It seems like just yesterday that we were welcoming new and returning students back into the classroom. September was chaotic as you all remember. Lots of tears from moms and children and wet pants everywhere. Right away we introduced the golden rules which became the umbrella for the whole year. We worked intensively on establishing boundaries and establishing rules of communication: how to use our hands, words, space, and express feelings. With this groundwork in place, October was full of fun, including our exploration of the changes autumn brought to the world around us, which we explored through songs, stories, and a trip to the Pumpkin Patch where we had a class Halloween party. While our Stone Soup dinner was also a memorable party I think the most indelible memory of this November was our election. To help the children comprehend the excitement around our Presidential Election, we staged our own class elections where two students were elected President and Vice President of our class.
In December we welcomed the winter with enthusiasm. We explored the different holiday traditions of the families in our classroom. We celebrated Diwiali, Ramadan, Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanza and in January, Chinese New Year. We rounded out 2008 with our class Holiday party which the children thoroughly enjoyed. We started 2009 in space and found that the childrenʼs curiosity about the universe was insatiable! We came, quite literally, down to Earth in February and studied our planet. We learned about land and water forms and discussed all the treasures to be found in the ground under our feet. Learning about the natural resources underground was a great opportunity to introduce geology. The children explored the inside of our planet from core to crust! 1
We began the season by studying animals and the children were enthusiastic in learning the difference between mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, and amphibians. A personal highlight was watching the childrenʼs fascination with the fact that we, mighty humans, were grouped with bears and dogs as mammals. Our spring party was a magnificent success, the children were quite literally “out of this world” as they sang you the story of the universe. In April the children participated in our 11th Hop-A-Thon and the children hopped to the tune of $2,078 for Muscular Dystrophy! They also spent time in April in the garden which led to discussions about the bounty of our Earth which reminded the children of their role as stewards. We discussed their bond with nature and how they see themselves as “Mother Earthʼs friends” and recognize an individual responsibility and agency we, as teachers, find inspiring. In May, the children enjoyed planning their Motherʼs Day Tea Parties, which were an excellent opportunity to put into practice the monthʼs theme “Awareness of Self and Others.” Everything from writing their cards to decorating their gifts required that the children examine their own emotions and try to empathize with the feelings of an incredibly important person in their lives—their mothers!
Graduation and Multicultural Potluck: Celebrating our Diversity
Weʼll be saying congratulations to the class of 2009 at our Graduation and Multi-Cultural Potluck. Our Graduation and Multicultural Potluck is the climax of Juneʼs theme of internationalism. The children learned songs from Korea, Russia, Japan, Ethiopia, and “A Vamos”, a long time Wedgwood Montessori spanish favorite. The children have been learning about themselves and others in the world. It is our tradition to enrich their experience and celebrate the different heritages of all our children in our yearend celebration and we thank you for participating and enriching that experience. This evening is an opportunity to celebrate the cultural diversity that is a part of our classroom and of the wider world. It will, of course, be difficult to say goodbye to those families that are leaving us. It was a pleasure learning from, and with, your children. We are going to miss them very much, but we know that they will do very well, so we are sending them off with love and courage. Please keep in touch.