I love January! The children come back from Winter Break raring to go. They are happy to see friends and ready to learn new things! It has been hard keeping up with their requests for new lessons!
Ms. Claire has kept the children busy with new art projects. So if you have seen snowflakes, snowmen, and penguins coming home, you can thank her!
We welcomed three new friends to our class, Philipp, Maxwell, and Van. The children always enjoy showing new children “the ropes,” and the new children respond so well to other children showing them how things work. Despite the surprises thrown into their first couple of weeks (ice day, delayed start and a long weekend), they are adjusting well and settling into Roadrunner Cottage.
Ms. Pat and three elementary children came in one day to show us the hive, comb, and honey made by our resident bees. They also explained the process of making honey. We all learned something new and got to have a small taste of the honey that was collected. They left a jar of honey for us to have for snack, which brought up the question, “what is the best way to sample our honey?” What tastes better than honey on homemade bread? My dilemma was how to make homemade bread with 29 children who can barely make it through a 10 minute group time. Well, I decided I could not do that. I am not much of a baker, I will confess. But the idea of watching the yeast proof and kneading bread seemed doable. So, with the afternoon class, we made bread! They were all very patient as they watched me make the 3 batches of dough, then they each got to knead their own individual loaves, see “it grow” and then take it home. My husband made the bread for the entire class (he does like to bake!) and we all enjoyed a delicious snack. Some liked the honey butter, some just liked honey, butter or plain bread, but it was a treat.
We have been lucky with having very few out sick. I’ve been really trying to emphasize handwashing and nose blowing! Keep your fingers crossed that Roadrunner stays healthy!! If your child isn’t feeling well, please err on the side of caution. The flu seems to start with a headache rather than with a fever….Thanks!!
There is no way another month has gone by since I wrote my last newsletter! The time sure does fly faster as a lead guide!
Leaves were the theme of the month. The afternoon class got to collect beautiful red and yellow Chinese pistache tree leaves. They were real fall leaves as we collected them….the children marvelled at their colors. We took them back and pressed them. We took them out and most had turned brown. :( But we were still able to use them in the lovely placemats your children each brought home. Note to all, if you ever go somewhere with real fall leaf colors, please collect some and bring them home to Cedars! I can press them and save them for the next year.
Stone soup and pumpkin pie was the other BIG topic of the month, as I KNOW you all heard about! It was a huge success. Now, that does not mean they all loved it and you need to run out and make veggie soup for your child. However, everyone got to bring an ingredient, chop ingredients and help put it all together. I found a way for them all to taste the pie pumpkin that we had sitting on the shelf! They watched as I cut the pumpkin into small pieces and I rinsed and gave each child two pumpkin seeds to either eat (raw) or take home to try to plant. Not sure how many actually made it home, but they were very excited about the prospect. I took the pumpkin home, cooked it and pureed it, then brought it back so they could see what it looked like. I also let them smell the spices that go into a typical pumpkin pie (ginger, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg) as I added them to our cooked and pureed pumpkin.
I took everything home, cooked (and pureed) the soup and pie, then brought it all back for our feast. The oldest kids helped Ms. Claire arrange and set the tables while the rest of us sang and watched. It was truly an exciting morning. We had our food, with only two cups of apple cider spilled, then the 4 ½ year old's helped Ms. Clair clean up. It was truly a community celebration! Thank you all for your contributions!
We welcomed David Thompson into our class. As a new three year old, he was very excited to bring his lunch to school and has proceeded to carry it around with him every day. The other children asked the first day why he had his lunch, but have just taken it in stride, even taking the lunchbox back to David if he leaves it somewhere.
I have opened the morning class for observations. Call me crazy to do it as we gear up for the holidays, but I decided we are all parents. If it is a little nutty one morning or if a child crawls up into your lap as you observe, you will understand. I thank you in advance for your understanding.
Your children continue to amaze me daily. Their desire to learn new things, explore new areas and work through their relationships with each other are incredible to witness. It is my privileged to help them in their journey.
Did anyone hear about apples this month? One of my favorite fall activities is to go to Central Market and sample some of their apple varieties. Cortland, Queenie, Jerseymac, MacIntosh, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith were just some of the varieties of apples we sampled the first week of October. Cutting the apples to see the star, seeing the difference in color on the inside as well as the out (Cortland’s are so white!) and then of course tasting each created great anticipation for circle time each day! I loved it when I was doing the puzzle map of the United States with two children that week and came across New Jersey. One of the children said, “like the apple!” (Jerseymac). Loved how they made that connection!
Pumpkins and squash also made their way into the class. The kids got to feel and see different varieties. We all learned that excess water (according to Google) is what causes the bumps on the outside. While I couldn’t figure out a way to sample the squash without an oven, we did have a great time voting on the eyes, nose and mouth of our jack-o-lantern then carving it!
Halloween has been greatly anticipated ALL month! Creative sewing projects and art projects (brought to the children by Ms. Claire), books and songs have helped feed the anticipation. It also led to a burst of “story” writing for the older children. They love using the Halloween story paper to create a “spooky” story.
We welcomed Ram Thata to our class. Ram has been a wonderful addition and is settling in nicely. The children have been so helpful in showing him how to have snack, wash hands for lunch and helping him in general when it is needed.
The children also enjoyed fresh goat cheese and sweet potato crackers for snack, brought to us by Lela and her mom. That was a special treat. Many tried the cheese and several went back for seconds. Thanks Hearn family!
I’m looking forward to meeting with you all for conferences soon. Claire and I love working with your children everyday and I look forward to sharing with you some of what they do each day!
What a busy first six weeks we have had! Reconnecting with friends. Welcoming new friends into our classroom. Adjusting to changes the new year has brought. It has been a wonderful start.
Maria Montessori gave us the task of giving children “the keys to the environment.” By showing the children real things, not just pictures on cards, we give them personal experiences of the world around them. As they further explore those things in the class, they will know what they are seeing.
Peaches, pears, pomegranates, plums, pineapples, mango, oranges and coconut. How do you cut them? Do you eat the skin? What do they taste like? What do their seeds look like? How do you grow new ones? These questions began our first explorations. I had cards on the shelf with pictures of these fruits used for vocabulary building. To make sure they knew what the fruit was, I brought in samples of the real thing, then at circle time each day we learned the answer to those questions. Can you guess which caused the most excitement? (coconut) Can you guess which was the favorite? (peach) Can you guess the hardest seed to get to? (peach and plum) Have you ever actually seen the seed to a mango? It is hidden inside a protective endocarp, which I did not realize. Now we have pineapple, mango, pomegranate and peach trying to root in our classroom. I learned right along with the children as I had not actually explored the seed parts of the fruits before.
It is so much fun thinking of ways to use Dr. Montessori’s materials to entice the children to explore and learn. Seeing the new children working their way through the morning. Seeing the returning children ask for new lessons and practicing old favorites. I am loving the one on one work with the children as I give new lessons. The joy they show when they learn something new or do something for themselves the first time is incredible.
I look forward to new experiences and exploration as we head into fall.
I cannot believe that the end of the school year is approaching so quickly! It has been a great year filled with much joy and happiness. The children have worked so hard in their individual studies and have had many opportunity to participate in fun projects.
Our spring garden, watered, weeded and cared for by the children, is now producing fruits and veggies that they prepare for snack. The “fruits” of their labor!
The recent beautiful weather has also regularly allowed for outside insect and bug studies. We’ve seen beautiful butterflies and learned to welcome spiders and be cautious of Asp caterpillars.
With summertime activities right around the corner I know the children’s development and curiosity will continue to grow in new and exciting ways.
Each of your children has brought love, laughter and enjoyment to the classroom and into my life making it my deep pleasure to have served as lead guide in RoadRunner Cottage this year.
To each parent I extend my sincere thanks for your support and dedication to our community.
Thank you for a wonderful year. Have a fantastic summer!
“Two things are necessary: the development of individuality and the participation of the individual in a truly social life."
~ Dr. Maria Montessori
Welcome back and Happy New Year!
I hope you enjoyed the holidays and had some relaxed, quality “family time”.
With gratitude we extend a sincere ‘thank-you’ for the donations and gifts the classroom received in celebration of the holiday!
As the new year starts we welcome Mina Watkins and Gabriella Maggiora to the afternoon class!
In Road Runner Cottage our day starts with community time. This is a time for the class to come together usually in a circle as a symbol of unity, and for each child to have a view of everyone else. “Circle time” is a chance for students to learn important social skills by being in a group setting. They listen when someone else is talking and learn to wait their turn. It’s also a great time for showing appreciation toward others, going over ground rules, role playing, and solving issues that arise in the classroom.
Montessori classrooms offer many opportunities to practice social skills each day from serving snack or assisting with zippers, to carefully walking around work rugs.
Circle time allows children to practice self-control and develop body awareness while participating in some fun, group activities.
While together in our morning circle we:
The Holidays are upon us and our classroom is buzzing with excitement! Each primary classroom will be making holiday tree decorations that will be on sale this month, starting Monday December 12th through the 15th. The money made from the decorations will be donated to an organization called Treefolks.
Even though the month of December is short due to the break, the children continue to work with great concentration and vigor!! This month we will be focusing on winter weather and the hibernation of animals.
Don’t you hibernate though, because we are looking forward to seeing you at the Cedars Winter Sing along December 16th!! Each classroom will be performing a song during the Cedar’s sing- along , so lookout for your little Roadrunner!!
Warm wishes for a wonderful holiday season.
“Education is a natural process carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words, but by experiences in the environment.”
~ Maria Montessori
October is an extraordinary month for exploration. The weather is finally starting to cool off so we can open the doors and step outside! During circle time our class has been discussing weather and the change of seasons. We have been planning our fall garden, learning what we can plant this time of year and discussing how we can use those herbs/ veggies in our classroom. The children are eager to start turning the soil and planting our fall crop with the help of Cedar’s gardener, the wonderful Gitana Sweethardt.
The cooler weather will also allow us to start exploring our campus. We will visit Prairie Hill once a week and take walks through the campus to visit all the animals while learning about what kind of plants and trees we have around us.
Halloween is coming and our afternoon class will present the play “The Little Witch with the Broken Broom Stick.” I will send out an email with details as we get closer to the date.
Cedars Fall Fandango is just around the corner! Remember to mark your calendars for Nov.10th.
Each classroom will be creating a piece of artwork for the Fandango’s Silent Auction. By using our outdoor explorations as inspiration I have an idea for our art project that I think the children will love!
Please join us on Oct. 13th for the Silent Journey which will provide a glimpse into your child’s day at school.
Thank you for helping us sow the seeds of knowledge!
Here is a list of some of the classroom ground rules and grace and courtesy lessons I mentioned in my last post.
Classroom Ground Rules
“ What is social life if not the solving of social problems, behaving properly and pursuing aims acceptable to all? [ It is not] sitting side by side and hearing someone else talk…”Dr. Maria Montessori, page 225, The Absorbent Mind
Grace and Courtesy Lessons
These lessons are given on the circle, acted out or demonstrated by me or a returning student in a spirit of sharing a fine and helpful idea. They are not presented directly as in “This is a rule of our classroom that you will now learn.”
Welcome back to Roadrunner Cottage and a very warm welcome to our new families. It’s lovely to see familiar faces that have returned this year. I hope you all had an enjoyable and fun filled summer and are ready for an exciting year of discoveries and explorations!
The first few weeks we are becoming familiar with the classroom and with each other. We are learning the ground rules, practicing our grace and courtesy lessons and exploring the Montessori materials. For further information on the Montessori method of which ground rules and grace and courtesy lessons are the building blocks of a peaceful classroom - look for next week’s email!
Every month I will send out a newsletter that will be posted on the website under “parent connection”, this way I can share with you what we are working on in the classroom . I will send out an email when our classroom will open for observation and how to sign up when the time comes.
I have included an article that might be helpful to read before we meet for a conference. It explains the language you may hear me use during our meeting. Montessori Vocabulary Made Clear