It has been a joyous two weeks! The children have been sharing stories about their plans for the thanksgiving holiday and activities they have been participating in outside of school. We have been discussing parts of the turkey, parts of corn, singing songs and reading poems about the season.
The children have been amazing us with their ability to recognize several pieces of classical music from various composures. Some of their current favorites are:
· Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies, Nutcracker Overture, Dance of the Flutes and Dance of the Swans by Tchaikovsky
· Raindrop by Chopin
· Toccata in D by Bach
Ms. Yadira officially left on maternity leaves last week. We are awaiting the arrival of her second child, Lorenzo. The children and I are so thankful to have Ms. Dinora with us for the rest of the semester. We are excited to celebrate her birthday with her this week! She shared stories about her childhood in Mexico, her three children and her husband. She has made a delightful addition to our group.
We are almost finished with fall conferences. It has been a pleasure welcoming you into our classroom and discussing the individual needs of your child. Some of you shared observation questions regarding individual vs. group work in the Children’s House. I am eager to dive into a discussion about the first two planes of development during our next classroom meeting, which will be rescheduled for the week after Thanksgiving.
However, I’d like to touch on the development of independence in the meantime. Dr. Montessori defined independence as “having or FORMING a skill to do something by oneself.” Throughout the ages, human beings have assumed that a child must learn to take care of himself by the time he is grown. Societies and cultures have varied on their techniques, some how been conscious and diligent, others have been more primitive and natural – letting the child come to independence by living in the group/tribe. Montessori saw in the child an urge in independence, which comes from the live force; she said that the aim of education is to help as much as possible in this process of becoming independent.
During the first three years of life, we see the growth of independence very clearly. Every new skill the child shows is praised. We also see that independence depends on one’s own efforts. Through growth, independence becomes possible; i.e., growing teeth helps the feeding process, muscle memory grows into talking and walking.
From three to six years of age, we support the process of being independent by supporting independence. We know that the child will only be able to reveal herself if she is in an atmosphere with freedom. She needs the opportunities to build new skills and refine older ones. The child needs materials to work with that will allow her to develop herself. The child’s idea of freedom is very different than that of the adult.
The second opportunity she needs is to choose her own task. The child can further her own growth when she is the one that decides what she will work with and when she will do it. In our environment, the child is only free to take material they have had a lesson on because one can hardly work with material when they don’t know what to do. However, one can have mind inspired experiments. Once the child has been presented with the material; they become free to choose it. The third opportunity is work at their own pace of movement. The child needs her own time to meditate, absorb and manipulate while she is at her task. The fourth opportunity is to repeat an action as often and as long as he/she wants to. In a practical sense, this means that no one will interrupt you.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I wanted to share with you some information regarding the benefits of family dinners:
As we gear up for one of the biggest family dinners of the year, there is no better time to ask about family mealtimes and what effects they have. So let’s pose the question, do family dinners make a difference? The answer may surprise you. The short answer is yes, but how do they make a difference? This is where we get into the surprising bits! Did you know that kids who regularly have meals with their family are…
• Less likely to use drugs and alcohol during adolescence
• Less likely to have depressive symptoms
• 35% less likely to engage in disordered eating
• 24% more likely to eat healthier foods
• 12% less likely to be overweight
Basically, eating together as a family increases a child’s likelihood of being happy with good physical health.
So during this what-can-be-super-stressful Thanksgiving dinner, take a step back to relax and enjoy what you’re really doing for your children, because you’re doing a lot.
To a happy Thanksgiving,
Ms. Lauren and Ms. Dinora