What a busy, busy, month October has been. For Thanksgiving (hard to believe it was only a few weeks ago), the children practiced table setting as part of holiday preparation. We hope these life skills will be used regularly for family meals, not just on special holidays. Children really enjoy this activity and being helpful in the home. We use a rotation of Helping Hands every day to set the snack table, and most children are at the point where they look for their name in hopes it is their turn. Practical Life lessons teach self-help and independence skills such as buttoning and pouring, and also help develop motor skills and finger dexterity. Many of the exercises are designed to help strengthen finger and arm muscles, which in turn supports capability and self-confidence. Self-confidence helps foster resiliency, which is a very important and often overlooked trait. We have been carrot peeling since September, but have geared into apple peeling. We place the apples into a slow cooker to make sauce. Most everyone enjoys apple sauce, so it’s a win-win exercise.
October also brings a lot of talk about the changing season, what autumn entails, the traditional harvest season, and winter food storage. We talk about how humans and animals store food and prepare for winter. Autumn also ties in with migration and hibernation. We explore the effects of seasonal changes through the year. A nature tray is kept on the classroom shelf for study with a magnifying glass. The children are welcome to add their own found objects to the tray, which keeps the children involved in the evolving process. These items change throughout the year with the seasons. Materials on the shelves and art shelves also change according to seasons, themes and special occasions. The last week of October brought pumpkin felt materials, bat arts, spider counters, and a lot of black and orange. Continent studies of the southern hemisphere began with South America. The rainforest plays a huge part in our lessons studies along with the fascinating animal life. We have made a rainforest diorama for the children to use in small groups and with the teachers. It has the layers and rainforest canopy. We have animal cards and Schleich animals that can be placed in the different layers making it interactive, entertaining and a great learning tool. Kindergarten Prep children have also started their South America animal booklets. Cultural Studies enhance geographical studies. These are all done at an age appropriate level with the focus on animals.
Math and language components are daily parts of classroom life, done with materials and games, in group lessons and also individual presentations. A dot-to-dot method is often used for first time printers, working towards a freehand approach. We teach using all lower case letters and only use capitals for names and the beginning of sentences. Please avoid using all caps at home. It is very confusing. If you are helping your child with early reading, use the phonetic sounds of the letters rather than the names of the letters. Sewing exercises continue with buttons on cloth, lacing with card shapes, and ring making with tiny crystal seed beads, and push pin shapes. These are all activities that help with fine motor skills, with a really adorable end products. These all can easily be done at home as well.
The weather is cooling quickly. Outdoor play is a part of every class, so please ensure your child is dressed appropriately. We can always peel layers of clothing off, but cannot magically make them appear. Please phone to let us know if your child is ill as soon as you can. We start ‘how to sneeze’ and ‘how to cough’ and hand washing the first week of September, and reinforce constantly through the school year.
Halloween week was focused on making a bat art project that holds a bag of goldfish crackers. The Kindergarten Prep class enjoyed gutting a pumpkin of which we saved the seeds for snack next week. Many children wore autumn colours on the 30th and many exciting costumes showed up at the door on the 31st. So many fun costumes.. Little treat bags went home from the teachers, as well as a few treats from friends. Thank you everyone for participating.
Two weeks of Student Led Conferences began this first week of November. Traditional observations in a Montessori classroom is for a parent to sit and observe, but not interact in any way. We take a different approach and have parents come for short visits, and participate in the activities their child is involved in. Each child will host their guest on a tour of their classroom and the activities they enjoy for a 15 minute duration. This allows the family member to better understand what goes on in the classroom and see through their child’s eyes. It also allows a child to take pleasure and satisfaction in sharing their interests, and introducing friends to their family member. It is short and sweet, but should not be missed.
Please mark your calendars for upcoming school district closure date of Friday, November 9th. This is a four day weekend with school closed on Monday, November 12th, in lieu of the Remembrance Day observance. If you are looking to go to a special venue, reserve before they book up. School will reopen at the usual time on Tuesday, November 13th.Children start Kindergarten in the same year that they turn five years old. The first step for public schools is to register with your neighbourhood English catchment school, regardless of where you plan on sending your child. Registration begins on November 1st, ending the last weekday in January 2019. Private and independent schools will have different registration dates and criteria. You will have to contact private and independent schools individually. Most schools will give sibling priority, but there will be registration due dates for siblings as well. If you are uncertain, call the schools or check out their websites. Do not leave any registration process to the last minute. Schools are overwhelmed with processing paperwork during the last weeks of registration. The link for the Vancouver School Board is below.
A very special thank you to Willow for bringing a special gift to the classroom of a lighthouse from her trip to the Maritimes. A little part of Canada that should be on everyone’s ‘To See’ list. Thank you Holden for bringing woven friendship bracelets from her trip to Mexico. Holden also brought the school a bottle of vanilla extract for our baking projects. Since the Madagascar crop damage, vanilla has reached an unseen (and obscene) high, making it ‘Liquid Gold’ and very appreciated. If we have forgotten to thank anyone, please forgive us. It has been a very, very busy month.