Back To School
September Recap: This September we started out by opening up our classroom to make a big addition to Belltower Montessori. New faces as well as ones transitioning into our classroom. In September we were all getting familiar to our new classroom as well as working on “All about Me” by creating family portraits and an all about me poster to display in our room. We also learned about leaves and apples and started an introduction to the continents using the map puzzles in our classroom. Our class is thrilled with what the enrichments have to offer each day. From Mozart in music, Paul Jackson Pollock in art, how to greet each other in Spanish, cooking cinnamon apples, to learning how to use our computers.
Octobe r Recap: In October we focused on our 5 senses. We have read books about each of the senses (sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing). Montessori work related to this theme have been feeling different sand paper grains to differentiate rough from smooth. Ms. Garofalo has incorporated the sense of smell and taste into the cooking enrichment having children smell the different ingredients used and talking about the taste of the ingredients. We have also talked a lot about pumpkins and put together a “Pumpkin Parts” project that labels the leaf, stem, pulp, seed, skin, and fibrous strands of a pumpkin. In addition to this we have read books about the life cycle of a pumpkin including From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer Illustrated by James Grahm Hale, & Pumpkin Jack written and illustrated by Will Hubbell. Keeping up with the pumpkin theme children baked a pumpkin pie during cooking enrichment for their classes to enjoy the following day. We continued to excel in ABC Mouse, and make more art projects with Ms. Buonocore, introduced to musical instruments, and learned about our body parts with Ms. Gonzalez.
November Recap: We worked on our food pyramids learning what is nutritious and how to keep our bodies healthy. We learned ways to exercise and keep our bodies in motion to be able to stay active and healthy. We also learned about our dental health, and how to brush our teeth and what foods are good for our teeth. In our Montessori lessons we learned about geography and the flag of California, as well as our state flower and bird. We did many art projects we made turkeys, and a food pyramids. In our enrichment programs the children made pumpkin pies, apple turnovers and cheese cakes pie in cooking. In Music the children learned about Jazz instruments and Andy Warhol. In Art the children made slime, turkey art and free self-expression, just to get their creativity to spark. The children continued their ABC Mouse and still love all their enrichments.
December Recap: December was a fun filled month. We learned about the winter season and the different holidays celebrated in December. The children enjoyed the books about Kwanza and Hanukah. We also read books and sang songs about Christmas and holidays. We decorated Christmas trees with the ornaments that the children made, they also painted and decorated pine cones for their parents as a Christmas gift. Our focus for this month was, Polar bears, reindeer, and the snow fox. We learned about snow and hot/cold. Also, for the month of December we talked about continent, Europe and country Italy and France.
January Recap: Our theme for month of January was winter animals and hibernation. We talked about the polar bear and penguins. We also did some project for Eskimos and Igloos. For geography we learned about the continents; Antarctica, flags of Antarctica, homes, sports, ice caps, day and night. In our circle time we talked about why the arctic is cold, all about Martin Luther king and snowflakes.
February Recap: In the month of February our theme was about culture awareness & friendship. We learned about the continent of Asia. We talked about some famous places in Asia. Our first topic was the Taj Mahal and the children learned the Taj Mahal is in India. The Taj Mahal was commissioned by shah Jahan in 1631, to be built in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Our second famous place was the Great Wall. I showed the children a picture of that place and explain the Great Wall of Chinas interesting series of fortifications which are made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials. It was built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe. Our third famous place was about the Tokyo Tower and we explained to the children its used as a communications and observation tower in the Shiba-koen district of Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Also, built in 1958, the tower’s main sources of income are tourism and antenna leasing. The children in our class learned about the biography of Frederick Douglass, Rosa Park, The Obamas, and Oprah Winfrey. Our special project we did this month was project for helping hands, decorating a heart for valentines, and a project for friendship. They also did a project for Asia. For our Montessori work, we used the Movable Alphabet. Most children learn to read between the ages of four and seven. In order to become comfortable with reading, children first need to become comfortable with letters and words. That’s where the movable alphabet comes into play. Children form colorful, three-dimensional letters into words. Rather than just seeing the words on a page, children get to manipulate the letters with their hands. This hands-on interactive play makes learning easier.We also used Puzzle Maps this month. It can be difficult to learn geography by merely looking at a map. With wooden puzzle maps, children get to actually move and arrange different countries, continents, and states. This gives them a complete view of the world around them. Another Montessori task we completed this month was our Hands-On Tasks. These tasks help children learn important motor skills while they explore the environment around them.We had a small Valentine’s party. Children decorated the box and exchanged valentine cards and gift. Our enrichment classes included music, art, computer, cooking, and Spanish was related to the theme.
March Recap: This month we learned about Dinosaurs and spring. Our children learned about spring and explained to them that spring is the time for planting and gardening. Our children learned about seeds and plants by engaging in hands on activities which observed seeds, planting them, and watching them grow. We learned about the continents of Africa, flags, colors and every week we talked about different places in Africa such as, Victoria falls, Zimbabwe, Egyptian Pyramids, Okavango, Delta National Park and our children saw pictures of these places as well. We read some different books about dinosaurs and the children saw pictures of different type of dinosaurs. We explained that dinosaurs roamed the earth over 200 million years ago and were the dominant terrestrial vertebrate for 135 million years. Dinosaurs walked the earth for over 165 million years and they lived during a period of time known as the Mesozoic. We also read some Dr. Seuss books and had some fun activities about the author Dr. Seuss. Our Montessori lessons entailed “Walking on the Line” as a Practical Life exercise. This exercise helps the child control their body; develop balance and perfect equilibrium, as well as to strengthen the mind’s control of its body’s movements. The children in our class learned about Grace and Courtesy. Montessori Exercises in Grace and Courtesy address the young child’s need for order. The child has a need to know and to absorb the social structures in order to be more at ease in their environment. Grace and Courtesy lessons give the child the vocabulary, actions, and steps required for them to build their awareness and responsiveness of those around them. This in turn gives the child a better sense of orientation in their social structure. Our special project we did this month was decorating four leaf clovers for St. Patrick’s Day. The children in our class dyed and decorated Easter eggs and we also got to garden too which the children really enjoyed. Enrichment for this month was based on our theme for month of March, In computer class our children did some activities about spring and learned about the life cycle of animals in Africa. Also, cooking, Spanish, and music class was related to theme as well. This month was a very exciting month because we had some new friends in our class and our children had some fun activities such as gardening, egg hunting and Egg Hunt party.
April Recap: This month we learned about our planet Earth and Oceania. Children in our class room learned about recycling. We explained that the Earth is our home and we must take care of it. We have to deal with our waste in a wise way. We talked and showed some picture of how waste breaks down easily and becomes part of the Earth and other kinds of waste do not. For the kinds of waste that doesn’t; we can reduce, reuse, and recycle. We can use less of these items as well. We can use them again or give them to someone and we can recycle them. The children also learned how to take care our Earth by asking their parents to plant a tree. Trees and plants help to absorb the carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. Ask your family to use less heat and air conditioning. Save water, something as simple as turning off the water while brushing your teeth makes a HUGE difference for our Planet Earth. Using re-usable bags at the grocery store is also helpful. Recycle any plastic bottles and bags you have at home. Do your part to keep plastic out of the oceans and off of the land by recycling all the plastic in your home! We talked about ocean cleanup and trash receptacles and showed them some pictures of dirty oceans full of plastic bags and bottles and clean oceans during our circle time. We also enjoyed talking about Kangaroo Island, New Zealand, Sydney Opera and Ayers Park. Our Montessori lessons entailed knobbed cylinders in preparation for writing; coordination of the fingers used to hold the pencil and refinement of voluntary movement. The children will be able to fit the cylinders with one precise movement, preparation for mathematics. Our special project we did this month was getting ready for Mother’s Day and the children in our class are working on the gift for mom. Enrichment for this month was based on our theme for month of April. In computers, ABC Mouse was used to learn and practice some activities about language, math and reading. For cooking, children made cookies from Australia and New Zealand. Music, Spanish and Art activities were related to the themes of April. This month we had some fun things for children to participate in. We celebrated Week of The Young Child. The children had a chance to wear super hero costumes and princess dresses. The children wore their favorite sport team jerseys and dressed up like 80’s and 90’s decade attire.
May Recap: This month we learned about the Rainforest and South America. Our children are also learning about the life cycles of bees. We explained that Honey bees develop in four distinct life cycle phases: egg, larva, cocoon, and adult. Also, we read and showed our children some pictures about the life cycle of a praying mantises. They learned that praying mantises have the egg stage, nymph stage, and adult stage in their life cycle, and go through simple metamorphosis, or a change in appearance. We also covered the life cycle of Butterflies. They learned that there are four stages, the first stage is the eggs. This is where a girl butterfly lays eggs, she lays them on a leaf. The second stage is the caterpillar. This is where the eggs hatch. It takes about five days for the eggs to hatch. A caterpillar then comes out. At this stage, the caterpillar eats all the time. It also grows fast. Once it is all the way grown, the third stage starts. This stage is the chrysalis. The caterpillar makes a chrysalis. The caterpillar is inside the chrysalis while inside the chrysalis, it starts to change. It soon changes into a butterfly. Once the caterpillar has changed into a butterfly, the fourth stage starts. This is also that last stage in the life cycle. The fourth stage is the butterfly. A butterfly comes out of the chrysalis. It can now learn to fly. For geography we learned about South America, Amazon Forrest, the Amazon River, Colombia, and Peru. Our Montessori lessons entailed the movable alphabet. To become comfortable with reading, children first need to become comfortable with letters and words. That’s where the movable alphabet comes into play. Children form colorful, three-dimensional letters into words. Rather than just seeing the words on a page, children get to manipulate the letters with their hands. This hands-on interactive lesson makes learning easier. Our special project we did this month was making gifts for their moms for Mother’s Day. Enrichment for this month was based on our theme for the month of May. In computer ABC Mouse they did activities about language, math and reading. Also, music, cooking, Spanish and art activity was related to the theme of May as well. This month we had a tea party for Mother’s Day, our children enjoy spending time with their moms and they gave them a flower and a gift.
June Recap: This month, our themes were about Transportation and California. For Transportation, we read many books and looked at pictures about different type of transportation. We explain to children that movement of humans, animals, and goods from one location to another is transportation. We also discussed how we can travel on land using a car, bus, or train and on water in a boat and ship, or in air in an airplane. We talked about how transportation has evolved over time as well. The children learned how people traveled by carriages driven by horses many years ago. During our study of California, we read books to our children about the state and they colored the flag of California. We discussed as well as looked at photos of the state bird and flower. We also talked about the state bear that is on the flag. For our grace and curtesy, we worked on our table manners. We wanted to have great manners for our Dads on Father’s Day. Our Father’s Day celebration was so much fun. The children golfed with their dads and gave them ties to wear at our party. Thank you to all our wonderful dads for making this day so special. Our school year is ending, and our children are ready for the Summer.