“To have learned something for the child is only a point of departure. When he has learned the meaning of an exercise, then he begins to enjoy repeating it, and he does repeat it an infinite number of times, with the most evident satisfaction”- Maria Montessori – The Montessori Method
Children had a great time this week exploring and repeating some of the new materials in the environment. In a Montessori environment, repetition does not necessarily mean that the child has to engage in the same exact work over and over again. Anything that provides the child with practice of a previously learned skill, including extensions and games, is repetition. Dr. Montessori said, “Repetition is the secret of perfection.”
Through repetitive exploration your children are able to look at a material from different angles and explore it, letting it become part of their understanding of the world. At the same time, it allows them to self-critique: they look at how they are doing something and make slight changes in order to perfect the action, making it more efficient. The Montessori environment is designed to support exactly this kind of learning. Children choose their own work, allowing their interest to guide them to a choice. They are drawn by desire and that allows them to return to an activity with frequency, working with it until they have perfected it. It is, in fact, a developmental need. A common phrase you can hear in our environment is the children saying: “I want to do it again!” Dr. Montessori wrote, “When a child has attained this stage, of repeating an exercise, he is on the way to self-development, and the external sign of this condition is his self-discipline.”
On another note, children enjoyed exploring a ruby red grapefruit for food tasting. It was a fun and tangy experience! 🙂
With the goal of building confidence and encouraging verbal expression we also introduced a new game where the children get the opportunity to be the teacher and lead their peers during circle times. This week, children chose a song to lead and the boost of confidence was so visible to observe when the other peers would follow their lead! There were big smiles and giggling all around! It was precious! We will continue to add these types of exercises to our morning routines!
Your children are blooming and we are honored to witness it.
In a Montessori toddler classroom we prepare the environment so the child can easily access the things they need to become independent. The winter time is perfect for the children to learn to clean their nose. This is one of our many practical life lessons. Our nose blowing station is set up in front of a mirror with a box of tissues on a shelf. First we model for the child how to use the tissue and then we work with them until we see they are able to clean their noses independently. We gently tell them, “I see you have mucus, go look in the mirror and squeeze your nose with a tissue.” They are taught to throw away the tissue and wash their hands. We not only teach them this lesson for independence, but also to show that that we care about their well being.
“But no one really teaches them how they should blow their noses. When I tried to do so, they…indicated that I had not only treated them with justice but had enabled them to get a new standing in society…I have come to appreciate the fact that children have a deep sense of personal dignity.” – Maria Montessori
Food tasting: This week the children tasted hearts of palm. This was the teachers’ first time as well. It was delicious and all the children tasted it. They all asked for seconds and some asked for thirds.
When the temperatures are 32 degrees or more, including windchill, we will go outside. Please remember to bring in snow pants and snow boots at the beginning of your child’s week.
Mrs. Wilson, Ms. Sara, and Ms. Heather
The love of one’s environment is the secret of social evolution. -Maria Montessori
Retrieving a mat, picking it up carefully, finding the ideal space to work, and rolling it out provides an opportunity to practice gross motor skills and body consciousness. Everything that gets placed on the mat thereafter becomes the responsibility (and privilege) of the child working on that mat.
Montessori work mats delineate a work space as the child’s own and sets an intention to “work”. Not only does the child know that their lesson is exclusive to them (unless they invite someone to join them on their mat), they also have the responsibility to put their materials away when they are finished before they roll up their mat, and signal the end of their work session.
Our floors have been a sea of rugs! Your children are skillfully maneuvering themselves throughout the environment, careful not to disturb a friend’s work. We continue to be amazed at their growing control and respect for both friends and the environment.
Until next week,
Cindy & Sharlene
Happy Friday, Everyone! If you plan on sending your child, please register for the FWM 2020 Middle School trip to Acadia National Park in Maine. Visit the school trip webpage at www.grandclassroom.com, click “Find My Trip / Register” and search “Fraser Woods Montessori School”. There are different payment options available.
Second trimester electives are running well, and it is a period that MS students and their teachers look forward to in their rotating schedule. It is fun to have teachers facilitating classes separate from their usual roles.
Ms. Sutherland is running Dance again for the second trimester. There are six dancers participating in this trimester’s elective. Students will learn a new dance style each week including Ballter, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Contemporary. Dancers will have the opportunity to perform a short student-created dance during our last class all together. Dancers will also get to lead a warm up activity of their choice to help everyone get stretched and ready for a fun class.
Mr. Brown is running a Strength Training elective this term. The goal of this elective is to introduce students to a variety of exercises, promoting fitness and well being. Mr. Brown has turned a portion of the school’s back area behind the gym into a separate gym facility. It currently includes medicine balls, wall balls, free weights, box jumps, tension bands, a curl bar, a bench press, and jump ropes. Students will be partnered up each class, rotating through different exercise stations at 5 minute intervals after proper warm ups and stretching have been achieved. If anyone would like to donate unwanted gym equipment, please reach out to Mr. Brown. It would be greatly appreciated.
Mrs. Lamb is running Playwriting, specifically working on this year’s Middle School play. It has been decided that a play surrounding a heist will be the theme this year. A rough plot line with some details about important characters have been created. Because this is completely student-led, any big decisions made to the play in the elective have to be presented and voted upon by the rest of the students in middle school. We had a vote this week for the play’s antagonist. This involved presenting the character development and how it would fit into the plot. This decision effects the entire plot, so it was important to have the students in the elective present their ideas. It’s looking like an interesting play!
This month, the Primary students are enjoying an obstacle course comprised of gymnastics mats, hoops, an agility ladder, and a balance beam. They are practicing many skills. They are climbing up and down from mats, jumping off the mats, jump through a hoop, performing a forward roll on an inclined mat, walking on a balance beam, and running the moving train around the gym. We cool down with fitness exercises and stretches at the end of each class. Throughout our gymnastics unit, the children are enhancing their social skills, developing strength and coordination, and gaining self-esteem and confidence.
During each class, the children practice learning skills. We practice observing, waiting our turn and following directions. Improving all of these skill areas is helpful for those children still learning how their bodies move. Our lessons help them become more comfortable and happy with themselves as they continue to grow.
“I have decided to stick with love, hate is too great a burden to bear.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
With a fresh year just beginning, this is a great time to help children set a respectful and kind tone for the year ahead. One way we did this was starting the week reading Martin’s Dream Day by Kitty Kelley. This sparked a conversation about how everyone can help make a difference in the world through kindness and respect, just like King did.
Our third year friends took part in the CTP5 standardized test during the work cycle, which left a smaller group in the room. During this time, the students have been enjoying working independently and with their classmates on a variety of work. This includes the Who Am I cards, reading comprehension, stamp game math computation, and much more.
We have an upcoming field trip to the Aldrich Museum on Wednesday, February 19th. We will be having an early lunch here at school and will leave FWM at 11:30 and return at 2pm. We can take three parent volunteers with us. If you haven’t had the opportunity to come with us on a field trip this year and would like to attend, please reach out!
We have noticed some children coming to school without proper winter attire. We go outside every day if the weather is above 20 degrees so please make sure that your child is coming to school with gloves, hat, and a jacket. If there is snow on the ground please send in snow pants and boots as well.
This week we took a detour from our regular morning routine as the students took the CTP5 test. They persevered and did their best to work through each sub test. On Thursday we joined together for a vital functions lesson about the circulation. The students were shown models of an open system versus a closed system. At the end of the lesson they worked in teams to complete tasks and record their heart rate on a data sheet. These tasks included walking, catching, planking, jumping jacks, and a card game. Next, we will analyze the data to make connections between activity level and heart rate. The students were excited to complete this activity and worked well in their respective teams!
This week we started our unit on the states of matter! We learned that everything in our world is made of matter. We also classified the three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. The children enjoyed exploring each state of matter on our introduction tray and sharing examples of a solid, a liquid, and a gas. Be sure to ask your child if they can tell you a solid, a liquid, and a gas. You may be surprised at all the kinds of solids, liquids, and gases they can name! We are looking forward to more exploration of this concept next week with hands-on experiments and activities!
The children also continued their exploration of the largest continent, Asia, through several lessons available in our culture area. The children colored a map of Asia, explored the animals of Asia, and were introduced to several flags of Asia.
As we are nearing the end of January, we are beginning to prepare for our February parent teacher conferences in a few weeks. Be sure to look for the link to sign up for a conference time the end of next week. We look forward to meeting with you all soon to share how your children have been growing and progressing since our last conference!
Amanda & Deanna