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Upper El: Educating for Peace

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied together into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality…Before you finish breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world. This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on Earth until we recognize the basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Maria Montessori’s life spanned two world wars, and after the start of the second world war, although she was already a promoter of peace, she became determined to educate the world about the important connection between peace and education. She believed that if children grow up with a great respect for humanity, they won’t live in ways that destroy that humanity. They will develop a conscience and a feeling towards life and will be incapable of cruelty. Montessori is known throughout the world for her contribution to peace between nations; she spent many years of her life laying the foundations of peace through education. This is a reason Montessori classrooms must be nurturing, respectful, and inclusive places which celebrate our diversity.

I can honestly say that this diverse group of students would be a good model for many to follow in how to work together respectfully, peacefully, and productively. Peace education isn’t a separate curricular area for them. As they move through each day, they are learning continually how to respect their peers’ physical space and collaborate respectfully. They have a very strong sense of peace and social justice at this age and they are learning to view conflict as an opportunity for growth and leadership.

Wishing you a peaceful weekend,

Karen


Montessori Education Cycle, aka The Three-Year Cycle

Another hallmark of a Montessori classroom is the education or learning cycles at each level.

Maria Montessori recognized that there is a range of development for children. The (two or) three-year cycle at each level, matches the range of development of the children they serve.

We know that children in each of these multiage classrooms will generally be in the same developmental range. We witness, every day, the benefits of the interaction of children of multiple ages and multiple stages in their growth and development. Our students are able to experience each social role–the novice, the generalist, and the expert. They are able to explore their own potential at their own pace, noticing the examples of other children and practicing leadership as they are ready.

The fact that the curriculum in Montessori is a continuum (rather than a finite prescription according to grade level) provides a wealth of opportunities for a child to continuously be challenged academically. While the age span in a Montessori classroom is typically 3 years, this does not limit a Montessori teacher’s ability to help a child reach their fullest potential.

In addition, Montessori teachers create additional lessons, bring in materials from the next program level to the environment, and we arrange for children from one program level to visit the next program level to receive one-on-one lessons from the teacher.

The education cycle in a Montessori classroom is the ideal. The multi-age environment offers children the space and the time to develop, to explore, to integrate, and to master before moving on to the next challenge on the horizon.

For those of you who attended Moving Up Information Night, I hope you enjoyed learning about the next level of your child’s experience at FWM.

We’re here to answer any questions.


Mrs. Doyle: Moving Like Molecules

 

We are just finishing our science unit on States of Matter.  Matter is all around us.  Everything that you can touch, taste, smell, and see is made of matter.  The three main states of matter are solids, liquids, and gases.

We learned that solids have a definite shape because these molecules are very close together and do not move very much.  The shapes of solids do not change unless some type of force makes them change.  Liquid matter does not have its own shape.  The tiny molecules in liquids are not as close together as solid molecules and they move around more.  Liquids take the shape of the container they are in. Gas matter also does not have its own shape.  The molecules in gas are far apart and they move around a lot.  Gases spread out and fill up their container too.  Ask you children to move like the molecules in a solid, liquid, or gas!

The children loved taking part in experiments that helped to highlight the different properties of solids, liquids, and gases.  We made raisins dance and also blew up a balloon without blowing air into it.  We then built a small snowman outside and cleverly named him “Brusnow”.  Clearly, this is a nod to the character and song from the movie, Encanto.  We most definitely did talk about Brusnow.  We spoke about how he was a solid and changed to a liquid.  We looked to see if any part of Brusnow remained a solid.  As melted Brusnow evaporates we can observe how a liquid can change to a gas.

Wishing everyone a week filled with peace and love!

Michelle & Liset


Mrs. Lopes: Exploring the States of Matter

This week we started our unit on the states of matter! We learned that everything in our world is made of matter. We also identified 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. We discussed how the molecules move in each state of matter and what characteristics classify a solid, liquid, and gas.  Be sure to ask your child if they can give you an example of each state of matter. 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!

Best,

Amanda & Heather


Mrs. Semmah: Winter Animal Tracks

Winter is such a fun time to head outdoors and look for animal tracks. We have had an amazing week learning about animal tracks in the snow.

At circle time, I start talking about how animals are around us in the woods, but often we don’t know they are there. They hide in the trees, or they are nocturnal. I asked, “What types of animals leave tracks in snow or mud?” One child said cat paw, another one said bear print. Then I presented a lesson about matching cards of animal tracks, using a printed sheet that has all animal prints and their names as a control of error. The children were very interested, curious, and creative in guessing the tracks for each animal.    

I extended the lesson by creating snowy tracks as a sensory lesson. The tray has cards of animal tracks with some baking soda and a small makeup brush. The latter is used to sweep away the snow and uncover each line of the tracks. This is a wonderful sweeping, brushing, and fine motor skills practice.

I also printed an animal track identification paper to use for the scavenger hunt at recess. Children love to explore and find animal prints outdoors. It is an enjoyable experience and connects us to nature by learning about winter animal tracks.  

Peace and love,

Kaoutar and Sara


Mrs. Wilson: Purposeful Work

 

I love watching the children navigate throughout the classroom. This is their space and their opportunity to choose what it is they would like to work on developmentally. I watched a child take a small drying towel and use it to dry off the polar bear family and the measuring scoops. This was never a step while using the sensory bin but this child made it their work. It was so beautiful to see.

Another child wanted to create a flower arrangement. While trying to pour the water into the vase, the water spilled. The child was given a small bucket and sponge to clean up the water, then squeeze the water from the sponge into the bucket. This takes lots of hand strength. Once all the water was cleaned they would empty the water into the sink. This child decided that this was a developmental need to master. So instead, they continued to spill more water so they could clean it up a few more times. Once that need was satisfied, the child was ready to create the arrangement.

The children explored beet greens and tasted a steamed beet. While tasting the beet I observed them really think about the taste. Almost everyone tasted it. Two tasted it but spit it out, and three children couldn’t wait for more helpings. One child loved it so much they even drank the beet juice in the end. Food tasting is one of my favorite activities to do with the children.


Mrs. Hood: Working and Playing!

We must clearly understand that when we give the child freedom and independence, we are giving freedom to a worker already braced for action, who cannot live without working and being active.” (The Absorbent Mind, Chapter 8, p. 91.)

Even though it was a quiet and super short week, children enjoyed exploring the environment and sharpening their skills using different materials.

We can’t wait to see everybody back soon!

Love,

Mrs. Hood


Mrs. Semmah -Montessori Sensitive Period

Have you ever observed your child very interested in learning a new skill during their developmental stages?

These critical stages of development are called a Montessori Sensitive Period. The Sensitive Period refers to a window in the children’s development when they will be very receptive to learning new knowledge and to develop a new milestone.

The children from prenatal to six years old, experience three important Sensitive Periods: Order, Movement, and Language. Following a daily routine of our classroom and being in a homelike, organized, and beautiful environment creates a sense of order for the children. They love to know what to expect in their daily schedule. It also helps to reduce stress and anxiety. They get to build their movement skills from the time in their mom’s tummy till four and half years old. It starts from learning how to use small objects to walking and running. During the sensitive period of language, the child’s absorbent mind is ready to expand his vocabulary, thoughts, and feelings. They need a positive and emotional tie between children and teachers so that learning can take place.

To understand deeply where each child is emotionally, socially, and academically, teachers do regular observations and we take notes of the lessons that they are doing. Tracing the shift of interest of each child. To feed their curiosity and support their learning, we provide a variety of new lessons weekly in each area of our classroom.

The success of the Montessori environment is evident when the children can read and know numbers at an early age. However, very early education is not the purpose of the approach. Maria Montessori’s purpose is that learning occurs naturally and joyfully for each child. Maria Montessori said, “We can only give each child the chance to fulfill his/her potential possibilities to become an independent, secure, and balanced human being.”

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Kaoutar and Sara