Montessori Blog Week of Sep 12-16, 2022
We’ve completed another week of school and things are starting to really come together! The children are settling in nicely, and most are now coming into the classroom in the morning and putting their things away in their cubbies and changing their shoes right away! Of course, drop off time can still be a challenge, but it’s gotten smoother for everyone!
The children are getting accustomed to gathering and sitting for a brief circle time before we have our snack, where they are becoming so independent with washing their hands, serving themselves, and placing their dishes in the dish bin when they are finished. Everyone really knows what to expect and our routines are running much more smoothly!
The children have continued to enjoy the practical life activities on our shelves, and now as things have settled down, we have been able to present some Montessori sensorial materials to the children, as well. We have been working with the sound cylinders, brown stair, knobbed cylinders, and pink tower. These materials help the children refine their senses and visual discrimination, and are also a foundation for further work with other Montessori materials. We will continue to work with these materials throughout the year in new and increasingly challenging ways.
We continue to talk about apples in relation to Rosh Hashanah, and even enjoyed apples with honey as a snack this week! The children have been enjoying learning this song with Morah Elaine when they meet for a story and a song just before lunch:
(To the tune of “Oh My Darling Clementine)
Dip the apple in the Honey
Make a Bracha loud and clear
L'Shana Tovah U'Metuka
Have a Happy Sweet New Year!
Next week, the children will be challenged with some new practical life materials on our shelves, and will be invited to decorate a shofar for an art activity, along with being introduced to easel painting!
What a wonderful second week of school we had together. This week we have been getting much more comfortable with our routines and each transition goes a little smoother. We are working towards independence in so many different ways throughout the day. Most of the children are now comfortable choosing their own work and figuring out what they would like to do during their work period, which is a great first step in independence. We are also working with many of the children on independence with changing their shoes, cleaning up an activity when they are finished, and cleaning up/ packing up after lunch, making their cot and stripping the sheets back off when rest time is over, and packing their bag at the end of the day. Next week we will be introducing classroom jobs, where every child will have a different job daily, as another way for them to feel a sense of pride and independence in our classroom.
During group time this week we had a couple of presentations. On Monday we practiced how to walk around a work mat. These mats are used in our classroom daily to delineate each child’s work space when they are working on the floor. It is important that we are all aware where they are so we do not step on them, and on our peers’ work. During this presentation we also had a chance to practice rolling and unrolling our work mat! On Wednesday we discussed how to politely greet someone when they have greeted you. This is something that we practice every morning after our morning song, where a teacher goes around and says good morning to each child individually. This is a time for the children to say hi, hello, shalom, boker tov, or good morning back. As the year progresses a bit more we will take this knowledge and build on it by greeting peers, others in our classroom and even others throughout our school.
On Tuesday we celebrated Abby’s 4th birthday with a Montessori birthday ceremony. We learned about Abby growing older and getting bigger as the Earth went around the sun and through all the months of the year. The children enjoyed looking at the pictures of Abby from each year of her life and watched as she got older. Thank you so much for bringing in a birthday treat to share with the class.
This week we introduced the theme of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). In the art area we worked on a Rosh Hashanah card/collage. The children enjoyed putting yellow paint on bubble wrap and then flipping it over to make a “beehive” before adding a bee, some wings, eyes, and even drawing on its stripes and antennae. During our meeting time we also talked about and looked at a real shofar (rams horn) and heard as Morah Wendy blew it. We discussed the different sounds we hear from a shofar as well as sang the shofar song,”I like to hear the shofar blast”.
This week we also had our first gym class with Coach Oren. This week we pretended the floor was lava and had to jump from spot to spot so as not to touch the lava. Coach Oren had set up a whole course and we had to try and see if we could make it the whole way around. It was very tricky but a couple of our students were able to complete the mission! We also took a short dance break to dance to the song “the floor is lava” by the Kidboomers, between our turns of jumping around the course.
On Friday we once again came together to celebrate Shabbat. Once we were back in our classroom Abby and Alon were our shabbat helpers and helped light our candles and say all of our brachot (blessings). Every week different children will have a chance to be a shabbat helper.
This week we continue to “phase in” with gentle reminders. We played fun name games and sang songs. We have continued to review the meaning of a “work mat” to define their own workspace and this helps to respect the work of others. We talked about the PEACE FLOWER in the classroom which is an activity to teach children to stop and listen to their classmates. We take turns at the gathering and children ask one another if they would like a turn with the topic at hand. We usually talk about what we did over the weekend or the lesson that is being taught. It’s amazing how quickly the children accomplished this skill. We talked about our KINDNESS Jar as well. This is when the teacher notices random acts of kindness, we will place a pom-pom in the jar. When it gets entirely filled, there is a class vote, usually 90% of the class wants to do “show and tell” as the reward. It is encouraged that what toy or item that is brought in from home fits inside their backpack.
In Practical Life, there were many activities such as folding clothes, wet pouring, tonging and sorting.As part of our Fall theme, there was a Pumpkin Scrubbing work that the children really enjoyed These shelves get changed weekly to keep the children's interest.
For Hebrew, Morah Hendi did some wonderful art activities and read some stories to the children. She has been talking to the children about Rosh Hashanah, the foods we eat, and the concept of forgiveness, stressing the importance of saying I’m sorry and forgiving others.
Our snack area has been very popular, the children have been serving themselves snack. This allows the children to be independent when they feel hungry during the morning work time.
Grace and Courtesy has been reinforced by a lot of role playing and fun stories. We rolled played…hands on a teacher’s shoulder to interrupt them while getting a lesson…May I work with you followed by a response of ‘yes please’ or ‘no thank you’…….catching their sneezes or cough in their elbows… when using a tissue to throw it away and wash hands afterwards…. We want to keep a healthy environment and all these reminders help a lot.
Paper Rolls are going home on Friday. This is mainly art work and sometimes extensions of Language and Math in the classroom. But the paper roll is not a true measure of what they do in the classroom because most of the classroom is concrete material. The emphasis is on the process, not the product. Also, this blog is just a springboard for conversations with your children about school.
We continue to learn about Rosh Hashanah and the significant items that go with the holiday - learning the names in English and Hebrew; apples / tapuchim, honey / d’vash, shofar, pomegranate / rimmon, round challah. This theme permeates through the week’s activities, including handwriting practice of the first sounds in each of these words, alongside the drawing, learning the sounds of the shofar - ask your child to make the sound as you call out: Tekiah, Shvarim, T’ruah, T’kiah Gedolah. They learned the ‘apples, apples, honey, honey’ routine to the Macarena (if you are familiar with an old favorite).
In Math they played in pairs, rolling a dice and adding that amount of apples to their tree. We handed out their Singapore Math books and introduced the art of using a ruler, a glue stick, and following instructions. We started with pairing similar objects and talking about those that are exactly the same and those that are similar (almost the same, but not quite).
In science we explored the life cycle of an apple from bud, to blossom, small green apple, larger green (unripe) apple and finally ripe apple ready for picking and eating.
The Keshet kids are busy creating a Rosh Hashana challah cover and are most excited to be sewing on buttons! We’ll have those ready for use at your Rosh Hashanah table.
See this week's photos here https://photos.app.goo.gl/Kgo8P462uWcMz3fr7