Mountain Laurel September Newsletter
This Month in the classroom…
September was a hot month, and we are happy to be enjoying some cooler weather this past week. We recently welcomed a new student to our group, her name is Penelope, and she and her family recently moved to Austin from the Chicago area, so now we have 23 students in our class.
After five full weeks of school, the students are now accustomed to our routines, updating their journals, choosing work independently, and following up on lessons. I have been meeting weekly with each student to highlight the works they need to be focusing on a daily basis.
This month the students heard the Second and Third Great Stories: The Coming of Life and the Coming of Human Beings. As complements of these lessons, they were also introduced to the Montessori Timeline of Life and the Black Strip, which is a 100 foot long cloth black strip representing the +4.6 billion years of Earth’s history before the coming of human beings. These lessons are correlated and appeal to the children’s imagination, power of abstraction, and developing intellect. They also aim to bring a sense of humility and appreciation for our earth and early human beings.
Students have been learning about the Earth and its relationship with the Sun. Some older students celebrated the Fall Equinox by learning about why we have seasons and the meaning of the equinox. We started learning about the composition of the earth and did a cool science experiment.
Everyone is working in some part of the Language curriculum; the new students are learning to write in cursive and are having introductory lessons on grammar and reading. Older students have been regularly practicing spelling, and writing amazing reports about states, animals, democracy, along with stories and persuasive paragraphs, etc. This week a student wrote that he needed to persuade his parents to buy a Tesla car, one of his reasons: “...they drive automatic on the highway if you need to take a break”. Another true “Montessori learning experience moment” was when a new student asked me what he would learn after he finished working with all the adjective material and I said, I will teach you the Verb. The child jumped with excitement, looked at this partner, and said it would be “A whole new world” for us.
Math is ALWAYS happening at one or more tables in Mountain Laurel. From addition and subtraction to multiplication and division. Some older students are learning about the square of a number, others are finding the Least Common Multiple of a group of numbers, and many keep moving from materials to abstraction.
We have also been working on different geometry lessons, lines, angles, and equivalent figures.
Ms. Pat continues to come to Mountain Laurel to teach the students how to knit, to embroider, crochet, and even weave on the loom. Every student in our class has also gotten to work on our garden with Ms. Lacey, the school gardener. Please check the Cedars Post for the gardening drive. The students are really enjoying their work in the garden and are looking forward to seeing it grow and bloom.
I’m sure you heard about the Chickens. Cedars now has 13 chickens, and Mountain Laurel got to name six of them. Just as I predicted (without telling the students), they voted to name one of the chickens “Frindle” which is the name of the first book we read for read-aloud. In the book, frindle is a word the main character invented for pens. Now everyone in our classroom calls pens frindles, and they came up with the word “frincil” for pencil.
We have many birthdays in October, please refer to the Parents Handbook to learn more about our celebrations. If you decide to send a treat, please make sure is just an individually wrapped treat without icing, characters, or toys. Some ideas are popsicles, popcorn, rice crispy treats, mini muffins, etc.
You DON’T want to miss this amazing night. Find a sitter, a friend, or a neighbor. If you can’t, and you have more than one caregiver at home take turns; one of you comes this year and the other one comes next. The Silent Journey is an opportunity to see the progression of the Montessori Curriculum from the primary classroom (3-6 yrs old) to Lower Elementary (6 to 9 yrs) and then Upper Elementary (9 to 12 yrs). You will have an opportunity to ask any of the teachers to give you a lesson, ask questions, manipulate the materials, etc. It is really a cool event, so please mark your calendars.
Thursday October 13th from 5:00 to 8:00
Please note it will be early dismissal at noon that day
No school on Friday October 14th
Indigenous People’s Day Observed
October 25th Q&A Come ready to ask any questions about the daily flow of the classroom, the Montessori curriculum, discipline, whatever! A primary and an elementary guide will be there to answer questions.
Date TBD Informative session about the Third Year camp out
YES!!! What every full cycle has been dreaming of since joining our classroom is to go on a camping trip. We will have the first campout in November, date to be announced, and I will host a meeting to answer your questions before that happens. This is JUST for Full Cycle students.
Ways to help our classroom
Thank you for sharing your children with us,
Maya and Claire
Mountain Laurel Cottage