Saturday, February 9, 2008

Presentations on Lake and Island - Lesson 2

A teacher posted on the Montessori by Hand yahoo group's bulletin board that in her training the land forms were made each time by the student. The materials needed are two small trays (I used black, plastic microwavable dinner dishes that I had brought in to recycle), brown non-hardening clay, one or two clay carving tools, a small pitcher for water and a small sponge. Also, a small canister to hold the clay while not in use. The decoration on the canister that I chose was of seashells and I found a matching small tray with the same.

Doing the land forms this way, rather than using pre-made molds from a Montessori materials supplier, allows the child to use their own hands to create the landforms and therefore gain a muscular and visual memory of the shapes. Also, working with clay strengthens a child's hand. Finally, the child has the liberty to shape the molds as they desire. They may create a volcano on the island or cliffs hanging over the island. The clay provides them creative input in the design of the miniature landscape.

As I presented this work a child raised his hand and stated that the shape of the island could fit into the cut out shape of the lake. I did not need to explain. In fact, I try not to explain too much so that the children feel that their statements come from their own discoveries/insights and not mine. What I did state, and I said these words as I poured water around each piece of molded clay, is the following, "An island is a body of land surrounded by water. A lake is a body of water surrounded by land."

The following set of pictures are those of a young four year old completing the work.

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