We celebrated the first day of Spring yesterday with beautiful weather, which has meant a lot of outside time this week. We have been quite busy in the classroom this month. In addition to our regular work in Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, and Language, we began our unit on the Human Body. We started with the circulatory system and learned all about the components of blood. Ask your child about the jobs of red and white blood cells, as well as platelets. The students amaze us with their level of comprehension! We also learned about the digestive system, which has led to some really great conversations about nutrition and healthy choices. We are also preparing for the Multicultural Festival (April 5th) by turning our classroom into chilly Antarctica.
We hope your Spring Break is relaxing and provides time with your family. Monica and I will be heading to Dallas, Texas to attend the American Montessori Society Conference with several other teachers from MSH. This is an incredible opportunity to surround ourselves with a dynamic community of fellow Montessorians. Thank you so much to everyone who helped and supported the fundraising efforts to make this possible. We know we will learn so much and are excited to come back with fresh ideas for the school and your children. As always, thank you for your support each day.
In addition to our work in Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, and Language, February has proven to be a month for celebration, sharing, and kindness in our classroom. Among celebrating the birthdays of several friends, we had a merry time preparing for our Valentine exchange. Luckily, the three snow days did not interrupt our chance to take turns sharing and giving with each other.
We have set up a “Love and Kindness” jar on our peace shelf in which we are able to actually see the love grow in our classroom. In addition to being a visual representation, the jar encourages spontaneous acts of love and kindness. We are thrilled to see how much the children love and care for one another. Ask your children to explain to you how it works!
The remainder of this month we will continue our study of the continent of Asia. Some of the children have created beautiful maps of Asia and are extremely proud of their work. Please find a moment to admire their effort as it will only take a moment to realize the amount of focus and determination put into each one.
We are enjoying the books of Leo Lionni and discussing presidents of the United States as well.
*Due to the snow days we have rescheduled our Kindergarten Move Up Day to the Elementary classroom to take place on Monday, the 24th of February.
**Even if you cannot make it to the March book club featuring the book, Simplicity Parenting, please consider reading this phenomenal book. The ideas in this book truly supplement what we try to do each day in the Montessori classroom and we believe it to be such a valuable resource.
This month our Toddler 1 class will be busy studying the Earth, its different continents, and the cultures of the people who live far away from us. We kicked off our multicultural studies with St. Patrick’s Day by talking about how the holiday is celebrated in Ireland, which is a country in Europe. In honor of the holiday we made Rainbow Fruit Skewers for snack.
The continent we will be focusing on for the annual Multicultural Festival is Australia. If you or someone you know has anything from or about the continent of Australia please let us know. We would love for you to share it with our class.
Planting our garden will also be a big focus in our classroom this month. Last month we learned that our Earth is made up of water, land, and air. Now we will begin putting that knowledge into practice by watching how the land, water, and the air will help our plants to grow. A BIG thank you to all of the parents who helped during the family work days to prepare our garden. Without all of your work, enjoying our garden would not be possible.
As always thank you for sharing your children with us. Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions or concerns.
I can’t believe that Spring Break is almost upon us! We’re still very busy preparing for the Multicultural Festival. If you have anything from or about Europe that you would like to share with the class, that would be great!
Our science/geography studies have also expanded to include biomes. We’ve been discussing the interdependent relationships in biomes and the different types of biomes found all over the world. Also, a teacher from Sci-Quest is now coming twice a month to conduct science experiments with the children. Yesterday was the first class, and I’m sure that all of the children came home talking about dry ice!
Last, but not least, we have two field trips planned for April. On the 10th we will be visiting Burritt on the Mountain. We will be learning about life in Alabama during the 1800s, and the settlers who moved here from Georgia as they searched for gold. At the end of April (date to be announced) will are planning to attend Panoply School Days. So, be on the look out for more information and permission slips!
For the past 35 years I have been told that I talk too much. That problem intensifies when I am passionate about something. Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out how I can explain the beauty of the Montessori Method to families who tour, members of our community and the greater world in a concise and succinct manner. Task failed until last week.
Julie Bragdon, assistant head of school at Montessori School of Denver recently published an article in the Spring 2014 edition of Montessori Life entitled “What Every Family Should Know about Montessori.” Thank you Julie Bragdon for helping edit my conversation into the following five steps.
1. The Montessori method is child-centered. Children stay engaged and learn more.
2. Each child is encourage to reach his full potential which is entirely different than they can do whatever they want, a Montessori myth. A child in the Montessori classroom doesn’t have to stick with herd and a teacher doesn’t teach to the middle.
3. Hands-on learning occurs through special materials that provide a control of error so that students can monitor and adjust their own learning. Children become comfortable with persevering after making a mistake which inspires them to tackle continually challenging work. The method encourages children to learn through immersion, independent investigation, and multi-sensory learning. These buzzwords are now a part of best practices in traditional schools. They have been part of the Montessori Method since 1907.
4. Students complete their work in a variety of environments instead of being forced to stay in a desk. Even before brain-based learning and embodied cognition, Dr. Montessori recognized the connection between movement and learning. The Montessori classroom allows for that movement. Most adults don’t enjoy staying trapped at their desk all day. Why would we want that for our children?
5. The Montessori Method stays true to the belief that children learn best in a respectful, supportive environment. Teachers guide instead of dominate. The sage on the stage is no more, and feedback is authentic. Children are social creatures and have the opportunity to learn with and from each other.
We all want our children to be happy, successful, and prepared for the “real world.” The Montessori Method allows us to give the “real world” to our children inside the classroom with a loving teacher and a beautiful environment. Take time this month to share with friends why you chose a Montessori education for your child. Invite them to Fill the Chair and see the magic of learning at MSH firsthand.