Casa East shared some lovely photos with their parent community in December.
We are looking forward to working with the math materials with all who can make it on Thursday. It was written up as 3:30 – 4 in the weekly dvms info email, but we are happy to go until 4:30 for those of you who can stay that long. Children over 2.5 years can stay outside with aftercare.
Also, hopefully you were all told about our Earth Day hike along the Spencer Creek to the park for a climb. We had fun going as a big group with Casa South, so you’ll see some other faces climbing in the tree. The children with Lisa had a fun romp all around the school yard. Everyone had eagle eyes searching for any garbage.
Stef and Elizabeth
You will notice that starting with this one, the update posts are being scaled back. Our goal was to provide a more detailed glimpse into the DVMS Montessori environments to see what your children are up to, learn a little bit more about Montessori materials, how they’re used, and their purpose, and to create a collection of posts that can be combined to offer the general public an idea of what Montessori is and how it works.
Look for some new features coming to your monthly “Events and Information” newsletter.
Read on to see what’s been going on in Casa East lately.
Take a close look at what the two Casa East children above are writing with their Story Alphabets, pretty darn adorable!
Before explaining the material and activity, Elizabeth wanted to say a few words this week about the recent Parent Education Night:
“I just wanted to start by saying, it was so nice for us as passionate teachers to spend an evening with families who really wanted to come in and see the connection between the classroom and the child. It comes to life when you come to those evenings. So much of what we do, as one parent said, ‘It blows my mind!'”
“Here,” said Elizabeth of the writing work being done above, “this is called the Small Story Alphabet, and the purpose of the material is that the child has reached the point where they are reading phonetically, they have been writing lots of words with the Moveable Alphabet, and now they’re starting to put a thought together, a complete thought, into a sentence; we call it a story — it might only be one or two sentences, but the purpose of it also is, once they’ve finished their story, they can also see that an illustration can help tell the story. I’m asking them for their illustration to reflect the words in the story, and what lovely words. They were so sweet working together.”
“It’s been a lovely start to a new school term,” said Elizabeth this week. “Everyone enjoyed the break and here we are into the first real hint of winter. Cold days outside and lots of lovely, bright, cheerful, happy things happening inside.”
Some of the Casa East children began receiving new presentations this first week back.
“He’s received his first Glass Polishing presentation,” said Elizabeth, “and he was just thrilled to finally put his hands onto one of these baskets. He has continued to polish every morning since. He’s been so excited by it, and discovered some things are not made of glass and lots of things are. We have four polishing baskets. We start with Glass Polishing because the sequence of movements is not as great as the more advanced things like Silver Polishing.”
Thinking it’s been a while since the last Casa update? Remember, we are now distributing the update and “Events and Information” newsletters on a per week basis so that information from and about DVMS is easier to digest and keep track of. Casa updates are published on the first Friday of each month.
This beautiful picture was taken by Elizabeth on a sunny morning in Casa East recently.
“She’s using the Tangram puzzle,” said Casa East assistant Stef, who sat down with us this week to talk about what’s been happening in Casa East since the last update. “We discovered it was easier for them at the beginning to have all of the lines, the control sheet, at the level of difficulty they needed, so she can look and see where each of the shapes goes. At the end, the box is also one of the controls to get it back in. They’re having to extrapolate. It’s to scale, but they’re not the same size shapes [in the box and on the control sheet]. She has to look at the control and be able to figure out which triangle it is compared to the others. They also have to be able to follow a plan and visualize how the shapes come together, and how lots of triangles can come together to make other shapes and designs. Everything’s triangles!”
You may remember the little girl above from an update in September where Elizabeth talked about how she wasn’t engaging with the Montessori materials yet, but was observing everything happening in the environment. As you can see, she is now thoroughly engaged with her own jobs.
“She still will come and spend some time beside me in the morning,” said Elizabeth, “but this exercise has appealed to her. It’s Pinning, and you can see that her fine motor control and concentration is so complete while she’s pinning out a shape; then she’ll glue that shape down onto another piece of paper and come over and we’ll give her the vocabulary of whatever the shape is. We try to put that into the environment: ‘Can you see a rectangle anywhere else in the room?’ and we’ll look at a table, look at the doorway, the windows. There’s a few things in her repertoire now, maybe half a dozen.”
“Instead of having me write messages for the Phonetic Object Box,” said Casa East Montessori guide Elizabeth, “she decided to write them herself using the moveable alphabet.”
Casa East assistant Stef stepped in this week to elaborate and get us all up to date on what’s been going on.
“We start with objects for their interest and then the Moveable Alphabet allows them to write a word even if they haven’t mastered being able to write using a pencil,” said Stef. “When you’re writing you are segmenting the word, so the girl above sees the mug and then she has to break it up into [the phonetic sounds] ‘m’ / ‘u’ / ‘g’ and remember each of the letter symbols. We start with short phonetic words because everything is scaffolded. Later, we can even give verbal commands for words like ‘melt’ that we can’t have a picture of.”
Don’t forget, the DVMS Parent Community Dinner is coming up on Saturday, October 25. Please click here for details and tickets.
“We’ve spent a lot of time this past week talking about Thanksgiving,” said Elizabeth about the week that was in Casa East. “We’ve been talking about all they’re thankful for, and we made apple sauce on Thursday for our snack, as a group. The children helped peel and chop the apples with Stef, it was lovely; and, we did apple print painting to follow up on our theme of using apples.”
“Two weeks later — what a difference!” said Casa East guide Elizabeth this week. “The little ones are starting to gain confidence and understand the routines of the school and the classroom: taking off their shoes, hanging up their coats, changing into indoor shoes, managing their work and starting to create for themselves their own little work cycles, and being able to express themselves and be understood — their thoughts and needs.”
“The shark tracing you see above was a beautiful moment,” said Elizabeth.
“I had shown him the Parts of a Shark, but we didn’t have the paper for that material, so it was really nice for him to see how his hand control has reached the point where he is able to trace. I showed him that little trick of using the window for the natural light to come through and he absolutely loved it. That piece of work is beautiful.”
Elizabeth also noted that the older children are embracing their roles in the environment.