I just wanted to say a heartfelt "Thanks" to everyone for their comments and emails in response to my last post. I feel very encouraged and have a lot of new ideas for managing things a little better so that my older girls can get in the Montessori room more.
On Thursday, we had a "perfect storm" of sorts (in a good way) in which my husband and oldest daughter were out of the house and my 9-month-old was napping, leaving just my 2-year-old and me - what fun! When she has no distractions, she can sit and focus on her work for what seems like an eternity (for a 2-year-old, at least :). However, she definitely has trouble concentrating when her older sister or friends are around. I was excited to have 30 - 45 minutes to let her "play" in the Montessori room.
She knows all of her numbers, and she has recently mastered counting without recounting the same thing, so I thought it would be fun to try the large number rods and number cards. I put the number rods in random order on one mat and the number cards in numerical order on a second mat. We worked together to count each rod, and then she ran to the second mat to find the right number card:
She was very proud of her work when she was finished (and so was I :)
She has only worked with the long red rods a couple of times, so I was delighted when she was able to put the number rods away almost effortlessly.
Her very favorite thing to do in the Montessori room is the sandpaper letters and the sand tray - which is really just her way to get to play with the sand ;) . We worked together to trace and write about ten letters (here she is making an /o/)...
...and then I let her just enjoy the experience (I love the look on her face here as she watches the sand slooooowly fall through her fingers):
And here she is watching the sand pile up on her arm:
She has worked with the sand tray about 15 times now, and she knows to be very careful and to try not to spill sand (this took some practice, but she's very good at it now). A long time ago, this is an activity that I would have said was too messy for her. Thankfully, I've gotten over myself and my fear of messes. (I mean, seriously, it took me all of 2 minutes to sweep up the cornmeal that fell to the tabletop/floor, but it was a solid 15 - 20 minutes of sheer delight for her.) With the weather so cold outside, it was nice to bring the "sandbox" inside for a little while.