Thursday, 22 March 2012

Spring Fever

In our little corner of the world, the first week of March roared in like a lion giving the children some much desired snow. 

Here is a group of happy children playing on a snow pile.

A March Lion

This didn't last long as March has now given us some of the finest record breaking days we have ever seen.  We have gone from snowpants, heavy coats and mittens right to shorts.  Yes, shorts on March 22 in Southern Ontario, Canada!  Today the temperature reached 28 degrees celsius giving all of us a serious case of Spring Fever.

No coats for us!

Look at our knees!

We decided to go out looking for signs of Spring around our school property.  Here are some of the things we found.

The tulips in our flower garden are growing.

So are the tulips we made for craft.


We also found a blooming crocus.

A little wooly bear caterpillar was crawling across our parking lot.

All this lovely weather has the children asking "When are the summer holidays?"  Unfortunately more seasonal March weather is set to arrive in the morning.  Thank you to Mother Nature for giving us a preview of the warm summer weather that is to come.  We enjoyed it while it lasted.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

"Little Sparklers"

Breaks from my regular school routine usually find me immersed in books.  Last summer, I spent some time reading the Ramona series of books by Beverly Clearly.  As a child, I read (perhaps devoured is a better word) some of the Ramona books, but not all. Beverly Cleary wrote them over a span of 20 years and by that time I had long outgrown Ramona


Ramona the Pest remains my favourite book in the series.

As I read Ramona and Her Mother, a passage where Ramona's teacher has just called her house to speak to her mother made me smile.  Here is the passage:

"Why, no" said Mrs. Quimby.  "She didn't even mention spelling, but she did say you were one of her little sparklers who made teaching interesting."  And with that Ramona's mother left the room.

A little sparkler!  Ramona liked that.  She thought of the last Fourth of July when she had twirled through the dusk, a sparkler fizzing and spitting in each hand and leaving circles of light and figure eights as she had spun across the front yard until she had fallen to the grass with dizziness.  And now she was one of Mrs. Rudge's little sparklers!

Ramona the Pest 3 

In my almost twenty years of teaching, I have come across a few 'little sparklers'.  These are the children you will never forget.  They are the children who challenge you and ultimately make you a better teacher, ready and able to reach all of the children you are fortunate enough to get to know and work with.


In the first few years of our little yellow school, we had just such a 'little sparkler', J.  If you wanted everyone to come and sit for circle, J. wanted to work with the Montessori materials.  If it was work time, J. wanted to be singing and moving around.  J. always wanted to be doing the opposite of what you expected.  When J.'s younger sister joined our classroom, she would cry if J. wasn't cooperating.  J. was unaffected by all of it. Even though J. was challenging both in the classroom and at home, we could see glimpses of the person he was to become.

Once J. graduated and left our little yellow school for elementary school, we would hear stories of J. disrupting classes and having to sit right beside the teacher's desk.  Now, six years after J. graduated, we heard some wonderful news from his mom recently.  J.'s days of being a Ramona kind of 'little sparkler' are now over.  He has grown and matured and become a dependable, kind child with a very loving nature.

Our experience with J. and many other 'little sparklers' warms our hearts.  It serves to illustrate what Montessori knew all along, that we must 'follow the child'.  Each child has their own time.  We, as parents, teachers and adults in their lives, must provide a positive, supportive and loving environment to enable the child's true self to unfold and emerge allowing their inner light to shine bright.