Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The Finished Work Envelope

At the end of each month, the teachers remove each child's completed work from their files and place this work in each child's finished work envelope.  When the children see the teachers removing work from the files the news quickly spreads through the classroom.  The children will start to circle around and ask "Are we taking our work home today?"  The answer is usually "Not today, we want to organize it first.  We will take it home in a few days."  The children walk away smiling, anticipating the day they will take their envelope home!  So begins the story of the finished work envelope.

Finished Work Envelopes

FInished Work Envelopes

Many parents through the years have told me that there is a whole ritual surrounding the finished work envelope.  If you value your life, you will absolutely never touch the envelope before your child has shown you the treasures that lie within.

We are taking our work home today!

We are taking our work home today!

I asked the children questions about the work envelopes. The following answers are compiled from those received.

Mrs. P.:   What happens when you take your work envelope home?

The Children:  We take the work out and look at it.

Mrs. P.:    Can your parents look at the work without you? 

The Children:  Oh no! They won’t understand it!

Mrs. P.:    There are printing books, math books and other pieces of work in there.  Why won't they understand it?

The Children:  I have to show it to them and explain it.

Mrs. P.:  So how do you do that?

The Children:    After dinner we will all sit at the table.

Mrs. P. :  Do your brothers and sisters come too?

The Children:    Oh no, they are too busy.  My mom and dad sit with me.  Sometimes we sit on the couch.

Mrs. P.:    Then what happens?

The Children:   I show them all of the work one by one. 

Mrs. P.:   What do your parents say?

The Children:   They say it is so beautiful!

For parents who have two children attending our school, the process is slightly different.  Some children will argue to be the first one to show their parents their work.  In other homes, one child shows dad, while the other shows mom. Then they switch.

So what is in the envelope?  The work is organized into subject areas (Arithmetic, Language, French, Culture, Tracing/Cutting for the younger children).  The younger children (those under the age of 3 ½) are primarily working with the Montessori materials and will have a thinner envelope than an older child who is writing and doing arithmetic sums.  

A Younger Child - Language, Tracing, Number Writing

An Older Child - All Subject Areas as well as Culture and Language Booklets

In addition to Arithmetic and Printing Books, here is a sampling of the work the children completed last month.

French Work - A Place Setting

French Work - Crossword

Parts of the Face

Writing Numbers 101 to 200

Cheetah - Part of a Savanna Habitat Booklet

Writing Numbers 601 to 700

Parts of the Bird - Younger Child

USA Flag - Part of a Flags of North America Booklet

Finished and Decorated Printing Book

Parts of the Bird - Older Child

Story - Younger Child

The ritual of the finished work envelope is one of the traditions that makes our little yellow school what it is. When the children walk out the door clutching their finished work envelopes, they are glowing with pride.   They have worked hard and are eager to share the fruits of their labour with their families.  In the days following, the empty finished work envelope will make its way back to school ready for the beautiful work it will once again hold at the end of the next month.

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