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Mrs. Hood’s Class: “Help me to do it myself.”

“If teaching is to be effective with young children, it must assist them to advance on the way to independence. It must initiate them into those kinds of activities which they can perform themselves and which keep them from being a burden to others because of their inabilities. We must help them to learn how to walk without assistance, to run, to go up and down stairs, to pick up fallen objects, to dress and undress, to wash themselves, to express their needs in a way that is clearly understood, and to attempt to satisfy their desires through their own efforts. All this is part of an education for independence”.

Dr. Maria Montessori

Toddlers are naturally eager to learn these things. “Do it myself” might well be the refrain for the toddler years! Our day-to-day lives often make for less than ideal circumstances to help our children achieve the independence they crave. Our homes are not optimized around a little person with their height of less than three feet: Objects are hard to reach, too heavy, or too big for little hands to use. Our days are not set up to move at their speed: We rarely just happen to have ten spare minutes to wait while our almost two year old puts on their jacket!

Yet enabling a toddler to become more independent has huge benefits, both short-term and long-term. Power struggles decrease when a child feels more in control. Temper tantrums are less frequent when a toddler is busy doing things for themself rather than resisting their parent’s efforts to do things for them! A child who feels capable because they can act in the world, without needing to rely on Mom or Dad for every little thing, is a child who is developing self-confidence.

Last week we introduced the routine of changing into indoor shoes at the beginning of the morning! At this point, your children have learned to recognize their space and continue to work hard in the skill of removing their own shoes, coordinating their hands to get the new shoe on and pulling and closing the velcro tabs. Choosing a tissue, observing their faces in the mirror and wiping up their nose when needed has been a daily work for all as well, and so has placing their hands under the soap dispenser, opening the faucet, and properly washing and drying their hands independently. Your children have been mastering the skill of taking their snack box from the snack shelf, carrying it and bringing it to their respective table, opening the box and taking their snack out. They also have been learning the importance of asking for help when needed and remaining seated while eating. These are big steps for little people but your children have been absorbing the routines beautifully and their skills improve daily.

Reminder: When choosing clothing, please consider items that are easy for your child to manipulate independently. Please avoid overalls, belts, pants with buttons, zippers or snaps, tights, onesies, jeans, tight leggings, bulky or long dresses, and other clothing that restricts movement.

Pants with an elastic waist allow your child to participate successfully as opposed to becoming frustrated and causing a loss of interest in toileting. We also recommend shirts that are no longer than the waistline.

Have a great weekend,

Mrs. Hood and Ms. Maria 


Mrs. Doyle’s Class: Our Peaceful Classroom

Peace is what every human being is craving for, and it can be brought about by humanity through the child. –Maria Montessori

Peace education is a basic tenet of the Montessori philosophy.  In the 3-6 environment, studying the seven continents, including their people and cultures, provides a global view of our world. As Montessori teachers, practicing and teaching peace, kindness, and acceptance is a natural part of our day. Dr. Maria Montessori believed we should think of education as peace, not education for peace.  She also believed that young children were our hope for eliminating conflict and instilling peace throughout the world. Dr. Montessori, as always, knew that lecturing children would accomplish very little and that to truly understand peace they would need to discover it for themselves.

Typically to celebrate Peace Day, we participate in “Sing Peace Around The World.”  Beginning in New Zealand and ending in Hawaii, Montessori schools around the world sing “Light A Candle For Peace” for five minutes and during a specific time slot. So for 24 hours, this special song is being sung in a different part of the world by Montessori children. To keep the children and teachers safe, this year is different. We were so lucky that Ms. Ulacco came to our class to teach the children how to ‘sing’ “Light A Candle For Peace” in sign language.  Her video is shared below.

Wishing everyone a peaceful week!

Michelle & Lizette


Exploring Natural Pigments and Prehistoric Art Materials

 

 

What is paint made of? What is a pigment and where does it come from? When was the first painting made? These are just a few questions our Lower Elementary artists explored on our journey of learning about the history of color in art.

To begin, we looked at images of prehistoric cave paintings created during the Stone Age and discussed the colors and imagery we noticed. Students contemplated what the paint might have been made from and discussed what materials were available to them during this time: stones, bones, plants, wood, clay, and so on. Since early humans during this time were nomads who hunted and gathered their food, their paints were also made from materials they collected from the earth. The majority of the cave paintings are depictions of animals that lived during this time: bison, deer, horses. Students gained an understanding of the importance of learning about the Art of early humans as a way to give us insight into their lifestyle, tools, environment, and creativity.

Students dove deeper into the study of the origin of paint by creating their very own earth paints! We created natural pigments by crushing up red ocher rocks, charcoal, and clay with a mortar and pestle. Then we mixed the pigment powders with water and a dash of honey to create a fluid paint consistency. Not only did these young artists enjoy the process of creating natural paints and painting with them, they also experienced how much time and labor is put into the making of art materials. Children painted so diligently with their handmade paints and expressed appreciation for the hard work each classmate put into the paint making process.

 


Mrs. Lopes’s Class: A Peaceful Classroom

” We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.”-Maria Montessori

Peace truly begins in our homes and in our classrooms.  The basics of peace include providing day-to-day environments which operate under an understanding of respect, where our children can freely share concerns, feel safe, be productive, and enjoy one another.

As is tradition, Fraser Woods celebrated the International Day of Peace on Monday, September 21st.  Normally we would gather together as a school to sing the song “Light a Candle for Peace,” but this year we had to be creative.  We were so lucky to have Ms. Danielle Ulacco come into our classroom and teach the children how to sign the song.  The children really enjoyed signing along with her while listening to the music.

May we all work together to create a world where everyone everywhere is able to enjoy and exercise their ‘right to peace.’ And may we all help our children learn how to carry on this important mission.

Wishing you all strength and peace,

Mrs. Lopes and Mrs. Sharlene


Signing for Peace

“We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.” – Maria Montessori

This week we had our first class Community Meeting. These weekly meetings are led by the fifth year students and the agenda is set by the class. Over the next few weeks, the fifth years will be learning how to lead the meetings, each being assigned a job during the discussion. Community meetings provide opportunities for the children to learn the skills involved in having productive discussions about topics that matter to them. They learn to: give and receive appreciative and complimentary comments, brainstorm ideas – taking turns speaking and categorizing suggestions into logical groupings, keep to a timetable while discussing, keep the discussion on task, vote to get a sense of the meeting and then tweak solutions until they build consensus, and summarize the problem and the solution.

In language lessons this week, fourths learned about indirect objects and fifths continued with their advanced functions of words. For geometry, fourth years learned to classify quadrilaterals based on sides and angles and fifth years learned another way to prove equivalence of trapezoids and rectangles. Biology lessons continued, learning about the nutrition of plants. We had a lively discussion about the minerals and water that plants get from the soil and the carbon dioxide plants get from the air. In history, fourths learned about the Paleozoic era and the explosion of life which happened during that time. Fifths learned about another group of modern humans from the Upper Paleolithic, the Gravettians, who lived 29,000 to 22,000 years ago.

In keeping with the tradition of our school, and of Montessori schools around the world, this week we gathered to celebrate the International Day of Peace. Although we weren’t able to gather as a whole school community, and we weren’t able to lift our voices in song, we found another way. We gathered as a class and learned to sign the song, “Light a Candle for Peace.” The result was beautiful, and there was something very peaceful about signing along with the song, in silence.

 


Middle School: Week in Review

Happy Friday! Thank you to parents who joined us for Curriculum Night this week! It is an exciting night for us to give you a glimpse into our upcoming year teaching your children.

Science

6th year Earth Science students have finished creating their representations of fossils in both plaster and amber. The next unit they will begin is titled, Earth’s Structures. By the end of this unit, students will be able to describe what plate tectonics are and that they have shaped and continue to shape our planet.

7th year Physical Science students are currently studying the unit Characteristic Properties of Matter. To start the unit, students are conducting experiments which highlight the characteristic physical properties of such items as wooden spheres and metal cubes. They test the density, malleability, hardness, and electrical conductivity. 

8th year Life Science students have continued to research their topic and fact check the opposing side’s warrants in preparation for their debate about stem cells. Students have done an excellent job collaborating with one another while taking ownership of their personal responsibility. 
Math
This week, all math classes started working through Chapter 2 of The University of Chicago School Mathematics Project Textbooks. In each class, students discussed the importance of staying organized as they move onto the next series of lessons. Students are encouraged to keep their graded worksheets in an appropriate section of their binder or store them in a safe place at home. The following is a summary of what each class accomplished this week.
In Pre-Transition class, students were able to identify place values in a decimal number and compare decimals using inequality symbols. Students can draw and measure lengths in the metric system, as well as round any decimal to the indicated degree of accuracy.
In Transition class, students were able to give an instance of a pattern described with variables. Students are learning how to evaluate an algebraic expression when given a value to substitute in. This class has also become comfortable with representing a relationship between two variables using a table.
In Algebra class, students were able to practice using the distributive property to simplify algebraic expressions. This class can now prove equations are equivalent by using graphing technology and solving by hand. These students have started to learn about the multiplication property of zeros and the importance of opposite values.
In Geometry class, students were able to distinguish between convex and non-convex shapes. This class can interpret a Venn diagram, write true conditional statements, and can apply properties of conditionals to real world situations.
Mathy Joke for Mathy Folks: Why is the obtuse triangle always so frustrated?……Because it’s never right.
Humanities
This week in Humanities classes, all completed vocabulary units. 6th year students also worked on their paraphrasing skills and  spent time learning how form in writing can dictate meaning using poetry by E.E. Cummings to demonstrate. The 7th year Humanities classes now understand the differences between capitalism, socialism, and communism, and what they look/have looked  like in the world. They looked at how the People’s Republic of China was established by Mao Tse-Tung’s takeover of Chiang Kai-shek’s regime. Finally, the 8th years used the book, An Indigenous Peoples’ History this week to read about the time in Europe during the Crusades that brought about the establishment of European cultural ideals which were later brought to the Americas during colonization.
Have a great weekend,
The MS Team

A Peaceful Week

What an eventful week Lower Elementary had! We kicked this week off by celebrating the International Day of Peace. This year, Ms. Ulacco organized such a beautiful way to recognize this special day, meanwhile keeping us safe. Instead of gathering as a school community and singing out on the field, the Lower Elementary gathered as a smaller community and learned the corresponding sign language to Light a Candle for Peace. This was such a special and intimate celebration in the class. The children were engaged and intrigued learning the new signs for the familiar song.

This year, we have started to incorporate journal writing every day at the start of the work cycle. In their journals the children can write about their feelings, thoughts, things that make them happy or sad, a story, song, or poem. This is a safe place for students to express themselves. Studies have show that journaling about our experiences, thoughts, and feelings can help lower stress levels and boost problem solving abilities. The act of reflecting and expressing feelings privately can help children recognize their emotions and regulate them. Sometimes I provide prompts for the students to encourage them to self-reflect. This week we wrote about what we were grateful for, something we are proud of, and made positive “I am” statements.


Mrs. Wilson’s: More Apple Exploration

We continued exploring apples this week. To go along with our language work, “Parts of an Apple,” the children had a chance to explore a real apple using a magnifying glass. We also introduced painting at the art easel. We started with red paint to go with the apple theme. It is great to see how nicely they keep the paint on the paper besides the occasional painting on their hands, arms, and a few color tests on nearby pieces of furniture!

While outside a few children discovered that they can see each other through the hole in the spool. Can you guess who the children are?

Another activity we did outside is we planted some cactus seeds. I can’t wait to see what kind of cactus grows.

It was great to see everyone who was able to make it to curriculum night. For those who were unable to be there I will send a link to the presentation soon.

Enjoy the photos and your weekend,

Mrs. Wilson and Ms. Sara