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Welcome to Alison's Class

Alison Breithaupt

Hello Everyone,
Welcome to another great year of learning and exploration. I am really looking forward to sharing with all of you the wonderful happenings in our classroom. I hope this will inspire some great conversations with your children. 
Thank you, 

Alison Breithaupt  alison@traversechildrenshouse.org

 "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

Alison Breithaupt, Primary Guide
B.S. Western Michigan University, Family Studies
AMI Montessori Primary Certification, Montessori Training Center of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
The Children's House experience (1996- present):
Classroom Support
Primary Guide


May 25, 2017

This week we had a presentation from two lower elementary girls. They found a granite stone outside on the playground. After doing some research and studying it under a microscope, they decided to share their discoveries with us. After giving us some interesting facts about granite, each of the children had a chance to look through the microscope. We talked a little about who would use a microscope and why.

Bones! Bones! Bones! Dr. Anthony Livorine, Luke's dad, came into our classroom this week and talked about bones. The children really enjoyed listening to Dr. Livorine share some fun facts about bones and present some great slides of animal and human bones. Ask your child what kinds of bones they saw.

On Monday we had a school wide work bee. Many of the students from all levels were outside raking, pulling weeds and hauling dirt. Many of the children in our classroom worked very hard in the afternoon helping to transfer dirt. We had some children shoveling dirt into buckets and others carrying it away to some planters across the playground. I appreciated their willingness to work hard and the way they worked together to get a job done. What a great sense of community and appreciation for making their school beautiful.

May 11, 2017

The caterpillars are here! Our Painted Lady caterpillars came in the mail this week. We will enjoy observing the cycle of the butterfly. When the butterflies emerge, we will release them into the garden. This is always reminds of me of a beautiful metaphor relating to the children. When your three year old child enters the classroom, they are small and taking in their new surroundings. As they grow, they begin to develop into a new little person with some knowledge of their world around them. When they reach their third year, they have developed into a beautiful and confident being full of life and ready to take on new things.

Last week we celebrated Cinco de Mayo. We started in the beginning of the week with making our piñata. Some of the children took part in getting a bit messy by paper maching the balloon for our piñata. After it was dry, several children helped to paint it with beautiful colors. The day of our fiesta, more children helped by making some salsa. We had a great time hitting our piñata and enjoying our delicious snack of salsa and chips.

With Spring in the air, we all are a little busier these days. Whether it it may be after school activities or the hustle and bustle of family engagements, your children are more physically active during their day at school. When your evening comes to a close, please think about putting your child to bed a little earlier. Children between the ages of 3 and 6 years old need 10 to 12 hours of sleep a day. We both want your child feeling alert and ready to take on new discoveries in their day. We also want them to feel successful with the expectations that are required of them. Thank you for allowing me to be a part in your child's learning.

April 27, 2017

The sunshine and warm breezes have been calling us to go outside. We took a walk through the Labyrinth outside near our playground. The children did a beautiful job walking. I encouraged them to walk slowly, silently and to think about something that makes them feel at peace or to work out something that may be troubling them. When we were finished, I asked if any of them wanted to share what they were thinking about while waking on the Labyrinth. Some of them were just enjoying the walk while there were a few working out some problems they were struggling with. Silence and meditation is so important for our children. This silence and meditation gives your child the ability to practice focusing their attention on one thing. We want them to be capable of solving problems and to see projects through to completion.

We have been preparing for our May Day celebration on May 1st. It has been a tradition at our school since the early 80's. As a class, we have been practicing the May Day Carol. All of the primary children will be singing this together. The extended day children have been practicing a dance they will do with the ribbons around the May Pole. The children have also been making sweet little hats they will be wearing for the celebration. Yay! Spring!

Rose Hollander came into our classroom this week to celebrate No Ruz. It is an Iranian celebration which celebrates the coming of Spring which gives us light and the renewal of hope and joy. It is a tradition to jump over a small fire and to think of something you would like to let go of in the coming of the new year. Many of the children chose to do this by jumping over a small pretend fire in the center of our circle. We also feasted on some traditional Iranian foods like hard boiled eggs, sprouts, sweet wheat pudding, olives and apples.

April 13, 2017

We have been taking a look at Kazimir Malevich. He was a Russian artist who used suprematism in his artwork. It is similar to cubism only he used geometric shapes to put across an idea or emotion. The children have the choice to create their own idea of suprematism using geometric shapes and gluing them onto paper. I have really enjoyed observing all of the creativity flowing from this art in the classroom.

This week with Easter around the corner, we have been taking about the significance and the history of the egg. The egg represents new life and rebirth. The decorating of eggs dates back to the Iranians and others who decorated eggs on No Ruz, the Iranian New Year that falls on the Spring equinox. The children will have the opportunity to peel, slice and eat eggs during their work period. Also, there will be an egg decorating work on the shelf.

In the afternoon, we just finished reading the biography of Sitting Bull. He was a Native American chief of the Lakota Souix. He was very brave, an excellent hunter, and fought for his people and their land to the very end. The children had true concerns for the Native Americans and felt it was unfair the way they were treated. It was so amazing to hear their calm and peaceful solutions to this fight for the land. For example, " Why can't they work out an agreement with each other to share the land?" What beautiful thoughts spoken from these children who will be our future someday.

March 23, 2017

Adding to the celebration of St. Patrick's Day, a blue grass band came to our school last Friday. The blue grass music encouraged the children to clap their hands and move with the rhythm. The three members of the band played a cello, a mandolin and a banjo.

We are having a physics lesson on inertia in our classroom. Using the examples of when a car is in motion and it stops our body jerks forward or when the car moves forward our body will jerk backward. When an object is at rest or in motion it will remain this way unless an outside force causes it to change. In the classroom, the children get to test these laws of motion using an orange, a toilet paper roll, a bucket and a piece of cardboard. As the cardboard is pulled away from the orange balancing on the top of the roll, the orange's state of rest is forced to move into the bucket.

The children in the afternoon and I have recently finished the biography of Johnny Appleseed. He was an interesting fellow who cared about people and the environment. We learned how the settlers preserved their apples by laying them out in the sun to dry. We plan on preserving some apples by using a dehydrator. It will be fun to taste some apples from the past.

March 9, 2017

We have been talking about mineral formations in caves called stalactites and stalagmites. A stalactite is an icicle-shaped formation that hangs from the ceiling of a cave. A stalagmite is an upward-growing mound of mineral. We did a science experiment using a string, baking soda, some water and two cups. We hope to make our own stalactites and stalagmites.

Jenifer Strauss worked with the extended day children this week helping them to tell their story. She started with a band-aid story because just about every child has a story about getting a band-aid. She followed a format looking like this: Where were you? What were you doing? What happened? Who helped you? What did you learn? All of them were put into pairs and took turns telling their story. When they were finished verbally telling their story, they had the opportunity to write or draw their story on paper. They will have the chance to share their story on Friday with the rest of the students at school. Jen is also planning on coming to our classroom on Friday to share her energy and love of storytelling with the younger primary children.

We have been practicing a famous song widely recognized as Dublin's unofficial anthem called Molly Malone. The song tells the fiction tale of a fishmonger who piled her trade on the streets of Dublin, but who died young of a fever. The children are enjoying learning this song, especially the chorus.

Alive alive oh
Alive alive oh
Singing cockles and mussels
Alive alive ohhh

February 23, 2017

It was so great to see all of you last week for Parent's Visiting Day. Our classroom was buzzing with busy children and proud parents. Thank you so much for letting your child be your guide in the classroom. I know it means so much to them to show you their accomplishments.

Last week we talked about President's Day. Our forefathers George Washington and Abraham Lincoln paved the way to a better future for our country. This Thursday the whole school will gather in the gym to watch the President's Day Assembly. The elementary and the junior high will present their presidents they have researched in a fun way. We will be putting on a game show. As the director of this assembly, it is so fun for me to see the enthusiasm of the children to be a part of this. I hope in the future your children will want to be a part of this celebration too.

Nutrition has been the topic of conversation lately in our classroom. We currently have a work on the shelf that includes the five food groups and pictures of foods to match the appropriate group. Surprisingly, the children are very challenged by this. I believe it is important for our children to know what are the healthy foods and what these different foods can do for our bodies. Also, having this knowledge of choosing foods that are from certain food groups.

February 9, 2017

This week we have been talking about Valentine's Day and what the meaning is behind this holiday. Asking questions like why do we make Valentines for our friends and our family? Or what are some other things we can do to show our love and appreciation for the people we care about in our lives? We will be making some secret Valentines in our classroom. Each child will make a very special Valentine for another friend. They will present them to that friend on Valentine's Day.

The children in the afternoon have been listening to the book Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The children are getting a history lesson on what life was like back in the 1870's while enjoying the great stories from the book. For instance, the children were quite surprised to hear about how after Pa butchered the pig he hunted, he cleaned the bladder and gave it to the girls to play with like a ball. The book also talked about how they made their own butter using a butter churn. We plan on making our own butter in the classroom soon. We are hoping to make some bread to go with it.

We have some new friends who have joined our classroom. It has been a pleasure for the children, Katelin, and myself to welcome Isaac, Calvin, Tatum, and Sadie to our community.  The children have been practicing their grace and courtesy as they introduce themselves and offer their help to these new friends. I hope you will get a chance to meet these families soon.

January 26, 2017

Gung Hay Fat Choy! We have been busy preparing for Chinese New Year. The extended day children have been practicing writing Chinese characters for traditional lucky papers that are hung in the doorways to bring good luck. They also have been sewing beautiful buttons and gems on the patches that will be sewn on the Dragon's tail. As a class, we have been talking about China and it's traditions during Chinese New Year. We will be celebrating Chinese New Year on Thursday, February 2 in the gym. The extended day children will play a big part in this celebration.

We have been growing basil in our classroom for the past few months and it was ready to make into pesto. Some of the he children helped to pick the basil and measure out the ingredients. What great experiences for all of the senses. At group, we had a delicious taste of our pesto with some noodles using chopsticks. It was a fun challenge.

Katelin has been working with the children doing Spanish twice a week. Hopefully, your children have been coming home with some Spanish colors, animals, greetings, manners and feelings.
Currently, the children are working on counting in Spanish. They have been counting up to fifteen. It has been great to hear them counting all by themselves. There will be a work on the shelves soon where the children can practice counting and labeling in Spanish.

January 12, 2017

The children have been enjoying playing in the snow lately. However, it can be very tempting to taste it. Every school year I collect some fresh snow outside and bring it into our classroom. The children observe the snow melting through the morning. When the snow is all melted, we talk about what we see. It is not uncommon for us to see some dirt and dust. However, we also talk about what we may not be able to see in the melted snow. Unfortunately, snow can have animal waste, pesticides and pollutants. Yuck! Maybe with our conversation and the children seeing the dirty snow it will convince the children to think twice about taking a bite of the white fluffy stuff.

This week we did a science experiment with baking soda and vinegar. We created a chemical reaction. The chemical reaction created a gas called carbon dioxide. As we placed baking soda into a balloon and poured some vinegar into a vase, we then placed the balloon on top of the vase wile pouring the baking soda into the vinegar. Wow! The balloon started to blow up from the carbon dioxide. The children were so excited to see this! This work will be on the shelf for the children to try.

We have been taking about a great man in history by the name of Martin Luther King Jr. He dedicated his life to achieving equality and justice for all Americans of all colors. He believed in a peaceful resolution. I read a book about his life and his work. Here is a song we will be singing this week in dedication to this incredible man.

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

December 15, 2016

Last week we had a quartet come from The Cherry Capital Men's Chorus who performed in the gym for the students. They were such a fun group of older gentlemen who thoroughly enjoyed performing for the children. Their energy and enthusiasm was contagious as all of the children sang along and clapped their hands. They sang some classic Christmas carols like Hark! The Herald the Angels Sing! to Jingle Bells. They also chose to sing some doo-wops which was great for the children to hear some different types of music from the past.

Tis the season for giving and receiving. The children and I had a conversation about what this can entail. It can mean going out and buying a gift for someone special, but it can also mean making something for someone or giving the gift of your time. I told them about how my family and I offered to help an elderly couple next door shovel their driveway. They appreciated it so much and it made us all feel good to help someone else. We have a project in the classroom that allows the children to make something special for someone they love.

This week we have been talking about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas. As part of the Montessori philosophy, it is important to open up the world to the child beyond our classroom. Teaching them about different cultures and their traditions. This could mean trying different foods, reading books, art and artifacts. We currently have a dreidel game in the classroom for the children to play with. They will also be given the opportunity to make African masks for Kwanzaa.

It is such joy for me to spend my days with your children and I hope you are able to have some quality time together during the holidays. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and I will see in 2017!

December 1, 2016

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Thank you for sending a dish to pass with your child on the day of our Harvest Feast. Each child shared what they were thankful for before we sat down to a plentiful feast. It is always so touching to hear each of their sweet thoughts. The children also felt a sense of pride when their dish was passed around to be shared with their friends.

Levi Britton came to our school and performed in the gym. He is a favorite as a lot of the students sang along to many of his songs. He plays the guitar and sings with a fun and upbeat tone. It is always great to have different types of music and performers at our school.

We recently talked about another really important organ of our body. The heart! Our discussion included the function of the heart and its importance. The children were able to touch a small model of the heart. There will be a stethoscope on the shelf for the children to explore listening to their own heartbeat.

November 10, 2016

We had a great time celebrating Pumpkin Fun Day on Halloween. In the morning, Katelin carved our classroom pumpkin with some of the children while I helped others make a craft. We ended our morning with making pumpkin pancakes and enjoyed them all together. They were delicious! In the afternoon, we played some active games, danced to some Halloween tunes and had the choice to get faces painted. At the conclusion of the day, all of the primary aged children enjoyed a snack together of popcorn and cider. What great fun before the real fun began!!

As Tuesday was Election Day, I spoke to the children about how it was a very important day for our country. As a voter, we have the ability to give our input as to who we would like the president to be. I also read a book to the children called P is for President. It was a simple and informative book that explains how a president is elected and what he/she does in this role.

We took the afternoon last Friday to clean the classroom. At first, the children were a bit unsure as to what they could do to pitch in. After giving them some suggestions, they dove right in and took pleasure in working together and beautifying their space. When we were all finished, there many comments about how they worked so hard to make their classroom sparkle. "There is a great sense of community within the Montessori classroom, where children of differing ages work together in an atmosphere of cooperation rather than competitiveness. There is respect for the environment and for the individuals within it, which comes through experience of freedom within the environment." Maria Montessori

October 27, 2016

What a pleasure it was to have all of the parents visit our classroom on Parent Visiting Day. I know your children were so excited and proud to show you their work. The children take such pride in their accomplishments. It is a joy for me to watch their faces light up and it is so great for you as their parent to see the work or lessons they may have talked about at home.

We are taking some time to study the skeletal system. It is a bit appropriate for the holiday which is coming up soon. We read a book about bones and the children have the chance to make their own skeleton. Ask your child which bone is the biggest and strongest. Or ask your child where they can find the smallest bones in our bodies.

On Tuesday, the children had the opportunity to learn about fire safety. A fire truck came to our school and the children were given a tour of the many controls and tools which make up this life saving machine. A firefighter also came to the school in his firefighter gear for the children to feel more comfortable in the rare event of meeting a firefighter during an emergency. They were able to touch his gear and talk to him. There was also a list of great rules to remember in case there was a fire in their home. Ask your child about what he or she can do to let a firefighter know they are in a room.

October 13, 2016

Last week, the children helped peel, core and slice many apples to make applesauce. As the day went on, we were able to take in the divine smell of the apples cooking. What a wonderful smell which reminds us of Fall. The following day, when our applesauce was ready, we were able to enjoy this taste of Fall together.

This week we read a book about apples and tasted five different kinds of apples; Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Macintosh, and Honey Crisp. It was a fun tasting experience for all. Many of the children had their favorites.

We have a work on the shelf that tests static electricity. As a group, I briefly talked about how rubbing certain things together make electrons move and can cause an electrical reaction. The children have the opportunity to make static electricity with a comb by rubbing it on the carpeting and holding it next to different types of string. How fun it is to watch the string move!

In the afternoon, I am reading the biography of Helen Keller. It has been interesting for the children to learn this is a true story and that she was a real person with these challenges. The children will have a chance later this week to guide a friend around the classroom who will be blindfolded asking them to feel things. I will be using the term, stereognostic sense, which is our ability to identify objects based on touch alone.

September 29, 2016

We have an exciting event happening this Thursday. A helicopter and Piper, the airport dog, will be visiting our school. The will be landing in the soccer field in the morning. Be sure to ask your child about this exciting event.

For the past week we have been talking about the fire drill that took place on Wednesday morning. As a group, we spoke about how as a school it is important for us to have a plan in place in case there ever was a fire at our school. We also had a conversation about whether they had a fire plan at home. The first time we practiced lining up at the door. The second time we walked in a line out to the soccer field and called role. The last time was the actual fire drill and with our conversations and practice they all did an excellent job.

Last week we talked about the Fall Equinox. How on this day we have the same amount of day and night. I showed the children the equator on our globe and how the sun is moving from the upper part of the globe to down below the equator. This will cause shorter days of light and cooler days ahead. I asked the children if they have noticed it getting darker when they go to sleep at night or leaving to go to school.

September 15, 2016

What a wonderful start to our school year! The returning children seem to be happy to be back doing their work and visiting with old friends and making new ones. The new children have had a joyous entry into their new environment. They are excited about the new work and the welcoming hands to guide them. The extended day children have shown to be great leaders in our classroom by lending a hand to the younger children and appreciating their environment as their own. I am really looking forward to a great year!

We are always talking about grace and courtesy in the classroom, but it is always very important to show many of these lessons as we start our school year together as a community. We have been practicing how to observe someone who is working without disturbing them, learning how to wait quietly and patiently for my attention and how to sit at group by respecting others when they are speaking. As we learn and perhaps, relearn all of these lessons, the children are also taking in the routine of their day. This could mean putting away their work when they are finished, cleaning up their lunch or getting themselves ready to go outside.

We have been talking about the changing season. What happens to the leaves this time of the year? What are the animals doing? What types of fruit or vegetables are in season? As we had great conversations about Fall, the children and I ended our discussion with a song about squirrels.

Grey squirrel, grey squirrel
Shake your bushy tail
Wrinkle up your little nose
Put a nut between your toes
Grey Squirrel, grey squirrel
Shake your bushy tail

This page last updated on 5/24/2017.

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Room Parents

Mary Cueter

Alison's Class Calendar

Classroom Support

Katelyn Murphy

Katelin Murphy

Allie Cole

Allie Cole

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5363 N Long Lake Rd. | Traverse City, MI | 49685 (p) 231.929.9325 | (f) 231.929.9384 | email: learn@traversechildrenshouse.org