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!

Warmly,

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


Ms. Marissa: Sewing Circles and Spritzers!

This past week we tried to have as many calm moments as possible with all the excitement happening next week! We really dug into our Montessori roots by creating new activities in the classroom that have extra points of interest and call for concentration from the children.

We have three new sewing works out in Practical Life. We have had many “sewing circles” this week around our large community tables. Even our youngest students have joined in on the fun! We have learned how to embroider, sew a button onto fabric, and make button-closed bracelets. All these activities include cutting, threading needles, and tying knots! Although many children will not master all of these skills, we create as many opportunities for everyone to complete at least part of the work. You may start getting many button bracelets at home this week!

We also enjoyed “apple juice spritzers” as our Food Preparation this week. If you ever want to get a child to focus on their work, include making their own snack as part of it! Our Food Prep table was ALWAYS busy, and the children really enjoyed mixing apple juice and seltzer water for a nice refreshing drink.

We also starting one of three books focusing on “social thinking” or social/emotional learning. This week’s book is titled “Thoughts and Feelings,” where we learned that we all have brains (our thought makers) that are connected to our hearts (our feelings keepers). We learned that the thoughts inside of our brains affect the feelings inside of our hearts. This helps children realize how their actions can affect others.

Next week we have such a fun-filled and busy week with Christmas reading and crafts, Hanukkah reading and crafts, our bi-weekly parent reader, our holiday concert, and a birthday celebration!

Have a wonderful weekend,

Marissa & Sue


Ms. Marissa: 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!

Marissa & Sue


Ms. Marissa: In November’s Gusty Gale

You may have heard your child recite one of our silly monthly poems at home! This month we are practicing our November Poem from Maurice Sendak’s book Chicken Soup with Rice.

“In November’s
gusty gale
I will flop
my flippy tail
and spout hot soup.
I’ll be a whale!
Spouting once
spouting twice
spouting chicken soup
with rice.”

The children enjoy learning poems from this book in particular. This month’s has a tricky tempo, and we are learning how to read poetry in different ways. As we get through the month, volunteers recite the poem for the class. It is challenging to remember all the words! We usually practice as a group each morning after we sing our morning song, the days of the week and months of the year, and do our calendar.

Circle time is a wonderful part of our day. It brings the class together; we sing, practice different movements, open up with questions and comments, and have a group lesson. Integrating poetry into circle time brings so many benefits like public speaking, rhyming, storytelling, comprehension, and of course – silliness! We reinforce the poem each month with paper booklets – maybe you’ve seen them come home in Friday folders! Try asking your child if they remember their chicken soup poem for November.

On Wednesday, the children were treated to a presentation honoring the meaning of Diwali.  Diwali represents new beginnings and the victory of light over darkness, good over evil.  This five-day festival is observed around the world, and its rituals vary by region. Homes are brightly illuminated with diyas (candles) and oil lamps, and people decorate their homes with rangoli.  While gathering with family and friends, people often wear fine clothes and jewelry.  We are grateful for the time and effort that Paromita Dutt Kunzweiler, Punam Patel, Supreeti Saika, Mithu Talukdar, Chamaini Niyangoda, Radha Priya Gupta, and Hema Ganesan volunteered in order to share with the children this beautiful and meaningful tradition.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Warmly,

Marissa & Sue


Ms. Marissa: First Stop, South America!

These last couple of months have been a busy and exciting time with your children. We have traveled through space, explored the eight planets, discovered that the sun is a star, and rocketed back to planet Earth. We are now exploring the first of seven continents, South America.  You may hear your children call it the pink continent. This is because, on the Montessori globe and map, South America is indeed pink. We will continue to explore the animals native to South America, map South America’s countries, examine topography, and study how a continent’s proximity to the equator impacts its climate.

The Montessori cultural studies curriculum provides children with an opportunity to explore the whole world, including the continents, countries, people, animals, terrain, music, and arts. Children use didactic Montessori materials to familiarize themselves with the needs of all humans for such things as food, housing, and clothing. This early cultural awareness helps cultivate independent, joyful citizens of our world.

Wishing everyone a week filled with peace and love!

Marissa & Sue