Hard to believe, but we are almost at year end. It goes by so quickly. So many more celebrations, projects and events for December as well. The children are all so busy. Here’s a recap of November. We tried to keep it within a five minute read. We know how busy everyone is.
Student Led Conference days were held in early November. Student Led days are an opportunity for parents to experience the classroom as seen through their child’s eyes, with their child as the guide. First hand you see what interests your child, what they enjoy working on, and to meet friends so often talked about at home. Montessori classroom observations are usually done with a parent sitting in the classroom, observing but not interacting. Like children, adults also get a much clearer understanding through concrete learning, and so the Student Led experience was born. We hope that every parent leaves with a clearer idea of what a day at preschool is like for their child, have a few ideas clarified, and some questions answered. It really is fun and shouldn’t be missed. Every child is different and will develop at their own pace, but if we observe concerning behaviour or delayed development, we reach out to parents to start discussions. Transitions and adapting can take many months. 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 to new concepts, repetitive reinforcement of ideas, concepts and materials, learning how to interact appropriately with others, and how to make and keep friends. One day your child will say something in passing and you will be left standing with your jaw on the sidewalk. This is the Absorbent Mind at work.
Every year we introduce the Remembrance Day poppy, explaining we wear poppies to remember people we love that can’t be with us. A frightening idea is introduced in a gentle and age appropriate manner. Children understand the concept of having a reminder of someone you love can bring comfort.
We began our studies of North America with Vancouver, ‘the city in which we live’. We use picture files to show sight locations around the city and lower mainland. Most of the children recognized sights such as Stanley Park and Science World. We travel across British Columbia, Canada and the United States, with individual focus given to unique cultures. Our main focus is always on the animals of the continent, with the pre-K children making their very own animal booklet. Booklets are sent home when completed. We finished our North American studies with a wooden Canadian ‘Home’ sign. Although images for gluing were pre-cut, the project involved a step by step process that required quite a bit of concentration and effort, staining, measuring, gluing, and finally sealing. Many children named the maple leaf as the “Canada leaf”. Most ‘HOME’ signs were left for their new homes the last week of November. For you many, many families who have been away on vacation, and have not seen your child’s sign, it is in the file folder waiting to go home. European studies and winter projects will begin in January.
The changing season and autumn continues to be part of our Circle discussions. Studies of weather and its affects on humans, animals and plant life continue, as well as migration, with a main focus on the animals of North America. Don’t forget to make certain 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 magically appear from home.
Many exercises and materials are changed seasonally. The Practical Life area of the classroom continues to be a popular hot zone, for individual work and for groups. Quite the social gathering place. Nutmeg grating, beading and ring making, needle threading (yes, three-year-olds can thread a real needle) and button sewing, lacing, patterning (math concepts), push pin, colour mixing, and other fine and gross motor skill exercises and skill building crafts also remain as classroom favourites. Wood blocks, the brown stair, the pink tower, and red rods, are being used for in very creative ways, for building, problem solving, and size discrimination. So imaginative and inspiring for everyone, including the teachers.
Our final Scholastic Books order was due on November 25th and will be delivered to the school before we close for the winter break. Orders will be wrapped in brown paper just in case they are to be gifts.
An information sheet was sent out the last week of November and emailed again today, outlining the upcoming Winter Concert and Christmas Party at the rental hall, which will be our last day together for 2019. You will find the potluck sign-up sheet at the front door of the classroom the first week of December. The cost is $5.00 per person to help lower the expenses involved, which also includes pizza if you wish. The form must be returned by Friday, December 13th. All family and friends are welcome, just be sure to include the number of people coming on the form as we have to set up chairs. We plan in advance, streamline wherever possible, which hopefully will be helpful to all of you very busy families. This time of year can be hectic and simplicity is a good thing. A concert with the joyful sounds of children singing is even better.