Mrs. Wilson: Fancy Food Prep Impromptu

This week’s snack options gave the children an opportunity to acquire some food prep skills. They seemed to enjoy each lesson as well as using tools they may not usually have the opportunity to use at home. Children are enthusiastic about helping out especially when it comes to cooking.

Banana Slicing

On Monday the children used a fruit and vegetable wavy chopper to make “fancy” slices of bananas to enjoy for a snack.

Eggshell Peeling and Slicing

Eggshell peeling is great for their fine motor skills. It exercises their pincer grasp as they carefully remove the fragile pieces of shells. The multi-step task is also a wonderful way to build concentration. It was incredible to watch the children accomplish this very productive task.

Feel free to add hard-boiled eggs to your next snack list.

Food Tasting: Carrots

Look at these gorgeous colorful carrots the children were able to explore! We talked about how carrots are a root vegetable and grow underground. I cut the carrots lengthwise in half to explore the inside. The children were surprised that, unlike the orange and white carrot, the purple carrot was not all one color. The purple carrot’s middle layer was yellow. Fun Fact: Pretty much all carrots used to be purple!

Have a wonderful break!
Mrs. Wilson, Ms. Sara, and Ms. Heather

Mrs. Wilson: A Peaceful March

If you were to be able to walk into the classroom you could pretty much guess what the main focus is about. Everywhere you turn you will see lessons with primary colors, rainbow order colors on them. The rainbow is a symbol of peace. We see this beautiful peace when the children are welcomed to find new lessons on the shelf. A simple change can bring the most amazing peace and focus.

On Monday morning the children were included in helping switch out the February themed lessons for March themed lessons. There is a joy and ownership that the children gain when they are part of creating their environment. They helped hand me the trays and sort out the objects to be packed away. They also set up the new lessons on the tray and placed them on the shelf. To continue their interest with colors we added more lessons that expose them to primary colors and color matching. This will tie into a very special color mixing lesson they will receive when we return from break.

I introduced another practical life lesson to a couple of children this week. For the next few weeks the children will learn how to wash a table. We use a designated yellow caddie to hold the supplies they need to do this task. In this caddie is a yellow apron, a yellow cloth, and a spray bottle. Once all the children are shown the process, it will be available to use as needed.

Food Tasting: We started off by giving the children their own raw Brussels sprout to explore and taste. The children discovered that you can peel the leaves. Then all but one of the children tasted them steamed. Six of the children were practically begging for more.

Note: We are excited to let you know that all our toddlers who will be moving up to our Primary program in the Fall of 2020 will be visiting a Primary classroom next week with the goal of getting them acquainted with the environment and teachers. Kindergarten students can’t wait to welcome our toddlers and work together in the environment. It’s going to be a great experience for all!

Mrs. Hood’s Class: Rainbows and Energy!

Color recognition can provide children with essential learning tools in life. For example, in mathematics, color recognition is used to categorize, sort, compare, and organize. Additionally, as children learn to identify colors and use color as a language tool to describe things, it develops and strengthens their ability to communicate effectively.

Colors are part of our daily lessons using the different materials, games, books, songs, and activities in our environment. However, this week we focused on studying the colors of the rainbow and children just loved it!

Even our show and tell time focused on children’s favorite colors. As expected, children enjoyed showing the items they brought and talking about them with their peers.

Children also enjoyed working on creating a beautiful rainbow marbled sun catcher using glue and food coloring. We can’t wait to use them to decorate our classroom windows!

We had the great privilege to have our first parent volunteer working with the children this week. Children learned to make delicious energy balls, using gluten free oats, ground flax, cinnamon, sea salt, sunbutter, honey, vanilla, and they had a choice to finish it up with either raisins or chocolate chips…or both! So yummy!!! Children really seemed to enjoy participating in the mixing of ingredients, the sensorial experience of making their own ball, and devouring their finished product! It was a great day!

Here is the recipe if you would like to try it at home!

We strongly encourage all parents to share their talents with the children and schedule a visit. Is always so much fun when the children invite their parents into our special “world” at school. We love it and also appreciate your support in following the guidelines to make these visits a successful event.

For food tasting, children enjoyed exploring rainbow carrots. That’s right! We studied the parts of purple, white and orange carrots! And we all enjoyed the sweetness and crunchiness of them! This vegetable received a standing ovation by all!

Note: We are excited to let you know that all our toddlers who will be moving up to our Primary program in the Fall of 2020 will be visiting a Primary classroom next week with the goal of  getting them acquainted  with the environment and teachers. Kindergarten students can’t wait to welcome our toddlers and work together in the environment. It’s going to be a great experience for all! 

Mrs. Wilson: Sensory Exploration and Color Matching

Some of our toddler children have shown us an interest in colors. This week I introduced a color matching work using colored frogs and colored dots. We started with a group lesson where the children picked a frog out of the basket. The child was asked if they knew what color it was and if they could put that frog on the matching dot. This lesson is now available on the shelf for the children to use.

Another fun activity the children enjoyed was splashing water and bubbles in the sensory bin. Some even thought it was fun to put bubbles on their faces. There was so much joy, laughter, bubbles, and water everywhere! This activity gave them the perfect opportunity to receive a lesson using the mop.

Food Tasting: Asparagus was not as big of a hit as the past foods they tried. Everyone tasted it but about five of the children asked for more.

To help with language and communication we implemented an old telephone into the classroom. This was a big hit and surprisingly the children knew what it was used for. It was fun to watch them hold the handset to their ear and talk into it.

Enjoy the rest of the photos!

Mrs. Wilson, Ms. Sara and Ms. Heather

Mrs. Hood’s Class: Show and Tell and More Fun!

Due to the increasing amount of vocabulary your children use and recognize now, this week we introduced an activity beloved by all the children: Show and Tell!

I personally love this activity because it provides an opportunity for your child to develop expressive language as they learn to create and construct language. This act involves organizing ideas in sequence so they will make sense when communicated with others, choosing the words to say, and constructing a clear syntax. It’s a lot of work for our little friends but they ALL did such an amazing job!

Another reason why we added this activity to our environment was because of the enhancement of confidence it gives to your child: As they share something of themselves with one another, they gain confidence in becoming the focus of the group’s attention. They find out others are interested in them, they discover that there are things that they know about, and they feel good about themselves doing it! It was truly priceless to see their smiling faces and how proud they felt when they had a turn to share.  It is never too early to start practicing public speaking and there is nothing better than allowing confidence to develop in a safe and familiar environment. Also, receptive language development is promoted as children listen to and comprehend the meaning of the speaker’s words. Children were so present, respectful and engaged in the activity that it seemed they didn’t want to miss anything!

As guides, we also use Show and Tell as an opportunity for observation and informal assessment of abilities. It gives us a lot of information about speech and language skills, social skills, emotional needs, levels of independence, and self-esteem, as well as children’s interest.

I cannot express how excited each child was to show their friends their favorite item and talk about it!  From the youngest to the oldest, from the most introverted to the most extroverted, the children were just so happy and engaged! We thank you all for your support and for taking the time to write those little notes in each child’s bags! It really helped us! We can’t wait for next Wednesday to come!

Children also enjoyed and engaged in all the new works in the environment throughout the week. They are truly like little busy bees!

For food tasting we explored Brussels sprouts. Some children really enjoyed it and some not too much. At least we got a request for our next food tasting: chocolate corn! What do you think?… I will try to figure out how we can make that possible while you enjoy this week’s pictures!

Have a good weekend!

Mrs. Hood’s Class: Normalization!

In Montessori education, the term “normalization” has a specialized meaning. “Normal” does not refer to what is considered to be “typical” or “average” or even “usual.” “Normalization” does not refer to a process of being forced to conform. Instead, Maria Montessori used the terms “normal” and “normalization” to describe a unique process she observed in child development.

Montessori observed that when children are allowed freedom in an environment suited to their needs, they blossom. After a period of intense concentration, working with materials that fully engage their interest, children appear to be refreshed and content. Through continued concentrated work of their own choice, children grow in inner discipline and peace. She called this process “normalization” and cited it as “the most important single result of our whole work (The Absorbent Mind, 1949).”

The children in our environment are on a great path to “normalization.” Every morning we get to see its signs! We also watch with joy how children have internalized the routines, and transitions are more peaceful! They recognize their friends and feel comfortable sharing and working together. Deep friendships are developing and expressions of love and care for each other are more evident.

In another note and in continuation with our winter studies, children made an imaginary trip to the south pole where they met a family of penguins. Children learned that penguins are birds that don’t fly. Penguins also swim in cold water and eat fish and other sea life they catch underwater. Penguins also spend half of their time on land and half time inside the water. Children enjoyed the sensorial exploration of touching the solid ice and submerging their hands inside the cold pool to help the family of model penguins swim and catch some food.

For food tasting, children enjoyed exploring asparagus! I remember presenting this food item last year to some of our current students. The result was not very positive then. However, this time most of the students kept asking for more! We hope this serves as encouragement to you in not giving up on reintroducing new foods to your toddlers. You (and they) will be surprised!

Mrs. Wilson: Sensitive Periods – Refinement of the Senses

Fascination with sensorial experiences (taste, sound, touch, weight, smell, etc.) results with the child learning to observe. Absorption of the world around us through our senses is crucial to development. It helps us refine our sensorial discrimination and supports the integration of primary reflexes. We all process the senses in varying ways. This is one reason why food tasting is an important part of the toddler curriculum. Exploring a variety of fruits and vegetables each week helps the toddler learn to categorize the different tastes, such as sweet, bitter, and sour. This week the children explored and tasted limes. Watching the children’s reaction to that first bite was comical, as you can see in the photos.

Mrs. Wilson, Ms.Sara and Ms. Heather

Mrs. Hood’s Class: Celebrating Friendship!

“A friend is one of the nicest things you can have and one of the best things you can be” – Douglas Pagels 

Children had a blast preparing for our Friendship Celebration! They exercised their fine motor skills to create their beautiful Valentine’s bags and they were super excited to share their valentines with each of their friends! We talked about the importance of being a good friend and ways we could demonstrate love and care for them. We focused on one expression that promotes happiness in our brains, a hug. Children had fun choosing friends to give big hugs! It was priceless!

Children also enjoyed a special homemade fruit salad during our friendship celebration! There was so much love in the air!

We thank you for all your donations to make this day so special!

We hope you have a great little break and a Happy Valentine’s Day!