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Welcome to Amy's Class

Amy Routzahn
Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year! I look forward to a year filled with memories, excitement, and magical moments. Please always know I am hear if you have a question, concern or just want more information.

Amy Routzahn, Primary Guide
The Children’s House experience (2009 – 2011)
B.S. Eastern Michigan University, Early Childhood and Science
Reading Recovery Certification, Oakland University
AMI Montessori Primary Certification, Montessori Training Center of St. Louis

May 25, 2017

An integral part of the primary classroom is observation. As a guide I observe daily. Today as I sat in the observation chair, the first thing I noticed was children concentrating. I also observed children and the way they hold their pencil or their pencil grip. I saw another child lifting the cylinder blocks practicing the pincer grip which leads to a strong and proper pencil grip. I noticed an older child playing bring me with the sandpaper letters with a younger child. The same child who was now in the role of the teacher had been the younger child two years earlier. This led me to think of the cyclical nature of our classroom and life in general. As I begin to prepare the speeches for the children moving on I am flooded with memories of these children over the last three years. As the cycle of primary comes to a complete circle for these six children they will begin the adventure of elementary in the fall. In our classroom we have been observing and discussing caterpillars and tadpoles. The caterpillar looks very different from a butterfly. Just as the extended day students look and are very different from the three year old child that they were when they entered primary. It is an honor to be a part of this transformation in your child.

The next few weeks are very busy around our school. We have begun preparing for the Dance of the Cosmos by reading books about the solar system, creating large solar systems and singing songs related to the planets. I look forward to seeing many of you over the next few weeks as we enjoy the festivities. If you have any questions please let me know.

May 11, 2017

May is here and in full swing. We are observing caterpillars in our classroom. We will be waiting for painted lady butterflies to arrive in a few weeks. Right now the caterpillars are eating and sleeping.

We have taken a few visits to the greenhouse lately. Several students were transplanting flowers, planting lettuce, and watering plants. Our school campus is such a beautiful place this time of year. We have been on walks through the flower garden and the labyrinth garden.

Each month the extended day students have a "field trip". This Friday we are going to learn about the importance of bees and we will be sharing what we learn with the class next week.

I hope all the mothers have a wonderful Mother's Day. Relax and enjoy !

April 27, 2017

I had the opportunity to observe kitchen classroom this week with our extended day students and I was amazed at the amount of skills they are acquiring and how beautiful the work is. The extended day students were making a gingerbread cookie for the May Day celebration. The children were smelling ingredients, mixing, measuring, and having great discussion. I was also amazed by the elementary students around us. Two upper elementary students were guiding and teaching the extended day students with guidance from an adult. In another area two other students were independently chopping vegetables with precision and care. In another area an adult and child were working side by side with a recipe. I was amazed by the lovely chatter and just overall beauty of the kitchen classroom. We are beyond lucky to have this opportunity at our school.

With the lovely weather we open our doors to the "outdoor classroom". The easel, a few tables, a reading chair, and plants are now outside most days. Children can choose to work outdoors or indoors. We have also been having some bird visitors outside our classroom window. We are observing the differences between cardinals, robins, and chickadees. It is such a beautiful time of year. We are preparing for the May Day celebration on Monday as well. Our crowns are made and we are singing in preparation for Monday. As always please let me know if you have any questions.

April 13, 2017

Hooray, Spring has truly arrived. We have begun to discuss Nowruz. Nowruz is a celebration of the Persian new year. It is a celebration of the arrival of spring and the rebirth of nature. We will be having our celebration Thursday with Rose Hollander. The celebration will include setting the traditional haft-sinn. The cloth will be set with apples, hyacinth, vinegar, olives, and pudding. In the classroom we will be preparing sprouts, reading Nowruz literature, and discussing signs of spring.

Next week, on Wednesday is the school wide poetry jam. We have been reading a variety of poems by Jack Prelutsky and Shell Silverstein. A few extended day students are considering reading a poem aloud. We have been talking about rhythm and rhyme in poems and the variety of unusual words a poet may use.

I am amazed at the work the class is doing lately. I have been observing children using the math materials in our environment. I am amazed by the beautiful golden bead work that children are able to connect with and experience the four math operations in such a concrete way. I was also truly amazed this week by a student tracing a map of Asia. What a terrific gift it is to become familiar with countries so far from us at such a young age.

Enjoy this lovely time of year and please let me know if you have any questions!

March 23, 2017

Spring is here! We have been discussing signs of spring. We are on the look out for robins, birds returning, trees beginning to blossom, daffodils, and crocus'. It is always a relief to put the snow pants away until next year.

The eggs in our classroom our getting close to hatching. We candled the eggs this week. This is a process of putting a bright flashlight under the egg in a dark room. We were able to see the chicks moving in the egg. It was incredible! Most chicken eggs take 21 days to hatch which will be next week. We will try the egg hatching again in April so we can be here for the day of arrival. We are hatching Icelandic chickens. We have been looking at photos of chicks developing and talking about the life cycle of chickens.

When we return from break I am looking forward to exploring our school campus again. The greenhouse is ready for us to dive In and get started on planting seeds, the gardens will be starting to grow, and I am looking forward to identifying many of the trees on the grounds. If you can't tell I am just a little excited for warm weather and Spring! Happy Spring!

March 9, 2017

This week our school has been enjoying the storytelling of Jen Strauss. She has been inspiring me to take stories that the children are familiar with and add a little rhythm, movement, and excitement. The extended day have been working on "band-aid " stories. Each child verbally told another student a time when he or she needed a band-aid. Then the children drew pictures and added words to their stories. Jen also stressed about what you learned or knowledge that might have been gained from the experience that needed a band-aid. The extended day will share them with us this week.

We are observing Icelandic chicken eggs in an incubator and discussing the temperature, humidity, and the process of eggs hatching.  I love this science endeavor and will keep you updated on their progress.  

Spring is around the corner and I am hopeful snow pants will soon be out away. This time of year snow pants can be very useful with mud, cold, and water.  Please check your child's bag for wet, sandy, muddy... Snow gear :).

Have a great day and please reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns!

February 23, 2017

What a gift the last few day have been. We have been enjoying the outdoors greatly! The easel was outdoors, windows were being washed, and the patio was swept several times. We even ate our afternoon snack outside. As I am preparing for conferences I am amazed by the growth that your children are making. Academically, socially, and emotionally your children are making great gains. I am looking forward to meeting with each of you next week for your conference.

February 9, 2017

Grace and courtesy lessons fill our classroom daily. Through these lessons, the children learn to adapt to the life of those around them and learn acceptable ways to be part of a group. Anna and I try to model grace and courtesy daily with our movements, speech, and actions. During a grace and courtesy lesson we model or role play how to complete certain tasks such as blowing our nose or carefully closing a door. The playlet shows accepted responses in a given social experience. The lessons are always done at an emotionally neutral point. Grace comes from controlled movement while courtesy means from the heart. Grace and courtesy lessons are a unique part of the Montessori curriculum that can make a huge impact on the environment of our class.

Please be aware that we do not have school Friday, February 17 or Monday, February 20.
Please send Valentine's with your child on Tuesday. It will be a fun day!
Please sign up for a conference on-line if you have not already.

January 16, 2017

It is hard to believe that January is coming to a close. We have begun to study Asia and the Chinese New Year. The extended day are practicing the lion dance and we will all enjoy the celebration on Wednesday, February 1. Please have your child wear red on that day if possible.

Thank you so much for the many volunteers that bring in flowers, pickles, eggs, nutmeg, etc. we will be squeezing oranges, grinding coffee beans, cutting pickles, and making tea in the upcoming weeks. Our tower garden is growing every day. If your child brings a bag of lettuce or kale home it is from the harvesting work. We love exploring food in our classroom.

We will soon begin to work on our Valentine holders and on Tuesday, February 14, please send in Valentines. A note was sent home this week explaining Valentine’s Day details. If you have any questions, let me know.

Next week we are excited to welcome Ella and Stella to our classroom. And, we are so excited for Leal’s family. Leal became a big brother to Sam on January 25th. Congratulations! Please be on the look out for an email with a dinner sign up for his family if you are interested. Thank you!!

January 12, 2017

Welcome January! Our room seems to have the bug going through it currently. We are discussing hand washing and how we can keep ourselves as healthy as we can. We are so excited to welcome and welcome Lucas and welcome Emerson back. It has been amazing to see the class get right back into the routine even with holiday break and snow days.

Our tower garden is growing very quickly and we are harvesting bok choy and several types of lettuce. We are hoping to have a large salad for snack on Thursday and Friday.

I was presenting the sand paper letters to a student and began to think about the genius of Maria Montessori. The child is able to hear, see, and feel the letter. The child hears the sound of the letter and creates the letter by tracing over the sandpaper. The child creates muscle memory of how the letter is formed. The child will bring me different letters and with this simple but lovely presentation the child's world is opened to the alphabet symbols. The wonderful world of reading and writing is around the corner.

December 15, 2016

It is hard to believe that 2016 is drawing to a close. This month has been full of excitement and fun! We have read versions of the gingerbread man from Alaska, Hawaii, Armenia, China, and Israel. It is so fun to compare the matza ball man with the garubia man and the musubi man. Today we are writing our own Spanish version of the Taco Man. With this time of year comes hats, mittens, snow pants, etc. Over our break if you could help your child with independence in this area that would be great. We sing a song that helps with the order. .. Snow pants, boots, coat, hat, and mittens... that's the way we get dressed!

I hope each of you has a wonderful, restful, peaceful, and memorable holiday season. I am looking forward to enjoying the lovely snow and spending time with family and friends.

December 1, 2016

It is hard to believe December is here! With this time of year out come my gingerbread books. As some of you know I have a small obsession with gingerbread books. We have begun to read the classic version of The Gingerbread Man. We will be comparing, discussing, and acting out a variety of gingerbread stories. Agnes has volunteered to bake a gingerbread house for our class and we will be making gingerbread cookies December 13th. I love this time of year!

Within the classroom, it is a joy to watch the extended day students developing into strong leaders. They are showing the younger students how to carefully walk in the classroom, writing the younger students names on their work, and helping them with games such as Bring Me and I Spy. The three year cycle in a primary classroom is such a delight to see in action.

I hope you have many special memories with your children this time of year. It is a magical time!

November 10, 2016

From the weather it is hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is around the corner. We will be celebrating with our Harvest Feast on Tuesday, November 22. This week your child brought home a note with what he or she will be bringing for the feast and when we would like to have that item. If you have any questions about your child's food item please let me know. The Harvest feast is a precious and beautiful event I look forward to each year. We will begin to make placemats, place cards, and the week before we will prepare some of the foods.

This time of year can be a reminder to teach our children about gratitude. We will be reading a variety of books about thankfulness and gratitude. Some ideas for home include;
Gratitude List- Keep an ongoing list adding daily
A Do Good Day- One day a month choose a day to help others in community, family, etc. I am thinking of even a morning once a month that we do something to help our community.
Gratitude Prompts- This idea was on a calendar. Each day discussing different things you are thankful for. Examples; what smell are you thankful for, what song are you thankful for, what color, book, food, place, friend, family member, or place in our town.
Thankful Branch- A small tree branch with small construction paper leaves attatched to it. Each leaf has different thankful quotes of the family.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to spend my days guiding your children. Each child is truly a blessing to our class and it is a joy to see the progression in just the last few months.

October 27, 2016

As I look back on the year so far I would love to share with you just a few of the times when I paused for a moment and thought to myself wow. We are part of an amazing education experience at The Children's House.
- Watching a group of children build a car out of logs on the playground including a fuel area
- Experiencing the life cycle of a monarch butterfly up close and personal
- Listening to children read spanish color books to other students
- Feeling the peace and hearing quietness each morning during our mindful moment
- Seeing the eyes of a student who finished the thousand chain for the first time
- Pointing out Haiti on the North America puzzle map during the recent hurricane
- listening to a four year old talk about how he would like to live in Africa as he was working with the world puzzle map.
- Many many smiles, hugs, and laughs!

I enjoy the time I share with your children each day ! I am looking forward to meeting with each of you next week for conferences

October 13, 2016

We have settled into a beautiful routine in our environment. The room is buzzing with concentration, smiles, amazing language, and of course lots of learning. We have begun studying different kinds of leaves that are falling from the trees around Northern Michigan. If you happen to see any sassafrass, oak, maple, willow, cherry, poplar, or any other type you come across we are looking for leaves to use in the classroom.

Our environment welcomed James to the class this week. The students were eager to have a new friend join our environment. We are continuing our growth with colors and numbers in Spanish as well as the word pumpkin (calabaza). We read a English/Spanish book about pumpkins. We learned words such as grande (big), chica (small), arriba (up), and abajo (down). I look forward to seeing each of you at parent visiting day next Wednesday morning. If you have any questions or concerns please let me know.

September 29, 2016

Monday we welcomed a butterfly to the world! Tuesday we set it free to begin it's trip to Mexico. We have been investigating Monarch butterflies and how fall hatched butterflies make their way to Mexico for the winter then make their way back North in the Spring to lay their eggs. We have been discussing the parts of a butterfly and reading several books about Monarchs.

Anna has been giving small group lessons on the colors in Spanish and we have been reinforcing the colors through out our day. The children have enjoyed trying out this new language.

With fall in the air we will look at different types of apples and do a little taste testing. We will also be making applesauce and apple butter soon. I am beyond excited to have a Tower Garden in our environment this year. I will begin to give lessons on harvesting basil and using the Tower Garden not only for amazing produce and herbs but also language work. Hooray!!

I look forward to seeing many of you Sunday at the Harvest Festival. Always know I am here to listen or answer questions.

September 15, 2016

Welcome to a new school year! The last two weeks have been amazing! It has been a delight to get to know our new children and catch up and see the changes students have made over the summer. We have been focusing on choosing work, making work beautiful when we put it away, walking carefully in the classroom, and getting to know our friends names. Last Friday, we found a monarch caterpillar and we created a habitat with milkweed in it. When we arrived at school on Monday it had climbed to the top of the habitat and was hanging in a hook/j formation. Tuesday, the caterpillar had shed it's skin and turned green. We are observing our chrysalis/pupa very carefully and are eagerly awaiting a butterfly.

In the beginning of the school year in a primary room you will notice a lot of practical life work. The new children are beginning the work of concentration and logical thinking with practical life materials. You will notice lavender bags coming home and maybe the scent of nutmeg on your child's hands. The room is a busy place with floors being scrubbed, silver being polished, flowers being arranged and so much more. Practical life is the foundation of our classroom and is a crucial part of our environment.

I am looking forward to the class picnic this Thursday at F&M park at 5:00. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns! Dasha and Stephanie are creating a volunteer calendar and will get it all together shortly.

This page last updated on 5/24/2017.

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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