Mrs. Hood’s class: Matching, Blocks and Yummy Beets!

 

“The child that has had plenty of experience with matching work will be ready for the added cognitive step of sorting and categorization. Sorting, categorization and classification are all skills that we use when thinking and reasoning about the things we see, hear, touch, taste and smell. They help up to heighten our awareness, focus our attention and verbalize the patterns that we notice. The ability to sort and classify exercises the brain pathways that will later be used in mathematics, science and language.” – At Home with Montessori

Matching works in the toddler environment are essential. There are many reasons why. They bring about deep concentration which is calming and deeply satisfying for the child. It provides an opportunity to master a skill and through repetition they can demonstrate a mastery of that skill. When matching cards, children demonstrates they are capable of making the connection between the real item, the model item, and the pictorial representation. It provides the child the opportunity to think and reason, which may later transfer to other activities and behaviors. The child is given the opportunity to problem solve. Questioning and asking themselves with the satisfaction of finding the result – the answer.

This week we added a new matching work the children already love, which also provides movement and language. We placed big pictures of polar bears and penguins around the environment and in a bowl we gathered the same amount of pictures but in a small scale. The purpose is for the child to choose a small picture and try to find its matching one while he or she walks around the classroom. This work was prepared for our older students but we were amazed that some of our younger ones were also successful at it! It’s incredible! When matching the pictures we talk about what we see in it. New language has been introduced through it: polar bear, cub, and fur, emperor, humboldt and chinstrap penguins.

In the movement area we also introduced oversized blocks for building and imagination. Children exercise their need for maximum effort through this work. These blocks brought a lot of giggles and fun to our group playtime!

In Practical life we introduced water transferring and we have worked a lot on how to respect our water works. Children love water and these type of works bring calmness and satisfaction while strengthening their concentration skills.

For food tasting we tried beets this week and all your children loved it so much! For language we focused on: root, stem, and leaves. Feel free to pack some beets for lunch or classroom snacks. You children devoured beets! Woo hoo!

Remember that next Wednesday, February 13th, we will celebrating friendship in our class! We can’t wait to take some fun pictures and share them with you!


Three Cheers for our Community Service Volunteers!

It is always a treat when our middle school friends come and spend time with us! Our toddlers love playing, working, and connecting with their older buddies. Our kind and patient middle schoolers love being big brothers and sisters to our toddlers.

The relationships built through this amazing program are joys to watch evolve. Outside of our scheduled times together, the middle school students often find us on the playground or in the gym and ask if they can join us. How amazing are these children? When walking in the halls, they stop and kneel down to say hello and offer to help walk us to our destination.

We love our middle school friends, and are thrilled to have yet another experience of working and learning within a multi-aged group.


Mrs. Hood’s Class: Little Explorers!

“Before elaborating any system of education, we must therefore create a favorable environment that will encourage the flowering of a child’s natural gifts. All that is needed is to remove the obstacles. And this should be the basis of, and point of departure for, all future education. The first thing to be done, therefore, is to discover the true nature of a child and then assist him in his normal development.”
[Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood)

It’s an honor to watch your children blooming right before our eyes! Thank you for trusting them to us!

Children continue exploring the environment and working as little busy bees throughout the morning! During this short week, we introduced asparagus for food tasting! They were quite excited to taste it. Let’s say that mostly the children politely demonstrated that their taste buds don’t agree much with asparagus. However, as they get more exposure to this food, children might start accepting it better. Let’s not give up!

Parent-Teacher Conferences are coming up soon! We look forward to seeing you all and sharing your child’s progress. Please take a moment to click on the link sent through email and sign up as soon is possible!


Mrs. Thomas’s Class: Food Tasting!

Earlier in January, we began our foray into food tasting. Our first food was pomegranates. The children enjoyed seeing, touching, smelling, and tasting this delicious fruit. There are a lot of parts to a pomegranate and we discussed the outer red husk, the inner spongy white husk, the juicy arils, and crunchy seeds.

Of course the highlight of this event was tasting the arils and seeds. The combination of sweet and tart was very appealing to the children as they asked for more and more tastings! The fruit was such a hit that we even served it as a side with lunch!

Thanks to all of you for providing these foods to taste during your snack weeks. This is a highlight event for the children that brings them such joy!


Mrs. Hood’s Class: Words and Sounds!

The children transitioned at the beginning of the week by carefully observing the new layout of our environment. The climber is now facing our big window which encourages the children to observe the outdoors and all the magic that happens out there. Our youngest are thrilled that they get to look outside without the need to climb furniture. Our dressing area was also modified to fulfill the needs of all our students

Since children are intrinsically interested in animals we use them as a tool to encourage language. This week, new arctic animals were introduced: walrus, beluga whale, sea lion and seal. Children seemed to enjoy exploring these animals in our ice sensory box. As last week we introduced the concept of cold, this week we introduced the concept of warm by placing warm water inside the ice creating a new pool for the animals to swim. Also, we added animals magnets to the environment. We have different games with these objects to encourage language. These include repetition, pointing, labeling, increased prosody, signs and gestures, simple directions, pretend play, and pairing visual with auditory elements. Children really enjoyed these activities!

One book children loved exploring with us was My Big Animal Book by Priddy Books. Children love to carefully observe the images and listen attentively as we share facts of each animal.

A favorite song this week was “This Little Finger.” Children keep increasing their parts of the body vocabulary through this song! In addition, children had a blast in Ms. Kim’s music class this week! There was a lot of dancing and singing!


Mrs. Thomas: Language, Language, Language!

We’ve added some new language materials to the environment and the children are loving them! We have “Go Together” cards that require the children to make associations between two pictured objects. Currently, we have a bar of soap and a towel, a bird and a bird’s nest filled with eggs, and a bowl of ice cream and a spoon. All six cards are in a basket together and the children pair them accordingly. We had a group lesson on why these items are related to only one other card in the basket and not to the others. We pretended to wash our bodies with soap in pretend showers and giggled as we lathered up, rinsed off, and then needed to dry ourselves with pretend spoons, etc., until we got to the picture of the towel, which they all began to realize made the most sense.

Another language activity is the picture-to-object work. Right now, we have a small toy red eyed tree frog, a pig, and a toucan that correlate to real-life pictures of these animals. It is fun to watch the children match these toy representations to pictures and to hear them name these objects during our three-period lessons.

We also have some wooden shapes in a checkered mystery bag that the children like to explore. Right now we pull each object out one at a time, feel them in our hands, and notice the edges, corners, and curves of each item. Then we name them: rectangular prism, sphere, cone, and cube. Once the children have a solid understanding of the item names and how they feel, we will try identifying them by just feeling them in the bag!


Mrs. Hood: Cold, Tangy and Fun!

As we continue to focus on the winter season, we introduced the concept of cold this week. Children observed how cold liquid water turned into very cold solid water. The children felt the ice between their fingers with so much wonder. They enjoyed adding the ice block to our penguin sensory box and they seemed to loved the fact that after a couple minutes the ice started to melt and created a fun pool for the penguins to swim in! This sensory experience brought a lot of smiles and admiration.

Our older students had the opportunity to receive a special practical life lesson this week. They worked on cutting real bananas with real knives. Yeah! I said it correctly, real toddler knives!. The children watched attentively how I demonstrated to cut my own banana. Then I placed my hands on top of theirs and guided them to cut slowly and carefully a couple of pieces. They finished cutting the banana on their own and later tasted the fruit of their labor! There was so much self-confidence on their faces at the end of this activity! As an extension, children will soon be cutting bananas and sharing them with their classmates as a grace and courtesy lesson.

Students that show readiness will be offered special leadership roles in our environment. Being a snack helper is one of the works we introduced this week! Serving their classmates brings joy to the children as their self-esteem and independence boosts. These activities also provide important social skills that will be very helpful as they grow up as responsible and caring citizens of the world.

For food tasting we explored a kiwi! This winter fruit was loved by all despite of the tanginess! They wanted more and more!

Who’s That -Artic Animals by Tad Carpenter was a loved book by the children this week.

Thank you so much to the parents that have already donated items for our treasure baskets! Our youngest children are going to love them! We appreciate your support!


Mrs. Hood’s Class: Welcome Back!

Happy New Year! We hope you had a wonderful holiday break and you got some relaxation and meaningful time with your families! We are thankful for all of you and for the joy your wonderful children bring to our lives! What an honor is to see them growing and blooming right before our eyes! We want to thank you also for your generosity through your gifts and encouraging words! Mrs. Wilson and I love partnering with you through this adventure!

Your children transitioned peacefully after the break and they arrived ready to explore the environment and all the new works on the shelves. One of the favorite activities has been exercising to climb up and down stairs in our new climber. Children have been working hard on taking turns, being mindful of others, patience, and safety while using the climber. As soon as they are ready we will add the slide for some more fun!

Some of the most popular works this week were the polar bear family and the penguin sensory box. It’s so great to watch the children starting to use their imagination and create scenarios with these objects while practicing vocabulary.

The favorite books this week were Cub’s Big World By Sarah Thomson and Itsy Bitsy Snowman by Jeffrey Burton. One of the most clear words our students are able to say is “again” so, at their request, we have read them over and over and over.

At the end of the photo gallery, please enjoy a couple of pictures taken during our holiday celebration in December. Thank you so much for each of your donations to make this beautiful holiday breakfast a yummy success and thank you very much for your support during my health emergency!

Our best wishes for a joyful, healthy, and peaceful 2019!