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Montessori Pathways' News

January, 2014

Montessori Kindergarten School in Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills-


Notes from Miss Alena


        “Do not tell them how to do it. Show them how to do it and do not say a word. If you tell them, they will watch your lips move. If you show them, they will want to do it themselves.”
Maria Montessori


        It seems that this winter decided to show us the beauty of the polar region climate up close and personal. But isn’t it strange to have - 20 or - 40 degrees outside in Chicago while it's + 45 degrees in Alaska?


Private Elementary in Crystal Lake, Cary, Lake in the Hills, Algonquin         Kids really missed recess time this winter. But even while staying inside during this cold weather, the teachers and kids tried to create great activities after lunch to have more and more fun together.


        One day, the preschoolers invited me to see “The Frog Prince” puppet show. The kids together with Ms. Laxmi made the puppets (the prince, the princes, and the frog) and performed a mini-show taking turn. Thank you very much, my friends! You are amazing actors!


        I would like to thank Ms. Melody (Ashley’s mom) and Mr. Chris (Treyson’s dad), who helped us shovel our sidewalks during windy and snowy days.


        One of the events we had this month was our parent evening “Thinking About the Future (Montessori Kindergarten and Elementary Year)”, where Ms. Patty, Ms. Katy, and I demonstrated the spiral nature of Montessori education, whereby the skills learned in the Kindergarten year are studied at a deeper level in the Elementary years. Private Elementary in Crystal Lake, Cary, Lake in the Hills, Algonquin


       “When we thought about our daughter’s progress at Montessori in particular, we discussed how much progress she had already made – we were amazed by her burgeoning math skills, her beginning writing, her ability to select work and focus…we thought perhaps the ‘third year leap’ was something she was already experiencing. She had been so prolific and learned so many new and diverse things, how much more could she grow in the following year?...


       …Both of us have seen how the Montessori method would have made a world of difference for our own educations – for one providing a more engaging, less punitive environment that actually promotes learning, and for the other an environment that promotes actual and intentional learning, rather than simple memorization of facts without actually connecting the facts with long-term knowledge that builds upon itself. I relish the opportunity for our children to be in control of their education; to explore and learn because it’s something that they want to know, rather than something they will need to know for a test; to know that their learning, and not some arbitrary test, is both an objective in itself and a door to their future.” (From Creeping to Leaping the Kindergarten Year – A Montessori Parent’s Perspective)


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        When you observe an Elementary Montessori class at work, you may find it difficult to get a sense of the big picture with so much going on. In one area, some students are working on math, some are reading, while others are working on science. In the corner, a teacher is giving a lesson to a small group of children, while occasionally glancing up to keep an eye on the rest of the class.


       The Elementary classroom may appear to be unstructured, but this seemingly random, yet obviously purposeful activity, is basic to the independent learning and self-directed activity of the Montessori approach.


Private Elementary in Crystal Lake, Cary, Lake in the Hills, Algonquin         Each child is considered as an individual. We can see a vast range in the level of curriculum on which the children are engaged. Montessori teachers strive to challenge each according to his or her developmental needs and abilities.


        “Montessori Elementary gives children the opportunity to continue to progress at their own pace in an environment that nurtures love of learning. Children take responsibility for their own learning and have daily opportunities to make decisions and choices in a child-centered classroom. They are exposed to many complex concepts at an early age through the use of wonderful concrete learning materials.


        It is not unusual to see seven-year-olds in a Montessori classroom constructing atomic and molecular models. Nine-year-olds analyze the squares of trinomials, while ten-year-olds solve algebraic equations, and twelve-year-olds compute the square root of large numbers.


        What parent who has watched her children thrive both intellectually and socially in the Children’s House wouldn’t want this to continue in the Elementary years?”


        ©Tomorrow’s Child Magazine January 2011 •



        Miss Alena





Notes from the Elementary Class (North room):
   Ms. Katy





       I hope everyone is keeping their spirits up this time of year! Although the days are short and cold, we do get the amazing opportunity to experience, not only one, but two Polar Vortex’s! Lucky us! Hopefully, the days will begin to warm up and we will be able to return to going outside for recess and maybe even gym! This school year has, however, given us some great weather to discuss and has become an area of year long exploration. We began the school year discussing what we already knew and what we wanted to know about weather. We also discussed the difference between climate and weather. We read a Readers Theater script about weather, discussed cloud formations, recorded temperature, graphed temperature data, performed temperature experiments (including making ice cream in a bag!) and incorporated adjective work to describe the weather. Our focus in the upcoming months will now turn towards how the weather affects humans and how humans affect the weather.


       As a group this month we studied the different Biomes of Africa. We learned about the Samburu people and created a simple version of the beaded necklaces this culture makes. We also learned a little about African music and read the folk tale Abiyoyo.


Private Elementary in Crystal Lake, Cary, Lake in the Hills, Algonquin        After reading this story and listening to the music, the class decided to turn it into a play. Students broke into groups to come up with prop lists, sound effects needed and what we could use for the setting. We are hoping to be able to share this short play with the other classes and possibly families at the upcoming reading night at school.


       We also completed our introductory presentation of the Common Human Needs which ties into almost all the work we do in the Montessori classroom.


       The first year students have been working hard at mastering dynamic addition using the stamp game and continuing their work on subtraction and addition facts. We began learning about verbs using verb command cards and the verb grammar chart. In zoology, we completed studying the external characteristics of the different types of vertebrates. For mammals, the children found a picture of a mammal in a book, drew it, and labeled the parts. Private Elementary in Crystal Lake, Cary, Lake in the Hills, Algonquin


       One student found a picture of a fox and an experiment in the book that explained how to create “fox ears” using construction paper. He found that the shape of the ear is what allows the fox to have such amazing hearing!


Private Elementary in Crystal Lake, Cary, Lake in the Hills, Algonquin        The second years have been working on multiplication. They are beginning to see some of the patterns of multiplication through the different bead bar works they have been presented. We have also studied the internal characteristics of the five different types of vertebrates. We reviewed the different types of sentences: exclamatory, command, statement and question. The second years were asked to find an example of each of these sentences in a book they are currently reading. During silent reading, the second years have really enjoyed reading the biographies of many famous people as well.


       This month we also began learning about different peacemakers and difference makers. So far we have learned about Martin Luther King Jr, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Will Rogers and Confucius. By learning a little about these people, we are able to see how much the world has changed because of people, just like you and me. Along with that, we are able to discuss values such as honesty, integrity, bravery and even humor!


        Private Elementary in Crystal Lake, Cary, Lake in the Hills, Algonquin I would like to thank parents for attending conferences this month and also brining in items for the sharing basket.


        A small sample of lessons this month:


        Group Lessons: Reading Logs, Africa Biomes, Common Human Needs, Temperature Experiments, Peacemakers, Graphing, Weather Game, Sentence Editing, Sight Word Spelling and Vocabulary Development