This month in Rabbit Run...
Hi Rabbit Run,
Can you believe we are already coming to the end of our first month of school?! We have spent the last weeks learning our classroom routines, learning about each other, fostering friendships and community, and generally settling into life in Rabbit Run. You may have realized by now that we do a lot of singing in our class! I find this to be a great way to gather the attention of the children, to center ourselves, and to come together as a group. I wonder if anyone has come home singing At the Beginning, the Rainbow Song, Five Brown Buns, Mama, Mama I want a Mango, the Continent Song or Frisky Whisk the Squirrel? I'll post some of these on our Instagram this week so you can follow along!
In our classroom there are many processes, or certain ways we do things, in order to make the classroom run smoothly and allow the children to be as independent as possible, but there are really only three "rules" which we practice: we take care of ourselves, we take care of others, and we take care of the things we use. Our processes and routines always come back to these three things. We have been practicing all of these over the last few weeks, with the older, experienced children ushering the young and new kids into the classroom culture. Today we read a book that really seemed to hit home for many children, it is called When We Are Kind, and it describes simple actions that represent kindness towards ourselves, our friends, and the earth. We went around the circle and children who wanted to offered stories of when they were kind to someone else/themselves/the earth or when someone was kind to them. It was lovely, and really reinforced the care that our school life centers around. I highly recommend this book for home libraries to stimulate thought and conversation around social-emotional development.
Your children may also come home speaking about who is in their family, what they/their family looks like and what other families might look like. We always begin the year with a focus on identity- our own and those around us. We read books that stimulate conversation around identity, whether it is family structure, shades of skin color, self-expression and clothing choices, hair type, eye color, etc. We lay a foundation of respect as we recognize the similarities and differences between each and every one of us.
We also practice being "upstanders" or people who stand up for fairness and what is right. This week on the playground a group of boys were saying, "No girls allowed in the boat!" So in the classroom we practiced what you can say if you hear someone telling a girl they can't play. Each child who wanted to stand up and practice took a turn saying, in their own way, "That's not fair, everyone can play at Cedars" or "Girls can play too!" or "The playground is for all of us!" We practice being an "upstander" in many different scenarios, usually when I observe a certain situation unfold and think of how we can incorporate making it right in our class culture.
I'm attaching two articles I love, one about how children from 3-6 prefer participating in real life work over imaginary play, meaning children would rather help prepare dinner with a caregiver than pretend to play kitchen with fake food and tools. The other article really expands on the idea of care that I spoke of above. Self-discipline in Montessori classrooms grows through this idea of caring for people and the things we use. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! As always, please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or comments!
Reality over Fantasy:
Self Discipline in Montessori: