Welcome to Marie's Class
Welcome to our classroom!
“The child can develop fully by means of experience in his environment. We call such experiences ‘work’.” Maria Montessori
Marie Voss, Guide
May 24, 2017
Lemongrass, eucalyptus, lavender and amber are a few scents I have introduced to your children the last couple of weeks. When they take turns sniffing the different oils their faces exude whether or not the find the scent delightful or not! One friend really enjoyed the eucalyptus and kept telling us "I like smelling ukulele!" Not only are they learning new scents they are also gaining new vocabulary!
This time of year there is the energy of change buzzing around. Spring has arrived, we have more daylight, we’re enjoying the outdoors more, and the school year is coming to a close. As adults we know these things are happening and we can adjust ourselves as needed. Children rely on us to provide routine and consistency for them during these times of change. A child will show you when they are feeling a lack of routine by their behavior. You may notice more "meltdowns" or frustration. It's just the way they signal the need for consistency. As summer fun approaches, I encourage you as much as possible to keep sleep routines and meal times the same. These are the most important parts of a young child's day
May 11, 2017
It has been delightful to enjoy the lovely weather we have had! Your children are eager to get outside after working diligently during our morning work cycle. Raking the wood chips from the grass back to the wood chips around the climber, sweeping the patios to clear the sand and wood chips and collecting things to put in the wheel barrow are a few of the children's favorite outdoor activities.
Children who are two years old or older are now invited by one of us adults to play on the smaller play structure on the Primary playground. They are ecstatic to have the opportunity to try out the monkey bars, the climbing wall and the new slides! This play structure provides new opportunities to develop their coordination and strengthen their gross motor.
I want to wish all of you Moms a very wonderful Mother's Day! Enjoy your weekend!
April 27, 2017
"It is spring time!
It is spring time!
It is spring time outside!
The snow has melted, the flowers are growing.
It is spring time outside!" (sung to the tune of Oh my darling")
We are all quite joyous about the arrival of spring! We have been enjoying the out doors frequently!
Our school campus is a lovely place right now. There is abundant life springing up! As we walk outdoors, are on the playground or coming in from carline we talk about the flowers we see. We also have a basket of language cards in the classroom that have pictures of the flowers we are seeing and ones that we will see soon. Crocus, daffodil, tulip, lilacs, apple blossoms and hyacinths are some of the names your children are learning right now.
Our change in season offers new sensorial, gross motor and language opportunities. I encourage you to get out on the sunny days and the dreary wet days to explore this amazing area we live in with your child. They will be delighted to be moving and their senses will be engaged with all the experiences they are witnessing. You may even want to carry a small basket to collect things you find along the way.
"Let nature be your teacher." Williams Wordsworth
April 13, 2017
Sharing time in the classroom with each other, your children gain valuable social interaction that promotes their development. Having shared a time for several months now it has been delightful to watch over the last few weeks how many of the children have grown from parallel play to now collaborating/playing with each other. Some of our children who have been setting the table together for snack carefully getting their own placemats and plates for their baskets are now helping others by getting these items for their friends baskets. If a child can’t quite get their shoe on, another friend is quick to help. A child is upset so another child leaves their work to go over and ask if their okay with a gentle rub on their back.
As the adults in the classroom we are continually coaching and modeling interactions. Learning to share and take turns are abstract for a one and two year old child's brain to understand. When we observe children fighting over an activity or trying a forceful interaction we would approach the situation by saying "I can see Henry is using that puzzle right now. When he is finished you will see it on the shelf." Or "I can see that you want to play with Peter but he is telling you he not interested by pulling his hand away from you." Describing the situation with simple words to visualize allows your child to more fully understand the social interaction that is occurring.
Social development is a delight to watch unfold! Empathy, joy and love pour out of the children to their friends and family without thought!
“The study of love and its utilization will lead us to the source from which it springs, The Child.” Maria Montessori
March 23, 2017
With our baking, projects your children are learning sequencing, early math with measurements, new language, and they are engaging their senses with new tastes and scents. This last week we made some delicious honey and cinnamon biscuits. Baking flour, sugar, butter and cinnamon were the ingredients we discussed as we mixed them together. After rolling out the dough, the children helped stamp the dough with a heart shape cookie cutter. Our classroom was filled with a delightful aroma as we baked the biscuits. It is a true delight to allow a child the opportunity to make biscuits on their own after we have done it as a group a few times. Having the opportunity to learn by doing and not just watching or listening provides the child with immediate feedback which engages all of their senses. As Maria Montessori said, " “Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”
March 9, 2017
The age from 0-3 is unlike any other time in life for language development. Once children learn simple words receptively and expressively they desire more. They want to know a bird is a cardinal instead of just calling it a bird. They want to know a daffodil is a type of flower. Over the last two weeks during our group time we have been listening to 10 different instruments sounds and looking at a picture of them. Several of the children are now identifying by sound, sight or both a recorder, mandolin, clarinet, piano, xylophone, harmonica, celesta, oboe, organ and trombone. The children exuberantly share their new words when they hear the sound and see the pictures!
The muddy season is upon us... We enjoy time outdoors most every day. Unless it is too rainy or too cold. Fresh air and having time outside exploring nature is important for your child's development. I understand that their things get quite messy but they are gaining gross motor skills, growing their auditory, visual and olfactory senses along with developing more language with this time outdoors. Please continue to send your child's winter gear and check their bags at night to see if things need to be dried out. Spring will be upon us soon!
February 23, 2017
Marie is away this week and will be back with highlights in two weeks.
February 9, 2017
This past week we enjoyed making apple sauce! The children were eager helpers as we gathered apples from the kitchen, washed them, put them on the peeler/corer and placed the spiraled apples in the pot. Cinnamon was a delightful scent to experience as we shook it onto the apples. After the apples were finished cooking we poured them into the blender to grind them up to a puree. The children watched in amazement as the mix whirled around and when we poured it into bowls it was apple sauce! Cooking with children allows for many learning experiences! Sequencing, new scents, early math with measuring ingredients and the satisfaction of getting to taste your hard work.
January 26, 2017
The practical life area of our classroom has been bustling with activity!
Scrubbing paint off the table, washing a shoe, sweeping/wiping up a spill, polishing the dusty plant leaves, and washing our easel are just a few of the practical life activities available. These real life experiences that your child has the chance to work on, develop self confidence because they begin to understand that they are a contributing member to our community. Also, the children learn sequencing as they complete the task of gathering the materials from the shelf, laying them out, practicing the task and cleaning up. Some of the practical life activities have a dozen plus steps! I prepare the Practical Life area of our classroom so that the children can do these activities independently. It's very precious to watch a child notice there is paint on the table and without asking one of us adults they retrieve the table scrubbing bucket and clean the table without our assistance needed! I encourage you to have some of these activities available for your child at home. They love to be helpers! Please let me know if you'd like some ideas.
“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences." Maria Montessori
January 12, 2017
The children have settled back into our classroom nicely from. break! They have eagerly shared about presents they received, trips that were taken and time that was spent outdoors in the snow.
Over the next few weeks a few of our friends will be moving up to Primary and we will be welcoming new friends to our classroom. This past week we welcomed Peter and the children have enjoyed showing him around the classroom and assisting him when he needs help. I love seeing the cycle of development in the classroom! They join us eager to explore and learning new words and movements frequently. Next they "settle in" and develop concentration and mastery over their movements. Finally they become the "teacher" to other friends in the classroom. You retain 90% of what you can teach back so it is quite a marvel to watch a young child very specifically show another child how to do a multi step activity.
“The child builds his inmost self out of the deeply held impressions he receives.”
December 16, 2016
We have enjoyed talking about the upcoming holidays the last couple of weeks in our classroom. The Holidays provide a rich cultural experience for your children! During our group time we have lit a menorah, practiced spinning a dreidel, listened to a Nativity music box play "Silent Night", talked about our Christmas trees at our houses and we have sang several holiday songs while shaking our jingle bells. The children talk with excitement about what they see around them as we adults prepare for the Holidays.
With the arrival of snow the children are getting plenty of proactive dressing themselves in their winter clothing! Many of them are able to get snow pants and boots on all by themselves! When you are preparing your child to get ready to play outside at home I find it works best to give short simple specific instructions as to what they should do first. Such as, "First get your snow pants." You could then follow with "Snow pants go on your legs." I know it may seem silly to our adult mind to break instructions down this simply but at this time of development most children can only understand one instruction at a time. Too much information and they loose focus or get frustrated.
I hope you all enjoy a wonderful winter break and I wish you all wonderful celebrations of the Holidays.
December 1, 2016
What a delightful Harvest Feast we enjoyed last week! I appreciate you all contributing to our delicious meal!
Our meal times at school are a very important part of our day! We start to prepare for our meals by two children setting out placemats, plates, cups and decanters/pitchers for all 15 of us. They carefully use baskets to carry each item one by one to the table. It is quite amazing to observe the children through this process! They are very precise in the details of doing placemats first, then plates and lastly cups. Not only are the children learning a practical life skill by setting the table, they are also experiencing early math. How many friends are here today? We have 10 placemats on the table, how many more do we need? These are a couple of questions that arise as the table is being prepared.
I encourage you to have a low cabinet at home that has a few plates and cups in it so your child can help set your table for meals. They will have a sense of joy and accomplishment because they will feel like a contributing member of their family!
November 10, 2016
Over the last couple of weeks we have been enjoying making apple sauce. The children are eager helpers! We gather the apples from our kitchen cooler in our baskets. The children like to talk about how strong their arms are as they carry the loaded baskets back to our classroom. One of the children will take the colander off the shelf and bring it to the sink so they can wash the apples. As soon as the apples are clean we are ready to place one on the corer/peeler and the cranking begins! Astonished as the round apple turns into a spiral, the children are watching intently! As soon as our pan is filled a child will add the water and another will add the sugar/cinnamon mix. What an aroma our classroom is filled with as our delicious snack is cooking! To establish sequencing and language we will make the same apple sauce several times over a couple of weeks. The repetition allows the children to fully absorb the process. Focusing on the process rather than the product encourages concentration and confidence in the child.
“The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.” Maria Montessori
October 27, 2016
“To assist a child we must provide him with an environment which will enable him to develop freely.” -Maria Montessori
The change of the seasons provide so many new opportunities for your young children to learn! We have been working on putting coats and boots on these past couple of weeks. For jackets we do the "up and over" trick. To help in the beginning I lay the child's coat out on the floor for them with the tag by their toes. I then show the child how to find the two arm holes and put their arms in. Then they flip it up and over their head and their jacket is on. They get quite the giggle out of this trick!
Taking off their shoes is the first step in learning to put their boots on. We have a small bench in our coat room that the children sit on. After they unfasten their shoes, I show them how to place one hand on their toes and one hand on their heel to push the shoe off. Next a boot is placed in front of them to slip their toes into and push the rest of their foot in.
Providing clothing and shoes/boots that allow your child to be successful in learning to dress themselves is a gift to them! Also having a low hook, low stool and basket by your door will allow them the opportunity to take care of their things or get them when it is time to go outside. How helpful it is when you can say "It's time to go." and they get themselves ready! They are so delighted when they can accomplish things for themselves!
October 13, 2016
The leaves on the trees turn orange and red
orange and red orange and red
The leaves on the trees turn orange and red
All through the town.
We'll rake them in a pile and jump right in
jump right in jump right in
We'll rake them in a pile and jump right in
All through the town.
The leaves on the trees come tumbling down
tumbling down tumbling down
The leaves on the trees come tumbling down
All through the town.
(sung to the tune of wheels on the bus)
This time of year brings many wonderful sensorial experiences for your children! The leaves are changing color, the air is crisp, the wet dew in the morning on the grass and their are many delicious tastes of fall foods!
We have a fall basket on one of our language shelves. It contains gourds, a pumpkin, a couple of fall leaves and pictures of fall scenes. Providing real, tangible items and pictures for your children to explore help them make the connections to what is going on around them. When we take walk around campus I point out the variety of things we are seeing and relate it to the basket in our classroom. Frequently when we get back inside a child or two will run over and take something from the basket to show me because they remember seeing it on our walk as well.
I hope you all get the opportunity to go on a nature hike this fall and watch as your child explores the great change around them!
September 29, 2016
“Look around and you will see a community, a family.
We're together we are friends."
The words above are the song that we sing before we eat. It is short but the words are sweet with meaning! Your children are learning what these words mean in our classroom. Social skills are quite abstract at this stage of development. We use concrete language and visual cues to help the children begin to understand how to be a community member. If a child wants an activity or material that another child has I might say "Look at Sloane's hands. She is using the paint brush right now. When she is finished you will see it in the cabinet." With these words I will also point to what I am saying. Another example would be at snack when a child is very eager for food they may scream or get upset if they don't get the food right in that moment. I might say something like "I see that Avett is using the tongs to serve himself crackers. We will pass them and it will be your turn for your hands to get crackers." Again, I will point and use subtle gestures to help the child understand my words. Social development for the child is a process. It takes patience and intention from the adults in the child's life.
This past week we made play dough in our classroom. The children were eager to help pour in the salt, water, flour and cream of tartar. They also enjoyed helping stir the ingredients together. As the mixture transformed into a dough ball you could see the wonder in the children's eyes as they were trying to process how this could happen!
September 15, 2016
The children are settling in nicely to the new school year! They have been eager to explore the classroom and interact with one another.
Frequently when a new child starts in our classroom, the family will start hearing “my work" when their child is attempting to do something at home. This usually gets a chuckle out of the parent! This is a phrase we use in the classroom when someone is working on or with a material/activity. We are setting up a good connotation to the word work. We want the children to begin to understand that work is a feeling of exploration and achievement. Work is something they can feel proud of!
This past week we planted lettuce seeds in our garden bed outside our classroom. The children were delighted to help make rows with the trowel, sprinkle the tiny seeds in and then give a nice watering to the seeds. We will look forward to harvesting our first green in the next week or two!