September 2021

This is our first newsletter of the school year, informing families what we are doing and upcoming events or dates to note.  A bit repetitive for families who have had many children come through these door, but it never hurts to have a little reminder.  Photo links are sent out every month and you can see a few of our projects on Instagram @ strathconamontessori (faces are never shown).

September is the month of transitions.  Children transition into a new school year, adults into new schedules, summer into autumn.  New students are adapting to the materials and routines.  Second year students were back into the rhythm of the classroom quickly, working with all their friends, and buzzing around the classroom (quite a social group).  There is a lot of freedom within a Montessori classroom.  Children are welcome to choose activities from the materials they have been shown demonstrations of, and choose activities available.  This is all done at an age appropriate level for all children, so the younger children are not overwhelmed and the older children are still intrigued.  It’s a delicate balance. Basic routines to each day allow a beginning, middle and end to each class, with a warning for transitions.  There is enough time to accomplish work, or place it on file to finish another day.  There is comfort in routines as children come to know and expect what will happen, and what the expectations are of them.  Clear consistent boundaries develops an environment where children feel confident enough to move forward and take creative and learning risks.  Classes always end with Circle time, which allows teachers to share and read stories, sing songs, demonstrate classroom materials, and discuss relevant issues.  It also allows children an opportunity to relay personal news and to share ideas. After Circle is hand washing, snack and outdoor play time.

‘All About Me’ and autumn are two of the first themes introduced.  Discussions are about our five senses, parts of the body, families, feelings, emotions, moods, and respecting friends.  Autumn includes the harvest, apples, animal migration towards hibernation and other aspects and observations of the season.  We also have a classroom nature tray, that the children are welcome to add an item to.  The tray has magnifying glasses to investigate each element on the tray.  Thanksgiving and First Nations will be the main discussions over the next few weeks.  There are many concrete materials and items to be shown at Circle and displayed on the shelves.  All materials and subjects are at age appropriate levels.  The morning class will have introductory lessons while the afternoon Junior Kindergarten class will acquire more in-depth knowledge and materials.  The general curriculum is preplanned but we are always willing to add something that is of interest to the children, taking advantage of curious moments and sensitive periods.

Thank you Luca and family for the beautiful books of exotic craft papers.  These gorgeous papers will be well used and well-loved for many projects for many years to come.  Halloween collages are only the beginning.

Documentation is kept for every child, marking their level of understanding and building on that foundation.  Lessons are given in groups and on an individual basis. We have started the Sound Game with first year children and we are working on phonetic sounds and sandpaper letters with the pre-K students.  We stress the use of lower case letters only.  Please use lower case letters for everything except the first letter of your child’s name.  Quality books use lower case letters, with capitals only for names and sentence starts.  Use of lower case limits confusion, helping children with reading ability and literacy down the road.  Counting and tracing sand paper numbers is the introduction to math concepts.  More Practical Life exercises are going onto the shelves each week, and button sewing and stringing glass seed beads for ring making is in full swing.  All for fine and gross motor skills, the ability to focus and to follow through to completion.

The first Scholastic Book order forms are going out at the end of this week.  Forms are only a small sample of available books through Scholastic.  If you love books, you will find a whole new world opening up to you and your child online.  You can order from the mini catalogue (due back date is on the attached order form), or take a look at the amazing selection online.  You can have orders shipped directly to your home (shipping fees are minimal), or bring your orders to the school with no shipping fees.  More info is in your child’s home folder.

It is nice to share some thingsbut not everything should be shared.  Last month the proper way to cough and sneeze was introduced and the lesson is being reinforced.  Cold and flu season is upon us, as well as being in the middle of a pandemic.  Health protocols are more important than ever. Please phone the preschool if your child is going to be away, as attendance sheets must be maintained daily for Licensing requirements (we check the phone regularly).  If your child is ill, it is helpful for us to know the symptoms of your child’s illness, so we may monitor the group.  It is extremely important to notify us as soon as possible if your child has a high fever or a contagious illness.  When in doubt about symptoms of common childhood illnesses, please check your ‘Sneezes and Diseases’ book that was sent out in September as an attachment.  The number one health protocol is the ’24 hour symptom free’ rule.  If your child has not been symptom free for 24 hours, please keep them home and allow them to rest until they are feeling better.  These protocols are health standards, but may be new to you.  An illness protocol sheet was placed in every home file last month and emailed to every family.  Outdoors is a part of the daily program at the end of every class, which includes all children unless the weather is too harsh.  If a child is not well enough to play outside, they are not well enough to come to school.  Please make appropriate clothing choices to include outdoor activities.  We can always take layers off.

Information and forms for the Provincial Child Care Benefit may be found at the link below.  This is available to all families in BC. The benefit is calculated on a sliding scale and goes directly towards tuition.

We follow the main Vancouver school district calendar but do not close for every school closure.  If uncertain, please refer to our calendar for dates, or simply ask.  We try to give reminders of approaching dates at least a week in advance.  Please make note of the following upcoming closures:

  • Thanksgiving – Monday, October 11th
  • SD39 District Closure – Friday, October 22nd
  • Remembrance Day – Thursday, November 11th
  • SD39 District Closure – Friday, November 26th

Things to note:

  • If you have any last minute changes for pick up or drop off, phone the school (please do not email). We check for phone messages throughout the day, but not always emails.
  • Please let us know if you have recently changed any personal contact information, or wish to add someone to the authorized pick up list. If you have a regular pickup change, please email the name and their contact numbers to us, so we may update files
  • Kindergarten Registration opens for SD39 on November 1st

Our very good friend Pema has moved to a new home.  Thank you to mum and dad for bringing in zucchini-cocoa muffins and pineapple to celebrate Pema’s last day at preschool.  Pema’s family are opening a very well needed family medical practice on the island. Best wishes to all.  We will miss you Pema.

Families move and needs change.  We now have a five day space in both the morning and a five day opening in the afternoon class.  If you would like to expand your child’s time with us, please let us know.  If you know someone looking for a great preschool, please let them know.

Summer is officially over.  Autumn brings new beauty and adventures.  Welcome October.