Wedgwood What’s Up: October 4th, 2013

In Circle

This week we introduced the month of October and with it our ‘Months of the Year’ song. Our theme for October is ‘Awareness of the Seasons,’ and while we are discussing ideas like why leaves change colors October is as much a time for orientation as was September. We are still doing Grace & Courtesy lessons as a part of each circle and using our community time to set expectations but in October there’s a fun “review” element to some Grace & Courtesy lessons where all of the children, including our newer & younger friends, get to revel in in showing off what they know. Which is important because one of the core components of Grace & Courtesy lessons is that they allow children to practice non-dominant responses under neutral or positive
circumstances so that those reactions are more available under stress.

I’ve included the lyrics to our Days of the Week song because I imagine that all of the children know it well enough to sing along by now. Though, I would have included our Months of the Year song too but it’s just a list of the months set to a tune. If you’d like, you can ask me to sing it for you sometime. I’d be delighted.

Days of the Week

(Adams family tune)

Days of the week. (clap, clap)

Days of the week. (clap, clap)

Days of the week, Days of the week, Days of the week (clap, clap)

There’s Sunday and there’s Monday,

There’s Tuesday and there’s Wednesday,

There’s Thursday and there’s Friday,

And then there’s Saturday.

Days of the week. (clap, clap)

Days of the week. (clap, clap)

In the Classroom

This is where the new theme has really shown up! We’re pinning leaves, making stained glass leaves from pinning work and shredded tissue papers as well as collaging multi-colored leaves onto bare tree limbs. The children have also just about finished decorating & writing their names on very special leaves that we’ll be adding to our Friendship Tree at the end of the month. We spend all of October working up to a Wedgwood Montessori ritual of pinning names on the Friendship Tree as a promise to be “Safe, Happy, & Comfortable.”

Just for Grown Ups

Pumpkin Patch Field Trip—Friday October, 25th 2013

We’ll have a posting & send home a hand out next week but I did want to highlight some key points about transportation & fees.

All Wedgwood Montessori field trips are family outings and each child must have an adult chaperone. We strongly encourage you to carpool and make arrangements among one another to ensure every child is able to attend. If you are available to chaperone or need a chaperone, I’ll be starting a thread in the Facebook group next week.

We have to pay one lump sum at the gate, please bring $5 cash per child to school before Monday, October 21st. Siblings are welcome. School will resume after the field trip – there will be no school until we return

Parent Night Debrief

I can’t even begin to share how excited I am about last Thursday’s meeting. We spent the first part of the meeting discussing Wedgwood Montessori practices and philosophy and the rest talking about what kind of community we want to have. The idea of a community of practice struck a chord with me and I was pleased to see it find traction in our group conversation. As a school we are, of course, happy to be a resource. That’s why we have an open-door policy for meetings, why we do semi-annual conferences, quarterly parties and send these weekly emails. But we also believe that an active parent community is vital at this foundational stage of both you and your child’s lives.

And while we hope our parent community is a place to get and share advice on local doctors, babysitters & Elementary Schools we also hope that you’re able to take advantage of all the educational &
philosophical resources in your parent community. I’m frequently amazed at the sophistication and nuance with which you, as a group, approach the challenge of knowing & nurturing another person. Amelia McGee, our Parent Coordinator, has also agreed to help plan more Parent Nights around topics we might like to explore as a group. These could be evenings where a current or former WWM parent presents on a topic they know and love or we could watch videos, do a book discussion, or even take on a mini-project. Ideally, this would be our play space just as much as the classroom is the children’s!

As for logistics, we’ve agreed to share information on Facebook. We had enough tech representation on Thursday night to feel comfortable in concluding that our private Wedgwood Montessori Parents Facebook group is secure enough to be a good venue for photos, videos, & weekend outing announcements. Even if you don’t use Facebook, I think it would be worth it to make a dummy Facebook just for this purpose.

Parent Recorders

Last year, Erin Schwartz (Luca’s mother) and I made a video from photos I took in class and video interviews she took during our Spring Play. It got me thinking about video documentation in the classroom and how well a bustling Montessori classroom lends itself to an unobtrusive recorder. Last year, a few of you indicated that you would be interested in either coming into the classroom as recorders for 20-40 minutes at a time or in editing videos from home. I hope you’re still interested because I’ve tested the concept and would like to start the Parent Recorder program with a series called Grace & Courtesy Comics! Grace & Courtesy lessons are short lessons that are essentially role playing games where we present the children with concrete experiences of our behavioral expectations. Please enjoy our pilot video: How to Ask Your Parents About the Salad Party!

If you’re interested in coming into the classroom as a parent recorder, please shoot me an email with times that you’re available and I’ll get back to you ASAP!

Contributing to Our Community of Practice

I’ll be adding a few resources to our Facebook group over the weekend, the Grace & Courtesy video but also a few handouts. The first describes what Grace & Courtesy lessons are and why they’re great, another called Montessori in the Home that has suggestions for fostering independence at home, & my full Grace & Courtesies curriculum spreadsheet (requested during the meeting) as well as a link to my Prezi presentation from Thursday night. I’ve also made a screencast of the first section in that presentation that I’ll be posting today. If it seems like people enjoy that, I’ll be happy to make and post screencasts of the other sections in the following weeks.

Dates on the Horizon

October 25 Pumpkin Patch Field Trip (NS in AM)

October 31 Class Halloween Party (10-11:30am)

November 11 Veteran’s Day (NS)

November 15 Parent Teacher Conferences (NS)

November 19 Picture Day

November 21 Autumn Party (6-8 pm)

November 28-29 Thanksgiving Holiday (NS)

p.s: I also attached most of what I’m posting to the Facebook Group here but it’s way less cool via email and I won’t guaruntee that I’ll always attach the things I post.

Wedgwood Montessori South Parents Facebook Group
Wedgwood Montessori South Parents Page
GandC-Comfortable Places.pdf
GandC-Comfortable Routines (1).pdf
GandC-Happy (1).pdf
GandC-Safe (1).pdf
Montessori at Home.pdf
Grace and Courtesy Breakdown.pdf

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