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.
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”
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!
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!
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!