Happy Autumn to all of you!
I hope the first month of school is has been as joyful for you as it has been for us. Thank you for preparing your children so well for the new school year. At the beginning of the year incoming children as well as returning children have to make an adjustment to the new class set up and the new group, and while it’s supposed to be the most challenging time of the year, I can say confidently that things are going well. While we still have the occasional tearful goodbye and every day is a bit different from the last, by mid-morning the children are in the swing of things and we’re happy to follow their lead!
A brief descriptions of the classroom set up
The Montessori classroom is different from traditional classrooms in its content, function and organization. The prepared environment is a laboratory for the child to experiment, to learn, to grow and to flourish freely. The teacher is the facilitator our role is to prepare, to organize, and to maintain the prepared environment for the child’s use. The teacher in the Montessori environment is the child’s helper not an authority. Our aim is to make everything so beautiful, so enjoyable, and so satisfying that each child finds their best educational path.
September’s theme is “I am Special The objective is to create a warm and loving environment where each child feel important and feels safe, happy and comfortable. During this time we present many concrete lessons on things like “what to do when you’re finishing playing with something” and “how to offer help.” Because these are presented frequently and with a strong role-play emphasis the lessons are slowly working their way into the fabric of our classroom culture. Rather than focusing on the academic materials in the classroom we focus on setting the behavioral and emotional foundation for a year of purposeful exploration of the environment.
Montessori is often quoted as saying that the recipe for a happy, purposeful, curious child is simple and universally applicable: “real work, done with the hands, accompanied by mental concentration.” This is the motivation behind the “Practical Life” area of our classroom. Maybe your child has come home talking about Washing a Table, Polishing Wood, Croc Washing or Folding a T-Shirt. While all of these activities are purely fun—at least until they get old enough to realize they’re chores—they also serve important pedagogical objectives: Logical sequence, developing gross and fine motor skills, eye and hand coordination, concentration, problem solving, and familiarity with the satisfaction of completing of a task. Beaming exclamations of “I did it!” are common on this side of the room.
Though we focus in the Practical Life activities we also explore all the areas of the classroom to enrich each child’s experience and stave off disinterest—the enemy of curiosity!—we offer lessons in the areas of sensorial experience, language, math, social studies and science. Not to mention art and music—of which there is plenty. If you would like to further enrich your child’s musical experience at Wedgwood Montessori our music teacher, Amy, offers piano lessons here at school! See her flier on our note board for more information.
I’ll write more detail about each of our curriculum areas in future posts. Next up, my very favorite, Sensorial!
Before I go I did want to touch on a few brief announcements:
We do sharing twice a week on wed/thurs. The last few weeks have been a great opportunity for returning children to model sharing and ease our new and younger friends into the ritual—it’s always fun to see how many binkies and blankies make multiple sharing cameos in these early weeks. Feel free to send something to school with your child one day a week, but we do ask that pretend weapons and items too valuable to be risked in a room of 30 preschoolers stay at home.
We have started sending home snack lists each week. The list is given to two families each week; you are only responsible for the items marked on the list. Each item you bring is used for one snack (AM, PM 1, or PM 2). Thank you!
We schedule birthdays at your convenience on the date or before and after your child’s
birthday. You can let us know which day you want to come for the birthday. Birthday are celebrated after lunch at 12.30pm. In situations parents can’t make it at all, we will try to accommodate your schedule.
For treats bring 31, small, low-sugar treats. We find mini-cupcakes work well and bear in mind that we are nut free environment, so please read the labels carefully for traces of nuts especially for peanuts.