Welcome to another year of learning and discovery. I would like you to be a part of your child's experiences in the classroom. Your child's success here at The Children's House involves keeping the lines of communication open between us. I look forward to sharing with you all of the wonderful happenings throughout the school year.
"Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment" -Dr. Maria Montessori
March 7, 2019
It was so great to be able to speak with all of you last week at conferences. It is important for us to come together and talk individually about your child's progress and experiences in the classroom. I feel reconnected with all of you to better guide your child and to meet their needs as well as yours as parents.
One of our fellow classmates, Piper Campbell, will be leaving our classroom and moving to Wyoming with her family. We are sad to see her go, but are happy for her family and their new adventure. As a class, we made a special card for her and said our farewells during group time. The kind and thoughtful words voiced by many of the children tugged at our hearts. One of the best comments was "You will always have a place in my heart."
We made chicken noodle soup this week in our crock pot. This was a full sensory experience. Many hands helped with washing, chopping and slicing. The fresh rosemary and thyme filled our olfactory sense. As the soup cooked through our day, it too gave us the smell of comfort. We enjoyed our soup as our snack this week.
February 21, 2019
Last week we talked about the amazing natural phenomena called stalagmites and stalactites. We discussed how these are formed by mineral deposits and water. We made our own stalagmites and stalactites using baking soda, a string and some water. The children were very excited to watch our experiment as they grew daily.
The group of children in the afternoon and I finished reading The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White. In the story, Louis the Trumpeter swan, doesn't have a voice. He uses a trumpet to communicate with the other swans and the people in his life. The children in the classroom had the chance to see and touch a trumpet. They were also given the opportunity to blow into the trumpet. Some of them were actually able to make quite a sound with the instrument.
We had a wonderful Valentine's Day last week. The children had a lot of fun handing out all of their special valentines for each of their friends. As our morning was filled with love and cheer, we made heart shaped pretzels to share at group. We read a book about always being kind to others and showing your appreciation for them everyday.
I am looking forward to speaking with all of you next week at conferences.
February 7, 2019
At group the other day we read the book A Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. I remember my teacher reading this book to me as a little girl and being fascinated by the illustrations of this book. He used different types of materials and techniques to create the pictures. Some of the pictures may have been painted, others were pieces of paper either construction paper or wallpaper. Other illustrations used string or cotton to create the look of snow. As a class, we talked about what the illustrator of a book is and how this particular book was unique. The children have the opportunity to create their own illustrations using some of these same materials. It has been so fun to see all of the creativity being inspired by this book.
This week our school celebrated Chinese New Year. The extended day students played a big part in acting out the dragon while the rest of the school participated by scaring the dragon away. Our celebration concluded with a delicious snack of Chinese buns (made by the extended day) and clementines, which bring good luck for the new year. Also, in light of our celebration of this holiday and culture, we made noodles and the children in our class had the chance to try out some chopsticks.
In the last week, we have had the opportunity to enjoy the abundance of the snow in our area. I am sure your children have been enjoying sledding, making forts and/or playing in the snow. With this, may come the temptations of licking and tasting the snow. We did a little science experiment in the classroom with some snow. I collected snow in a bowl and the children watched as the snow melted into water. However, there wasn't just water that was left in the bowl. Ask your child what they saw.
January 17, 2019
With Martin Luther King Jr. Day coming up this Monday we talked about him playing an important role in creating equality among the people during the civil rights movement. He wanted to resolve racism in a nonviolent and peaceful way. We had a conversation about how the African Americans were treated during this time. They were not allowed to use the same bathrooms, schools, restaurants and even drinking fountains as the white people. The children agreed this did not feel fair. We talked about how all people need to be treated equally no matter what color skin they have. Here is a song we have been practicing about Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King
Was a mighty, mighty man
And a mighty, mighty man was he
He was a preacher and a teacher
And a man of God
And he loved you and me
As a school we celebrate Chinese New Year as part of our cultural studies and the extended day children play an important role in this celebration. During Great Books, Rose Hollander, has been talking to the extended day students about China and the traditions of Chinese New Year. The extended day children will be performing the Dragon Dance. Currently, in the classroom we have been reading books about China, learning how to say "hello" in Chinese and some have been practicing writing Chinese characters.
After a restful break, it was great to see everyone again. The children have jumped right back into their learning. Feeling refreshed and ready to for new beginnings, it is always wonderful to get our hands into some dirt and plant some seeds. The beauty of watching a seed grow into a seedling is exciting and full of hope. We planted some basil and thyme this week and we hope to use these herbs in some of our snacks.
December 13, 2018
This week we have been talking about Kwanzaa. It is an African American celebration that lasts a week and starts on December 26th. The celebration honors the African heritage with feasting and gift giving. It is also centered around these seven principles which are Unity, Creativity, Faith, Self-determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics and Purpose. As a group, we talked about how most of these seven principles relate to our own classroom. With the respect for this culture and celebration, we did an African dance. The children always enjoy the opportunity to jump and sing.
In the past month, our classroom has grown a bit in size. We have welcomed four new students from the toddler classrooms. We are so happy to have Olle, Declan, Piper and Katie join our classroom community. It has put a new buzz in the classroom and has brought many opportunities for learning patience and lending a helping hand. As I am busy with these younger friends, the older children have to take it upon themselves to show leadership and exhibit more independence by solving many of their own conflicts. It is the beauty of the Montessori classroom.
With the holidays coming upon us, we are in the spirit of singing many festive songs. We have been busy working on Oh, Hanukkah and Jingle Bells. These are the two songs the primary classrooms will be singing for the holiday sing on December 21st. We have also been singing some of the other favorites as well. Our Spanish lesson this week included learning Feliz Navidad. Ask your child to sing it to you!
Next week, we will be focusing on Christmas and what it means to many of us. The season for giving and reaching out to others in need. Many of the children have already been busy working on gifts for their families. I wish all of you a joyful holiday season! May it be filled with love, laughter and peace!!
November 29, 2018
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families. We had a lovely Harvest Feast together last week. The children took so much pride in bringing in their food they provided. Before we took part in our feast, each child shared what they are thankful for in their lives. Our plates were full as well as our hearts. Here is the song we had been practicing in class in preparation for our Harvest Feast Day.
Now we are thankful for the night,
And for the early morning light.
For rest and food and loving care,
And all that makes the world so fair.
As part of the Montessori curriculum, it is important to expose the children to different cultures and celebrations from around the world. Being that Hanukkah begins December 2, our classroom will begin talking about this Jewish holiday or "festival of lights". Amanda Igra, our music teacher, brought in her menorah and spoke to the children about her family traditions. They were each given a dreidel and we will have a dreidel game set up as a work for the children to play in the classroom. We also hope to make some latkes for tasting.
On occasion, I like to bring in different types of foods for the children to try and to learn about. This week I brought in a pomegranate. Many of the children were amazed and interested in this unique fruit. As I opened up the fruit, I talked about the names of the different parts of the fruit, its origin and how one might use this fruit in cooking. There were rave reviews when all of the children tried the juicy gem-like seeds. Your children may be asking you to buy some pomegranate. The fun is taking it apart and finding all of the seeds.
November 8, 2018
It was a successful Pumpkin Fun Day on the 31st. The children enjoyed a morning with helping to carve our pumpkin and making some delicious pumpkin dip for snack. In the afternoon, we had a lot of fun with face painting, dancing, gourd racing, musical chairs and a spider craft. It was the perfect send off before the evening of festivities.
Spending time in the afternoon reading our chapter book is one of my favorites moments in my day with your children. I thoroughly enjoy watching their minds creating the pictures of the scenes and characters in the books. We recently finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I believe the children may have taken away some new thoughts on proper etiquette and why it is important to be a humble and grateful person. We have begun our new book on the biography of Helen Keller. The children have curiosity about how someone can communicate without being able to hear or see. We will be doing some different activities in class to experience what it may be like to be without one of our senses.
As we continue to talk about the different organs in our bodies, last week we talked about the heart. Why is our heart important? How can we keep our hearts healthy? We also took a moment in silence to listen to our own hearts. Why does the rhythm of our heart become faster when we are more active? The children have the opportunity to use a stethoscope and to learn more about our heart. Ask your child about some facts they may remember about the heart.
October 25, 2018
This week we had a group lesson on Pablo Picasso. We talked about his work and how the different experiences in his life affected his artwork style. Ask your child about the blue period and the rose period. The children have the opportunity to make their own Pablo Picasso in the art area.
The extended day children made some honey granola this week. It is a great lesson on reading, following a recipe, eye hand coordination and taking turns. The extended day children take great pride in making something for their community in this way. We enjoyed the granola for snack. It was a hit.
Some of you may have heard about Mr. Woody. I found a walking stick at my house last weekend. I decided to bring it inside and place it in a glass case. I researched on how to care for a walking stick and I discovered our walking stick was a male because it was thin and had a bump on his tail. I also learned he needed oak leaves to eat and to spray water in his environment. The children enjoyed learning and observing our new animal in our classroom. Unfortunately, Mr. Woody was only was with us for a week. He died this week. However, some of the children wanted to see where I put him outside and when we looked in the spot, he was gone! There was great conversation about this. Could he have walked away? Maybe he wasn't dead after all? Regardless, it set us up for another great discussion about the life cycle.
October 11, 2018
As Halloween is creeping up on us so are the decorations your children may see around the neighborhoods. With this, what a perfect time to talk about bones and our own skeleton. Where can you find the largest bone in our bodies? Or how about the smallest? What can we do to keep our bones healthy and strong? All of the children have the opportunity to make their own skeleton in the art area of the classroom. The children who are reading are able to label a skeleton with the names of the bones.
Each child plays a part in our classroom community. Whether they are a younger child developing relationships with others and knowing they can lean on those friends for help when needed. Maybe it is a four year old who is helping an older friend with a job and is taking notes for when they will have these responsibilities. This week the older children have been contribuiting to the classroom community by making biscuits for our classroom snack. They are taking turns being fully in charge of following a recipe. This means measuring the ingredients, pouring, stirring and cleaning up. They are so proud as they sit at snack and share the details with a younger friend. This younger friend knows someday they will get a chance to play this role as a contributer to his/her classroom community.
It is also the time of year for lots and lots of germs which may cause us to get sick. We all sat down and had a grace and courtesy lesson on how we can wipe and blow our nose. We also taked about how it is important to cover our sneezes and coughs in the bend of our arm. Washing our hands regularly and making sure we keep our fingers out of our noses, mouths and our eyes can help us to stay healthy. Together, we can hopefully prevent our friends and ourselves from getting sick.
September 27, 2018
It's fall! We have been talking about the new season and what it entails. How some of the animals hibernate while others migrate. There is the joy of harvesting all of the vegetables, herbs and fruits. Last week, each child took a turn peeling, coring and cutting an apple for the applesauce we made. The smell of the apples cooking filled the air as we worked during our morning. The joy of eating it the next day was just as exciting and delicious. This week we took some time at group and taste tested some different types of apples. We also plan on cutting our lemon balm and drying it for tea. Our hope is to use it for our tea work and be able to serve it to our guests. This preparation made by the children speaks to them and fills their curiosity.
As Maria Montessori said, children love to hear true stories. Some of you may have heard I had some paper wasp nests in my house. This is true! My husband was replacing the ceiling fan in our bathroom and he found two nests inside the ceiling. I brought them to school to share with the children. This story brought on many questions and encouraged some of the children to do some research on wasps. I also heard little conversations imitating my story with added information or it was "their dad" who found the wasp nests. So fun to see their excitement for learning and this development for expressive language and creativity.
It is hard to believe the first month of the school year is almost behind us. The children are feeling more comfortable with their classroom and with the routine of our day. As the new children become more at ease, their personalities begin to blossom and they find themselves ready to take on new things. The older children begin to get into the groove of choosing work to further their understanding of all the areas of the classroom. The extended day children take their role as the leaders very seriously. It is great to watch them always ready to assist their younger friend or take on those big jobs.
September 13, 2018
What a great start to the school year! It has been so wonderful to see the extended day children step into their new roles as leaders of the classroom and helpers to those new younger friends. It is amazing too see the growth and independence come alive with the other returning children. The new friends in our classroom are already adjusting to their new environment and feeling excited with all of the new work and responsibilities. I am eager to see how this new school year will unfold.
There is an important part of the Montessori curriculum called grace and courtesy. There are many lessons which make up these skills. We are currently working on how to watch someone work without disturbing them, how to wait for an adult's help or attention without interrupting and how we move in the classroom in a graceful and careful way. All of these skills are important to allow our community to work in harmony.
We planted some potatoes last spring and they are ready. Some of the children helped clean and peel the potatoes. We mixed them with some olive oil, spices and roasted them. What a delicious snack and an opportunity for some new tastes for the children to explore.