Environment and Children: Interview with Rebecca Mottano

This interview was with Rebecca Mottano, educator, environmentalists, and author. You can find her on the web at:


Video: Salmon Berry Bush? How can you tell?

Here's another short video for a nature/culture event for the children:

Find this also on UMA YouTube at:


Video: Cultural Activity of the Legend of the Douglas Fir Cone!

Recently, we headed off on a Sunday hike to Twin Falls near North Bend, WA and shot some great video!

This activity is a cultural activity to share with your students.

UMA Video


Original Project: Geography and Art

Recently John and Trudy participated in the Pacific NW Montessori Association’s Sharing Fair, held at the Seattle Islamic Montessori School. We are featuring one of many wonderful projects for you to enjoy. This project was shared by Robyn Atkins, who says, “This is a great project for Geography studies, a solar system unit, Earth Day, or anytime you are talking about Planet Earth!”

Materials required are:

FIMO clay...brown (for land), blue (for water), and white (for air)
Toothpicks or large tack to make a hole in the clay
Hemp string
Mini-muffin tin for baking

Earth Beads
Making the Beads
Wearing the Beads

Let us know at UMA if you would like more information on the project and the steps in presentation.



Camping with Children: Ten Commandments

Here in the states, school being out is just around the corner and for many, camping is either a family ritual or many would like to try it but want help on how to make it a rewarding experience for children. So here are some tips called the 10 Camping Commandments that I gather from

1. Trips with children should be to places where there is a guarantee of action. A good example is camping in a park where large numbers of wildlife can be viewed, such as squirrels, chipmunks, deer and even bear. Other good choices are fishing at a small pond loaded with bluegill, or hunting in a spot where a kid can shoot a .22 at pine cones all day. Boys and girls want action, not solitude.
2. Enthusiasm is contagious. If you aren't excited about an adventure, you can't expect a child to be. Show a genuine zest for life in the outdoors, and point out everything as if it is the first time you have ever seen it.
3. Always, always, always be seated when talking to someone small. This allows the adult and child to be on the same level. That is why fishing in a small boat is perfect for adults and kids. Nothing is worse for youngsters than having a big person look down at them and give them orders. What fun is that?
4. Always show how to do something, whether it is gathering sticks for a campfire, cleaning a trout or tying a knot. Never tell— always show. A button usually clicks to"off" when a kid is lectured. But they can learn behavior patterns and outdoor skills by watching adults, even when the adults are not aware they are being watched.
5. Let kids be kids. Let the adventure happen, rather than trying to force it within some preconceived plan. If they get sidetracked watching pollywogs, chasing butterflies or sneaking up on chipmunks, let them be. A youngster can have more fun turning over rocks and looking at different kinds of bugs then sitting in one spot, waiting for a fish to bite.
6. Expect young peoples' attention spans to be short. Instead of getting frustrated about it, use it to your advantage. How? By bringing along a bag of candy and snacks. Where there is a lull in the camp activity, out comes the bag. Don't let them know what goodies await, so each one becomes a surprise.
7. Make absolutely certain the child's sleeping bag is clean, dry and warm. Nothing is worse than discomfort when trying to sleep, but a refreshing sleep makes for a positive attitude the next day. In addition, kids can become quite scared of animals at night. The parent should not wait for any signs of this, but always play the part of the outdoor guardian, the one who will "take care of everything."
8. Kids quickly relate to outdoor ethics. They will enjoy eating everything they kill, building a safe campfire and picking up all their litter, and they will develop a sense of pride that goes with it. A good idea is to bring extra plastic garbage bags to pick up any trash you come across. Kids long remember when they do something right that somebody else has done wrong.
9. If you want youngsters hooked on the outdoors for life, take a close-up photograph of them holding up fish they have caught, blowing on the campfire or completing other camp tasks. Young children can forget how much fun they had, but they never forget if they have a picture of it.
10. The least important word you can ever say to a kid is "I." Keep track of how often you are saying "Thank you" and "What do you think?" If you don't say them very often, you'll lose out. Finally, the most important words of all are: "I am proud of you."


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Montessori Original Project-Geography: Costumes Around the World

UMA student, Tracey Corbishley from Christchurch, New Zealand shares this beautiful Geography activity that she created for her UMA original project.

Materials used:
1. Tray
2. Mat
3. Bag titled ‘felt costumes’.
Inside is a large felt board and a booklet. Booklet contains a picture on each page depicting a male and female in their country’s national dress. Each page is labeled with the country’s name as well as each article of clothing with its correct name.
4. Box titled ‘felt costumes’.
Inside the box is divided into nine different compartments incorporating: robes (and felt bodies), pants, skirts, tops, headwear, hair, footwear, jewellery and accessories.

Tracey writes:

What I learned from creating this original project:
I really wanted to create an activity that did not use cards this time. I’m also a perfectionist and found it quite challenging (but interesting) to find the best ways to decorate the felt to look as close as possible to the pictures. I was quite amazed at the amount of plastic containers there are in the shops. Since my materials and crafty bits are still in boxes, I went searching for plain storage options of natural materials and found that quite difficult. Everything is plastic and brightly colored. I enjoyed working on something totally different and my 12 year old daughter has enjoyed working with this activity as well.

Brief overall summary of my demonstration:

My neighbor’s daughter, Claire, is 4 years old and not a Montessori child, so she found it hard to sit still and watch, She was very keen to touch all the felts. I waited till she was paying attention and them demonstrated the activity to her. When I let her work at the activity I sat back and watched, noting with interest her smile on her face as she carefully held all the pieces, talking quietly to herself, whether they were the right piece, comparing to the picture and then deciding yes or no.

What I learned from the child’s response:
Felts have always been interesting for children to work with. Claire was no exception. Although she could not read the written words, she was still interested in making up the correct outfit that matched the booklet.


Audio Interview with Lori Bourne of Montessori for Everyone!

UMA's weekly interview is with Lori Bourne of Montessori for Everyone- Creator and seller of high quality materials for the classroom. In this interview, I ask Lori about the genesis of her business and what she has discovered in being a web-based enterprise. Lots of content.

Find them on the web at:


A Montessori Moment ! Exercise.

Here is "A Montessori Moment" podcast for the week:

A few additional resources:;col1

Do you have resources to share? Let us know.


Materials Presentation: Sequencing Exercises!

Here are four sets of sequencing exercises, submitted by UMA graduate, Darlene Mullen of Silverdale, Washington.

Thank you Darlene!