Summer Recap: As we say goodbye to Summer at Belltower we must say that it was a blast, we had an amazing fun filled summer with activities that all the children and even parents enjoyed. We stayed cool, and beat the heat with our swimming pools, water toys, giant water slide, and splash days. The children loved our field trips with the Reptile show, Bubble show and Magic show. We started our summer off with firework art for the Fourth of July using salt, paint, and straws. The next week the adventures began with learning about under the sea ocean animals. The children enjoyed creating jellyfish out of plates and hanging them around the classroom. Our very special book for the month of August was “Only One You”. This gave the children an opportunity to love themselves the way they are. They created beautiful self-portraits using wet chalk and card stock. To end the summer with a bang Belltower had an amazing school carnival that consisted of food, games, and prizes.
September Recap: We have had a wonderful start to the new school year. The children settled into the classroom routines very well. They are learning how to build friendships in the classroom and are reconnecting with their old friends. Thank you, parents, for your support and patience as we are jumping into teaching the children the Montessori philosophy. We began with basic Montessori Grace and Courtesy Lessons: such as Carrying a chair, washing hands when entering the classroom and after the restroom, how to sit in a circle, how to serve snack to their friends, which is now a big part of our classrooms. The children absolutely loved bringing snack to share with their friends at school and enjoyed serving and eating with each other. Serving snack reassures patience and balance, by using the practical life skills they learn daily. As another part of Grace and Courtesy, we also discussed playground rules, how we play with our friends, what to do if a child hurts themselves, and how to use outdoor equipment. We also introduced a new book, “The Kissing Hand” which focused on helping children overcome nervousness about the first day of school and to always remind the child that their mommy’s and daddy’s love them very much. This book helped with children’s feelings and with any new situation from being away from home. For art, the children created handprints with kisses over them to give to their parents as gifs to remember them while being away from home. We also focused on our family tree and all about me. We talked about how family is important to us, and how many family members live at home with us. The children created mini all about me booklets that they colored and were asked questions about. The children shared their family photos with friends during circle time. Each child had a chance to talk about their families and anything special to them. September’s focus is on the different parts of an apple (apple Life Cycle) which leads into our afternoon enrichments, where the children explore different apple activities for cooking class. During circle time, the children were introduced to a new three-part apple card work that they really enjoyed working with.
October Recap: Fall is upon us, the leaves are falling and changing colors, although it still feels like Summer in October, we are now feeling the days become shorter and the nights are getting longer. I really love this time of the year, the children are beginning to settle into their daily routines in the classroom, and on the playground. I would like to encourage parents always to stop and take a moment to think about the little lives of the children, how they feel? What do they enjoy? What makes them happy? We must also remember to influence the children including ourselves to always be kind, happy and encouraging to others around us. The children enjoy being at school and socializing with there peers, so we are very excited for this opportunity to work with them. In October, the children had fun exploring all the fall activities, to jump start the season our literature book was, “Were Going on a Leaf Hunt“. The children went on a leaf hunt outdoors on the playground to collect different styles of leaves. They picked out each leaf and glued them onto a paper to then observe it in the classroom. For the theme in October we talked about feelings, and the five senses, during circle time. Every day I would ask the children how they felt, if they were happy, sad, angry, tired, excited etc. and then we would talk about how we could help them, depending on their emotions. For a class project they had to look in the mirror and draw themselves with the emotions that they were feeling. For our zoology project we chose to learn about the nocturnal animal, “owl” the children learned about how 60% of owls are nocturnal the rest are diurnal (active during the day) or crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk). The children tore brown construction paper into squares and glued them around a blue owl outline. They loved creating an owl in the nighttime. For Botany, the children learned about the pumpkin life cycle. They were fascinated to learn that the cycle starts by planting seeds in the warm ground and as you water them, they start to sprout up into small plants. 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. During circle time, the children loved singing along to the “Five Little Pumpkins” Song.
November Recap: During November the children enjoyed talking about healthy bodies and all the fun and healthy food items we should eat to nourish our bodies. During circle time we encouraged healthy snacking in our classroom by keeping a variety of healthy treats on hand. Fruits (apples slices, grapes), vegetables (carrots, celery), and raisins are all examples of great snacks. For our art project the children made their own healthy food plate with different foods they enjoyed. During our outside time we did exercises such as jump n jacks, squats, hopping in place, stretches, walking the balance beams, and drinking water. Each child enjoyed decorating a placemat with a quote of what they are thankful for. We also talked about what it means to be thankful, and why we celebrate Thanksgiving. We are excited with the holiday season rapidly approaching. There are many activities and events we look forward to enjoying with our parents and students. Two more months and it’s the end of the year. We all know that November was a wonderful time to remember and give thanks. It introduces several changes in our lives, from shorter daylight hours to weather fluctuations to heightened demands of our time.
December Recap: December was filled with festive activities and celebrations in our classroom. Several parents came in to tell our class about their holiday traditions and values that they share within their families. We found the discussions very interesting and enjoyed the wonderful food that was brought in to share with friends. We sincerely thank those families for taking the time to come in and share with us. We learned about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as well as Christmas. Our book of the month is “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. The children enjoyed making their parents special Christmas gifts and cards with a photo of themselves. There was a lot of Holiday themed work added to the shelves for prewriting, math sensorial, practical life, and language. The children worked on developing their fine motor skills using all the fun crafts and work we had for December.
January Recap: As we begin the new year we celebrate with warm thoughts of the many generous and loving contributions that are invested into our school each day, whether in a word, a gift, or a smile. Thank you to all parents who make this possible for our classroom. January was focused on Winter Animals and Hibernation. The children enjoyed creating penguins out of paper plates and black paint along with polar bears using their handprints and sponge paint. During circle time we read stories about winter and book about penguins called Snow Babies. We discovered the names of a few penguins, the Adelie Penguin, which lives in Antarctica, and the Emperor penguin. The children also talked about how many days there are in winter and the process of hibernation for animals. During circle time we also looked at pictures of Antarctica that included snowshoes, research ships, ice burgs and penguins. The children are also working on increasing fine motor skills by cutting, gluing, and taping materials together. These activities will increase the prewriting skills needed for penmanship. They are also working on collaborating ideas and sharing materials which allows for practice on the social skills needed for the increased group work and play opportunities.
February Recap: In February, we talked about how we can be a good friend to one another and being aware of what friendship means. We had a wonderful time learning about China and celebrating Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year). 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. Valentine’s Day was a special time for celebrating friendships. Thank you to our families for bringing in items for the classroom party. The children had so much fun celebrating with their friends, and parents. The children loved creating their Valentine’s Day cards, and key chains. They really enjoyed using their fine motor skills to detail each gift. February’s Montessori lessons included tong/transfer work, pouring beans, pouring water, and transferring liquids. These are fine motor exercises that the children use daily. For our grace and courtesy lessons, we used the first letter of each child’s name and used the color of their clothing to call them to line up. The children had lots of fun lining up for recess, transitioning to and from the classroom and washing hands because they were listening intently to see who would be called next. This was an exciting activity to use for our lesson this month, and a great way for them to continue this at home.
March News: In March, the children will be working very diligently on lessons introduced during circle time. Our Montessori lessons will include covering a cough, mopping a spill, dusting, and watering plants. It is very exciting to see them fully engulfed in their work cycle once a new lesson has been presented to them. Our special projects will consist of activities designated to Dr. Seuss and St. Patrick’s Day. We will discuss how clouds form and the different parts of a rainbow. The lessons will interact with the literature books for this month and Dr. Seuss Share Day. All enrichments during March will consist of Dr. Seuss and St. Patrick’s Day ideas. The children will be making green eggs and ham, Dr. Seuss cat in the hat bookmarkers and shamrock rocks.