Saturday, 22 January 2011

In The Land of The Snowmen ~ Exploring the Natural World

Here we are in the midst of a good-old fashioned Canadian winter.  This week was a perfect example of it.  The weather was cold and the snow kept falling.  It was just the type of weather the children at our school look forward to.  Maria Montessori always used to say that there is no bad weather, only improper clothing.  What else could we do but bundle up and get busy exploring and enjoying the natural world around us!

In the classroom, we have been learning about animal tracks.  This week we set off for a nature walk in 'the forest' to see if we could find any tracks made by the animals that live there.  We found so many wonderful tracks!  There were some mice tracks that led to a decaying and almost hollow log.  Could mice be living there right now?  We found rabbit tracks made by the rabbits that we frequently see hopping around in our vegetable garden. We also found squirrel tracks.  We searched for deer tracks but did not find any this time.  It was so calm and quiet when we were surrounded by the trees in the woods.  The children had so much fun exploring and could have stayed in the forest forever.

We have a woodpecker that frequents our property.  He has been pecking holes in one of our pine trees.  We found fresh shavings around the tree but did not see him during our nature walk.  He did show up at school the following afternoon and many of the children were able to see and hear him pecking away.

The snow most days this week was powdery as the weather was so cold.  One day, the weather warmed up and the powdery snow turned into packing snow!  All of us, teachers and children, got busy making snowmen.  It was great fun and wonderful exercise.  Here are some of the snowmen we made. 

We, like Maria Montessori, believe that the child under six should have many intimate and direct experiences in nature, not merely a knowledge of it.  Early outdoor experiences establish a relationship to the natural world for life.  The children at our school are fortunate to be immersed in the natural world daily ~ from our natural playround with its towering pine trees, grass, insects, wildlife and vegetable garden, to 'the forest' that we visit often.  The joy and delight they experience as they discover their natural world forges a deep attachement and a lasting relationship with our earth.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Google Founders On The Value of Their Montessori Educations

When prospective parents who are new to Montessori come to visit our school, they often wonder why they should choose a Montessori education for their child.   Montessori is education, not a nursery school or a drop in play group.  The best time to start your child's education is during the early years...2 1/2 to 3 years when most of a child's intelligence and social characteristics are formed.  Research has shown that 50% of the child's mental development occurs before four years of age.  In a Montessori School, your child will learn to think in logical patterns and to deal with reality.  Children with a Montessori background become better prepared to cope with the complex challenges of tomorrow's world.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google and Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia are all former Montessori students and very successful internet entrepreneurs.  All three men credit their Montessori educations for helping them to achieve their success.

In this interview with Barbara Walters, Larry Page and Sergey Brin discuss the importance of their Montessori educations.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Our First School Day of 2011 ~ The Comfort of Community

Happy New Year!  Today was our first day back after the Christmas holidays.  It was fantastic to see everyone again and catch up with each other.  In speaking with the parents, we were told time and time again how excited their child was to be back at school.  The children couldn't wait for the holidays to be over!  They missed their teachers and their friends.  Their sheer joy was evident in the way they ran up the walkway to get into school, their bright and smiling faces and the many hugs that were bestowed on teachers and fellow classmates.

The children had so many stories to share with us!  We heard about getting to see cousins visiting from the USA, spending time with grandparents, skating on frozen lakes, sledding down hills, and spending time with family at a farm that had ponies.  One of our four year olds announced that he had gone to a 'new world' during the holidays.  A five and a half year old told him that that was impossible. Did he leave the Earth and go to a new planet?  Well, it turned out that the 'new world' was on the way to New York.  It was Great Wolf Lodge.  He did tell us not to worry as there were no wolves in site.  Thank goodness for that!

One of our five year olds had a life changing moment.  She lost a tooth.  Here is the story she wrote.

Fortunately, another tooth fell out over the break and she brought it in to show everyone.
Our first day showed us that after all the excitement and the unpredictability of the holidays, the children craved the comfort and security of their classroom communities.   The repetition of familiar recurring patterns - talking with their teachers, working with the Montessori materials, sitting with their friends, sharing stories at circle time, singing our favourite songs, seeing Madame for French, setting up for lunch - these are the everyday landmarks and routines that make them feel they belong.  Everyone has a special and unique place in the community - children, parents and teachers.  It was a lovely first day.

We would like to wish everyone a very happy and healthy year full of the joys and wonders of life!