Children’s House November newsletter
“The children have an instinct to help the weak, encouraging and comforting them, and this is really an instinct for social progress”.Maria Montessori – “The Absorbent Mind”
We spent a few days reading and discussing “The Quiltmaker’s Gift” (A gifted quilt maker gives away her famous quilts to the poor and homeless, but refuses to make one for a king who is not happy despite all of his treasures. Slowly the king learns true happiness does not come from having, but from giving, and decides to share his wealth with the needy). We integrated the story and the themes of the month (Native Americans and mammals) with variations and extensions to the Montessori lessons.
As children start to shift from the egocentric “it’s me” to “I see what’s happening”, encourage them to think how they can be helpful (from setting up the table and cleaning up, to being aware of your needs and giving you a break once in a while, to seeing you giving to someone in need: a meal to a neighbor or an elderly person, canned goods to a food bank, or pick one of their favorites from your pantry and let them put it in our sharing basket that is in front of the main door).
Daily Living: Some of the new favorites are: picking Indian corn, lacing, tying up a shoe, putting on gloves, walking on a line while balancing a bean-bag.
Sensorial: Tiles of various geometric shapes and sizes and fabric squares of different textures were frequent choices in building quilt-like patterns.
Language: Phonemic awareness is the starting line for all the language activities that are paving the road toward reading. As more children recognize letters and can discern sounds, we play with words (change/add/take out one letter to get new words, finding rhymes). Please get into these games along with us and have fun! We read stories from the Native American lore. Among the favorites: “The Legend of Blue Bonnet” and “The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush” by Tommie de Paola, “The Mud Pony” and other stories from “When the World Was Young” by Margaret Mayo
Science: We learned about mammals and their distinctive characteristics. A horse and a rabbit served as models for naming the main body parts. Seeing how children of different ages reassemble a whole out of its parts (photos 1&2) was once more a sweet remainder of the developmental stages.
Cultural: Native Americans: life style, shelters, music, customs and beliefs. The origin of the Thanks Giving celebration, Central America.
Art and Crafts (photo 3): The Albuquerque-Turkey project was an activity spread over several days that taught patience, planning, sharing - all in a fun filled atmosphere.
In December we will move to South America just for our study of continents, but we will stay here looking at animals in winter, birds and evergreen trees. We will also talk about winter around the globe and winter holidays, touching on as many traditions as we can. Children’s Thesaurus: What are the children thankful for, among many others: family, house, friends, life, grass, mom and dad, shelves, bed, blankie, teachers, playground, pictures, swimming, everything, and flowers. Kindergartners and Junior Kindergartners We extended the discussions about Native Americans and their respect for nature (Mother Earth), their need to hunt for food, their survival skills and how the children participated in all the tribal activities, helping with whatever they could. We compared the shelters made by Native Americans in different areas and reproduced some of the pictograms used in written communication.
Working on the costumes and preparing the veggie soup took us out of the daily routine, and gave learning more tangible dimensions: how to sew and cut safely (not to be tried at home without parents’ approval and supervision), follow multiple steps directions, how to wait for results, take turns and help one another.
With the Mystery Food game some children tried turnip, peppers and squash for the first time; we eliminated the potato-tomato confusion, put the names and the real vegetables together, learned that some vegetables can be used raw while others have to be cooked.
The words for Albuquerque-Turkey song were scrambled in a word puzzle and quite a few children were able to order them back.
Thank you for taking the time to participate in your children’s activities, for the feedbacks and comments during our PT meetings, and for keeping us informed about changes in your child’s attendance.
Reminders: It’s cold and getting colder: please dress appropriately. Check the snow pants and snow boots if they still fit, and let your children put them on alone.
When the time comes, please send this “heavy gear” in a separate bag. We start outside on Mo, We, Fr – on those days have your children already dressed for snow, and please have them use the bathroom before they come to school.
December 22 school closes at noon (1/2 day for all students). There will be before care.
Let us all enjoy this end of the year with goodness in our hearts, peace and harmony!