SHOW AND TELL
Bring a picture of someone’s being kind.
Topic: How We Help
What one person can do
The value is compassion, which means we have sorrow for the suffering or trouble of other people, and we take action to help.
For ecology we’ll learn Christmas customs around the world.
Outside we’ll play We Wish You a Merry Christmas with lots of active movement.
The songs we’ll be singing are When You’re Happy and You Know It, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Frosty the Snowman, and Oh, Christmas Tree.
Our art activities are string ornaments, shredded wheat ornaments, Christmas cutout, and Christmas bells.
Creative dramatics will be pantomiming giving and sharing.
For body development, we’ll work on strength and relaxation. For motor development we’ll do motor planning exercises with obstacle course, cotton ball blow, wormy, and s-h-h-h rolling.
BATTLING THE GIMMIES
The giving season is upon us, and now is a good time to battle the gross consumerism that assails us from every side. It has become a matter of patriotic duty to spend more. Our society experiences not only unprecedented wealth but also an unreserved show of it, and it doesn’t take long for our children to notice when they don’t have the same material objects as their friends. This is a good time for the adults in our children’s lives to get very solid on what our belief system is about “stuff”. If we feel like we’re letting our children down because we can’t or won’t buy all they want, it begins to interfere with our relationship with our child. It affects how we parent.
It’s impossible for children to not notice “stuff”. Marketing is the background noise of our culture. The gap between the very rich and everyone else is blatant, and children have access to the world more than ever before. When our children are 3 or 4, we have to begin deconstructing marketing messages for them. For example, “An ad’s job is to make you want something. Let’s see if we can guess what this one wants us to buy.” Not only does this give children critical-thinking skills, it also gives them power. By understanding the force of marketing, children can rise above it as opposed to feeling deprived by it.
A good response to children who really, really want something is to empathize with their feeling. Talk about what the item gets for your child. How can they deal with the isolation of not having the same thing that everyone else has? Talking about your family’s values insulates children from feeling deprived: “In our family, we think what’s inside a person is what really counts, not the toys they have.” Here are some more tips:
- Encourage long wish lists. When you realize that you can never get everything you want, it helps limit desires to the few really important ones.
- Encourage joint efforts. If the child can save this much toward the desired item, can the parent help? This also sets up a delayed gratification system.
- Role model your family’s values. If you’re purchasing things that seem frivolous, the child will expect the same privilege.
- Download “Tips for Parenting in a Commercial Culture” from www.newdream.org.
- Get one expensive item and several inexpensive items; e.g., a bicycle and a batch of playdough.
- Your time with your child is the best gift.
- Volunteer with your child. A nature center, a food bank, or visiting with a neighbor teaches many lessons.
Thinking Skills – A quote by Eula Bliss, a professor at Northwestern University. “If you can’t talk about something, you can’t think about something. I’ve worked with students who could barely let themselves think, they were so scared of thinking the wrong thing.” What a nightmare. Montessori cultivates thinking and personal initiative, and every week in our enrichment curriculum are post-it notes to ask our children to think, like “If you lived in Alaska, why would you need a refrigerator?”, “Why does everyone need a different key?”, and “Why do you think bulldozers were invented?” Where is your family on Professor Bliss’ continuum?
Grace and Courtesy – Ask any parent why they think preschool is important and you’ll probably hear “socialization” listed among the highest priorities–and with good reason. It’s very important for children to develop social skills, especially in the first six years of life. But it isn’t enough for the child to simply “be around” other children. Good social skills, including basic manners, etiquette, problem solving, emotional control, and patience, must be taught as deliberately as reading or math. That is why “grace and courtesy” lessons are an integral part of the Montessori classroom.
During class time Alexis enjoys the flower arranging work which helps her to focus on details, improve fine motor skills and increases her awareness of various colors. Alexis also likes to be the helper; after lunch is over she helps put away her classmate’s lunch boxes and if she notices someone crying she attempts to comfort them with a soft rub on the back.