Thursday, 22 September 2011

Little Red Jewels From Our Garden ~ Our Potato Harvest

Last May, the children planted seed potatoes in our school garden.  (See In Our Garden Post - May 2011)  We watched as green stems and then leaves began to sprout, grow and eventually wither away.  At last it was time to harvest our potatoes, but where were they?

With shovels in hand, the children started digging the earth and turning over soil.  Squeals of delight rang out as the children saw the little red jewels emerging from the soil.

While some children dug, others quickly scooped up the potatoes, brushed off the soil clinging to them and ran to put them in the wagon.  Our back garden was filled with joy and laughter as the children dug and harvested the potatoes, feeling the hard potatoes and relishing getting  their hands dirty in the fertile soil. 

When all the potatoes were harvested, we were able to fill up the wagon twice.  Each child was able to take home some potatoes to share with their families.  They were delicious!

Our potato harvest occurred during the first week of school.  As our new and returning students interacted with each other and the natural environment, we could see this delightful group coming together to form a lovely Montessori community of children.  

Friday, 2 September 2011

Letting Our Lights Shine ~ The Dawn of a New School Year

As I sit her on the dawn of my 18th year as a Montessori teacher, the feelings I am feeling are similar to those I felt on the dawn of my first year.  There is the nervousness, yet also an overwhelming feeling of excitement and wonder as I look forward to working with the children and parents and experiencing all the delights and challenges that a new school year brings.

I am reminded of something that we experienced here at school last year.  After an unseasonably warm fall, the half-day class found a wooly bear caterpillar out on the playground.  We prepared a jar and watched as it spun a cocoon.  We set the jar outside for the winter.  In the spring we brought the cocoon back inside.  Slowly, but surely, something emerged from the cocoon.  It was a white tiger moth!

After watching it dry its' wings, it began to move about in the jar.  It was time for it to leave us.  The whole school went on a nature walk outside and found a lovely place to relocate it.  Among the budding trees and blossoming forget-me-nots, the children gathered around the jar as we opened the lid.  The moth was hesitant and did not want to leave.  It was torn by the uncertainty of the world beyond the opening of the jar and the safety and comfort of the jar it had called home.  After a few minutes of flying to the opening and back to the bottom of the jar, the moth finally took the step and flew out to a new life!

At the beginning of each school year, my thoughts also turn to our recent graduates and all our former graduates who are beginning a new school year.  I am reminded of A. and how he cried in the car all the way home from his graduation because he didn't need a new school for grade one.  He wanted to stay at our Montessori school.  Or of D. who told us that although he was curious to see grade one, he really wanted to stay at the little yellow school.  Or of C. who told us that he would visit us every week until he went to highschool.  He couldn't remember if he said highschool or University, but he would visit us every week.  C. stayed true to his word and made his first post-graduation visit this past week as we were getting the school ready for the new school year.  We look forward to seeing him every week.  Change is difficult and takes us out of our comfort zone, but ultimately, change is an exciting part of life.  Our students know that they are always welcome to come back to The Children's Montessori Academy to pay us a visit, and we are honoured that they have continued to do so since we began in 1999.

As we waited for the moth to fly out of the jar, we all sang the following song.

This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine.

Let is shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Here's hoping we all let our lights shine this school year.  From our little corner of the world to yours, here's wishing everyone a fantastic school year!