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Cornerstone Monthly Highlights - November 2019 - English
Posted On:
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
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Dear Families,

We are just a hop, skip, and jump away from the end of 2019!  After a very full October, we have settled into fall.  The children are busy at work, from the youngest children practicing their balance to some of our older children learning to make fire by hand! I have spoken with children engaged in research on poison dart frogs, Victorian dress, and (always) sharks. These long stretches where children can involve themselves in constructive activity are so important for their development.

Of course, this long stretch of normalcy is about to be upended by the long weekend November 28-29.  We look to this coming weekend with gratitude for the weekdays we spend with your children, and for the time this weekend presents us to spend with our own families.  In this newsletter, the guides share how children experience and express gratitude in the environments, at each stage of development.  

Once we return in December, it will be just three weeks until another long break.  Those three weeks we expect to be filled with more research and more balance! Join us on Friday, December 13, for Cornerstone Café, to hear about some of the children’s work and to spend some time with Children’s House 2 guide Molly McDermott.

Have a wonderful, restful time with your children and loved ones this week.

See you in December!

Alyssa

 

Toddler Community

For the golden corn, and the apples on the trees,

For the golden butter, and the honey for our tea,

For fruits and nuts and berries, that grow along the way,

For birds and bees and flowers, we give thanks every day.

 

A song of thanks is just one way our Toddler Community shows gratitude.  The adults model ‘thank yous’ and other signs of appreciation for others and things. The toddlers innately have an interest in people and objects they find in their environment.  They in turn show appreciation and empathy for others. Each individual member of the community is cared for and seen as an important part of the whole.

 

 

Toddlers

 

Children’s House

It’s not uncommon for someone to tell us, “I could never do what you do and work with young children each day.” We can relate to that statement. It’s a sentiment shared with many other professionals: 8thgrade teachers, anesthesiologists or coach bus drivers. We are grateful to have been able to choose a profession that is a reflection of our passion and strengths.

In reflection of the theme of gratitude, we would like to share some moments when we’ve been grateful to be early childhood Montessori guides.

I’m grateful for the sleepy moments after a nap when a younger child sits next to me while I give a presentation to an older child. It reminds me that we are a peaceful and gentle community.

I’m grateful to see the children in our community looking to one another for comfort, assistance, and sharing of stories. The more time I spend in the Children’s House, the more I am able to see myself as a facilitator and true guide that can step back and allow the children to develop individually and socially. 

I was grateful to go on a walk with a group of 3 year olds around the school building last week. We stopped along the way and had a conversation about kindness. The youngest members of our children’s house were endearing as they took turns practicing how to offer help to someone, offer a hug and ask someone if they’d like a turn. While we were sitting there together, a group of elementary students walked by and offered each child an apple slice. It was a great example of living in community.

I am grateful that so many of my children see themselves as “artists,” and that there is a culture of sharing artwork as gifts to others. Sometimes I hear “I was thinking of you and drew this picture.” Other times I hear “I made you this watercolor. It’s a map to my house.” The sharing of various art media is a key component of our community heart. When the 6 year olds make up a song and it trickles down to the 3 year olds weeks later with variations and added verses, I can’t help but feel tremendous gratitude. 

I’m grateful that I often get to spend three or more years getting to know a child and their family. Our community is stronger the more time we invest in one another.

I am grateful for the laughs, the growth, the connections and the simple joys that I get to experience every day. 

 

CH1

 

 

CH1

 

 

Lower Elementary – Pond 

Greetings from the Pond community. As Thanksgiving approaches we are having lots of conversations about gratitude and what that means for each of our families and us in the classroom. There are many different traditions and celebrations that take place over the holidays, but in the classroom we are focusing on the idea of gratitude during the holidays and drawing our awareness to the many things in our lives that we can give thanks for. The children are very excited to spend time with their families and have a couple of days to take a break from their amazing works in the classroom and that is where we have begun our conversations in school.

Each day in the classroom the children participate in our “collective” circle and reflect on the work being done in our environment. These conversations focus on the things that we all can do better but also give gratitude to those children and adults who have made good choices and supported the community around them. These heart-felt reflections offer each of us the opportunity to share what is on our minds and in our hearts and serve to bring each of us closer together. While the concerns raised are important it is always the moments of gratitude that have the highest level of impact on the members of our community and that drive us to make choices that benefit all of our community. 

In our collective we are also expanding our talks about gratitude to include the world around us. We are asking the children to speak about being grateful for something in their lives outside of school. This has started lots of conversations about the environment and individuals who have worked hard to raise awareness about the world around us and things that each of us can do to support our home. It has been really neat to see the compassion and care that the children have for the world around them and reflect with them about small things that we all can do to limit our consumption and improve our habits. 

As the next few weeks unfold we will continue to focus on the things around us that we can give thanks for and fill each other up kindness and appreciation. We will look to our families and friends to offer words of encouragement and compassion and strive to give thanks for the many wonderful experiences and lessons that we have received and shared.

Pond

 

Montessori Center of Minnesota Updates

The Montessori Center of Minnesota has released its workshop schedule for the 2019-20 year!  There are several wonderful opportunities for parents, including workshops led by our very own Lourdes Harris and Liesl Taylor.  Click here to learn more.

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