Saturday, November 3, 2012

Introduction of Montessori Classification Cards (3 Part Cards) into an Adult Day Program

It was Halloween week and there had been a full moon. I decided that this would be a great time to present the phases of the moon, three part, classification cards to the same individual who enjoyed working with the singular/plural materials.  He is often one of two participants that stay at The Bridge after most of the others have left. This reduction in participants provides me with opportunities to work one-on-one with clients.

I waited until the time was right. He was the only participant still on site. I approached him and asked if he wanted to do something new with me. He said he would.

First, I walked with him to the shelves in the back room where I had placed the other Montessori materials.

I pointed out which basket he should take and we returned to the main room taking a seat at one of the large tables. 

I asked him to carefully take the box from the basket and look inside. Then I asked him to place all of the label cards on the table in a vertical row. Next, he laid out all of the cards that had both the image and the name of the image on them. After all were placed, I directed him to match the image-only cards with the image and label cards.

As he placed them, I assisted by advising him to turn the images one way or the other so that he could identify those that matched.

When all of the images were matched, I invited him to match the labels. We read each label out loud together as they were being placed.

Unlike Montessori lessons in the classroom, I did not do the work first and then ask if he wanted to do it. He would have lost interest in the material during the time that he had to wait and watch me complete the work. It is important for the success of these activities, that the client begin using the materials first and that explanations be given during that initial work.

This, too, is also unlike lessons given in the classroom. In the classroom there is very little, if any language, spoken during the initial presentation. In an Adult Day Program, sustaining attention for an activity can be very challenging. Some seniors simply fall asleep during part of or all of the activity. Others are on medication that interferes with their cognitive skills or their ability to sustain focus for longer than ten to fifteen minutes.  A key to sustaining interest and attention is the sensorial act of touching the materials, of visually seeing or hearing, tasting, smelling, etc., an activity as it unfolds.

After all the images and labels were matched and the work was done, he asked to put it away. It is a timely activity and therefore it did not solicit from him a desire to repeat it. Too, he was aware that his caregivers would be arriving very soon and wanted to clean up, get his coat and get ready to depart.  He put all of the materials into the box exactly as they were when he initially opened it. He returned the box to the basket and the basket to the backroom shelf.

All and all, the activity was very successful. It provoked conversation about viewing the moon in its various shapes. Too, the individual doing the work commented that his family would be surprised to find that he is learning so much about the moon.

This individual has an excellent vocabulary. He is also quick at remembering historical facts and naming various objects and their elements. He does not have dementia. He is capable of learning new ideas/subjects and the language associated with those ideas/subjects.

Two of the many services provided at The Bridge are socialization and supervision. Supervision is provided for individuals with working caregivers or who have caregivers that do not live with them full time. Also, such day supervision provides caregivers with time for themselves, whether that be grocery shopping, going to the gym or just home on the couch reading or watching the tube.

Next time, I will include questions about the moon as he really enjoys trivia questions. Eventually, as the sky darkens earlier, I would like to invite him into The Bridge's garden and view the phases of the moon as they stand out in the dark, Alaskan night sky. Oh...hmmm...I think I will borrow a telescope. There is another client, who stays later in the day also, who I think will enjoy this too! Cat Steven's song just jumped into my head...

Oh I'm bein' followed by a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow
Leapin' and hoppin' on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow

For access to the phases of the moon cards go here for the Free download.  To view a video on how to present Montessori three part cards go here:

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