Summer Recap: We are vastly approaching end of the summer program. School days were very busy for children in room 7 as they learned new and exciting things. During the month of July, our children learned many things about ocean life. Students learned new vocabulary as we studied the anatomy of jellyfish and crabs. We also studied the parts of our pet fish in the classroom. It was a perfect specimen to observe while learning the parts of his body. While we were studying ocean life we also incorporated pirate ships for fun and adventure while exploring our imaginations. We made pirate hats, painted parrots, and explored the deep blue sea. The in-house fieldtrips were an amazing opportunity for the children to take their learning and imagination to the next level. The children got to experience hands on learning as they touched some scaly and slithery reptiles. Our unit of study for August was the farm. Our children were familiar with the farm and farm animals so lots of conversations were sparked. Our friends love to communicate vocally so we worked on developing social interactions through conversation. We read stories about farm animals. We also learned the distinctive names between animals and their young as well as male and female animals. One of our special projects was making dolls out of corn husks. Our class enjoyed the process of creating something from nature that they could also play with. This month we had ‘no paperwork’ days. No paperwork days encouraged children do variety of other options such as; matching card work, counting, drawing on chalk boards, and writing on lined boards. As this summer session comes to an end, we look forward to starting our next 2018-2019 academic school year.
September Recap: This month has been an exciting month for our friends in room 7. We welcome our new co-teacher Ms. Thompson. She is a great addition to our Belltower Montessori family. This month we have been going over our classroom rules and building friendships with new friends as well as reconnecting with those that joined us during our summer program. We focused on continents and oceans this month. We learned the earth and how the earth’s surface is made up of 2/3 land and 1/3 water. Our Montessori lessons entailed working with puzzles that focused on parts of a plant and trees which coincides with our special gardening project this month. For the month of September, we also enjoyed the children in our classroom being the snack host for their friends in their classroom. Serving snack reassures patience and balance, both skills nurtured by practical life. Another lesson given this month was reading nomenclature cards during morning and afternoon circle time for practice and better reading skills. Our class started a gardening box located in the designated garden area. Children were excited. They had the opportunity to choose between a sunflower or a pumpkin seed. The children then dug a hole, planted their seed, and covered it. They are now responsible to water their area. We will go to the garden regularly to check for sprouting. Gardening encourages children to learn about the world around them. Gardening also in many ways is an ideal manifestation of the children’s work with practical life materials. Our students’ sort and carefully carry the tiny seeds. We also focused on our family tree. We talked with the children all about family. We discussed family dynamics and how in some culture’s generations all live together in the same house to support each other in their daily lives. The children also learned how tall they were, and even had their weight taken on a scale. This helps children with understanding that each person is unique, and special. We also discussed different ways we can make sure to care of ourselves and make healthy choices daily. Washing our hands when entering the classroom, after using the restroom, and before meals is a way we can stay safe and healthy. Self-help and picking up after ourselves is vital to our Montessori practices. Covering your sneeze, remembering the proper way to use tissue paper, importance of washing your hands, grooming, and brushing your teeth are all very important lessons to keep in mind during these young stages in life. These practices are things we want to teach our children now so that they can grow to be thriving people in society. We also started enrichment activities this month that include Spanish, music, computers, cooking, and art. The children love to learn new things from each of these concepts each week.
October Recap: October has been a fun and exciting month. The children have enjoyed being at school socializing with their peers. We talk daily about our calendar, the days of the week, the date, and the year. For the month of October, the children learned a great deal about our Solar System and planets. Your child should be able to tell you the order of the planets, and which planet is closer to the sun. We had a wonderful time creating their very own planet booklet. The children also enjoyed creating rocket ships. We also focused on the Earth. We have also been reading about different landforms. For art, the children worked on their landforms by doing push pin work creating their landforms on paper. The children learned about the life cycle of a pumpkin. They learned how the life cycle starts by planting a pumpkin seed in the warm ground. After plenty of sunshine and water, the seeds will sprout a small plant. The leaves and vine grow larger and finally, pumpkin flowers blossom. The female blossom produces a green pumpkin that ripens to an orange pumpkin. Mature pumpkins have seeds inside and can produce more pumpkin plants during the next growing season. In circle time, the children loved acting out to the Five Little Pumpkins Song. Each child had the chance of being a pumpkin and saying a part to the song. We have also focused on the parts of a pumpkin with added pumpkin nomenclature cards to the shelf. With the change of seasons and the children start to see days become shorter and nights become longer. Children also begin to recognize other nocturnal animals such as bats, and spiders.
November Recap: November was a fun month for us in room 7. We learned so many new things. Our friends have been working on learning their birthdays and last names. We also worked on number activities. The children enjoyed working on their Thanksgiving placemats. Each child got to decorate a placemat and there is a quote on there of what they said they were thankful for. The children also created turkey hats that they decorated with feathers. We also shared during circle time things that we are continuously thankful for. Our Thanksgiving feast was a lot of fun. Thank you to everyone that participated and brought things in to make the celebration amazing. Our Montessori lessons focused on setting the table, washing hands, and blowing their noses properly.
December Recap: December was a fun month with all our festive activities and celebrations. Thank you all that came in to tell our class about the holiday traditions that you share in your families. We learned about Hanukah, Kwanzaa, as well as Christmas. The children made Gingerbread men for their performance, painted red stockings, and made Christmas cards with a class photo. There was a lot of Holiday themed work added to the shelves for prewriting, math sensorial, practical life, and the language area. The children worked a lot with developing their fine motor skills with all the fun crafts and work we had for December.
January Recap: January was an amazing month here at Belltower that was a great jumpstart to the new year. We are ready to kick our learning into gear. Our friends had a great time learning about Martian Luther King Jr. as well as many other things during Black History Month. Thank you all for participating in Snack Host. The children love to be the center of attention while they pass out tasty snack to their classmates. Snack host increases verbal communication opportunities as well as social skills as they gain skills through these crucial years of development. Sign ups for snack host are posted on classroom doors.
February Recap: In February our geography lesson was the seven continents. The class did a group continent coloring pages, and learned the seven-continent song. We talked about cultural awareness and asked “where does your family come from”? As a class we discussed traditions that the children celebrate with family, and the different foods they may eat together. We talked about how the children should be a good friend to one another being aware of what friendship means. We had a wonderful time in our classrooms learning about China and celebrating Chinese New Year.
Valentine’s Day was another special time in our class of celebrating friendship. Thank you to each of our families for bringing in so many wonderful items for the classroom party and cards for your children to pass out on this day. The literature for the month was Little Blue Little Yellow. One of the concepts the children learned from this book was the blending of colors. It also taught the children about diversity and friendship.
March Recap: “Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers, or you can grow weeds.” Hello, parents March was a great month!! As we moved forward into Spring, the children learned all about the season and had many questions regarding the seasonal changes. In March children worked very diligently on lessons introduced during circle time. It was very exciting to see them fully engulfed in their work cycle. They learned about spring, the beauty of Africa and its geography, they explored famous landmarks, learned fun facts of the animals and their habitats and the traditions that make it so unique! We discussed how clouds form and the different parts of a rainbow. The practical Life and Sensorial areas were always busy, the children refined their senses, developed concentration, and made observations.
Our Montessori Lessons consisted of greeting a person, taking turns, and how to wait your turn to speak. We conducted a circle time lesson where the adults modeled for the children how to enter a classroom and kindly say “Hello” and shaking your hand, we hoped that this would demonstrate how to great someone properly. Eye contact was also heavily modeled because it is very important that the children show respect when speaking to someone. We also modeled how to kindly interrupt if they should need someone’s attention by standing next to the person, gently put your hand on their right hand or their shoulder and say, “Sorry to interrupt, but I need your attention”. We tell the children that although it is not polite to interrupt, we sometimes need that person’s attention for just a moment. When teaching the concept of taking turns we use classroom materials. We encourage the children to work together, instead of using the word share. This exercises, care and consideration for his or her peers.
Our special projects this month consisted of activities surrounding Dr. Seuss and St. Patrick’s Day. For Dr. Seuss Week we read many different books by the author during circle time and outdoor play. The children made Cat and the Hat and green eggs and ham art. For St. Patrick’s Day, the children had a parade outdoors to search for the missing gold taken by the Leprechaun. With both Children’s House 6 and 7 combined the children had an amazing time. For art the children created beautiful marbled green clovers, using the colors green, orange and white. We also did a fun rainbow experiment that consisted of water colors, milk, and dish soap, that showed how different substances separate when mixed. For our group science experiment our class made a Rainbow Explosion by using baking soda, lemon and food coloring.
April Recap: In April, the children learned very important facts about volcanoes, such as their different functions and were also introduced to new vocabulary words pertaining to volcanoes in Spanish and English. They learned how and why volcanoes erupt and what magma is. We discussed the reasons why they erupt and how the Earth’s movements cause openings or vents in the crust during circle time. The children learned the differences between magma and lava and the characteristics of each. We discussed that Magma is a liquid rock inside a volcano and Lava is liquid rock that flows out of a volcano.
During circle time we talked about the anatomical parts – head, fore limbs, hind limbs, plastron, carapace, and tail of the turtle. The children really enjoyed doing the zoology turtle puzzle because it was challenging enough to keep their interest for long periods of time. The intricate design of the turtle puzzle provides a control of error because the various pieces will only fit into the puzzle one way. Each piece of the puzzle intertwines with the other pieces, creating the whole. The children also worked with matching the Montessori turtle puzzle pieces to these wonderful nomenclature cards.
To bring in the Spring and Easter theme to our classroom we added new work to the shelves in practical life, language, sensorial, and math areas which helped children with counting skills, one to one correspondence, developing fine motor skills, memory retention, and language skills. We had a very memorable time at our Easter party and Egg Hunt! The children prepared Easter crafts to take home and made Easter bunny’s out of their handprints. Our special projects this month consisted of creating a volcano using baking soda, a soda bottle and Mentos. The children really loved to see the soda “explode” or “erupt” from the bottle just Like a volcano would.
May Recap: May was filled with many fun and exciting events. Thank you to all the parents who cooperated for the gifts, and yummy goodies for myself, and Ms. Gonzalez for Teacher Appreciation Week. I want to extend a big thank you to all our parents that made it to Parent Teacher Conferences, it always excites me to talk about their amazing progress. Lastly a big thank you to all the mommy’s who joined us for Mother’s Day Tea and the dad volunteers who also made the day even more special. The children were thrilled to hand out their cards and special crafts. For their Mother’s Day cards children created stories of them and their moms using art supplies. For their craft the children created key chains using pipe cleaners and beads.
For Montessori Lessons we reviewed Grace and Courtesy and focused on proper table manners. Setting a table lesson consisted of the children practicing marrying a chair and tray appropriately and placing it on the table. This helps with setting the table for meals such as breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Setting a table enables the child to cope independently with various items, and to become more caring towards other people. During circle time we discussed how the children can offer help to each other even though our friends may tell us they do not want help. The purpose is to teach the children grace and courtesy in the classroom and for the children to have awareness of others. Points of interest would be waiting to hear the other child’s response to their offer for help.
Our Science lessons entailed learning the Life Cycle of a Butterfly and their anatomy. The children created beautiful hats that they colored and glued onto construction paper, in order of the Life Cycle. The children also loved learning about different butterflies and the four stages they must go through in order to become an adult: Egg, larva, Pupa and adult. We also discussed the number of days that it takes for each life cycle to reach their maturity.
June Recap: Where has the year gone? Our school year is winding down and we are preparing for Summer School and the 2019-20 school year. What an exciting time of year. As we come to the end of this academic year, it is with great pride that I can look back at the many achievements of the children. My first year at Belltower Montessori Academy was filled with wonderful experiences. I really enjoyed getting to know each child and developing a strong relationship with each one of them!
For our June curriculum, the children learned about different community helpers such as police officers, doctors, nurses, teachers, mail carriers, construction workers, dentist, etc. We talked to the children about how these community helpers are involved in our society. We talked about which helper the children liked the most and which job they would have the most fun doing. For art, the children created fire trucks and in zoology, the children learned about the different parts of a ladybug, and then created a ladybug with red construction paper and black markers for the spots. We enjoyed having the dads come celebrate Father’s Day with us. The children were so happy to spend the morning with their dads and loved sharing donuts.
In June we also prepared for our Kindergarten/Elementary Graduation ceremony, the children were extremely proud of their accomplishments this year in Children’s House #7. Our children had so much fun preparing for that day and worked very hard, we hope you all enjoyed sharing this special day with us. Finally, I would like to wish all children who are leaving us at the end of this academic year all the very best on their journey. We are so proud of our graduates and look forward to their future successes.
Summer News: We are excited for our Summer program! Children will be celebrating America, exploring the deep blue sea, blasting off into space, having fun on the farm, and learning all about fitness. We will end the summer with our annual Carnival which is always so much fun. For those of you leaving us this summer we hope you have a great one, and those of you staying with us we look forward to a fun filled two months together!