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Montessori Pathways' News

September, 2013

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


Notes from Miss Alena


        “Only through freedom and environmental experience it is practically possible for human development to occur”.
Maria Montessori


        The first month of the school year has come to an end and we’ve been able to enjoy some wonderful weather! Thanks to the weather, the children were able to spend quite a bit of time outside; the parents, kids and teachers had a great chance to meet and spend a wonderful time together during Ice Cream Social event. Private Elementary in Crystal Lake, Cary, Lake in the Hills, Algonquin


        Thank you to Mr. Vismay (Ananya’s dad) who helped us to serve ice cream for kids and parents.


        I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to our Fall Mums Sale Fundraiser. We were able to collect $304.50, which will be used to purchase new puzzle maps for the classrooms’ geography stands.


        A special thank you to our Elementary students, who helped unload the mums from the truck! The kids were so excited, helpful, and fast, that the giant truck with 80 mums was unloaded in a mere 10 minutes! Private Elementary in Crystal Lake, Cary, Lake in the Hills, Algonquin


        The participation of all of the students in the event is very important. The children were really excited about choosing mums’ colors and taking them home. The kids are very eager to be a part of school events.


        Therefore, we encourage participation in school events not so much for the event itself, but for the important feeling of community that they bring to the kids.


        We really appreciate Mark and Selene’s family’s contribution to our school that allowed us to buy the Word Study Complete Set for Elementary class, the Continents Book Set, and the Four Seasons Book Set. It was a great addition to our new materials that kids are so excited to have in the classrooms and explore. When I came in to the elementary class one day, Mark was so proud to show me that he is reading a book that was a gift to the classroom from his mom and dad. Thanks a lot, Mr. Joe and Mrs. Dawn Martillaro!



        Miss Alena




Working with Montessori materials:

 Practical life in the Elementary Classroom.




Montessori Preschool Elementary School in Cary, Lake in the Hills        Classroom care in the elementary classroom becomes the main focus of practical life education. The children receive more complicated tasks and also are working towards jobs that require maturity and accountability.


        Our elementary students each receive a weekly job. These jobs include sweeping, dusting, sharpening pencils, straightening shelves, rolling rugs, carpet sweeping, delivering laundry to the laundry room, folding laundry and putting away dishes.


        The second year students have earned the responsibility of holding two jobs.


        These jobs are rotated on a monthly basis and include taking care of the classroom bird, monitoring that chairs are pushed in, acting as a substitute to cover jobs of absent students, supply monitor and date recorder.


        As the year progresses, more jobs will be added. The children also have the opportunity to think up new jobs as they become needed throughout the year. It is the responsibility of the children to complete their job in the proper way. The children are reminded that the classroom belongs to them and it is up to the class to keep it clean and beautiful. This provides a sense of pride and this responsibility also builds confidence.


        Overall, the Montessori classroom serves as a safe place for children to gain their independence through challenging, meaningful work. Care of the classroom is a wonderful way to provide this opportunity to children of any age and any level.


     Ms Katy



 Washing or Scrubbing the Table.




        Seriously, what’s the big deal with washing a table? Why do Montessori folks get so excited about it? You just spray on some cleaner and wipe it off, right? Why go through all those ridiculous, laborious steps just to get a table clean? It wasn’t even that dirty in the first place!


Montessori Preschool Elementary School in Cary, Lake in the Hills         Washing a table is one of those quintessential Montessori activities that one can talk about for hours. It beautifully epitomizes the work of the Practical Life area: fine and gross motor control, lots of order, use of the will, concentration, repetition, indirect preparation for work in other areas, following a logical sequence… you name it, and table washing does it. This is why it is sometimes referred to as ‘The Queen of the Practical Life Activities.’


        Table Washing comes early in the Montessori Primary curriculum, with the child around 3.5 years of age (or possibly even younger if she attended a Montessori toddler community). However, it’s not one of the very first activities a child would encounter in Practical Life, and there are some good reasons why not. We need to get lots of important preliminary activities in place first. Preliminary activities are component skills that a child will combine to do a more complicated activity later, such as reserving a table, walking through the classroom, carrying a pitcher of water, fetching water, pouring water, folding, carrying a bucket, and pouring water out of a bucket. By the time the child learns how to wash a table these skills are already in place, demonstrated by the teacher in charming small-group presentations and practiced by the child until she’s confident.


Montessori Preschool Elementary School in Cary, Lake in the Hills         The building of skills in this way is critical to the success of the presentation. Washing a table takes quite a long time, and there are many steps. Imagine that in addition to trying to remember all those steps, the child also had to carry water for the first time, or pour water for the first time, or fold a cloth for the first time. How much more difficult and intimidating table washing would be if all those little tasks were also completely new! Instead, by allowing the child to accumulate these various skills, we make her confident and sure of herself so that she need only focus upon what is unfamiliar.


        Washing a table is one of the wonderful Practical Life activities that allow children to build physical and mental skills, to feel good about themselves, and to have a sense of pride in their environment. Like so many Montessori materials, its humble appearance belies the multitude of benefits it offers.