"May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us - yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90:17
Dr. Montessori observed that the child's hands lead his mind, and we see this daily in the classroom. But we are reminded in this scripture that God establishes the work of our hands, and it is our prayer that we would be good guides for the busy little hands that have been placed in our care. God has clearly rested His favor upon Little Lambs as our school year has gotten well under way, and we are so happy with all that the children are accomplishing. Here is a look at what we have been doing in the classroom:
Bible: This year we are studying the New Testament, primarily the life and ministry of Jesus. Most weeks, your child will bring home our Bible story and verse on Monday and then have an opportunity to recite the memory verse on Thursday.
Literacy: The entire class has had an introduction to all of the letter names and sounds, and we have been working on recognizing the five vowels. The Kindergarten group has also been working on 2-letter phonograms, specifically the "h family": sh, th, ch, ph. They have also been focusing on sight words in their reading and in their independent journal writing. As each child is ready, he or she will work through our phonics-based equipment and activities in the classroom. Please remember, the acquisition of reading skills is highly variable from child to child. Our job as teachers is to continue offering access to the materials and to be ready for the child's personal window of readiness. It is so exciting when it comes, but in the meantime we wait patiently and allow the child to seek what he or she needs in the moment.
We enjoyed our "Fall Into A Good Book" fundraiser for the Aloha Community Library, easily meeting our goal of 100 books to raise $100 for the library. We are looking forward to attending story time at ACL on November 18th. Currently we are working on sequencing and retelling with some of the stories we read in the classroom, putting events in order. We have also spent time understanding the components of a book (cover, title, author, etc.) and how to take care of a book.
Math: The children enjoyed studying patterns as the school year began, and they did very well with this concept! The Kindergarten class made lovely nature patterns at the park, with leaves, sticks and acorns, and they enjoyed finding patterns at the apple farm on their field trip. We are now studying the idea of odd/even numbers, working on putting items in groups of two to see if anything is left over without a partner. This concept has been coming along nicely for many of the students! As children are ready, they are building their numeral and quantity recognition and being introduced to the idea of place value. Our Kindergarten group is now working extensively with our gold bead materials to explain and solidify place value up to 9,999.
Science: Our science studies this year revolve around various habitats around the world. We just wrapped up our woodland forest study and are beginning a look at our amazing oceans. We had fun building "nests" in the park and collecting leaves for our leaf rubbings. Perhaps your child can tell you about some of the animals we learned about during the first months of school. Can he or she tell you the difference between nocturnal and diurnal animals? Or the difference between deciduous and evergreen trees? We very much enjoyed this study and are excited to dive into our ocean time!
Music: We have been enjoying a lot of time in the classroom singing as we prepare for our performance on November 12th. Many of our songs also fit into our forest study as we sing about trees, owls, squirrels and more. Our set of classroom bells is now out and available as children demonstrate responsibility and readiness to use this special Montessori equipment. We have focused on proper care and use of the bells and will soon move into matching the bells by sound and learning the names of the notes in the C major scale.
Grace and Courtesy/Personal Responsibility: As exciting as it is to observe the children's academic progress, their growth in the social and emotional areas of development is truly our greatest joy. These are the areas where we can see the Fruits of The Spirit growing and maturing, and it is wonderful! To this end, we spend a lot of time in the classroom working on grace and courtesy (eye contact, shaking hands, standing to greet a visitor, table manners, etc.) and on personal responsibility. The children are really doing an amazing job in these areas, and it will be an ongoing process. In general, we work on having all classroom behavior fit into our three rules: use gentle hands and feet, use calm words and voices, obey the first time.
We have had a fantastic first two months of school and look forward to these next weeks leading into the holidays!