Bring a thing that makes light


Topic: Hanukkah

Learn about another culture’s celebration

The value is joy, which is a very glad feeling. It comes from working hard for a worthy goal.

For cooking we’ll make a latkes.

Outside we’ll play the troll game and knots.

The songs we’ll be singing are Jingle Bells, It’s a Small World, Frosty the Snowman, Up on the Housetop, and Oh, Christmas Tree.

For creative dramatics we’ll learn the story of Hanukkah and play dreidles.

Our art activities are dreidles, menorahs, and stars of David.

For motor development, we’ll work on stamina with jumping jacks and relay races. For vestibular function we’ll show and don’t tell, play twirling tops, be horses and ponies, and do rocking boats with our partners


It’s the “get more stuff” season. Some time ago one of our directresses asked me to address the issue of “stuff”. It seems she had been counseling parents to de-clutter their child’s life by removing most toys and organizing play space. Little children are overwhelmed by so many distractions. As I considered responding to her request, I came upon these quotes:


Maria Montessori: “In those countries where the toy-making industry is less advanced, you will find children with quite different tastes. They are also calmer, more sensitive, and happy. Their one idea is to take part in the activities going on about them.”


Catherine McTamaney in The Tao of Montessori: “Stuff, stuff, stuff. Paper, paper, paper. When did our Montessori process become about product? When did the photocopier become the most useful tool in our schools?. . . . We often think of paper as proof. It is evidence of what we are teaching or of how well the children learn. . . . We can teach the children to fill their time copying and mimicking our products or we can teach them to pursue their own processes. When we force the child to create extrinsic products, we distance him from his intrinsic motivation.”


Richard Seldin on obesity in The Baltimore Sun: “Rather, it seems that the ubiquity of food provides a readily available anodyne for coping with widespread and profound emotional hunger. Problems with family stability, a harshly competitive society and an overly fast-paced life have often been blamed for creating a kind of hunger that medical, religious, and civic institutions cannot seem to abet. These stress-related problems have led to a rampant consumerism that demands ‘more’ of everything – and ‘more’ now rather than later.


Because of food’s connection to our survival and the people we were mostly dependent upon as young children, eating becomes a vehicle for satisfying a hunger that has little to do with survival or even with eating enough to live well.”


So the concern is everywhere. It seems to me that we need to build personal competence in meaningful skills, to invest in emotional and intellectual assets. Our goals should be to perfect ourselves in athletics, arts, social connections, intellectual pursuits, craftsmanship, or whatever talent calls to us. Our little children will follow.

Coming Up


   Winter Open House – This is a joyful event where the children can share their work with you, you can visit with other families that have a lot of the same values you have, we’ll have a sing-a-long and we’ll end by gather in the backyard to take our family portrait. The events begins at 3 P.M. and should last about an hour. Please plan to join us on Friday December 15.

     School Needs – If you have some extra plastic grocery store bags or old bath towels consider on donating your overflow to the school.



“I am working on numbers one, three and five” is what Charlie joyfully tells his teacher. Charlie is fine-tuning his fine motor skills as he practices how to control a pencil by writing various numbers and his name. Helene enjoys the parquetry puzzles and the peg brush work, both will help to improve her fine motor skills and her attentions span, completing the peg brush work requires a lot of time and concentration. Look for this work and more at the Winter Open House.