MCH January Newsletter
Thank you MCH families!
Thank you to all the MCH families that contributed to our staff holiday gift. Your generous donations made the holiday season brighter for our staff!
New this semester, tour refreshers with Jim!
Do you remember the tour you had before you signed up at MCH? Probably not too much of it. You might remember a feeling you had or answers to some of your questions, but likely you don't remember many of the details about Montessori philosophy or the particulars about MCH that Jim shared with you on that day. If you would like to refresh this information and ask more questions--also a good time to learn more about Extended Day (Montessori Kindergarten), please contact Jim to set up a tour time. Bring your questions and we'll have a cup of coffee for you! We have a hidden agenda here in wanting you to be more informed...parents talking to others, is our best advertising.
Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Congratulations to Katie!
Katie Richards, one of our Afternoon Program Assistants, just graduated from UW-Madison with an undergraduate degree in Community and Non-Profit Leadership. She has worked very part-time the past two years, but will now take a more active role in the Afternoon Program.
MCH Closed February 5th and March 11th
MCH will be closed on Friday, February 5th for Staff Development Day. We will be taking a CPR refresher in addition to meeting and having lunch together. On Friday, March 11th we will be closed for the AMS (American Montessori Society) national convention in Chicago. We are so pleased that our MCH Board approved the use of funds to take our staff members there for a day of Montessori workshops, keynote speakers and networking with Montessorians from across the country.
After winter break we welcomed Dami, Dhangsel, Evelyn and Ginny to our toddler class and Vihaan moved to Kerri & Elena’s class. Overall, very smooth transitions and we have a happy and full toddler class.
We’ve had several indoor days because of cold weather. On those days, we expand to our hallway and cubby room to add in more large motor play such as crawling through tunnels, playing with balls, balancing on ‘stepping stones” and jumping around on gymnastics mats.
We’ve started doing regular cooking projects. In December we made muffins, cookies and pizza (see below for Hana’s excellent pizza dough recipe) and this month we are making pretzels, vegetable soup and breadsticks. Making pizza was a multi-day project of making the dough (adding ingredients, mixing, kneading), chopping vegetables and then finally adding toppings to create personal pizzas. Cooking/food prep experiences are great for young children as they are hands on, multi-sensory and involve many of the developmental domains.
Hana's Pizza Dough Recipe
- 1 cup milk
- 1 stick butter
- 1 package yeast
- 3 to 5 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Melt butter
- Warm milk
- Dissolve yeast in warm milk
- Add salt to flour
- Add dry ingredients to liquids until dough forms a ball
- Knead dough & let rise
- Roll out on floured board and shape to desired size
- Add sauce/toppings
- Bake at 400 for approx. 15 minutes
Cold-weather aside, it's been a great start to the New Year in our classroom. We finished reading seasonally appropriately, Jan Brett books, such as The Mitten and Gingerbread Baby and now will read the books you all generously donated during the Usborne book sale. Thanks! At group time, we've also introduced new activities including "Bug in the Rug", "Guess who?" and "Popcorn." You could ask your child to describe one to you.
If it's 0 degrees or below (including the wind chill) we have to stay inside. On these days, we start group time a little later, and then afterwards take out the "afternoon shelf" with more open-ended activities, such as legos and puzzles, and we also set up an obstacle course so that we can meet the gross motor needs of the kids.
In the cultural area, we are introducing anatomy lessons in addition to our main stays - botany, geography, & history. Recently, many children are focusing on making their own world maps, based on our puzzle map, and some have moved on to North America and the United States.
We've also continued to try a new food on Fridays. Most recently, we tried pineapple & Bosc pear. We welcome any ideas you may have for a fruit or other healthy food!
Downstairs West Preschool
Something that's been very exciting in our classroom is a ceremony that we do to celebrate a child finishing his/her world map, called the World Citizen Ceremony. Finishing a world map takes a lot of work:
- learning the continent names
- tracing and pinpunching each continent
- tracing and cutting (or pinpunching) two blue hemispheres
- gluing the hemispheres and continents in the correct spots
- creating written labels for each continent
When the world map is complete, we hold our World Citizen Ceremony at group time to present the map to the rest of the class. We then "vest" the child as a World Citizen! This term is both literal and figurative, as part of the ceremony is presenting the child with his/her own special blue felt vest that he/she is welcome to wear in class from that point forward. A special THANK YOU! to John Porco for sewing 9 additional blue vests for our ceremonies! After the child is vested, he/she is then asked to give a peace wish for the world, which they have prepared in advance. To close the ceremony, the child takes a globe, and moves around the group circle, one child at a time, and says "peace to you", which each child returns.
Downstairs East Classroom
I hope to talk more about music this month, however, lately, many of the children have been interested in creating puppets on popsicle sticks. I have used this interest to introduce the basic components of creating a story. Talking about the beginning, middle and end. One of our students wrote a story, made puppets of all the characters, recruited a classmate to be a part of the show, memorized the lines and actions, rehearsed and then finally put on the show. It was a huge success! The two children who put the show on were so happy and proud of what they had accomplished. The rest of the class was inspired, and I heard many say that they couldn't wait to create their own story to perform for class.
Extended Day Classroom
We have presented symbols for less than, more than and equals to the children moving on to first grade. We are also working on rounding numbers to the nearest 10.
Phyllis is beginning study of Claude Monet. Luz has begun teaching Spanish in small groups, because we have such a large group.
Something you may have noticed in our classroom is the Peace Tree. Children put a flower in the Peace Tree for every kind deed they observe. For each flower we put a pompom in a jar and when we get the jar filled we will have a Peaceful Classroom celebration!
Family Connections Committee
The Family Connections committee is MCH's parent group focused on school social events and fundraising, as well as enhancing parent and community communication. If you want to get involved, just let Jim or Laura know.
- The 2nd Parent Discussion Group meeting will be on Tuesday 1/26. An Evite was sent out with all the details.
- February parent coffee will be on Wednesday 2/3. Stop by for coffee and a quick hello or linger awhile to chat with other parents.
- The next Family Connections monthly meeting will be on Thursday 2/11.
(All events are also listed on the calendar on the MCH website)
We were very excited to welcome everybody back to the Afternoon Program after winter break! On our next trip "Around the World" we will be learning about Turkey. We have started coloring the Turkish flag and identifying Turkey on the map. We are looking forward to having Pelin, Pars' mom, visit our class and share information about Turkish food and culture and talk about their recent trip to Turkey. Pelin will be cooking and bringing in a very traditional Turkish bread, Simit, that is similar to American bagels. The children are excited to taste Simit with Turkish tea (chai).
With the children, we will be making spinach Borek-layers of phyllo dough with a mixture of spinach and feta cheese. We will also be tasting Turkish Delight! Another Turkish food that we will be preparing and eating is ezogelin corbasi (red lentil soup) and pide (Turkish flat bread). The children are eager to learn Çayda çıra (pronounced: chaydah chirah), a traditional Turkish folk dance.
As always, all parents are welcome to join us in the Afternoon Program to participate in our Around the World activities. Contact Havva at Havva@madisonmontessori.org.
A message to our MCH parents of 4 year olds (second year Montessori students)
By now, you may be considering your child's educational options for the next school year and we understand that there are many factors influencing your decision making process, just as there were when you chose MCH. During your child's time here, he has enjoyed having older children show him how to use the materials in the classroom. Maybe, she has had help tracing the continents of the world map puzzle so that she could make her own map or maybe she has had help from an older child learning how to count or simply how to properly complete a work cycle (i.e. using and then putting a work away properly). In turn, the older child has learned the curricula more thoroughly and has learned the responsibility of being a leader and ultimately, takes pride in being a leader-- an experience that will help him after he ages out of MCH.
The Extended Day (Kindergarten) year is a powerful year for a Montessori child. Without it, the child doesn't get: the full benefit of the amazing Montessori materials; the only chance for a long time to be the oldest child in the school and therefore the chance to be a leader; the opportunity to spend a year with some of the greatest teachers in Madison. The mixed age group may have been an important factor in your initially choosing MCH. Yes, the Extended Day year is another year of tuition but we hope that you give it serious consideration so that your child may complete the cycle that he started.
To find out more, please, feel free to contact Jim or Kerri, and know that you are always welcome to set up a low pressure visit/observation.