We are off to a great start! Students are already busy collaborating, doing Big Work, receiving lessons, and learning and laughing and singing each day.
[By the way, if you haven’t heard some musical phrases drifting from the backseat yet, be sure to ask your child about singing in Yoruba language, one of Africa’s oldest!]
The First Great Story was told last week to all students who are new to Fig Tree, but of course several returning students attended (“I love that lesson!!”). The tale is the first stone laid on the path of Cosmic Education, which we’ll explore more in an upcoming Parent Night. As students heard about the formation of the Universe and of Earth, they were excited by comprehending the vastness of space and the speed of light, hearing about the properties and behavior of different states of matter, and seeing how the earth’s layers settled according to weight. It is one of my favorite moments in teaching, seeing their big eyes and upturned faces during the Great Stories.
Snack teams have been established, so next week’s team will kick off the year by planning the week’s menu, making the shopping list, Going Out to HEB, harvesting ingredients from the garden if possible, preparing food, and serving it to their community. During the Going Out, social courtesy and a variety of math skills are practiced in “real-time” as students navigate the entire process with a partner.
If your child needs a booster seat to go to HEB, check the Fig Tree parents’ webpage to know when your child will help with snack. S/he will go to HEB that Monday, so have your child bring his/her booster to the class entrance that day.
The Parent Connection page for Fig Tree on the Cedars Montessori website is a great resource--bookmark it and check it often. You can find answers to common questions, read the latest newsletter, check the class or school calendar for events, sign up or volunteer, view our class wishlist, and find resources and articles about child development, education, parenting, and of course, Montessori. The password to access Parent Connection pages has changed; this year it is ‘otis’.
Also check the Fig Tree calendar for the date of your child’s birthday celebration. Many students this year have birthdays that fall on a weekend, during the summer, or on a school holiday, so check the date to make sure your child’s ‘Birthday Circle’ fits your family’s schedule (if it doesn’t, let us know--dates are flexible). For what to do and what to bring that day, please refer to the Parent Handbook, which you can find on the website.
I want to thank all of you who made it out to Parent Night. We had a great turnout, and I hope the evening was helpful to all of you. Next time we’ll start mingling at 6:15 and I’ll begin promptly at 6:30; that will help me make a nice, tidy finish by 8:00. :)
Reminders and Sign-Ups
Please inform your child of the daily weather forecast to support her/him in remembering boots and a rain jacket (or umbrella). We do go out on rainy days.
You are also free to leave these items at school, or they can travel home daily or every weekend--as long as they come back to school!
Fig Tree cranks out the laundry...and a golden Practical Life opportunity! Please remember to sign up for 1-2 timeslots--we have many dates still open in the spring semester. Thank you so much for helping us in such a real and needed way.
Wilderness Adventure Class with Mr. Braden is every Tuesday, so the children need to wear sturdy closed-toe shoes.
Fig Tree will host a Family Tea on Friday, September 9th at 3:00. Yay!!
Family Tea is an enjoyable, relaxed time through which Fig Tree families can come together and connect. Children will prepare snacks or treats (they looove making scones), and we will serve an herbal tea (whether hot or iced depends on the weather). It is a unique way to come together as a community--we hope you can join us!
Also, starting around October, Fig Tree will be open for observations, which I strongly recommend. We look forward to welcoming you to our buzzing hive of activity, work, and collaboration!
Interested in taking something off your “to do” list? Permanently?? By early elementary, students are able to pack their own lunch. I promise!! If you haven’t enjoyed this liberation yet because you feel your child will take too long to pack it, consider it an investment--for you and your child. Once the process is established, you enjoy one less responsibility, while your child benefits from a significant boost in self-esteem, not to mention a lunch s/he is more likely to eat. All that from one task!
To accomplish this, Dr. Montessori emphasized “taking the time to train,” so don’t choose a harried moment. You can begin by teaching your child about the four basic food groups and that a lunch should have at least one healthy item from each. Another method is to slowly remove yourself from the process: first, your child watches as you model each step clearly; second, YOU watch as your CHILD packs; third, you are in the room as the child packs; last, the arrival point--a packed lunch while you are tending to something else!
To support your child in this task, have children’s lunch containers within reach, as well as lunch foods and snacks handy and visible in the pantry and fridge. Each day after school s/he can load their dirty containers into the dishwasher, and at night pack lunch for the next day. Getting there is a process, but it is SO worth it.
Thanks again for a lovely, supportive start to a great year together.