We have begun archiving content from our guides’ Classroom Notes newsletters here on the school website. Please enjoy this contribution for December 2018.
As the calendar year draws to a close, a HUGE thank you to all the families that have supported our classroom these past months: sewing, flower bouquets, laundry duty, gourds, and holiday gift donations create a sense of community and hominess in the classroom, and nurture the independence and development of the children. Thank you all for your dedication to your children and to the FCMS community.
This is an exciting time of year, and the children are learning about all the celebrations taking place world wide. We have learned songs and traditions for Hanukkah, discussed how some families celebrate Christmas, and talked about the Winter Solstice. The latter ties in nicely with the holiday gift that children will be bringing home next week, and we hope that it brightens your home on the shortest day of the year!
Evergreen needle trimming and pine cone plucking are now part of the classroom, and children use both the needles and pinecone pieces in our new nature collage work. Several children have started embroidery work, and some are reading for the first time! It has been a peaceful and productive few weeks!
Please enjoy these new songs and sing along with your child over the holiday break: “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel”, “Hanukkah, O, Hanukkah”, “Sleigh Bells”, “Over the River”, “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm”, “Dona Nobis Pacem”, “Auld Lang Syne”.
Wishing you health and happiness in the New Year. Please have a restful and rejuvenating holiday break and I look forward to working with you in 2019!
We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.
I can’t believe the first semester is coming to an end! It has been such a pleasure getting to know all of your beautiful children, they have grown so much already! A big round of applause for everyone who came together to help make our Holiday Performance a hit. Gathering as one community to celebrate the children was a thrill to share and be apart of!
This month we have been learning all about “The Winter Solstice.” This lesson is given as story about the one special day when the light part of the day will be the shortest ever and the dark part of the day will be the longest ever. We explain that after that day we begin to notice that our temperate zone will turn back towards the sun and the light part of the day will start to get longer and longer until we’re back in summer again! But for now we notice all the changes that winter is bringing to our world. We have also discovered that there are things that stay green all winter long—EVERGREENS! As a class we have gathered evergreen branches, wrapped them in lights and have used them to decorate our classroom to celebrate the “Return of the light.” The children are even using some of the smaller pieces to add to the flowers for our flower arranging lesson. Needles to say our classroom feels quite festive!
We have learned several new songs to go along with the season. “This little light of mine” and “Make new friends but keep the old.”
During this time of year we are having lot’s of friends breaking into writing, the decimal system and exploring the mathematical operations. I wanted to share a photo that a child had worked on with the movable alphabet. This friend decided to write the poem we recited at our holiday program “Snow” by Alice Walker. Writing from memory using newly learned punctuation was wonderful to see!
We are emerging into a hectic holiday season where our children will be surrounded by gifts and attention. During this time many of us have systems in place to help our children say “thank you” for the special gifts they will receive, as well as assisting those less fortunate. Thank you notes and donating toys or needed items are some ways that children see us practice empathy, gratitude, and giving. Children are naturally empathetic and want to help others, they can use these feeling to begin to cultivate and embrace gratitude. We should remember that children absorb our actions and words, so when they observe our daily acknowledgment of appreciation, they will begin to practice this as well.
Here are a few ideas:
- At meal or family time take a moment for each family member to express two good things that happened in their day. Eventually children will begin to realize that “little things”-a teachers hug or friend helping tie an apron– can make a big impact.
- Let children take part in donating household items, toys and clothing to charitable organizations. They will grow to understand that even though we do not need these particular items any longer, other families will love and appreciate them.
- Work gratitude into daily conversation. Hearing comments like, “Wow! Look at the colors of that sunset! We are so lucky that we get to see a sight like that.” or “Thank you for putting your shoes away so tidy!” can go a long way toward guiding our children toward appreciation. Practicing gratitude helps us all feel healthier, kinder, happier and more empathetic. It is a value that is well worth your time and effort.
Speaking of gratitude, I want to let you all know how thankful I am for YOU and the FCMS COMMUNITY!
When we talk about Christmas or Hanukah, we mention that “many families celebrate this holiday, but some do not.” We focus on the cultural aspects, such as family traditions and the commonality of many of the world’s celebrations, like lights! However you celebrate please enjoy a happy and safe holiday!
The oldest children in our community are 5 and 6 and nearing the Second Plane of Development. This morning I noticed that four of them had chosen large activities and were spread out across the floor near each other. Typically in Primary, we encourage children work at a solitary table to protect their concentration. These older children, however, are moving toward the way they will work in Elementary next year. Although they were all side by side, they were each deep in concentration on projects they had chosen.
PROBLEM SOLVING IN A MONTESSORI COMMUNITY
A few days ago, one of the oldest children had a lesson on knitting. She was able to complete the stitches, but was having trouble remembering the sequence of events involved in making each stitch. Her solution? Get a piece of paper and pencil, and make herself a set of step-by-step instructions. She referenced these instructions for the rest of the day.
SHIFTING SEASONS AND WINTER SOLSTICE
Many years ago, people noticed the warmth and green leaves disappearing as darker, colder days arrived. They rejoiced when springtime brought sunshine and new growth. Today we continue to bring evergreens into our homes to remind of us greener days to come. We string up lights to remind us of the light that will return and to gather together around their glow. Our classroom is celebrating the arrival of winter by hand-rolling beeswax candles to bring home.
PARENT RESOURCES FOR BREAK
Being home for two weeks together can be a great opportunity to connect and create an atmosphere of mutual respect and collaboration. Some articles around simplifying to make holidays more enjoyable:
I have so much gratitude for your supportive and open-minded attitudes. I am lucky to know your children and to get to collaborate with you. Happy holidays, everyone.
The children felt so proud after their performance at the Senior Center! The following morning they couldn’t stop talking about it (especially the performance that the Upper Elementary children did)!
As we come upon the Winter Break, the children are working on finishing up work that is incomplete. They are also working on a winter craft. Our winter craft this year is an embroidered hanging ornament. The children are designing an ornament on felt, then they’re embroidering their design using a variety of stitches. They are then creating a backing, beginning to stitch the two pieces together (using the blanket stitch), stuffing the ornament, finishing off the blanket stitch, and completing it with a hook. There is so much uniqueness in these designs and stitches.
If you are looking for gift ideas for your children, here are some Montessori-friendly gift ideas for you to consider.
I hope your Winter Break is filled with laughter, warmth, and fun! May the time you spend with you family bring lots of fun, lots of love, and many memories that will last a lifetime!
This month our class studied watercolor painting. A third year student researched the technique and shared it with the class. Many celebrated artists used a watercolor technique. We studied the life and artwork of Edward Hopper.
Below, Maria Montessori is quoted by Association Montessori Internationale in a holiday greeting. Every day I come to class to guide the development of your children. I respect them as the builders of the future. They are gifts. Thank you. Happy traditions and celebrations:) See you next year.
The child as the builder of the future and better civilisation must be recognised as such in our social organisation and must not be left to wait till he reaches the age of maturity.
If this is to be realised, a new social movement must arise based upon a positive and practical education consisting of social experiences and upon the creation of an environment of social life suited to the different periods of the normal development of man.
This movement must not remain a vague educative ideal . . .
~ Maria Montessori
By: Eryk D. and Adrian A.
Every Thursday we have P.E. which is taught by Amazing Athletes. Our P.E. coaches are Ashley and Luis. Every week we focus on a different sport. The sports we have learned so far are Basketball, Baseball, Football, Soccer, Kickball, Volleyball, and Track. The P.E. teachers teach us how to play the sport. Sometimes we get to play a game of what sport we are doing.
To warm up, we do exercises like running, butt kickers, high knees, frankenstein’s, and grape vines. We also do obstacle courses. The obstacles courses include things like snake run, hopscotch, running, and many more. The teachers talk about different muscles in our body and how they help us do certain things. They also talk about healthy foods and how the vitamins in the foods help our body.
THE WINTER PLAY
By: Amelka Walkowiak
Mr. Deery’s class recently presented their winter play. We worked very hard on costumes, props, and over all, acting.We all met up every day to practice. Sometimes it was stressful and chaotic, but we pulled through those hard times and jumped into the good.
When the day of the play came, the classroom was buzzing with excitement. We were also very stressed out about performing. We all had butterflies in our stomachs. We were all so excited about the big day, and it had finally come! We felt a huge weight fall of of our shoulders after the play was done. In fact, we were so relieved that after the curtains closed we started dancing! We all hope that you enjoyed the show! 🙂