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Welcome to Primary Northeast


Our classroom is a place where your children are invited to experience their world at their own pace, we hope that you will find these brief synopses helpful in gaining insight to the many facets of our classroom.

"Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment."
Melissa Cole & Julie Shearer
929-9325 ex. 34
Melissa Cole Melissa Cole, Primary Guide
B.S. Western Michigan University, Graphic Design
AMI Montessori Primary Certification, Ohio Montessori Training Institute, Cleveland
The Children's House experience (2004- present):
Primary Classroom Support
Primary Guide
Julie Shearer Julie Shearer, Primary Guide
B.S.W. Ferris State University, Social Work
AMI Montessori Primary Certification, Ohio Montessori Training Institute, Cleveland
The Children's House experience (2001- present):
Primary Classroom Support
Primary Classroom Guide

May 10, 2018

I can’t believe I’m saying this but the end of the school year is only a few short weeks away. Where has the time gone? We have begun to talk about our solar system to help prepare the kindergarten children for their roles in The Dance of the Cosmos. This week we discussed the planets and a few facts about each one. We will also learn more about comets and asteroids and stars oh my. It’s an exciting time!

Did your family celebrate Cinco de Mayo? We talked about why many people of Mexican decent commemorate the victory of an important battle that took place between France and Mexico many years ago. The children enjoyed looking at pictures and discussing the many different ways people in Mexico and the United States honor this special day.

We would like to recognize all of our amazing mothers and thank you for all that you do. Each and every one of you deserves to put your feet up and take a day to simply relax and enjoy your family. Julie helped the children put together a little gift that will surely bring beauty to you all summer long.

April 26, 2018

In preparation for May Day, the children have begun constructing their hats for the celebration. These consist of cutting the middle of a paper plate like a pie and folding the points upwards resembling a crown. To the points of the crown, tissue paper flowers are thoughtfully arranged, add a few ribbons and the hats are ready and waiting for the first day of May. The children enjoy modeling for each other how these adornments and to their attire.

We have been talking about Earth Day and all the ways we can help our planet. We discussed why it is important to recycle and what happens to items like soda cans and plastic bottles. They were excited to learn that part of their bicycle may have been made from a soup can or that even their clothing could have been made from recycled plastic. And from their stories it sounds like many of you recycle at home too.

This past Wednesday, our school lunch consisted of teriyaki chicken, fried rice and watermelon. I’m sure you are wondering why I would choose to write about school lunch as one of our highlights. Well, I wish I had video taped it because the looks and questions I got when the chicken (bone in) was placed on their plate was hilarious. I ended up explaining that not only was it still in but how to eat around it. They were fascinated by this and got so excited when they “found” the bone. Perhaps while barbequing this summer you might consider "Chicken on the Bone".

April 12, 2018

Happy No Ruz! No Ruz is an Iranian holiday, which means “New Day”. Rose Hollander, our beloved Great Books guide, came to teach us about this fun celebration. We all had an opportunity to “jump over the fire” to leave all bad things behind and welcome the New Year. We then enjoyed snacking on foods that represent happiness and good fortune. Ours included olives, hard-boiled eggs, apples, sprouts, sweet wheat pudding and sumac. Ask your child what they left behind.

Spring is here believe it or not, and we are in the planning stages of what to put in our raised beds for this growing season. We will plant some favorites, cherry tomatoes, basil and peas for the grazing children to enjoy throughout the warm summer. There will also be some unique vegetables that we have not grow before. One is a cucumber variety that resembles a watermelon and is smaller than a golf ball, it has a unique flavor which is a bit on the tart side.

What does it mean to observe? This is a grace and courtesy lesson that we are all revisiting. When we observe another persons work we stand with our hands at our sides or behind our back and we watch quietly while the activity is in process. The child sitting with the work is also working on development of concentration. Your child does so much of this throughout the day, and these skills will serve them throughout their life.

March 22, 2018

It was wonderful spending time with family and the beach and I am truly happy to back with your children! They have grown so much just in the time I was away, practicing new work, forming closer relationships with each other and just looking generally bigger. I have enjoyed sharing stories from my vacation, talking about the different sea life and beach combing adventures, we even had the opportunity to rescue an owl from the side of a busy street. I have not told them about visiting the Harry Potter area of Universal Studios, but when your children become fans of the books, I strongly encourage you to go!

The temperature might not reflect it, but Spring has sprung. We have been talking about the days getting longer and all the wonderful things to come in the next few months. We have also talked about the many different celebrations other cultures have to welcome spring from Passover to No Ruz to Easter. One of the things many of these celebrations have in common is cleaning your house so last week we turned on some music, grabbed our buckets and sponges and gave our classroom a much needed scrub down. We rewarded ourselves with a special snack then headed outside to enjoy the sunshine. Ah…SPRING!

March 8, 2018

We have been having a lot of fun talking about solids, liquids and gases. Snow is a solid that melts into a liquid and evaporates in the form of a gas. The children have been experimenting with baking soda and vinegar using the chemical reaction to blowup a balloon. Ask your child what gas is created when combining these two common household items.

We traveled to the gym this week to enjoy a President’s Day assembly. We were thoroughly entertained by the elementary students who rapped, yes rapped, facts about each president. It was loads of fun and very unique. Thank you, Alison B., for once again organizing a very memorable gathering.

It was so nice to chat with many of you last week during conferences. I know I’ve said this before but it is always such an eye opener when we can have a more in-depth conversation about what your child is doing at school and home. Please know that we are always available and want to be sure the lines of communication are always kept open.

February 15, 2018

We had a yummy treat for snack this week. A beautiful King Cake covered with a colorful glaze. This is something that is typically served during Mardi Gras which means “Fat Tuesday.” It’s the time right before the beginning of lent when many Catholics give up things like sweets. Our cake had purple green and gold icing which is meant to represent justice, faith and power.

We enjoyed seeing many of you on Thursday for Parent Visiting Day. It is always such a fun time and great way for the children to show all the amazing things they are working on. Our traditional Chinese New Year celebration followed in the gym. It is always such a special event for our school community.

Did your child tell you about their “glowing hands”? We have been talking about how germs are spread, and we each used a special lotion to see how well our hands were washed. The lotion that was left on our hands glowed under florescent light and that’s where the germs are hiding! Everyone, myself included still had glowing areas on our hands and we have discovered that the method of dampen and dash is not getting hands clean.

February 1, 2018

Will Punxsutawney Phil or Shubenacadie Sam see their shadows on Friday? That is the question of the week in our classroom. We have a lot of fun talking about Groundhog Day and the history of how it came about. Although we know that the arrival of spring can not really be predicted by whether or not a groundhog sees its shadow it sure is fun to talk about.

As we begin to prepare for our upcoming Chinese New Year celebration we have been talking about how some things differ between our cultures. One of them being our calendars. This is the year of the dog and the children have had lots of fun learning about which animal represents the year they were born. Ask your child if they were born in the year of the Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse or Sheep.

If you missed the conversations about the book "How to Raise an Adult", you can still join in on February 6th at either 8:30 am or 3:30 pm. Reading the book is not a requirement to attend, it is a relaxing format to share some of the parenting challenges facing us and brainstorm about ways to support each other as we travel the road to adulthood with our children.

January 18, 2018

We are so happy to be getting back into our routine! The classroom is bustling with activities and it feels as if we are all playing catch up.

In the few days that we have been back, the children have had the opportunity to compare and contrast two different types of crystals that we have grown in the classroom. We used borax and boiling water and ended up with crystals that resemble rock candy. The other recipe we experimented with called for Epsom salts and water, this mixture needed to be refrigerated, and resulted in very detailed and delicate crystals. If you would like to create some at home the recipe for the borax, which had the most dramatic results, is as follows:

Three tablespoons borax to one cup of boiling water, stir until the borax is dissolved. Make a shape out of a pipe cleaner and suspend it in a container adding enough of the borax mixture to completely submerge the shape and set aside for six to eight hours.

Snow, snow, snow and more snow. We adults might be getting a little tired of it but I can assure you the children are not. This week we read a book about a man called Willie Bently aka Snowflake Bently. As a young boy in Vermont Willie loved looking at snowflakes through his microscope and wished he had a way to share their beauty. Eventually his parents were able to purchase a special camera and after many attempts he was able to successfully photograph many spectacular images. Ask your child about the activity we have on our shelf that is allowing us to get an up close and personal look at snowflakes too.

December 19, 2017

Wishing you all a magical holiday season and a glorious New Year. We are grateful for this time together and are looking forward to 2018. See you next year.

December 7, 2017

We enjoyed fresh roasted beets and fresh steamed carrots from the last of our harvest from our raised beds. Two children rubbed the beets down with coconut oil then the beets were roasted in our classroom oven. We had these in addition to our pizza lunch and many of the children enjoyed them, there were a few holdouts but we will keep trying new items next year in the garden.

Everyone is waiting for snow! The children have been asking repeatedly, "When is it going to snow"? We have been talking about the weather and the temperatures that are needed for snow. When ice crystals form it is a type of condensation and when the snowflakes fall it's called precipitation. This has led to questions about when the season of winter begins and it is fun to hear the reasons that the children have as to when it is truly winter.

As I’m sure you can imagine our classroom is filled with excitement along with the sounds of the season. We have been practicing many songs in anticipation of our all school holiday sing. The primary children will be singing Jingle Bells (all three verses) and Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah specifically. Many of you have asked what other songs we are practicing so I have listed them below along with the words to one you might not be familiar with. Happy singing!

Silent Night, Up on a housetop, Rudolph, Fire’s burning and Build a little snowman.

Build a little snowman round and fat
Find a carrot nose and an old straw hat
Now my little snowman won’t you stay?
Out comes the sun and you melt away

November 16, 2017

Last week even though there was snow, a student found some very tiny snail shells while caring for the patio environment. He so sincerely wanted to take the shells home, but we thought that maybe the snails might still be using their homes. We put them in a container so they could easily be observed and to our amazement, they began to come out of their shells and move about in the warmer temperature of the classroom. Ask your child if they remember why the snails were able to come back to life.

We have begun our preparations for our Harvest feast with the most important aspect being; thankfulness! During our collective group the children are asked what they are most thankful for and the responses are as unique as each of your children. The thankfulness theme will be carried through to the new year in hopes that we can all remember how fortunate we are.

Thank you to those of you who participated in "Shop Your Community Day". It's such a fun way to support our community as well as getting a jump start on holiday shopping. We received a lot of wonderful books from our wish basket at Horizon Books and are looking forward to sharing them with the children.

November 2, 2017

It was wonderful to see all of you during conferences. It is always so nice to have the time to slow down and chat with you all about the amazing things your child is doing. It is an important part of how we can work as a team to help guide them in finding their full potential. Thank you for sharing this time with us and know we welcome your input anytime.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. We have been talking about this unique American holiday and what it really means to be thankful. We have also begun planning for our harvest feast and there are lots of ideas about what we should prepare for the occasion. More information about this celebration will be coming in the next couple of weeks.

Pumpkin fun day was a blast! We had pumpkin pancakes with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar and fresh fall apples for our snack. We roasted pumpkin seeds in the oven, made masks, colored pictures, sang our Halloween songs and talked about our costumes. I think the poor arachnids have gotten a bad reputation (through no fault of their own) as we made spider hats and spider webs. The huge snowflakes falling on the playground added to the festive mood.

Just a reminder to send plenty of warm options for outside activities, Winter is on its way!

October 19, 2017

Two of the big topics of the season are apples and the changing colors of the leaves. In small groups we share stories about these two amazing traits of our fall season. We have learned that leaves have different colors inside them and when the leaves are producing chlorophyll the green covers up the other colors inside of the leaf. Apples begin as a flower and need to be cross pollinated with pollen from a different apple tree in order to bare fruit. We will be making applesauce later this week in our classroom.

The firemen from the long lake department visited the primary wing and shared with us what to do in case of a fire in our home. Every family should have a planned meeting place outside of the home in case of a fire. The children were able to hear the noise that the breathing tanks make and see what all the gear looks like on the firemen.

Halloween is fast approaching and the children have been very excited to share what their costumes might be this year. We have been learning a number of songs and poems about this festive holiday so be sure to ask your child to share them with you. Here's one to get you started.

There was an old witch
Believe it if you can
She tapped on the window
And she ran, ran, ran
She ran helter skelter
With her toes in the air
Cornstalks flying
From the old witches hair
Swish went the broomstick
Meow went the cat
Plop went the hop toad
Sitting on her hat
Wee chuckle aye
What fun
What fun
Halloween night

When the witches run

October 5, 2017

Local singer, Miriam Pico, came to entertain us all in the barn last Friday. She sang original music ranging from some very sweet children’s songs to a lovely song in Spanish about her Grandparents. She even rocked out I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor! Needless to say the children were all a-movin-and-a-groovin.

A few weeks ago Taylor took a cruise to and around Alaska and returned with so many amazing pictures and stories. The children have been enjoying hearing the tales and reading many of the wonderful books she brought back. Taylor even brought back sand from a glacier to and to our growing collection.

Did you know…
The state capital of Juneau has not roads leading in or out and can only be reached by air or water?
Tidewater glaciers reach from the mountains down to the ocean and when ice breaks off making icebergs, it’s called calving?
Polar bears are the world’s largest land carnivore?

Last week our last Monarch emerged over the past weekend, its chrysalis was spotted by the keen eyes of Oliver on a day lilly leaf! We are sure it is happily headed south for the winter. Monarchs lay three hundred eggs and sadly only one percent makes it to the final stage of butterfly. It has been fun following the development of the caterpillars and we look forward to finding even more next year!

September 21, 2017

We have been having lots of fun harvesting vegetables from gardens. Carrots and peas have been the latest to find our taste buds and tummies. The children have made many comments about how wonderful they taste and how crisp they are. Whether or not they are plain or dipped in homemade ranch they all agree it is a delicious treat.

Hopefully you all know that a new child has joined our classroom as an extended day student. It has been eye opening to witness all the amazement from this new child at the amount of independence that is offered in the montessori classroom. This serves as a reminder to us that our children are so fortunate to have this as their first educational experience. 

It was wonderful seeing many of you at our class social. We live in a very busy world and it’s nice to slow down and reconnect with one another every once in a while. We are looking forward to the rest of our school year together.

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Room Parent

Rachel Taylor-Franks

Classroom Support

Taylor Vancil

Taylor Vancil


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