The New Zealand school year is just about to begin and as I was wondering what activities I should offer the children to keep them going until I have had the chance to give them all lessons, I came across this lovely idea in the AMI EAA Winter Newsletter.
Anna Discenzo, a Montessori teacher from Ohio, wrote about the Intention Hearts she has been making with her students and when I asked her permission to use the article here, she went one better and asked her students to take detailed step-by step pictures!
Here is her article, along with the pictures - thank you so much Anna and students for sharing these with us!
Intention Hearts by Anna Discenzo
I found some pre-cut felt squares on Amazon one night. I thought that they would be perfect to make a craft with when we returned from Winter Break.
I live in Cleveland, OH and January is typically cold, grey, and pretty dreary. It is a great time to introduce new handwork and to build on our sewing skills.
In the spirit of a new year, I thought it might be nice for the children to reflect on what they would want to set as their intentions for the year. Then it hit me: they could make Intention Hearts—felt hearts that held their intentions for the new year. They could reflect on their intentions as they sewed.
Then, I thought the children could write their intentions and sew them into their Intention Hearts. They could keep their Intention Heart in their cubbies or they could bring them home.
My hope was that if I showed a group of 4 students, then they could guide the other interested children in how to create their own Intention Heart.
The biggest difficulty was keeping their needles threaded, but that was a wonderful opportunity to talk about how sometimes we have to try things again and again to finally make them work the way we envision.
As there were 42 different colors of felt, we discussed that if everyone took a favorite color and a not so favorite color, it would be fair so that everyone had 1 of their favorite colors—it worked!
To begin, I made a heart template on a piece of card stock. I made it as large as possible so that there would be minimal waste of felt.
I modeled how to hold the template and felt in my non-dominant hand and cut around it. My students felt it was more comfortable to trace the template onto the felt and then cut, so I showed them how to place the sides with ink on them face to face so they could be on the interior of their hearts and the ink wouldn’t show.
Once they had their two hearts and the hearts were oriented correctly, I showed them how to do the blanket stitch. The Woman's Weekly website has a helpful tutorial for you to follow.
We used a complete strand of embroidery floss (all 6 strands together) so that the blanket stitch was quite thick (hence, the unthreading of the needles!).
Holding the two hearts together, sew 3/4 of the way around.
Stuff with a bit of stuffing/fluff.
Add your intention(s) that you wrote on beautiful paper to your heart.
Sew the remaining 1/4 of the way around your heart.
Decide how to hang your heart—you can make use beads on beading wire, embroidery floss, a bit of jute, a crocheted chain of yarn, follow your bliss! Attach it to your heart at the top using your needle. Show a friend!
I will be offering my students to opportunity to make Intention Hearts this coming week and will post pictures on the Montessori Handwork Facebook page. I would love to see any pictures of the work you do with your students - please do post them there too!