Ms. Marissa: Art & Science Intertwined

When we study continents, animals, and plants, we always find a way to connect to the material sensorially. In the Primary Montessori classroom, incorporating art into these other scientific areas of study helps children relate to the material on another level. We trace animals and paint them using watercolors, we create continent maps using markers, colored pencils and liquid watercolors, we use tempera paint sticks to paint the landscapes of different places we study. Last week, children used play dough of different colors to create the layers of the Earth, cut it in half, and see how a globe transforms into a flat map. In art, Ms. Sara showed us how to use watercolor pencils to replicate the beautiful inside of geodes.

But what about all these beautiful colors we use? How do THEY come to be? We have been dappling in color mixing all year – through simple, open-ended primary color mixing using a mini ice cube tray, combining ground chalk and salt to see what colors come of it, and by the natural exploration of what color our paint water turns! This week, we introduced a very careful and methodical way of color mixing – our color mixing wheel! Children very carefully apply droplets of water on the specified spots, mix each area together, and lay a paper towel over top. Before you know it – we’ve created a beautiful color wheel! You may be getting a lot of paper towels at home in your child’s folders – this is why!

Check out this sped-up demo!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Marissa & Sue

Ms. Marissa: All You Need Is Love

While last week was a short week, it was a busy one! We had Simone and Madison’s moms in to celebrate with us by making crafts for Valentine’s Day. The children exchanged valentines, and overall, it was a very exciting week!

This past Thursday, we celebrated the 100th day of school with the kindergarteners. From the very first day of school, kindergarteners have been learning to count by 1s, 5s, and 10s to 100. They spent the afternoon going to different stations that revolved around 100. They drew pictures of what they would like when they were 100, what they would buy with $100, and what they wished they had a hundred of, made a 100 headband, and then played a game called Race to 100. They even did 100 exercises and learned how hard it was to sit quietly for 100 seconds. The highlight was bringing home a delicious 100th-day-of-school snack. As always, thank you for the behind-the-scenes help from all of our parent volunteers to make these memories possible.

Saturday, March 2nd, is National Read Across America Day. This is a day to celebrate our favorite activity—reading!!!!!!! This special day was established by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998 to help get kids excited about reading. The day occurs each year on the birthday of children’s book author Dr. Seuss; on Tuesday, March 5th, the children can wear their pajamas to school and bring their favorite book and a stuffed animal in to share. It’s always a fun day for all.

Ms. Marissa: The Science of Suds

On Wednesday, the CT Science Center visited our school to present “The Science of Suds.” This traveling program allowed the children to explore the captivating, colorful science of soap and water. The children explored the mysteries of bubbles’ shapes and were able to see what happens when you make bubbles with different gases. We had fun learning if it was possible to put your hand through a bubble without popping and trying to see if we could put things inside a bubble. We learned how to hold a bubble in our hands and then tried to see if we could put a student inside a bubble.

This presentation was perfectly timed to enhance our unit on the three different states of matter: solids, liquids, and gases.

Wishing you a week filled with peace and love.

Marissa & Sue

Ms. Marissa: Moving Like Molecules

We are just beginning 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.

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 a gas are far apart, and they move around a lot. Gases spread out and fill up their container, too. In the afternoon, we made Oobleck, a fun substance that is both liquid AND solid!!

We are eagerly waiting for 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!

Marissa & Sue

Ms. Marissa: Do You Have Bones?

For the last few weeks in our classroom, we have been learning about animals. Not just any animals, INVERTEBRATE animals – animals with NO BONES! We have talked about invertebrate animals that live on the land (slugs!), in the air (insects!), and in the water (jellyfish!).

At circle, we see if we can think of the invertebrate animal from a riddle. Try asking your child one of these:

“I am an invertebrate who lives in the ocean. I have a hinged shell. I have a muscular food that helps me burrow in the sand. Who am I? (a mussel)

“I am an invertebrate who farmers love because I eat pests. I have a spotted, domed shell and six legs. I can fly, too! Who am I? (a ladybug)

We also have been practicing a new poem in honor of studying invertebrates called Song of the Bugs.

Some bugs pinch

And some bugs creep

Some bugs buzz themselves to sleep

Buzz Buzz Buzz Buzz

This is the song of the bugs.

Some bugs fly

When the moon is high

Some buts make a light in the sky

Flicker, flicker firefly

This is the song of the bugs.

We look forward to slithering into this next week!


Marissa & Sue

Ms Marissa: Montessori Math, It All Adds Up!

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: the children truly enjoy them.

Hope your week adds up to one filled with peace and love.

Marissa & Sue

Ms. Marissa: 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! In 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.

Wishing everyone a 2024 filled with much peace and love.

Marissa & Sue

Ms. Marissa: 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, St. Lucia’s Day and Christmas.

We learned about Hanukkah by reading stories, learning about a menorah, the importance of the Shamash (the helper candle) and how to play the dreidel game (which is now a work on our math shelf!).  We even got to make our own dreidels.

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.

We read ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas and then made “reindeer food” to bring home and feed Santa’s reindeers.

We have our very own Lucia in our classroom and learned about St. Lucia’s Day, a Swedish tradition about finding light in the darkness.

We always try to respectfully learn about many different cultures and traditions. We noticed that the thread that connects all of these traditions is light, and we try to harness that connection.

A huge shout-out to parents who always help in any way they can.  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.

Marissa & Sue