Mrs. Wilson: Tis the Season

On November 27th Mrs. Hood’s and Mrs.Wilson’s toddler class came together to read The Thankful Book by Todd Parr. The children were then invited to sit together at the table and enjoy the bread each class made. The event ended with our favorite activity and all the toddlers joined Mrs. Hood and me in a fun dance party! I am so thankful for the wonderful toddler team and all the toddlers that bring us so much joy!

This week the children entered into the environment with lots of new and exciting lessons on the shelf. On the refinement of the hand shelves, the children have many lessons to choose from that represent the holiday season. From a mini tree to hang ornaments on to a wooden Menorah that they can put candles into. The children also enjoyed shaking jingle bells while dancing to Jingle Bell Rock.

Our food tasting activity was presented a little differently this week. The children had a lesson on how to peel a clementine. After each child tasted the clementines, this lesson was stationed at a table for them to peel and enjoy with a little assistance.

Enjoy!
Mrs. Wilson, Sara, and Heather


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

What a short fun week we had! We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving break with your loved ones and got to enjoy some fun time outdoors with your little ones on our first snow of the season.

This week we gather together with all the children and said good bye to autumn, giving a big welcoming to winter! Using the book Mouse’s First Snow by Lauren Thompson, we got to discuss the different things we can do during the winter. This created conversations and some children got to express their favorite things to do during this new season. We LOVE watching your children grow and be able to put into words what they are thinking!

This week we also introduced painting on the easel. There are three main objectives of this exercise. First, the development of hand-eye coordination. Dipping the paintbrush in and out of the paint pot requires a steady hand and a keen eye, working simultaneously. Second, small motor control. Holding the paintbrush and whooshing it across the paper in the direction you want it to go is hard work when you’re small. Think of all the pre-writing skills they are learning just by holding the brush! Third, and I have to say my favorite goal, creative independence! There are no rules when it comes to painting. There is no predetermined product, just a process. The children can plan their own painting, from start to finish without any interference from adult rules or directions. The only thing they must remember is to paint only on the paper. Their sense of satisfaction after they finish their masterpiece is just incredible to witness!

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.

As we enter the holiday season new works have been introduced. Some of the favorites have been placing little ornaments onto the Christmas tree, placing candles on the Menorah, putting together the seasons puzzle, making gingerbread men with our homemade gingerbread playdough, transferring and spooning ornaments, and flipping pretend latkes in the pan.

For food tasting we explored and tasted clementines. The children loved it!

Some new books your children seemed to enjoy are: Hannukah Is Coming by Tract Newman, The Child In the Manger by Liesbet Slegers, and Germs Are Not For Sharing by Elizabeth Verdick.


Mrs. Wilson: Bread Making

The week started off with the children learning a new lesson. We added color circle dots and the whole set of our weighted balls to the movement area. The weighted balls gradate from lightest to heaviest. The children place the dots along the wall and carry each ball one at a time to the matching color starting with the lightest and ending with the heaviest. Some children continue this work by stacking the balls up starting with the heaviest and ending with the lightest. They then complete the lesson by putting them back onto the shelf.

We ended our week with baking vegan pumpkin bread. Each child had a chance to add the dry ingredients into the bowl and help stir in the wet ingredients. Then a couple of friends helped carry the uncooked bread to the oven. Next week we will gather together with the other toddler class and share one loaf of the delicious bread that we made. We will share the second loaf of bread with the rest of the FWM community.

Food tasting this week was acorn squash. The children got to feel, smell, and taste the squash. Most seemed to really enjoy this delicious vegetable and had seconds or thirds.

Enjoy the photos,
Mrs. Wilson, Miss. Sara, and Miss. Heather


Mrs. Hood’s Class: Thanksgiving Prep!

As families across the U.S. are preparing for one of the biggest holidays of the year, our children have been preparing for the Thanksgiving festivities! This week we introduced the concept of color mixing to the children. Using coffee filters in the shape of maple leaves, children discovered that when mixing red and yellow we can create orange! Children were excited to see the water moving and creating new colors! There is tremendous joy that floods a child’s spirit when they discover a transformation happening in front of them. We love color mixing because it’s a process that helps to develop a love of learning. We can’t wait to discover new colors together!

We also had a great time baking our vegan banana bread. Children learned names of ingredients and had the opportunity to touch, smell, see, measure, and mix all the ingredients. We can’t wait to share the fruit of our work with other students in the FWM community at the sharing bread event in honor of Thanksgiving next week! We can’t wait as well to share a special time with our friends in the younger toddler room for our own Toddler Thanksgiving bash! It’s going to be epic! Stay tuned!


Mrs.Wilson: Help Me To Do It Myself

In a Toddler Montessori classroom, we strive for the child to be independent. It is not because it lessens the work for the adults, it is because this instills inside of the children to do for themselves. Our job is to guide them by modeling for them so they can be successful in their independence. One of Dr. Maria Montessori’s well-known quotes is “Help me to do it myself.”

This means we allow children the time and space to struggle and figure out how to do whatever activity it is they are trying to master; from taking off and putting on shoes, serving themselves snack, or using the materials on the shelf. So why do we allow them to struggle? Simply because what comes after a struggle is the achievement; that they accomplished the task themselves. From this, builds confidence and with that, the love of learning.

These past few weeks we have seen such a growth in independence and with that, we have seen and heard the children have that intrinsic pride come shining out. Some quotes from the children that we heard were: “I did it!” “Fa fa my shoe on!” While some were verbal about their success, others have shown us their beautiful proud smiles. It doesn’t matter if they have their shoes on the wrong feet, or their coat is on upside down, the fact is that they worked so very hard and THEY DID IT!! One thing we have to be very careful of is saying “good job” because we want the children to do for themselves and not for us.

“The child who has never learned to work by himself, to set goals for his own acts, or to be the master of his own force of will is recognizable in the adult who lets others guide him and feels a constant need for the approval of others.” -Maria Montessori

This week the children explored corn for food tasting. Some tried to eat the corn right off the cob. They seemed to really enjoy this food.

Lastly, a huge thank you to all the parents for signing the photo release forms for my Montessori training course. Thank you for supporting me!

Mrs. Wilson, Miss Sara, and Miss Heather


Mrs. Hood’s Class: Move and Build!

 

“Movement, or physical activity, is thus an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the impressions received from outside. Through movement we come in contact with external reality, and it is through these contacts that we eventually acquire even abstract ideas.” –Maria Montessori

One of the main advantages of our prepared environment is the opportunity for children to move freely! Children engage with the materials as long as they want and are able to choose activities that perfect different skills – all while they think they are just playing!

One of the most popular areas in our environment is the movement area. The children seem to love climbing the stairs and finding their reflection on the big mirror. They enjoy jumping on the trampoline, balancing, climbing and jumping from the balancing board, spinning in the bilibo seat, and carrying heavy objects or, better yet, carrying their peers around the classroom in our wagon. This week we also introduced oversized blocks for building and imagination. Children exercise their need for maximum effort through this work and it offers a great opportunity for problem solving and bonding with a peer.

In addition to this, our toddlers have access to the gym all week at different times! We are so thankful for it, since we truly are able to “follow the child” and adjust activities according to their needs without interrupting their work cycle. Children enjoy climbing and jumping on the mats. They love running as fast as they can! They also enjoy playing with the balls and learning the basics of soccer.

On another note, one of our most popular works this week was hammering golf tees into a pumpkin using a wooden mallet. They also enjoyed corn for food tasting. New vocabulary words such as corn kernels, husk, cob, and silk were introduced.


Mrs. Wilson: Pikler Triangle

Toddlers need movement, lots of movement. Movement is a huge part of toddlers’ development. Besides the obvious development such as coordination, balance, muscle and bone strengthening, movement is also essential for a toddler because as they move they are awakening parts of their brain. It promotes chemical changes in the body which stimulate neural pathways.

This week we introduced the Pikler Triangle. The Pikler Triangle was developed over 100 years ago by a Hungarian pediatrician named Dr. Emmi Pikler. This equipment can be used with children as young as 6 months.
It was amazing to watch the children walk over to this new piece of equipment in their environment and try to figure out what it was; we sat back quietly to watch what they would do with it. Of course, right away they knew they wanted to climb it. Some children carefully stepped up on to each rung and only climbed until they were comfortable and climbed back down the same side they were standing on. Some quickly climbed to the top and then carefully over and down the other side. Then we had a few who only wanted to experience the ramp and slide down. A couple of children even created a little hideout where we could hear them being silly together and giggling.
They are learning what their own boundaries and limits are and will grow to use the Pikler Triangle at their own pace.

Global Culinary Night is Thursday, November 14th, from 6:00-7:00 pm.

This community event is for FWM families to gather together and share a unique dish from their cultural, ethnic, or regional background while also sampling dishes from other FWM families’ cultures. The dish can be homemade or purchased from a local restaurant. We hope you join us as we celebrate the wonderful cultural diversity at our school! This is an entire family event not be missed. Kindly RSVP by November 11th.  RSVP here today.

Mrs. Hood’s Class: The Power of Trust!

Children have a natural attraction to animals of all kinds. Research shows that humans’ innate interest in animals is biological: we are drawn to species that are “other” than human and in many cases have an instinct to want to care for or nurture creatures that are small and vulnerable. This week we introduced forest animals in our Language area. Through a concrete lesson and short, meaningful videos, children observed these animals in the forest and learned some specific facts about black bears, foxes, owls, moose, and beavers. We learned that black bears have sharp claws. They climb trees. Foxes have bushy tails. Foxes are members of the dog family. Owls have large eyes. They are active at night. Moose have a big body. Some of them have big antlers. Beavers have big front teeth. They have a broad tail. Beavers build dams using mud and wood. Using models to represent these animals, children repeated these facts to teachers and peers, practicing the use of two to three word sentences with the new descriptive vocabulary acquired.

Another highlight of this week was in the area of self-care in practical life. Children learned how to respectfully use a glass pitcher and serve themselves water in real glasses throughout the morning. In our environment we use porcelain and glass purposely. Their use empowers and allows children to use ‘real’ things, shows the children we trust and respect them, lets the children know that they are capable and that we respond to their abilities, and helps them develop their skills. We give them the opportunity to learn natural consequences: drop a glass and it will break. Children learn and adjust their movements to protect the fragility of their environment.

Needless to say, children were pretty hydrated this week since they found the activity quite attractive, and there were no broken glasses at all. Don’t be surprised if the water bottles start going back home quite full. This means your child is busy practicing this new skill.

For food tasting we introduced pomenagrates. As always, children were curious and excited! It was certainly a juicy experience and 98% of the class enjoyed every bit.

We All Go Traveling by Barefoot books, We All Sing With the Same Voice by J. Philip Miller, and The Thankful Book by Todd Parr were the books most requested this week!

Global Culinary Night is Thursday, November 14th, from 6:00-7:00 pm.

This community event is for FWM families to gather together and share a unique dish from their cultural, ethnic, or regional background while also sampling dishes from other FWM families’ cultures. The dish can be homemade or purchased from a local restaurant. We hope you join us as we celebrate the wonderful cultural diversity at our school! This is an entire family event not be missed. Kindly RSVP by November 11th.  RSVP here today.