It is a mystery to my family why I keep making things for fundraisers, for students, and for fellow teachers…but it is not a mystery to me. These days so many items that surround us are electronic and mass-produced and it is a pleasure to have hand-made items crafted with natural materials. But why do I make so many things? Easy to answer…it makes me very happy to give them away! In some cases I have to sell them (just to be able to replenish my reserves of fabric, thread and yarn…).
This week, I delivered 18 mystery bags to the students at the Foundation for Montessori Education. This institution is where I completed my training as a Montessori Teacher in 2004. The school is AMI accredited (the true Montessori brand) and it is a top-notch program that makes the students work themselves to the bone for 9 months learning about children and how they develop and learn. In all of my years and 3 university degrees, I have never come close to working as hard as I did that year. Truth be told, I had also never been inspired to work so hard or enjoyed any endeavour so much. This year’s students are a lovely group and it was a treat to spend a bit of time with them. Here are the choices they made for fabrics for their various mystery bags….
Are you wondering what these bags are for? In a Montessori classroom, the mystery bag contains items that the children are familiar with. The bag is taken to a table, and the child puts his/her hand in, grasps an object and names it before removing the object from the bag. All of the items are lined up from left to right across the table. It is one of the most amazing sights to see the delight on the child’s face when completing this activity.
This year, I have very young students – ages 2-3 1/2 – and we have not tried this activity yet. Today, however, with my newly-made mystery bag, I think I will show the eldest one. She is ready, and I know I am looking forward to it…
P.S. Today I receive my third university degree, my Masters of Education from OISE. It ranks second in learning and enjoyment, behind my AMI Montessori diploma, and miles ahead of my BA and MA in economics!