It's hard to believe that we've finished two months of school already...it's been so smooth! God has indeed blessed us as we watch your children reap the harvest that their hard work is yielding. They are doing amazing things in the classroom, progressing in all areas every day. We so enjoyed getting the chance to talk with parents at conferences this past week and look forward to continuing to work as a team for your child. As we enter into the busy holiday season, ready to give thanks and to celebrate our Savior's birth, we will continue to work diligently in the classroom. Here is a quick rundown of what we have been doing over the past month.
Grace and Courtesy: This continues to be a good area of growth for the children as we work each day to model polite etiquette. We are increasing our expectations for the children's behavior as the year progresses, and they are very capable to meet the demand! During our Bible lessons on Noah and patience, we incorporated lessons about interrupting. We continue to give reminders to the children, as this is a very hard habit to break at this age. We show them how to wait with patience and ask them to trust that we can see them and will attend to them as soon as we are able. This isn't easy, but they are doing well!
Literacy: We have finished introducing all the basic alphabet phonograms (lower case). We are also learning the alphabet in sign language for some extra multisensory work and greatly enjoy our "Gilly Gilly Good Morning" song that provides more practice in remembering the sound each letter makes. The Kindergarten group has also begun to work on sight words and some of the "H brother" phonograms (sh, th, ch, etc.). Many of the children are working on writing their names independently, using sandpaper and cornmeal as they begin this process. This past month we enjoyed many of the books in the "There Was An Old Lady" series, which provide a great look at both rhyming and sequencing concepts.
Math: We have wrapped up our big look at patterns and are moving into graphing as a way to organize our data. So far we have created two graphs in the classroom, and the children are enjoying these projects. Thank you to all the moms and siblings who tasted apples with us to add more data to our apple graph. Red apples were the clear winner! In addition to our work with graphs and charts, we continue to do activities that develop concepts of comparing, sorting, spatial awareness and geometry. And, of course, there is always much work in the classroom on numerals, quantities and place value. As each child shows his or her readiness to move forward with math skills, we gladly provide the opportunity!
Science: As we conclude our mammal study with a look at marine mammals such as dolphins and whales, we are amazed at all of the information your children are absorbing! Next we will spend time with reptiles, learning as much as we can about this fascinating group of animals. We also will be observing the changing leaves and learning about this process as we watch the fall season unfold. Our Kindergarten students have been enjoying different science lessons on shadows and gravity over the past few weeks. There was a heated race in our gravity game last Friday; you can see photos on our Facebook page.
Social Studies: This time of year brings our lessons on the Native Americans and Pilgrims as we prepare for Thanksgiving and our harvest party and performance. The children are learning what it was like to be a child on The Mayflower and about how helpful Samoset and Squanto were to the Pilgrims, helping them survive in this new land. These lessons continue to incorporate our look at maps and our work to learn the names of the continents.
Music: Much of our music time in the past few weeks has been spent learning songs for our upcoming performance. We can't wait to share with you all they have learned! We also continue to work with our classroom set of bells, learning how to match the bells by sound and how to discern the difference between going up the scale and going down the scale.
THINGS WE THINK: This month we take a closer look at math in our Montessori classroom.
Long before there is any awareness of the complex processes involved in algebra, calculus and geometry calculations, the young child will ask "How many?" or "How far?" or "How long?" These questions naturally lead the child into the world of math. Dr. Montessori, after lengthy, detailed observations of young children, developed the math curriculum that is used today in Montessori classrooms around the world. She came to realize that once a child could count to nine and comprehend the quantities to nine, he could just as easily count to nine tens, or nine hundreds, or nine thousands. She created the gold bead materials that so perfectly and simply illustrate the decimal system. They allows the child to visually recognize the hierarchies involved and their relation to one another. In keeping with her methods and philosophy, at Little Lambs we begin by introducing the numerals and quantities 0-5 until the student has mastered those concepts. We then build on that to introduce 6-9. Once these are solid concepts for the child, we transition into 11-19, focusing a great deal on place value here, working with the gold bead system. This is often the most challenging area for students as there is a lot to absorb, but once this is mastered, the child usually moves fairly smoothly into grasping 20-99. The plan stays the same, focusing on place value concepts throughout. The same system is then used to master 100-9,999. This is not necessarily a fast process, but it is very logical and systematic and always supported by manipulatives. Dr. Montessori's equipment allows for both numeral and quantity recognition all the way to 9,999 in the early childhood classroom. Our Kindergarten group works on this a great deal with one-on-one work with the teacher. As a child is ready during this process, he is also introduced to the concept of equivalancies and addition, always with the use of manipulatives. Dr. Montessori's materials allows the elementary child to progress through addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in a clear, hands-on way, always working with concrete materials before being expected to master memorization. The goal in our classroom is simply an introduction to these concepts without any expectation that the child will memorize any math facts. In this way, we hope the child develops a sense of confidence and competence in math, firmly understanding basic concepts, ready to tackle higher level work as he progresses through his school career.