SHOW AND TELL
Bring a picture of a wild animal that lives in North America.
Topic: North America
Let’s explore North America
The value is frugality, which is wasting nothing. We’re frugal because our earth needs us to be careful with everything we have.
For cooking, we’ll make cottage cheese.
Outside, we’ll twirl, do jumping jacks, and play hopscotch.
The songs we’ll be singing are America, America the Beautiful, God Bless America, This Land is My Land, and She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain.
For creative dramatics, we’ll learn folklore stories.
Our art activities are porcupine, sweet-gum spiders, thumbprint spiders, scary trees, torn paper ghosts, and scary scarecrow.
For motor development, we’ll work on strength with sit-ups, push ups, and chin ups. For bilaterality we’ll play food chain, golf, wishing well, and sack races.
O – C – C – I
You’ll hear these letters almost as a mantra among Montessorians. The letters stand for the goals for the child as she struggles to define herself: order, concentration, coordination, and independence. In Montessori’s words, “In the child is the man he is to become.” For the adult standing in the presence of this awesome force, our place is to empower the child.
It may seem strange that the little person who can bring so much chaos to your life is himself trying to create order. It’s a need to understand and categorize, to file things in memory, and to make connections as it makes sense to the child. When a person immigrates to this country, everything is out of order, including the language. Gradually, the immigrant learns the language and to count change in our monetary system. A great deal of psychic energy goes into this process. You understand this chaos when you take a new job or move to a new home. In addition to coping with all the outside stimulus, the little child is also coping with a rapidly changing body. A tiny infant can barely see three feet away, a toddler is coping with legs that are just coming under control, a four-year-old is learning to throw. When we put an order in the environment, the child can focus, or concentrate, on the work she needs to do.
This concentration must be undisturbed. Distracting motion, noise, even sights require more energy to screen out the distraction so that the main work can be done. When the child can focus intently for as long as necessary to accomplish the task he has set for himself, there is a deep satisfaction evident on the child’s face. We see it when the last tiny cube goes on the top of the pink tower and the child exclaims, “I did it!” Montessori teachers live for this epiphany. Csikszentmihalyi calls it flow, and in the vernacular of the work place, it enables optimal performance. For our little ones, exactly the same process enables centeredness and competence.
Another face of competence is coordination. Our little people have so many skills to learn. They have to learn to hold a proportionately heavy head while learning to walk upright. Potty training and learning to eat with a fork, walking carefully on a line, and learning to tie a bow are only the beginning. Pronunciation, remembering the names of the continents, and being able to get across the overhead bars are all being packed into an exponentially growing brain. Montessori teaches that it all has to manifest itself gracefully.
When grace is at every level, the little child begins to understand independence. The two-year-old is the most vocal about it with “I want to do it myself”. We stand humbled in the face of toilet learning as the child figures it out for herself and gradually comes to her own independence. But it’s the same with the infant who refuses to be fed, the three-year-old who proudly dresses himself inside out and poorly matched. With little freedoms and the gentle discipline of failing, the child learns the responsibility that comes with independence. The OCCI chant that Montessorians strive for becomes one of those simple truths that can be hard to achieve. So we practice every day.
On the Calendar
Halloween – On Thursday October 31, we will have our annual Halloween Carnival. We are asking parents to bring in trinkets for the students to win at the various booths, typically trinkets are limited to the orange and black items, but sea shells, pretty rocks or feathers are fun, too. We will also need some parent volunteers to assist at the booths and to help the children change in to regular clothes. Parents please look for the volunteer sign-up sheet in the foyer by Tuesday October 15. Students should arrive at the school dressed in their costume. Remember no candy and no mask or full face paint. The carnival will begin at 10:00 and should last about an hour.
Conferences – Parent/teacher conferences will begin the week of October 28. We’ll begin with the infant class on Monday Oct.28, and the toddler class will have their conferences on October 29 & 30. Primary conferences will be Oct. 31, and November 1. Look for sign-up forms in the foyer to list at time you’d like to meet with your child’s teacher.
Real or Fantasy? – As a part of our enrichment curriculum on North America, the children will be learning various folk tales of our continent. These include Paul Bunyan, Zorro, Molly Brown, and Davy Crockett. (Ask to see the curriculum if you want to refresh your memory on some of these characters.) As we tell the stories, we’ll be discussing whether these folk tales are true or not true. You might want to reinforce the idea of true and not true as we enter the Halloween season.
In the infant class Jonathan enjoys the book basket. After selecting a book he turns each page and talks about the picture he sees. Audrey’s fine motor skills improve as she puts the sphere on the vertical dowel and repeats the work many times.