Maria Montessori gave us the task of giving a child the “keys to the environment.” She wanted us to show them everything we can in the world around them so that when they learn about it later in life they will recognize it and know what it is they are learning about. As we discuss flowers, plants, and seeds I am hearing wonderful stories of the gardens and flowers the children have at home. They love being able to contribute to a conversation with a first-hand account. It keeps them interested in both our discussions and in the world around them. You all are doing a great job giving your children the “keys to their environment.”
“The leaves are on the trees!” Before we left for vacation, we watched the trees on the playground as the buds got bigger and started opening and showing their small leaves. We watched the progress each day. Yesterday when we came back a child noticed they were all big! I love how observant they can be. Once their eyes are opened to what’s around them they start to see everything!
In the afternoon class, we continued our exploration with science. I try to explain that when you do experiments, sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. We did an experiment with oil and water to show how some liquids are denser than others. I love how something so simple can amaze them! That one was pretty foolproof (lucky for me since I am not a science person!) but still was “so cool!”, especially when we added a drop of food coloring to the mixture and watched what happened. We also learned that cooking is a kind of science. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. We made bread. Each child mixed their ingredients then saw how sticky the mixture got. Some needed more flour while others didn’t. I let them knead away and then put it in the loaf pans. By 2:30 they were so much bigger! Then I heard tales of some bread that was delicious, some got overcooked and some didn’t work because they forgot to knead it again when they got home...it just went right into the oven. What a great way to learn what not to do next time! Now we have color mixing out. What fun to see what color you get with a little extra blue in the green or a little more yellow with the red, or what if we mix them all!?
The children came back this week so ready to learn and work! I can’t believe we have less than two months left! I know we are looking toward summer already and the end of the year, but I do ask that you try to keep talk of the end of the year and summer to a minimum, if possible, around the children. They are just working away, but the closer we get to the end, especially if it’s being talked about a lot, the more restless and unfocused they become. I know it’s hard, especially if there are older siblings around, but this can be some of our most productive weeks. So, just something to think about.
I’m looking forward to meeting with those of you I have not conferenced with yet. And the Spring Festival is right around the corner! That is always a fun day for all! Keep your fingers crossed for good weather!!
As always, thank you for letting me spend my days with your children! They are truly amazing!!