This afternoon, our Primary and Elementary students were treated to a presentation by Eagle Bear and his troop of dancers from the Aztlan tribe. This was the perfect way to celebrate the season together as a school community, before our Thanksgiving break begins.
The beauty of a Montessori classroom is that each day is unique, and alive with the activity of the 20 unique individuals that comprise the class. At any given moment, you might see 20 different materials in use, the classroom a buzz of enthusiastic work and learning.
This morning, Janet Handleton, our Primary assistant at the Potomac Campus, passed along the following list of work, all being done at the same moment in her and Mr. Cooper's classroom:
At different points in the morning work period, Mr. Cooper's students also completed work on several puzzle maps, a number of dressing frames, classroom labels, more stamp games, dish washing, the 100 board, reading classification, sewing, sound cylinders, painting, and more.
If you would like to come observe the Montessori magic at work, email us at email@example.com.
This is one of my favorite quotes by the brilliant scientist/writer, Carl Sagan. This sentiment, I feel, greatly applies to what we set out to accomplish in our Montessori classrooms. We, as educators, aim to create environments which help children begin to discover the understand the vast world around them.
Montessori education provides a framework for learning and discovery, and provides children with the tools that they need to think critically, problem-solve, and seek the answers to their many questions. When the time comes for our students to move on from their Montessori environments, they do so armed with the tools to help them investigate all those "somethings" that are waiting to be known.
A Primary student uses the moveable alphabet to write a story: "i am gnu be scoob doo and mi dad is gnu b shage for haluwen." [I am gonna be Scooby Doo and my dad is gonna be Shaggy for Halloween.]
The Montessori approach to language is, at the beginning, a phonetic one, with children associating the phonetic sounds of the alphabet with their corresponding symbols (letters). Once children have established these sound/symbol relationships, they are able to explore the use of language as a means of communication and self expression.
The moveable alphabet (a large box filled with the letters of the alphabet) allows Primary-aged children to write before they have the ability to do so using a pencil and paper. Young children have a great capacity for language, and relish the opportunity to express themselves through their writing, whether they are making a list of their favorite animals or writing a simple story.
While working with the moveable alphabet, children write by sounding out the words. This results in creative, phonetic spelling. As teachers, we do not use these moments to correct the children's spelling, but rather use later lessons/presentations to teach the (many!) nuances of the English language.
Guest writers for this blog entry are two of our Elementary students: 3rd Grader, Isabella, and 4th Grader, Evelyn. This article will also appear in the forthcoming issue of the Elementary class newspaper, The Treehouse.
On October 8, 2015, Lone Oak Montessori School had our first Field Day. In the morning, the Elementary class had their Field Day. We had a variety of activities planned by the Field Day Committee. Some of the activities were limbo, relay races, tug o'war, three legged races, and treasure hunt. The rewards for the treasure hunt was mechanical pencils. Thank you to our parent volunteers!
In the afternoon, the primary class did Field Day, which was organized and coordinated entirely by the Elementary class. The activities included musical chairs, ball kick, treasure hunt, red light/green light, and freeze tag. Everyone had lots of fun.
The following is a guest post by Mrs. Anu Reddy, the assistant teacher in our Elementary Program. Anu has been an integral member of the Lone Oak community for over a decade, and has worked in our Toddler, Primary, and Elementary classrooms.
With fall in full swing, the Potomac Village Farmers Market is bustling with shoppers, including our very own Elementary students, excited to purchase fresh produce. The pumpkins, beets, carrots, zucchini, peppers, cauliflower, apples, peaches, raspberries and other fruits and vegetables create a natural rainbow.
From health to sustainability, the benefits of locally sourced food span across a wide spectrum, which our students are familiar with. Every week the pizza committee from the Elementary class is tasked with choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables as a healthy side for our Pizza Friday lunch. The students speak to the local farmers to gain insight into the harvesting process and the seasonality of the produce they are purchasing.
This week Brendan and Evelyn from the pizza committee, learned to taste the difference between a variety of freshly picked apples. They purchased the honey crisp variety. We discussed how buying produce and food from local farmers and businesses supports a cleaner environment. Shipping and refrigeration wastes energy for produce delivered to supermarkets. Often times the cost of energy is transferred to the customer.
The pizza committee is also responsible for balancing the weekly budget for food , so they understand the importance of not only supporting sustainability but also keeping track of their money. Brendan and Evelyn returned to class with a bagful of delicious apples, peaches and cucumbers well under their budget.
This morning, we held our first "Coffee and Conversation" of the school year, covering the (expansive!) topic of "Montessori 101." There is so much to be said and discussed about the Montessori method, and about the magic that occurs in Montessori classrooms, and so these conversations simply skim the surface of these topics. Thank you to the current and prospective Lone Oak parents who attended and participated in today's discussion; it's wonderful to be part of such a collaborative, dedicated community of parents. We will offer many more opportunities throughout the school year to discuss the Montessori philosophy, and its implications both inside and outside of the classroom.
Keeping in mind that morning meetings don't work for all parents, we will be sure to offer the "Montessori 101" conversation again this fall, at an evening time slot. In the meantime, take a look at this handout, prepared by the wonderful blogger behind Montessori Mischief.
For those of you desiring more in-depth reading, check out any of the following:
- How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way (Tim Seldin)
- The Absorbent Mind (Maria Montessori)
- Montessori Madness (Trevor Eissler)
- Secret of Childhood (Maria Montessori)
All the best,
In a Montessori classroom, children as young as two years old are given opportunities to develop their independence. Our youngest students pour their own water at snack time, put on their jackets before heading to the playground, and, to their parents' delight, begin the process towards bathroom independence!
Years spent in Montessori environments, from Toddler through Elementary, allows children to develop into self-motivated, organized, and driven young people. Allison, one of our 5th graders, shared the following self-designed "Morning Agenda" with her mom, who, in turn, shared with us at school.
As Maria Montessori wrote, “Never help a child with a task at which she feels she can succeed.”