MCH May Newsletter
Fall Staffing Update (More Babies!)
We have a little update to the information that we shared with you recently, regarding upcoming staff transitions/changes. During late fall 2016 and early winter, our Upstairs Preschool Assistant Position will be shared by Alison and Katie, as Alison will be taking some time off with her newborn (expected end of October).
MCH Summer Program
There's still time to sign up for our MCH Summer Program! Choose a few weeks or sign up for the whole summer.
This year our summer themes will be:
Session 1 Gardening
Session 2 Insects
Session 3 Olympics
The Afternoon Program will explore the theme of Delicious & Nutritious.
Again this year, we will have some alumni students returning for our Summer Elementary Program. This is a great opportunity for them to reconnect with old friends and relax, in between other busy summer activities. Our current Extended Day (Montessori Kindergarten) students, that are enrolled for the summer, will be in our Summer Elementary class too. This year, Derek and Luz will be leading the Elementary class. Please note that if you have a preschooler (not Extended Day) child currently enrolled in Derek and Luz's class and your child is enrolled for the summer, he/she will be either in Caitlin's class or Kerri's class for the summer program, but he/she will have many opportunities to see Derek and Luz on the playground. If you have questions about this, please see Jim.
MCH on Facebook!
Now that the weather is (usually!) warmer, please bring home winter gear, and make sure your child has rain boots and a rain coat.
Check out Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt de la Pena. Some parents have asked for a good way to talk about socioeconomic status with children - this book is a great discussion starter.
Downstairs Preschool West
Lately, a few children have been particularly interested in working on their number roll. It's been wonderful to watch them work cooperatively without competition. I often overhear a child notice another's number roll has progressed past their own tally, and another child reply, "That's ok, it's not a race!" - just another example of the Montessori environment's ability to foster a noncompetitive atmosphere while allowing each child to work up to his/her potential. Other children have been really working with the moveable alphabet. The time spent earlier in the year working on letter sounds and I Spy have really paid off! It's really neat to see everything just start to "click".
You might have noticed a new addition in our classroom - an aquarium! Devin, Max's mom, was kind enough to set it up for us with living cherry shrimp, nerite and pond snails. She also printed a set of cards for us to identify the male and female shrimp, baby shrimp, molted exoskeleton, and the pond and nerite snails. Many children have enjoyed sitting in front of the tank and observing these little animals at work, as well as watching the life cycle of the shrimp as babies hatch off the females.
Downstairs Preschool East
The class has been spending a lot of time working in the garden and enjoying the change in weather. Our gardens are looking great. The children have worked hard pulling weeds and turning the soil over. The peas and lettuce that we planted are growing nicely and we discovered about one hundred self-sown tomato seedlings from last years dropped tomatoes. We collected and transplanted about twenty of them. If you are interested in trying to grow these seedlings at home let me know and we'll make that happen. We also asked the children which kind of vegetable they would like to grow at home; lettuce, broccoli, or carrots. Carrots were most popular. Every child received the seeds they chose and directions for how to care for them. We recently started exploring the similarities and differences between various kinds of seeds. We also have been observing objects with different kinds of magnifiers; magnifying glass, microscope, and binoculars. Our garden unit will continue and we will also start learning about the insects that live around us.
This past month we’ve been enjoying the beautiful weather with more outdoor time. After a winter of wearing snowsuits and boots, our toddlers are experiencing freedom of movement and exploring more of our outdoor space. We’ve seen a lot of climbing, pushing trikes/pedaling trikes, kicking/throwing balls, digging in the sandbox and running through hula hoop paths. Gardening has started and our toddlers have been helping to turn over the soil and notice what’s already growing. One of the things we love about MCH, is being together in our outdoor environment with our preschool friends and preschool teachers. It’s a very interactive and free-flowing space. During the past few years, we’ve started to view our outdoor space as less of a playground and more of an extension of our indoor space. In other words, more of an intentionally prepared environment, that in addition to meeting large motor needs of children, is also enriched with art, music, literacy, fine motor experiences, dramatic play, and social experiences. And with restful, shady, and quiet places. Another thing that happens organically in our outdoor space is that our toddlers begin to develop relationships with the other children and teachers This is so helpful for our toddlers, when it comes time to transition to the preschool. Indoors we’ve started planting seeds and we are hoping to send some plants home and plant some in our MCH garden.
This past month we celebrated Alex, Evan and Elwood’s 3rd birthdays with the Montessori birthday ritual (see more information on our facebook page about this). We baked Semolina cake with Kaha, explored flower arranging for our Mother’s Day project and saw/listened to a melodica—Kimberly played this for us. We’ve started planting seeds and we are hoping to send some plants home and plant some in our MCH garden.
Coming up soon…more birthdays, more seed planting, more outdoor time, and more cooking!
Extended Day Classroom
We are winding down the year, by focusing on our sale. We decided the proceeds will go to our sister school Tres Mariposas (Three Butterflies) Montessori in the Dominican Republic. Kendra Wochos has been talking to all of the classes about a school-wide fundraiser to help our sister school. We will have the Extended Day sale this coming Monday, May 16, during Extended Day. The children may bring some money from home, 50 cents, or more if they would like to purchase crafts and games that the children have made. Please put money in a labeled bag or container so that we can keep it all straight. We have talked about taking money from their piggy banks or doing a job to earn a few cents. We will donate the money we make to the school fundraiser. The Extended Day class will also be in charge of counting all of the proceeds from the school fundraiser. Although we have worked with coins recently, you might want to review coin values with your child.
After we finish up the sale, we will begin preparing for graduation. Eighteen 4 and 5 year olds seemed a little daunting to me at the beginning of the year, because this is a larger class than I am used to, but what a wonderful class it turned out to be! I can't tell you how much I enjoyed working with your beautiful children. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity. I'm looking forward to greeting you all at graduation.
Afternoon Program Updates
We have been having a great time on our trip to India! Samarth's mom, Sonal, taught us about the Indian festivals of Holi, Diwali, and Rakhi and shared some mango (the national fruit of India) with the children. We made and tasted Mango Lassi and cracked open coconuts to make coconut milk. To wrap up our trip to India, Apurva's mom, Joshna, visited the Afternoon Program to help us cook Peas Pulao, a Yellow Indian Rice. It was very delicious!
Our next trip will be to the Phillipines! Abigail's family will be sharing photos and information about their native country of Phillipines and helping the children make a traditional Sweet Banana Spring Roll dessert called Turon.
After our trip to the Phillipines, we will be traveling to Pakistan. Zara's family will be visiting to share about their culture and traditions.
This year, we traveled to Bulgaria, Turkey, New Zealand, India, The Phillipines, and Pakistan. We would like to invite parents to visit our Afternoon Program to learn about and taste food from each of the countries that we have studied this year. If you have a few extra minutes on Thursday, May 26th, we welcome you to stay and taste some of the food that we tried from around the world.
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 MCH Spring Work Day is this Saturday 5/14 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. This is a fun day to come together as a community to spruce up the MCH grounds and do some inside spring cleaning. It is also one of the ways to satisfy some of your required parent volunteer hours if you still need to do so.
- The last Parent Discussion Group of the school year will be held on Wed 5/18. Watch for an Evite with more details.
- The annual MCH Rummage Sale is coming up on Sat 6/4. Set aside items for donation as you do your spring cleaning. We will need many volunteers for rummage sale pricing on Friday 6/3 in the evening and to work sale shifts on Saturday 6/4.
- The End of the Year Picnic is scheduled for Tuesday 5/7 @ 6 p.m. at Westmoreland Park (rain date Wed 6/8 at MCH).
- The Extended Day Graduation will be on Thursday 6/9 at 1:30 p.m.
All events are also listed on the calendar on the MCH website.