SHOW AND TELL
Bring something made in the Orient
The Far East is an ancient culture.
The value is wisdom, which is the power to judge rightly and to take the best course of action.
For cooking we’ll try stir-fry and noodles.
Outside we’ll learn the jan/ken/po (scissors/paper/stone) game and ribbon dancing.
The songs we’ll be singing are Happy Talk, Let’s Go Fly a Kite, Let There Be Peace on Earth, Getting to Know You, and Puff, the Magic Dragon.
Our art activities are dragon dance dragon, festival lanterns, origami, and tissue cherry blossoms.
Creative dramatics is to hear a Chinese folktale and a Vietnamese folktale.
For body development, we’ll work on coordination with jumping. For motor development we’ll do postural response exercises with limbo rock, spider walk, roll the ball, and island hopping.
STARTING A DIALOGUE
We’re communicating more and with more people today than ever before via our electronic devices. The downside is that experts are expressing concerns that we’re getting a false sense of intimacy. Our ‘friends’ are not really friends and frequently, they’re not even acquaintances. We’re losing the fundamental social skills of being able to read facial expressions or the emotional context of a body movement. Because our conversations are taking place via electronic devices, our children are losing the opportunity to develop good oracy skills. The ability to use words to communicate thoughts and needs and to ask questions, to understand language heard in conversations and in books is a key foundational skill for later reading and intellectual achievement.
We can intentionally develop oracy skills by having conversations with our children. By definition, a conversation would be not only speaking skills but also listening skills. These language interactions are the basis for building children’s understanding of a large number of words, which is a crucial ingredient in their later ability to comprehend what they read. To develop strong oral skills children need to:
- hear and use a rich and abstract vocabulary
- hear and use increasingly complex sentences
- express ideas and ask questions
- answer questions and express abstract ideas
We can extend children’s understanding by providing multiple definitions and examples and by connecting ideas with concepts children already know. If we encourage children to tell their experiences, we not only expand oracy skills but also reinforce memory. Ask questions to enable children to express abstract ideas such as things they might imagine or predictions of things that might happen in the future.
Reading together tremendously expands opportunities for conversation. Books have a variety of words that might not be a part of our family’s vocabulary. Libraries are a wonder of choices for children to explore their own interests. Expand choices to include fiction and non-fiction, poetry, picture dictionaries and encyclopedias, and single-topic information books. Focus on the new vocabulary to which your child is being exposed and expand ideas with abstract language such as:
- what would have happened if a character had done something different?
- what are the characters thinking or feeling?
- what is the moral of the story, poem, or picture?
- how is that like your life?
More than vocabulary, these questions expand critical thinking, a vital skill for the future.
Know About the Orient? – If you have artifacts from the Orient, please share them with the children. If you know how to write in an Oriental script, go through some forms of aikido or tai chi, how to fold origami, or to construct an ikebana arrangement, we would love to have you demonstrate for the children.
Valentine Celebration – This is a quiet little ceremony in which we talk about the people we care about and who care about us. Every child will need to bring enough valentines for the children in her class. If your child knows how to write her name, you might want to start now in letting her write her name on the back of valentines she’ll be giving her friends in the class. It won’t be such a chore if she only has to do a few a day. We’ll exchange valentines on Thursday, Feb. 14.
In the toddler class the students choose to use some of their class time practicing how to rolling the rug. Each child has had a lesson on how to roll the rug (there are detailed steps), and as a group they attempted to roll the rug over and over again, “look what I did” shouted Max he was happy with his achievement. Using a rug tray or table is the foundation of almost everything a child will learn in Montessori. The space that the mat, tray, or table occupies is sacred space. It physically delineates their own private domain and it is where they will place their materials to do their work.