From the Director
A few chess students at the Montessori School of Cumming chose to attend the GA Chess Club-Northside Scholastic Championship on November 26th with their chess instructor, Mohua Maity. Agata and Sid received 2 ½ points out of 4 possible points as well as a trophy to commemorate their experience. Eli, Adam, Agata, and Sid are all members of the United States Chess Federation and all received a progressive rating. This was the first chess tournament experience for these students.
The children are practicing daily with the many activities available in
practical life, language, and sensorial, as well as supporting their budding
social skills. At any moment you might see someone preparing and baking
muffins, another pouring beans, and yet another cleaning the water he
spilled on table and floor while pouring. Meanwhile, a friend across the
room is building a puzzle near another who is arranging flowers and then
rearranging flowers yet again. There might be a couple children working
hard at food preparation. One will be juicing her orange while the other is
washing his dishes after bread dough making. Of course, someone could
be enjoying the comfort of wandering and looking at work and all the
possibilities. Another might be sitting in the reading area to peruse a book,
while someone else is taking care to clean his own nose and then wash his
With all of this activity, there are always opportunities for the spontaneous
grace and courtesy lessons the children love!
Outdoors their growing strength and courage is repeatedly evident.
Climbing the wall, running across the bridge, and swinging on the big swing
for the first time are all evidence of the constant growth and development
that these challenges provide. Here they run, chase, roll, and giggle with
abandon. They clump in friendly groups to dig, pretend, or roam in
Thank you all for great Grandparents’ Tea turnout. The toddlers enjoyed
serving tea and snacks to their loving grandparents.
JUST A FEW REMINDERS:
Your prompt arrival & swift drop off at the door, is most appreciated. Let
your child open the door and walk inside the classroom.
Please label all of your child’s belongings.
As always, thank you all for your continued support.
From Primary A
First of all I would like to thank all the parents for attending the conferences. I hope you enjoyed hearing about your child’s achievements and discussing the future goals as much as I did!
November being the Thanksgiving month and the month in which we celebrate our Grandparent’s day, the children were all in very high spirits. They had fun making the tokens for their respective grandparents, preparing the song for them and trying out a new recipe for them to take away on grandparent’s day.
Apart from cooking for the grandparent’s day the children of Primary A have been baking other things too like muffins, granola, apple crumble....yummm! This lead to a thought that even at home it is easy to send your child off to play while you make a meal, knowing you can get it done in minutes. But with a little preparation and forethought, it is just as easy to incorporate your child in the meal making process. For, sure you may be adding few more minutes and mess into your cooking routine, but what the child gets out of it is pretty amazing experience .
For when you are making food, you are teaching your child the science in action , helping to lay down basic math, reading and time telling skills, encouraging healthy food choices, building confidence and creativity, enhancing communication and deepening connections with your child.
What happens if you forgot to add baking powder to the bread? Why preheat the oven? Cooking is great time to ask questions and test out results. Often recipes include fractions, some ingredients measured in weight, and some in volume. Time is a challenging concept for young ones; but the experience of setting a timer and waiting for it to alert you when your food is done, helps children to form an understanding of something very abstract. Plus seeing math in context of real life helps lay foundation of basic math.
Reading recipes aloud is another opportunity for the child to enrich their vocabulary and get a new format to practice. Further, the most selling reason to include your child in the cooking process is that he or she is more likely to eat food they have prepared, even if it is something they may not taste otherwise. Working side by side , talking through a receipe, measuring, mixing and pouring are all opportunities to connect with children. Busy hands often lead to stories of the day and beware!!! May bring out failure recipes tried at school too!
All in all the mess, extra time spent is good on so many levels. So hoping this newsletter motivates you all to include your precious ones some more in the cooking process for the upcoming holiday season!
From Primary B
I hope everyone had fun catching up and sharing good food with their families during Thanksgiving break. This month provided us with a wonderful opportunity to express gratitude and give thanks, a practice that not only benefits our relationships, but our mental and physical well-being as well. Did you know that the simple act of expressing gratitude activates neurons in our brain that shift our thought patterns from a sense of lack to one of abundance? Try it and see for yourself!
In the primary classroom, we talked about what being thankful means and what we are thankful for. One of our favorite, grace and courtesy lessons is that of teaching the children how to say, “thank you” when they feel appreciation for something or someone. Young children typically begin by showing appreciation for tangible items such as their toys, their blanket, or their favorite snack. As they grow older, they begin to express appreciation for more abstract items such as friendship and kindness.
We had a successful and fun Grandparent Tea Party! I would like to thank all of the grandparents and special friends who came out to participate in this event. Everyone enjoyed drinking tea and received a present that was made for them. This was an exciting event for students and grandparents to spend some time together outside of school. Hopefully, this event turned out to be another happy memorable experience for everyone. After the tea party ended, I gave the grandparents a tour of the classroom and talked about the benefits of Montessori education. Some of the grandparents asked me what the purpose of sensorial materials is. I would like to share that discussion here with the parents, as well.
Aristotle said “The senses are gateways to the intelligence. There is nothing in the intelligence which did not first pass through the senses.” During the years between three and six, as children develop their senses, their attention is directed toward the environment. The purpose of the sensorial activities is to help the child in his/her efforts to sort out the many varied impressions given by the senses. These materials are specifically designed to help the child develop refinement, order, and to broaden and refine the senses. These materials also help prepare him/her to be a logical, aware, and a perceptive person.
When children join the primary classroom, they started working with Practical Life activities, and I also introduced some of the sensorial materials. Sensorial materials are concrete materials that children use their hands to discover length, width, area, volume, color and sound variation, and textures while they are working. We have a color tablet, smelling bottle, tasting bottle, sound cylinder, and sorting tray activities which help children refine visual senses, olfactory, gustatory, auditory, and stereo gnostic sense, respectively. The sensorial materials help the children focus one sense on a particular property of matter through a purposeful activity.
By manipulating sensorial materials, not only do children explore the world with their senses, but they also expose themselves indirectly to the decimal system in math, in contrasting and comparing, and to grading which are necessary for understanding language. The sensorial activities also lay the foundation of math and language. Usually, children start with cylinder blocks and pink tower. They are easily attracted to the beautiful wooden and colorful materials. Pink tower is a set of ten wooden materials that are precisely in increasing increments of 1 cubic cm as the tower goes bigger. Sensorial materials are scientifically designed to help children understand each goal of each material such as length, dimension, or volume. By discriminating the size and shape, color, and patterns, children develop their ability to distinguish subtle differences in letters such as letter “b”, ”d”, ”p”, etc.
The sensorial materials provide purposeful movement and exploration. Children love to pair, grade, and sort materials and do games with peers. For example, children’s all-time favorite activity is the color tablet box number II. After children match the colors, they do a game. They spread tablets in the environment by putting them on the shelves. Students need to go find what they need to bring to match the color on the rug. Sensorial materials help children become aware of their environment and develop intelligence.
During the month of November, children in Primary have been very busy at work. They are moving at a fast and steady pace. As the Primary school year rolls along, the newest in the classroom have now become more comfortable. Their time in the classroom is occupied with lessons and works that are inviting, purposeful, and meet the needs of the Primary aged student.
Please look for the next event coming soon. Please come and join us to see how much your child has learned so far. Children will show their recent works. As always, I appreciate your continued support. Your participation means so much to the children. We look forward to seeing you at the next event!
This month the children’s Great Lesson was the story of human beings. The story describes the special gifts we have, a mind that can think and a heart that can love. Human beings have the ability to imagine all types of things with their minds and to have hands free to make the things they could imagine. Soon after the lesson we were discussing Veterans Day and why and who is the celebration for and from this discussion the children began to show an interest to do something special for the men and women who are presently serving our country (gift of showing love to people you do not even know) and participating in operation shoebox fit the need. To highlight a few details from the flyer sent home: ● Each child is to fill one ziploc gallon bag with provisions that a soldier would find useful and a joy to receive (refer to list sent home). ● Please send in donations on Friday, December 8th. ● Your child is welcome to put a self addressed postcard in their donation bag so the service member can write to them. ● Due to packing and shipping costs please choose to send in lightweight and easily packaged items. ● Thank you in advance for your support and participation! The children continued to show their gift of love to family and special friends by making from scratch Pumpkin Spice mini loaves for the Grandparents/Special friends tea. We hope that everyone enjoyed the tea and mini loaves as much as the elementary community enjoyed preparing and baking for those whom they hold near and dear. I enjoyed seeing familiar faces and getting to meet some Grandparents who traveled across the state, over state lines and internationally to spend the morning with their grandchildren. November concludes with celebrating Thanksgiving. In the story of the first Thanksgiving in the New World the Pilgrims and the Native Americans had a celebratory feast to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. The Native Americans shared with the pilgrims their fall harvest companion crop known as the Three Sisters. Corn, beans and squash were planted together because of their support of one another. In the case of the corn, it literally was the support as a trellis for the beans and as the beans grow through the tangle of squash vines and wind their way up the cornstalks into the sunlight, they hold the sisters close together. The squash leaves are rough and help keep away the rascal raccoons who don’t like how they feel on their feet. The children are learning to do for one another and others what the Three Sisters do for one another in order for all to thrive...supporting, collaborating and protecting.
From the Toddler Room
I can't believe that October is over! Thank you for all the books you donated to our toddler community!
Also I hope that you enjoyed coming in to observe this month in the toddler community.
We would like to welcome Colton and his family to our toddler community.
We have been singing songs about fall, the children are chasing leaves on the play ground as they are falling from the tree's. They are collecting leaves on the playground and making piles of leaves. They've been enjoying painting and baking in the class room as well. This month we have made pumpkin bread and baked apples with the children's help and they are enjoying it.
From Primary A
Fall is here! The temperatures are cooling off; it's finally time to pull those sweaters out of hibernation and watch leaves morph into various shades of yellow and orange. At this gorgeous time of the year we discussed some history behind the names given to this season and some of the festivals celebrated around the world around this time.
The children of Primary A learned that the season we call 'fall', was once referred to simply as 'harvest'; to reflect the time of the year when farmers gathered their crops for winter storage. The word 'harvest' means "to gather or to pluck". In the early 1600's as more people started to move into cities, the word harvest fell out of use. Instead, city dwellers began to use the phrase, 'fall of the leaf', to refer the season of the year when trees lose their leaves. Surprisingly, we don't really know where the word 'autumn' comes from; but today American English uses the word ,'fall', while British English uses word, 'autumn' almost exclusively.
Along with the fall season comes the start of the holiday season. Some of the holidays that fall during this season are, Thanksgiving and Halloween. While the children know a lot about these festivals and how they are celebrated in the US; we discussed some of the festivals celebrated by other cultures around the same time; such as:
-The Jewish festival of Sukkot-an agricultural festival that originally was considered a thanksgiving for the fruit.
-The Moon festival of China- the mid autumn fest
-Chuseok- a 3-day celebration in South Korea. Normally falling around a full moon between September and October, this harvest festival involves honoring the ancestors and sharing feasts with family and friends.
-And Diwali- a 5-day Hindu Festival of Lights to signify the victory of good over evil.
Special thanks to Uchita (Sia's mom) for taking the time to come to our classroom and share with the children, some cultural aspects of Diwali festival such as Rangoli, Diya, etc and how each of the 5 days are celebrated in India. The children enjoyed the henna on their hands done by Ms. Mona and the workers were very excited to do the rangoli in our garden area!
I would like to conclude the newsletter by welcoming the Barrows Family to our community (Eliza) and thanking the Shawkat family for bringing in their newborn chicks to show the children. I would also like to thank all the parents for taking time out of your busy schedules to come observe our classroom. Hope you enjoyed your time in our class! I am looking forward to seeing you all at the upcoming conferences!
From Primary B
Hello everyone! Fall is here! While we may not have the brilliant display of autumn leaves yet, fall is still an exciting and much welcomed season! The children and staff are ready for cooler days and more outdoor lessons and gardening.
Thanks to all who came to observe the classroom this month. The children enjoyed having you as an observer. They showed such great enthusiasm when they were able to demonstrate what they could do and what they have learned! For those who missed the chance to observe the classroom this time, there will be another observation in February. Thank you for the great feedback and encouragement. This gives us a chance to make some adjustments so that we can make the classroom run even more smoothly and make the children more happy!
We would like to welcome Landon to our classroom. He is new to Montessori school, but his older brother has been in Montessori school when he was young.
Children are more comfortable with the routine of the work cycle, Spanish, lunch, outside recess, nap time and so on. Sometimes, a little help from home makes children more successful in the classroom, especially during transition. Children experience a totally different setting of environment in the classroom than at home. Almost everything that we have in the classroom is adjusted for children. The classroom environment is designed to help children be more successful and independent while building self-esteem. At home, we highly encourage parents to let children be as independent as possible when going to the bathroom. Most bathroom accidents in the classroom occur because they are in a hurry and couldn’t help themselves in time. Children need to wear simple and comfortable clothes and shoes for their activities and for bathroom situations. Elastic waist pants and tops WITHOUT buttons, snaps, or belts are recommended. Wearing simple clothes would help them undress quickly and easily in the bathroom. Giving children time to practice how to dress and undress themselves at home would help them succeed in the classroom. The more times they succeed, the more confidence children will gain. Velcro shoes and no-lace shoes are highly recommended unless they’ve learned how to do a bow tie knot. These are important skills for children to master and will reduce their stress and frustration during transition time. There were still quite a bit of accidents in the classroom in October, so hopefully these recommendations will help reduce the number of accidents in the classroom in the future.
We have enjoyed an unusual extension of warm weather. As leaves continue to fall from the trees, the days will grow shorter, and the air will become colder. It is time to think about warmer clothes. Please switch out the extra sets of clothes in the classroom to long sleeve shirts and long pants and guide the children to dress appropriately according to the weather. Thank you for your support. Parent-teacher conference is coming up. I look forward to seeing all of you again soon.
Happy Fall! This month we enjoyed spending time with one another outside of the classroom during our Funk Heritage Museum field trip! The children experienced living history as they stepped back in time to learn about Georgia history from Georgia historical figures re-enactors. We had a beautiful Fall day as we began our timeline walk to meet the Cherokee and the Creek Indians, James Oglethorpe, Mary Musgrove and James Oglethorpe. The Pioneer Village demonstrations brought to life blacksmithing, woodworking and other skills that enabled pioneers to survive in early Georgia settlements. We all learned a lot about early Georgia inhabitants and settlers! Thank you for all of the field trip parent chaperones who volunteered and their patience whilst the children merrily played their newly purchased flutes!
Ms. Manisha came to the elementary class and shared a few Diwali celebration traditions. She demonstrated how to make a wick from cotton to use to light an oil lamp for the festival of light. The children had a chance to try their hand at making wicks as well as watch Ms. Manisha create beautiful sand art meant to decorate one’s entryway to their home. Ms. Manisha is a talented artist and we all enjoyed watching her demonstrate her skills!
Lastly, with October being observation month, you all were given the opportunity to get a glimpse into your child’s typical day. The children at this plane of development learn by using their feet and are more social. Learning from one another, collaborating on projects, working together and conflict resolution are all part of the daily work of the elementary aged child. Learning to share materials, taking turns, selecting a place to work, who to work with, keeping one's work organized on the rug are all daily acts of growth in kindness, consideration and respect of oneself and others works and feelings. Life skills which are essential and necessary to enjoy good relationships with peers, future colleagues, family members and the community members are practiced, honed and applied in the classroom daily.
In tandem with the daily exercise of the children’s social and emotional skill building so too are their academic advancements, ahh haa moments and the joys of accomplishing a new skill. It’s so wonderful to see the building up of knowledge from introductory lessons. For example, one Forest Friday while gathering leaves the children would place them in the bag saying, “this is an Oak leaf” or “this leaf is palmately reticulate” or “the plural of leaf drops the f and adds ves” or those 2 veins make an acute angle” or this leaf is small, but this one is smaller and this one is the smallest!” Exploration, discovery and curiosity ignite the imagination at this plane of development and the classroom is ablaze with collaborative projects and curiosity driven research and astute observations!
September’s weather events have certainly taken center stage this month! After learning of the devastation Hurricane Harvey caused to Houston’s community, the children began discussing the terrible conditions people were facing and how they would feel if they did not have clean water, clothes, shelter or food and loss of belongings. A collective decision was made to reach out to the entire MSOC community to participate in a fundraiser to benefit Hurricane Harvey victims. A list of reputable and recommended charities was presented and The Salvation Army was chosen due to the help and support they give to the first responders who work long, hard hours and face dangerous challenges coming to the aid of Harvey’s victims. The children felt a sense of gratitude to the MSOC community for its monetary donations and what a wonderful group of children, who care enough about others that they don’t even know, to orchestrate an aid event for their benefit.
We didn’t realize we would soon experience our own crisis with Hurricane Irma! Opportunities for many lessons relating to The Winds, Seasons, Oceanic Currents, Categories and Names of Hurricanes were explored. These opportunities as well as the first two Great Lessons have given the children many topics of interest to explore and several collaborative and independent research, experiments and projects are in the works.
In closing, it was nice to socialize with all of you who could attend the potluck picnic and those who couldn’t were missed. Good food + Good people= Good Time!!!
From Primary B
For many of us it seems that summer ended on the first day of school. How is it that autumn is just now rolling in with all her colors and cooler breezes? The month of September has flown by, and the children are adjusting well to their school days, and have formed many new friendships. We have spent the month teaching the children the social tools they need to be good friends, and take care of each other’s feelings in the larger group setting of the classroom. This is something that we will talk about daily throughout the year, and hope that the children take to heart the importance of the golden rule, and make it a part of their lives forever.
Beginning of a new semester always brings new challenges for students and teachers. Along with the new friendships that are taking shape, they are learning new letters, words, numbers, theories...which can be somewhat stressful for the little big minds that grace our school every day. Some children need a bit more time to adjust to the experience of the changing environment and that is perfectly normal. We take extra time with these students to ensure that they feel safe and capable while they navigate the new terrain. The children have settled in nicely and have begun to find harmony in the classroom and accepting each other.
We have also been working on and mastering Preliminary exercises. Children spend a great deal of time, at the beginning of the year, on mastering these activities. Preliminary exercises are the basic movements in all activities and are designed to be purposeful work that lead the child to an understanding of their environment. The activities help children develop their hand eye coordination and fine and gross motor skills and guide the child to function independently in the classroom. In Preliminary exercises, children learn how to sit and stand from a chair, eat with manners, carry a tray and a pitcher, roll and unroll a rug, opening a lid on a jar, folding clothes and so on. Once they master preliminary exercises, children can focus more on the care of their environment and self, control of movement, and grace and courtesy.
“If teaching is to be effective with young children, it must assist them to advance on the way to independence. It must initiate them into those kinds of activities, which they can perform themselves. We must help them to learn how to walk without assistance, to run, to go up and down the stairs, to pick up fallen objects, to dress and undress, to wash themselves, to express their needs, and to attempt to satisfy their desires through their own efforts. All this is part of an education for independence.”-Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child
Observations begin this month. A signup sheet will be provided for you to claim a time when you would like to observe the classroom. We offer observations so that parents can see their child at work and in order to familiarize you with some of their tasks. Please come and observe us and see how your children are doing in the classroom. Please share your thoughts with us and give us feedback.
Thank you for the book donations. The books will help fill the new bookshelf that we recently bought with early donations from parents. Children will enjoy many hours of reading and learning from the books. Thank you again for all the support.
October brings crisper weather so please be sure to send your child with a jacket every day, one that it is clearly marked with his/her name and be sure to replenish your child’s clothes with long pants and long sleeves. Happy Autumn everyone!
From Primary A
Children find weather fascinating. Big storms, snow days and wind enough to fly kite all hold their attention. Hurricanes, one of the nature's most destructive forces, are particularly interesting and lend themselves to independent exploration.
Since September 2017 was the most energetic month for hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean ever recorded, the children's curiosity of knowing more about them could only be satisfied by learning more about them.
With that in mind, the children of Primary A learned that Hurricanes are giant tropical storms that produce heavy rainfall and super-strong winds. That hurricanes are also called cyclones or typhoons depending on where they occur.
Atlantic Ocean- Hurricane
Pacific Ocean- typhoons
Indian Ocean- Cyclone
That they rotate around a circular center called the 'eye' , where it is calm with no clouds . Surrounding is the eye-wall; the most dangerous part of hurricane with strongest winds, thickest clouds and heaviest rain!
The children also learned that the Hurricanes are given names by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) so that they can be distinguished. Each year storms are given names in alphabetical order according to the list produced by WMO and the name stays with the storm if it develops into a hurricane.
The most fascinating fact for the children was to learn about the 'Hurricane Hunters'- special planes that fly directly into the storms and drop sensors to measure the wind speed, temperature and air pressure providing cues to the hurricane's direction.
The workers had a lot of fun drawing the North American continent on paper with the surrounding Atlantic and Pacific oceans and choosing to decide where they would like to have the hurricane/ typhoon form in the respective oceans.
It was touching to have some children relate to the struggles that the victims of the hurricanes might be going through. That led to the discussion of how everyone around us can and are helping those in need. The elementary' s fundraiser for the victims of hurricane was a very good example of how even children can take the initiative towards such situations and make a difference!
In conclusion, I would like to welcome Om and Jacob to our class and hope that all of you are as excited as we are to have you observe our class next month.
Most children have settled in the classroom. Children are enjoying greeting each other in the morning. Welcome Colton and his family to our community. We have been singing songs about jellyfish (five blind jellyfish) and Butterflys. We see so many different butterflies outside our classroom.
“Learning to use the toilet is a natural process that begins when your child’s desire to be grown up and his neurological development have reached the point where he can control his bladder and bowels. We don’t train children to use the toilet; we support them when they are ready.”
How to Raise an Amazing Child
Once the child is showing interest in using the toilet, the bathroom can be set up to give the child as much independence as possible.
From Director's Desk - Montessori Benefits Now and Later
Welcome to the new school year at MSOC and August in Georgia, which is not in my hometown opinion one of the state’s better months. Many of the states just north of us have just begun to think about returning to school after the upcoming Labor Day Holiday. But here in GA, despite the heat and humidity, every student is leaving the fun of the pool and headed back to class. My college age son and his fellow high school graduates have packed their bags and moved into tiny dorm rooms around the country to begin the next phase of their educational process and their assent into what we all hope is a successful, happy, and employable adulthood. As I sat through UGA’s parent orientation this June, I was struck by the topics of concerns that were expressed by the college teachers, administrators, and local law enforcement. Yes, you read it correctly, local law enforcement. The topics of independence, free choice, time management, persistence, resiliency, freedoms and limits, and felonies were discussed in the hope of opening all of our eyes to what it truly means to grow up in the 21st Century. Luckily, the Montessori education for life that you have all so wisely chosen for your children will provide your child with not only an incredibly rich academic foundation, but also the environment in which to safely practice independence, decisions, natural consequences, time management, persistence, freedoms, and limits. By also reinforcing your commitment to Montessori philosophy by providing your child home experiences that allow small expanding steps into adulthood, the college orientation presentation that is in your future will not scare you, but will leave your assured to a comfortable degree that your college age student is capable and ready to meet these new challenges.
Yes, it is quite a leap from the toddler community to college. The time goes faster than your sleepless nights will allow you to imagine. However, staying attuned to the development of the whole child and budding life skills will continue to support your child academically now and later. Most parents associate the function of school solely as a platform for academic acquisitions. Maria Montessori’s materials and practices definitely are academically rich and allow self-paced attainment of solid fundamental skills that support ongoing lifelong learning. UGA’s leaders proudly announced at orientation that this year’s freshman class is more academically acclaimed than any previous freshman class. The risk of failure during the first year of college was not due to inadequate academic preparation, but the lack of life skills that support continued academic success. Will my college student climb out of the elevated bunkbed after a 3 am gaming session of Rocket League and go to class at 8 am? Will he, in the midst of a tough class like Accounting 101, Biochemistry, or Differential Equations, let a failing test grade lead to dropping the class or will he persevere through long hours with a very talented tutor and numerous study groups? Will he stick with his chosen major? What about laundry? Dating? Internships? Football tickets? Fraternities? The Athen’s Club Scene? Yikes! I’ll keep you posted as my former Montessori student has the time of his life at UGA. Montessori truly is an education for life and allows me to actually sleep during the four years that he will be in college.
Welcome to all of the new Montessori School of Cumming families and new students. It has been our pleasure to welcome you all to our school, and we are all enjoying getting to know your children better. Welcome back to all of our families and students for another engaging and fun-filled school year. The 2017-18 Kick-off Meeting was very well attended and instrumental in starting the school year off in a positive manner. Numerous families also attended the teacher-led parent education nights for information on human tendencies, language acquisition, the absorbent mind, and the primary language and practical life curriculum. Please continue to join us for these monthly events. Coming up in September on Friday the 8th everyone will gather at the school for the Potluck Picnic. Please sign-up at the front desk to bring a dish to share and join all the families for a few hours of great conversation, outdoor playground fun with friends, and sensational food. I will also be hosting an evening parent educational event on the topic of “Teaching Your Child to Read.” I look forward to seeing many of you at this event. Enjoy the long Labor Day Weekend!!!
All the Best,
From Elementary Class
The elementary community is growing and we’re so happy to see so many new faces! We welcome from MSOC’s primary program Lilyanna G., Eshaan M., Adam P. and Sophia S. Sid Devakumar and his family we welcome from Utah. What a great group of children compose our elementary program and I am happy to say that all of our new members are settling in and enjoying their new class and classmates! We also welcome Ms. Lisa Bartels to the elementary community as the elementary assistant. Her experience at MSOC is long and varied and we are appreciative to have her and her talents in the elementary.
The Solar Eclipse at MSOC was a fun, entertaining and educational once in a lifetime event! The children were prepared with NASA approved solar eclipse glasses donated to the elementary by the Grabrovaz family. The children listened to myths of ancient people who experienced solar eclipses, made and decorated a pinhole projector for the eclipse. We watched the total eclipse as it began in Oregon on NASA’s website to Astronomy themed music. The children monitored the solar eclipse, at varying intervals, recording and noting any changes in sight, sounds and temperature. We all were awestruck by this unique experience and how special it was to share in together and with millions of other people as the moon's shadow raced across this nation of ours!
During August’s parent education meeting we discussed the human tendencies in Montessori education and I touched on a myriad of lessons, materials and follow ups that support the human tendencies and how these tendencies are universal and unify present day man with prehistoric man. Movement is one of the many human tendencies of behavior that Dr. Montessori observed and incorporated in her methodology. Dr.Montessori says, “Watching a child makes it obvious that the development of his mind comes through his movements.” The 6-12 child has freedoms of movement in the classroom and outside of the classroom (Going Out or field trip). New get to know you and community building games have been introduced this year too. Many of these games or exercises use movement in order to engage both sides of the brain to aid in retention, memory, coordination and focus. These games are fun, popular and enjoyed by all!
From Primary A
It’s amazing to me how time flies when you are busy working with the children! We are already a month into the school year! I think you all will agree that August has been a very happening month. The Kick-off Meeting, parent education nights and most importantly the solar eclipse brought a very exciting start to the academic year!
The focus of the classroom at the start of this school year has been whole body coordination, balance, listening, and following directions. The development of these skills is so important to the goal of attaining normalization. I would like to share some of the information presented during the primary parent education night on the importance of practical life.
A child’s time in the Practical Life area supports their success all throughout the Montessori classroom and extends into skills that help throughout the child’s life. Planning, concentration, persistence, patience, and self-control all contribute to the children’s effectiveness in learning every academic subject and in their success in managing social interactions as well. While Practical Life may seem simple, it is an area of significant importance for life skills. It is the foundation for all of the learning areas within the classroom and extends beyond the classroom into all areas of life.
In discussing how the practical life exercises are an aid to the development and refinement of gross and fine motor skills, the topic of midline was presented. Midline is an imaginary line drawn from the head to the feet that separates the left and the right halves of the body. The ability to cross the midline of the body involves moving one hand, foot, or eye into the space on the opposite side of the body. Why is it so important? We cross midline when we scratch an elbow, cross our ankles, and read left to right. Crossing the midline of your body helps build pathways in the brain and is an important prerequisite skill required for the appropriate development of various motor and cognitive skills.
Activities that encourage and give the children practice crossing midline are passing a ball between 2 children that are seated back to back, catching a ball when seated in a circle, and lazy 8 activities.
The parent group discussed in detail the different areas of practical life and how classroom practical life activities can be extended to the home. Practical life activities for a child who is at the edge of entering the next plane of development (elementary) need to be changed to meet the child’s needs. Since the children at this stage are already independent, know how to use most tools, and have a good memory, the activities should present a task that the child is interested in completing and truly contributes to the family. The items needed should not be gathered and arranged for the child. The activity should be focused on enhancing the child's skills and assisting the child to plan the task given and to gather the needed items.
In conclusion, I would once again like to extend my heartfelt welcome to all the returning and new families and express how delightful it is to have Sia, Shreyaan and Nitya join our community! It’s been amazing to watch the children help the new members of the class smoothly settle into the group. I would like to thank all the parents for attending the kick-off meeting and also thank thr parents that attended the parent education night. I look forward to our continued partnership throughout the school year!
From Primary B
Welcome primary B families! We are delighted to report a great first month of the 2017-2018 school year! The students and teachers are learning new routines and finding out about some of the exciting activities that have been planned. Firstly, please welcome new students Thea, Elias, Pranav, Araina, and Fallon to our classroom. Some of the children moved up from our toddler community, while others are brand new to the Montessori world. When you choose Montessori education, you’re choosing a method that teaches children the joy of learning through the marvelous process of discovery. You will begin to see gradual but remarkable changes in your child in the coming months! Thank you again to all the parents. We couldn’t create this wonderful classroom without our dedicated families who support the classroom in a myriad of ways. Thank you for donating money to help our classroom function better in the future. I also personally appreciate all the new and current parents who participated in our Kick-Off Meeting as well as the Teacher-Led Education Night. Learning about the Montessori philosophy will help parents successfully guide their children at home and will reinforce what the children are learning in school. A partnership between the teacher and the family will accelerate the child's social and academic development.
We will be starting off our school year by learning how to take care of each other, how to be kind, inclusive and respectful to each other. We will take time every day to teach the children how to meet new friends, ask their names, and use their names when talking to each other. We will teach the children the language they may need to use to ask others if they can join in, how to make their classmates feel special, and how our body language and tone of voice affects our message. We will talk to the children about when to ask for help from others, and how to ask others to stop behaviors that are bothering them. We want each and every child to feel welcome, valued, and safe at school.
Each day I introduce a new lesson to the students to ensure the classroom and its flow. Children are busy learning new presentations, rules and guidelines. However, the first month back to school is exciting and tiring at the time for the children. Don’t be surprised if they come home exhausted and ready for a break or a nap! Be sure to feed them plenty of water and food and give them time to take a rest. I understand that there are times when arriving late simply cannot be helped, especially at the beginning of the school year. It is worth emphasizing that bringing children on time will help them start their day more smoothly and happily. Children will feel more welcome walking through an open door, less anxious and settle in easier when they see others also arriving at the same time.
As I mentioned during the recent education night, age 3 to 6 is especially important because the absorbent mind plays a critical role in acquiring knowledge and skills unconsciously and consciously during this time period. Parents can maximize the child’s absorbent mind by taking a few simple steps at home. Providing an appropriate rich environment that includes low shelves, allows your child to get their things all by themselves. Intelligence can be enhanced by playing memory game with your child. When children are given the means to be active, their whole character changes. Children begin to show a strong desire to be independent and want to do things by themselves, without any adult help. You can also support what we are doing in the classroom by giving the children time and space to solve problems by themselves and providing purposeful activity to satisfy the child’s developmental needs. Examples would be involving them in gardening, setting up the dinner table, folding laundry, etc. Involving children when doing simple house chores helps the child’s self- esteem, identity, and nurtures their sense of responsibility. The child feels valued as a a contributing member to his or her society.
Please fill your child’s clothing bag with 2 sets of clothes (shirt, pants, underwear and socks) at all times. Each child needs to wear socks every day for their activities. I am excited to start another school year and am grateful to be a part of the lives of your little ones.
From Toddler Class
Welcome back to our returning students and their families, and very welcome to our new students and their families. It’s been four weeks since the school year started and children are settling into the classroom. Most of them already know each other’s name and are making new friends and strengthen their social skills and develop their independence. Our daily work cycle includes Practical Life, Independence, Language and some Grace & Courtesy. First two weeks were a little hard but we all made it through.
We have been leaning and singing songs about body parts. The children are enjoying it very much. The following song is one we have been singing in the class:
From Director's Desk
The month of March brings the beginning of spring and kicks off a busy time of year for all at the Montessori School of Cumming. Bring a Parent to School Day and the Montessori at home parent coffee were hosted to provide parents a deeper understanding of the child’s Montessori experience. The second year and beyond elementary students completed the Iowa Assessments, while the primary classrooms completed the AMI consultation process that ensures continued high-quality and authentic Montessori classrooms and materials for your child. Our version of March Madness, for all of the basketball fans, also brought a few new faces to our MSOC staff.
With all of these activities happening, the month of March came and went quickly. Luckily, spring is here to stay for a while, even if March Madness is not.
Bring a Parent to School Day was a huge success for all of the classrooms. This event provided parents the opportunity to share their child’s current Montessori lessons and participate in learning the Montessori way. All of the children excitedly welcomed and appreciated your undivided attention to their work and loved having you come to school to share a part of their day. The teachers and assistants always enjoy answering your questions and watching your Montessori experience with your child. Thank you all for coming!
This school year I have been hosting parent coffee discussions on a variety of topics; March featured the broad topic of Montessori at home. The parent groups are typically small and allow for lots of parent interaction and an opportunity to ask about particular situations that are specific to your family or child. The highlights of the morning, other than great coffee and conversation, included strategies for mealtime and bedtime, cultivating gradually expanding independence, and avoiding the recreation of Montessori materials in the home environment, as well as a nifty
shirt folding device to assist children to independently fold their clothes.
The Iowa Assessments were completed by the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year elementary students over a week long period at the conclusion of March. The children seemed eager each morning to tackle the testing process. Thank you to all of the elementary parents for helping your child come to school on testing days well-rested and well-nourished.
The Montessori School of Cumming is committed to providing the children with a high-quality authentic Montessori experience at each classroom level. The AMI consultant visited the primary classrooms in March. The elementary consultation was completed in the fall of 2016, and the toddler community completed their consultation in 2015. Consultants visit the school every three years at each classroom level.
Please join us in welcoming Hailey Amerein and Peggy Sutton to the MSOC staff. Hailey and Peggy are sharing the role of the aftercare toddler assistant. Hailey and Peggy are enjoying getting to know all of the children and their families.
April’s schedule will keep all of us hopping through the spring. The Jungle Book will be presented by the children on Friday, April 14th at 6pm. This year the play will be at Midway Elementary located at 4805 Atlanta Highway, Alpharetta, GA 30004. Spoiled Rotten Photography will take incredible outdoor photos of the children on April 18th for the toddler community and elementary students and on April 19th for the primary students. The sign-up sheet for parent conferences will be available early next week. Parent conferences are scheduled for the week of April 24th to 28th. The fundraiser this year will be a combined carwash and bake sale tentatively scheduled for May 5th.
All the Best,
From Toddler Class by Ms. Manisha
Finally, spring is here, which brings about allergy season as well as lots of opportunities for outdoor activities. At this time, we are experiencing runny noses, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes amongst the children and teachers. If your child is affected by seasonal allergies, please do as much as possible to alleviate some of the discomfort. It is difficult to engage in any of the activities when they are not feeling well.
We have been singing a song about spring and talking about thunder and lightning. The toddler community is filled with constant movement, toddler communication with each other’s, purposeful activities and lots of interactions amongst all of us! Little minds are busy absorbing. Independence is developing and limits are being tested daily; our toddlers are hard at work!
Thank you for participating in Bring a Parent to School Day this month; we know you were just as amazed as we were. I hope you enjoyed your child’s presentations.
Ø -Your prompt arrival & swift drop-off at the door is most appreciated.
Ø -In an effort to keep our toddlers safe, please refrain from placing harmful items in your child’s backpack. You may hand those items directly to the teachers. (Ex: diaper rash cream, bug spray etc.)
Ø Please label your child’s belongings.
Happy Birthday Aashay!
Please join us in welcoming Elias and his family into the toddler community.
From Primary A by Ms. Rashmi
I would like to start the newsletter by thanking all the parents for making the Bring a Parent to School Day so exciting for the children!! This event marked the beginning of the joyous March journey of our children in Primary A, followed by the St. Patrick's day project, story time at the library, and the project on Dr. Suess’ birthday and so forth.
I would also like to thank the Chows for bringing in the air plant for the children to enjoy. This gave us the opportunity to learn more about air plants in general. The children learned that the scientific name for the air plant is Tillandsia, and that these plants are native to the forests, mountains, and deserts of Central and South America, the Southern United States and the West Indies. They also learned that the air plants need to be thoroughly wet 2-3 times per week. The air plant requires more frequent rain in a hot dry environment and less frequent rain in a cool humid environment
Since March marked the beginning of spring, we discussed the term vernal equinox'. Vernal is a Latin word for spring and equinox means equal days and nights. The children learned that on the 1st day of spring, around March 21st, the sunrise and sunset are about 12 hours apart. The hours of daylight and night are almost equal on the vernal equinox.
Easter, Passover, April Fool 's Day, Arbor Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Cinco de Mayo are all holidays in spring.
Since April usually brings more showers, the children of Primary A revisited the water cycle and discussed the differences in the terms droplets, raindrops, drizzle, shower, rain, acid rain, rain storm and thunderstorms. They learned about the different kinds of rain clouds such as stratus, nimbostratus, cumulus and cumulonimbus rain clouds. The children seemed to be awestruck knowing the fact that some rain clouds are not actually dark, but look dark to us ,because there are so many water droplets in the clouds that the rays of the sun can't shine through!
In conclusion, we are looking forward to doing some planting in our garden this spring, so any help will be greatly appreciated!
From Primary B by Ms. Jiyoung
Greetings! It is hard to believe that spring is here! The weather is definitely tempting us with some warm temperatures and sunny days. We hope you are enjoying it as much as we are!
This month the emphasis of the group time curriculum has been on exploring the solar system. The children enjoyed learning the names of the planets and gained an initial understanding of what makes a planet, as well as an understanding of the earth’s rotation and axis. Reading and talking about what causes the seasons to change and what causes day and night helps the children learn about their planet.
We also learned about Saint Patrick and the Irish culture. When the children heard the story of Saint Patrick, they were quite sad to know that he was taken away from his parents at a young age. However, the children were happy and thrilled to learn about St. Patrick’s journey back to his home and what he did for Ireland! We then celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in the classroom by wearing something green. The children had fun learning about the Irish culture.
It is always great to see how the child’s concentration and attention span improve during circle time. We have done fun reading activities in the first semester and second semester along with lots of informational reading. Sitting still is a difficult task for children in this age group, but they have each been doing an awesome job in circle time. Group time helps the children learn to listen to others, take turns, practice patience, improve speaking skills and verbal expression, as well as learn new vocabulary. Children excitedly shared their special trips, souvenirs, and unique cultural experiences during the group time. Sharing books, singing songs, and participating in fun physical movement such as finger plays and dances help hold the child’s interest and enhance the child’s ability to give attention during a group setting.
The younger children in the classroom are completing the preliminary exercises and are moving forward to the materials that will help them learn to take care of themselves and their environment. With minimal cues and reminders, they know what to do during cleaning up, lunch, and circle time. Window washing, easel painting, and the color tablet box II game have been popular activities among the younger ones during the morning work cycle. The older children are often seen helping and guiding the younger ones when there is a need. At the same time, the younger children are happy to receive help from the older ones. This is one of the benefits of a mixed-age classroom. Helping each other has shown to have benefits. The altruistic behavior allows all the children to improve their social interactions, emotional and physical well-being, and improve their self-esteem and confidence.
April is filled with the miracle of quickly changing surroundings. Be sure to do lots of outdoor activities such as visiting a botanical garden, going on a nature hike, or planting. Children learn from best from real life experiences and spring offers many opportunities to engage with your child.
Parent conferences are coming up at the end of April. Please sign up early if your schedule limits your availability. Thank you for your involvement and care!
From Elementary Class by Ms. Melanie
The first week of March all of the children began to research the animal they will be portraying in our upcoming school play, The Jungle Book, as well as native animals and plants of India where the play takes place. The research aids the children to further understand the rainforest habitat of India and aids their ability to understand and delve deeper into their character. Play week is April 10-14 with the performance Friday night the 14th. The children have been rehearsing and making flowers and vines with Ms. Lani since the start of the school year and this is a performance you wouldn’t want to miss!
We finished up our read aloud book Leprechauns in Late Winter just in time for St. Patrick’s Day! The children enjoyed looking for and finding four leaf clovers, making a variety of St. Patrick’s Day crafts, learning about the holiday and its traditions and origins and writing creative stories about the Shee and their life in the Irish Forest.
The 2nd year elementary students organized our school Pet Food Pantry donation drive and delivered the donations to the Humane Society of Forsyth County. The children have posted upstairs in the lobby their personal thank you note to the MSOC community for its generous donations to the project as well as a report of all the donations by the numbers! Please take a moment to read their card.
The entire elementary class will go on a field trip to the Atlanta Zoo on April 19th. Many of the children will get to see the animals they recently researched and our program led by a Zoo staff member is Eco Adventures. Look for field trip permission slips to sign and return.
Happy Birthday Dean Chow who turned 9!
From Director's Desk
The month of February was short and sweet. Within 28 days, 58 parents visited the classrooms, and the children showered their friends and the staff with the sweetest cards and trinkets. These little acts of generosity and kindness brought smiles to everyone.
MSOC welcomed parents for observations, and all of the input, questions, and compliments provided the staff with a better understanding of the parent’s perspective. It is always a pleasure to talk with each parent as the observation concludes, hopefully, each parent benefitted from the hour spent watching the children and Montessori education at work. The children’s spontaneous desire to help others when a fellow student is in need impressed many, and the quiet hum of activity brought moments of peacefulness to parents in an otherwise noisy and chaotic day. The classrooms are a safe and supportive place where conflict and conflict resolution are in constant motion, along with other social graces such as serving your guests. Accelerated academics, marvels of independence, support of social graces, and the art of inspiring learning were observed in action within the Montessori day.
Children love holidays and made the most of Valentine’s Day. The joy of giving lit up the faces of the children as they handed out their carefully prepared cards to their classmates. Some worked for hours folding origami or creating artful masterpieces for their classmates. Others wrote their name with extra care on a specially selected card for each friend, and then delightfully awaited the friend’s response to their efforts. The day ended with each child carrying home a bag of goodies which they inevitably wanted to show and discuss with you in great detail. These are the sweetest moments of all!
There are three busy months remaining in the academic school year. Please finish the school year strong by arriving to school by 8:10 am to help your child make the most of the day. As spring approaches, the crazy shifts in temperatures can leave even the most prepared adult wondering how to dress for the moment-to-moment temperature changes. The children should bring a jacket and wear weather-appropriate attire in preparation for outdoor time each day. All clothing should be labeled with your child’s name. If the temperature rises by playground time, the children are quick to remove their jackets and will continue playing happily.
The school play, The Jungle Book, is scheduled for April 14th from 6-9pm at Midway Elementary (4805 Atlanta Hwy). Costumes are due by the end of March. If you have questions about the costume, please ask Ms. Lani or Ms. Christy. The costumes for the play have an Indian style. Donations of costume jewelry are greatly appreciated. Please do not send any items of sentimental or monetary value. A copy of the costume plot is available for reference at the front desk and has been emailed to all parents.
Please join me at The Warehouse near Midway Park on Post Rd. for a parent coffee to discuss Montessori at Home. The March 16th event will begin at 8:30 am and conclude around 9:30. This is a great opportunity to meet a few of the MSOC parents and participate in a peer discussion. The coffee and the conversation are flavorful. Real life tips and stories are shared in a casual and helpful manner. Please sign up at the front desk.
All the Best,
From Elementary Class by Ms. Melanie
February’s visit brought a myriad of weather in its 28 short days! The Elementary class hosted its parents for the second school year observation month and we had stellar participation. I hope you all were able to glean a bit of insight into the elementary community and the variety of materials and subject areas in which the children are working, learning and collaborating on.
Our fish aquarium now has neon tetras, platys, freshwater snail and a moss ball thanks to the “Going Out” trips to PetSmart. The children were responsible for the planning and research before their outing. A single child was responsible for the “Going Out” wallet and receipt. Another was responsible for taking notetaking material and was in charge of the entire outing. We are all learning about the cycle of life and observing how efficient the snail is at cleaning the tank.
Valentine’s Day was celebrated with an exchange of sweet sentiments to one another, handmade card for family, decorating their exchange bag, lessons on symmetry, history of the celebrated day and finally the heart its parts and function. We also celebrated Presidents Day by learning a quick fact or two about each of our Presidents. Ask your child the significance of July 4th in Presidential history.
The 2nd years and up are practicing for the Iowa Basic Skills test which begins on March 20-27. We will be testing in the morning for about an hour each day. If your child is not testing this year they will go upstairs to help the Primary children during this time. It’s important to maintain a nice consistent schedule of 10-11 hours of sleep, nutritious breakfast and prompt arrival to aid the children in their preparation for their day.
Happy 9th Birthday Agata!
from Primary A Class by Ms. Rashmi
February, though the shortest month of the year, has been filled with happenings for Primary A. I hope all the parents had a fun time observing our class. The first week of February the children were busy preparing Valentine’s Day cards and flowers for their families. They had lots of fun exchanging valentines on the 14th! A big thank you goes out to the families for all the wonderful flowers, chocolates and cards. Ms. Mona and I really enjoyed it!!!
February is also black history month. We took time to study some of the very talented and famous African Americans in history by reading books such as, "My uncle Martin's words for America" - an inspirational story about Martin Luther King Jr. told from the perspective of his niece- Angela. We also read about Jackie Robinson- the 1st black Major League Baseball player of the modern era, and many others.
I would like to thank the parents that attended the teacher-led parent education night. Our topic was, Brain Development and Positive Discipline. During the session a little about brain anatomy and neurological cell structure was discussed. The experiences that the child has in the early years of life have so much effect on not only the cognitive development but also the physical development of the brain. We discussed the different reasons for a child’s misbehavior and then the tools that could be used to not just inhibit those behaviors for the time being but to eliminate them altogether. Discipline is different from punishment and responsive discipline can be a tool used by parents for guiding and nurturing their children from early childhood through adolescence In this way the child tends to learn to make their own decisions with an internal locus of control!
In conclusion I would like to share an excerpt from our session that the parents seemed to enjoy the most.
THE RELATIONSHIP BANK
Think of a typical week you spend with your child. During that moment, imagine making a bank deposit for every positive reaction you made to your child's actions. A hug, a kiss, a pat on the back, a kind word, a smile- a deposit made for each one! Every negative reaction- a frown, a correction, taking a toy away, expressing anger, is a withdrawal. Withdrawals have to be made sometimes. Some deposits and some withdrawals are larger than the others. Spanking or emotional blackmailing for examples are likely to be significant withdrawals. So what does your relationship bank account look like? Are you in debt? Is your account slipping into bankruptcy? If you don't like the balance, there are two things you can do: increase the deposits and decrease the withdrawals. For parents who are bankrupt with their children tend to lose their leverage to be effective teachers!
from Primary B Class by Ms. Jiyoung
Thank you all for coming to observe the classroom in February. We finished the observation month successfully and received some great feedback from the parents. That feedback has motivated us to work harder and more joyfully with the children. Parent education night also went well, and the parents showed great interest in the development of intelligence through work with the sensorial materials during this event.
This month I would like to talk about the importance of a prepared environment. The "prepared environment" is Maria Montessori's concept that the environment can be designed to facilitate maximal, independent learning and exploration by the child. When a child is born, a child starts to seek to quench their natural thirst, which is necessary to build intelligence. They have not yet found the ability to filter what they want to learn, what they need to learn, or what to avoid. The absorbent mind refers to the mind’s capacity to take in information and sensations from the world that surrounds it. The absorbent mind cannot filter what is coming to a child. It welcomes everything. The child essentially absorbs information about his or her environment unconsciously from birth to three. Between three to six years of age the child begins to make sense of her world and gives meaning to the learning while continuing to acquire more knowledge. If there is not a prepared environment for the child, inappropriate learning will take place. The child’s brain may not get enough stimuli to optimally build intelligence. That is why Maria Montessori emphasized the importance of a prepared environment for young children. A prepared environment does not mean only the cleanliness and readiness of the classroom. It is an environment created to help a child’s psychological development by promoting independent learning and exploration of the world. Maria Montessori emphasized the importance of both physical and psychological development. Montessori classrooms are designed for children. All the furniture and materials are child-sized so that the children can manipulate them easily. Also, Montessori classrooms are designed to follow a child’s psychological development. We provide a variety of activities that stimulate a child’s psychological development as well as a great deal of movement. When a child joins the classroom, the child will start getting lessons from practical life area. We provide materials that are familiar to a child. A child will see all the materials that he/she has seen at home or in the places that the child has been such as a dustpan, hand and window washing, flower arranging, and the button and buckle frames. These materials make a child feel secure and comfortable.
A child will be introduced to simple activities first. After an activity is mastered, he or she will move on to the next activity that is a little bit more challenging in order to stimulate that child’s motivation and extend his or her concentration skill. All the practical life materials that we have in the classroom are designed to help children in the development of their ultimate goal, which is future academic learning. Children will also develop their hand-eye coordination, concentration, ability to finish tasks, and control of purposeful movement, etc. through the prepared environment. Psychologically, young children cannot sit in one spot for a long time; however, a child in a Montessori classroom will exercise purposeful movement during the designed activity. An example would be when a child works with the table scrubbing activity. In order for a child to setup this activity, a child will make many trips to the shelf to get all the materials that are needed to complete the activity. Through a carefully prepared learning environment, children have the freedom to make decisions independently and to fully develop their unique potential.
We will start the month of March off with “Bring a Parent to School Day” on Friday, March 3rd. Parents are invited to come and spend time with the children. The children have worked hard and would love to share with you what they’ve learned. It would be awesome if you could come and engage with your child at this event. We are looking forward to seeing you all in the classroom.
from Toddler Class by Ms. Manisha
February was filled with parents observing the classroom, a lovely holiday, and lots of language development.
It was wonderful to observe all the parents watching their children working with different activities. I could tell that the parents were enjoying the experience! I so appreciate your involvement in your child’s process here.
The toddlers celebrated Valentine’s Day by talking about love. On this day, we celebrate love in all forms; love is all around us--love for our friends, love for our parents, love for our teachers and for all the people we know. All the children wholeheartedly shared their valentines with all their classmates and filled lovely decorated bags to bring home.
At this age the children are very interested in language. The toddlers love reading books, interacting with the book in the company of an adult, and having books read to them in small and large groups. Most of the toddlers love the book, Panda B, Panda Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. One of our toddlers loves the panda bear book so much that he recites it more than twice in one sitting. He is bilingual and speaks a different language at home. While he was reading the book in the classroom he said, “Ēnugu, Ēnugu What do you see? The actual writing reads “Elephant, elephant what do you see? Most of our children now know that Ēnugu means elephant. The words that are encountered throughout the day are quickly added to the child’s vocabulary. Enjoy observing and interacting with your child for many more examples of their explosive language development.
From Director's Desk
In January, the Montessori School of Cumming hosted Journey and Discovery on a particularly rainy Saturday. Thank you to the parents that braved the rainstorm to spend a few hours with our teaching staff. This event presented an opportunity for parents and guests to learn more about the materials and educational model that Maria Montessori developed to maximize the potential of each child. Parents were given lessons by the teachers at each classroom level and asked to explore and work with some of the classroom materials. The parents assumed the role of the child as they progressed through the toddler community, primary environment, and elementary classroom.
In the toddler room Ms. Manisha, presented the bread making activity and had parents asking, “Will my child stand here long enough to get this lesson?” The answer given was “yes” because the child is captivated by the clear and concise hand movements that are presented, and our Montessori guides are skilled artisans when it comes to capturing the attention of the child. The youngest students at MSOC set the table, create flower arrangements, bake kale chips, and make bread dough.
In the primary environment, the parents followed their curiosity and began to explore a variety of lessons from the four areas of the Montessori 3 to 6 classroom. Color tablets in a variety of shades seemed at first to be a simple task, but placing these in order from dark to light requires a refined sense of visual discrimination, especially when more than one color group is removed from the box. Ms. Rashmi presented the stamp game and explained it’s link to the golden bead work. Ms. Jiyoung presented the phonogram alphabets and created a list of words incorporating the same phonogram. Parents were then invited to make their own list of words with the lowercase print alphabets that emphasize the phonogram by using red letters to create this sound in each word.
The elementary classroom offered the parents a myriad of academically engaging materials, including science experiments with density and air pressure, the timeline of the earth, grammar boxes, the degrees in an angle, and multiplication with the checkerboard. Ms. Melanie explained the visual representations of the numerous ice ages and how the child can recreate the timeline from memory with the classroom timeline materials. Parents used the familiar colored beads from the primary environment to complete three and four-digit multiplication problems and check their own work.
The Montessori curriculum that you have chosen for your child is so much more than a curriculum; it is an education for life that lays the foundation for success from which the child will continue to benefit as they grow into adulthood. The academics of some material are readily discovered, but there is much more lying beneath the surface. The parent attending discovered more about Montessori by putting their own hands on the materials and giving themselves the opportunity to try learning the Montessori way.
On Saturday, February 11th from 10 am to 3pm, MSOC is hosting an open house. This a wonderful opportunity for prospective families to step inside the classroom to meet our talented teaching staff. Please spread the word about your child’s educational experience at the Montessori School of Cumming. Our families are tremendous and they have helped us to build a strong school community. Come join all of us at the upcoming Wednesday, February 22nd (Toddler and Elementary) and Thursday, February 23rd (Primary) teacher-led education nights. The teachers will be presenting from 5 to 6 pm in their classrooms.
From Toddler Class by Ms. Manisha
The toddlers are very busy working in the classroom, watering plants, washing windows, painting, cutting flowers for arrangements and much more.
The toddler classroom does not have a play kitchen area or pretend toys; rather, we have real exercises that practice real skills that contribute to the community. Dr. Montessori noticed that, when given the choice, children were not interested in play food preparation. What the children were seeking were real life experiences surrounding food preparation, serving, and cleaning. The children wanted to do the things that the adults were doing, but needed the correct size of utensils and tools to be successful.
“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.” - Maria Montessori
The children’s all- time favorite songs are:
“Shake, Shake, Shake Your Hands as Slowly as You Can”
Shake, shake, shake your hands as slowly as you can
Shake, shake, shake your hands as fast as you can
Clap, clap, clap your hands as slowly as you can
Clap, clap, clap your hands as fast as you can
Stamp, stamp, stamp your feet as slowly as you can
Stamp, stamp, stamp your feet as fast as you can
Hop, hop, hop as slowly as you can
Hop, hop, hop as fast as you can
“I Am a Little Penguin in the Sea”
I am a little penguin in the sea.
I can swim as fast as I can be.
When I catch the fish, just look at me.
I am as proud as I can be.
I am a little penguin in the sea.
I am a little penguin on the ice.
I think cold is very nice.
Then I hop around first once, then twice.
I think cold is nice.
From Primary A by Ms. Rashmi
Happy New Year Everyone! I hope your time home was wonderful and many new memories were made. The New year for Primary A started with 3 new friends; Vallari, Ella, and Caleb. They have been a wonderful addition to our group and the children all old and new have settled in pretty quickly!
This month in addition to discussing Martin Luther King's dream for all people to get along and to be friends with each other no matter what race, the children of Primary A learned about severe weather. They learned that meteorology means the study of weather or climate, and that the meteorologist or weatherman is the person that studies meteorology to predict the weather.
The types of extreme weather that we discussed were blizzards, dust storms, heat waves, hurricanes, tornadoes, and thunderstorms. The children learned that blizzards are severe snowstorms with high winds and can cause injuries from frostbite, slippery rods and low visibility. Dust storms are strong winds that carry dirt long distances and affect crops due to the loss of topsoil. Heat waves are prolonged periods of abnormally hot weather, and hurricanes are huge storm systems that develop over the ocean and can cause floods, injuries from flying objects, and destruction of trees and buildings. Tornadoes are powerfully spinning columns of air that are called waterspouts when the storm forms over water. Thunderstorms are when it rains heavily accompanied by thunder, lightning and sometimes hail.
We also discussed some of the safety measures associated with severe weather, such as the different drills that we perform for severe weather. The group discussed the fact that when you hear a roll of thunder you are close enough to be struck by lightning, even when it isn't raining. It is best to stay indoors during a thunderstorm.
In conclusion, the poem that we chose to say before our lunch this month was also weather related:
Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather,
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.
From Primary B by Ms. Jiyoung
Hope you all had a wonderful time with family and friends. Please welcome Sam and Hayes to our classroom. Both boys are doing wonderfully. January is the beginning of our second semester of school. The weather can be very unpredictable this time of year. We recommend that your child is dressed in layers and always has a jacket at school. Please make sure all clothing is labeled!
This month we will explore the importance of concentration in early childhood and how we nurture concentration in the classroom. Dr. Maria Montessori understood the power of concentration, and her philosophy guided her to develop guidelines and activities in the Montessori class that nurture the power of concentration.
Concentration is the ability to focus the attention on one single thought, subject, or task excluding everything else from the field of awareness. In the classroom, distractions and interruptions are the enemies of concentration. We try to minimize noise and physical disruption such as people walking in and out of the classroom, doors shutting, talking in a loud voice, and so on. We asked children to follow the general rules such as using an indoor voice, walking graciously, and waiting for their turn, etc. All the rules that we are emphasizing during the 3 hour work cycle are set up to help avoid distractions and minimize interruptions.
With concentration in place learning can be fast and efficient. Intense concentration leads a child to the gateway of the intelligent. In many ways concentration is the single most important key to success in life. As children grow their concentration skills and attention span increase. We provide activities that nurture these concentration skills. Children may lose interest if the activities are too easy or too difficult. Our materials are designed to nurture a child’s concentration according to their individual level. Children intensively develop their concentration starting with practical life activities. Practical life activities are the cornerstone of our curriculum, which serves the purpose of building independence, developing fine and gross motor skills and hand and eye coordination, and increasing memory skills as they master the steps in each activity. All of these build on concentration. Concentration and focusing attention are essential in this process of learning. Building concentration is an indirect aim of all the practical life activities in the Montessori classroom.
It is a pleasure to watch how children’s concentration skills are enhanced as they continue to work with the Montessori materials. The activities that we are providing require quite a lot of time to complete. It is not unusual to see older children remain focused during the entire hour-long activity such as golden bead, farm game, racks and tubes. All the children are successful academically because of our materials, method and protected environment.
Please drop off children on time, and say good-bye to them in the lobby and let them walk into the classroom quietly to help protect the work environment as we train their minds to concentrate, especially during the work cycle.
Observation month is coming, please come and watch how the children learn and work. The sign-up sheet is at the front desk. Feel free to ask if you have any concerns or questions.
2016 was a wonderful year, filled with goals and milestones! Every moment was filled with lessons of love and life that has helped make us all who we are today! Our hope is that 2017 is filled with love and laughter and that we all grow together in peace and harmony! Take time to enjoy the little things and little ones in your life! Before we know it, we will be welcoming 2018.
From Elementary Class by Ms. Melanie
Happy New Year! The elementary has kicked off the New Year with an academic bang! The children creatively presented their collaborative projects based off of their lessons with the History Question Chart material. The Lower Paleolithic entertained the class with a puppet show! Puppets were mining flint to trade for furs and Saber tooth Tiger puppet were
attacking early people! It was hilarious and everyone enjoyed their performance. The Upper Paleolithic delivered a newscast format presentation including a pinecone on a stick for a microphone! Current trade news (shells), weather report (flooding in the basin), and agriculture report (little to none) were told with wit and fan fare. The Roman Empire
delivered their knowledge on a very, very , very old scroll that survived a fire. On the scroll the life of the Romans is revealed in text and pictures! The children winterized the garden and planted a few flowering Kale plants and violas. The Amaryllis bulb planted in December bloomed and was perfect for measuring as well as serving as a specimen for the Parts of a Flower Lesson with Alex, Melody and Aarush! Our classroom also has a new freshwater aquarium thanks to a $75.00 grant from Pets in the Classroom.
Our read aloud book is We Are Patriots, Hope’s Revolutionary War Diary and the children have discovered we were a country who had to fight for our independence from England which came at great cost to life! The Patriots no longer wanted to be part of the 13 colonies from England but states! This has sparked several children to research our country’s states! We also covered the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, the presidential election and inauguration. A few of the topics covered were red and blue states, party mascots, popular and electoral votes and term limits for Senators and Congressmen.
Happy 8th Birthday Lena!
Welcome Aarush Navale to the Elementary class!
From Director's Desk
Parents visited the school this October, one-by-one, to see for themselves what happens beyond the Montessori classroom door. Many longed to linger in the overall peacefulness that focused concentration produced and mentioned a desire to enroll themselves. Others commented that sometimes the social interactions between elementary aged children were “rude” or “lacked social niceties”. Once again, your parental observations supported the work of Dr. Montessori and accurately pictured children at two separate stages of development.
The community that has formed in each classroom allows each child to contribute to the small society by taking care of personal needs, the needs of others, and the beautification and maintenance of the classroom and surrounding gardens. The toddlers helped their community by learning to take care of their individual needs and also enjoyed caring for the surroundings by watering plants, folding laundry, and painting art to decorate the room. The primary children continued this work and offered more frequent and spontaneous help to other children. When a primary child struggled with the serving tongs at snack time or was not quite ready to complete the 1000 chain all by himself, an older primary child provided just the right amount of help and support. Some of the children demonstrated a knack for plant care, dusting, sweeping, or feeding the fish. Other children seemed to know just what to say and do when a child was anxious or sad. But, this loving, gentle child of age 3 to 6 becomes even more independent and less accommodative to the needs of others during the elementary years.
“The Age of Rudeness” is what Dr. Montessori called this time period of assertiveness that helps the elementary child negotiate right and wrong with a strong sense of justice and fairness. The elementary child still cares a lot about family, but their peers are becoming very important. Hero worship and interest in clubs is prevalent. From age 6 to 12 the elementary child is using his reasoning and logical mind to ask “Why?” and “How”. The social interactions of this age involve much debate and the almost constant presentation of conflicting ideas; however, these deliberations are necessary for the child’s continued social development.
The child regardless of age is a valued member of the Montessori classroom community and can safely practice the necessary social skills in this supportive environment. The child’s socialization within the classroom is supported by modeling of social graces by adults, grace and courtesy exercises involving role playing, and the facilitation of dialogue between children.
The Montessori School of Cumming’s community of parents, staff, children, and friends pulled together in October to produce the Fall Festival. Parents volunteered to run shopping errands and gave up a few hours of their day to run a simple carnival game. Staff members and parents searched Pinterest for fun fall activities and got a little crafty to make the ordinary into something extraordinary. Some used their artistic skills to delight the children with face paint, henna tattoos, and artfully carved pumpkins, while others delighted us with their culinary chili cooking skills. The children dressed up in their finest costumes and entertained all of us as they paraded around the school. The time shared together both in work and in fun brought us all closer together. Thank you all for making our school community strong. Many hands make light work! The Montessori School of Cumming enjoyed a fabulous fall day of togetherness!
As November approaches, please invite the grandparents to join the Montessori School of Cumming for the Grandparents’ Tea on Tuesday, November 22nd. Parent conferences will be held the week of November 7th-11th. The teachers are looking forward to sharing your child’s accomplishments with you. Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, November 24th and 25th, the school will be closed.
All the Best,
News from Toddler Class
The toddler environment allows us to work with the child both socially and emotionally. This is the age when a child wants to imitate the activities of the adults around them. Activities include basic processes such as sweeping, washing, pouring, dusting, and polishing. Activities in Practical Life focus on the underpinnings of Functional Independence as well as preparing the way for personal and academic work that is yet to come. Children begin with the most basic movements required in self-care (dressing frames, moving furniture, how to make your own snack, how to pour yourself a glass of water, how to ask for help, etc.) From there they branch out into more elaborate sequences and care of the environment.
These activities naturally include large and small motor coordination, balance, logical sequencing, new vocabulary and language skills as well as positive socialization opportunities.
Some of the beautiful work that our toddlers are practicing includes (but is not limited to) the many activities of caring for oneself:
Just a few reminders:
Ms. Manisha Khadse
News from Primary A
First of all, a big thank you to all the parents who took time to come and observe our classroom. Hope you all enjoyed it! October, all in all, has been a very exciting and lively month with frequent parent observations, the fun of fall festival, and the glamour of fall pictures.
Science is often thought of in academic terms but in the world of a young child, science is life itself! The scientific method is simply the art of inquiry; an art that these children summarize in the word 'Why?'. While we all understandably get tired of hearing this word multiple times a day, we must remind ourselves that this one word question is also an expression of the child’s desire to learn. By asking ‘Why’, our children are trying to say, “We've been around here a few years now, and everything is new and fascinating! Please teach me!”
While science is easily segregated for the purpose of discussion, it is integrated throughout a child's life and educational experiences. So, anytime your child wonders whether or not they can fit their heads through balusters on the stairs, or what the flour in your pantry feels like as it is sprinkled upon the floor. They are engaging in the scientific process of inquiry. So, keeping this in mind and continuing to enjoy fall, the children of Primary A explored a lot of activities related to the life sciences. We discussed the differences between living and non-living. While the younger children learned the names of parts of several living things such as a tree, a horse, a fish, a bird, and a flower through the classroom puzzles. The older children had fun making booklets containing colored diagrams and writing labels for the parts of each living thing. We, yet again, reviewed the lifecycle of the plant, chicken, frog and butterfly, sometimes using a specimen, books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar , cards, charts and also songs. We focused more on how metamorphosis is the same, but yet different than a life cycle, and the words chrysalis, pupa, and so on.
The children had fun exploring our art project that we specifically made for the children to understand the change of leaf color during fall!
I would like to end this newsletter by sharing the song we learned while discussing the metamorphosis of a butterfly.
The Little Caterpillar (Sung to the tune of The Itsy Bitsy Spider)
The little caterpillar climbed up into a tree
Spun his cocoon and slept so quietly
All through the winter he didn't make a sound
He dream of his new life when he'd be flying around.
While he was sleeping, the snow did gently fall
Winter came and went, then he heard the robin's call
"Come on Mr. Butterfly, out of your cocoon. Spread your wings and fly for me while I sing my tune."
News from Primary B
The leaves are beginning to fall, and we are all certainly enjoying the cooler temperatures, especially the children. They are so excited to go outside and explore. We are taking advantage of the season and studying different shapes of leaves and getting some physical exercise. October has been a lively month here at the school. Individual and class portraits took place. It was delightful to see the children dress up in their beautiful outfits for the portraits.
We had another wonderful month of observation. For parents who are unfamiliar with observation, this was an opportunity for parents to watch the students and teachers at work. This helps to familiarize you with classroom procedures and some of the materials that will be referred to in your child's progress report next month. Thank you for taking your time to come and watch us. The children love to show you what they can do.
This month, I would like to talk about music development. Music is an essential part of human life. It brings people together and enriches their lives with peace and harmony. Every culture makes their own music. Although people in many cultures cannot read and write, they can play music beautifully without ever receiving a formal education. Like language, the earlier we introduce music to children, the easier it is for children to understand it. Music has been shown to help children in other areas of development such as memorization, creative thinking, coordination, and engagement in schoolwork. It also gives children a big boost in their spiritual health.
We have a full set of the Montessori bells in the classroom. The bell activity is in the sensorial curriculum. The sensitive period for music is the same as that for language, starting at the age of three to six. The Montessori bells consist of a series of bells that represent the whole tones and semitones of one octave. Our bells starts from middle c and go to high c. Children use a mallet to play the bells. To work with the bells, the child is required to pair off the bells that produce the same sound. Once they can match the sounds of the bells, they can begin to do distance matching, and arrange the bells in gradation in order to play the musical scale. The goals for these activities are to discriminate the sounds and awaken the senses to lay a foundation for future musical training. All age groups of children are fascinated to explore musical sounds. I normally introduce the bells to children who are new to our classroom first. Based on their interest, they can even compose their own songs or they can play classical favorites such as Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Jingle Bells, or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star with the bells. Children love to do this activity. It is their absolute all-time favorite activity.
We have designated conference days in November. Please look for sign-up sheet if you have not already scheduled a conference. Please dress children appropriately due to weather fluctuations. I am looking forward to seeing you all again in November. Thank you for all the support.
Ms. Jiyoung Kim
News from Elementary Class
This month we enjoyed spending time with one another outside of the classroom during our Fall Festival and Tellus Science Museum fieldtrip! Thank you for all of the parent support for both of these events. We also wrapped up our rain barrel painting project and our “water recycler” looks fantastic! Thank you Ms. Lani for lending your artistic touches to this project! Thanks to Ms. Priyanka for sewing our new chair sleeves that not only add an aesthetic touch to our classroom, but the outside pocket serves as an organizational need for the children’s work journals.
October was also observation month and you all were given the opportunity to get a glimpse into your child’s typical day. The children at this plane of development learn by using their feet and are more social. Learning from one another, collaborating on projects, working together and conflict resolution are all part of the daily work of the elementary aged child. Learning to share materials, taking turns, selecting a place to work, who to work with, keeping ones work organized on the rug are all daily acts of growth in kindness, consideration and respect of oneself and others works and feelings. Life skills which are essential and necessary to enjoy good relationships with peers, future colleagues, and family and community members are practiced, honed and applied in the classroom daily.
In tandem with the daily exercise of the children’s social and emotional skill building so too are their academic advancements, ahh haa moments and the joys of accomplishing a new skill. It’s so wonderful to see the building up of knowledge from introductory lessons. For example, one Forest Friday while gathering leaves the children would place them in the bag saying, “this is an Oak leaf” or “this leaf is palmately reticulate” or “the plural of leaf drops the f and adds ves” or those 2 veins make an acute angle” or my leaf is smaller which is an adverb and a suffix!” Exploration, discovery and curiosity ignite the imagination at this plane of development and the classroom is ablaze with collaborative projects, curiosity driven research and astute observations!
From Director's Desk by Ms. Christy
During preparations for an upcoming family camping trip, I began to reminisce about my childhood experiences in nature and those of my children. Why with all of the luxuries and enticing creature comforts of home would anyone feel to need to head into the woods for a couple of nights? Perhaps the answer can be found in the many observable ways the children at the Montessori School of Cumming interact with nature.
Children are captivated by the natural world right outside the door the moment that they cross the threshold. Many of you may have walked right past the American green tree frog that frequently visits the entryway of our school, but the children that arrive early each day know this visitor well. A group of elementary children giggled with joy for days when a couple of dragonflies took turns perching delicately at the tip of each students extended finger. Their enjoyment interacting with these insects continued for consecutive playground days, and led many to observe the intricate differences between the two dragonflies. The dragonflies were given names by the children and consistently identified as Draggy and Dragon. The toddlers do at times stand still and cast their eyes on the tiny hummingbird that comes to drink from the feeder just beyond the door to their classroom. The gentle slope of the playground offers more than an adequate balance challenge for our youngest students as they perfect their ambulation skills. A simple magnifying glass and the rare opportunity to study a bee specimen allows the primary children the opportunity to look even closer at nature. These simple events are just a few examples of the captivating pull of nature.
The natural materials available on the playground are often used to decorate the swing chains or create a miniature world with exquisite detail. A piece of mulch is identified by a child as looking similar to a country in South America. Giant tic-tac-toe games drawn in the mulch give the traditional game a new twist and add a little bit of fun. All of this comes from the minds of the children and their interactions with the outdoors.
Nature offers all of us the freedom to explore and to take delight in what we find along the way. Nature delivers sights, sounds, and experiences that will stay with us for a lifetime. It brings discoveries and draws us closer to the familiar. Nature thrills and challenges us, providing silence at times and a peaceful calm that stays with us once we go back inside.
Fall is bustling with activity in October as Observation Month gets started on Monday, October 3rd. Please make the time to come see for yourself the magic that takes place daily inside the Montessori classrooms. Our Montessori community will also be celebrating the change of seasons with our Fall Festival on October 8th from 10 am to 2 pm. Please join us for this delightful social event including numerous carnival games, a funhouse combo bouncer and slide, a costume contest, chili cook-off, pizza/drink concessions and photo booth for purchase, a pumpkin carving demonstration, face painting and henna fall tattoos. On October 12th from 5:30-6:30 pm “Teaching Your Child to Read” will be presented by Ms. Christy. Opening the door to total reading begins with early language development and progresses throughout primary and elementary education. Come join us to find out more. Picture Day will be October 19th for toddlers, elementary, and siblings. On October 20th both primary classes will be photographed.
Happy Birthday to Alex, Lee, Adam, Shawn, Srihasini, Araina and Karissa! Thank for celebrating with us.
Toddler Class by Ms. Manisha
The children are settled in, our work cycle begins at 8 am and we would like our toddlers to take advantage of the opportunity to walk into the classroom independently, to begin the day with their community.
Our main goals of the toddler environment are to encourage the children to become independent, and to allow them to explore the environment and manipulate the objects in the environment freely. Activities are positioned around the room for toddlers to choose. They have freedom of movement to explore, and they can finish the task that they have stared.
Practical life area is most beautiful area in the toddler community. We are making Kale chips and cutting pares in the classroom these are independent activity.
The child wants to be independent – we aren’t imposing independence; they want to be independent naturally and we are to offer children opportunities.
Opportunities – to practice being independent
“Help me do it by myself”
Primary B by Ms. Jiyoung
Greetings! How exciting that we are moving into October already! I am happy to say that we received all the books on our classroom wish list. Yay! The children cannot wait to start reading the new books! It was wonderful to see all of you at our parent education night and the potluck was fun, as always. It was my pleasure to help everyone to better understand Montessori philosophy and how it is such an important first step in your child’s education.
The children have been focusing on reading and writing nowadays, and they love to draw and embellish the stories that they create. Once they have mastered how to put sounds together, young children can either use the big or small moveable alphabet box to write down their ideas, and the older children use their own journals or lined paper to express themselves through their writings. They have been writing about their weekends, their vacations, their interests or what they have learned in the classroom such as songs, stories, or facts. In order for children to be able to write, they need to learn some basic skills. Around age 4, the children were introduced to the metal inset activity. This is the first writing activity with pencils in the Montessori classroom. The metal inset activity helps the children prepare their hand for writing. The activity helps the child to develop hand-eye coordination, so that the child can make small coordinated movements on the paper. The triangular shape of the metal inset colored pencils support the tripod pencil grip and ease the child into writing. The child refines basic writing techniques such as the needed lightness of pencil pressure and accommodation to the allotted writing space. Furthermore, the child develops concentration and mind focusing while they are filling and designing the shapes. The metal inset activity has 10 different stages that increase with difficulty starting with the simple tracing of shapes to the gradation of color, design and superimposing of shape to create and eventual design. After mastering each stage, the child is a step closer to forming letters. In addition, the metal inset activities lay the foundation for geometric senses and artistic sensibilities. Various Montessori activities in the classroom help the child enjoy writing. The metal inset activities are essential for the child to develop writing techniques.
Observation month is coming. Please be sure to read the suggestions before observing the classroom and please read books with your children at home daily, so they will become enthusiastic readers in time. Readers are leaders!
Primary A by Ms. Rashmi
Awaiting the official start of autumn, the children of Primary A did a lot of research on the science behind the changes that occur during fall. We learned how the Earth traveling around the sun on a tilted axis makes certain parts of the earth point at the sun at different times of the year. Fall begins when the Earth’s axis starts pointing away from the sun and for us fall began on September 22.
The children studied how the leaves get their green color due to chlorophyll which traps the sunlight to make food for the plants. When the days in fall get shorter, the leaves of the deciduous trees stop making chlorophyll; therefore, the leaves get their new colors and eventually fall. We discussed how the fallen leaves serve as food for the tiny living things in the soil and also act as sponges to retain rain water. The children also grasped how the evergreen trees, having needles and leaves covered with heavy wax, retain moisture and prevent freezing allowing the tree to survive the winter.
The children also gained knowledge about how during fall migrating isn't just for the birds, but also the ocean animals like dolphins and whales, as well as insects too! While several insects, birds, and animals travel south to escape the cold weather, animals like the mountain goats, big horn sheep and elk migrate down from the mountains to warmer lands. Yet, there are some animals, such as chipmunks, hedgehogs, bats, and earthworms that stop moving altogether and hibernate instead of migrating. We also spoke about the animals that stay awake in autumn, but go through physical changes to get ready for winter. For example, foxes grow thicker fur, and snowshoe hares and ermine change the color of their fur from brown to white to blend better with the winter snow. When some children pointed out that they have seen geese flying in the V-pattern, we discussed why the geese choose to do so? The V- pattern saves energy! The goose flying in front works the hardest cutting through the air's resistance, and the birds take turns being in front along the journey to conserve energy. What a great example of team work!
All this said, we also read about the clothing, sports, festivals and harvest that occur during fall! Though there is a lot that we explored about fall, there is still a lot that needs to be explored in order to have the children see and experience the fall with increased awareness. As always, I will leave this task for my trusted parents!
Elementary by Ms. Melanie
This month has been filled with the children exploring the vastness of our solar system, the composition of our planet, formation of mountains and our atmosphere. Each particle in the three states of matter follow a particular set of laws which gives stability and order to our world. The Earth’s orbit around the sun reached the Autumn Equinox and the children experience first hand, in our outdoor classroom and the pollinator garden, how the plants and animals react to light and temperature changes.
The children enjoy exploring their creative side during our Creative Writing Workshops on Thursday afternoons. A couple of the creative writing prompts this month have included: You’ve found yourself on a new planet. Name your planet and describe what you see, hear, feel and smell. Write a letter to a deciduous tree convincing it not to drop its leaves! Look for these stories and accompanying illustrations in their composition notebooks next time in their take home folders.
The children were so excited for the cast announcements in this years play, The Jungle Book. Clapping and hugs for all were enthusiastically given after every cast member announcement! It’s so nice to see the children genuinely happy for one another!
Our rain barrel collaborative painting project is coming along nicely. We began by exploring what a watershed is and the importance of protecting and conserving our watershed. The children’s design is a river flowing and all of the plants and the animals that rely on it as it travels to the sea.
Thank you all for the donated books to the classroom from the Barefoot Book Fair. This month our classroom has added so many wonderful, beautiful, inspirational, informative books covering all subject areas! Your participation in the Book Fair and last Spring’s Read- A- Thon have really enhanced our classroom library.
Happy Birthday Karissa Moss!
From Director's Desk by Ms. Christy
Eager young faces greeted the new school year with excitement and motivation to learn as the heat of summer continued through August at the Montessori School of Cumming. The classrooms were buzzing with activity in no time at all, as the children quickly settled into the familiar comfort of their classrooms. A few new children took a week or so to warm up to the world of discovery that waits in the Montessori materials presented with gentle patience by the teachers. Some children gradually changed classrooms and are now happily working with a new peer group and curiously exploring all the new learning opportunities. Now is the time for continuing to kindle the child’s intrinsic desire to do and know more by fueling the flame of each child’s intelligence.
Learning happens in incremental steps and always as a result of the child’s actions. Children may watch an adult tie a shoe a thousand times, but must take the laces in their own hands to master the skill. The child must want to accomplish the task in front of them. Children take joy in being able to independently accomplish the things that they observe adults doing every day. Perhaps there has been a time in your life when an opportunity to try a new skill was right in front of you-water skiing, piano lessons, running a marathon, or earning a medical degree. But, you did not act. Why? For the child, just the right amount of challenge must be offered, the fear of adult judgement and correction must be eased, and the task at hand must be something that the child desires to achieve. Through daily Montessori offerings at the Montessori School of Cumming, your child’s motivation will unfold and blossom, allowing the child’s activity in the classroom to continually feed their knowledge and fuel their curiosity throughout the school year.
Teacher-Led Parent Education Nights are happening Tuesday, September 27th and Wednesday, September 28th from 5-6 pm at the school. Elementary and Toddler parents will join your child’s teacher in the classroom on Tuesday. Primary A and Primary B parents will join your child’s teacher in the classroom on Wednesday. Each teacher will be presenting updated, relevant, and pertinent information that will enhance parent and child daily interactions and expand the parents knowledge of what is happening in the classroom. Childcare is provided onsite for both events. Please sign-up at the front desk. The teachers are looking forward to seeing all of our parents at this important event.
Happy Birthday to Jacob, Nash, Eshaan, Aryana, Anna, Kinsley, Arhaan, Kaelina, and Kaien! Thank you all for celebrating your joyous occasion with MSOC.
Toddler Class by Ms. Manisha
Welcome to all of our new families and welcome back to our returning parents! It's been almost a month; I can't believe it! The children have been working very hard every day with great enthusiasm. Washing the windows, making flower arrangements, washing their hands, washing dishes, and exploring the language cards and replicas are some of the children’s favorite activities. The toddler community also has a new hummingbird feeder located in the garden that has become very popular. The children are very happy when they see the hummingbirds visiting the feeder.
We would like to welcome Anika, Nitya and Juliet to the toddler community. The new children are quickly settling into the daily rhythm of the classroom. The children love their routines so much.
“The child who has felt a strong love for his surroundings and for all living creatures, who has discovered joy and enthusiasm in work, gives us reason to hope that humanity can develop in a new direction.” - Maria Montessori
Primary A by Ms. Rashmi
First of all, I would like to extend my heartfelt welcome to all the returning and new children and families. As you might have noticed, the beginning of the school year normally is and has been an emotional one. While for some it was pure excitement; some were consumed with anxiety and uncertainty. However, I feel we have settled down quite a bit in a short period of time, and the children have been reassured that they are in a safe, secure, and loving environment.
Time concepts are very abstract for children this age. They can't see time so it's very difficult for them to understand. How often have you heard your child use the word 'yesterday' to refer to any point in past? To a young child yesterday can mean last week, last month, or even last year. To them, yesterday simply means in the past. A child may even say his/her birthday is tomorrow when it's actually 2 months away. But I think we should appreciate the fact that the children have come to understand that 'yesterday ' means in the past and 'tomorrow ' means in the future.
We have started our school year by elaborating about the calendar every morning. Last year we started by mentioning the date and day and are now delving deeper into discussing the weather and seasons, as well as reviewing that there are 7 days in a week and 12 months in a year. Sometimes we sing the song for the days of the week and months of the year that the children learned last year.
Apart from the calendar time, there are several other ways in which the children get the sense of time. For example, following our consistent routines the children get to a point when they say, “We are going on the playground! “ “It's 11:00 o’ clock.” “It’s Spanish Day!” “It’s Friday.” The hourglass that the children use during snack time, the timer that they use while baking, and the process of walking around the sun that the children experience while celebrating a friend’s birthday also gives them an understanding of time. The actual Montessori clock material teaches the children that there are 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, and 60 seconds in a minute. The children learn and understand the terms o'clock, half past, quarter past and quarter ‘til.
As mentioned in my previous newsletters, the children might understand any concept in bits and pieces for now, but for them to connect the dots, they will have to experience, wonder, and ask questions- not once, but many times. I am counting on you to provide them with repeated and varied exposures to the idea of time.
Primary B by Ms Jiyoung
Welcome back! We are glad to have everyone join us for another year of magnificent learning and awe-inspiring discovery! Please welcome Shawn and Kinsley, who have just moved up from the toddler community. They have started learning about the preliminary exercises in which each child masters the basic movements such as pouring, folding, and carrying that are necessary for success in the other areas of the primary classroom.
We had a wonderful Kick Off meeting earlier this month. It was really nice to see all the students and parents back in the building. We are so enthusiastic about the 2016-17 school year and have so much to do and learn. During the first few weeks of school, we are getting to know each other and are learning the classroom expectations for Primary B. The students are doing an outstanding job learning about the rules and procedures of the classroom. The children are already engaged in small group activities. The farm game and the addition golden bead activity have been a hit in August. One of my all-time favorite lessons to observe, grace and courtesy exercises will be practiced this month to assist the smooth operation of the classroom and the social skills of the group. Through the grace and courtesy exercises, children learn how to interact with others in the classroom and in society. These lessons allow the children to understand how to deal with conflicting situations and help them use the right vocabulary to make life more pleasant for them and for others. We are happy to be back with the students and are taking pleasure in seeing their creativity at work again.
We are reading books about manners and kind hearts this month. We need a volunteer to pick up books from library every week. Please let me know if you are able to help. Primary B is off to a wonderful start and will carry our splendid beginning with us throughout the year!
Elementary Class by Ms. Melanie
Welcome back! We have enjoyed catching up with one another and getting to know Tate Andrews who has joined the elementary community this year. To spotlight a few works out of the many lessons, researches and works already in progress; I’ll begin with how astonished we were to be greeted by an overflowing, abundant and productive Pollinator garden the children planted last Spring! The children have been able to observe caterpillars on the host plants as well as butterflies visiting the nectar producing plants! Milkweed seeds are being harvested as they explode from their pods!
Three species of butterflies have been identified by the children as well as
two different caterpillars.
The start of the school year fell in sync with the start of the 2016 Summer Olympics which began our study of the antiquity of the Olympic games! The children explored the similarities and differences of the Olympic games from their beginnings in Ancient Greece to modern day. The children liked the change made to the modern Olympic games that allows girls to participate in and watch the Olympic games.
The Great Lesson, “The Coming of the Universe” has been given to the children which aids to bring about an awareness of the immensity of the universe in which Earth resides and aids the children at the second plane to become aware of the reality outside of themselves. The idea of order. Every particle has its own nature and set of laws to follow which are universal. The children see these same laws at work today with science demonstrations highlighting each of the three states of matter which accompany the story.