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Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

Spring Forward with Hands On Lesson Planning

Please visit for the updated 2013 issue!


Heidi Anne Spietz


March is National Crafts Month

It’s still cold in many areas throughout the United States. Some weekends are spent with families snuggled in their warm homes reading books, playing board games and doing other things to pass the time. Why not create some very special lasting memories?

Knitting, needlepoint, embroidery, crocheting and other such activities serve multiple purposes and can be enjoyed by all. It’s not too late to knit a scarf for that special someone. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are not far away. Why not make a handmade gift that is created with thought and care?

You can readily see that the benefits stretch far beyond just making memories. First, young children receive practical life applications and learn how to combine colors and textures. Second, it gives family members an opportunity to share a creative experience. Third, we all know that you can’t put a price on a handmade gift.

So, let’s get started. First, visit How to Knit and Crochet You should find just about everything you need there – from the basics to a discussion forum where you can ask questions, look for project ideas and share the fun.

Find links to free projects, lesson planning ideas and other offerings by visiting Links

See for more information.

Lois, from Bountiful, forwarded an easy to knit pattern that is perfect for beginners. Visit Broken Rib Scarf with Seed Stitch Border – EASY BEGINNER PATTERN to access this information.

Yarn can be expensive, so first check the bins and discount tables at your local crafts or yardage store for bargains. If it’s too cold to venture outside, visit Closeouts from Bountiful You can also found out more about fibers, books, spinning, weaving and some very special products by visiting Bountiful

Have you admired those who create beautiful needlepoint masterpieces, but have felt too timid to try this art yourself? Think again. Receive a good overview and directions on how to get started by visiting Teach a Child to Needlepoint and Needlepoint for Fun

Receive a Beginning Cross Stitch and Continental Stitch for Making Coasters by clicking here. To see more of Ruth’s beautiful designs visit Ruth Dilts Design

Harrisville Design’s pegLoom, is a great and affordable way to discover the excitement of real weaving. Children immediately grasp the technique of weaving with the simple, sturdy loom. Children can make wall hangings, purses, coasters, “mug rugs” and more! pegLoom includes everything needed for a complete woven project. The pegLoom was also the winner of the Teachers’ Choice Award. Visit Harrisville Designs

Next, point your browser to the Farm Country General Store This online store offers a wide variety of arts & crafts books and other resources for individual and group settings.

Be sure to also read the Creative Care March 2012 Newsletter for ready to use preschool age appropriate craft kits and other spring themed items. For additional information about year round crafts, please visit the Creative Care website.

For more creative fun visit Hands On Fun and click on the free hands on lesson planning idea planning newsletters.

Heidi Anne Spietz

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Exploring Holidays and History


Spring brings many special holidays and historical events to enrich our homes and classrooms. Enjoy these resources to help your students understand and explore these interesting observances.

For a round-up of various links for January and February lesson plans and ideas, visit:   

Black History Month – February

Black History Month, observed in February since 1926, provides many interesting opportunities to explore history, culture and food.  The Creative Process can get you started with their “Celebrate Black History Month” page, linked here:

You will find more information, resources and recipes in the links below. , , , and

Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, 1809

There is no question that Abraham Lincoln is one of the most famous and most admired presidents of the United States.  Many states no longer observe his birthday as a separate holiday; but his life, accomplishments and assassination are at the heart of one of the most complex and pivotal eras of American history.  President Lincoln’s life and career make an excellent basis for unit studies. Explore these interesting websites for more information. , , and

George Washington’s birthday, February 22, 1732 (Presidents’ Day observed February 20, 2012)

Sara L. Ambarian helps us get to know the man who is called “the Father of our Country”, with information about George Washington in her article, “Celebrating the Personal Life of George Washington”. You’ll find additional educational links about our first president at the end of the article.

For more presidential lesson ideas, read “It’s Time to Think Outside the Box and Kindle, Too!” from, with its suggestions for studying Thomas Jefferson.  You can also enhance your studies of government and politics with a batch of the famous, traditional and tasty Senate Bean Soup, from Dale and Rita at North American Montessori Center.

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17

Visit these links for lesson and craft ideas for the “greenest” spring holiday!  and  

Easter, April 8

Georgette Baker from Cantemos offers some fun projects for Easter and other spring holidays.  Check out her festive hat and easy tie-dye instructions.  

For long-lasting Easter fun outdoors, Jan from Garden Artisans shares a cute Hippity Hoppity Bunny Topiary project here:  

Bake up an interesting Italian tradition with Mary Ann Esposito’s Neopolitan Stuffed Easter Bread.  If desirable, you could make it easier, more economical and/or more kid-friendly by replacing the fancy imported meat and cheese with meat or cheese of your choice.  It might also be more kid-friendly if you dice the meat and cheese a little smaller than Ms. Esposito does in the tutorial.  The recipe is full of interesting Easter symbolism, and what child wouldn’t be fascinated (as Ms. Esposito was herself) by the whole raw eggs baked into the bread!  

Find more Easter inspiration at the following sites. ,  and

Cinco de Mayo, May 5

Cinco de Mayo is not, as sometimes assumed, Mexican Independence Day (a separate holiday which is celebrated on September 16). It marks the Battle of Puebla in which Mexican troops defeated French troops. Find out more at:  

For introduction or reinforcement of Spanish language lessons, check out the offerings from Cantemos  and Professor Toto  

For Spanish-speaking students or those learning Spanish, check out our Unit Study Lesson Plan About Mexico in Spanish.

For more lesson ideas and some recipe ideas for Mexican food to make, check these interesting sites. , /, and /

Mother’s Day , May 13

Parents and educators are always looking for ideas and resources for the popular holiday, Mother’s Day.  Dale Gausman from NAMC lists some books and ideas in his article, “Mother’s Day in the Montessori Classroom”. He also provides some lesson plan ideas for older students.

These websites provide some additional ideas for crafts and decorations.  and

Memorial Day, May 28

Memorial Day is a solemn, but potentially important holiday with which to acquaint children at age appropriate levels. NAMC’s Dale Gausman discusses the history of and Montessori perspective for teaching about Memorial Day in his “Montessori Curriculum Ideas for Memorial Day”.

Find more information on the history of this day of remembrance, at:  and  


For more seasonal and holiday observances for educators, visit:  and

For more about holidays, in a convenient monthly chronology, see Rae from The Creative Process’s “Monthly Observances and Notable Dates”.

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Make Dad Feel Special on His Special Day

Fathers’ Day is June 19 this year, and approaching quickly.  Many of us make a big production of Mothers’ Day, with candy, flowers, dinner “out”, etc.; but for our fathers, sometimes, we don’t make quite as much fuss.  Fathers are, indeed, usually harder to make or buy gifts for.  However, a good father is worth his weight in gold – especially in our current social climate – and he’s probably very appreciative of any effort you make in his honor.  So, if your family is blessed with a fine father (or several), be sure to take the opportunity to help the kids in your life show their love, respect and appreciation. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking.

Jaye at Creative Care shares instructions for a neat, personalized picture frame.  This is an inexpensive craft project which allows lots of opportunity for a child to express their own creativity and symbolize their unique relationship with their father.

Another fun do-it-yourself gift from Rae at Creative Process is their leaf print t-shirt. Find instructions here:

Since most fathers I know are always up for a good meal, cooking or baking can be a good way to share your love on Fathers’ Day.  Maybe Dad would enjoy some fresh cinnamon rolls for his breakfast, using this recipe from Larry at Farm Country General Store. Home-baked goodies are always so inviting. 

If your father does not have a sweet tooth,  perhaps he would appreciate a nice Italian dinner.  Marjorie Kiel Persons of Classical Magic, Inc., shares a very simple but flavorful recipe for Linguini in Clam Sauce as part of her “Oh, How I Love Italy” lesson plan. 

For more ideas for cooking Italian food with kids, visit this cute website:  Their easy-to-navigate sidebar will connect you to lots of other great recipes to round out your Italian feast for Dad. He might enjoy appetizers like bruschetta or zucchini fritters.  A salad is always nice with pasta, whether you prefer the simple and patriotic Caprese or the elaborate antipasto (always a good choice for the “where’s the meat” dad, and usually popular with many children, as well!) Italian cooking also offers a wide variety of traditional desserts from cheesecakes and frozen puddings to cookies and pastries. (You just might want to watch out for the alcohol content in some of them.) Mangi e goda! (Eat and enjoy!)

If your dad is musically-inclined, you can find instruments, CDs, books, music boxes and many music-inspired gifts—for young and old– at The Music House.  Their “specials” page has many great deals for fathers (and graduates).

If your father is a man of action, perhaps he would enjoy an outing with you.  If you live by a beach or other open area, you might have good kite flying conditions.  Kite activities combine fresh air, exercise, and science in a way that brings out the kid in most people.  Find out more in “Up, Up and Away—The Art and Fun of Kite Flying” at:

Another fun outdoor activity to share with Dad is birdwatching.  It is an interesting and versatile hobby that coordinates well with other recreational pursuits, like hiking or camping; but you can also find birds in your own backyard or at a city park. Ornithologist Sanford Wilbur provides lots of tips to get you started at: If your father is new to birdwatching, you can find simple binoculars for a gift as cheap as $30-$50 at: (look for “birdwatching binoculars” link) or (search for “binoculars”.) You can also find a wide variety of field guides and other birdwatching books, both new and used, for a variety of prices, at:

However you honor and celebrate them, we hope that you and the fathers in your life have a wonderful Fathers’ Day!

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