Mrs. Hood’s Class: Jingle All the Way!

 

Winter holidays are used in our environment as a fun way to keep children engaged, encourage joy of learning, and help us to introduce the passage of time and seasons. Since they bring a sense of light and joyfulness to the long, dark winter months and create a sense of community, we welcome them wholeheartedly. The sound of jingle bells are everywhere in our environment. Your children love exploring the sounds of different size bells while spooning, tweezing, sorting, playing, singing, and dancing.

Some of the favorite works this week seemed to be dressing the snowman while practicing parts of the body vocabulary; the Menorah posting activity where children practiced colors, counting, and new words such as: star, Menorah, and candle; placing ornaments on our tiny Christmas tree and all the new seasonal practical life activities.

Cranberries were the seasonal food we introduced this week! Mrs. Wilson shared with us a fabulous cranberry sauce she made and let me tell you that all your children loved it!  Another 100% liked fruit for your list.

We can’t wait for our holiday celebration next week! Remember you are welcome to send your child in pajamas. Stay tuned for fun pictures!


Mrs. Thomas: Exploring Hanukkah Toddler Style!

We added some fun and simple work to our environment to explore Hanukkah. The children enjoyed drawing on blue paper with white crayons; sticking blue and silver tissue paper onto contact paper; and using small tongs to transfer little blue and silver presents from one silver bowl to another.

Although these were popular activities for most children, nothing compared to our wooden Menorah. Every day this week, the children have gathered around the table patiently waiting their turns to place the candles into the Menorah. However, we were all surprised with what the children have done after they place the last candle: they sing “Happy Birthday” and blow the candles out! Their genuine excitement and innocence in singing this song made us all smile a little brighter this week.

For those of you who celebrate, we wish you a very Happy Hanukkah!


Mrs. Thomas: Thanksgiving Celebration!

Thank you all for your kind donations of the apple bread ingredients! Your generosity made it so easy for Lisa and Elle to get right to work with the children.

Lisa and Elle made two batches with the children so that all who were interested had the opportunity to pour and mix the ingredients.

As we did last year, we invited our Community Service Volunteers to break bread with us in our room the day before Thanksgiving. Everyone had a wonderful time sharing their homemade apple bread with their friends!

We hope you all had a terrific Thanksgiving with your family and friends!


Mrs. Hood’s Class: To the Beat!

Rhythm is helpful in all sorts of ways. The pattern recognition inherent in rhythm can help children be better athletes, better observers and better learners. Like any motor skill, rhythm needs to be cultivated and developed. It just so happens the exercises that help develop rhythm can also help with language fluency and reading, two other key life skills for young children to develop.

In our environment, music is a daily activity. Whole body movement songs, finger-plays and instrument times are always part of our morning routine. This week, in our music enrichment class we had fun practicing rhythm with Ms. Kim using different types of drums. Your children’s favorite song was Hey ya Nam.  Children asked for it to be repeated over and over again!

For food tasting, your child tried a fun seasonal fruit: Papaya! As always, children were very attentive to this activity and enjoyed observing, touching, smelling and tasting! This fruit was approved 100% by the whole class! So, go ahead and add a papaya to the list for your next grocery trip!

“Down by the Bay” by Raffi and “All Fall Down” by Helen Oxenbury were the two popular books this week!. “The Bumble Bee” song ranked number one in our popular song list.

This week we also welcomed a new student and her family! She has already phased in and the rest of the class has been very welcoming to her.

Thanks to all of you for your donations for our Vegan banana bread. Children had fun helping in the baking process, sharing with the rest of the school and enjoying the delicious bread for our little Thanksgiving celebration.

We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Mrs.Hood’s class: Yummy in my Tummy!

As children grow beyond the infant stage, they begin the journey to independence as toddlers. Many parents notice this change in their children when it comes to mealtime, as they begin to hear a resounding “no!” when it comes to eating the foods they once loved and trying new ones. In order to help families we have integrated food tasting into our toddler program as a way to ease children into the idea of trying new foods by teaching them all about the food and encouraging them to participate as a group.

Since children have been showing readiness and more ability to sit down as a group, we introduced this week a delicious and nutritious winter food: Butternut Squash!

Children were really excited to see the food tasting tray covered. They knew there was a surprise and they immediately gathered quietly around the tray. They were attentive at the moment we removed the towel that was covering the Butternut Squash. There was so much wonder in their faces at that moment! The children enjoyed the Sensorial experience of having the opportunity to explore by feeling, smelling and later on tasting this food item. The squash was presented as a whole first, then cut in front of them, presented as half, and then served individually. In our conversation we included such adjectives as cold, big, mushy, soft, smooth, warm, and tasty to keep adding to our vocabulary.

We taught your children that this particular food is required to be cooked. Children observed while I slowly picked a piece of roasted squash with my spoon and placed it inside my mouth, tasting it slowly and dramatically, this with the purpose of encouraging curiosity and expectation when it was their turn to taste.

Children asked to repeat squash until all of it was gone! 7 of 8 children LOVED it!

From now on, this will be a weekly activity in our environment! Thank you all for all your food donations so we can make this fun activity possible.
If there is a specific food you would really like to introduce to your child, please let us know. We will gladly partner with you to make it a success.


Mrs. Thomas’ Class: Practical Life

Materials in the Practical Life section of any Montessori environment are there to support children’s practice in everyday life skills. In our Toddler environment, the children enjoy a variety of activities which include: transferring glass gems with a small spoon from one bowl to another, cutting strips of paper with loop scissors, spooning snack, pouring water into a funnel to fill a vase for flowers,  and scooping balls with an ice cream scoop into a muffin tin. All of these activities require an implement for them to manipulate with different grasps and wrist movements, strengthening their hands and fingers for the handwriting that will take place as they get older.


Mrs. Hood’s class: With My Eyes and My Hands!

Hand-eye coordination is one of the most important parts of the learning process. It helps your child track the movements of their hands with their eyes, which is essential for reading and decoding. Because your child also uses their visual system with hand-eye coordination, it can greatly impact their writing skills and handwriting as they use their eyes to guide, direct, and control their hand movements across the page as they write letters and words.

This week we introduced a couple of fun exercises that focus on this skill. One of them was Water Pouring. This is a Practical Life exercise that also aims for concentration, practicing aiming for a target, and fine motor skills. If there are spills, your children learn to clean up after themselves. Once they are able to control their movements and pour accurately, they can pour their own water during snack time and throughout the day. Another step towards independence! Later on they will be able to to pour a drink for others as it is part of our Grace and Courtesy curriculum.

Another exercise your children enjoyed this week was hammering wooden golf tees into a pumpkin using a wooden mallet. A point of interest for them was to see the golf tee getting inside the pumpkin and be able to hit the golf tee with the mallet using all the strength they had.

Your children also helped in the process of preparing homemade playdough for the classroom and had a great time learning to shape balls and snakes out of it as a group activity!

This week children learned the song open-shut and we introduced the concept of big-small to go with some of our concrete materials on the Sensorial shelf.

To end this note, we want to thank each of the parents that donated books for our classroom! We appreciate it so much, especially each of our students!

Enjoy the pictures!


Some of our Favorite Things!

The children are enjoying a variety of activities and works these days. Included in the photos are several posting activities in which the children use their hand-eye coordination to manipulate various materials and place them through a hole or onto a post.

Other favorite times in our class include “circle time” and music class. Both of these events incorporate movement, rhythm, and simple, repetitive lyrics.