The last few weeks have been a whirlwind!
There’s a lot to talk about. Our theme for April was Plants and we went with it.
We started seedlings inside during March and one of our small group projects in April was getting our sunflower, amaranth, lettuce, and lilac seedlings outside and into the garden. Like one might expect from a science experiment, we had varying degrees of success. We talked about the different stages of life for a plant, what they need to survive and then watched to see which plants made it through and which may have needed gentler handling or more water. Successful converts included bean starts that were generously donated by the Zitnick family, amaranth and marygold from Martha’s garden and a few iris and lilac flowers. We’re still waiting to see what happened with our lettuce and sunflowers. Luckily, the watching isn’t hard to do as the garden has become a bigger part of the children ‘s day now that the weather has turned. John and Karina are often leading groups of diggers, weeders, compost mixers and earth worm hunters in recess adventures.
Inside the classroom we used real flowers and leaves, puzzles, and booklets to look at the parts of leaves and flowers. We discussed and looked at images of the pistil, stamen, calyx and petals before doing dissections to see what the real thing looked like.
We had flowers everywhere. We put some tulips and carnations in colored water to see how they changed, were able to do flower arranging from the blossoms coming up in the class garden and were absolutely thrilled to have Sarah Smith (Macie and Caroline’s mother) come in to lead a really awesome lesson where the children got to observe a tulip and render their interpretation in pastel. The results were gorgeous and the process called the children to concentration, provided an awesome sensory exploration of ‘smudging,’ and gave us a reason to send 5 children at a time to sit in the grass and look at flowers. Thank you so much, Sarah!
But that’s not all. The whole time we were studying plants the children of Wedgwood Montessori were doing what they do best—planning a party! We hope you enjoyed their efforts because every part of the preparations, the crafting, cleaning, baking, even rearranging furniture was done by the children with you in mind. They sorted our teacups, washed them (we washed them too, but they don’t need to know that), carried tables and chairs into the little room and practiced their performance and table manners all with you in mind.
At this point, just about every mother has received her gift so there’s no risk of a spoiler. Beading is a prerequisite to sewing and embroidery which are all a part of the Montessori curriculum and while there’s an important fine motor aspect to the activities one of Montessori’s goals was that children develop their aesthetic sensibilities along with every other, the designs your children created speak very much to that development. We offered very little guidance on their Mother’s day jewelry we suggested that they create a pattern and insisted that they choose their beads before they began assembling their pieces but otherwise left them to design as they would. And wow, did they design.
In addition to plants and Mother’s day we’ve also had a Hop-A-Thon and going a bit further back our Spring Play since the last blog. The Hop-A-Thon was a lot of fun, we split into three groups and spent an hour singing, clapping, counting and jumping after a week of discussing our bodies and our differences. The deadline for returning Hop-A-Thon pledge envelopes in May 20th and we’ll pass along the results when the last envelopes come in.
As for the play, Erin Schwartz and I worked together on a little video with photo highlights of the preparations and some great footage she shot with her ipad during the party.
If you enjoyed this video and would like others like it, especially those featuring more than just the children who happen to be working when the ratio is particularly low, please consider filling out this Parent Recorder interest survey. If there are parents interested in spending the odd hour in the classroom taking photos, videos, and quotations from the children, I’d like to make this sort of thing more regular.
Dates on the Horizon
Wednesday, May 20th Hop-a-Thon donations Due
Monday, May 27th Memorial Day (no school)
Friday, June 14th Father’s Day Picnic
Thursday, June 20th Graduation & Multicultural Potluck
Friday, June 21st Last day of School
Monday, July 1st Summer Camp begins