Lilac Room

Bridgett Miller

Janell Butts

Lilac Room is a Little House classroom on the Toledo Campus. Janell Butts and Bridgett Miller are the classroom’s co-teachers.

Signs of spring have arrived! Lilac friends have been enjoying warmer, sunny days and exploring the world around them. The sensory garden is blooming and mother mallard duck has decided to nest among the bushes. Soon we will start planting some vegetables in our raised beds.

Indoors, children have been springing into bigger work choices. Numerical rod extensions, scissor cutting, color grading, and combining brown prisms with the pink tower have become popular choices. We finished learning all the letters in the Phonics Chant and started learning how to match letter sounds with objects. The mystery number was introduced as a magnetic manipulative activity that encourages students to work on counting skills.

After attending the AMS Conference, we sprung into rearranging our room to incorporate using some ideas learned from the workshops we attended. We decided to make the peace table a more centralized area of our room.  A movement shelf along with a special space for working on movement activities was added. Thus, there’s a balance of both fine motor and gross motor works available within the classroom.


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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!

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!




We found fall time to be full of flavors. Our community snack gives us a chance for students to try a variety of healthy food choices. Everyone is served the same food and students are encouraged to eat what is offered on their plate. Some of our friends are adventurous, while others are quick to say “No Thank You!”.

Getting your child to try new foods at home is no easy task. You might hear words like “Eww” or “Yuck!” on a daily basis from your child. But it is important not to get discouraged when introducing kids to new food. Consider the following tips:

1. Let them try it on their own

Forcing your child to try new foods is not only unproductive, but it could also hurt their perception of food in general. Parents are encouraged to control the options available to the child, but ultimately leaving it up to the child to decide what he or she wants to try.

2. Don’t expect your child to eat what you don’t

Being a good role model extends to eating habits, as well. If you don’t eat it, they won’t try it.

3. Fun or Deceptive

Children are often turned off by the looks of new food. This obstacle can be overcome by simply adding new colors, or shapes to the food. It’s amazing what you can do with a cookie cutter! Shapes like dinosaurs and stars will be more appealing to your child – and they will be more likely to try the food. Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook “Deceptively Delicious” takes common favorite meals and sneaks in more vegetables. This can be done with a food processor and the veggies won’t be discovered.

4. Have children involved in cooking

If kids know what is going into their meal, they will be more willing to eat it. At school your child loves to help in snack prep. We wash, mash, chop, slice, smell, and taste together. Having children involved in meal prep can be a time to bond and have fun in the kitchen, too.

5. Don’t make special kids meals

Parents can customize the child’s plate, but essentially, the meal should be the same. This presents a good example – as well as putting everyone on the same level.


First Thursday

About Organizing the Chaos at the Toledo Campus

Maria Montessori believed children have a need and a sensitive period for order. Come learn how simplifying your life and organizing the chaos can help you and your child succeed.  Learn SIMPLE fixes to everyday issues. Organization ideas for toys, books, pictures. Easy ways to keep track of important information. And why Pinterest is NOT always the answer.