بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Alhamdulillaah Ramlah is 5 months old now. Maimoonah wants to start "homeschooling" Ramlah!
Sounds a bit strange right? Well not really! I wanted to make Maimoonah's wish of homeschooling her sister at this age a reality! So it turned out that it is time for us to introduce Treasure Baskets to our little Ramlah.
What is a Treasure Basket?
Treasure Basket is a popular Montessori method. Dr. Maria Montessori believed that children learn best by choosing, by doing and by repeating and exploring anything through their senses. She also thought that children from a very young age, if allowed to develop freely they felt connected to everything and were naturally caring to each other and the world around them.
So taking the good out of her thoughts, we came up with our own Treasure Basket first and far most connecting little Ramlah to her Creator! Alhamdulillaah!
So generally a Treasure Basket is basket or a box or any container that is filled with natural things and household items which babies and even toddlers can explore by themselves using their senses. Exploring treasure baskets can help teach babies how to select, touch, taste and feel. They become familiar with the objects around them and this may help them to gain confidence in taking decisions. And it helps to develop different skills such as hand eye coordination, fine motor skills etc etc.
Even though all of this happens naturally, having a treasure basket is a great way to be organized and save time. Babies are really bored and during their waking hours they need some activities to enjoy! Keeping a basket handy helps us a great deal by the Mercy of Allaah.
Treasure Baskets can be used indoors as well as out doors. The contents of it can vary according the age and ability of the infant or toddler, You can read a simple guide of it here
Our Treasure Basket
Maimoonah is responsible of filling in the basket every now and then with items. She has to do her research and make a note of the items and rotate them and at any given time Ramlah's basket must have the items to be presented to her.
So basically for now our baskets will include the following:
- Books to be read aloud
- iPod to make her listen to the recitation of the Qur'aan
- Different coloured muslin clothes (washed and clean ready for going into her mouth)
- Different coloured shawls with different textures (washed and clean ready for going into her mouth)
- Touch and feel soft toy
- Baby stimulating toy
- Soft Balls
- Teething Rings
- Whiteboard and Marker to write words. (We are trying out Teach Your Baby to Read through flash cards, but using the whiteboard and the marker instead of printed cards)
Items will change each week and will depend on Maimoonah's research and creativity! Will update them as we go on Inshaa Allaah.
How do we use the Treasure Basket?
Ramlah is unable to sit up on her own yet. So for now what we do is take the books from the basket and read aloud to her. She loves to hear us reading. Sometimes we keep her on our lap and read to her and other times she will be lying down and we show the book to her and read while turning the pages gently but quickly. Her attention span is very very little, we need to read simple books so that we can turn the pages fast. She loves this activity so much, when she knows that we have come to the last page of a book she starts crying.
Darul Kitab Level 1 books are great books to read to her Maashaa Allaah and she loves the book "Our Creator". Inshaa Allaah when our "Nurture Islaam - Pre-K" Books are ready we would be using them for Ramlah and according to Maimoonah they would be her best books, Inshaa Allaah!
We also use the touch and feel board books and allow Ramlah to touch and feel while we read. She responds well to this too.
We make her listen to small soorahs everyday for sometime.
We have started writing few words on the whiteboard and she seems to be enjoying that too. I use the red marker and write words and say it. Erase the word and write another word. I do this fast and may be one session is done within 10 seconds. I am not following any hard and fast rules on this. Just experimenting with Ramlah for now.
Items to explore by herself
Then we give one item at a time to her hand to explore. She would take the muslin cloth and play with it for a little while. Then we give her the teething ring, which she would be interested for few minutes. Then we give her the pom pom balls to touch and feel. Later she may like to have a soft toy to explore. We do not leave her alone at any given time and especially when she is exploring the basket we are around her.
That's about it.
End of the day Maimoonah talks to Ramlah and gives her a kiss and says "Maashaa Allaah, Ramlah you have done well today in school, good girl!".
During this whole process we talk to Ramlah linking back everything to her Creator. We start with reading the book Our Creator, and when she explores we tell her "Ramlah, Allaah gave you hands to touch, Allaah gave you this little ball to feel, Allaah gave you eyes to see this green cloth,,, etc etc". Little babies love to hear us talk. And Ramlah is pretty quiet when I explain certain things to Maimoonah while teaching her. She looks at our expressions and listens to us and smiles.
Alhamdulillaah every situation is a blessing from Allaah. I hope this would encourage Maimoonah to enhance her skills of research and implementation and create the awareness of being responsible in educating young babies and taking care of them. This in turn also would help her to be mindful in finishing up her school work and be a better example for her sister, inshaa Allaah!