With love.  From (my window) 
New York City

Creating a master piece

What an amazing way to preserve your child's artwork. If your sick of having thousands of scraps of colored paper and paintings on the fridge and thrown all over the house, try putting them all together to make one beautiful piece of work. I absolutely love this!  Brought to you by Ohdeedoh

A work in progress...

February 24, 2010

Every year the parents association hosts a spring auction where each class is responsible for a piece of work or art created by the kids as part of the live auction (can you say pressure?) This year, each child in my PM class was given a solid white canvas panel. They each chose a color to paint it with, then a different color for their cute little foot prints ( painting the bottoms of their feet was hysterical. They took it upon themselves to challenge one another to not laugh :) Each panel is then going to be mounted together to make one large piece of art. Still trying to figure out the coolest way to get this baby mounted but I'm pretty confident in the end result. Stay tuned....

School spotlight

February 22, 2010

North Park Montessori
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Such a great depiction of what actually goes on in the Montessori classroom. Quiet voices from both students and teachers, independence, a clean, well organized environment, materials being used from all area's of the classroom, students cleaning their work properly, using their rugs and workspaces respectfully and the list could go on....
Thank you for sharing your classroom, North Park Montessori!

Montessori Pre-School/Kindergarten from Thom Bell & Suzanne Zack on Vimeo.

The Giving Tree

February 21, 2010

Found this adorable shelf on Ohdeedoh and can't get enough of it! Not only is it super cute, it reminds me so much of the classic children's story with its color and shape. What an inspiring piece of children's furniture.

The beauty of Montessori materials

February 19, 2010

Natural Wood Tower and Knobbed Cylinders- AHHH, I love how beautiful Montessori materials look in any setting. Not that I so much encourage work time in the home but if you choose to have some materials in your home, they are sure to add a natural, aesthetically pleasing look to your playroom (or living room for that matter). They don't look to shabby against this exposed brick wall either :) Thanks to my classroom neighbors, I was able to steal a couple shots of their beautiful set up.

A little treat for the coffee lovers - Larry's Beans!

February 18, 2010

"Larry’s Beans’ Purpose in Life is to concoct wondrously luscious works of coffee and make the world better at the same time. " So cool and get this, not only does Larry's Beans strive to make the best darn cup of coffee, they're making a positive impact on the world. Seriously. Nicaragua, for example- Larry's sent a team there to record some of the farmers music! I freakin' love that! Oh and also, "We've green-o-vated our roasting plant with passive solar, wind-powered vents, rainwater harvesting, fruit bushes and even dual flush toilets. Our delivery bus runs on vegetable grease. We provide Raleigh’s only distribution point for Biodiesel 100 fuel (locally brewed by our friends at Piedmont Biofuels). Our employees enjoy open air offices, afterall, we believe that business should make the world a happier place. And, to get other folks up to speed, we created Sustainability School.

100% fair trade, shade grown, and organic = perfection.

Below is the delicious product review from my good friend Lisa Frame for Abes Market
Enjoy! Thanks, Larry's Beans for the amazing and yummy work you do :)

Larry's Beans from Abe's Market on Vimeo.

Love is in the air

February 17, 2010

via Etsy, I found these adorable love themed prints. Cute for a child's room, play room or even a common space. The colors are wonderful and you can't help but to smile when you look at them :)

In the age of technology.....

February 16, 2010

Keeping your preschoolers occupied when traveling, waiting in line, riding in the car etc can be grueling. Here are a few of my favorite iphone applications to help you and your little one stay sane AND happy :)

Top 5 iphone apps for your preschoolers:

5. Scribble- .99 cents. Fun and simple. Turns your screen into a mini easel! You can also import photo's from you iphone photo library to draw on top of! How fun turning Daddy into a cowboy by drawing a cowboy hat on his head!
4. Bubble snap-free. Mindless and oh so entertaining. There are so many versions of this app but "bubble snap" is free and essentially the exact same thing as the others. This is sure to keep your preschooler or school ager occupied. Every one knows the bubble wrap that comes in packaging and how fun it is to pop them! Well now you can on your phone! How fun and convenient is that!?
3. Memory Match-.99 cents/free for lite version. A simple memory game using fun, silly characters and animals. Great for memory and image recognition.
2. Preschool adventure- .99 cents. An app you can feel good about letting your kid play :) honing those color, number, shape, matching, and sound skills has never been easier! You and your little one will be sure to love this one. The silly animals are so cute and so much fun. I love this app!

1. Monkey preschool lunchbox- .99 cents This cute app needs your child's help packing monkey's lunch! Being able to recognize alike fruits by color or type is a skill they'll surely gain confidence in with this application. Also helps with sound recognition by asking for fruits that begin with a certain letter and uh oh, the fruit broke into pieces! Can you put it back together? (great puzzle and problem solving skills)

Food allergies

February 15, 2010

How awesome are these!? A food allergy for a child can be an extremely serious thing and not something that should be taken lightly. My school happens to be a "nut free" school, however we are still constantly checking labels and making sure we're on top of our students medical records. These bracelets are such an easy and fun way for both teachers and kids to be aware of allergies AND I can totally see the kids getting into wearing these. They're super cute! I saw the idea at www.parenting.com but found these cute things at www.starallergyalerts.com Inter-changable bands and engraved plaque. Love!

One Love

February 13, 2010

In the spirit of Valentine's day, I wanted to share this video - We are the World 25 for Haiti. Gosh, I wish I could be there lending a hand in some way. Job well done, Lionel Richie and the other artists who contributed - truly beautiful.

Melts my heart...


Kindergarten admissions. Really?

February 8, 2010

Everyone knows how I feel about Kindergarten admissions tests and interviews right? If you do not-I HATE THEM! In my Nursery University post (http://www.coffeeintheclassroom.com/2010/01/nursery-university.html) I talked a little bit about how silly, pointless, and pretentious I think they are. How can you judge a 4 yr. olds intelligence with one "test" administered by a complete stranger where parents are not allowed? I can not think of a scarier experience for a child to endure, and to think that this scenario is the deciding factor in whether or not the child is "accepted" into private school is absurd. I found this New York Magazine article, "The Junior Meritocracy", which illustrates these tests, and the psychology behind them wonderfully. Such an interesting read that all parents and teachers will find it either insightful or disgusting (hopefully the latter) Welcome to the world of New York City private schools... http://nymag.com/news/features/63427/


February 6, 2010

I have been seeing these super fun pancakes everywhere and wanted to share.

Originally from http://iammommy.typepad.com/my_weblog/rainbow-pancakes/ Food coloring "chemicals" aside, your kids will love these! (i'm normally a huge advocate of organic, natural foods and products, I swear) But desperate times call for desperate measures right? I teach a preschool cooking class in the summer and trying to get 60 preschoolers interested in cooking and finding recipes that 4 yr. olds can participate in can be extremely challenging. So, Rainbow Pancakes! Just a little (or a lot) of food coloring mixed in with the pancake batter and wallah! For a natural approach (phew, there is one!) I found all natural, organic, gluten free food coloring at http://www.seelecttea.com/index.php?cPath=41


Map of the world.

February 3, 2010

By far one of my favorite geography lessons/work for the kids. The work itself is fairly simple and the finished product is beautiful. After an introduction of each continent, each continent is then push pinned (of course you all know what push pinning is b/c you've read my post on it, right? Just in case, here's a recap :) Once a continent is punched out each child goes to their map and pastes that continent in its proper place. In most Montessori classrooms you will find a wooden puzzle map (pictured) which serves as a guide for the kids. Montessori materials are just so dang pretty! Here is a map in progress....

Materials needed:

1.Outline of each continent
2.Colored construction paper:
-orange-North America
-pink-South America
-brown- Australia
-blue-world template

3.push pin
4.mouse pad/mat to push pin on

Bookmark it!

February 1, 2010

How amazing are these book jackets and bookmarks!? What a fun way to get your child involved in some reading! Be bold and make your own to go with the theme of your child's current book. Thank you, http://www.icoeye.com/!

Bookmark coffee in the classroom and subscribe to posts on the right side tool bar!

Brush those teeth!

photo credit Cheryl Senter for The New York Times

I'm pretty sure I love the new addition to the preschool routine in Massachusetts. It has some parents in a tizzy that their child should brush their teeth at school, one parent saying "I don't want someone's hand in my child's mouth". Im just going to point out that the children are brushing their own teeth and the "someone" would be their teacher but I suppose thats beside the point. Not only does it teach the importance of oral hygiene but it also encourages independence. If there were to be a "montessori" way of doing it, the kids would probably be able to go to the sink and mirror and brush on their own time but in a more regulated, traditional preschool classroom group brushing is what your stuck with. Either way, I'm on board with it! Follow the link for the full story. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/education/29brush.html?ref=education
What do you think?

Happy start of a new week!

...mmmm, Monday morning java.....After an amazing weekend home in Cincinnati for my best friends wedding, I'm back in NYC, a little bit sick and a lot a bit tired...but shoot, we had a freakin' blast! Have a great week everyone!

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