Mrs. Semmah: Animals In Winter

Over the course of the last few weeks, we have been learning that winter can be very harsh for animals. The weather and lack of food can make their survival difficult. To help ensure their survival, animals hibernate, migrate, or adapt to their surroundings.

Animals that hibernate for the winter go into a deep sleep. Their body’s temperature drops, their heartbeat and breathing slow down, and they use very little energy. We’ve learned which animals hibernate as well as where they hibernate. Places, where animals hibernate, can be above ground, such as a cave, nest, or den, or they can be below ground, such as a burrow, a hole, or deep down in the mud.  We explored which animals migrated or traveled to other places where the weather is warmer and they will be able to find food. We also examined why animals might migrate and where they may go. Animals that adapt, remain and stay active in their environment. They adapt to the changing weather, and their behavior and bodies may change too. We talked about what changes animals may make to ensure they will have enough food for the winter.

So, as the cold weather is becoming more frequent, how many of us are thinking about hibernating or migrating?

Reminder: Parent/Teacher conferences are on Thursday, February 16th.  Please click this link to the Sign Up Genius and choose a time slot.

Wishing you a week filled with peace and love.

Kaoutar & Michelle

Mrs. Semmah: 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 your children to move like the molecules in a solid, liquid, or gas!  They will love to show you.

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 are eagerly waiting some snowfall so that we can build a snowman, bring him inside and observe how he will change from a solid to a liquid and finally a gas.

Wishing everyone a week filled with peace and love!

Kaoutar &  Michelle

Mrs. Semmah: Hidden Treasures

Children’s literature is a passion of mine. I truly hope that each child who spends time in our classroom will quickly absorb not only how important literature is, but also how much enjoyment it brings. Books are everywhere in our classroom and we read throughout the day. We have a book corner in our classroom, a wonderful spot for a ‘brain break’ or to spend quiet time with a beautiful story. We read a chapter (or two, or three) each afternoon from a chapter book. Our older friends have both private reading and partner reading built into their day. When a child says “I don’t know what to do,” I just give them that well-practiced teacher look, and usually they say, “I know, I know, I can read!”

In our classroom, we call books ‘treasures‘ and speak about how important it is to take care of our books. The children love to hear how so many books I bring to class are the same ones from my childhood. It is an absolute joy to witness the impact of literature on every child.

We asked the children to share the title of one of their favorite books.

  • Simone– Babar the Elephant
  • Soren–    Sneezy the Snowman         
  • Levi—       T-Rex Finds the Fish          
  • Casey–    Dinosaur Book                  
  • Savina–   The Bunny Book      
  • Ruscher– I Spy Penguin   
  • Charlotte–  Airplane Book       
  • Remi–       My Animal Book
  • Elsie–         Pepa Pig Book     
  • Ella–          Pete the Cat           
  • Lemon–    Rainbow Fish    
  • Carter—     Sleeping Tractor
  • Lucia–       The Continents Book      
  • David–      Biscuit the Dog          
  • Jonathan–The Lion Book
  • Katie–        Pepa Pig Books
  • Oliver–      Paw Patrol Books  

Wishing you a week filled with peace, love, and happy reading!

Kaoutar & Michelle

Mrs. Semmah: It All Adds Up With Montessori Math

“Children display a universal love of mathematics, which is par excellence the science of precision, order, and intelligence.”~ Dr. Maria Montessori

The Montessori math materials are visual and hands-on manipulatives, aiding in the ability of a child to understand mathematical concepts concretely. After many repetitions and when the child is ready,  we introduce the more complex and abstract concepts. We teach the process first because the goal is to develop a true understanding of mathematical concepts and not simply memorization. The materials are sequenced in a way that each success a child experiences is a building block for the next concept to be introduced.

Maria Montessori believed that all children have a mathematical mind and an internal drive to understand the environment around them. We know that the Montessori math materials are exact and precise and allow the child to have positive experiences in math right from the beginning.  We also know that the Practical Life activities have helped the child to develop order, concentration, coordination, and independence.  Likewise, the Sensorial materials have allowed the children to recognize and extend patterns.  Here’s the real secret behind the success of the Montessori math materials though, the children truly enjoy them.

Wishing you a peaceful weekend,

Kaoutar and Michelle

Mrs. Semmah: A Normalized Classroom

“Social grace, inner discipline, and joy. These are the birthright of the human being who has been allowed to develop essential human qualities.”  Maria Montessori

Normalization is a buzzword often used by Montessori teachers everywhere. So, what exactly does it mean, and more importantly, how do we achieve it? When children in a Montessori environment demonstrate deep concentration, self-discipline, social skills, and a true love of work, we describe this as a normalized classroom. Normalization is achieved by consistent and clear ground rules that everyone is familiar with. It is our job to ensure the environment is always well prepared and designed to meet the needs of the children. As Montessori teachers, we are confident that if we do our job well and the children are free to experience the opportunities provided by the environment and Montessori materials, they will thrive.

After the winter break and upon our return in January, we often see noticeable growth in the children’s social and emotional development. They come back eager to learn and raring to go! The first half of the year, they have become comfortable and confident with our classroom routines and expectations. They have developed deeper relationships with their peers and teachers. It is always an exciting time and sets the groundwork for the second half of the school year.

It was so wonderful to welcome the children back to class and observe all of their growth.  While nothing may seem normal as of late, our classroom was definitely normalized and brought us great joy and hope!

Wishing everyone a 2023 filled with much peace and love.

Kaoutar & Michelle

Mrs. Semmah: Celebrations Around The World

As Montessori teachers, we embrace the knowledge that one way we can promote peace and understanding of cultures around the world is to find age-appropriate ways to introduce the children to different traditions and celebrations.  While doing so in a very introductory way, it still allows us to highlight the similarities and differences of people everywhere.  These past few weeks have provided the opportunity to talk about Hanukkah, St. Nicholas Day, Christmas and Kwanzaa.

We learned about Hanukkah by reading stories, learning about a menorah, how to play the dreidel game and even had the opportunity to taste some delicious potato latkes.  We also learned about St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas was a Bishop who inherited a lot of money from his family. He was also a very gentle, kind man who lived by the virtues of personal generosity, charity towards those in need, and taking care of the young and the most vulnerable. We learned that St. Nicholas loved to perform random acts of kindness for those in need. Many people around the world celebrate St. Nicholas Day by leaving a pair of boots outside their door. So, we left boots outside our classroom door, and to our amazement, the boots were beautifully decorated and filled with candy canes the next morning.

Using age-appropriate literature, we introduced the importance of Christmas and Kwanzaa for those who celebrate. ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas was enjoyed by all and then we decorated Christmas cookies to bring home.  We also learned about Kwanzaa which was created in 1966 and is based on the elements of African heritage. It is a celebration lasting seven days, from December 26th to January 1st.  Each day a candle is lit to represent a different principle: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

A huge shout-out to parents who always help in any way they can.  I know there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to afford us these opportunities.  It is so very much appreciated.  As always, if there is anyone who may have different traditions or customs to share with us, please reach out.

Wishing you a holiday season filled with much peace, love and simplicity.

Kaoutar & Michelle

Mrs. Semmah: Gifts From The Heart

As the Holidays are quickly approaching, we often hear the children speak, throughout the day, of what they hope to receive as a gift. Through literature, classroom conversations and taking a peek into the different holidays celebrated by those around the world, we introduce the concept and power of giving as the best gift of all.

We asked each child what gift they could share during this holiday season.  We told them it does not need to cost anything and it really is about helping others and our communities.  They could share their gift with a loved one or even be a secret gift giver and do something anonymously for someone in need.  The simplicity of their words is heartwarming.

The world could learn a lot by listening to these children!

  • David… I can help my mommy by giving her a big unicorn.
  • Lucia… I can help people by giving them a cry baby doll and they  can get hugs from the baby doll and feel special.
  • Ruscher…I can help people by giving them magnets, Legos, and Hot Wheel cars.
  • Remi…I can help my teachers by giving them a special card to make them feel happy.
  • Katie… I can help my mommy and daddy by giving them a little Christmas tree.
  • Soren…I can help my nonny who lives in California by giving her my Legos, dolls, and pictures of Disneyland to make her happy.
  • Elsie… I can help my mommy by giving her jewelry.
  • Ella…I can help my dad by giving him a red car.
  • Levi… I can help my mommy by giving her a  dragon that lights up and has a blue fire to warm her.
  • Casey…I can help my grammy by giving her my Shark Wave Transformer.
  • Jonathan…I can help my mommy by making bows.
  • Simone…I can help my mommy by giving her two baby dolls, two spoons, and a bowl.
  • Lemon… I can help my grandma by giving her a princess doll to hug.
  • Carter… I can help my nanna by giving her big hugs.
  • Oliver…I can help my mommy by giving her a big blue Monster Truck.
  • Savina… I can help people by giving them a flower on a rainbow.
  • Charlotte…I can help my mommy by giving her a princess dress.

Wishing each and every one of you peace and love during this holiday season.  Take time to enjoy the gifts that aren’t wrapped.


Kaoutar & Michelle

Mrs. Semmah: It’s Off To Work I Go!

When a child works, he does not do so to attain some further goal.  His objective in working is the work itself. Maria Montessori

One of Maria Montessori’s most noted quotes is “play is the child’s work.”  We’re sure by now you have heard your child talk about their work at school. Dr. Montessori preferred the word work rather than the word play to describe the learning process children are constantly undergoing. Work conveys the amount of effort that children put into their physical, social, emotional, and academic growth. As adults, our definition of work has a very different meaning.

Children are driven by a strong, unconscious internal growth process to seek out experiences that will meet their needs. Our role as Montessori teachers is to provide a well-prepared environment that encourages children to be independent and learn at their own pace. The children are free to choose their work and to use it repeatedly. So, while they are ‘working’ each child is also building independence, coordination, self-discipline, and concentration.

Enjoy your work!

Kaoutar & Michelle