Hard to believe, but we are almost at year end. It goes by so quickly and here is a recap of November.
Student Led Conference days were held mid-November. Student Led days are an opportunity for children to guide their parents around the classroom, so parents can get a glimpse of what happens on a typical day. Traditional Montessori classroom observations are usually done with a parent sitting in the classroom, observing but not interacting. Knowing children and adults alike get a much clearer understanding through concrete learning, 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 to see the classroom through your child’s eyes, and shouldn’t be missed. Every child is different and will develop at their own pace. If we observe delayed development or concerning behaviour, we reach out to parents to start discussions. The children are still learning and adapting to boundaries, rules, health and safety practices, new friends and the classroom environment. Transition takes time and patience. Preschool is about introduction to new concepts, learning how to interact appropriately with others, and how to make and keep friends. Children absorb all around them, even if they might not say much at the moment. One day your child will say something in passing and you will be left standing with your jaw on the sidewalk. We are slowly getting a bit more of normal every month, and we are so grateful to have all the parents visit the classroom this year. It was truly wonderful to see all of you here.
Every year the children glue four hearts on a paper to form a poppy. 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 and the Lion’s Gate Bridge. Plenty of story sharing went on about adventures in Stanley Park and Science World. As we travel across the continents our main focus is always on animals, with the pre-K making animal booklets of the indigenous wildlife of each particular continent. Booklets are sent home when completed. Trays that we call small worlds are used as a part of continent studies where children can build their own miniature world. Miniature animals and assorted related natural materials are placed on a large tray. One or two children at a time can use the tray as an interactive world, using the knowledge they have and a vast amount of imagination. For every continent, we also give individual focus to unique cultures. With North America, we did an in-depth study of First Nations and finished off with baking bannock bread and making a talking stick. A note was sent home about the talking stick and how to use it. A very valuable tool for those learning how to take turns. The changing season and autumn continues to be part of our Circle discussions. Studies of weather and its effects on humans, animals and plant life continue, as well as migration, with our main focus on the animals of North America. European studies and winter projects will begin in January.
Many exercises and materials are changed seasonally. Practical Life and water works areas of the classroom continue to be popular hot zones, for individual work and for groups. It appears that these areas are the social gathering places. Nutmeg grating, beading and ring making, needle threading 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 big 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. Children are so imaginative and inspiring.
We have had some very severe weather conditions recently. Don’t forget to make absolutely sure that your child is dressed properly for all weather conditions, as we try to get 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. Sometimes we forego braving the elements and do something inside. Morning children work with balance platforms (called river rocks for some unknown reason) which requires gross motor skills and hopping, while the afternoon class are getting very good at balance and large muscle control with regular yoga classes.
Scholastic Books mini catalogues are sent home about every six weeks. These booklets have a small selection of books for many age groups, but the Scholastic website has so much more selection. There are many great deals offered each month, which you can order directly. If you are ordering, you may have them delivered to the school. Just ensure that we know what you ordered so we can pass the order onto the correct family. Please let us know if these orders are gifts and we will wrap them in brown paper away from curious eyes. Please use our class code when ordering online.
Information regarding the year end concert was emailed to all families earlier this week. A paper copy will be going home this week in every student’s home folder. We will be hosting the concert with all students on Thursday, December 16th, which will be our last day together for this year. ALL children are invited to attend on this day. The logistics of hosting a concert at the hall this year is beyond sound reasoning, so we will again be going the Zoom route. We will be overlapping the morning and afternoon classes to hold the concert with morning and afternoon children en masse. It is extremely important that the afternoon children show up on time. We cannot delay the concert for any late comers. The show must go on! We do so much advance planning which we hope parents will find helpful, especially in this very busy and hectic time of year. We look forward to the joyful sounds of children singing.