One thing I love about Montessori is that it really has no limits. A young child even as young as four is encouraged to learn and to delve deeper into a topic until their thirst for knowledge has been temporarily satisfied. The resources aren't limited by age. The child can just keep on going.
I also love that Montessori is so child led, interest based. While there are times when I completely independently introduce the children to a topic most of their activities, their interests just flow, they evolve from one step, from one area to another.
Flowing from one area of fascination from the nature table the boys are exploring the parts of a Star Fish. Also because this area of knowledge is beyond me (I have no idea about the anatomy of a Star Fish) the parts of a Star Fish resources are just what we needed.
The Parts of a Star Fish book is a wonderful example of a Montessori material. The images are photographs, they are real not stylised images. The book was written by a zoologist and Montessori teacher. The anatomy and terminology is correct. It is visual yet still hands on. I would have every book in this series if I could!
This type of book also sits nicely on the nature table, the child can flip through the pages and take in some anatomy while exploring a real life specimen (or even plastic models if a real example isn't available). Let's make our Montessori nature tables dynamic and full of character, charm and make them informative!
I can't tell you how much Otis loves this Star Fish. They are fascinating little creatures.
Next we used Parts of a Star Fish Three Part Cards which flow so nicely containing the same pictures and areas of anatomy as the book. These are designed for emerging readers and Otis can't read them all, so while at this stage they are great for using the correct terminology and matching anatomy it will be a while until he can use them independently.
These materials also come with a guide which makes it so easy if you are like me and not entirely sure on how they are best presented or would like some guidance with sequence.
Just to show you how these materials grow Caspar (8 years) above is using the Parts of a Star Fish Definition Cards. These require solid reading skills and are perfect for him (he also had very little knowledge of Star Fish).
Both of my children absolutely love the Parts of a Star Fish work and I have so many extension ideas for them. I already knew they both enjoyed anatomy work so now I am feeling really inspired to do more work in this area both for botany and zoology!
This is also an area where I feel we are so well placed in the home to do this work following the child's interests, especially where we can provide real life specimens and examples!