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Children`s House 2 Updates and Highlights

December 2018 Highlights  

I love having a community of mixed aged children. The two year and a half year olds are eager to assist wherever necessary (confidently advocating for themselves: “I can do that”); the four year olds are eager to be role models and helpers for the younger children; the six year olds are seasoned children’s house members and carry the daily routine, making it easier for children to follow along. The combined effect is a harmonious flow of independent children.

One thing that supports our flow and our children’s sense of order, is having accessible tools for children to use to problem solve on their own. My favorite: the spill bucket- a lilac colored towel resting in a matching bucket. With 28 children dining together 2 ½ times a day, you better believe there are spills! But, if you have the tools necessary to take care of the mess, a spill is just a spill.

Beyond spills, we try to provide children with the tools they need to meet their needs. Simple food prep tools are great to involve children in satisfying their hunger. Egg slicers, apple cutters, vegetable peelers, crinkle cutters and juicers are a few tools to keep around the kitchen, along with of supply of accessible produce, so that children can have a role in regulating their hunger. 

It’s always fun to hear from parents about the tricks they’ve found to support their child’s independence at home. Please feel free to share with me the next time we chat if you’ve found something that works well at home. 

November 2018 Highlights  

In the Children’s House, there are many iconic Montessori materials: the pink tower, the moveable alphabet, golden beads. It is a joy to think deeply about your children and plan which materials will captivate their interests. While these materials are often showcased as the true Montessori experience I am captivated by the children’s developing community and their abilities to be active members in caring for our community. Recently, a child noticed that there was paint left on the locker room walls from someone’s easel painting. Without asking an adult, the child went to the kitchen, got a caddy with a spray bottle, cloth and scrub brush and went to work to clean the walls. A new ritual in our classroom is what the children call “laundry factory”. In the morning one big work our community collaborates on is folding the tablecloths, napkins and other linens from the day before. The children have developed their own manner of completing this work; they call it a “laundry factory”. Equipped with chowkis (floor tables) they assemble a team of folders, passers, stackers, and deliverers. 

October 2018 Highlights  

Children’s House Two has been going outside in rain or shine this month and we are very happy to be able to continue experiencing the outdoors no matter the weather. In the last week, we’ve gone outside to do a listening activity (listening with our eyes closed and naming the sounds we hear), taking turns sharing dance moves and then teaching our friends, and taking shelter under the play structure to tell a collective story while it rained. I love seizing the moment and feeling like our children’s house community is prepared for small adventures throughout the day.

As the season continues to move from cold and wet, to colder and frozen, please make sure your child is coming to school with the appropriate weather gear to go outside. Consider keeping a checklist by the door so your child can also be accountable for remembering: hat, mittens/gloves, scarf, boots, coat. Support your child in checking in the car before they leave to make sure any items shed during the ride are not forgotten. If it feels easier, please feel free to leave a set of (labeled!) hat, glove, scarf, snow pant, boots at school so that you know that no matter what the morning brings, your child will have appropriate clothing to go outside in during the day. 

September 2018 Highlights  

Children’s House Two has welcomed seven new children into our community since September started and it feels great to be back to a full children’s house. You may have noticed, or heard, that we have a new morning routine: from 8:30-9 we are outside! It’s a great way to start the day, and we love getting to be outside as one children’s house community. The monkey bars continue to be a source of great joy and triumph as children push themselves through new challenges (i.e. skipping bars). Inside, I’ve been delighted to see how many children are quietly concentrating with materials. Some of the best moments have been watching children help each other. This past week, as one child struggled to put away a puzzle map of the United States and asked for help, another child bounded down from the reading corner exclaiming, “I can help! Because I can do that now.” Another example that made me smile was when a child, working on writing and illustrating a picture, asked another child to help them identify the correct sandpaper letter for the sound they were trying to write (in cursive!). It is always our goal to help children see themselves as leaders who are able to support one another. I look forward to seeing this growth in the coming year.