How quickly this term has gone! We had our Montessori Quality Assurance assessment visit during Term 2. It was very successful and we have been reregistered for a further 3 years. A huge thanks to the staff who create such a high quality Montessori environment for all your children. Here is a photo of one of the MQAP consultants with Janelle and Jackie, next to our beautiful Pink Tower.
Have a wonderful break and we will see you all here July 17th. See below all the news from all the classes.
We have had a very eventful and joyful Term 2 in the Wattle Room.
The children have been spending many happy hours baking. The bread job is always popular and as an extension to this we also made some Anzac biscuits and dairy- free chocolate muffins this term to celebrate the beginning of Winter. The children waited patiently for their turns to participate in our group baking activities. They were really engaged in carefully measuring all the ingredients and adding them to the mixture. We used scales to make comparisons between the measurement and weight of the various ingredients. The children took turns to measure different ingredients, pour them into the bowl and mix it all together. The results according to the children was simply: ‘DELICIOUS’.
The children demonstrated patience and perseverance as they worked with their friends. They were also able to observe changes to the mixture as each ingredient was added. Each child took a biscuit home at the end of the day and we decided to make a second batch of Anzac biscuits to serve our mums when they visited our room.
Autumn is such a beautiful time of the year in Melbourne and we revelled in this beauty by observing the changing colours of the Autumn leaves. This offered a great opportunity for our children to explore science, art and literacy.
We used our senses to:
- look at the leaf colours and shapes,
- smell the leaves and describe what the smell was,
- touch and feel some Autumn leaves and compare them with green leaves that were just picked from a tree,
- listen to the sounds the Autumn leaves made when it fell on the carpet and wooden
- table, and the screechy sound when we scrunched them up.
The children engaged in hands-on experiences preserving, identifying and examining leaves to understand how and why leaves change colour in Autumn. We read a book about leaves changing colour in Autumn. We talked about how leaves contain different cells which show up as different colours and how green chlorophyll cells in dry leaves are not as visible, as the yellow (xanthophyll) and orange (carotene) “pockets” become more visible as autumn leaves dry. The children extended their learning by mixing yellow, orange and a tiny bit of green paint (to represent the different quantities of cells found in the leaves) to make brown paint and decorating autumn leaves they had drawn by using the insets from the Botany cabinet.
We also talked about deciduous and evergreen trees. We made a deciduous tree sculpture with some Autumn leaves that we had collected. After a few weeks, the leaves were removed from the tree and the children pointed out how it reflected the trees outside which were now bare as it is in Winter. We also made an evergreen tree sculpture by using a branch with green leaves and glycerine oil to preserve the leaves.
Mother’s Day was, as always, a special occasion in our room.
Our children applied many previously practised skills as they worked to make their Mother’s Day gifts. Many of these skills have been acquired by the children as they work with our Practical Life materials. These include hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, pouring and measuring.
The children worked with care and precision to make the lavender air freshener. They carefully measured the water and counted the lavender essential oil drops added to the spray bottle. Next, they used the measuring spoon to measure the vanilla extract. The bottle was decorated according to each child’s creative expression.
The cards were made by pin-pricking a heart shape and then pasting this onto a coloured card with a special message from every child to their much-loved mum. This activity supported children’s fine motor development and concentration. We hope you enjoy using this precious gift.
We welcomed Munira, Mia, Olivia, Andre and Jacob into our room this term and hope they are feeling at home in our Wattle room family.
We would like to congratulate the Tariq family for the arrival of a baby girl. Zakariyya is really happy to have a sister.
The children have been very keen to use our CD player to listen to some of their favourite songs we have been singing this term. They are free to use the CD player at any time and have been shown how to skip tracks and adjust the volume so it is just right for one person to listen to at the listening table. Other children are of course welcome to listen as well and will often be heard especially singing along to the Caterpillar song. The children enjoy moving to the music and lyrics being leaves or using hand gestures to represent crawling caterpillars. They participated in making their own paper caterpillars with segmented bodies.
Soteria will be away from work till 20/8 as she travels to Greece where she was born. We will miss her in our room and wish her a lovely time. Sandy will join us for the time that Soteria is away.
Next term we will be visiting Edendale farm and learning more about sustainability. This is always a great outing and we hope to see all the children and their parents there. Hope you have a lovely holiday – stay warm!
Sarah, Soteria, Blydie
This Term in the Jasmine Room the children’s interests have led us in many different directions: from insects to seeds and cooking:
- The children’s interest in insects started in Term 1 with many children enjoying the activity of collecting insects and bugs in the bug catcher to watch and then release. This sparked discussion about the different characteristics of insects, arachnids and bugs. This Term we introduced some classroom pets to compliment these discussions and to give the children the opportunity to care for living creatures. Elsa and Christian, the Giant Litter Bugs, are now a very popular part of our classroom. The children enjoy watching and holding them, and giving them their weekly rations of dry eucalyptus leaves.
- Blydie and some of the children made the most of the mild weather at the beginning of the Term and planted some seeds in jars. We watched them grow and discussed what they need to make them grow. We also looked at the seeds in various fruits and vegetables, ending up with quite a collection.
- The introduction of the “bread job” was welcomed with much enthusiasm and every day there is a long list of children wanting to do this popular activity. It is a task that involves many steps: measuring, pouring, stirring, kneading and then washing all the dishes to prepare the job for the next child. It is wonderful to watch the care the children take with the measurements and their enjoyment when they get to taste their bread roll at the end of the day. This job is also a great lesson in patience and sharing, as there is usually only enough time each day for 4 children to make a bread roll so children need to wait for a turn to do it. Other cooking activities have included baking Anzac biscuits, which the children enjoyed, and making mashed potatoes. Both were group activities, with the children working together to complete the task and then share the results of their work.
We have enjoyed watching the new children become more settled and confident in the classroom. New friendships have been formed and the older children continue to be wonderful, caring helpers. The youngest of our group joined us (Joseph at the end of Term 1 and Karissa at the start of Term 2) and they have been welcomed by the other children.
We would like to thank the parents who came along to the Curriculum evening this term to learn about Maths in the Montessori classroom. Thank you to all the mums who made the time to come into the classroom for our Mother’s Day morning tea. The children get so much enjoyment from having you spend time with them in their classroom, it is always an eagerly awaited event (we lost count of how many times we were asked “When is it Mother’s Day?”). Also, thank you for your very generous donations of items during our Food Bank week.
Next term we are hoping that our children and families will share their cultural background with the rest of the class through activities such as cooking, story-telling, songs, games, etc. More information about this will be provided early next term. We are also planning an excursion to Edendale Farm at the end of the Term.
Kerryn will be away for the first 3 weeks of term as she accompanies her son to the USA where he has been invited to play Futsal for an Australian Under 16 team in the Futsal World Championships. What an opportunity and we wish him luck. Blydie will be doing extra hours and Christine will work in the mornings.
We hope you enjoy the holiday break. See you on July 17 for the start of Term 3.
May, Kerryn and Blydie
Wow! We are at the end of Term 2, and it’s been a joy to see how well the children have progressed, not only in their learning and communication, but also in developing friendships with their peers. This term we have had many discussions about Australia, as the children showed interest in the country they live in. The learning began quite incidentally as one of the children asked about the Sand Paper Globe and Continent Globe that we have in the classroom. We are very lucky that in our Montessori environment we are able to provide a wide range or resources that enable the children to not only learn but to encourage exploration of the world around us. Some of the things we have discussed were animals of Australia, puzzle maps, flags and lots of songs like Dig Dig Dig from Aussie Rhyme and Songs with Matthew Perry and for the the younger ones we have sang Barramundi. We spoke about marsupials and nocturnal animals of Australia and we have included in our shelves a box of cultural items of Australia. We have also extended their learning through books with Australia Wildlife by Steve Parish and Bush Babies by Kim Dale. Children are fascinated by books which are a beautiful way to engage them in their learning for comprehension and language skills.
Since we are talking about books, we strongly recommend a fantastic book shop at Doncaster Shopping Town, which is called Readers, that has a vast range of good quality books with amazing illustrations, that you might want to add to your child’s library. Our recent purchases were “Here We Are – Notes for Living on Planet Earth” by Oliver Jeffers and “In My Heart – A book of Feelings” by Jo Witek. If you wish to donate a book in the occasion of your child’s birthday, please come and talk to us and we would love to suggest a few that are on our ‘wish list’.
Our Axolotls have been busy laying eggs, as they like the cold temperature. They’ve eaten most of their eggs, but we managed to save a few and separate them from their parents and we are observing their life cycle in class. Children are inquisitive about this process and every day they check the eggs to see any growth that has occurred overnight.
In our Montessori environment we encourage Grace and Curtesy lessons, which occur incidentally, that assist the children in simple skills day to day life, like greeting, shaking hands, how to blow your nose, how to interrupt while the teacher is talking or presenting, how to offer help to a friend and so on. These lessons have been modelled by the teachers in the classroom as the children absorb everything they see in their environment.
We would like to announce that Library will begin in Term 3, on Friday 20th of July. Please provide a labelled library bag for your child, who will take a book home and return it the following Friday. The aim of the bag is to take care of the books, the same way we do when we go to a local library.
We would love to express our gratitude for your support and generosity in donating food for the less fortunate, during our Food Bank week. You are truly amazing and we feel very blessed to have such a beautiful community with kind hearts. We hope you have a very nice holiday with your family and look forward to seeing you Tuesday 17th of July 2018.
The Rose Room
Hooray- we made it through the eleven week term! It seems like forever ago since we welcomed all the Mums in for our special Mothers’ Day morning! The children loved having you all here and showing off their favourite jobs!
The children’s independence skills are improving constantly and it is wonderful to see them being able to “do for themselves” with increasingly more complex activities. Now that we are at the end of Term Two we see can see that the children now have a much better understanding of the classroom rules and expectations as well as having begun to form friendships.
We have really been focusing our attention this term on Grace and Courtesy exercises particularly on respect. Respect for oneself and also towards others- how to interrupt (we ask the children to simply put their hand on our shoulder to let us know they are there- this is one you can use at home too!), how to listen when someone is talking, how to have respect for the materials in the classroom and for other people’s work (for example walking around a mat not straight across it) and the importance of patience when waiting to have your turn- whether it be at Circle time or when waiting for the bread roll job!
We have been reading a book called The Peace Rose which teaches us how to help resolve conflicts and that it is Okay to have an opinion and to speak up when something/someone is bothering you! We have also incorporated the use of our hand to say No! as an added visual cue to let the other person know to Stop! I don’t like what you’re doing!
With the colder weather definitely here for a while the “tea job” is proving very popular and it is lovely to see the children taking the time to complete the full work cycle. You may think it’s “just drinking a cup of tea” but have you ever stopped to think of all the steps involved in this simple’ activity? Your child starts by selecting their desired flavour, picking up and carrying the tray to the table, going back to get the Thermos, pulling out their chair, sitting down, opening the sachet, pulling out the tea bag, taking the lid off the tea pot, putting the bag in, opening the lid on the thermos, carefully pouring the water in, closing the lid on the thermos, putting the lid on the teapot, sitting and waiting for the tea to steep… and then, finally, taking that first warming sip of tea… It can be a very serene, almost meditative activity! Then there’s the whole washing up and packing away part of the activity too, with all the steps that that involves!
With much excitement we welcomed five new chicks to the class! Rather than waiting until Spring and keeping chicks from the egg hatching program Nellie wanted “designer” girls who all looked different so she knew who was who!! Claire found a poultry farmer on the Peninsula who was able to supply us with five gorgeous girls who we have named Mei Mei (little sister in Chinese), Hei Hei (from Moana which means chicken in Polynesian) and Kollee (‘chicken’ in Deepa’s local dialect) Freckles and Speckles! (we sadly had to rehome Henny Penny when she turned out to in fact a Henry!!) The children are loving helping to care for them, saving food scraps for them, giving them fresh food and water and putting clean sawdust in their run as well as giving them cuddles!
We also welcomed another (unexpected) feathered friend when Claire rescued a bright blue budgie! After searching for weeks for her owners without success we have claimed her as our own and named her True! Her happy chattering is a sweet addition to the daily buzz in the room!
We sadly lost Baby the smaller of our two Spiny Leaf Insects due to unknown causes but we are happy to report that the larger of the two- Fern is growing bigger by the week. The children have been fascinated each time they have moulted and shed their skin as they grow. Our fish can provide a calming, quiet moment for contemplation each day and the children love to watch them get fed and to help clean the glass. All these animals certainly help connect the children to their natural environment and become more aware of the responsibilities that come with having pets. We have talked many times about the ways we can help to care for our own animals as well as those around us and read a number of books that reinforce the need to care not just for each other but also for our environment and those we share it with.
Congratulations to Mat and Christina, Jack and Mason who welcomed another bonnie baby boy- Liam to their family last week. We can’t wait for cuddles. That brings our tally of newborns this year to two with Richard, Jade and Jasmine welcoming baby River in January.
Many Thanks to all the families who have so generously donated goods to our Food bank appeal!
We wish you all a wonderful, warm and restful holiday and look forward to seeing you on Tuesday July 17th!
Janelle, Claire, Deepa Dervla
Wow! What a busy first half of the year we have had.
We would firstly like to take this opportunity to thank all parents/guardians for your patience during the settling period.
The last few months have been spent introducing your child to the teachers and the Montessori Environment. Some popular jobs have been threading, painting, pouring, spooning and whisking activities in the Practical Life area. The children have also been adjusting to group time where they are learning to develop their Grace and Courtesy skills. During this time they have enjoyed singing and listening to story books. Practical Life and Grace and Courtesy activities are essential for many life skills to develop, such as independence, control of movement, concentration, logical thinking and self confidence. The children are continually working on and mastering these life skills.
The child during the first plane of development (0-6 years) has many needs. Emotionally, he/she needs love and acceptance, respect and understanding, warmth and protection. The child also has a need for security, order and as much freedom and independence as he/she can handle. Montessori believed that a prepared environment should be provided to allow the child to explore and experience purposeful activities. From the age of 2 ½ or 3 until about 6, the child moves towards gaining independence, where it is not uncommon to hear a child wish to “do it myself.”
Children in their first plane of development are constantly taking in and processing the world around them. Having a solid understanding of the physical, psychological, emotional, and intellectual needs of each child helps us best serve the needs for the individual child in a Montessori environment.
Please remember we are available in between sessions to talk to parents regarding the progress of their child or any other issue that may be of concern.
We wish all our families a happy and safe holiday and look forward to seeing you next term.
Vicky and Karina
SAVE THE DATE: FAMILY FUN FAIR 10 -1PM Sunday October 14 at the Mooroolbark and District Miniature Railway and Steam Club. More details to follow.
DATES FOR YOUR CALENDAR
- Tuesday July 17: Term 3 starts
- Saturday September 8: Working Bee/Family Barbecue
- September 21: Term 3 finishes