Off to the Horses

On Wednesday, the third years got a sneak peak of what Upper Elementary will be like next fall. Some thoughts from the day were:

  • “I liked doing math because it was fun to learn something new”
  • “My favorite part of the day was when we played  four corners and seven up”
  • “We did math which was really fun and a little challenging but that’s ok because I like a challenge”
  • “I made shapes out of the tangrams which i liked a lot because it was fun”
  • “We did a quiz in three groups and a teacher read questions to us. Each group would try to get the write answer and if you got it right you would get 100 points”

To wrap up our biology studies, this week the children are learning about mammals and flowering plants. In addition to learning the external parts of a horse, we also learned how to take care of one, the steps you need to take to ride a horse, and about the temperament of a horse.  Thank you to the Paulos family for letting us visit their stables, everyone had such a blast!

 


Elementary Students Performed ” Seussical Junior”

 

All elementary students were in the school play, Seussical Junior, the musical based on the works of Dr. Seuss. Most people are familiar with the books of Dr. Seuss and enjoy not only the rhyming style of his works but the creativity of his stories. Among the many benefits to be in school play, one of them is that the students get to become part of a larger system working toward a common goal. It has been the culmination of weeks of practice, so the performance itself became a huge reward for all the hard work. Every single participating student did an amazing job!!

This musical weaves together many of his stories and brings a variety of his characters to life. “The themes in ‘Seussical’ are the importance of honesty, loyalty and friendship. But ‘Seussical’ brings additional messages that are so important to people of all ages.

In the play, the colorful bird Gertrude McFuzz is a friend to Horton the Elephant. However, she is unhappy with her one-feather tail. The story-line surrounding Gertrude touches on the difficulties people have with self-image and outward appearance. Horton, meanwhile, has to withstand peer pressure and being laughed at as he tries to save the Whos. While he is being chided as “the biggest blame fool in the Jungle of Nool,” Horton stands firm on principal and does what he knows is right, profoundly singing, “A person’s a person no matter how small.”

Underscoring the story is the relationship between Horton and the smallest Who in Whoville, Jojo. Jojo is a “thinker of great thinks” which unfortunately gets her into trouble. As she is sent off to learn discipline, she feels all alone. Similarly, because Horton is the only one who can hear the Whos, he laments the fact that no one is able to understand him. The result is a bond between Horton and Jojo and the duet “Alone in the Universe.”

Through much mayhem, Horton retains the ability to believe in himself. Even facing the possibility of jail, Horton states, “I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant is faithful one hundred per cent.” Mayzie LaBird and Sour Kangaroo provide examples of the issues of right and wrong, and the Cat in the Hat reminds the characters facing difficulty to consider “How Lucky You Are.”

BRAVO to all our performers!!


Lower Elementary in the Great Outdoors

An important part of Montessori education is “going out”. Maria Montessori believed in the great benefits of field trips for children. She said, “The outing whose aim is neither purely that of personal hygiene nor that of a practical order, but which makes an experience live, will make the child conscious of realities … When the child goes out, it is the world itself that offers itself to him. Let us take the child out to show him real things instead of making objects which represent ideas and closing them up in cupboards.”

Our trip to Camp Jewell was a wonderful experience for every one of us. We did a number of fun activities together and spent two days in the beautiful outdoor environment of Camp Jewell. The children enjoyed going down the 50 foot slide and swinging on the giant swing. They practiced their archery skills and used big muscles on the climbing wall. We hiked to the top of a mountain and took in the gorgeous view of the lake and Camp Jewell from above. At our campfire, we all enjoyed the s’mores, skits, and songs. We ended our campfire with the children treating our counselors to a song from their musical.

As much as we all enjoyed our time away, it is always nice to return home and to our routine at school. We have been hard at work these past two days. On Thursday, we enjoyed Reader’s Workshop outside. Third year students have been working on follow up research on the Timeline of Life. After writing reports on animals from the timeline, they are working on making life sized drawings of their animals. We ended our week with Writer’s Workshop in the outdoor classroom.


Work, Love, and Fun in Lower Elementary

Happy Friday!

After a week of immersing ourselves in the play, the children were eager to get back to work. The children were focused and motivated, asking for new lessons and looking forward to work cycle time. Talk about a love of learning!

We’re getting really excited for our upcoming trip to Camp Jewell on Tuesday. Some of the fun activities we will be doing are visiting the farm, the giant slide, group games, archery, wall climbing, kayaking and canoeing, leather craft, the giant swing, predator/prey, and we will be enjoying a campfire with smores. Please bring your child to school at 8am on Tuesday morning so we can leave promptly at 8:30!

We enjoyed seeing all of the grandparents and special friends today. The children eagerly shared their work with their guests and the room was full of wonderful energy and smiles. It was so special seeing the children actively engaging with people who are so near and dear to their hearts. Grandparents’ Day is an event loved by all.

“Of all things love is the most potent.”
― Maria Montessori


Lower and Upper Elementary: “Oh the Thinks You Can Think!”

Over the past week of immersion into the art of musical theater, we have watched in admiration as the children have become completely focused on one common goal. There is something very special about children who are ages six through nine all working together. Older children helping younger, younger looking up to older. Together they persevered and focused and throughout all of the practices stayed enthusiastic about reaching their goal. The result was a performance that they can all be very proud of. What an amazing group of children!

A special thank you to the Farinella family for recording the play. I will be sending an email with a link to the recording for you to watch at home. The children enjoyed watching it during our cast party today. Thank you to everyone who sent in food! Also, thank you very much to the parents who volunteered to help with costumes, props, and set!

A reminder:
The deadline for this year’s FWM sweatshirt is the end of the day on Monday. Order yours now! FWM Sweatshirt Order

Lower Elementary: Working Together

This Tuesday, our Kindergarten friends joined our class. It was a nice glimpse into what next year’s class will be like. They are such a great group of children and we thoroughly enjoyed starting to get to know each and every one of them. It was a joy to see students completely engaged and happy working with their future classmates. Our mentor students did a wonderful job planning work that was enjoyable and interesting for the Kindergarten students.

This week the children were engaged in History lessons. The first year children had the lesson of The Long Black Line. This lesson is meant to strike the imagination of the children and create a humbling feeling of the appearance of humans on Earth in the perspective of the vast amount of time that Earth has existed. The second year children had lessons on the Clock of Eons. These lessons introduce the sequence of events that resulted in the evolution of life on Earth, give the history of life on Earth, and introduce the interrelatedness of all organisms and the fragile balance that maintains life. The third year students had lessons on the Time Line of Life. These lessons focus on the interrelatedness of Earth to those who live on it and on the evolution of life on Earth.

We have begun our immersion week in our preparation for this year’s performance of SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL to be performed by Lower and Upper Elementary students next Thursday, May 9th at 7:00pm.

What is a Montessori Immersion Week?

Maria Montessori believed it is important to give children opportunities to understand the process of working together toward a larger goal and to immerse themselves deeply in meaningful work. At FWM, we expect a lot from our students during the week. We know that challenging academics will help our students get ready for the path that lies ahead. Because we are committed to the development of the whole child, we embrace the prospect to give students the opportunity to be creative in a different setting and to see each other’s strengths in a new light.


Lower Elementary: Celebrating Earth

There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all of the life to be found around them in a real forest. -Dr. Maria Montessori

This week we celebrated Earth Day by spending some quality time outdoors. The weather was beautiful and we were able to eat lunch outside and visit our outdoor classroom. It is wonderful to see all of the children being creative in the woods. Some enjoy building with the sticks they find there, while others explore and look for insects or use their imagination with their friends.

The children had biology lessons this week. All of the lessons started outside. First and second year students spent time bird watching before learning about the parts of and body functions of birds. Third years investigated the evergreen trees we have on our property and shared observations with each other about the similarities and differences between the different types.

We wrapped up our week with a visit to the Upper Elementary and Middle School Science Fair. Lower Elementary students enjoyed learning about the UE inventions and the MS research on the Global Goals. They were very engaged and asked great questions of their older peers.


Lower Elementary’s Sense of Wonder

To Maria Montessori, the teaching of grammar was at the center of her language curriculum for elementary age children. It is a critical element in our language program. Understanding language and the words we read and write is extremely valuable for the students’ further education.

First and second year students are learning the parts of speech. The aims of this work are to learn the function of each word and to understand the relationship between words. Our elder students have started learning sentence analysis. Sentence analysis is the Montessori version of sentence diagramming and the aims of this work are to study how words are used in sentences. First year students learned about verbs this week. Second years learned about conjunctions. And third year students learned about predicates, subjects, and direct objects.

“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.” -Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder.

Our relationships to other living things need to be more than theoretical. Children love animals and plants and relate to them as individuals. Children are drawn to living things and they want to know about them. We can nurture and build on that interest by helping them to sharpen their skills in observation, and to learn and apply methods of appropriate care taking. We are going to be visiting the outdoor classroom as frequently as possible!