November 2017

Dear parents,

Hard to believe, but we are almost at the end of the year and it goes by so quickly.  So many more celebrations and events for next month as well.  November was a record month for us with eleven birthday celebrations. So many birthdays!  You would think that everyone would get a wee bit tired of chocolate and cupcakes, but that would be very, very, wrong.  It was a fun birthday month and we all enjoyed every single special day.

Every year we introduce the Remembrance Day poppy by explaining that we wear a poppy to remember people we love and people we love that can’t be with us.  A concept that can be frightening to young children is introduced in a gentle and age appropriate manner.  Children do understand the concept of having a reminder of someone you love can be comforting.

Student Led Conference days were held in early November, and are an opportunity for a parent or family member to visit the classroom during class time, with their child as the guide.  These forums are for parents to experience the classroom through their child’s eyes, to see what interests them, what they enjoy working on, and to meet friends so often talked about at home.  Usual practice for Montessori classroom observations is for a parent to sit within the classroom but have no interaction with the children and simply watches.  We feel that like children, adults also get a much clearer understanding through concrete learning.  Our hopes is for a parent to walk away with a few questions answered, or at least clarified.  If you have missed the Student Led times, call us and we will set up another time for you.  It really is fun and shouldn’t be missed.  If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask.  The most common of questions is asking how a child is doing.  Every child is different and will develop at their own pace, but if ever see anything of concern or atypical development, we start formal observations and let parents know our concerns.  The children are still transitioning to routines, rules, health and safety practices, new friends and the classroom environment.  They are young, and it takes time. Preschool is about introduction and repetitive reinforcement of ideas, concepts and materials.  One day your child will say something in passing and you will be left standing with your jaw on the sidewalk.  The Absorbent Mind at work.

We began our studies of North America with Vancouver, ‘the city where we live’.  We use picture files to show sight locations around the city and lower mainland.  Most children recognized sights such as Stanley Park and Science World.  We continued on to British Columbia, Canada and the United States.  Individual focus was given to the cultures of Mexico and Hawaii, as well as the animals of North America.  Our main focus is always on the animals of the continent, with the pre-K children making their very own animal booklet.  Booklets will be sent home when completed.  Our Helping Hands have been leading the Circle dressed with Mexican and Hawaiian accessories, which makes the start of class time filled with giggles. Everyone wants a turn.  We are finishing off our North American studies by making a First Nations Dream Catcher.  Most were finished and sent home the last week in November.  European studies will begin in January.

Our next ‘Celebration of Light’ will be Hanukkah, which begins the evening of December 12th.  We have already started on our concert songs, with art projects and baking starting up in December.  Winter projects will begin in January.

The changing season and autumn continues to be part of our daily Circle, with our Helping Hands, the calendar, the days of the week and daily weather watch.  Studies of weather and its affects to humans, animals and plant life continue, as well as migration, with our main focus on the animals of North America.  The harvest was part of October studies with food preservation using the dehydrator.  This month we made applesauce with the abundance of apples brought in.  Most everyone enjoys warm applesauce and it goes quickly.  Don’t forget to make absolutely sure that your child is dressed properly for all weather conditions, as we go outside to play every day.  The weather can change quickly for the better or worse.  We can always peel off extra clothing layers, but cannot make them appear.  Thank you Leo for collecting the snow off your neighbour’s car and bringing a huge bag to school for everyone to play with.  We all had so much fun with it.  It was a novelty in that moment.

Our final Scholastic Books order was due on November 17th and will be in the first week of December.  Thank you to our friend Isla who ordered a book for the classroom, ‘There was a cold lady who swallowed some snow’. And thank you David who also ordered the book ‘Rosie Revere, Engineer’, as a gift for all the friends to share at preschool. Thank you Lucas for bringing in the most beautiful and tasty gingerbread cookies that his Mum bakes for her coffee shop, Breaking Bean.  The first taste of the season.  Yum!

An information sheet will be going out in the first week of December outlining the upcoming Winter Concert and Christmas Party.  The last day of classes will be on Wednesday, December 20th.  We will (as always) be having our Christmas Concert and winter party on Thursday, December 21st, which will be our last day together for this year.  You will find the potluck sign-up sheet at the front door of the classroom the first week of December.  A pizza order form will going home in your child’s file folder at the end of next week and must be returned by Friday, December 15th.  All family and friends are welcome, just be sure to include the numbers of people coming as we have to set up chairs.  We plan in advance, streamline as much as possible, which hopefully will be helpful for all our very busy parents.  This is a very hectic time of year and simplicity is a very, very, good thing.  Welcome December!