, viewing and manipulating these plastic Barbies all while absorbing a female image which is completely unhealthy and unattainable.
When I told my sister this story she said.  We played with Barbies all the time and we're fine.  Hmm really?  You have no body issues at all now as an adult??

Anyhow the real question is how did I deal with it.  Well in the end I was talking to another friend who home schools her children and she suggested doing a trade.  The other day when L was over playing with her children all four children (including a boy) were playing with the oldest girls porcelain doll collection.  They played for hours pretending the dolls were sick in hospital,going to school, having tea parties and dressing them.
I just so happens that I had two porcelain dolls that I'd been saving for L from my grandmother.  I talked to L and said I had something much better than the Barbies and if she would like to return them I could bring out the other dolls.  We had a short talk about how the Barbies look nothing like real women but really at this age I don't feel it's right to have her start concerning herself with body image.  Well she was beside herself when I presented her with the two beautiful dolls.  She couldn't wait to return the Barbies which next to the dolls looked like cheap pieces of plastic.  My friend told me that you can find the porcelain dolls in almost any thrift shop for around $5.

So one battle successfully fought and won by Mommy but as my husband said you can't keep the rest of the world away from her forever. For now at 4 and a half I can certainly do my damdest to try!

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