Our heads are in the stars as we learn about the solar system. The children are enjoying learning about the planets, phases of the moon, and how the stars in the sky make up the different constellations. A favorite word in our class has been infinite and learning about space has given the word some context. Next time you are out at night with them, take a look up together to see what you can find.
It’s hard to think of a way to make math more attractive to a child than The Montessori Bead Stair. The Bead Stair is a colorful work that helps a child master the numerical understanding of 1-9 and identifies each number with a color that will be used in more advanced Montessori works. The colored bead stair is a quintessential Montessori math material because it has so many mathematical benefits. We use it for one-to-one correspondence; connecting quantity to symbol; basic operations of addition, subtraction, and multiplication; skip counting; and square roots and cubes. For Montessori Education Week each child made a bead bar of their age and wore it proudly on a necklace. Hopefully, you got to see their smiles!
In February, we dive even deeper to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black Americans. We focus on artists, politicians, scientists, athletes and peacemakers of the past and present. Pictured are some of the books we are reading that celebrate diversity and teach us about the lives and contributions of some astonishing Black Americans. We just read a book about the oldest person to learn to read. Ask your child how old they were. You’ll be quite amazed by the answer. Look for artwork to come home that is inspired by artists of color. We are enjoying reading about people’s impressive lives and important contributions. It has brought us inspiration and interesting conversation.
The kindergarten year at The Walden School is the time when many of the earlier lessons come together and become a permanent part of the young child’s understanding. Through the Montessori method children start as a novice, grow to an apprentice, and then in their Kindergarten year, they become a leader. The final year of the three (or four) year cycle is for many children the final tool leading to success. Children flourish with the gift of this final year in the Montessori classroom where all the knowledge, facts and abilities they’ve been gathering for the past few years come together to help the child be intellectually independent, to love learning, to understand appropriate social behaviors, and to be in control of and accountable for their own words and actions. Here are some examples of our current Kindergarten children putting these words into action every day!
As we learn about peacekeepers and how they impact our world, Dr Martin Luther King Jr is a great example. We typically spend his birthday on a community service project. In the interest of safety, this year Preschool and Kindergarten children made cards for residents of a local nursing home. We hope the thoughtful messages and drawings brought smiles to many faces. As we talk about Dr. King's legacy, we discuss how everyone deserves to be shown respect and how we should always treat others with kindness. Some other peacekeepers we will learn about include Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, Dr Maria Montessori and of course our own Mary Lefever.
A Montessori Child is a Leader: Children who have been allowed to take responsibility for their work and have developed an essential level of self-discipline and responsibility experience high self-esteem and are prepared for life. They have the requisite skills to go on to higher education, to be successful at what they attempt, and to step forth into the world with the leadership and problem-solving skills that they will need to successfully face the tasks that await them. One of the benchmarks of a Montessori child is wanting to share his/her work with others and also to appreciate the work of friends.
A Montessori Child is a Collaborator: Montessori students work cooperatively and collaboratively on a number of tasks. Older students are role models and teachers for the younger students in the classroom. The youngest students look to these leaders for guidance and help. Although we are social distancing, collaboration continues. In this photo, the children are enjoying matching things that go together while keeping a safe distance. They are learning from each other, helping each other, listening to each other and taking turns. All important components in collaboration.
A Montessori Child is Self-Motivated: Children are self-motivated when they are allowed to make choices and have some sense of control over what they elect to do. Our classrooms are carefully prepared environments, that include math, language, science, culture and more! The materials are designed to stimulate learning, promote freedom of choice and allow children to follow their interests. This work teaches counting (number/numeral correlation) and is also an introduction to odd and even numbers. As you can see, she is very proud of her work!
A Montessori Child is Organized: Montessori children are exposed to the concept of “time-management” at an early age. It is a skill, which is essential for success in the complex society in which we find ourselves. The organization gives the child a sense of security and power for they know what to do and how to do it.
A Montessori Child is Independent: To become independent they must acquire skills- intellectual, social, and physical. When we aid them in the acquisition of what they need, we help them develop independence. We guide them in their growth by preparing a learning and social environment in which they are able to make their way toward independence. It is by acquiring these skills in an appropriate environment that they come to acquire their independence.