We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. In the month of November, we learned about trees, leaves and why they change colors, Thanksgiving tradition, and the continent of Asia. We will continue learning about Asia in December, too. Children enjoyed making and sharing fruit salad. Thanksgiving Feast was so much fun. Thank you very much for the parents who helped with the feast. Kids enjoyed making hats and necklaces for the feast. Also, this month, we celebrated and learned about Diwali, the festival of lights. For art, the children made Diya and also had fun making ‘puri’ (fried bread) and eating it.
In December, we will learn about some more Festivals and Culture from around the world. We are planning to do some holiday cooking. We will also do a holiday book exchange in our classroom on December 19. Please send a book (gift wrapped) with your child by Wednesday December 17. We are planning to have a Pajama Day in our classroom. We will let you know the details later.
December will be short but busy month. We are going to do some holiday related artwork. Of course we are going to do cooking class with our regular classwork. We will have our holiday musical program on December 19.
November has been so full of activity! In addition to our daily work in Practical Life, Sensorial, Math and Language, the children have been learning about birds, the story of the first Thanksgiving, and have even created a hands-on Pilgrim colony and Wamponoag village. Our classroom has been decorated in watercolor art of the Mayflower ship. We hope you have taken the opportunity to admire them as they all came out so unique.
Thank you to all the families who generously donated materials to our class during the Small Hands fundraiser. We received some great items and have begun using them in the classroom.
Last week we made cranberry sauce together and have enjoyed it this week for snack. The children were really excited to try it. Our class will be baking banana bread on Monday which we will share with all the classrooms on Tuesday. Our Thanksgiving Feast will take place Tuesday before our early 11:30am dismissal for all children.
Please make sure your child has a warm coat and appropriate cold weather gear at school (mittens, hat, etc.) as we will continue to go outside each day if it is above 32 degrees. Also, please ensure that your child is using their Montessori School of Huntsville tote bag rather than a cumbersome backpack. We do not have room in the shared cubbies for backpacks.
We have discussed with the children about getting a new pet in our room. Our goal is to adopt a bird in the next several weeks! If you would like to donate any necessary items for this please let either of us know. We would greatly appreciate any help!
Thank you for all you do and for sharing your children with us. Enjoy your families and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Sarah and Monica
Parents often ask us, “How do you get them to do that?” or they say, “I wish they would do that at home.” These questions and comments almost always occur after Parent/Child Sharing Night and after conferences. They see their child cleaning up after themselves, being independent in their self care, not taking things from others, and wish they could see their child exhibiting these desirable behaviors at home. The answer we give our parents is that the environment has to invite these behaviors.
Children naturally want structure in their lives. While they may not show it, they want it, they need it, and they thrive with it. Our classroom is set up to fit them. It is their world, and they are responsible for its care. While turning your home into a Montessori classroom may not be doable, there are things you can do to help make it more like school.
The first rule of thumb is less is more. Children’s rooms and playrooms can become cluttered with toys. Having too much overloads their senses, and they simply cannot make sense of it all. This is especially important to remember during the upcoming holiday season when new gifts will be arriving from family and friends. Make a point to clean out their old toys in anticipation of the new ones they will be receiving. In our classroom we regularly rotate out the work, keeping no more than two pieces of work on a shelf. Rotating the materials keeps them fresh and inviting.
Many years ago we had a parent tell us the way she did that was by giving the old toys to charity. She sat down with her child and talked about which toys were toys the child still played with and which toys they had outgrown. After sorting them into two piles they talked about little children in the world who did not have toys and encouraged the child to think about giving them to those children. How happy a little boy or girl just like them might be to receive this new toy. The child loved the idea of sharing with other children and was eager to give as gifts the toys she was no longer using. Doing this not only lessens the clutter in your home but it also highlights sharing. Caring for others is something we all can practice more often.
In the coming months we will share more ideas on molding your home environment to be more like the classroom environment. Thank you all for reading and for sharing your precious children with us.
We have some really exciting news about the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF project. We raised $498.30! We surpassed our goal of raising enough to purchase a school-in-a-box and a bicycle to deliver medicine. Through talking with my students and a primary student, we have decided to also donate the money toward vaccinations to protect 500 children from the measles and also give 5 soccer balls to children in refugee camps. This is such a wonderful project, and we have had amazing results. Thank you to each student and parent who helped out!
In class, the children have been learning about the Solar System this month. The second year students made amazing clay models of the solar system, while the first year students made a large solar system that we now have hanging in our classroom. The children have also been learning about the changing weather with the fall season and about the reasons behind leaves changing colors and falling from the trees. They are working on pointing out deciduous and evergreen trees, and also learning about the changes animals go through for cooler weather.
I absolutely love the fall, and Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday. Our class made a ‘Thankful Tree’ to decorate our door for the season. The children used the leaf cabinet to trace various leaves. They then cut out the leaves and wrote what they are thankful for on each leaf. I was amazed at how quickly our branches filled up! We have been reading books this week about the first Thanksgiving. I almost put lobster and oysters on our Thanksgiving lunch menu! We can’t wait to have a feast with our Elementary 2 friends next door!
Angela Harber McCollum