Iris Room

Cheryl Pocrnich

Jessica Boraggina

Iris Room is a Little House classroom for ages 2-3 years old on the Toledo Campus. Jessica Boraggina and Cheryl Pocrnich are the classroom’s co-teachers.


Where does your child work? Yes, that’s right, work. All of the beautifully arranged classroom materials in our Little House rooms are work. Sure, some may look like toys and may even be identical to activities you have at home, but please remember that “a child’s play is his work.”

Lets take a look at our classroom.

Practical life is the cornerstone of the Montessori classroom.  The activities contained here are daily living exercises that help your child learn to pour wet and dry ingredients, spoon, scoop, ladle, tong, use clothes pins, spray, wipe, take care of the environment and of himself.  While doing all of this work your child is strenghening the muscles of his hand and wrist, which will help prepare him for handwriting. He is also preparing himself for life.

The Sensorial area of the classrom challenges your child’s senses.  She will learn shape, colors, how to sort and grade objects from largest to smallest, work on sound discrimination, touch and smell. Of the cylinders and cubes your child will be grading, there are 10, because we are on the base 10 math system.

Many children rote count and the math area can reinforce that.  What the math area introduces and focuses on is the concept of quantity and symbol.  It is introduced by saying “This says one;this is one.” Our math area can take the children as far as they show us they want to go.

Language is all emcompassing in our classrooms.  Since it is still emerging in many children, language is used in all areas of the classroom for the introduction of new vocabulary. Once the initial sound books are out, the children are exposed not only to letter names, but also more importantly, to the sounds the letters make.

Art for creativity’s sake is teaching the use of  paint, markers, crayons, glue sticks, scissors, stickers and stamps, while allowing the child the joy of creating his own artwork. He is also reinforcing the correct pencil grasp and practicing writing skills, not to mention just plain enjoying himself!

Our science area introduces the children to glimpses of our world. We begin with our classroom fish and expand with plants, shells, and other living and non-living things.

The manipulatives may look like toys and only toys, but as mentioned before, they are work. They work the muscles of your child’s hands, strengthening the muscles of her hands and wrists, developing and refining her fine motor skills.

So, where does your child work?  Pretty much everywhere!








IMG_4717Wow!  The slightly warmer weather (although “short lived”) was definitely a welcome event for us. We enjoyed getting out to the playground to ride bikes, push the mowers and dig in the sand. The highlight was being able to take a walk in the “forest,” as the children like to call it. One would never have imagined that we would be walking the trails in February! The children really love to take walks through the woods and are becoming “experts” at noticing the different leaves, sticks, trees, and sounds that we hear. They especially love to pick which color trail we follow and then finding the color throughout the trails which lead us along our walks.

In the sensorial area, the pink tower has made its debut! The tower consists of ten solid wooden cubes in equally incremental size from 1 cm to 1000 cm cubed. At this age, it is used to help develop coordination, concentration and to increase awareness of dimension.

The children start by placing a rug on the floor.  They begin to carry each cube one at a time and place it on their rug. The next challenge is to find the largest cube and begin to build the tower from the largest to smallest.  It takes a lot of concentration and coordination to build this tower, especially when placing the smallest cube on top. The children are so proud of themselves when the tower has been built. The tower is then taken down one cube at a time (which can require self control , as at this age it is very tempting to knock it down) and returned to its place for another friend to try.


Ask your child about the sound cylinders in the sensorial area. On a tray, there are two wooden boxes; one with a red lid, one with a blue lid; each box has three wooden cylinders inside with the tops to match their color box. All three cylinders have different sounds but each has one that matches in both colors. The children really concentrate on listening as they shake each cylinder to find the matching ones.


We are so pleased how interested the children are in cutting with the scissors that are in the art area. They practice cutting thin strips of greeting cards(we would welcome any donation of old cards you may have, the brighter the better). The concentration and coordination they have to accomplish this is amazing to see!

IMG_4808One of the most popular activities in the practical life area is our basting work. Using a tiny turkey baster, the children transfer water from one bowl to another. They have learned to squeeze hard, put the baster in the water, let go and watch the water fill the tube. The water is then squeezed out into the empty bowl. They are really strengthening their hand muscles!

We have introduced metal insets as well. Your child may be bringing home colored pieces of paper on which they have used a colored pencil to draw a curvilinear triangle or an oval. The insets help them to trace these shapes. It takes patience and coordination to hold the inset still with one hand, while using the pencil to trace with the other hand. This is also good practice for their pencil grasp and future hand writing.


Learning to use a glue stick has been a popular choice in the art area. The children have many steps to complete; bringing all of the necessary materials to the table before beginning: a work mat, the glue stick and tray, a heart picture and five hearts. The children spread the glue onto a heart, turn the heart over, and apply it to the paper. When children choose this work, they are learning the skill of using a glue stick, developing eye-hand coordination, as well as becoming aware of five units.


As you can see, we have been very busy!

Maria Montessori could see the advantage of having children develop and refine their five senses. She also understood that if a child was presented with materials where they could check their work themselves, and know visually that the job was done correctly or incorrectly due to the precise way the materials were used, then their level of independence and self-confidence would increase.  Dr. Montessori referred to this concept as the “control of error’’ and it has great significance throughout the classroom, and especially in the sensorial area.


IMG_0085The pink tower has ten pink cubes of different sizes, from 1 centimeter up to 10 cm in increments of 1 cm. The work is designed to provide the child with a concept of small and big.


The brown stairs is made up of 10 sets of wooden prisms and introduces the concept of thin to thick. Each stair is 20 cm in length and varies in thickness from 1 to 10 cm. When put together from thickest to thinnest they make an even staircase.





Our Lilac and Iris Room friends enjoy exploring with their senses. We currently have many work choices with built in control of errors, including many with sorting and stacking opportunities. Some of our work is seasonally themed as well.

The winter season came with very little snow fall. We continued to sing our snow songs and put new snow-themed work out throughout the classrooms. Recognizing the children’s love for snow and their desire to stack, teachers worked to create a new snowman stacking work choice.

How to Build a Snowman from Wood

By: The Iris and Lilac Room Friends

Step One: Have your teacher cut wood prisms of descending lengths for you to sand.


Step Two: Help your teacher paint the rectangular prisms white.


Step Three: Stack and add snowman accessories.


And then it snowed…….. we moved our sensorial experience outdoors!


Mysterious smudges coming home on your children? The good news is its washable! The children seemed excited to find paint at the easel.  There are many steps to this activity; putting the apron on, hanging the paper up, painting, and washing the easel when finished. They are doing a great job and there is usually many children waiting for this work!


Transferring water from the sink to a large jug requires much concentration. The children have been very busy filling a small pitcher at the sink, carrying it very carefully to the jug and pouring it in the funnel. They are intrigued by the color of the water in the jug as they fill it up and many have spent a lot of time attempting to fill the jug to the top.


Making “phone calls” and “taking notes” has been a popular choice in the classroom. It is very interesting to hear the conversations the children have while “on the phone” and with each other. 🙂



We were all very excited to take advantage of the gorgeous December weather!  The children would ask daily when we could go outside or take a walk in the “forest”. They absolutely LOVE following the colors for the trails , walking through the woods and finding pine cones, leaves, sticks, trees that have fallen, listening for animals ,(especially the birds and squirrels) climbing over the logs and running!!

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With the warm weather we have had, its hard to believe that it will get cold. We do like to get outside as often as possible to enjoy the fresh air. For the children to be successful at independent dressing, we find coats with zippers work best and mittens instead of gloves are less frustrating for your child to put on.

The winter break may seem long to children used to coming to school on a daily basis and even longer for those who only come two or three days a week. Sometimes the winter break seems even longer for the parents than the children. If it is impossible to develop a routine during these trying times, try a simple, special and familiar activity. Our children can spend quite a long time using our special homemade Play-doh.  Not only does it strengthen developing muscles, but it also allows creative play. The recipe follows.


1- cup flour

1/2 cup salt

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

1 cup water

(you may add food coloring if desired)

Mix all of the above ingredients in a pan and cook for approximately 3-5 minutes , stirring consistently.

Remove from pan while still a little “wet” and knead with your hands.



Have a safe and wonderful holiday break!