September 29th, 2020
Mountain Laurel’s September Newsletter
What an exciting and busy month September was! We started the month online and transitioned back to the classroom. I want to extend a BIG THANK YOU to all of you for supporting your child (children) through Distance Learning and then to smoothly transition to in-person. Thank you for your constant support to the school and to our classroom.
It has been a wonderful experience to see the bonds the children are creating amongst each other. The new students adjusted to Mountain Laurel very easily, and the returning friends seem so happy to be back in school, to see old friends, and make new ones.
When we transitioned from Distance Learning to in-person, we welcomed Cael Wimberly, Hudson’s twin sister, to our community. So we have 2 sets of twins in our class; so, when you look at pictures of our class, if you see 2 kids sitting close to each other, that’s either Cael and Hudson, or Jane and Leo Stokes.
Lessons are flowing like a mighty river in Mountain Laurel! We opened September with the First Great Story. This story opens the path to Cosmic Education, is one version of the creation of the Universe, and the formation of Earth. The students were surprised to learn about the speed of light: snap your fingers and ask your child how many times light traveled the earth? They were also fascinated by the rules the particles follow and how the heavier particles settled in the center of the earth. Seeing a model of a Volcano erupt was quite an exciting moment for many students.
Once in the classroom the children heard the Second Great Story: “The Coming of Life”, is a tale version of how the first live cell appeared in the oceans to bring balance to Earth. A day later, they were introduced to the Timeline of Life, where the children see in a large timeline the different experiments life went through in the eras and how animals and plants evolved (or got extinghised) until a very special creature appeared at the end of the timeline: human beings. Some students got very interested in researching certain creatures and found some very cool facts, like the horseshoe crab is a relative of the spiders.
There have been many lessons following the first great stories as well as many math and language lessons. Returning friends were eager to get their hands on the materials, the Montessori Chequerboard and Racks and Tubes have been in high demand. Most of the lessons have been given outside at the porch or the Breeze Way. A few lessons like Racks and Tubes, are given indoors, our classroom windows are always open and we have a fan running with a filter on it at all times. Desks are positioned 6 feet apart from each other for when the children come indoors. Outside we have marked the spots for the children to maintain physically distant when they are working at the picnic tables or in their camp chairs.
We moved our weekly community meeting to the playground area so that we can all sit together while staying 6 feet apart (with the exception of siblings). Read aloud is also done outdoors at the very back of our classroom; we finished “The world according to Humphrey” online and started “The one and only Ivan” at school. Humphrey is a little hamster who made quite an impact on the children, now most of them want a hamster for a pet in our classroom and are excited to read other books of the Humphrey Series. Ivan is a gorilla, so I really hope after we are done with this book no one proposes a gorilla to be our next class pet ;-)
Is your home overflowing with yarn work yet? If not, it won’t be long! There has been a lot of hand knitting, needled knitting, weaving, etc. Aside from developing yarnwork skills, this work helps children develop their gross motor and fine motor skills, as they are connecting the right and left sides of their brain. It also promotes concentration and hand-eye coordination. We are very lucky to have Ms. Pat in the classroom, she is so good and patient at teaching children yarnwork!
The children are so excited to be back and to be surrounded by their friends that they often forget they need to stay 6 feet apart. We are constantly reminding them to keep a safe distance from friends and we understand it has just been a week. They will get used to keeping a safe distance. and I’ll come up with signals and reminders, just like we did with the mask-free break signal. We kindly ask you to please reinforce the message at home.
Lunch and Snack:
Elementary children are ready for big work! For some of them making their lunch is a big task. Since we can not cook in the classroom for safety reasons this year, I highly encourage you to involve your children in making their own lunches and packing their snacks.
If your child is new to Mountain Laurel you will receive an invite for a Parent-Teacher Conference to share observations and questions about your child’s transition to our community, with the goal of better supporting your child’s social-emotional adaptation. We will discuss academics in depth in the early November Parent- Teacher conferences.
Sorry for the lengthy and juicy Newsletter, but September it’s been quite an exciting month. Please enjoy the pictures from our firsts weeks together,
Mountain Laurel Cottage