Dear Fig Tree families,
What a smooth start! Everyone has settled in, gotten comfortable with life in elementary and/or the new classroom, and begun interesting and meaningful work. It is so beautiful to watch the power of Montessori unfold as returning students lead and guide others, while the newest students step right into the flow of this new way of seeing and doing things.
September started by stirring up wonder! New students heard a tale that continues their journey into the Montessori elementary curriculum, which is referred to as Cosmic Education. This special story describes the coming of Life after eons of the earth’s preparation, and the students were full of excitement, even gasps! Their enthusiasm translated into jostling about in order to see the Timeline of Life, with many Mid- and Full-Cycle students joining in to see this special material again. Students asked questions about the various life forms, and several students immediately began work that extended this lesson.
A couple of weeks later, I shared another very special lesson with new students: the Black Strip. It is a powerful, impressionistic material through which students can *see* the amount of time that had passed before human beings were on earth, and they compare that to the amount of time that all humans have existed. It’s a favorite teaching moment, seeing how big their eyes get. During the last week of September students will hear the Third Great Story, in which we recognize the three special gifts given to all human beings.
Speaking of special gifts, your kiddos have been busy! In September we already saw our first round of students Going Out into the world to get what they need for their explorations or their community.
Our first snack team went to HEB after creating the menu and shopping list for that week’s snacks. At the store they estimated and rounded prices in order to stay within the weekly budget, worked with fractions and ratios, and had real-life practice with money transactions. All week they prepared and served the daily snack to the community, including our first baking adventure of the year--gluten-free banana muffins (they smelled soooo good baking!).
Another group of students went on a Going Out with Mountain Laurel to the Natural Gardener to purchase soil and plants for our Community Garden, which is a new addition at Cedars. This year, each elementary classroom will still have and maintain their own garden, but all elementary students will also work together in a single Community Garden located just outside the Rockwood classroom. We will all contribute to the work and benefit from its harvest in a true, community-based gardening endeavor.
And the Community Garden is already up and running! Every week in September teams of Fig Tree students worked together in the garden, and they accomplished quite a lot! They weeded, removed old nails from raised beds, hauled mulch to create pathways in the garden, purchased soil and plants on a Going Out to the Natural Gardener, moved soil to supplement the new soil, and planted beets, carrots, chard, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and herbs.
Not bad for a single month--many hands really do make light work!
We’d like to recognize and thank Lacey Collins and Gitana Sweethardt for their extensive knowledge, help, and guidance that they have shared with all the elementary students who have their hands in the earth.
Reminders and Sign-Ups
Starting in October our classroom will be open for observations. Coming to observe is a very valuable and unique way to peek inside the humming beehive of a Montessori classroom. I highly recommend spending some time with us. Some parents have gained profound insights while in the classroom, some have enjoyed the pleasure of simply sitting with hot tea while watching how a Montessori class hums along, and others have shared with me a new perspective they have after seeing their child at work. We’d love to have you with us.
We also have a SignUp ready for Parent Conferences on November 4th and 7th. As stated in the Parent Handbook, we ask that you make arrangements for vacations, etc. outside of conference days. If your family is unable to attend within the conference timeframe, conference notes or examples of your child’s work can be given to you.
You are in for a truly memorable evening.....Silent Journey!!
Silent Journey is a powerful event for many parents. Since many parents did not attend a Montessori school as a child, they seek to understand it by reading about Montessori philosophy, attending Parent Nights, and observing the classroom. Even with these investments, it can be difficult at times to deeply understand the experience that their child has every day at school. Silent Journey provides an opportunity for parents to explore the entire continuum of the school and to experience firsthand, just like their children, the amazing things that an authentic Montessori program has to offer.
Cedars will host a Silent Journey on October 13th. You will want to experience this.... Even if you have attended one before, there are always new insights--with more materials to explore, new discussions with fellow parents, and a truly special night to deepen your understanding of Montessori by *experiencing* it as your child does...there is nothing else quite like it.
We hope that you can attend. You won’t regret it.
Another big event coming in October--our Full-Cylces’ first Camping trip!
This year we are having two single-night camping trips for the elementary Full-Cycle students. The first is on Thursday, October 20th! If your child is in their third year of elementary, you will receive more details soon. Mark your calendars in the meantime (or line up that babysitter for your date night!).
I’m so grateful for the start to our year together. I marvel at the gift that is this community.