The Elementary I Class has wonderful news about the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF project! Our goal was to raise $240 for a School-in-a-Box, which is a kit containing supplies and materials for a teacher and up to 40 students (books, pencils, scissors, counting cubes, a clock, posters, and lots more for basic educational needs to be used anywhere in the world). With the entire school’s help, we completely exceeded our goal and raised $358.27! That means our school raised enough for a School-in-a-Box, a bicycle to take medicine to rural villages, soccer balls, and a lot of protein biscuits! I am so very proud of the children (and parents) for making this happen! Thank you!
Our class is also starting a drive to help the folks at CASA (Care Assurance System for the Aging and Homebound). We will be collecting non-perishable food items (low sodium, no sugar added, if possible). Canned meats, vegetables, and fruits, and boxed rice are recommended. We will also fill a basket with paper towels, napkins, dish cloths, dish towels, dish detergent, and hand soap. This is a wonderful program, and they were very grateful for our donations last year. The drive will begin November 18 and last through November 26.
Other news in the classroom: the children are all working very hard! We just learned about the parts of an addition equation: addends and sums. We will be having similar lessons on the parts of subtraction, multiplication, and division problems soon. They are all working at their own pace (with a little encouragement here and there) using the various math materials. With language, we have learned about nouns and articles and will be diving into adjectives very soon. Grammar can be so exciting! The children are learning all about birds right now in zoology. We have made books about the external parts of birds, learned about bird types, and created our own birds. We will have some further lessons and experiments on birds, too. We will be working on a lot of Thanksgiving holiday activities also. Parents, please look for a Thanksgiving feast sign-up sheet.
As we are all aware, it is getting so cold outside! Please don’t forget to send your child to school in warm clothes (coats, gloves, hats). We are outside between 45 minutes and an hour everyday.
We are planning a field trip to see The Nutcracker on Ice on December 5th!
I hope everyone has a safe and loving Thanksgiving holiday!
Our children enjoyed learning about spiders, pumpkins, and the leaves in fall. Special thanks to all the parents who bought For Small Hands items for our class! Our children appreciate all of the new work in the classroom so much. Also, thank you to Elisa M. (Roberto’s mom) for helping with our art project for the Art Auction! We are really fortunate to have so many talented parents.
In November, we will learn about Native Americans and Thanksgiving. We will continue learning to sign all our friends names in sign language. We can sign all short names now. We will continue progressing in all other areas at our own pace. It is so wonderful to see our class transforming to a normalized class! One of my favorite moments of the day is when we dismiss children after yoga in the morning. It is amazing how calmly the children choose their work and focus on it. That moment is so peaceful and is wonderful to see! We really enjoy what we are doing, and thank you so much for sharing your wonderful children with us!
The Toddler II Classroom is very busy these days! We are raising caterpillars right now. The children have been observing them since they were very young, and now they are each forming their chrysalis. We are all learning new things and having fun watching them grow.
Last week was the Diwali celebration, which is a Festival of Lights in India (where I am from.) We have learned about Diwali in class and cooked a traditional sweet dish to try called Halowa. They children really enjoyed tasting it.
The children are exploring new things everyday. It is a pleasure to see them grow.
“Our aim is not only to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core.”
To memorize means to learn by heart and to fix experience and knowledge in our memory. A child can memorize information in two ways. One way is to learn something mechanically and by rote. The second way is to prepare and organize a variety of activities all having the same aim that the child can work through. This variety of activities keeps the child’s imagination alive. Maria Montessori developed many different exercises for the memorization of facts for elementary students. This repetitive practice allows the child to memorize their math facts in an engaging way.
Below are just a few of the materials that Maria Montessori developed for the memorization of math facts:
Chiaravalle Montessori School also posted a great blog about the memorization of math facts as taught through the Montessori Method : http://www.chiaravalleobservations.org/2011/03/the-facts-are
The Montessori Work Cycle is the three hour work period all Primary and Elementary Classes observe in Montessori Schools. Our toddler class alters the length of the work cycle to accommodate the needs of our younger students. The morning work cycle in our toddler classroom is generally two to two and a half hours. It grows longer as the school year progresses, meeting the growing attention spans of our children.
Each day has structure but can also be fluid to meet the ever changing needs of the children. Our day starts with a brief time of free choice of work or outside play. This allows the children to socialize with each other by getting their ‘hellos’ and other greetings out of the way before the actual school day begins. Bringing your child to school before morning group time and the actual work cycle begins allows them to meet these social needs without disruption.
Circle time/Job time begins between 9-9:15am every day. Throughout our many years as toddler teachers we have seen time and time again the importance of the children being present for this time of coming together. They enjoy helping with classroom jobs, doing simple yoga and periodically working together to achieve a group lesson. Our circle time ends with the dismissal of children to begin the work cycle.
The children begin the work cycle by choosing simple works in the classroom, often choosing their ‘favorite’ works and doing them repeatedly. Half-way through the work cycle the children experience what is known as ‘false fatigue.’ A Montessori school we once visited referred to this as the time when most working adults take their coffee break. As teachers, we allow the children to use this time when they are not focused to go potty and walk about the room socializing. When they do settle back in and begin working again that is known as ‘the great work period.’ During this time the children achieve their most challenging works. There is not much socializing going on in the classroom during this time as they are all concentrating on their task at hand. When the work cycle ends the children begin to socialize again, and that is often when we take them outside.
Allowing the children to engage in their entire work cycle with minimal interruption is pertinent. If a child arrives late or an adult needs to speak with one of the teachers it is important to enter the room quietly, maintaining a low-key approach. If you observe that the classroom is working and the teachers are engaged with the children, but you need to communicate something to the teachers it is best to email or leave a note. When the work cycle is disturbed the entire classroom as a whole is deprived of the Montessori work cycle. We strive every day for all of our children to have fulfilling and productive days.