We are always surrounded by mathematics in our daily life.  From the design of buildings to architecture, from flowers in nature to the rhythmic meter in songs, from time in a day to the days in the week and seasons, all have mathematics naturally built into them.  There is a universal human need to calculate and convey quantitative information.  How can we explain this idea that we need to calculate?  It’s part of our human nature.  It’s our “mathematical mind.”   The mathematical mind is characterized by these abilities: curiosity that leads to investigation, accurate observation, reason and judgments, the ability to create order, the development of language and to be able to use that to classify things, repetition leading to exactness and abstraction and new constructions.

There are 6 Groups of Mathematics Exercises in the Montessori classroom:

1.      Numbers 0-10: In this area the child is introduced to quantities and their corresponding symbols.  One example of this work would be the Number Rods.  This work helps the child to learn the names and sequence of the numbers 1 to 10 by using ten rods alternately painted red and blue in sections to represent each quantity starting from 1-10. 

2.     The Decimal System: This section is when the child is introduced to quantities of the base 10 number system (think ones, tens, hundreds, thousands) and their corresponding written symbols.  The child also gets introduced to the 4 basic math operations during this period.  The Change Game is a fun, interactive way to help familiarize the child with the concept of 10 of one category equals one of the next category.  (10 tens = 100)

3.     Continuation of Counting: This bit is when the child gets an opportunity to count up through 1000!  Very Exciting!  One infamous work that demonstrates this is our 1000 Chain that is a chain of… yep you guessed is…1000 Golden Beads!  The children love to count this chain and placing the numbered labels pointing to each corresponding bead.  This work is so enticing as it can stretch completely across the classroom floor!

4.     Memorization Work: During this time, the child engages in work that helps him to memorize math facts or essential combinations as we refer to them in a Montessori environment.  One particularly fun work for memorization is the Addition Snake Game.  In this game, the child becomes familiar with all the possible number combinations that might make 10 by building a snake out of beautiful colored beads and then using his knowledge from the Change Game to exchange them for a golden 10 bead.

5.     Passage to Abstraction: This allows the child to experience math in a more abstract way and this is also when he will be introduced to even larger quantities such as 10000, 100000, 1000000!

6.     Fractions: At this point in time, the child is introduced to the concept that a unit can be divided into parts and that those parts (fractions) can be applied through addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Truly remarkable work for a 5½-6 year old!

Children display a universal love of mathematics, which is par excellence the science of precision, order, and intelligence.
— Dr. Maria Montessori
 
 

A Peek Inside our Children's House Classrooms

Bobcat 

Dear Bobcat families~

Wow! Spring time is here and we are very busy getting back into our classroom routine after our Spring Break.  Spring has definitely brought some beautiful 6 foot tall sunflowers to our garden and we see a few more popping up. Our delicious herbs are thriving as well.  Especially our mint. Yum!  

On another very exciting note, we have noticed that our female bird has laid three eggs. We are anxiously awaiting to see when they hatch.  A few children have done research to learn about the finch incubation period and have made a list to hang next to their cage predicting the hatching date.  We've also taken a poll for possible names.  Needless to say the children are VERY EXCITED!  

Happy Spring!
Ms. Carmen and Ms. Liz

 
 

Gray Fox 

Dear Gray Fox families,

We’re (March)ing right along toward the end of the school year. This is such an enjoyable time in the Children’s House as the children have reached their maximum level of “normalization.” This is a term that Dr. Maria Montessori used to describe the child’s love of work, concentration, self-discipline and sociability. We have been observing a great deal of confidence and pure happiness radiating throughout the environment.

The children have been creating salads and various concoctions from our garden, many inspired from looking through our cookbooks. We’ve had the pleasure of supporting two Student Teacher’s in the environment so far this year. The children have been impressively welcoming, well-mannered and eager to receive lessons from our guests. We welcomed Maverick into our class toward the end of the month and our classroom is officially at capacity!

April is sure to bring as many smiles as March did; Spring has arrived!

Love and light,

Ms. Lauren and Ms. Yadira

 
 

Cactus Wren 

Hello Cactus Wren families,

I hope everyone had a peaceful spring break. As the weather starts to warm up, the mosquitos will be making an appearance. Please apply bug spray and sunscreen before school. If your child will need extra applications throughout the school day, stop by the office and drop off the bottles and fill out the medical release form.

This month we have been discussing Cultural Story Telling. How these stories are part of a family’s history. They are often verbally shared from one generation to the next. Sometimes, they are written down. They are meant to tell a cautionary tale, moral lesson, or the history of the family tree. Depending on the culture, the main characters in the story can take the form of an animal, nature, or any other form that is relevant to the culture. I have share with the children a couple of stories from my culture both in written form and verbal story telling.

I look forward to seeing everyone at next month’s parent night. I have also sent out through Schoolcues a classroom update. Please share the update information with your spouse if they are not on the email list. 

With peace,

Ms. Johna and Miss Eugenia

 
 

Jackrabbit 

Happy Spring dear Jackrabbit families! Hard to believe an entire school year has almost gone by. We have grown so much this year and I am so thankful for all your trust and support. The children are thriving and it is very fun to see their growth. We have finally seen some growth in our gardens too. We have beautiful flowers and even some vegetables. The children got to taste some sweet red peppers and radishes. It’s amazing to see how willing they are to try new things. During our last refresher course we attended we learned that a human being must taste the same food about seventeen times before we can’t certainly say that we don’t like it. Try to be adventurous with the foods you offer your children. Lunch time is a great opportunity to try new foods. Pack things that they haven’t tried before. Little bites of different foods they can bring to school might be the key of success. Also remember to please pack these items in small glass containers that they can open by themselves to promote their independence. 

We would like to thank CaliAnn and her family for taking care of our birds, Charlie and Lucy, during spring break. Also thank you to Rose's mom for coming to our classroom to share with us their Persian New Year traditions, it was very fun! We are looking forward to the next couple of months!

Warm regards,

Miss Marcela and Miss Dinora

 
 
Posted
AuthorLauren Marques

In a Montessori environment we don’t teach the children to read, we give them tools for them to learn how to do it. Each individual is different, therefore some children will learn to read later than others and the process can be long for some and short for others.

We talked about spoken language during our last parent night as well as last month’s blog. The exercises of spoken language continue to be part of the process parallel with reading exercises; this means that we continue to give lessons to the children in spoken language and writing while they are learning how to read. We play sound games with them, read out loud, sing, give the language of the sensorial and practical life materials, etc. The process of reading is interactive and fun.

The child explores the phonetic sounds of the letters in many ways in a Montessori classroom. The movable alphabet gives them the opportunity to build words and sentences that the child will later be able to read. Therefore Montessori is known for learning how to write before reading versus traditional education where reading comes first. Writing before reading is a more efficient way to guide the child in a successive, unconscious and pressure free manner. Once the child has acquired the knowledge of the phonetic sound of the letters, recognizes their symbols with the many sound games and the sandpaper letters, we begin to introduce reading exercises. The children begin to read phonetically in many ways. One of the lessons we offer is a box of little items that he can see and touch to be able to identify the reading label by reading it. For example, we have a box with 6 items: a little bat, can, mop, cat, dog, and fan. We introduce this items to the child by their name. Then we write the item names one by one showing it to the child and asking him to read it to us. Once they do this, they can match it with the object. We have many tangible materials, books, and cards that will focus on phonetic reading.

Phonetic sandpaper letters and essential sandpaper phonograms are presented in tandem to help the child procure the keys to language in a natural way. After that we begin with a box with objects but the names of the items will now contain a phonogram. For example: spoon, broom, leaf, shirt, chair, etc. Once again we follow the same procedure by matching the names with the items and continue the process with books, labels, cards, etc. Just to make it more interesting, we begin introducing sight words, aka Montessori's “puzzle words”. These are the words that don’t sound like they look!

This is just the beginning of reading in a Children’s House. The children love exploring the classroom labeling materials, reading and follow recipes, composing and reading poems, playing with word order (syntax), and finally be able to understand their surroundings by themselves with the beautiful gift of reading. The different groups in the language area are function of words (grammatical forms), sentence analysis, interpretive reading and word study.

The end goal is to help the child develop his/her personality through total reading: 

  1. Understanding literal and implied meaning of text
  2. Comprehension of informative thought and comprehension 
  3. Recognition and expression of style of writing
  4. Understanding historical and cultural context 

How you can support your child with reading at home: 

As parents we always hear “read to your child!" Yes, this is a key for helping your child to be able to learn how to read so please continue to do the amazing job you do by introducing your child to books. Remember to offer your child stories based on real life rather than fantasy, their brains are little sponges right now that will absorb all the information you are reading to them. How wonderful to get to know who Chopin or Frida Khalo were through the art of literacy! 

 
 

 

Peek Inside our Children's House Classrooms

 

Jackrabbit 

Hello Jackrabbit families, what a busy couple of months. The children are looking taller and growing more independent day by day. Welcome to our new Jackrabbits Elliot and Cora! Our beautiful class has double in size since the beginning of the school year and we love it. The children are so welcoming to our new friends. 

We have been talking a lot about birds in our classroom. The children are loving to discover what kind of birds live in Arizona and using binoculars to observe them. This activity encourages them to wait patiently for the birds to come to our feeder and to remain calm and quiet so the birds don’t get scared and fly away. This past weekend the teachers had a refresher course. The speaker was amazing and really made us think of what we do in our classrooms every day. One of the points was how to expose the children to nature. It’s such a pleasure to see the children waiting quietly for a bird to arrive to our outdoor environment.  I admire their patience, independence, self control, concentration, respect for nature, etc. 

We must fill our child’s lives with experiences. The speaker said “what good is to tell a child from the window that those flowers smell beautiful if we don’t give them the sensorial experience to take them outside to smell them? The experiences that go through their senses will be the ones that will remain in their brains, and perhaps their souls, for the rest of their lives. Dance in the rain, take them for walks, pick up sticks, rocks, leaves, go hiking to these beautiful mountains that our state offers us, rivers, plant a tree, and have fun!

 
 

Cactus Wren 

Dear Cactus Wren Families,

What a wonderful explosion of learning happening in the Cactus Wren Classroom. With the warmer weather, comes the natural curiosity of nature. The children are busy finding and examining the many insects in the garden. They are enjoying sitting in the garden and basking in the warmth of the sun. Our garden has many flowers, the beautiful water fountain donated by the Shah family, and many vegetables.

In the classroom, we have been discussing fossils. How fossils are created, where we can find them, and how current day items are being fossilized today. Our special interest tray includes a Carcharodon Megalodon shark tooth fossil along with a Trilobite Fossil from Utah.  

We look forward to continue the explosion of knowledge, growth, and community in our every growing Cactus Wren Classroom.

With peace,

Ms. Johna and Miss Eugenia

 
 

Bobcat

Dear Bobcat families~

It's hard to believe that we are on the tail end of the school year.  February has been a very exciting month with so many holidays and events to discuss and read about.  Our bookshelves are flowing over with texts about the Olympics, Valentine's Day, President's Day, Chinese New Year and Black History Month.  What a month full of information and discussion!  It is such a pleasure to hear their inquisitive minds.  

This month we also have been perfecting our sugar cookie recipe with busy bees at the baking work every day.  The children are really loving the process that involves precise measurements and the use of a rolling pin and cookie cutters.  When you are looking for family friendly activities over the weekend, why not make some cookies?  Fun for the whole family!

With love,

Ms. Carmen and Ms. Liz

 
 

Gray Fox 

Dearest Gray Fox Families,

Is it Spring yet? It sure feels like Spring!  We are loving the weather lately and the children have been taking full advantage of their outdoor space. February was a delightful month in the Gray Fox Children’s House as we welcomed new friends, Valentina and Oliver. The children were busy out in the garden preparing for the new season.

We have been reading many stories about gardens and the purpose of worms in the dirt. We’ve been focusing on respecting nature and patience. The children were also excited to taste some cauliflower from the Cactus Wren classroom earlier in the month. We’ve had some interesting show & share including a pet guinea pig and a pet bird. It’s amazing to see how gentle the children are with these tiny creatures.

Please enjoy this poem we’ve been reciting in class:

A Little Seed

A little seed for me to sow

A little soil to make it grow

A little hole, a little pot.

A little wish, and that is that.

A little sun, a little shower.

A little while –

And then, a flower!

 

Warmest wishes,

Ms. Lauren & Ms. Yadira

 
 

 

 

 

 

Posted
AuthorMarcela Durlanich