The music program is in full swing now, and all the classes are making super progress! I’m delighted with every one of our 8 groups!
Toddlers are beginning to sing along with me, which is pretty early in the school year for that to happen; usually I sing solo for about a semester. They’re doing hand motions, acting out poems, learning some American Sign Language, taking turns, waiting, putting instruments away gently, and mostly staying in tune with me and follow directions well.
Preprimaries have probably learned 5 dozen songs, movement activities, poems, and finger plays, and they’ve played sticks, bells, and chickitas. Wonderful fun and tons of progress! We’re singing mostly up in our singing voices, too, which is the challenge of this age group. Tonal memory is developed between the ages of 4 and 7, so we work on singing in our singing voices, matching pitches, doing vocal glissandos, etc., every week without fail.
Kindergarteners are learning left hand from right hand, playing both one and two handed mallets on their glockenspiels, have learned several notes on the staff, and are singing as they play. Very complex! They’re doing a perfect job of keeping a steady beat, and soon we’ll start playing tunes–a much more difficult skill. The glockenspiel is the perfect instrument to introduce music reading, and it’s also an introduction to the keyboard, with the low bars to the left, and one bar for each new note and sound. We’re learning to read steps and skips on the staff, and then translate that to the way they should move on the glock.
First graders are learning how to be a recorder choir, which includes not only how to play the recorder, but starting and stopping together, listening between pieces, playing only when it is time to play, etc. Beyond that, they are learning to read the notes they’re playing from the staff, as well as by looking at me and copying my fingering. We work every week on notation and rhythm; we’ve learned whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, and quarter rests, so far. The students know 3 ways to count every kind of note and rest. Also we have learned about steps, skips, and repeated notes, not only on the recorder but also on the staff. Music involves so many, many skills and areas of the brain! We sing the songs before we study them, too, so we’re keeping our tonal memory reinforced.
Second through 4th graders are having so much fun with their dulcimers! We spent the first week decorating them w/ all sorts of stickers and also their creative drawing, thinking about mountain music of the eastern U.S. I’ve made folders for the music we’re learning, and as of the last week of October, we have learned to read, sing, and play 10 songs! We work on note reading and rhythm every week, as well as starting and ending together and also singing in our singing voices. There is terrific energy in this group, and I’m extremely pleased with their progress!
Thank you all for entrusting your children to our wonderful school!
My name is Claudia Cerezo. I am now in seventh grade, and I attended Montessori when I was in preschool and kindergarten. My favorite part about Montessori was being outside all the time. We planted multiple gardens throughout the year ranging from snap-peas to carrots. We also went outside to have recess. I remember the caterpillar invasion that had all of us running from tree to tree trying to make our own family of caterpillars. I remember my class doing “What a Wonderful World” in sign language. We also sang a song in Spanish called “De Colores” that I still today like to go around my house singing. Mrs. Karen and I would sit on the floor together making long chains to show how addition, subtraction, and even multiplication and division worked. I had one on one time with my teachers to make sure I knew how to say the word “animal” correctly. Mrs. Karen would go around the room taking pictures of all of us making art with play-dough or doing puppet shows behind a table. One of the best things that Montessori gave me was my best friend, Jordan. We graduated together and when we got our photo albums from our past years at Montessori, there was not a single picture of me without Jordan (with the exception of a couple pictures of my first “boyfriend,” Alex Stanley.)
Happy Fall to all our MSH families! It is only October and already the children have settled into our classroom routine beautifully. It has been remarkable for Monica and I to watch your children care for themselves, their environment and one another. We are so pleased with this dynamic group of children and what they contribute each day. Thank you to the parents for all your support thus far. September was a busy month and October has been even busier! Lets take a look at the work that has kept our classroom buzzing with energy…
Our Toddler 1 class is abuzz with fall activity. This month’s thematic unit is All Things Fall. The highlight of our month was our annual field trip to the pumpkin patch. The children loved petting the farm animals, playing in the corn crib and picking their very own pumpkin. We will continue our unit by making paper bag pumpkins and painting with pumpkins in art. In science we will be studying the life cycle of the pumpkin as well as learning the different parts of a pumpkin. We would like to thank everyone for their gifts from our Small Hands wish list. The materials purchased by you will be put to good use by our children. Also, thank you for bringing in items for our Heartwarming Chili. Cooking the chili in class and then eating it at the Fall Festival is a great treat.
Our toddlers continue to learn and grow everyday. It is amazing how much they are truly capable of when they are given high expectations and the chance for independence. Please continue to encourage your child to dress and undress themselves with as much minimal assistance as possible. This is the first step towards readiness for potty training.
As always, thank you for sharing your wonderful children with us. Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions or concerns.
I want to start off by truly thanking all of the hardworking parents (and kids) that helped with the Nature Trail maintenance. I took the children for a hike on the Monday after the accomplishing workday. We brought along our journals, and the children sat on the stumps in the Outdoor Classroom and peacefully wrote and drew about their lovely experiences. We then went for a nice hike. The children made a ton of discoveries from groundhog burrows to cool spider webs.
Also, thank you so much to Adriane C. (Eli and Jacob) for picking up the free beautyberry bushes through the Operation Green Team. They were very tiny and pitiful little plants, so I replanted them and fertilized them. My goal is for the children to plant them throughout the Nature Trail later this week. They have pretty little flowers in the spring and summer and then gorgeous purple berries in the fall. (I included some pictures of the tiny new ones and one of my older bushes.) The beautyberry bushes are native to Alabama and will also attract wildlife (birds and deer) to our Nature Trail.
Thank you to all of our energetic chaperones for our Botanical Gardens field trip! It was awesome, and the kids had an amazing time! We will be going to Gullion Farms later this month, which will be another great field trip.
The Fall Festival is coming up. Our class will make a delicious vegetarian chili. I will have a little booth to plant violas, and lots of other teachers will have wonderful activities planned, so come and bring family and friends!
Have a wonderful fall! This weather is absolutely gorgeous!