September / October 2016 Newsletter

WE ARE HAPPY TO BE BACK IN SCHOOL! There are 14 returning children and six new children, three in the morning session and three in the afternoon. The classroom is normalizing nicely and the older children are ready, willing, and able to help with the newer ones.

Annie Young is our new teacher for the morning session. Annie was a public school kindergarten and first grade teacher in Clarke County, Virginia, for ten years before starting her own school, Young’s Learning Center, which she has had for four years. The Learning Center is for home schooled children as well as pre-schoolers. We are thrilled to have Annie as part of our faculty team. Her daughter, Jovina, is also enjoying her second year with us.

Our afternoon session continues to include Bonnie Muck on Tuesday afternoons and Chelsea McBee for other afternoons. Bonnie has been our special instruction teacher for the last two years and is concentrating on literacy activities each Tuesday. Chelsea has been a professional musician for many years and is very interested in early childhood education.
OCEAN LIFE has been our beginning special study unit. We have had gorgeous photographs on the bulletin board and the children have engaged in shell matching, picture matching, coloring, listening to books, matching fish and whale objects, utilizing stencils, and coloring the really big Sea Life Learning Wall which is on display in the hallway. Many children also decorated shells or built wooden structures with shells glued on for decoration.

NATIONAL PARKS are now a part of our classroom concentration. It is the 100th birthday of the park system which allows the public to enjoy the amazing beauty that has been preserved throughout our country. We have photographs and posters from many of the parks and we are introducing their names, their geographical locations, as well as how land and water configure in the parks.. Ansel Adams photographs of Yosemite and other national parks are being highlighted and the children will be doing some art work with smaller photographs.
A GARDEN has been started by Annie Young and the children loved using little gardening tools to put in the starter mulch. We have planted a small chrysanthemum and plan to put in baby kale plants out of which we can make kale chips! Yum! We hope to also be able to plant flowers or small shrubs along the fence of the playground since the other tall shrubs were removed.
– OUR HALLOWEEN PARTY AND PARADE are scheduled for Wednesday, October 26th, since all our children come on Wednesdays. Please send your child to school in costume! We will take a short walk downtown and families are welcome to join us.
– RECORDS OF VACCINATIONS for new children are requested for us to keep on file.
– PERMISSION FOR PHOTOGRAPHS of the children is also requested. We would like to liven up our web site with photos of the classroom as well as children in action. We will have a sign-up sheet in the hallway.
– SCHOOL WILL BE CLOSED Thursday, November 3rd, for Zion’s Farmers Market.
NEW MATERIALS FOR THE CLASSROOM include new beautiful building blocks, new Kapla planks, new Brown Stairs, and new Magsnaps, which are magnetic constructive toys.
SIGN LANGUAGE is being introduced to the children thanks to Jen Burkhardt (Zack’s mom). She is able to come in on Wednesday mornings for a short period. Last Wednesday we learned the signs for the numbers 0 – 10 as well as the sign for thank you and you’re welcome, which are interestingly enough the same. The children were very interested and willing to practice.
MAKING PEACE continues to be a thread which we weave throughout our day in how we speak to the children, how we might help them with their work, how to help them speak to another child, how we model respect for each individual. We talk about what helps make peace in our Circle Time and talk about examples, i.e., helping someone put their work away or help with their snack. We are also singing songs about peace and love.

We are part of a group who is building humanity. Our real job is to assure the success of the next generation. To teach our children to love and know peace, we must show our love in whatever we do, however we can. Love never fails. For that reason, it is our most important skill to teach, perhaps the only thing we should teach.
****************************************************************************** LETTER/SOUND ACTIVITES are being presented by Bonnie Much on Tuesday afternoons which under gird the work of the whole classroom. Each week she takes a letter/sound and presents delightful and captivating activities and information. After her group presentation, Bonnie helps the children with an art activity which is always fun, fun, fun! For A we did apple printing; for B we did bubble printing; for C we did paper cupcake frosting with shaving cream, glue, and sequins; and for F we painted a fall pumpkin. (The letter D will come later).
A. Encourage spontaneous imaginative play, either alone or with other children. Allow children to create their own toys. Steer clear of non-creative, fully constructed commercial toys.
B. Read to and participate in full attention communication with the child. Encourage creative, imaginative story making.
C. Encourage full emotional expression moving to rational dialogue by the age of 4 yrs.
D. Encourage lots of movement and interaction with other children to develop playground rules, sharing and the beginnings of altruistic behavior.
E. Honor care of other people, pets and objects.
F. Encourage a sense of time and delayed gratification.
G. Discourage any TV or video games.
H. Provide a low stress environment and model rich emotional expression and stability. Model Joy. – From Smart Moves – Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head, by Carla Hannaford, PhD.
“A servant does things for a child, while a parent should be an educator.” You can continue the Montessori experience for your child at home by helping him learn to take care of his own body, learn the joys of an orderly life, and learn to be a contributor to the family. By doing this, you engender a confident feeling of “I can do it myself!”

To encourage independence, always let your child do things for him or herself whenever he or she shows an interest.