Well, I guess this is it! Farewell to the 2014-2015 academic school year! It was a year full of faith as we layered the foundation for our growing Creo community while maintaining a harmonious vision for the child. All of your efforts on the outside, made the magic that dwelled within possible. The children reached new goals, developed a love of learning and respect for each other and their environment. Together we danced, fell, laughed, cried, sang, explored, discovered, dreamt, questioned and most of all - believed in one another.
“Montessori taught me the joy of discovery.” Said Mr. Wright (inventor of bestselling the Sims video-game series.) “It’s all about learning on your terms, rather than a teacher explaining stuff to you. SimCity comes right out of Montessori…”
Although it's a short summer break, and I'm certain it'll fly by, I wanted to leave you with some practical down-to-earth ideas to implement at home:
1. Practical Life: The home environment is completely different than the school environment (because the purposes are different) but your child can do pretty much ANYTHING! One principle that can be applied at home, is to help your child to be independent. Let them make their own lunch, clean up their spills, give them 'real objects' to use: glass, silverware, chairs (no highchairs) - and show them how to care for these objects. Accessibility is a must, a low cupboard containing items that they need is helpful. For example, when children bake in our classroom - we only put out what is necessary. We avoid clutter and unneeded utensils. When something breaks, patiently show your child how to clean it up safely. Grace and courtesy is another cornerstone of the prepared environment at Creo. We must take time to show the child how to push in their chair, how to walk in the home, how to clean up toys (again avoiding clutter will be helpful), how to wait, how to chew with a closed mouth, how to care for pets and plants, the list could go on and on. An important consideration is following the same guidelines that are set for your child. If they are not allowed to eat food on the couch, neither are you. If they are not allowed to yell, neither are you. If your child is not allowed more than 30 minutes of screen time, neither are you (in front of them). This will help the child respect these boundaries as they become a way of life for all in the household.
2. Sensorial: The child of 3-6 is researching their environment through their senses. This is the only time period that this sensorial exploration is so apparent and beneficial to their development. Go on nature walks; ask questions, "what do/can you hear/see/smell/touch." Let them stop and smell the flowers at the grocery store, let them touch everything (when appropriate), sing songs, let them taste different foods (if they make it, peel it, mix it, etc. they are more inclined to try).
3. Language: Acquisition of language is also in it's strongest period! Read, read, read to your child and have your child read to you! Work with sounds… "I spy something that starts with … buh… buh…. it's a butterfly!" Tell your child the name of everything and parts of anything that draws their interest. Invite your child to write the grocery list and while you're there name all of the fruits/vegetables in the store, specific type of bread, cheese, etc. Tell true stories, "this is the story of how Mommy and Daddy met; I'm going to tell you a story about your first trip to the zoo; your first birthday", etc. While telling them stories describe what they tasted, might have smelled, what colors they saw, who was there, what song was playing, how they got there, and so on. Details about reality are intriguing!
I have discussed in parent meetings and previous blog posts about the mathematical mind. How can you help? Word problems! Real life word problems! "Johnny, we are going to bake an apple pie today. The recipe calls for 7 apples and we only have 4. How many apples do we need to buy from the store today?" ; "Suzy, we had 9 banana's on the counter yesterday and now there are only 5! How many did you and brother eat?" Add complexity as you feel applicable - We LOVE word problems in class, they are best when random! Also, counting by rote - "Kyle, can you bring me 18 legos?" "Let's count to 100." "Peter, let's skip count! 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, so on." When working with number writing; repetition is our best friend! "Let's paint 5's because we have 5 days until vacation!"
5. Art: Your child is an explorer by needs exhibited by development and growth. Remember, independence, concentration and control of movement. Art is amazing - real art is the best. By 'real art' I mean that the child expresses himself without a fixed conception on what it 'should look like.' For example, a child might bring to me a 'painting' instead of saying "WOW! GOOD JOB, OH MY GOSH, YOU PAINTED A HOUSE!" I say, "I see a green triangle and a black square and I see that you used blue and green on the left side." or "How did you feel after you painted that?" It is so important that the child constructs his own love, pride and abilities. We (adults) are not ones to judge. Simply, say WHAT YOU SEE - not what you think you see. "Is that a dog?!" … "No Mom, it's you." The child was so proud and now is so crushed; we can avoid this by not using external praise.
6. Geography: We start with the earth, the world in which we live. The child understand land vs. water, continents vs. ocean and then the specific names of the seven continents. Then we move to North America, the continent in which we live. Perhaps then the US or a continent/country the child expresses intrigue. Why do we do this? The child needs to first develop their understanding of time in space. (I live on Earth. Earth has land and water, continents and oceans, I live in North America in the United States). This is part of the geographical preparation for understanding culture and landforms parallel to mathematical relations of distance. Also - it helps them constructively communicate [language] and deeply understand their world: countries in Europe vs. continents in Europe; countries in North America vs. states in the U.S. Tell them, as you travel, where you are going, how long it takes, what type of region your in. Tell them the landforms they're seeing "that is an island, that is a lake, that is a peninsula, etc." Explain the culture and ask your child "what do you see?"
Parents, seriously, I simply cannot explain how much Miss Yadira and I wholeheartedly appreciate your devotion and love for your child. Because of you, we are able to witness these miraculous moments and dream of a peaceful world each day. We are only one email away and will answering all summer.
To the children who will be moving on to our Lower Elementary Program, you will be missed dearly! Thank you for being the best role models and big brothers and sisters to our group. We are sure that your leadership skills will continue to serve you and ricochet to those who are around you.
Happy 6th Birthday, Teagan! We had so much fun celebrating with your mom and dad! The snacks were also very yummy and creative!
Wishing you a fun, safe and memorable Summer 2015,
Miss Lauren and Ms. Yadira
P.S. See you all August 10th on our First Day of School for the 2015-2016 School Year! We cannot wait!!