Mrs. Hood’s Class: The Secret of Perfection!

“To have learned something for the child is only a point of departure. When he has learned the meaning of an exercise, then he begins to enjoy repeating it, and he does repeat it an infinite number of times, with the most evident satisfaction”- Maria Montessori – The Montessori Method

Children had a great time this week exploring and repeating some of the new materials in the environment. In a Montessori environment, repetition does not necessarily mean that the child has to engage in the same exact work over and over again. Anything that provides the child with practice of a previously learned skill, including extensions and games, is repetition. Dr. Montessori said, “Repetition is the secret of perfection.”

Through repetitive exploration your children are able to look at a material from different angles and explore it, letting it become part of their understanding of the world. At the same time, it allows them to self-critique: they look at how they are doing something and make slight changes in order to perfect the action, making it more efficient. The Montessori environment is designed to support exactly this kind of learning. Children choose their own work, allowing their interest to guide them to a choice. They are drawn by desire and that allows them to return to an activity with frequency, working with it until they have perfected it. It is, in fact, a developmental need. A common phrase you can hear in our environment is the children saying: “I want to do it again!” Dr. Montessori wrote, “When a child has attained this stage, of repeating an exercise, he is on the way to self-development, and the external sign of this condition is his self-discipline.”

On another note, children enjoyed exploring a ruby red grapefruit for food tasting. It was a fun and tangy experience! 🙂

With the goal of building confidence and encouraging verbal expression we also introduced a new game where the children get the opportunity to be the teacher and lead their peers during circle times. This week, children chose a song to lead and the boost of confidence was so visible to observe when the other peers would follow their lead! There were big smiles and giggling all around! It was precious! We will continue to add these types of exercises to our morning routines!

Your children are blooming and we are honored to witness it.


Mrs. Wilson: Tis the Season For Tissues

In a Montessori toddler classroom we prepare the environment so the child can easily access the things they need to become independent. The winter time is perfect for the children to learn to clean their nose. This is one of our many practical life lessons. Our nose blowing station is set up in front of a mirror with a box of tissues on a shelf. First we model for the child how to use the tissue and then we work with them until we see they are able to clean their noses independently. We gently tell them, “I see you have mucus, go look in the mirror and squeeze your nose with a tissue.” They are taught to throw away the tissue and wash their hands. We not only teach them this lesson for independence, but also to show that that we care about their well being.
“But no one really teaches them how they should blow their noses. When I tried to do so, they…indicated that I had not only treated them with justice but had enabled them to get a new standing in society…I have come to appreciate the fact that children have a deep sense of personal dignity.” – Maria Montessori

Food tasting: This week the children tasted hearts of palm. This was the teachers’ first time as well. It was delicious and all the children tasted it. They all asked for seconds and some asked for thirds.

When the temperatures are 32 degrees or more, including windchill, we will go outside. Please remember to bring in snow pants and snow boots at the beginning of your child’s week.

Best,
Mrs. Wilson, Ms. Sara, and Ms. Heather


Mrs. Hood’s Class: Absorbing Minds At Work

Maria Montessori used the scientific method to study children’s natural learning processes. She found that the child absorbs the culture they are in effortlessly and without fatigue between the ages of 0 – 6. Whatever the child is exposed to is internalized by the child and accepted into the child’s own being, imprinted on their soul. If a child is surrounded with music, the child will be a musical person. If a child hears their parents singing, the child will sing. If a child sees their parents dancing, the child will dance. She called this the child’s “absorbent mind.”

In addition to our music enrichment class every Thursday, children are exposed to meaningful music experiences everyday. They learn the names of the instruments they are playing and they learn how to properly play them. This week, we focused on the importance of being polite and waiting until everybody gets their instrument before selecting a song and grabbing their instrument to play! Children were directed to recognize hand gestures for tempo, dynamics, and their favorite: the closing of the song. They all love to hold their fists up and watch how everybody’s instrument stops at the same time! Their smiles say it all! We call this our “band time.”

Another highlight of this week was the introduction of a beloved work by all the children: a baby doll. Her name is Rosie. Through this work children practice grace and courtesy, gentleness, and a lot of patience since everybody wants to take care of the baby. Children enjoyed this work so much! Some of them cuddle Rosie with such a care, others explored her body parts using it as an enrichment of vocabulary work. They worked together to make sure Rosie felt loved. They read, sang and kissed her. They walked her around and showed her the environment. Some of them even gave her lessons. Children also role played by taking turns to be the baby and getting into the crib while other classmates took care of them. It was so precious! We want to thank Ms. Ulacco and Ms. Benoit for using their talents in making for us the beautiful baby’s crib bedding. Children loved this work! We can’t wait to present to them the feeding and bathing extensions of this work.

Based on our winter theme, we introduced in the language area an object to picture matching work focused on arctic animals. Children learned to recognize a harp seal, an arctic fox, a killer whale, a walrus, a husky, a caribou, an arctic rabbit, a beluga whale, a polar bear, and they also received a lesson on what is an igloo.

For food tasting we explored hearts of palm. As children observed this food they asked if it was a cheese stick or a tortilla. 🙂 They learned that this vegetable comes from the inner core of a palm tree. At the moment of tasting it only a couple of children really enjoyed it and asked for more, however all loved the slimy exploration of this vegetable.

We hope you all enjoyed the long weekend, and this beautiful and unusual January weather.


Mrs.Wilson: Building Language

The children all enjoyed a new group activity this week. This activity will be part of our daily routine from now on. Each morning when all the children have arrived we use photos of the children to see who is present or absent. We hold up the photo and the children say who it is. If that child is present they may do a little dance. We show excitement for that child to let them know that we are happy they are here. If the child is not at school due to not feeling well we tell them. For example, Greyson is not here, he is not feeling well. I hope he feels better soon. This helps model empathy for our friends. At the end, the children join me as we count each of them that are present. This activity builds language, empathy, happiness, exposure to counting, a sense of belonging, and group.

Another language activity we added is the beginning, middle and end sequence cards. This set shows a sheep, a ball of yarn, and a knitted hat.

Food Tasting: Cauliflower (raw and steamed). These children amaze me! We had another successful food tasting and they all pretty much liked steamed cauliflower. Some enjoyed the crunchiness of the uncooked version.

Have a wonderful week!


Mrs. Wilson: New Year, New Friend, New Growth!

It was great to see all our little friends after being away for two weeks. We also welcomed our new friend Lennox! We sure did miss them and they seemed to miss us and their peers. They came back ready to get busy with all the new materials. This month we are exploring arctic animals and all things winter.

One of our new lessons is arctic animal object-to-picture matching. Object to picture matching helps build vocabulary. In this instance, they are exposed to the words arctic hare, arctic fox, orca, harp seal, husky, walrus, beluga whale, and polar bear. The toddlers also start making object-photo connections. For example, holding the object polar bear and seeing the photo of the polar bear. This connection is stored in their brains later for reading. This lesson also exercises the left to right hand movement, which prepares them for future writing.

Food Tasting: Beets!!! We explored a raw beet with the stem and leaves and tasted canned beets. I was surprised by how many of our children could not wait to taste more.

We were so excited to be able to get outside a few times this week. It has been quite some time since the children have seen the playground due to the temperature being below 32°.
The children had a surprise waiting for them outside. Ms. Sara donated 4 big Tonka trucks. Thank you, Ms.Sara!

As always enjoy the photos!
Mrs.Wilson, Ms. Sara, and Ms. Heather


Mrs. Hood’s Class: Little Snowflakes

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 it 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! Ms. Lizette, Ms. Maria and I love partnering with you through this adventure!

Your children transitioned peacefully after the break and they arrived eager and ready to explore the environment and all the new works on the shelves. For the next month we will focus on our Winter studies, using water as a main object for conversations and sensorial experiences. This week we introduced one of the conditions of water that is truly magical: snowflakes. Children learned that even though snowflakes have in common symmetry and a hexagonal structure, the detailed structures of the snowflakes are totally different. I can’t stop thinking how the individuality of a snowflake is parallel to human life. Each one of your children are so unique and so precious and we are grateful we are able to “contemplate” them as they grow and continue to share their beauty.

At the end of the week, children enjoyed choosing their favorite stencil to paint their own snowflake, not forgetting the magical touch of glitter as the last detail.

Another highlight of this week was the addition of the rocking moose and the slide to our climbing structure. There is a sense of exhilaration in the life of a child when using slides, no matter how big or small they are. Apart from promoting balance, coordination, and spatial awareness, this exercise promotes positive social skills. Children learn to play together and take turns. Children learn to be patient and tolerant and they increase their communication skills.

As part of our Enrichment of Vocabulary curriculum we added opposites to our language works. It’s so great to see your children purposely observing and verbally communicating while enjoying finding the matching opposite cards.

For food tasting children seem to enjoy using all their senses in the exploration of a beet! Its leaves looked like hair for some of the children and the roots of it were fun to touch. Most of the children were not too enthusiastic about tasting this food, but at least some of them liked it and asked for more!

As we continue to enjoy our winter season, please make sure your child brings a labeled bag with winter gear inside. This includes: snow pants, waterproof mittens with mittens clips, snow boots, winter hat and winter jacket. Feel free to leave it in your child’s locker as we will use it, weather permitting.


Ms. Hood’s Class: Season’s Greetings!

 

And just like that, our first trimester comes to an end, filled with great moments and stories to tell. Your children have grown a little bit more and we feel honored to be able to see them unfolding so beautifully. Thank you for all your support and trust. We love partnering with you in this adventure.

May the holiday season fill your home with joy, your heart with love, and your life with laughter.

May 2020 be a great year for all of us!

Enjoy the fun pictures from our Pajama Holiday celebration!

See you next year! 🙂


Mrs. Wilson: The Magic of the Holidays

There is a magical feeling this time of the year. Through the hustle and bustle there is a sense of peace and joy. As caregivers of our youngest students at Fraser Woods Montessori we get to experience that magic everyday when we are with them. It is through them and their contagious smile and the joy they bring we get to experience and feel it. How blessed we are! These children are the teachers of the classroom and they teach us so much. So no matter how crazy this time of the year is, just remember to take a moment, sit back and watch your child, and experience the magic.

Ms. Sara, Ms. Heather, and I want to say a huge thank you to you all for entrusting us with your little blessings.
Have a wonderful Holiday, make lots of wonderful memories and see you in 2020!

Please enjoy the photos from this week of our PJ and Pancake Day!