Classroom Notes: It’s hard to believe that one month of school is already finished! We have enjoyed getting to know all of our new Little Lambs and reconnecting with our returning students. Overall, the children are doing great, and we look forward to conferences this month so we can share all the progress they are making.
We began the school year with a study/review of colors and shapes, as well as a study of patterns. Can your child tell you which colors are primary? Secondary? Maybe even tertiary? Did your child tell you we ate a pattern snack?
Our science lessons this year began with a study of mammals. Many of the children are now able to tell us what makes something a mammal, so perhaps they will share their information with you. This unit of study has introduced us to lots of new words that the children have enjoyed practicing, such as “drey” (a squirrel’s nest), “plantigrades” (animals that stand flat-footed) and “omnivores” (animals that eat both plants and other animals). We feel that building strong and enriched vocabularies is critical for children, so you may hear your little ones repeating new words over and over. Perhaps your child has also told you about our "friend" Alice the Camel. She is in one of our favorite songs!
We also spent lots of time enjoying our local apple harvest as the children learned about this popular fruit. The Kindergarten class had a great trip to Bells Orchard to pick enough apples to make some fabulous applesauce with the whole class. It was delicious!
Our Bible curriculum began with an introduction to the concepts of “Who is God?” and “What is the Bible?” Now we are fully into our New Testament curriculum for our Bible time each morning. Most Mondays, your child will bring home a half sheet of paper with that week’s Bible story and scripture. We practice the memory verse each day in school, and the children have the option of reciting, (or trying) the verse on Thursdays when they receive their coloring pictures for that lesson. So far, every child has participated, and most of them have done so with great success!
The teachers have also spent a lot of time working on grace and courtesy in the classroom: how to shake hands when greeting a teacher, how to make eye contact when greeting a teacher and how to move quietly and carefully through the classroom so as not to disturb anyone’s activities. In addition we have been working with the children to remember that “all good manners start with please.” We hope to hear “please” as the first word in any request from the children. For example, “Please may I have more snack?” Or “Please will you help me tie my shoes?” We hope to hear this become a habit for the children as the year goes on.
As we move through October, we will spend time learning about fall changes and enjoying the season, as well as beginning our study on the Pilgrims, Native Americans and the first Thanksgiving celebration. Soon your children may come home singing about a gray squirrel or a round pumpkin!
Thursday, October 10th and Friday, October 11th: Teacher workdays - the school will be closed.
Thursday, October 17th: We will be enjoying the fall harvest season with a trip to Baggenstos Farm. We need to leave school by 8:15am in order to arrive on time. If you are available to drive and chaperone for this trip, please speak to a teacher as soon as possible.
Tuesday, October 22nd through Thursday, October 24th: Parent/Teacher Conferences – Please watch for a sign-up sheet. Reminders will be sent home before your conference.
Illness: Thank you in advance for your diligence this cold and flu season. Please remember that no child may be at school with a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Children must be free of these symptoms for 24 hours, without the benefit of medication before returning to school.
Halloween: We recognize that each family has a different perspective on Halloween, and out of respect for this, Little Lambs does not celebrate Halloween. Please do not send your child to school in any type of costume or allow them to bring Halloween things for Show and Tell. We will celebrate the fall season with our pumpkin patch field trip and in November with our Harvest Program.
Classroom Volunteers: If you are interested in volunteering in the classroom on a regular basis, please speak with Mrs. Ratten regarding which day(s) you would like to join us. We love having extra helping hands!
Parenting Thought: One of the most frequent questions we hear from parents of young children is, "When will my child _______?" Parents want to know when their children will read, write their name, tie their shoes, etc. We are asked why we don't use worksheets or workbooks to get the reading and writing moving along more quickly. Montessori philosophy provides us with the understanding that children will have "sensitive periods" of learning, windows of interest when the child is ready to absorb and retain new knowledge in a given area. Our job as teachers is to continually provide enriched learning opportunities for the child and to be prepared when he or she shows readiness for a new skill. Until the child is truly interested and ready, we must be patient. This is, perhaps, the hardest part of both parenting and teaching. We so badly want to see our children and our students make progress and "keep up" with peers. Sometimes it seems as if they are on the brink of learning a new skill, only to stall or plateau before really mastering it. This is when the waiting can be the hardest of all. To help explain why it is worth waiting and being patient, we offer Dr. Bruce Perry's explanation of the cycle of learning:
CURIOSITY leads to EXPLORATION
EXPLORATION leads to DISCOVERY
DISCOVERY results in PLEASURE
PLEASURE leads to REPETITION
REPETITION results in MASTERY
MASTERY results in NEW SKILLS
NEW SKILLS lead to CONFIDENCE
CONFIDENCE contributes to SELF-ESTEEM
SELF-ESTEEM increases a SENSE OF SECURITY
SECURITY results in more EXPLORATION
Make special note of the REPETITION part of the cycle. I think we have all watched our children get "stuck" on a particular activity or idea, repeating something over and over. But instead of seeing this as being "stuck," try to see it as a crucial part of the learning cycle. This cycle takes time, perhaps even a great deal of time, but it is worth the wait. The more a child can be led by his or her own natural curiosity, the more likely he or she is to go through the whole cycle successfully to reach true skill mastery and solid self-confidence. A confident learner is a life-long learner, and that is what we hope for all of our students.