Since early October, the children have been involved with lessons regarding the change of seasons and what autumn brings. Animals migrate, food gets harvested, and we celebrate Thanksgiving. Our annual Thanksgiving bake off brought those yummy pumpkin scones (so good with butter). Quite the production for all the first year students, but most of the afternoon children have been here for two years plus and are very confident in the class room baking process. The harvest season is also about planning for the winter food stores. Food drying was a method used by early settlers and First Nations people in preparation for winter. Dried fruits such as apple slices and cranberries are a great teachable moment. We have a wide variety of First Nations items and artifacts that we present at Circle. Our collection has fur pelts, small totems, musical instruments, buffalo teeth, bear paw imprints, dolls, dream catchers, pottery, blankets, jewelry and clothing. We also use picture files as visuals and tell stories of local tales such as the Two Sisters and Siwash Rock. Continent studies are highlighted through lessons and games with the indigenous animals of those regions. The pre-K class also make animal books for every continent. We will continue examining how seasonal changes affect the planet, and plant and animal life throughout the year. We will journey across the North American continent until the end of November, and begin our travels in Europe starting January.
Mini cultural celebration studies that we call a ‘Celebration of Light’ occur throughout the school year. These celebrations come from different cultures, and countries, but all have many things in common which is where our focus lies; on family, food and of course, light. We celebrated Diwali the first week of November with every child rolling out clay and placing it into a form which then was baked to harden. Add some glue and metallic glitter and top it off with a candle. Sorry parents. We know more than anyone that glitter gets everywhere, but the children love glitter. It will be a way of life for years to come. We pour excess glitter back into bottles for a mix and not down the drain into our water system. Every child had their own diya to bring home to celebrate Diwali. Light the candle and enjoy your yummy samosas.
The children are still settling into the classroom and adapting to the routines and rules. Consistency helps to maintain the delicate balance of early childhood education and emotional development. Practical Life lessons not only teach self-help and independence skills, but also help develop motor skills, dexterity, hand-eye coordination, strengthen muscles, and so much more. All these skills will support capability. We add and change materials throughout the year for seasons (pumpkins and bats in October), to inspire interest, and to challenge these young minds. Math and language components are daily parts of classroom life, and introduced through a variety of materials and games. The alphabet is introduced through sand paper letters and the sounds each letter makes. Printing is first done using a dot-to-dot method, and working towards a freehand approach. We teach printing using all lower case letters and only use capitals for the first letter of names and the beginning of sentences. Using all upper case letters is confusing for early readers, so please use lower case at home. Sewing wood buttons onto cloth, lacing with card shapes, transferring, and pouring are all life building skills, and part of our year round Practical Life exercises. Window cleaning and table washing are also exercises requiring different muscle skills and control. Ring and bracelet making with tiny glass and crystal seed beads are very popular activities with all ages. Like most activities, beading is multi-leveled for skill development. This includes fine motor skills, pincer finger development, focus, follow through and concentration. Through exercises like beading and table washing, your child’s ability to concentrate, follow through and finish tasks, and overall capability will strengthen. It’s not all about abc and 123.
The temperature has made a sudden drop, so please ensure your child is dressed appropriately for changing weather conditions. We try to go outside to the playground every day (rain or shine) unless it is too cold or wet (or we just get too busy with activities). Please phone (not email) to let us know if your child is ill or late. We do not always answer the phone during class time, but we do check messages regularly. September lessons included how to sneeze and cough into the elbow, and washing hands. Reinforcement will be constant throughout the year. We appreciate all the Covid testing reported back to us. Yoga will be a regular indoor activity during the winter. Short ‘Dance Parties’ occur upon occasion and really get the heart pumping. That’s a good thing.
Halloween is a fun time with books, stories, songs and lots and lots of different classroom materials. The group costume party for all children on Friday, October 29th was so much fun for everyone (teachers included). Cupcake decorating, basket making (thanks for the paper Luca), collage and monster hands were some of the Halloween activities this year. We carved a pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern, and had a Halloween parade and a dance party. So much fun. Our dance songs were “The Monster Mash”, “Ghost Busters”, and because of all the candy, “Sugar, Sugar”. We gave the children a Halloween pencil and eraser, but all other goodies were from classmates.
Date reminders are repeated because parents get busy and might miss the first notice. School will be closed on Thursday, November 11th for the Remembrance Day observance and on Friday, November 26th for the school district closure. Don’t forget to keep looking at the Instagram updates @ strathconmontessori.
Anyone who spends time with children knows there are many stages and levels of development. At this school, our first and main focus is on empathy and kindness. Please think about how a friend feels. Would you like that? What could you do to make your friend feel better? Children learn life lessons through natural consequences. They learn strength through empathy. Children learn resilience by not always getting what they want. Resilience leads to true inner self-confidence. Inclusive is a word that is bandied about freely in advertising, news and social media. Inclusive in preschool means not excluding any child due to culture, race, religion, physical or developmental challenges. Children do not see differences, they only see friends. The empathy and kindness we have witnessed from the children in recent months has deeply touched us and we just had to make note of this wonderful and amazing phenomenon. Our personal share for this month is that we as adults can learn so much from children. Follow the child.