MCH October Newsletter
Thanks for a great Open House!
Welcome to new friends Sawyer and Elwood!
Our toddlers have been busy learning the rituals and routines of our day. There is much to learn: how to wash hands, how to serve snack, how to pack up a lunchbox, how to put away work, etc. We’ve also been busy with fall art projects such as leaf collages. These activities give children an opportunity to practice fine motor skills; brushing glue on paper with a paintbrush and carefully adding small pieces such as leaves.
This past Tuesday, we made applesauce for our Open House. The toddlers spent a long time chopping apples with child-safe choppers, and adding sugar and spices to make a very tasty applesauce. We smelled cloves, cinnamon and ginger and at circle time talked about the whole process of making applesauce.
A toddler room clothing note: please check your child’s extra supply to make sure that it's stocked with seasonably appropriate changes of clothing. Layers of clothing are great for this time of year--use a t-shirt as a first layer with a long-sleeve shirt or sweatshirt over that. This allows for options if our toddler room is warm (which it sometimes is due to the morning sun). Also, the children wash hands often, and participate in water works--short-sleeves are great for both of these activities and there's less chance for a wet shirt. Although we encourage toddlers to push up their sleeves to keep them dry, they are sometimes resistant to that. It's likely that pushing sleeves up bothers their sense of order--long sleeves are meant to be long.
We are also working on the "up and over" method of putting on a coat....see details below!
It's been an exciting month in our classroom! As it gets closer to Halloween, we have practiced a couple of fun activities at group time. One is called "Five Little Pumpkins" and we have done it both as a finger play and we have acted it out. The other activity goes like this:
- "Pumpkin, pumpkin, round and fat...turn into a jack-o-lantern just like that". For this, the children are sitting facing away from each other holding their hands up, palms together, to make a stem. When we say "turn into a jack-o-lantern just like that", the children turn around and make a jack-o-lantern face. We have tried acting out different emotions this way, saying, "let's make a grumpy face", or "Let's make a happy face", etc.
At group time, we have also tried three different varieties of apples - Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, & Ambrosia. Some of the children helped wash the apples and pass out small pieces with toothpicks. All of the children were willing to try them! Soon we will be making applesauce.
For stories, we finished reading Pete the Cat books, which demonstrate how to have a good attitude about things when they don't go the way one might expect. I Love My White Shoes is a favorite. Currently, we are reading Nina Crews books, which are beautiful books with photography. It's nice to show books that feature real children, and Crews' books feature a variety of people of different races - it's important for all children to see this kind of representation in literature.
Downstairs West Preschool
This has been productive and busy month in the DPW classroom. Many children have been particularly drawn to the mathematics area, particularly the colored and gold beads. We've also had many children determined to learn their letter sounds; some have already begun reading! It's so exciting to watch their determination grow as they successfully read each new word.
One of the children's favorite songs to sing/speak at group time is 5 Little Monkeys. Check out the version that we use in the link below!
We've also begun working on some new food preparation works in our practical life area. Our first has been banana chopping. The children peel the banana, and then use a special chopping tool to prepare banana slices for their own snack.
At group time, we've been reading the book A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles by Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk and peace advocate. This book introduces peaceful meditation in a concrete and hands-on way for the children, and encourages a connection with nature. We've learned how to choose four pebbles (we keep a bowl of polished rocks on the peace table for this activity) to represent 1) Flower, 2) Mountain, 3) Calm Water, and 4) Space. After choosing a pebble, we repeat a mantra as we breathe in, and out. Many children have chosen to repeat this meditation alone at the peace table throughout the morning.
Caitlin will be absent on Friday, October 30 to prepare for her Halloween wedding this Saturday. She will be back on Monday!
1st Bead Frame
Little hands count the bead bar before hanging it in its corresponding place.
Short Bead Chains
Bigger hands count bead chains, and practice "skip counting" by placing tags on the last bead of each chain.
A precursor to the math area, the Red Rods isolate the feeling of length.
Short Bead Chains
Downstairs East Preschool
I wanted to thank everyone who came to our open house on Tuesday. It was a lot of fun seeing and talking to everyone's families. Our class is getting along great up to this point in our school year. I have seen many instances of children helping each other and taking care of each other when someone gets hurt, or is sad.
We had a grandmother and grandson make some special Halloween cookies for our class. I decided that we should have a small Halloween party because of these delicious looking cookies. If you would like to donate a healthy treat to our party, please do. I will emphasize healthy because Halloween is unhealthy enough! I will bring in apple cider and cinnamon. Valerie, Vivian's mom, will be joining us for the party on Friday. She will be doing leaf rubbings with the children. If you would like to find a few leaves for that project, please bring them in on Friday. I would also like to thank Camille, Bowen's mom, for coming in and planting bulbs with the children.
Extended Day (Montessori Kindergarten)
We are learning songs to remember how to spell some sight words such as "me", "like", "to", and we have made a class book about what we like to wear. We have been reading The Box Car Children (chapter book) to the children at the end of class. Please send in leaves folded in newspaper or with a few drops of water in a plastic bag. We would like to start some leaf projects.
I will have written an email to you all updating you on you child's activities in Extended Day by the time conferences roll around. We will not have fall conferences for Extended Day students unless you feel you really need one. Just let me know.
Finally thanks to Kecia Doyle Green who reads to the children and listens to them read on Wednesdays!
Costumes in the Classroom...
Halloween is coming up! Although we will love to hear about your child's trick-or-treating plans, please do not send your child to school in a costume to celebrate this holiday.
As seasons change, so does clothing. A few reminders from the MCH Parent Handbook:
We seriously discourage the wearing of costumes/super hero/princess clothing (even t-shirts) at school. During this critical period of development - referred by Dr. Montessori as the “absorbent mind” - children are beginning to create their own identity and sense of self-perception, as well as their moral understandings. Additionally, during this period, children are developing their ability to discriminate between reality and fiction. When wearing superhero clothing/costumes, children often take on the more aggressive persona of the character - or if their character is the “good guy”, then some unwilling child is cast in the opposing role. In addition, these sorts of clothing are distracting to other children, and prevent them from working in the classroom. For these reasons, we suggest that parents provide reasonable clothing options for your child to choose from in the morning. We appreciate your help in fostering an environment that allows the children’s true selves to shine through!
As the past week reminded us, Wisconsin weather is fickle and ever-changing. Please check your child’s cubby to make sure that they have enough extra clothes to change into. There is labeling material provided in each classroom cubby room - remember to label new additions to your child’s cubby!
Neck warmers are great for outdoor play.
Mittens generally are easier for children to put on than gloves.
- Congratulations to the children and families who are working so hard on potty-training! Please check to make sure that your child has enough underwear/pull-ups/diapers so that they can make the choices that will aid their developing independence.