Welcome to Britny's Class
Welcome to my teacher page for the 2016-2017 school year. I look forward to sharing with you all the wonderful things we do with your children in our classroom. Please click here often for updates, pictures, and links to keep you informed.
“It is the child who makes the man, and no man exists who was not made by the child he once was.” - Maria Montessori
Britny Wade, Nido Guide
B.A. Family Relations, Spring Arbor University, Spring Arbor, MI
AMS Infant-Toddler Montessori Certification, Seton Montessori Institute, Chicago
AMS Primary Montessori Certification, Michigan Montessori Teacher Education Center, Rochester, MI
The Children's House experience (2003- present):
Primary Classroom Guide
Young Children's Community Guide
May 25, 2017
One last post before we wrap up a wonderful school year! As I was contemplating what to write today I was trying to think back to the beginning of the school year and see how far we've come. All the babies we rocked and held in our laps for hours are now running circles around us and coming up with new words every day, and in their old place are fresh new faces waiting in the wings for their turn. I don't think I'll ever get over being so amazed by the first year of life. I'm still just as excited when someone sits, crawls, stands, and walks as the first day I started teaching in the Nido.
With our summer program on the horizon we will see a slight shift in children and staff schedules. We will say good bye to our oldest three boys and welcome a couple new little ones, and a few will take the summer off. Our summer program has always been a wonderful time of year at TCH. I like being able to connect the children to nature as often as we can and the nice weather makes it so easy to do.
In your own families I would encourage you to take in all of our northern Michigan splendor with your children by your side. Even the littlest ones can make memories through their senses and the connections will last a lifetime. If we are to part ways or linger a bit longer in a couple short weeks, I wish us all a happy summer! And if you are moving on please always stop by to say hello, you will be missed otherwise.
My best- Britny
May 11, 2017
For infants, language is acquired through their senses with very little effort on their part. They absorb the sounds and later formulate the words with their mouth. As parents and caregivers we can provide them with a rich foundation of vocabulary by speaking clearly and using real words. There is no need to make up cute names for things, unless just for fun. Reading, naming objects, and conversing with the children should provide them with a good base. Once the spoken words start to emerge, language is likely to progress quickly. This can be such an exciting time in development as we can glimpse into the working mind and personality of each child.
We have many children attempting big words with many syllables right now. Our oldest children know the names of all their teachers and classmates. They know the words to many of the songs we sing. And once in a while they surprise us with a really big word we've not yet heard.
Thanks to all of you that participated in our annual gala in one way or another. I really enjoyed chatting with many of you and seeing everyone dressed up and having fun.
Moments like this make our Nido so special! I'm looking forward to more sunny days on our beautiful campus with your sweet children.
April 27, 2017
This week I was reminded of something I wrote many years ago, I'd like to share it with you now. The following was written when I was a YCC guide, but many of the items absolutely apply to the Nido too. Also, it is a fun glimpse as what lies ahead in those upcoming YCC years here at TCH!
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE TODDLER ROOM IN SPRING
Sweet, sweaty faces covered in sunblock, with sand stuck to it
the random onset of singing well loved songs from throughout the year
walks in the garden or labyrinth
gathering cuttings of lilacs
the look of concentration on a child who has finally mastered a challenge
saying very little and watching so much get accomplished anyway
new words spoken by the smallest children
big work and big messes
getting tackled by a hug
long awaited potty time success
quietly reading, in a sun drenched spot, with a child
moments of rare silence
watching the school chicks grow into chickens
differences in personality when dancing at group
watching an older child assist a younger one
watching a young child learn something from a peer
giggles, followed by fits of laughter
pulling dandelions, watching the seeds scatter
snack time, especially when we make it together
playing in the gym on a rainy day
birds, bugs, and frogs
a visit from a primary child who wants to read to the toddlers
sleepy faces on napping children
sun dresses, shorts, sandals, and flip flops
coming to work at a place that feels like home
the 17 amazing children that make up our class
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Margaret this week, she is on her way to being an amazing one-year-old! Have a wonderful weekend. I hope you get out and enjoy some of that wonderful sunshine we've been getting!
April 13, 2017
During spring break we decided to mix it up a bit with the two Nido environments. At times, we combined the classes to offer more variety and exploration. All the children are now very comfortable with the adults that they see everyday in our wing of the building and flowing between the rooms for different activities was a lot of fun. We made muffins in Jenny's room and had a musical group time in my room and even combined for lunch too! It was fun to have new friendly faces to interact with during the week.
This week we have high hopes that the weather will turn and continue to be nicer for longer periods. As soon as this happens we will be trying to get most of the children outside at least twice a day. So, please be thinking about sending outdoor gear everyday, including your favorite brand of sunblock or we can use the school provide brand.
THANK YOU to all who donated to the teen parent program, the director was overwhelmed by the generosity. I have included a couple pictures of the card that we received from the recipients.
March 23, 2017
I am writing this on world poetry day and just yesterday I came across this sweet little haiku; I thought it fitting for this first week of spring.
The backdrop of frost
A lone daffodil conducts
On Monday, before the hard winds came again, I took a few children for a walk. Our intention was to look for signs of spring. I brought along the camera so that we could capture some images. But, instead of nature shots, I was more inspired by watching the tots experience nature. One stumbled and placed his hand on the soft ground to push up but instead paused to study the dirt that had attached to his palm. He studied it for longer than you or I might. Children have no agenda in nature but to experience it, so wise and mindful in their teachings. Thank you dear babies.
March 9, 2017
Sleep can be such a hot topic for parents of Nido-aged children. I think we all come to the table with expectations and differing tolerances for bedtime and middle of the night waking. It can be deeply personal for some people, perhaps even as a result of their own childhood sleep issues. Throughout my years as a Nido guide, I have held many discussions and have done extensive reading on the topic; in fact one of our last all faulty meetings as a school had us each listening to a lengthy podcast on the subject. Sleep is so important to our overall health as infants and adults too. We must help our children to establish healthy sleep habits from the very start. A good routine that is consistently maintained is key. Also, for those that still nap during the day, studies have shown that good daytime sleeping promotes good nighttime sleeping. Therefore, skipping naps can be a pitfall for nighttime waking. Children grow while they sleep, and we all need that time to restore and repair. I have included a summary of a well loved article that I read as a new mother myself, it saved me from years of bedtime struggles. And, even though my son is now 16-years-old, the advice is very valid and consistent with the current advice being given by sleep experts today. Wishing you all peaceful sleep...
Sleep Solution- adapted from an article in Parents Magazine (May, 2000)
At nighttime, begin some quiet rituals. “Decide on a specific bedtime routine,” says Claire Lerner, M.S.W., a child-development specialist at Zero to Three: The National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families, in Washington D.C. Dress your child in her pajamas and put her down in her crib for the night with the lights out. Just prior to tucking her in, you may want to read a story or sing a song, which helps you baby’s motor and sensory systems slow down.
Today you’re going to build on the consistent routine you began yesterday. If your child still requires nighttime feedings, that can be a good time to accentuate the difference between day and night, says Robert Ballard, M.D., director of the Sleep Health Center at National Jewish Medical Center, in Denver. “Keep the night feedings very relaxing, with the lights low. Do everything you can to avoid stimulating your baby,” he says. “And during the day, make feedings a time of high activity, when you tickle her feet or sing songs, so she begins to perceive the difference…You may also want to try adding white noise. The good thing about white noise is that you can fade it out over time, once your baby begins to sleep more predictably.
Steel yourself: Tonight you start putting your child down in his crib while he’s still awake. “It’s the single most important thing you can do,” says Dr. Schaefer. “If he falls asleep at your breast during his bedtime feeding, for example, arouse him enough that his eyes are open when you place him in the crib.” Of course, a little - or a lot of - crying may ensue. But rest assured, it will be tougher on you than on your baby. Parents find crying agonizing to listen to, but just keep reminding yourself that the end result- sleep! - will be good for the whole family. “Get over the worry that ignoring your baby while he cries will do psychological harm,” emphasizes Dr. Schaefer. If you have been meeting his every need in other ways, this situation certainly won’t lessen his sense of security. Nor should you worry about letting a very young baby cry. In fact, the younger the infant, the easier the process will be. “Babies older than 5 or 6 months are naturally going to be more upset because you’ve changed the rules on them,” Dr. Schaefer says. A 3-month-old, on the other hand, knows only the routine you create. “With younger babies parents always think the crying is going to go on longer than it usually does,” agrees Pamela High, M.D., medical director of the infant development unit at Women & Infants’ Hospital, in Providence. “Infants under 5 months often last only 15 or 20 minutes.
If battle royal does ensue, go periodically to check on your baby and reassure him that you’re there – aim for every five minutes the first night. But keep your visits brief: Don’t turn on the light, remove him from the crib, or offer him a pacifier or a bottle. “If he falls asleep with one of these crutches, he’ll cry for it again if he wakes up or at bedtime tomorrow night,” Lerner says.
So last night was a long one. Expect an improvement tonight. Your baby will remember a little sooner that crying doesn’t produce results. When she protests, lengthen your response time to every ten minutes. And whatever happens, you don’t give in. “If you’re inconsistent, the baby learns to hold out - she’ll just up the ante and cry twice as long tomorrow night,” says Deborah Givan, M.D., director of the Children’s Sleep Disorders Center at Riley Hospital, in Indianapolis.
Most babies get with the program in three to five days, so tonight could be your lucky night. If your child is still holding her own, lengthen your response time to 15 minutes. “Some babies need the frequent reassurance that you’re checking on them, but others find it a tease,” Lerner says.
Checking on the baby is really for the parents’ benefit,” says Dr. High. If you notice that you’re fueling your child’s reaction every time you go in and you can tolerate staying away, it’s fine to do so. Just peek at him through a crack in the door instead so he doesn’t actually see you.”
The other frequent problem at this point is night feedings. At about 12 pounds or 3to 4 months, most infants are ready to give them up. Obviously, you can’t just decide to cut them out with a younger infant. But you can keep them as brief and quiet as possible.
Sounds like bliss doesn’t it? But chances are you’ll be wandering the halls a little anyway. You may find yourself getting up to check on the baby. Relax. Now that you’ve made so progress, don’t wreck it by rushing in too quickly. let your child soothe himself. You also need to relax so you can sleep.
Give yourself a big pat on the back. You’ve not only regained your sleep but given you baby an important gift: Good sleep habits are as critical as good hygiene to a child’s well-being. Of course there will be setbacks, such as an illness, a new sibling, or an unfamiliar hotel room. “Even children who are good sleepers will have problems now and then,” says Dr. Givan. But fall back on our foolproof plan whenever you need to. Your child will respond with even less difficulty the second time around because she already knows the drill.
February 23, 2017
Positive discipline is something that is practiced in our Nido. The word “no” is rarely heard in our room. This word is reserved mainly for attention grabbing situations. For instance, if a child is in a dangerous situation or about to harm another child in some way, we save the word for use then. If we were to use the word too often it might lose its effect. We want "no" to be heard and reacted to upon use.
In times when a child might need to be directed to make a different choice you might hear us say something like, "let me help you find something else to do." If the child is trying to climb the table, for example, I would say, "it looks like you want to climb, let's go use the stairs." Or instead of "no" I would tell them, "you may put your feet on the floor." This way I am telling them what they can do instead of the negative, what they can't do.
With an older child you can reason a bit more, "you may choose this or that, which will it be?" Sometimes the choice that is really not a choice can be used, but it still allows them some sense of control in the situation. I would say something like, "You can do this or I can do it for you, which do you choose?" In this situation the action still happens no matter what. This might be useful if a child is refusing to put on shoes or something of that matter.
Have a great rest of the week and happy parenting!
February 9, 2017
Last week there was a big event in our classroom. We installed a brand new fish tank; but before we could add the fish, we had to wait a whole week before the water conditions were stable. On Friday, I was finally able to run to Pet Smart and choose nine new additions to our classroom. The children have loved witnessing every step of the process. They first watched me add the water, rocks, and plants with awe. I told them all about how we will have fish very soon. For a week we watched the bubbles from the filter in anticipation of real fish. Now that the fish have arrived, the children have enjoyed stopping at the tank and learning to say, "fish, fish, fish!" Of course the littlest ones are enjoying it too, we often place them in front of the tank to take their turn at fish gazing. It can be so very relaxing.
This week we also welcomed a new student. Olivia is now our youngest and tiniest member of the community. I always adore watching the other babies greet the newest student. Many of them are so tender and thoughtful and genuinely take an interest.
And a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Alex! Welcome to the one-year-old club!
Have a great weekend!
January 26, 2017
Over half of our Nido is now past the one-year-old mark. And, with that comes the need for consistent routine and order. The children who walk steady are clearing their own dishes at the end of every meal and are offered an opportunity to sit on the potty chair too. They have a blossoming need to be independent and productive. They are desiring to try all the things they see the adults in their world do each day. They are so sensitive to our daily routine that if I get just a little off schedule they are quick to remind me of what comes next. For instance, if I am delayed in starting our morning group time at 9:00 they will start to gather without me and ask to have our shakers brought down so they can begin. Perhaps you are noticing this in your own homes as well.
Providing your children a slow and deliberate environment at home can boost their success in mastering ways to be independent. I know this is not always possible but by planning ahead and preparing areas in the home where the children can safely reach things that they use regularly is a great place to start.
On another note most of us have been able go outside regularly now that most of the snow has melted (it makes for easier walking) and the are really enjoying this time. On Wednesday this week we enjoyed walking down to the gym for a wonderful violin performance. They love being surrounded by all the older children who delight in seeing them too!
Have a great weekend!
January 12, 2017
The holidays are behind us and the winter storms are keeping us cooped up a bit, it is a good time to get creative with indoor activities that you and your child can enjoy together. I took to the internet to sort through some of the best ideas I could find for inspiration. Our very youngest babies will enjoy being read to, or sung to, and would love being walked around as you describe their environment. As I considered our older babies, I made the following list:
• Build a couch or coffee table fort
• Make music with household objects
• Practice climbing the stairs
• Fill a tub with water and add interesting objects, or bring some snow inside!
• Flip the light switches on and off
• Play dress-up, work on zipping, Velcro, putting clothes on and off
• Make an obstacle course
• Build a tower with boxes, knock it down!
• Blow bubbles
• Make your child a drawer in the kitchen filled with safe items to explore
• Clean together, use a spray bottle with water, and dust, sweep, mop, etc.
• Finger paint
• Have a real tea party
• Read, read, read
• Snuggle and listen to music
Stay warm, families!
December 15, 2016
Last week’s stomach bug has seemed to dissipate now, thankfully. It was a good lesson for all of us in handling communicable illnesses. As we pass through winter we will likely see other illnesses pop up and our diligence in keeping everyone as healthy as possible will continue.
We enjoyed another birthday celebration, this time for sweet Wesley! A batch of our muffins was enjoyed by all who could partake. We will also celebrate dear Asher's birthday by the week's end and will, this time, make banana and berry smoothies. HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY BOYS!
Keeping traditions alive in the classroom is an important part of our classroom experience. Traditions are something constant, and in our ever-changing and fast paced lives it is important to slow down and take the time to recognize important milestones and events. This gives us all something to look forward to that is enjoyable, and helps break up the business of our daily lives. Traditions can keep us grounded and focused on what is important to us. But traditions will not preserve themselves, we must nurture them and keep them alive. I hope that you and your children will also carry on some traditions of your own while we are on winter break. This is a wonderful time of year to honor the history of your family and begin new traditions with the youngest members of your family.
I wish you all a lovely couple of week and a happy new year! I'll be excited to see your children when we return, they always seem to grow so much in two shorts weeks!
All my best to your and your families!
December 1, 2016
A time for thanks indeed.
I hope everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday in some way or another. On Tuesday, in our classroom, we provided the children with some homemade goodness to celebrate the event. Many of the older infants were able to lend a hand in making bread rolls and using the apple/peeler/corer/slicer for applesauce, our Nido smelled so good! Additionally, the children enjoyed roasted turkey breast, steamed veggies, and sweet potato pie. We shared our bounty with Jenny's Nido and enjoyed gathering for this festive meal.
On that very same day something wonderful also happened. Eli was adopted into his forever family! I was honored to be invited to the court house to witness this amazing day for his family; it brought tears to my eyes to see their journey end so beautifully, with each member of the family striking the judge's gavel making the adoption of Elias Daniel Besselsen official. The included photo is not the best quality but the family certainly is!
November 10, 2016
When the sun shines down,
it shines on everyone.
No matter if you're great
No matter if you're rich
When the sun shines down
it shines on everyone.
Next week I will teach the children this fun song, it has beautiful sign language movements that go along with the words. I sing to your children every morning before we get into our morning routine. I start with a hello song and sing each of their names. They have about five songs that are familiar to them now. Try singing Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes and see if they join you!
The extension of awesome weather and sunshine has been a great gift to the babies. They all love to be outdoors, with the freedom to explore, climb, push, dig, crawl and interact with older toddlers. We often see a different side to the children once we venture outside. I love when a catch the look of contentment and wonder on their faces, it warms my heart. As the days grow colder we will still get outside as much as possible. Please send appropriate outdoor gear each day.
Also, a big HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY to Warren! We were pleased to celebrate with him and sing to him last Friday!
Have a wonderful weekend!
October 27, 2016
We have many children now drinking from a cup independently. At first this practice begins with just a small sip of water in a cup. With our assistance we ask the child to hold the glass with two hands and show him how to bring the cup up to his mouth. We make accommodations for spills and exploration, keeping a drying cloth near by. Nearly all the children in our class will become adept at drinking from a cup in just a few short weeks, after they have shown signs of readiness.
The next step in drinking from a cup is pouring. We provide the children, who are able, with a small handled pitcher to pour from. At first we show them how with slow deliberate motions. We know their absorbent minds are catching our every movement, so it is important to break down each step thoughtfully.
The children desperately want to try all the things that the adults can do in their life. Anytime we can modify an activity to be developmentally appropriate we do and we try hard to model best practices in their presence. We also keep in mind that we all learn best from our mistakes rather than successes and we keep a positive attitude about messes and clean up, which is just another opportunity for learning too!
October 13, 2016
We were so happy to celebrate Ian's first birthday with a batch of homemade banana and blueberry muffins. Ian, along with a couple of close friends, was able to dump, stir and taste as we made the muffins. We talked about the ingredients and described what we were doing as we worked. Each child who participated enjoyed lending a hand and listening; they were very intent on the task at hand. After nap, we sung happy birthday to Ian and enjoyed tasting the fresh from the oven muffins!
This birthday ritual is very much how we go about most tasks in the classroom. By giving the children the language and allowing them to participate in any manner that their development will allow is just another way that they can learn from our prepared environment.
September 29, 2016
In Montessori we often talk about following the child. In the Nido, we implement this practice, but what does that look like? Do we just do whatever, whenever the child demands it? The answer is no.
As a Montessori guide I prepare the classroom and set the environment for the stages of development that the children are currently going through. I observe their behaviors and plan accordingly. I model or present to them how to use the materials or how to behave in the environment and then I sit back to let them try. I trust that they know best how to work their mind to get the result they wish for. I watch for times of deep concentration and I protect those moments; therein lies the brain hard at work, learning from the environment. This is how I follow the child.
I challenge you, the parents, to do the same. There is often a great amount of outside pressure for us to constantly engage with our children. But so much can be learned about them and their needs by following their lead. If a newborn or young infant breaks eye contact that’s a good signal that they are not feeling social, in fact they might even become irritated if the adult persists. With older children, allowing plenty of time during the day for periods of uninterrupted exploration can bring about the good work of concentration. Enjoy these periods of quiet observation, so much can be gained by you and your child.
Have a wonderful weekend!
September 15, 2016
Hello Nido Families!
We are off to a great start here in our second week of school now. Our newest additions to the classroom are adjusting to the environment and the older ones have been very welcoming to them. Thank you to the families that came to our parent orientation night. I hope that it was meaningful and encouraged you to continue open communication with me and continued involvement in TCH. Your children are so lucky to have such thoughtful parents, who have chosen a wonderful beginning for their child's education.
Stay posted for news about our upcoming class social on Tuesday, September 20th from 5:00-7:00, save the date! The social is a chance for us to come together as a community, share a meal and make new friends. We will gather with all the families from both of the Nidos and both Young Children's classrooms. This year the event is happening at school on the playground. I hope to see all of you there! Siblings are welcome to attend as well.