Children House September newsletter
“A child learns to adjust himself and makes acquisitions in his sensitive periods. […] It is this sensibility which enables a child to come into contact with the external world in a particularly intense manner. At such a time everything is easy; all is life and enthusiasm. Every effort marks an increase in power.”
Maria Montessori – “The Secret of Childhood”
September went quickly and smoothly I could say, as I saw the children enjoying their time in school, being nice and helpful to one another, with smiles and hugs ready for delivery anytime. We see more care in handling the materials, better skills in cleaning up, listening and taking turns in talking, sitting properly in chairs and on the rug. With coughing and runny noses upon us (literally, sometimesJ), we learn how to minimize spreading the germs by covering the mouth with a bent arm (not the hand) when coughing, using paper tissues to blow the nose, and washing hands often. Please encourage your children to get used to these habits.
Grace and courtesy lessons are given and reviewed every day. We wish to have “please, may I have, thank you, you are welcome, excuse me” parts of our daily language. Along with the words we encourage the children to be in control of their actions, to be considerate of other children’s needs, and to think how would they like to be treated.
Knobbed and knob less cylinders, geometric solids and geometric boxes are the younger children’s favorites, while the older children are challenged by the trinomial cube.
As extensions of the science lessons, we tasted honey, smelled flowers and peaches, and touched different barks, leaves and seeds.
The sandpaper numbers, the spindle box and the counters are introduced to the younger children. Some of the older children work with the teen boards, 100 board, and addition with beads and strip boards. We estimated quantities and counted acorns, and leaves, compared sizes and shapes.
We read books about love and friendship (“Love is a Handful of Honey”, “No Matter What“, The Runaway Bunny”) and from “Aesop Fables for Young Children” (“The Bee and the Dove”, “The Wind and the Sun” The Blind and the Lame Man).
We play group games and sing songs to learn about rhymes and sounds.
Materials used: matching cards for go together, opposites, picture/beginning sound, sequencing cards, sandpaper letters, movable alphabet, and phonetic boxes.
Writing skills are prepared with the sand tray, metal insets, chalkboards. Some children show good penmanship skills and work on various papers with sound/letter recognition, and short words.
We went through the planned lessons about the bees: parts of the body and their functions, life in a colony and the division of work, bee dances and their meanings.
We discussed about changes in nature: growing of trees from seeds to maturity and the seasonal change in deciduous trees marked by the fall of leaves in fall. One at a time we looked at leaves from sugar maple and red maple, black and white oak, aspen, birch and beech. We observed and discussed the role of different parts of a leaf and a tree in the function of the whole plant. I encourage children to look around their houses or in parks and bring in one leaf they may find interesting to share, and try to identify it by looking in our books and materials about trees. Even if they do not remember all these names, it is a good exercise for developing observation and analytical skills.
We made a chart with each child’s height at the beginning of the year to be compared and discussed in June, after a second round of measurements.
After coloring the bee and/or the tree/flower/leaf parts in the science booklets, some children drew their own bees and flowers for our “honeycomb” mural. (See attachment 1).
Cotton balls on cardboards were our sheep and the leaves with their beautiful shades of yellow/orange/red/brown brightened our joy for painting,
We plan on having an artist/month. Van Gough was the choice for September, because his love for yellow and sunflowers went along with science themes.
Music is part of our every day life from the greeting song, science lessons, rhymes, and just fun and silly songs to selections from great composers.
So far we have been listening to the “Flight of the Bumble-Bee” by Rimsky Korsakov and Vivaldi’s “Autumn”. Once a week we will dedicate one hour to the ABC of musical theory in which we will learn to distinguish the sounds of instruments, various rhythms, play along with our percussion instruments, and learn songs from different countries.
Thank you, Requests and Reminders:
- Thank you for those of you who made it to back to school night and Family picnic, and to all of you for sending the good snacks.
Please follow the yearly plan (attach. 2) if the children want to share something related to our themes, or if you bring snack on Fridays (international) to correlate with countries from the continent we are in that month.
- Following the next parents’ night (mid-October) we will have sign up papers for observations and PT Conferences (beginning November 1st)
- Several children asked for the song “La Laine des Moutons”; you can see the words bellow and hear the sound track on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzMLisV8DHo (do not mind the pictures, this version of the music is beautiful))
La Laine Des Moutons
La laine des moutons C'est nous qui la tondaine La laine des moutons C'est nous qui la tondons Tondons, tondons La laine des moutaines Tondons, tondons La laine des moutons
lavaines/lavons cardines/cardons filaines/filons chantaine/chantons (repeat first verse)
Kindergarten and Junior KG
Back in the clasroom after the lunch break feels different: a smaller group, a quieter, uninterupted time, more space, and more one-on-one interaction. We work mostly in the math, language, and science areas, using materials in extension of the basic lessons. The children chose their own pace, some zealously some laid-back, and I follow their interest to catch the best way of learning for each of them.
Some of the emergent readers started keeping track of their readings in booklets “My Reading Log” and are eager to add new titles to their list. Some of the children who are not yet confident in sounding and blending sounds, work with three part cards, matching words with pictures and objects, and matching words with the same ending sound. Learning words by sight seems to come easier to some children and it is also necessary for those words that “do not follow the rules” . The movable alphabet remains a constant friend to everyone.
On Wednesday afternoon we have our dance time: big hit!
I am glad to see how much these children love the music and how dance-able they are.
So far we had :” La Laine des Moutons” – French Canadian song & dance, “Skip to My Lou my Darling”- US, Mexican Hat Dance, Tongo, and Trip to Space.