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Cornerstone Monthly Highlights - April 2019
Posted On:
Thursday, April 25, 2019
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Dear Cornerstone Community, 

Happy spring!  I put my winter coat away this week and have been absolutely thrilled to see rain fall from the sky.  I realize that most of my introductions to these newsletters have been about the weather - I am starting to feel like a true Minnesotan!

The theme of this April newsletter is socialization in the Montessori environment.  The Early Childhood guides have given some beautiful examples of how children learn and work together in the Toddler Community and Children’s Houses.  One of my favorite things about Montessori is the mixed age group: children are to both lead and follow, as they model work and behavior and develop at their natural pace.  As we begin preparing children for transitions to new environments in September, the older children particularly delight in mentoring younger children and the younger see the exciting opportunities that lie before them.

We are beginning to bring the 2018-19 school year to a close.  In the coming weeks you will receive a survey seeking input into our work with your children.  I hope you will take the time to answer it thoughtfully and honestly. We do not take lightly the responsibility you have given us, of educating your children, and we value your thoughts as we plan for 2019-20. 

Our next in-person gatherings will be Cornerstone Cafe at 8:30am on May 10 and our final Parent Partnership of the year at 5:30pm on May 20.  I look forward to seeing you at one or both of these events!

All the best,

Alyssa

 

Toddler Community

In the Toddler Community there is a span of ages and levels of individual development, wherein the children observe social interactions.  The children at this age frequently play/work parallel to each other. The adults in the room model and give lessons in Grace and Courtesy.  Some examples of social graces: 

  • how to greet and say good-bye
  • return work to a shelf
  • set and clear tables during meal times
  • use utensils
  • wait patiently/take turns (to talk to someone that is engaged with someone else, use the sink, use a particular work)
  • listening
  • how to ask for help
  • use an "inside" voice while indoors
  • respect others' work and personal space

When the children are in conflict with each other the adults can give vocabulary to describe the emotions and ways to express feelings in a respectful way, modeling empathy.  The children absorb the social expectations of their community and learn to model Grace and Courtesy with each other.

 

Children’s House

We were so happy to have a few warm days after spring break! The children squealed, “No SNOWpants?!”, as we got ready to go outside. Our outside environment is thawed and that means the sandbox is finally available again. On those lovely warm days, there were sometimes more than fifteen children in the sandbox. Embedded in the children’s conversations, while they busily sifted, molded and dug, were so many examples of kindness and generosity. Someone with two shovels noticed someone with no shovels and handed them one to start digging. Another child quickly mediated a conversation between their two friends about turn taking with a desirable bucket. A pair of three-year-olds took turns patting a sandcastle “just right” so the sand wouldn’t crumble. After being cooped up this winter, it was refreshing to see these capable children interact easily with one another and respect each other’s sandbox pursuits.

CH news

Socialization in the Children’s House is an important process that is taking place at the same time that each child is developing themselves individually. While there are some opportunities the bring children together for socialization, such as going outside, and having lunch together, much of this process takes place naturally inside the environment throughout each day. 

CH news

There are myriad situations that encourage and even require children to socialize with one another as part of living in community. In the Children’s Houses at Cornerstone lunch set-up is a wonderful time for socialization as children are navigating their individual tasks in tandem with the overall needs of the community. Getting more space to move a cot, asking for help to unfold a table cloth, and even deciding who gets their dish first from the snack hutch are all instances which engage the children in socialization. Outside of the collective moments that inspire socialization, every moment in the Children’s House is an opportunity to socialize and build skills to interact peacefully and joyfully with others. Any time that children interact with one another expands their social circle and ability to socialize productively.

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As adults in the Children’s House we strive to provide children with the skills to navigate social situations as they arise. The beauty of our organic social structure is that we cannot predict what social interactions children will have. With that in mind we regularly engage children in Grace and Courtesy lessons, which help prepare them for future social interactions during a neutral moment. Then, when they are sharing space with fourteen other children and ten sand toys they already have the skill sets to be successful in their peer interactions. 

CH news

 

Cornerstone Montessori Elementary School Board Updates

The CMES Board will hold its annual meeting from 5:30 to 6:00pm on May 21.  This is an opportunity to hear from the Board on its work this year and the state of the school.  Please join us to celebrate Cornerstone! 

Board elections will also take place this May.  Your voter guide will be distributed the week of April 22, and elections will take place at Cornerstone on May 21, between 8:00am and 5:00pm.  Voters will sign in and receive their ballot at the front desk. They will then fill out their ballot and place it in the ballot box. Your participation is vital in ensuring the health and success of the school board!  

 

Montessori Center of Minnesota Updates

MTCM

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