Learning Comes to Life!

“Hands-on learning” is not just a catchy educational mantra: children truly thrive when learning involves sensory experience and manipulation. Engaging all of the senses not only ensures the solid formation of a concept or skill, but also makes the process of learning much more of a natural, joyful exploration, rather than an academic task.

Making Freckle Juice!

Living to Tell the Tale!
In the second term, the students in LEU are delving deeply into literature: Children are combined into small, mixed-age inquiry groups based on interest and ability, and as a small group studies short stories or novels. A big part of cultivating a deep appreciation of literature is actively engaging the child’s imagination in the course of analyzing and reflecting upon a story. Students ask questions, visualize, and connect story elements through dramatizing and “bringing to life” different parts of stories. Even the sense of taste can be used to effectively bring literature to life: One group of children thoroughly enjoyed making (and bravely tasting) the Freckle Juice recipe in Judy Blume’s classic story, while another group of children researched and wrote a recipe for the Swedish cookie pepparkakor, in line with their study of Pippi Longstocking. They will be shopping for ingredients and making the cookies for the class.

Using skittles and fraction materials to understand division with fractions.

The Magic of Montessori Materials
Sensory experience through the manipulation of concrete materials is especially crucial in grasping mathematics concepts. At the Elementary level, we bring out transitional material from Casa such as the golden beads in order to present and solidify knowledge of quantities and to clearly illustrate processes such as dynamic exchanging in subtraction. Children are then introduced to more advanced concepts and operations through the manipulation of key math material such as the chequerboard, racks and tubes and fraction insets. These materials offer visual and tactile experiences that clearly illustrate the complex mathematical processes taking place, and facilitate abstraction later on.

Using measurement to make evenly-spaced letters on a sign.

The Power of Practical Purpose
It is easy to learn something when there is a real purpose, a real need. The application of skills and concepts runs rampant in the classroom. For example, in the process of painting a sign for the Grade 3

The finished sign (with very evenly-spaced letters).

Assembly, students had to measure and divide the length of a banner by the number of letters that they had to paint on the sign. As part of their novel study, children had to write specific and sequential steps to ensure that their recipes would be followed to a tee. Such practical applications of academic concepts and skills offer wonderful learning experiences, made indelible by sheer necessity.

A child presents a Science lesson to a friend.

Learning by Sharing
The active sharing of knowledge is a key component of a Lower Elementary environment, and a vital avenue for effective learning. Children not only actively collaborate with one another to discover and explore ideas, but take part in class presentations and peer lessons. Sharing projects and lessons with the class is a very effective way of reviewing knowledge and solidifying concepts and information in an open-forum setting. During presentations, students’ knowledge is tested and expanded by answering the questions of their classmates, and the entire audience benefits from listening to the exchange of information. Children also frequently take on the responsibility of educating one another, whether through formal lessons or by simply showing a younger friend “the ropes.” Passing on knowledge to someone else ensures that a concept is fully cemented, and develops essential life skills in leadership and self-confidence.

By engaging all of the senses, sparking the imagination and giving real-life context for concepts and skills, we create a a culture of joyful learning within and beyond the classroom.


JANUARY/FEBRUARY LEARNING THEMES – Please CLICK HERE for lesson themes for January and February.

Binky Brown, our new class bunny.

WELCOME, BINKY BROWN!– A little bunny was welcomed very happily by the LEU class last week. After initially voting on the name “Brownie,” the children have all since agreed that Binky is a more apt name, given that our bunny constantly “binkies”

The children share the space peacefully with Binky during silent reading.

when it is loose (What is a binky? CLICK HERE to find out)! Thus, our bunny is now officially named Binky Brown, and the children were all pleased that we found a good compromise that also gave our class pet a first and last name! Binky is very friendly, is used to being handled, and is already well on its way to being litter-trained. Families who are interested in bringing Binky home for the weekends are invited to let the teachers know at leu@mbts.ky.

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