Children’s House April 2011
“Every blade of grass is a study” – Abraham Lincoln
As the spring opens the buds and wakes up the dormant bugs, the children are first to notice every little change in our environment: be it outdoors or indoors.
This acute sense for observation and keen attention for detail are valuable tools for learning that we can count on when planning lessons and activities.
In the Daily Living area the most interest is shown for watering the flowerpots, cleaning the leaves of our houseplants, scrubbing the tables, dusting the shelves, using chopsticks for transferring pom-poms, snipping yarn and cutting paper.
Sensorial materials get new dimensions when used in creative combinations: Pink Tower and Broad Stairs, Red Rods and Numeric Rods, Color Tablets and objects from the environment. The highlight of the month was a mini Zen Garden that we added as we talked about Japan.
Besides the standard Montessori materials, we practice math skills along with many other activities and lessons: From counting the children, the petals, the books, reading the page numbers, the calendar, counting by two, by five, by ten, counting backwards, adding, subtracting, to building geometric patterns, measuring, comparing, and estimating, there are endless occasions to keep the minds working.
Sound and rhyming games have become a routine at circle time; the younger children have priority in finding the matches, and the older children pitch in when the replies get thinner.
We did choose more poetry and rhyming books this month
From one of the favorite poems, “A House Is a House for Me” by Mary Ann Hoberman: “…A book is a house for a story, A rose is a house for a smell, My head is a house for a secret, A secret I never will tell!…Each creature that’s known, has a house of its own, And the earth is a house for us all!”
With the marine vertebrates we ended our initial incursions in the animal kingdom. Spring is turning our heads just about every corner with impressive displays of flowers, so we returned our attention to the plants.
We looked at and compared parts of crocuses and daffodils.
- A forsythia branch that was covered with soil and started to root showed us how some other plants can spread.
- We sowed basil seeds in flowerpots and watched them grow, talked about soil and the importance of light and water for the living things.
- We mentioned the Earth Day and celebrated it by rounds of cleaning up the dead vegetation on the flowerbeds, raking and digging the soil.
From all the many countries and cultures in Southeast Asia we looked at pictures and books about Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia.
The art projects were in tune with the themes of the month:
- Collages with spring flower reinforced the science lessons (bulbs, roots, stems, leaves and flowers).
- Dye and decorate Easter eggs (photo)
Music and Movement
- Songs, dances and rhythm patterns from “Kid’s Music Round” (photo)
- Water Cycle obstacle course
- Skip counting/jumping by 5 (preparation for reading the time)
In May we will end our trip around the globe by checking on Australia, Antarctica and Arctic regions. We will review Flowers and Insects.
Thank you to Mei-Ling’s mother for suggesting and preparing the Easter Eggs project.
Reminders: Celebrating Mothers’ Day – Monday, May 9th, 2011
Mothers and Grandmothers are invited to join us for tea and snacks, sing, read, chat, and view some of the children’s artwork.
In order to accommodate this event we will meet with the younger children (DOB after 9/1/2006) in the morning (10:00-11:00) and with the older children in the afternoon (1:00-2:00).
Please note: This is NOT a regular school day, so plan accordingly, as the children will have to come and leave with you.
Kindergarten and Junior Kindergarten
The older students seem to know everything by now, and they can truly do so much! To put some of their acquired skills at work we suggested some projects:
- Write (or dictate) a story inspired by a picture.
- Assemble a booklet with shapes traced with the metal-insets.
- Make the geometric solids “dance” by tracing their sides in different sequences.
- Gather objects that resemble a particular geometric shape.
- Make their own math problems.
- Apply math in day-to-day activities.
Baby visit. We were privileged to have a baby among us when Alex’s Mom came for his 6th birthday celebration. We watched Alex’s 6 month old sister, observed her reactions to music, compared her movements and abilities to those of our children, discussed about her needs and the human development from infant to toddler, young children and adults.
We hope to continue our discussion with a grandparent. If you have a parent, an elderly relative or neighbor who would like to visit us, please let us know.
Field trip to Beaver Brook on Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
We will leave school at noon, have a lunch picnic in the Beaver Brook garden, go for a guided hike between 1:00-2:30p.m., and return to school by 3:00p.m.
Please dress your children with comfortable clothing and footwear, apply sunscreen and insect repellent, and make sure they have a water bottle in their lunch bag.