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Welcome to Primary Northwest

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


December 19, 2017

I am grateful for the time I get to spend with your children everyday and I appreciate the support I receive from all of you on a daily basis. It means so much. I wish you all a peaceful and joyous holiday! See you in 2018!!

"We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole community." - Maria Montessori

December 7, 2017

With the holidays upon us, we have been talking about the season of giving. It may be volunteering your time to help someone else or making a gift for someone special in your life. All of these small acts of kindness can mean so much. The children came up with some great ideas. Some of them thought baking some cookies, shoveling snow or making a card for someone would be a kind gesture. In our classroom, the children are often showing these kind actions by helping a friend or even making art for each other. In the next couple of weeks, the children will be creating a gift for someone they care about. They are excited to take part in this tradition and share in this wonderful feeling of making someone else feel joy.

We will be talking about Hanukkah which starts December 12th. Currently, in our classroom we have a dreidel game the children are welcome to play with another friend. The history of this Jewish holiday will touched on as well as some songs. Amanda will be bringing in her menorah for the children to see and the kitchen will be offering latkes for lunch.

In the afternoon, we are reading The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White. The main character is a trumpeter swan, Louis, who is unable to make a sound. He is given a trumpet and learns how to play it beautifully. I wanted the children to see and hear another amazing trumpet player from our music history named Louis Armstrong. I showed them some pictures and we watched a short video of Louis Armstrong singing and playing his trumpet. Afterward, the children were all trying to blow up their cheeks as he was so famous for and pretending to play the trumpet. I will be bringing in a trumpet for the children to examine and play if they would like to.

November 16, 2017

Our handwriting time in the classroom this week was delightfully interrupted by a show in nature. One of the children in a state of concern came to get me to show me a small spider with a large stink big trapped in its web. "How exciting!" I said. "Our own nature show!" We all proceeded to be an audience to this amazing battle. Who would win this fight? We all sat, observed and asked questions. In the end, the spider conquered this large specimen of a meal. The children had a chance to stop, slow down and take some time to experience the small miracles of our world. I discovered we may need to be more diligent about dusting our classroom. :)

As fall seems to be quickly turning to winter, the cold tells the animals to take cover and prepare by storing food for the approaching season. The children are helping the birds who stay around our area find some food during these chilly months. They are preparing pine cone feeders with sun butter and birdseed. As the children are bringing home these feeders, I hope you can find a special place to watch the birds and know your child played a part in helping our feathered friends outside.

The children have been busy preparing for our Harvest Feast next Tuesday the 21st. Thank you for supporting your child's choice of food to bring in for our feast. The list has a variety of delicious choices and I realize some a little challenging. We look forward to sharing the meal together the children have created. I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends.

November 2, 2017

We had some great Halloween fun! During our morning work time, we carved a jack o lantern where many of the children participated in scooping out the pulp. The children also enjoyed coloring some pumpkins and eating pumpkin seeds for snack. In the afternoon, the children enjoyed some dancing, spider racing, a craft, face painting and gourd racing with brooms. I hope you all had an enjoyable Halloween.

This week we talked about a very important organ in our bodies, the heart. The children and I talked about how the heart beats about 115,000 times a day. We all sat quietly, put our hands on our hearts and listened. I asked them if their heart was beating fast or slow. What happens to our heartbeat when we go outside and run? Does it beat faster? Why does this happen?

I thought I would add this quote from Maria Montessori. Great words of wisdom to think about your child becoming an independent person.  "The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one's self. Adults work to finish a task, but the child works in order to grow, and is working to create the adult, the person that is to be. Such experience is not just play...it is work she must do to grow up."

October 19, 2017

Bones! Bones! Bones! We have been talking about many of the names of our bones, how many we have, what bones are made of and what makes them strong and healthy. Some of you may have noticed the skeleton gluing work coming home. Some of the readers in our classroom have been labeling a skeleton with many of the names of the bones. Ask your child which bone is the biggest and where you can find the smallest bones in the body.

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives there are few moments of silence. We may be lucky to have small windows of mindfulness. All of us need these moments of peace and clarity. It is important for our brains to recharge and be able to focus. We have been practicing the silence game, which is an opportunity to experience mindfulness. We all sit together in a circle and be silent, keeping our bodies still for a small moment of time. This week we started with one minute. My hope is that we can increase this to three or maybe even five minutes.

Thank you for attending Parent's Visiting Day. It was so great for your children to have the opportunity to show you what they have been busy working on and accomplishing in the classroom. They were so excited for you to come to their classroom environment. Many of them helped to prepare for your visit by cleaning the shelves, washing the walls and cleaning our easel. It was great to have you.

October 5, 2017

Last week we had a discussion on Pablo Picasso. We read a short bibliography about his life as an artist and I showed the children some of his art pieces through his career. He was the pioneer of cubism, inventor of collage and a contributor to surrealism. The children were particularly entertained by his unusual paintings of people. We have an art choice on the shelf which allows the children to create their own Picasso using wooden pieces, fabric, googly eyes and paper.

Last Friday, Miriam Pico came to our school and performed in the gym for all of the students in our school. She was full of positive energy and the children really enjoyed her songs, especially when they could join in and sing along. She is originally from Puerto Rico and shared some songs in Spanish too. She has family still living in Puerto Rico and our thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family.

It is such a wonderful time of year to enjoy the harvest of fall, taste the wonderful foods, and take in the comforting smells. I look forward to making some applesauce and pumpkin pancakes in our classroom. Even though this dawning of our new season prevents us from growing new things, we have been enjoying watching our bib and medley lettuces grow in our classroom, along with some kale and cilantro. Some children and I planted these things a few weeks ago in our small lighted greenhouse. We look forward to making some salsa and collecting the greens to make a delightful salad.

How many of you have questions about your three or four year old? Why is he having a hard time with change? Or why is she not listening as well as she used to? Hopefully, these questions and many more can be answered on October 11th at 4:00. Julie and Megan will be leading this discussion and look forward to sharing this information with you. More details about this presentation can be found in the Compass.

September 21, 2019

As we enter into our second full week of school, many of the returning children have jumped right back into the routine of our school days and many of the new children are finding their groove into their new space. It is so amazing to watch the older children be mentors to the younger children. They have looked forward to being an extended day student and now they have bigger responsibilities and privileges they are taking on with pride. The younger children observe and learn from these older friends because some day it will be them. It is the beauty of the multi-aged classroom in Montessori.

A big part of the Montessori curriculum are the grace and courtesy lessons. We have been having quite a few lessons lately on how we wait patiently for an adult's attention without interrupting, how we observe a friend working without interrupting their focus and how we move carefully through the classroom by saying, "excuse me, please" when a friend might be in your way. These are just a few of the many grace and courtesy lessons the children will be practicing here at school. I encourage you all to continue these lessons with your children at home as well.

It is harvest time! Some of the children who have been eating school lunch have had some opportunities to try some vegetables like beets and sweet potatoes. We will be cooking a spaghetti squash in the classroom this week and giving it a taste test. We will also be trying some different kinds of apples and finding out which one is a favorite.

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Katelin Murphy

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tch_icon.pngThe Children's House - An Independent Montessori School
5363 N Long Lake Rd. | Traverse City, MI | 49685 (p) 231.929.9325 | (f) 231.929.9384 | email: learn@traversechildrenshouse.org