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.