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Cornerstone Monthly Highlights - March 2020 - English
Posted On:
Sunday, March 22, 2020
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Dear Families,

These are not the circumstances under which I anticipated sending this newsletter.  While the content is incomplete due to the COVID-19 crisis, the topic is so timely.  Over the last few days, it has been remarkable to see our community rally together.  The staff have worked tirelessly to care for children on site with us as the week began, and now to prepare for the foreseeable future of providing the highest quality Montessori education remotely.  Families have offered to deliver school supplies to one another and are excited (if nervous!) to support their children’s learning.  

As we spend more of our time alone in the coming weeks and, possibly, months, finding ways to be in community will be crucial.  Cornerstone is special because of all of you and all of our staff, and we are excited to discover how we can keep our community strong while being apart.  Please, please reach out to us and to each other during this time.  We are busy finding the best ways for us to see each other daily and look forward to sharing that with you in the next few days.

And in the meantime, enjoy the thoughts of our guides below.

Very best to each of you,

Alyssa

 

Toddler Community

Toddler Community

“We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are a part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.”

Maria Montessori,

To Educate the Human Potential

 

Children’s House

In Children’s House, the child’s social development is just as important as their individual development. We have many materials on the shelves to support children’s individual growth. At the same time, we recognize the many intangible ways children can choose to engage with their social environment. Developing community in the Children’s House is a two-fold goal. First, it naturally supports the child’s life long skill set in experiencing, understanding and building relationships. Second, it is an essential piece to living harmoniously in a Children’s House where we share materials and work together. 

Here are some ways in which community building is present in the Children’s House:

  • Singing a song as a group
  • Birthday celebrations
  • Returning materials in the same way as you found them for the next person
  • Accepting limitations of materials when something you’d like to use is unavailable. At the same time, developing your will to leave some paper/fabric/fruit for a peer so they can complete the same work after you.
  • Supporting the cyclical routine of maintaining a Children’s House for everyone: setting up cleaning up meals, folding and putting away laundry, laying down and putting away cots 
  • Walking on the line
  • Seeking help from a peer to put away large work
  • Dance parties!

 

Children's House

 

Lower Elementary - Pond

As the days are lengthening and the ice is thawing the Pond classroom is building relationships and focusing on our sense of community. As we share our ideas of community with each other we are thinking about what it is that creates and maintains community in our environments. It is our community that offers each child the freedom to choose responsibly and to include others in our ideas and solutions. It is our community that creates the framework for each child to follow and explore the prepared environment around them. It is our community that develops the independence that each child needs to respectfully make decisions that not only benefit the individual but also the others around us. It is through the foundation of community that we are becoming the young people who will guide our futures through positive choice and hard work. 

In our classroom we have been working hard to develop a strong community all year long. It is important that each individual understands one another and has a mutual respect for each other’s needs. This awareness has to be built and takes time to establish.

Each week the children are invited to share a small item from home with a special story about why that item is special to them. This is not just a “show and tell” exercise but instead a window into each child’s lives. Many of us only know each other at school and have very little time to know one another as people outside of the classroom environment. The goal in our sharing practice is not only to share something special but also to share a little story about that child’s experiences around that item. It has been a great avenue for the children to build community.

Another way the children are building community is through personal expression. The children have been sharing songs, writing stories, and performing dances to express who they are and what their interests are. This has been a beautiful practice that encourages each child to feel comfortable and supported by others in their community. Through this expression we are developing trust and deeper connections to one another.

Community is an integral piece of building a Montessori classroom and will continue to be a focus of ours. We are continuing to build relationships through community and developing the trust and honesty needed to create and maintain a healthy classroom. As our work evolves and our relationships strengthen our community is becoming stronger and more beautiful each and every day. 

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