Monthly Archives: April 2014
“I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil. Once the emotions have been aroused – a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and the unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love – then we wish for knowledge about the object of our emotional response. Once found, it has lasting meaning. It is more important to pave the way for the child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate.” – Rachel Carson, in Sense of Wonder (1965)
I absolutely love this quote, and I feel like it could have easily been written by Dr. Montessori. In Dr. Montessori’s book, To Educate the Human Potential, she mentions ‘seeds’ about five times on the very first page! The commonality of Maria Montessori and Rachel Carson is obvious. When speaking of ‘seeds’, the two women are speaking of the small bits of knowledge or interests that begin to take root in a child’s mind. They are speaking of connections being made, not only by what children learn from adults, but by all they see, hear, say, smell, taste, touch, and emotionally feel. As a teacher, I try my best to continue this idea by giving the children a safe and healthy way to learn on their own, and by providing them with a prepared classroom environment. I give a lot of lessons, but I also allow the children to discover different concepts on their own. The little “ah-ha” moments in the classroom are so very rewarding.
This week in our classroom, we are working on a short play to perform to both the Elementary II Classroom and the Kindergarten Classes. We continuously work on math and language. The children absolutely loved doing their own research on South American animals, so we are going to continue to plant that little ‘seed’ by researching plants we find around the school. We will display the plants and research in the foyer. So, stop and see all the seeds growing!
“Knowledge can be best given where there is eagerness to learn, so this is the period when the seed of everything can be sown, the child’s mind being like a fertile field, ready to receive what will germinate into culture.” Maria Montessori, in To Educate the Human Potential (1948).
Thank you to the parents in our classroom for making our Multicultural Festival successful. Thank you to our students, also, for working so hard on their artwork to decorate our classroom. Without their help, our room would not have looked near as festive. We learned so many things about North America over the last few weeks. We learned about different country’s national flowers, maps, and last but not the least, the food. My children really enjoyed smelling the fajitas cook and cutting the fajita vegetables for the festival.
On April 22, we are going to celebrate Earth Day. In preparation for this, we will study about the Earth’s natural beauty and how to conserve it by recycling. We are going to make some bird feeders out of recycled materials. We are already watching our seedlings grow. We are going to work on our vegetable garden, too. Along with that, we will start exploring with the geometric solids.We will match the geometric solids with common household items that the children are familiar with, such as a juice can representing a cylinder, a wooden ball representing a sphere, and an ice cream cone representing a cone.
Thanks for your continued support. Enjoy the nice weather and have a great month!
Almost daily on our family Facebook feed you see the wonder and joy of learning on the faces of our students. Our future is in such good hands with the young leaders developing here at the Montessori School of Huntsville. Last week I saw the same light shining out of some students who are a few years older, eight of our amazing teachers and staff who attended the American Montessori Society’s annual conference. Every day of the conference each of us would greet one another with a flurry of “I just attended the best workshop.” The theme of this year’s conference “Unity in Diversity” touched deeply on our mission here at MSH to “develop independent learners, critical thinkers and tomorrow’s leaders.” Just as our children immerse each day in a prepared environment in which they learn from both older and younger classmates, we were in a beautiful convention center surrounded by Montessori educators who were eager to share their experiences and their inquiries about teaching and learning.
With so much negative press about today’s schools and teaching, it is so refreshing to be in an environment where teachers are willing to give so freely of their time to hone their professional skills. Not only did these eight teachers give up four days of the their spring break, many of our other teachers have given weeks and weekends of time to further their Montessori training or have spent evenings at school participating in webinars and book studies to grow expertise in providing students with the best possible learning experience. I am so proud of their commitment and grateful to be part of this community. Our focus on perfecting our craft has been a hallmark of this year and fundamental to our continued advancement.
If you have time, engage with our teachers to discover what they have learned this year. Ms. Alicia will be happy to talk with you about the emerging concept of a natural playground. Ms. Harber would love to share the insights she’s gained from hundreds of hours of work she has dedicated to her work with the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in North Carolina. Ms. Brandy can share such interesting details of how the toddler brain develops. These are only three examples of the myriad of learning experiences our teachers participated in this school year. I hope that you see the benefits of their lifelong learning reflected in the eyes of your child. Thank you for your support of these opportunities. We do it all with love for your children.
This week we enjoyed our second visit from Sci-Quest! The children learned about how rainbows are made, explored the refraction of light, and optical illusions. They used colored water to dye gardening crystals and “capture” the colors of rainbow in test tubes.
April is National Poetry Month, so we’re incorporating poetry into our study of adjectives and adverbs. So far, the children have composed their own Haikus and Cinquains. Soon, we’ll be writing Quatrains and free-verse poetry.
Our study of fractions is in full-force. Cooking with your child is a wonderful way to reinforce fractions at home, while at the same time incorporating measurement. The children have worked with equivalent fractions, comparing fractions, and some of them are moving onto simplifying fractions.
Finally, we have two field trips planned for this month. On Thursday, April 10th, we will be visiting Burritt on the Mountain. Permission slips for this field trip went home on Tuesday. On Friday, April 25th, we will be participating in Panoply School Days. I will be sending home permission slips for Panoply next week.
This month will definitely be busy, so be sure to check your child’s yellow folder regularly!
Wow, the weather has been nice this week! Spring is an amazing time of year. Monday morning, we went on a nature walk to listen to the birds and check out the plants that are coming up in our gardens. The Outdoor Classroom is looking great. At the moment, we have several stations for animal habitats: a decomposition area, a salamander rock pyramid, brush piles, a rock pile, pollinator gardens, and also the entire forested area. In the classroom, we have really worked on nurturing our little herb seedlings for the vegetable and herb garden, and we’ll plant them soon. Also, we are excited about the chicken coop. It is really coming together. Thank you to the good folks working on it.
In March, we celebrated Mardi Gras by making masks, getting throws (toys thrown from floats), and catching beads. The children also learned about the history of Mardi Gras and its significance in Mobile, AL.
The children have been working very diligently studying about South America by making little books, researching animals, painting maps, and making flags for the Multicultural Festival. Ms. Carmen also teaches them so much about Peru and all the countries in South America. We are in the process of making a life-size green anaconda which can reach 29 feet! Aaahhhh! The Elementary I class will be performing a music program with Ms. Kathy at 1:30. They will also sing a song with Ms. Carmen about the countries and capitals of South America. I hope everyone can make it to the festival!