Happy Valentine’s Day! We like to celebrate this holiday as it is not too overwhelming to children and it is very sweet! This year we wanted to talk about mail and how it moves to get from one place to the other. We decided it was a perfect time to make Valentine cards for our families. We have a card making work on our shelves so the children were familiar with this activity. First, they decorate the white paper with a stamp roller (to create a border) and various Valentine stamps. They then glue into red cardstock. Some of the children cut out a white heart and glued it on the front.
We then had the children put the cards in a red envelope.
We worked with the children to address their envelopes. Long ago we bought a book about the Postal System and how it works. Here is a link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Post-Office-Book-Moves/dp/0064460290 With email and other ways to communicate, many children do not know about addresses, zip codes, stamps and the postal system. Many of the children were excited to see their special Valentine come in the mail in a few days!
We sewed heart pillows! Many of the children are proficient sewers, especially with the whip stitch, and can do this almost independently.
We also made Valentine bags.
The children are excited to take the bags home and see what was inside. There were many homemade Valentines and almost all had written their own names.
Yesterday the children made heart shaped scones to serve this morning at the parent coffee. They were so happy to see their parents enjoying the scones. Thank you to all of the parents who were able to stop by!
Finally, our amazing and extremely talented music teacher taught the children this song:
For the past few weeks we have been thinking about the continent of South America. The children have studied many pictures of animals and plants in South America, we have tested some food (Thanks Paula for the bocadillos!) and completed the South America puzzle! One of the favorite things to do when we study this continent is to grind coffee beans! Not only does it make our school smell good, it is really fun! This is another multi-step activity. First, the children put the beans into the grinder. (Our grinder is clamped to the table! After having a few of these break we decided we must clamp them down to prevent them from sliding around.)
Close the lid on the grinder. (The whole beans are kept in the smaller tin along with a small scoop.)
Grind until the handle loosens and you do not hear the sound anymore.
Take out the drawer with the grinds.
Dump the grinds into the bigger container.
On Thursday morning we offered our parents the chance to come in and have a cup of coffee! The children were excited to think that their parents were able to have coffee with the beans they ground up! (Thanks for coming!)
This is our Spanish teacher Paula’s home in Colombia, South America, at 10,000 feet. They grow cacao to make into chocolate, coffee beans, avocado and oranges. Paula has sent us a few videos so we may see the harvesting and drying of the coffee beans. Click on the links below to see. Thanks for sharing! We wish we could all take a field trip and spend a few weeks there!
Dr. Maria Montessori believed in the idea of Peace Education. She integrated this idea into many areas of the curriculum. Dr. Montessori held peace conferences from 1932 through 1939 and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize six times. Today we honor another Peace Educator!
Either education contributes to a movement of universal
liberation by showing the way to defend and raise humanity
or it becomes like one of those organs, which have shriveled
up by not being used during the evolution of the organism
(Montessori, The Formation of Man, 1976, p.18).
“Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.” Dr. Montessori
We recently studied our third type of vertebrate- the reptile! Some characteristics of reptiles include: They are covered in scales. They breathe with lungs.
Most lay eggs. Almost all are cold blooded.
The afternoon children took a field trip to the Great Lakes Zoological Society to check out more reptiles. http://www.glzszoo.com/
We were able to see many types of reptiles! After our experience with the guide, we walked around the zoo and completed a scavenger hunt.
The younger children were also able to experience a reptile when one of our students (and dad) brought in his pet snake Sly! Sly happened to be molting and was slightly duller in appearance than normal but he was as good sport. All of the children were able to take a close look but we didn’t touch him. We were also able to match reptile cards and read many reptile books.
Our sewing practice has paid off! The children have been sewing so much this year. First, they practiced with a running stitch. We sewed on vinyl and cardstock. We then practiced sewing a whipstitch on vinyl and then with small felt tubes. The children that are ready and have been practicing began to sew neckwarmers last Friday! They are happy to have them to keep their necks warm!
Sewing helps with the development of fine motor skills! It is also a very important practical life skill to have.
The children were very happy and proud of their neckwarmers!
We have had a lot of fun for the past few weeks learning about pumpkins. We first dissected a pumpkin and learned about all of the different parts.
Some children chose to make a parts of the pumpkin book to take home!
One child roasted pumpkin seeds at home with her mom and brought them in for us to taste!
On Halloween, we decided to have our own special time by carving a jack-o-lantern.
We used the pumpkin we had dissected and some spices we ground in class to make tiny pumpkin pies for the whole class! They enjoyed making and rolling out the crust, cutting out the shapes and mixing up the filling! Everyone tasted a mini pumpkin pie while we sat around our carved jack-o-lantern.
We also found tiny pumpkins to paint! The backpacks weighed a little more than they normally do today!
Overall, we learned so much about pumpkins! We integrated them into many of our activities!
Many of our new children have begun interacting with our beginning math materials. We initially strive to introduce the child to fixed quantities such as the large number rods. This material helps the child become aware of the quantitative relationships between numbers and the sequence of numbers.
Once the child is able to count the large number rods, we introduce them again with the cards. Here the child associates quantity and symbol.
The Spindle Box is another beginning math material. This gives the child an opportunity to count using loose quantities and also introduces the concept of zero.
One of the many works we do in the practical life area is that of transferring items. This may be using a spoon to transfer beans from one bowl to the next or using a sponge to transfer water from one bowl to the next. The children strengthen their fine motor skills and learn to become more independent in these types of skills. This is a variation that works as those with more skilled fine motor skills can use tweezers and those on the path of refining their skills can use their fingers. These types of activities also help to develop concentration and they satisfy the child’s need for order.