Friday, April 20, 2018

Montessori Classroom News April 18, 2018

A special activity we introduced this week was planting seeds. Everyone helped with different parts of the process
With a small wooden tool, the older children can make little pots out of newspaper strips

Ready for planting!

Demonstration of how to fill newspaper pots with potting soil

Filling the pots
Adding a seed to each pot

Cleaning up the spilled soil at the end of the morning

The Sound Game 
(“I Spy”) 
To become effective readers and writers, children need a strong awareness of the sounds that make up words. We play this game often in the classroom, with 4 levels to match to each child’s developmental stage. More practice at home is helpful, as long as it feels fun and playful for your child – the key is that they feel successful.

In the classroom we have a special box of objects
we use for the "I Spy" game
Level 1: You say the beginning sound of an object and the child identifies the object. 
Start simple! (“I spy something you’re holding that starts with ‘fff’” when a fork is the only thing in their hand) and gradually make it more challenging (”I spy something on your face that starts with ‘nnn’” )

Other variations to try at home:
1) Sound out the names of objects around your house and in your daily life with your child.

2) Sound out the name of an object without saying the whole word and have your child blend it back together to find what the object is (e.g. “ch-ee-z” or “sh-ir-t”)

Important Dates 
(some changes to the school calendar)

Friday, April 20th– Half Day (12pm dismissal, no aftercare)

Wed. May 23rd– 12pm dismissal
Parent-Teacher Conferences 1:30-6pm

Friday, June 15th
Montessori end-of-year program – 9am
Join us in the classroom for refreshments, a slideshow, and some of our favorite songs & poems from the year. 
This is our last day – no school for Montessori students June 18-20th

Last call for Pennies for Peace
Send in any coins you have collected by Friday!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Montessori Classroom News April 12, 2018

Spring themes and activities  

  • Africa is our continent focus for geography, culture & science. 
  • Amphibians, especially the life cycle of frogs 

  • Seeds, soil, and how plants grow. We hope to soon start planting in our new outdoor classroom garden beds that are under construction. 
We soak dry limas in water with food coloring. Amazing how much they change in just a few hours!

The children learn to slip the seed coat off and gently open the two halves to discover the baby plant.

Other new activities this week:

We added binoculars as an option to use on the Observation Stool

 Carrot peeling and chopping! We emphasize  safety techniques that enable children to use real tools for preparing food.
Painting with watercolors

Making our own hummus

Word Game: Groups 

Choose a category, and then work with your child to name as many things as you can think of in that group. This game builds your child’s sorting & categorizing skills and also reinforces and teaches new vocabulary words. 

Example categories: Furniture, clothes, food, fruit, animals (or mammals, insects), things with wheels, things in the air, etc

Poem of the Week

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little frog who wasn’t there.
She wasn’t there again today.
Oh, how I wish she’d go away!
Our adaptation of “The Little Man Who Wasn’t There” by Hughes Mearns

Notes & Reminders

Friday, April 20th– Half Day (12pm dismissal, no aftercare)

Uniforms for May & June
Your child may wear navy blue knee-length shorts(or skort – skirt with built in shorts) in May and June. They can also continue to wear navy pants. We have some second-hand shorts for sale – email Ms. Cheryl if interested.

Last call for Pennies for Peace
Send in any coins you have collected by next Friday!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Montessori Classroom News March 28, 2018

There was a lot happening in this very short week of school!

 On Wednesday we prepared egg dyes and each child dyed an egg in the color of their choice.

A new science material - sorting natural & human-made materials

Enthusiastic samplers for dragon fruit!

A new collage work choice on the art shelf - adding cherry blossoms to the tree branches

We’ve watched the daffodils in front of the school progress over the past few weeks and were excited to see the first few flowers open last week. We have read books about daffodils (“That’s not a Daffodil!” by Elizabeth Honey & “The Bulb: See How it Grows by Pamela Nash) and examined the bulbs of onion, garlic, and flowers. This week the children helped plant some flower bulbs in the park.

The children enjoy this silly poem where we imagine that the daffodil is a person.

by A.A. Milne
She wore her yellow sunbonnet;
She wore her greenest gown
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down

She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head
And whispered to her neighbor,
“Winter is dead!”

Lent & Easter
We have heard several bible stories during lent. We often tell a simple version of the story, focusing on the most important details and the aspects that children can relate to. Children readily understand emotions, so we sometimes pause to discuss what the characters might be feeling.
         In past weeks we heard about Jesus healing Bartimaeus of blindness and Zaccheus of greed & loneliness.

This week began with Jesus riding into the city of Jerusalem on a donkey. Many people welcomed him with palm branches, hoping Jesus would become their new king and throw out their mean, unfair rulers. Instead of a big, fancy horse like a king would ride, Jesus chose a donkey. We looked at a photo comparing a donkey and horse, and then had our own processional with palm branches.
We retold the story of Jesus' last meal with his disciples, when he told them to remember him as they shared bread together, and then we each received a piece of bread (tortilla) to eat. We also heard the sad part of the Easter story, when Jesus died. We assured them that the next day we would hear the exciting ending to the story, about how God's love is stronger than everything, even death.

Pennies for Peace
We have a jar of coins in the classroom. You can continue collecting at home and bring in the coins after Easter. Let us know if you need a replacement penny collector! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Sensorial Curriculum - Visual Perception

In the Sensorial curriculum of a Montessori classroom, we develop children's perceptiveness with each of their senses. Our goal is to increase their awareness of what they perceive through their senses and help them develop a mental framework for organizing and understanding these perceptions. The Sensorial curriculum provides a cognitive foundation for math and science.

Within the Sensorial curriculum, we have materials and activities to cultivate each of the senses. This post will only include the Visual perception materials - more to come later!


Cylinder blocks (or knobbed cylinders) - each of the 4 blocks contains 10 cylinders that vary by different dimensions. A child begins working with one block at a time and progresses to being able to do all four blocks (40 cylinders) together.
The cylinder blocks are an example of a self-correcting Montessori material - the child can tell if there is an error because not all the cylinders will fit in!
 Most children are not able to see the small differences between the ten cubes of the Pink Tower when they are first introduced to it. Through repetition and exploration, they gradually become aware and learn to sequence the cubes by size - and feel very proud when they do! The opportunity to develop problem-solving skills is built into all these materials. A child may visually notice that they have a piece out of order, but it is additional challenge to figure out how to fix it. 

The Brown Stair (or Broad Stairs) provides the next level of challenge - the prisms vary in two dimensions instead of all three. After a child can sequence the brown stairs, they enjoy rolling a small wood marble down the steps, hearing the pitch change as it descends.  

The Red Rods come next - 10 rods ranging from 10cm to 1m.

There are additional activities that the children can do with each of these materials, alone or in combination.

A few examples of the many possibilities:

This child has built the Pink Tower with two sides flush,  creating a 1cm ledge on each level. The smallest (1cm) cube can be carefully slid along the step on each cube. 


The first color box has only the three primary colors (red, yellow, blue), with two tablets of each color. Color box II adds secondary colors (orange, green, purple) as well as pink, brown, black, gray, and white.

After matching the color tablets, a child can walk around the room with a basket, looing for an object that is the same color as one of the tablet pairs. They bring the object back to the mat, then go in search of another color. This activity expands their conceptualization of color and exercised their working memory. (The tablets stay on the mat, which adds the challenge of needing to store the color in their mind as they go around the room.)

The Box of 32 pairs provides an increased challenge - matching pairs in four shades of each color. When we introduce the material, we take just one color out of the box at a time and match the four pairs before moving onto the next color. This child has chosen a different approach. She is purposefully engaged so we observe with interest to see what we can learn about her thought process and do not intervene or disrupt her focus.

Color Box 3 has seven shades of each color that can be graded from darkest to lightest


Children learn the names and forms of geometric shapes with the Geometry Cabinet