Mrs. Hood: Nurturing Gratitude and Discovery

Showing gratitude is an important part of who we are as humans. It strengthens our relationships and our connection to our communities and even makes us happier and more compassionate people.

Although adults understand the worth of expressing gratitude, young children find it more difficult. Gratitude involves being sensitive and empathetic to others and truly appreciating what others do for you. While children can quickly learn to say please and thank you, it takes time and guidance to help them truly learn to be grateful. Dr. Montessori implicitly understood the value of fostering a grateful nature in children and helping them become compassionate citizens of the world.

Our Montessori environment places a significant emphasis on gratitude, a value that came to life in our heartwarming Thanksgiving ceremony last week. Students from various levels shared their gratitude in diverse ways and languages, creating a memorable and inclusive experience. Afterward, as we gathered in our classroom to share bread, the warmth of the morning was amplified by the support of our community. We extend our heartfelt thanks to each of you for contributing to the success of this beautiful occasion!

I find The Thankful Book by Todd Parr a great resource to use with toddlers when we are learning about Gratitude. They really enjoyed the book, and I highly recommend it for all families to have at home. It has been great to hear our verbal toddlers start expressing thankfulness.

Shifting gears, this week unfolded with an exploration of forest animals in our Language area. Children 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 and build dams using mud and wood. Using models and real pictures to represent and match these animals, children explored, observed, and repeated these facts, practicing the use of two to three-word sentences with the new descriptive vocabulary acquired.

In the movement area, we presented a new balance board, and children have been creatively exploring its many uses! This board stimulates the vestibular system, supports muscles responsible for the correct posture, develops the sense of balance, and supports the development of the sense of proprioception. It’s a favorite in our environment these days.

For food tasting, we explored a pomegranate, and this fruit was a hit! Children seemed curious about how the fruit looked on the inside, and they enjoyed watching the seeds just popping out and falling easily into the bowl. Eating pomegranate is like enjoying some little candies, so I wasn’t surprised children loved it!

Have a great weekend,

Mrs. Hood and Ms. Mollie

Mrs. Sargeant: A Peek at the Week

Last week, along with the entire school community, we ushered in the season of gratitude. The Middle School hosted a Thanksgiving celebration, symbolizing the spirit of kindness and unity. Students from each level, Primary – Middle School, presented The Story of the Four Elements and then, a group of students, teachers, and staff, shared cultural blessings of gratitude in the native language of that culture, before sharing the bread that was baked by all the students. Our class sat quietly, completely enthralled and excited to see the familiar faces of their middle school mentors. 

Special thanks to the Huttemann and Sabath families for generously providing all the ingredients so that we could bake banana-blueberry bread to contribute to the special gathering. The children absolutely loved the entire baking process – washing hands, mashing, measuring, mixing, stirring, sniffing, bringing the bread to and from the oven, and finally tasting the bread. (The children made muffins to share as a class, but we baked bread to share at the communal feast.)

A few favorites from the week have been reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you Hear? Reading, singing, and acting out I’m Going on a Bear Hunt, and singing  Give Yourself a Bear Hug by Stephanie Leavell.

Wishing you all a perfect balance of relaxation and fun this weekend, Christine & Lizette

Mrs. Wilson: Baked With Love

A few weeks back, the kids teamed up with Ms. Lacy and Ms. Eryn to whip up some community love in the form of delicious orange cranberry bread. Taking turns, they added, zested, and mixed ingredients, turning our classroom into a baking haven.

The following Monday, the young chefs tried their hands at homemade butter, sprinkling in a bit of salt and heavy cream. Each took a turn shaking the jar until the liquid became a solid.

The next day, we joined the whole school for a heartwarming Thanksgiving celebration. From the primary level to the eighth graders, everyone shared poems, prayers, and gratitude. Back in our classroom, we savored the tasty fruits of their labor – the delightful bread and butter they crafted together. Community, creativity, and a dash of buttery goodness – the perfect recipe for togetherness.

This week, the children are finishing up lessons about woodland animals and fall. Soon, we’ll dive into the holiday season and celebrations. We also celebrated a friend’s birthday with cupcakes and her favorite book, Pete The Kitty’s First Day of Preschool, by Kimberly and James Dean.

Food Tasting: This was the first time I introduced baby spinach as a food-tasting item. Even though there was not much to explore compared to other produce we had tasted, I was surprised to see all of our friends tasting it. And most of them wanted more servings.

Peace and Love,

Cynthia and Sara

Mrs. Sargeant: A Peek at the Week

Our class gathered with the other toddler classes this week for a Diwali celebration. Diwali is a five-day festival that is observed around the world, and its rituals vary by region. Diwali represents new beginnings and the victory of light over darkness, good over evil. It is the triumph of righteousness, knowledge in place of ignorance. Homes are brightly illuminated with diyas (candles) and oil lamps, and people decorate their homes with rangoli. People also often wear new fine clothes and jewelry and celebrate with family and friends.

Ms. Paromita, along with a couple of toddler parents, including Arhan’s mom, Supreeti, were dressed in traditional Indian attire and provided our children with a wonderful opportunity to experience the beauty of Indian culture. Our children were mesmerized by the sights and sounds! Ms. Paromita danced to Indian music in her gorgeous attire while the hallway was decorated with beautiful and meaningful items related to Diwali. 

Next, the children were able to taste homemade laddu (thank you, Supreeti!) and decorate paper diyas. We are so grateful to all who shared their culture!

The children tasted pomegranate at the end of last week, which most found to be a delicious treat. This week, we tasted both raw cranberries (a huge hit!) and homemade cranberry sauce (thanks to Jaxxon’s family!) The children were fascinated when we cut both of these fruits open. 

Wishing all of your families a healthy, restful weekend!

Christine & Lizette


Mrs. Wilson: Little Adventurers and Celebrating Diwali

In the enchanting realm of our toddler classroom, there’s a captivating transformation unfolding—the delightful transition from parallel play to cooperative adventures. While our younger companions explore the nuances of parallel play, the older children are weaving together imaginative exploits on the playground.

A whimsical saga commenced with a simple pile of leaves ingeniously placed on the slide by two adventurous souls. Once the others caught on to the fun, more of the children joined in. What ensued was a collaborative masterpiece, each child taking turns, sliding down to craft an ever-growing cushion of leaves. A symphony of laughter echoed as they collaborated in gathering more leaves, sharing in the sheer joy and excitement of their collective creation.

The enchantment continued the next day as the slide metamorphosed into a towering mountain to conquer. One brave explorer would ascend, calling for a friend’s helping hand to reach the summit. Witnessing this magical camaraderie unfold was a joyous spectacle, a testament to the bonds and creativity flourishing within our cherished classroom.

On Thursday, the enchantment in our toddler classroom reached new heights as the children gathered for a captivating Diwali presentation curated by our very own Ms. Paromita and two dedicated toddler parents. Ms. Paromita adorned the space with meaningful decorations and shared items of cultural significance. Engaging the little ones, she read a delightful book about the celebration of Diwali, transporting them to the vibrant traditions of her heritage.

As the rhythmic beats of music filled the air, Ms. Paromita danced with grace, inviting the children to join in the festivities. Awe-struck faces lit up with joy as some toddlers eagerly embraced the opportunity to dance alongside Ms. Paromita, creating a heartwarming scene of cultural exchange and celebration.

After the presentation, the children headed back to their classroom to savor a delicious treat, Laddu. Amidst smiles and laughter, they also engaged in a creative activity, painting paper Diya —a colorful expression of the cultural richness shared during this special day.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to Ms. Paromita and the toddler parents for enriching our classroom with this beautiful Diwali experience, fostering a spirit of unity, appreciation, and creative exploration among our young adventurers.

Food Tasting: We tasted a tart raw cranberry and some amazing homemade cranberry sauce. Almost everyone devoured the sauce.

Love and Light,

Cynthia and Sara

Mrs. Hood: Let the festivities begin!!!

As families worldwide eagerly embrace the upcoming holiday season, we at the school are equally enthusiastic and ready to join in the festive spirit.

One of the main highlights of this week was our baking day, preparing for our Thanksgiving celebration next Tuesday. Children listened to the names of ingredients and had the opportunity to touch, smell, watch, and help with the mixing of the ingredients of a delicious Vegan banana bread.  On Monday, the whole class will work together to prepare homemade butter as well. We can’t wait to celebrate and take time to let our thankful hearts speak. 

This week, the toddlers also embarked on a colorful and joyous journey as they celebrated the festival of lights, Diwali! 

Diwali represents new beginnings and the victory of light over darkness, good over evil. It is the triumph of righteousness, knowledge in place of ignorance. 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. People also often wear new fine clothes and jewelry and celebrate with family and friends.

The little ones had a blast immersing themselves in the vibrant traditions of this Indian festival. The children were treated to a beautiful presentation and a mesmerizing Indian dance performance that left our little ones wide-eyed and enchanted, and they immediately joined the fun as the dancer, our wonderful Paromita, invited them to join in. 

No Diwali celebration is complete without indulging in some mouthwatering treats, and our toddlers were no exception! The children enjoyed the delicious taste of Laddu, a popular Indian sweet that symbolizes the sweetness of life. 

In the spirit of creativity, the toddlers got their hands dirty (literally!)  with some Diya crafts. With vibrant colors and a whole lot of imagination, our toddlers crafted their own unique Diyas. 

A big shout out to Neetha Desai for the amazing Diwali gift bags donated for each toddler and volunteering in our class, to Supreeti Saikia for the yummy Laddus, and of course, to Paromita Dutt-Kunzweiler for organizing this beautiful event.

Lastly, the children enjoyed some plantains as the weekly food-tasting lesson, and my Latino heart couldn’t be happier seeing the children enjoy this food item.

As we finish this week, our hearts are filled with gratitude and joy, thankful for the rich cultural experiences that shape our learning environment.

Enjoy the pics, 

Mrs. Hood and Ms. Mollie 

Mrs. Sargeant: A Peek at the Week

The highlight of the week was our visit with Firefighter Bill from the Botsford Rescue Squad. We were able to see the firefighters’ gear and equipment and even climb into the truck! We talked about the different colors firetrucks can be, the parts of the truck (ladder, wheels, hose, steering wheel), and the loud sound the siren makes. This was a fun experience for our toddlers and a great opportunity to begin to instill a sense of respect and admiration for the brave first responders who keep our community safe. 

As part of our pumpkin-tasting experience, we cut and scooped the seeds and pulp from a pumpkin. All of the children were invited to participate in the scooping and to use all their senses for a full experience. Every child was eager to taste the pumpkin. We tasted both roasted and canned pumpkin. While the enthusiasm in the room was buzzing as they were being served, many of their faces changed after having a taste. I really wish we had been able to capture some of their expressions! Perhaps you’d like to try again at home .. maybe even add some cinnamon. 

We have been learning the names of body parts and what each part does and singing songs such as “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes’, and  ‘Do You Know Your Body Parts?’ (You can listen below)

We’re loving our days with your children. It is truly amazing to witness their growth week to week. Thank you for entrusting us with their care!

Happy weekend! -Christine & Lizette

Mrs. Hood: 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 decoding and reading. 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.

Our Toddler environment is set up in a specific way, looking to sharpen and challenge these skills while meeting your child exactly where they are developmentally. Each material is displayed in progressive order, from easiest to hardest and from left to right. This logical structure encourages children to organize their thinking and to absorb the outcome of the material at their own pace. The left-to-right orientation of the materials also assists children with preparation for reading and writing, aligning with the natural processing flow of the brain. By engaging in activities that demand hand-eye coordination, your children are actively stimulating their cognitive faculties, fostering attention, memory, and problem-solving skills.

Some of the most popular works in our environment these days, sharpening these skills, are spooning acorns, sorting leaves and pumpkins, pouring water, water transferring with a dropper, sunflower stickers, draining and spooning cranberries, cubes nesting, putting the scarecrow together, jigsaw puzzles, ring box, using a roller and a leaf stamp with the playdough and many more.

As a fun activity, the children got to enjoy the visit from the Botsford Fire Department this week. We were surprised to see the firetruck was green instead of red and learned that as we are most sensitive to greenish-yellow colors under dim conditions, these firetrucks are easier to see in low lighting. Children received a tour of the firetruck, and they even got to see me dressed like a firefighter! 🙂

For food tasting, children explored cranberries. They seemed to be in awe of the flower shape and tiny seeds that we found when we cut a small cranberry, and most of them enjoyed tasting the cranberry sauce.

Children also have been learning the names of different types of leaves and enjoy observing, finding, and of course, playing with them on the playground!

Enjoy the pictures,

Mrs. Hood and Ms. Mollie