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Hello , Primary 2 families! Its been an eventful winter and we are looking forward to warmer temperatures…Spring is just around the corner! The end of February began our study of Asia with the celebration of Chinese New Year. Following discussions of the holiday, we collectively created a dragon, made lanterns, and ordered lunch from a local chinese restaurant to enjoy a lovely lunch with all of the kindergarteners. For the next several weeks our class will be preparing our classroom for the Multi-Cultural Festival which will be held on the first Saturday of April. We will present the continent of Asia with all of its diverse languages, cultures, beliefs, cuisines, holidays, and celebrations. This is a very special event and we hope to see all of our families there. Very soon a sign-up sheet will be posted right outside our classroom with recipes to make for it. If your family has a special asian dish you would like to bring to share, please do so!
In addition to our study of Asia, our work in Practical Life, Math, Language, and Sensorial continues to bustle with great energy. This month we are also going to focus on learning about the human body. Fascination towards all the new materials and books proved very quickly that this topic is quite interesting for the children already. We have begun discussions about the organs by starting with the heart and we have helped the children become aware of the function of the heart and how it pumps blood through the body. An exciting group lesson will be given about the components of blood in which plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets will be visually represented for their understanding. The skeletal system will be introduced and nutrition will also be a topic of study. Lessons on how to fuel our bodies with nutrition have been a constant theme in our classroom all year so it is fulfilling to see the children be able to make the connection. In addition to discussing and demonstrating healthy eating habits, everyday Sarah and I strive to build on their developing existence in the world. We feel strongly during our study of the human body to especially make sure the children further understand the importance of the whole self…..mind, body, and spirit. As we develop their knowledge of their bodies, we are thoughtful to help them make other associations as well. Each day we use meditation as part of our morning routine and it is a short amount of time in which the children are asked to recognize their inner peace. We ask them to visualize, love, peace, generosity, and happiness and to share with each other their thoughts. It is always a treat to hear their words and to see the children listen to and support each other. These moments only take a few minutes of our day, but for the health of their little bodies, to include their minds and spirits, the whole self is greatly impacted!
As always, thank you for sharing your children with us each day and for supporting our classroom in so many ways! We appreciate you.
Monica and Sarah
Homework policies are one of the topics being highlighted at the American Montessori Conference in Philadelphia today. What are your thoughts about the homework assignments and/or activities that you did as a child? How are they different or similar to those your child has experienced? What are your thoughts on homework and its benefits or drawbacks? We can’t wait for Mrs. Hill to return and share all she has learned.
Hello Primary II Families!
January is typically a turning point in the Montessori classroom, a time where you can really see and feel that the children have “normalized.” This is a term Maria Montessori used to describe the goal a teacher works so hard to achieve, when she is able to say, “the children are now working as if I did not exist.” We are now seeing normalization in the Primary II classroom, and at times during our morning work period, Monica and I will smile at each other in acknowledgment that if we were to quietly slip out the door the children would keep working and not even notice.
In addition to our work in Practical Life, Sensorial, Math and Language, January was dedicated to all things space in our classroom! We studied the characteristics of each planet and were amazed at how this topic seized their attention and wonder. The children can recall the order of the planets; and can compare their sizes as well as their composition. Make sure you ask your child a probing question about space; you will be delighted with their knowledge and excitement! We also devoted the month of January to learn about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his peaceful movement towards equality. We had moving discussions during circle time, and were touched by the children’s understanding of what is unjust. On Friday, the Kindergarteners will have the opportunity to hear Mr. Sonny Hereford speak about being the first African American child in the state of Alabama to attend a non-segregated school. We look forward to his presentation each year, it is truly an honor.
February has gotten off to a great start with parent observations. We have a visitor coming every day this month and we love the opportunity to share with you what your children do all day. As a reminder, please make every effort to allow your child a successful start to their day by making sure drop-off is swift and your child is allowed to be independent. This can be as small a detail as ensuring they are walking into the building rather than being carried. This might seem minor, but it is incredibly important. Let your child carry their own belongings into the classroom, and please make sure you are sending them with their MSH school bag. Upon entering the classroom, it is the child’s responsibility to put their lunch and bag in their cubby and to hang their jacket on a hanger before continuing on to hand washing. Every child has had a lesson and can do these tasks beautifully! These simple things set the tone for the rest of the day. If you are struggling with ways to help your child be independent, please come talk to Monica or me, we love to discuss this subject with parents!
As always, thank you for the gift of your children each day and supporting them in their Montessori journey.
Ms. Sarah and Ms. Monica
Hello parents! Welcome to 2015!! Already February!! We will continue our Human Body unit in February. Some time near the end of Feb we will go to Sci-Quest science Museum for a field trip. We will let you know the date soon. Special thanks to Jenny and Jane for sending all info to parents on time. We will have Valentine’s Day party for children on Thursday, February 12th.
Most of our children are going through Sensitive period in Math and Reading areas in our class lately. I would like to expand on Montessori Sensitive Period. Maria Montessori proposes that we prepare an environment where the child educates himself through materials that correspond to his sensitive periods. This can be as simple as having puzzles and bead string when your child begins to want to handle small objects. It can mean offering a small broom and dust cloth for your child to accompany you as you clean. It can mean you provide movable letters for which you teach the sounds, so the child can begin to build words.
Learning that takes place during the sensitive periods is powerful and long lasting. It is powerful because it is inwardly driven rather than outwardly imposed. It is long lasting because in their early years children are forming themselves out of the raw material of their experiences. During sensitive periods , opportunity exists for optimal development, when it is easy to learn. Learning during sensitive period is as thorough and complete as it ever can be. Please enjoy photographs of children going through math and reading Sensitive Period!!
We have all really enjoyed the kindergarten move-up days! My first and second year students absolutely love to help guide the little ones around the classroom. I pair each kindergartener with one of my students, and they work through the morning together. It makes my students feel so good to be looked up to as leaders. They have worked with golden beads, bead chains, reading comprehension, puzzle maps, rainforest grammar mat work, parts of speech work, and a lot of other various material around the classroom. This morning, it was time to do our Junior Great Books story with the first year students, so I included the kindergarteners in the lesson, as well. They loved the story and even wanted to work on the follow-up activity.
The kindergartners seem to have really enjoyed visiting us. As I walked the children back to their classrooms, they have said things like, “Can I come back tomorrow?” and “Why can’t we stay all day?” and “I had fun in elementary.” These little ones definitely put a smile on my face!
One of my favorite things about our little Montessori school is the connections the children share. When the kindergarteners come visit our classroom, there is already a sense of community because the kids all know each other. Either they were in class with each other the previous year, their parents are friends, they have some of the same friends, they know a sibling, or they talk over the fence at recess. These connections help their transition and definitely make the children more at ease in the classroom which opens their minds to learning. I am already looking forward to seeing them next year!