January 2015 Newsletter

FROM CASTLES TO CATHEDRALS: The Middle Ages have come alive in the classroom as we have tried to cover some of the distinctive features of this 1,000 year period, spanning the Ancient and Modern Worlds, from the fall of Rome in 410 to the start of the Renaissance in the 15th century. The children have been fascinated in this particular study and we are having a lot of fun. Some of the aspects of this Medieval Period (Medieval is Latin for Middle) which we have read and talked about are: castles, nobility, the Great Hall, tapestries, feudal system, feasts, Code of Chivalry, sieges, knighthood, Crusades, coats of arms, tournaments, jousting, guilds, Byzantine art, icons, illuminated manuscripts, monks, and the rise of universities. The Code of Chivalry is when knights promised to use good manners, to be fair to all, to protect the weak, to be generous, and to honor and respect women. As one of our visiting alumnus children, Virginia Slover, commented, “That’s something everyone should try and do.” Indeed.

 

A LARGE PLAYMOBILE CASTLE was purchased for the classroom and the children have all loved playing with that, working with the different aspects of the castle, down to and including goblets, treasure chests, and dungeons. This is constantly in use! A BEAUTIFUL TAPESTRY was also purchased for the classroom which we have hanging by the snack table. CHECKERS was also brought in for the children to play as this was a popular game back then.

 

THE BEAUTY OF THE HUMAN BODY, so important in Greek and Roman art, is no longer as meaningful with regard to medieval painting. The pictures now reflect the power, glory, and mission of Christ. We have some copies of Byzantine painting as well as illuminated manuscripts on one of our bulletin boards. THE RISE OF THE TOWNS in Medieval Europe led to the period of Gothic Art (the last three centuries of the Middle Ages) and its growing interest in nature and the more human approach to religious subjects. Cathedrals, stain glass, and the awareness of light affecting what we see are all part of Gothic Art. We have ordered prints of some of the most famous paintings and will be displaying them soon.

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THE MAASAI tribe in Africa was introduced recently to our children by Bonnie Muck when we took a trip to Kenya. The bead work that is created by these people is extraordinary and the children made their own “necklace”, or collar, out of the rims of paper plates with many bright, beautiful colors. Kit was also able to bring in photographs of people, beaded bracelets, and a cloth that is used as a cloak or a blanket, plus a ceremonial club with very intricate beaded work. Bonnie will be taking the children to another African country, Nigeria, next week. Our detailed world globe has had a lot of use what with all our “travels with Bonnie”.

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY was honored with photos and books about his dream, the non-violent protests, and how civil rights were finally extended to people who had previously been unable to vote or go to the same schools, restaurants, or movie theaters as white people. We also talked about what each child might imagine or dream for their lives.

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***    WINTER BREAK is February 16th – 20th. School will be closed that week. ***

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MAKE-UP SNOW DAYS are built into our school calendar with five extra days scheduled the first week of June. If we need to make up more days, we can utilize Fridays for all of the children to attend and have extended Fridays for the “Friday Kids” as necessary.

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VALENTINE’S DAY will be celebrated on Wednesday, February 11th. Please help your children be involved with providing valentines for some or all of the other children. This is a great time for children to sign their names, use glitter, draw, or whatever they might enjoy to help celebrate this holiday dedicated to love and friendship.

 

Isis, Leo, and Kit will be out of the classroom on Thursday, February 12th, when Heidi Arnao and Anne Rule-Thompson will be substitute teachers. We are working on a sub for that Friday.

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OUR ANNUAL FUND RAISER will get off to an early start. Anne Rule-Thompson will be getting in touch with all our parents with regard to an early donation drive for the silent auction. The yard/rummage sale will also remain part of our fund raiser and items (everything except adult clothing) may be brought in any time after March 1st.

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THE ENUNCIATION GAME has been played in circle. We all practice saying different words and try to be aware of our mouth movement for specific articulation. Many children slip over sounds as it were, i.e., acause instead of because, blake instead of break, firty not thirty.

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WINTER has been spelled out with glittered letters for our seasonal word. We have also sung and talked about snow, light, and read about how animals fare in the winter through migration, hibernation, food storage, and food forage. The children enjoyed a winter art project wherein we used cookie cutters and different colors of tempera paint for printing snowflakes, stars, angels and trees.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF THE HAND IN LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT: Linguists realize that the hand, language, and the brain are connected in many and mysterious ways. The work of the hand builds neural pathways in the brain. Research has shown that children remember the name of an object better if they see and touch the object, than if they had only seen it.

 

We know that children from birth to six are in a sensitive or critical period of language development. This is the time in human development when we acquire language almost effortlessly. Being aware of the hands’ connection to the brain and language development, and knowing that the sensitive period for language acquisition ends by age seven, we need to keep your children’s hands busy with appropriate and enriching activities.

 

Many children spend too much time in front of a television, video games, or computer, involved in activities that require minimum hand involvement. – Kid’s Talk, by Maren Schmidt.

 

MONTESSORI EDUCATION RELIES UPON ‘HANDS ON’ ACTIVITIES. All of the four major areas utilize concrete, sensorial materials, from tonging in practical life that helps to develop coordinated movement; to distinguishing sizes and building in the sensorial area; to feeling sandpaper letters and making words with a moveable alphabet in the language area; to utilizing the golden beads in the math materials to distinguish between ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands. To quote Dr. Maria Montessori: “The hand educates the brain.”

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“Seek yourself, your truth. Listen to your dreams and follow your stars. Be wise men and wise women.” – Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Homily on The Feast of the Epiphany.

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