February/March 2014 Newsletter

EARTH, AIR, WATER, AND FIRE are the classical elements which were considered to have made up everything in the world.  This theory was suggested by the ancient Greeks around 450 B.C.  The idea that these four elements made up all matter was the cornerstone of philosophy, science, and medicine for two thousand years.  These classical elements correspond more closely to four of the states of matter that modern science has agreed on:  solid (earth), liquid (water), gas (air), and plasma (fire).  The children are being introduced to these elements through books, song, photographs, and by matching different pictures to jars filled with water, earth, and air.

CONTINENTS have also begun to be studied.  One of our globes has each continent presented in a different color which corresponds to our continent map on the wall as well as a work which consists of a large blue canvas with the colorful continents painted upon it.  The children can then place animals (color coded on the bottom) on the continents where they live, i.e., penguins on Antarctica, panda bears on Asia, giraffes on Africa. The children also love singing The Continent Song.  — We will be introducing land and water forms as soon as it warms up more. This activity involves the child pouring water into different forms which allows them to more fully understand the relationship of land and water, i.e., island/lake, peninsula/gulf, cape/bay.

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ANTARCTICA was highlighted last month by Bonnie, as a companion to her presentation on the Arctic.  The children learned that there is two miles of ice on top of the land and that only scientists (in the human community) live there. Penguins were highlighted with several excellent books and the children made Macaroni penguins with water bottles filled with batting.

DENTAL HYGIENE was also highlighted by Bonnie.  She showed pictures of good and bad food as well as presenting different tools that would be used by a dentist.  She talked about the parts of the mouth and that teeth are needed for chewing as well as talking.  A very dramatic aspect of this presentation was eggs which she had soaked in Coca-Cola.  They were stained brown so the children used toothpaste and toothbrushes to clean them.

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SEWING POUCHES with colorful felt under Ginny Tuckers’ tutelage was so much fun for the children.  Ginny introduced the blanket stitch with embroidery floss, which the children used to sew up the sides of their pouches, as well as pinking shears used to cut the sides of the top flap.  The children just loved having their own hand-made pouch in which to put their treasures.

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FUND RAISING UP-DATE:  Memos to all the parents were sent out February 23rd outlining the pertinent aspects of the yard sale and silent auction.  The spread sheets for different businesses are posted.  Please check these out.  We also have the merchant letters available.  There is another sheet posted which lists creative contributions made by our parents or grandparents in the past, i.e.  sculpture, paintings, baseball game tickets, etc.  You may start bringing in items for the yard sale.  We will have to put most of them in the basement under the gym/social hall.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAY for the child was apparent in the interviews we did with the children.  Play was mentioned as much as food for what was important in their lives.  Free, imaginative play is crucial for normal social, emotional and cognitive development.  It makes us better adjusted, smarter and less stressed.  We have an article, “The Serious Need for Play”, which was in the Scientific American Mind in the February/March 2009 issue available for loan.

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SAINT PATRICK’S DAY will be celebrated Monday, March 17th.  John Mark Power will be coming in to play traditional Irish music with a mandolin, guitar, laud, flute, low whistle and tin whistle.  He will also provide some Irish soda bread. Oh Boy!

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FRIDAY, MARCH 28Th, will be another snow make-up day for all the children.  School will be available for the morning and afternoon children, as well as for the lunch-bunchers. We will keep you posted for other snow make-up days in April and May.

OUR LAST DAY OF SCHOOL will be Friday, June 6th. This will be our graduation program as well as a luncheon for all the families.  The first week of June will comprise more snow make-up days.

EASTER VACATION will be Friday, April 18th, and Monday, April 21st.

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Other items of note:

  • Composition books have been given to many of the children.  There has been a flurry of activity as the children draw in their books, write as they are able, have the teachers write the words as needed, and then have the opportunity of reading their own books.

  • We have begun singing more traditional songs:  Cockles and Mussels, She’ll be Comin’ Round the Mountain, I’ve been Workin’ on the Railroad. We will continue with these.

  • We have utilized the photos of the children as infants and toddlers along with their photos taken at the beginning of the year to make little books.

  • Please do not send popcorn in for snack.  It is considered a potential choking hazard.

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PLEASE PLEASE Google TED Talks and link up with Kenneth Robinson, one of the most important educators on the scene today. In his talk “How to Escape Education’s Death Valley”, he presents three principles which are crucial for the human mind to flourish and then describes how our current educational culture works against them.  In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational “death valley” we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility.

 

These three principles are:

l. We are naturally different and diverse but the current educational system is based on conformity through the No Child Left Behind Act. Children are engaging in low-grade clerical work rather than in a diverse, broad curriculum.

2.  Children are natural learners.  Curiosity is the engine of achievement.  Teaching is a creative system, not just a delivery system. Testing should be used as a diagnostic, not a dominant part.

3.  Life is creative and we create our own lives.  Educators should be allowed to awaken and develop children’s lives, not just prepare them for standardized testing.

 

AUTHENTIC MONTESSORI education addresses diversity, curiosity and creativity for each child. It creates a “climate of possibility” which engenders individual growth and true learning.

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