Mrs. Doyle: 3-2-1 Blast Off!

We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry.    –Maria Montessori

We are beginning our study of the solar system. Bringing some of the wonders of the universe to the children is exciting and one of their favorite units that we study. By nature, children are inquisitive, observant, and eager to learn about the world around them. With their concrete thinking, understanding, and desire to label and name everything they learn about, we start by introducing the components of the universe, especially our own solar system.

We begin by discussing what the children think the solar system is. We know that as we look up at the sky during the day we can see the sun and at night time we can see the moon, stars, and some planets.

We learned about our star, the sun. It is made of gas and gives us light and heat. Our sun is the center of our solar system, with planets orbiting around it. The children learned the names of the planets, in order from the sun. We also learned fun facts about each planet and will do hands-on activities to explain revolution and rotation. Below is the song we are singing to help us learn the names of the planets in our Solar System.

If you have not yet signed up for a time to meet for Parent/Teacher conferences on October 28th, please click on this link to do so.

Wishing you a week filled with peace and love,

Michelle & Liset


Mrs. Lopes: Our Solar System

 

“Let us give the child a vision of the whole universe. The universe is an imposing reality, and an answer to all questions.” -Maria Montessori 

We are beginning our study of the solar system. Bringing some of the wonders of the universe to the children is exciting and one of their favorite units that we study. By nature, children are inquisitive, observant, and eager to learn about the world around them.  A child’s concrete thinking, understanding, and desire to label and name everything they learn about makes this a wonderful unit of study.

We begin by discussing what the children think the Solar System is. We know that as we look up at the sky during the day we can see the sun and at night time we can see the moon, stars, and some planets.  We learned about our closest star, the sun.  It is made of gas and gives us light and heat. Our sun is the center of our solar system, with planets circling around it.  The children then learned the names of the planets, in order from the sun.  In the next week we will be learning fun facts about each planet and singing a fun planet song.  Below I included the lyrics to the “8 Little Planets” song we have been singing this week, enjoy!

Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

Amanda & Heather

 

8 Little Planets

One little, two little, three little planets,

Four little, five little, six little planets,

Seven little, eight little, eight little planets,

Orbiting around the sun.

Mercury, Venus, and the Earth,

Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn,

Uranus and Neptune,

Eight planets orbiting the sun.


Mrs. Semmah: Fall Activities

Fall is here. The trees change their colors to red, brown, orange, and yellow. It is finally fresh, cool, and beautiful outdoors. In my classroom, I love to use the seasonal shift to introduce new learning concepts and activities in a new way. These are some of the fall lessons the young learners have been enjoying.

Fall bin is an open sensory experience for a child who wants some individual time to explore the texture of different objects. It includes red lentils, colored autumn leaves, red pears, apples, brown beads, and scoops. Once I open the sensory table, it invites many children to discover the sensation of many fall items that have been around them at home or that they see in nature.

Fall sorting and transferring work. We have these fabulous tiny gourds, pumpkins, and apples that are perfect for fine motor skills. I put them in a little bowl next to an orange ice cube and in an orange tray for the child to transfer from one side to the other. The children can repeat the transferring activity as much as they want, then put the bowl back on the shelf. This repetition is perfecting the child’s hand-eye coordination and allowing them to gain confidence in mastering the skill.

Leaf in the art corner. Leaf rubbing is a simple Montessori activity. Using a crayon, the child rubs the paper that is placed on a laminated leaf. The result is beautiful and appealing. It is also an introduction to botany. Fall colors are presented in our individualized tray as well as on the easel. Children enjoy painting and mixing colors daily. It adds to the presence of the fall season in our beautiful classroom.

Wishing you a happy fall,

Semmah and  Sara


Mrs. Semmah: The Beauty of the Movable Alphabet

Maria Montessori believes that children have a natural sensitivity for language at a very early age. The children at years three, four, and five have a unique fascination for both written and spoken words. This fascination motivates the children to start reading and writing at a very early stage. Children with good phonemic awareness are often ready and eager to build words before their hands are ready to hold the pencil and write.

The Movable Alphabet is for the composition of words. The goal is expression. It is introduced to the children after they have learned sandpaper letters, knowing the phonetic sound of the letters, the letter type (vowel or consonant), and the signs to write. When the children are using the Movable Alphabet, all the letters are in front of them.

Using the Movable Alphabet, the children start to make a connection between the spoken and the written words. This is a powerful connection and the children need to make these discoveries themselves. The children will form CVC words by hearing the sounds, isolating, and blending words like cat, log, and pig.

The Movable Alphabet is an exploration of children’s language and our goal is not to read at this point, which is why we don’t read the words back. It will be the children’s discovery of a magical moment when one day they read the word back.

Virtual Parent-Teacher Conferences are coming up on October 28th! Please look for an email this coming Tuesday with a link for you to sign up for your conference slot. 


Mrs. Lopes: The Three Period Lesson

 

Maria Montessori described the developmental brain of the young child as the “absorbent mind” because of their ability to retain a great deal of information during the early years.  She designed the three period lesson to utilize their brain development and interests to help move children from the introduction of a concept to retention.  When we introduce new concepts or materials to the children in our classroom, we often do so using a three-period lesson.

Period One is the introduction stage. In this stage we are isolating new vocabulary to the children. For example, if we are introducing the color tablets, we say, “This is blue.”  Repeating that statement and allowing the child to manipulate the blue color tablet are crucial during this stage.

Period Two is all about association and recognition. It is often a separate lesson. We do not ask the children to remember the vocabulary or recall the concept. We are simply reinforcing the concept taught in Period One. We use words such as, “Show me the blue tablet,” or, “Can you place the blue tablet on your lap?”

Period Three is the recall stage and the first time we ask the child to remember the concept independently. We ask them, “What is this?” when showing them the blue color tablet. We are careful not to begin Period Three until we know they are ready for success.

Every time a child masters a new concept it paves the way to move towards another one.

We are looking forward to meeting with you virtually on Thursday, October 28 to share all the growing and learning your children have accomplished over these last few months!  Look for an email this coming Tuesday, October 12 with the Signup Genius link to pick a time slot.

Wishing you a wonderful week,

Amanda and Heather


Mrs. Doyle: Yes, I Know The Continents

 

The Montessori approach to teaching Geography is unique and comprised of two components, physical geography and political geography, also known as Culture. From the beginning of the school year, we weave Geography lessons and terminology into our day as we learn about our physical world. The Geography materials are always fascinating to the children and are a springboard for wonderful discussions.

Early in our school year, we categorized the planet Earth into air, land, and water.  We then sorted what we would find in each of these different components of our world.  Next, we introduced the geometric solid known as a sphere to the children and compared it to the shape of the globe.  We start with a sandpaper globe that helps to distinguish land and water.  The colored globe comes next and we begin to teach the continent names.  We make a sphere out of play dough and cut it in half to help them visualize the concept of a hemisphere.  Simultaneously, the children are learning about land forms that introduce the concept of lake, island, bay, cape, peninsula, gulf, isthmus, strait, archipelago, and a system of lakes.  These sensory experiences help the children learn about their physical world.

After learning the continent names, we introduce the puzzle maps for each continent, starting with North America in November. We learn that there are many countries in North America.  The older children will trace and paint each of the puzzle maps. We will learn about the animals, people, and climate often associated with each of the continents.  Our goal is to encourage the children to appreciate the beauty and wonder found in the similarities and differences around the world. In our classroom, we have a cultural shelf with artifacts from each continent.

Last week, we introduced the song “Do You Know The Continents” and we often hear the children singing it quietly to themselves as they work.

Conferences will be on Thursday, October 28th, via Zoom.  An email will go out on Tuesday with a link to sign up for a time slot.  We look forward to this opportunity to enhance parent/teacher relationships.

Wishing all of you a week filled with peace and love!

Michelle & Liset


Mrs. Doyle’s Class: Friday Folders Fun Facts

“We have to remember as adults, that we want things done, and as quickly as possible, so that they are finished and out of the way; whereas the child is interested and content in the doing, not the done.” –Margaret Stephenson, The Art of Montessori in the Home

Each Friday we send home Friday Folders with the work the children have completed over the course of the past week. It is not uncommon for us to receive emails asking why there was so little work inside and what exactly are the children doing?

Sometimes it can be difficult to accept the idea of focusing on the process, not the product. What exactly does that mean? Many of the works in the Montessori classroom do not end with a physical product the children will bring home to share with everyone. There is often no way to visually assess what a child is learning. Overall, as a society, we are product driven and often times, base our success on this factor. The experience a child has when working with the materials is truly what is most important. However, when you hear they did “nothing” day after day, it can often be unsettling.

Research shows that children from ages 3-6 learn best through their hands. In order to truly understand a concept they need to explore it through touch. This is why so many of the lessons found in the Montessori environment are not based on memorization alone. Most concepts we are teaching involve tracing, manipulating, and exploring with their hands. Perhaps most importantly, focusing on the process protects the child’s intrinsic motivation to learn and understand. It is not influenced by external factors such as recognition, praise, or reward. The time and experience with the materials is what we truly value and encourage.

So, if your child’s folder comes home with little to no work, just know that their accomplishments can’t always ‘fit’ in that folder. Maybe after weeks and weeks of trying, they learned how to zipper their own coat or maybe they can finally carry a work without it dropping. Maybe after observing a lesson day after day,  your child tried it independently for the first time. The list of skills each child can accomplish will never be fully represented in the Friday Folder. So please enjoy the work that is in there, but know it is not a full portrayal of all that the children are accomplishing.

Warmly,

Michelle & Liset


Mrs. Lopes’ Class: Exploring Our World

Maria Montessori often referred to the study of Science and Culture as “Cosmic Education”.  The lessons in the culture/geography area of our classroom connect a child with the greater world and give them a “cosmic” view of the universe.  The activities in these areas are designed to be fun, engaging, creative, and intriguing.  They are not viewed as extra-curricular activities that take a back seat to the more “important” academic work elsewhere in the classroom, but are instead a living and central part of the environment.

The activities on the culture/geography shelf in our classroom change monthly to coincide with the topics of study.  This month we have focused on living/nonliving, distinguishing the difference between air, land and water, the landforms lake and island, and the life cycle of an apple.  This week the children have been learning the “5 Little Apples” song.  Ask them to sing it for you!  Here are the lyrics if you would like to sing it at home:

Way up high in the apple tree,

5 little apples smiled down at me,

I shook that tree as hard as I could,

Down came an apple,

Mmmmm was it good!

(We then repeat the song with 4, 3, 2, 1 apples until there are no apples left on the tree.)

 

Wishing you a wonderful week,

Amanda and Heather