Posts Categorized: General
Visit our class at 9:00 am and you will see the children getting water and getting ready to start our day… the Brain Gym way.
We begin our days outside on the playground for a bit of fresh air, socialization and playtime. Following our outdoor time, we drink water to get our neurons firing and begin Brain Gym. The children follow the teacher through a variety of mid-line movements, such as the cross-crawl, neck rolls, and lazy eights.
These mid-line movements help increase uper-lower body coordination which are necessary for both gross and fine motor skills when both the right and left hemisphere of the brain are working together.
Other movements include energy exercises such as brain buttons, hook-ups and positive points. Like electrical circuits in buildings become overloaded, our energy circuits overload at times as well. These energy exercises activate the neocortex and refocus the electrical energy back to the reasoning centers, thus regaining coordination of thought and action.
We conclude our Brain Gym time with two minutes of silent meditation followed by a time of sharing. Most children look forward to sharing their thoughts and meditations which vary from vacation experiences, to works in the classroom that they want to do, to thoughts about peace and friendship.
Please read the following articles that explain the educational kinesiology of BrainGym and to see examples of exercises you can do with your child at home. These are great exercises for all ages!
As a brief introduction for those parents who do not know me: my name is Laticia Hequembourg, my daughter Harper attends kindergarten at MSH (she is in Shree and Leela’s class). Teaching and creating art are among my greatest passions in life. I hold a PhD in adult education from Auburn University. My dissertation explored creativity generation and the creative process in adult learners. I also hold a master’s of art education from Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, and a BA in studio art with a concentration in sculpture from The State University of New York in Potsdam, New York. I have taught for the last few years as an adjunct professor in the fine art departments at both Alabama A and M University and Calhoun Community College.
This year at MSH I teach two kindergarten art classes, and both the lower and upper elementary art classes. The kindergarten art curriculum explores the basics of creating art through the inspiration of a variety of art forms and disciplines. Thus far we have found inspiration for our paper cut outs through the literary work of Shel Silverstein. We have also concentrated on learning about the elements of art with the construction of a visual chart that highlights both color and texture. This week we will be weaving paper to create work mats and then moving along to watercolor.
Both lower and upper elementary have been concentrating on the fundamentals and basic compositional components of drawing. They are currently working on self- portraits in oil pastel. In the next few weeks to come we will be transitioning into painting and focusing on color theory.
Also, as a note to all parents: I wanted to take a moment to inform parents that I will be utilizing a website called Artsonia (www.artsonia.com). Artsonia is a free online digital portfolio and student art gallery dedicated to promoting the visual arts curriculum in schools worldwide. I will e-mail parents individually with a password so that you can log on and view your child’s work throughout the year (you can also upload artwork yourself). This is a great way to share work with friends and family, keep a digital record of creative development, and the website offers fun keepsakes (these make excellent personalized gifts) with your child’s work, with 20% of sales going directly to the participating school’s art program. Keep a look out for more information regarding log-in details.
Thanks in advance for all of your support, if you should have any questions, please feel free to contact me anytime.
Dr. Laticia Hequembourg
Every August brings the beginning of a new school year. It is a fresh start. Children return to the classrooms. Some of them are veterans of the class, having been in the room for one or two years already, and some of them are entering a new environment for the first time. Whether returning or new, each one of these children will be phased into the classroom.
Over my many years as a toddler teacher I have had a few parents ask why we follow this “phasing-in schedule.” It is true that slowly bringing the children into the new school year can cause a bit of a juggling act for parents. Work schedules may need to be altered for the week. Childcare may need to be arranged. In the end, all of that teeter tottering about is worth it. The children are the most important work, and their most important work is starting a new school year off successfully.
In every one of my first emails to our toddler parents, I give them their child’s phasing-in schedule. I also write that this schedule is the key to success. Children need a gentle introduction. They need time to adjust to new things, new places, and new people. It is through this process that they gain trust in everything and everyone around them. Their brains are allowed to assimilate what is new and what is old in a seemingly unrushed manner.
Have you ever noticed how your child is more tired at the beginning of the school year? I have. My son is fifteen years old and still took a nap every day he came home during the first week of school. School is a child’s work. It is serious business for them. When you allow a child to move at their pace you are listening to them and their needs. You are helping them to succeed. So, why do we phase our children in instead of putting them directly in the classrooms for full school days? My answer is, why not?
Toddler 1 Co-Lead Teacher
South Huntsville Campus
We know the options some of you are weighing this time of year. You hear the Siren’s call of public school or you want an option that’s more convenient and requires less driving time. And the hardest for us to hear is that you want to stay, but you are worried about transition. If you have to go eventually, you think you might as well go now. While all of these reasons have their logic, we hope you will consider why you chose MSH in the first place.
Montessori education fosters a love of learning. Our students are presented with a myriad of lesson options everyday, and they can experience new concepts through all of their senses. Teachers guide students through learning instead of marching them through a curriculum at a pre-determined pace that may be too fast or too slow for a student’s specific needs. Lessons here are individualized, and your child is able to realize his/her full potential.
Our program educates your whole child. While math and reading are at the heart of our learning, our students also are learning how to resolve conflicts, tend a garden, care for a pet, console a friend, understanding where his or her food comes from, managing a grocery budget and so many other lessons that prepare your child for life, not just a multitude of mandated standardized test.
We hope you choose to stay with Montessori because when you look at current trends in education, the latest research really is not all new. Brain-based learning, the maker movement, inquiry-based learning, project-based learning, motivation theory, the importance of movement, green education, and the list goes on, is inherent in Dr. Maria Montessori’s work. The common core curriculum does not strike fear in the heart of Montessori teachers because they have been teaching children to look at problems from different perspectives for more than one hundred years.
However, the main reason we think you should stay with MSH just a little bit longer is because we work everyday to ensure that your child becomes a capable, confident, compassionate and creative thinker. All the teachers and staff are here because they believe so deeply in the need to nurture future leaders of the world. It is no longer enough to learn for the sake of knowledge. We are here to teach children to create, reason, problem-solve and most of all, lead. We hope you will decide in the weeks to come that you would like to stay on the journey with us…just a little bit longer.
February is Parent Observation Month here at MSH. Our toddler parents will be observing through the videos the teachers have recorded, while parents at other levels will be observing by sitting in the classrooms. While observing try asking yourself these questions: