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!