Thanksgiving Celebration

Thanksgiving is a holiday when we think about our values such as gratitude, charity, and community. We read a book about gratitude, and we ask children about things they are thankful for. It is so adorable and precious to hear their answers for the things that they are grateful for. Last Tuesday, we baked two banana breads, one for our classroom and the other one for sharing at our school. The children were so happy to measure some of the ingredients, crack the slimy eggs, and mashed the bananas. Each one of the children had a turn to mix the ingredients with a spatula.  On Wednesday, the children joined the big table to enjoy the snack that they made with lots of love and joy, appreciating their friendship and adoring the company of each other.

Wishing you a peaceful weekend.

Kaoutar and Sara

Mrs. Semmah: The Silence Game

The Montessori Silence Game is a sensorial lesson that is introduced in the primary classroom. It is a calming activity and patience activity that can be implemented at home too. This week I introduced a Silence Game for our morning meditation before we start circle time. By this time of the year, children have been practicing other types of “control of movement” practices, such as walking on the line, scooping, pouring, and moving the chair quietly.

This is how we play the silence game in our classroom. I model for children how to sit crisscrossed without movement and close their eyes using my whisper voice.

We are going to do a morning meditation, stretch your body, move your neck, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and make silence. You may hear some sounds in our classroom or outside our classroom. Then, I take two deep breaths and I close my eyes. All the children take two deep breaths and close their eyes. We sit still quietly for a few minutes. Then I say: I open my eyes to you, I open my heart to you, together we open our hearts to the sun, to the cloud, together we join our hearts this Monday morning. We hold hands together and we raise them. After all the children open their eyes. I ask them if anybody heard something during the silence game. Remember when we read a book, you can make silence and quiet your body. You can make silence any time, isn’t that great. You can stop at any time and take a deep breath. It is very helpful to make silence when you are sad or tired.

This is a very wonderful peaceful activity that I have implemented through my years of teaching as a part of our daily routine. The children love the silence game, and it also contributes to” normalization”.

As a side note, we also had a special visitor in our classroom on Monday!  Remington brought in his pet turtle, Mrs. T, to share with us. Children loved Mrs. T’s company and  they were very nice and gentle with her. Thank you to the Muller’family.

Some fun facts about Mrs. T:

– age: 37

– species: Eastern box turtle

– loves to eat strawberries, raspberries and meat!

Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving,

Kaoutar and Sara

Mrs. Semmah: Classroom Jobs

Practical life lessons are all everyday duties that are part of our life. These lessons help the children learn how to take care of themself and their environment. In addition to these activities, we added classroom jobs this week.

The children are naturally drawn to these jobs. They don’t see them as duties, they want to copy what they see us doing. They find meaning, fun, and satisfaction in having responsibilities in their classroom. It also helps the children gain self-confidence and be contributing members of the classroom. It encourages independence and a sense of responsibility in our children.

The job charts identify the classroom jobs that are completed every day to make it visual and easy to grasp for children. I take pictures of the children doing the jobs and I print them and laminate them. Using a pocket chart hung on the wall, a photo of each job title is placed in the pocket and the name of the child is placed in front of it. These are some examples of the jobs: playing the music box while walking on the line to transition from circle time to start a work cycle, the door holder, wiping the table, and watering the plants.

We introduce the classroom job chart on each Monday during circle time, announcing a job title for each child’s assigned week.

Wishing you a week filled with love and peace.

Kaoutar and Sara

Mrs. Semmah: Harvest Celebration

Hosting a fall Primary Harvest Celebration is one of the many ways to celebrate this beautiful season at Fraser Woods. Our Harvest celebration offers opportunities to have fun and experience the different smells and tastes of the fall season. It was very lovely to see the children coming on Wednesday morning full of joy and excitement to start their celebration day.

First, we set up the pumpkin station at circle time. Mrs. Sara carved the big pumpkin, while she talked about the smells, seeds, and ideas to carve the pumpkin. She also showed them how to personalize a pumpkin by adding hair, eyes, and a mouth. Then, she lit a little candle inside the carved pumpkin. Meanwhile, the children were enjoying their beautiful, delicious, and spectacular Halloween cookies with water. We also went outdoors for a pumpkin hunt. The children were very happy searching for their preferred pumpkin and bringing it back to the classroom for decoration. The children had a lot of fun decorating their sugar pumpkin with yarn, googly eyes, and felt. Then, we sat outside our classroom watching the Middle School and Elementary Halloween Parade. The children had a wonderful time during the Harvest Celebration. Thank you for all your donations and s special thanks to Lidia and Kenyon for organizing the event and thinking about every detail to make it an enjoyable experience.

It was very lovely to meet and connect with all of you for Parent-Teacher conferences via Zoom. Thank you for your open communication, our goal is always to work together for the benefit of our children. Please feel free to reach out at any time.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Kaoutar and Sara

Mrs. Semmah: An Introduction to Geography and Water Lessons

One of our main focuses at the beginning of the year is to introduce fine motor works in the practical life area. Practical life includes pouring, squeezing, and spooning. Adding to these lessons are the additional goals of helping the children increase their attention span and follow a sequence of steps. These indirect goals help the children to handle more complex work in other areas of the classroom.

Last month we presented dry pouring and dry spooning. Those skills are taught in isolation until the child masters them. This month we introduced water pouring and water spooning or scooping. To make it fun and appealing for children we add yellow food coloring to the water. We showed them how to pour water by holding the handle of the pitcher with the dominant hand and putting the non-dominant hand under the pitcher and pouring slowly into another pitcher. In case of a spill, we use the sponge to wipe it.

We also introduced the globe this week. Children love to learn about our planet Earth where we live. We find the best way for them to learn the names of the continents is by singing the continents song and pointing to each continent on the globe. As an extension of their understanding, we talk about the shape of our planet earth as a sphere. To transfer this to a large wooden map, we have to divide the sphere into 2 hemispheres. We showed them a visual example of this by dividing an apple in half, with each half representing a hemisphere, using the apple to represent the globe. Children are motivated with spontaneous interest and curiosity to know about the globe and North America. It is a very precious moment to hear three years old at circle time saying, “We live in North America.”

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Kaoutar and Sara

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. Semmah: Grace and Courtesy

Grace and courtesy are well-known values and norms of behavior which enable children to move and work cooperatively. In the Montessori environment children may move freely, but not run or push. They may talk softly, not loudly. Grace and courtesy lessons help children understand polite social norms.

In our Montessori classroom we believe that, through daily modeling and lessons, even very young children are capable of much more than is traditionally expected of them.

As Montessori teachers we are guides and role models for our young learners. We are very cautious about how we act in front of children when interacting with other adults at school as well as with young learners. In the classroom we model soft voices, walking feet, and carrying the tray with two hands. We also have a deep respect for the child’s concentration while they are working; we are always careful not to interrupt the child’s work. These are examples of our daily interactions with children.

Teachers introduce lessons explicitly to teach grace and courtesy. We observe and take note of any undesired behavior. We select a neutral time when everyone is calm and ready to absorb the lesson and show children step by step how a certain behavior or activity is done. The following are some of the exercises of grace and courtesy:

  • Watching others work without disturbing or interfering
  • Waiting for turns
  • Covering a sneeze, yawn, or cough
  • Conflict resolution (how and when)

Through the adult’s daily display of acts of kindness, attention, and respect for others, the children will grow up to be caring human beings.

Mrs. Semmah and Mrs. Sara