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.
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.
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.
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.
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!