Do you start by giving your child a scissors and paper and say, “We are going to do cutting, see how I hold the scissors , see how I cut. Now you try.”
When your child struggling to cut, you started to hold his hand and cut together?
When you follow the development sequence of scissors cutting skills, your kids will be much more successful cutting with scissors.
To start to use scissors and start to cut like a pro, what are the skills needed?
– To have well developed fine motor skills.
– Hand-eyes co-ordination skills while moving the scissors following the line.
– Bilateral co-ordination, where by involving moving both sides of the body at the same time, while each hand is performing different task. This is where one hand doing the cutting, the other hand holds the paper and turn it. This is a challenge for young kids!
Let’s see what are the sequence to prepare for cutting using scissors?
Activities to develop scissors skills:
- In Practical Life of Montessori Classroom, we have varieties of transferring objects or water from one container to another container with hands, tongs, ladle, tweezers or pipette. These can be prepared in your home environment too.
2. Ripping papers
Prepare strip of colour papers, allowing the child using their tripod grasp (thumb and first two fingers) to grip the papers and rip. The ripping by moving the hands in different direction allowing the child to practice their bilateral coordination skill too. As they demonstrate readiness, move to larger piece of paper.
Snipping is an activity where the child practice opening and close the scissors one time only which results in successfully cutting something. This is to strengthen the hands muscles and prepare for longer lines cutting.
Note: A demonstration is needed to show how to hold the scissors before start this activity.
Before the child given to longer line cutting. The child proceeds to fringe cutting so that the child learn to stop where the line end.
5. Cutting straight lines
Start given a strip of paper drawn 2 long straight vertical lines. The child need to cut from one point to another point by open and close the scissors multiple times.
It is a tiring work for the child.
The child can be given diagonal straight lines as an add-on practice.
6. Cutting Zig-Zag lines
Next, is cutting the zig-zag line. This is a more challenging where the child requires to slightly turn the paper as they cut.
7. Cutting Curved Lines
There are varieties of curved lines with different level of challenges for the child. This can be tricky to young children. Observed the child progress on cutting in the previous activities to know whether the child is ready for this challenge, otherwise, it can be demotivating the child if it is too challenge for him.
8. Cutting right angles
Prepare papers with right angles shape like squares and rectangles. A demonstration may have needed to show how to turn the paper. The child may try to turn their arm instead of paper and cut in an awkward way.
Note: Pasting using glue will be another activity that need to be introduced. Do not attempt to do both at the same time at the beginning.
A PEAK INSIDE THE MONTESSORI CLASSROOM:
How can children learn in a mixed-aged classroom? Would it be rather difficult for a teacher to take care of my child’s learning progress in the classroom? I couldn’t imagine how can my child learn better in a classroom with mix ages! As a new Montessori practitioner, I could still remember all these questions popped from my mind when I was still in my college, studying the philosophy behind Montessori’s pedagogy. The concept of mix-aged group in a classroom happens to be common around the world. However, how do we know if it is efficient for children’s learning?
If we study the philosophy of Montessori’s educational approach, teachers are well-trained being the “eye” of the classroom. They need to have the ability observing every single detail from children’s developmental growth, to a little small pot of plant at the corner of the classroom. Here I am, lucky enough to have the luxury observing how does a Montessori classroom look like.
Imagine our working environment as adults, do you work only with people who are the same age as you are? Definitely NOT! This is the main idea, we create a MINI SOCIETY for the children to learn from peers! Physically, you might see the children are growing differently, in fact, they are different in all ways, no matter cognitively, socially, emotionally and development of their language. We always learn from those who share different strengths that we might not acquire yet, this goes the same to the children. Their need to learn can be met by interacting with different age groups!
Other than that, in this ‘mini-society’, children learn to respect and response with grace and courtesy. For example, each child will learn to clear his/her workspace after completing their work. What does the child learn? Cleaning the place? NOT ONLY THAT. Children will learn that they need to respect the environment by taking care of the classroom, they will also learn that space is shared among everyone in the classroom. The younger children learn the rules; the older children have a deeper understanding of the reason behind the rules. Therefore, older children will be the guidance, the role model that lead the younger children to learn better in many ways. The older children will develop many positive values while helping the younger children to grow. They will learn to communicate according to the level of younger children’s understanding. I have seen a six-year-old child tried so hard to make a three-year-old child understand the way to paste a strip of paper on her book. She tried to explain verbally at first, but it did not work. Then, she found a way to help her by pasting her own strip in front of her. See that? It’s not only about learning skills, but how the child took the initiative to help and support the younger child.
Younger children learn by observing the older children in the classroom. If you have come across with the theory of zone of proximal development(ZPD) by Lev Vygotsky, children in their ZPD need support and aid to acquire new knowledge/skills. Hence, scaffolding is one of the most efficient ways that a teacher or a more competent classmate will do to aid a child’s learning. For example, if a child is competent working with embroidery, he/she can show the child who might be new to embroidery. Imagine if you have twenty children in the classroom, you will observe twenty individuals with different strengths and personalities. They all learn among each other by working together with respect and care. Thus, it never about the age, but the way they learn from each other. I have been asked if teachers are able to take care of all children in the classroom equally with the concept of mixed-ages in the classroom. Well, as educators, we have the responsibility to observe, to plan and to support children’s individual learning. (Yes, don’t worry, we are trained to do that every single day!)
Psychologists have argued that childhood is a natural phase of growing up. Indeed, Maria Montessori believed that children are innately preparing to be adults. She further stated that parents and teachers needed to provide a strong foundation of skills and work habits that would eventually allow them to be responsible for the caring of their own families, homes, community and environment. These skills, when taught early in life, allow children to believe in themselves as well as developing the self-discipline needed for success throughout their lives.
我们希望达到统一的教法，把它们记载下来，供将来的参考。 在操作教具里，我们得反问”为何如此操作?”, “教具的目的是什么?” ， “这样做自然吗?” 我们不断的改进。通过多年的整合，今年总算拥有较完整的教学指南。