The end of our daily work cycle is announced through a request to clean up and an invitation to meet me in our library for Gathering. It has slowly transitioned from a sing-a-long to conversations. It is incredibly rewarding to listen to the children recall what they consumed for dinner the night before or even what they did throughout the course of the weekend — from circus school to scavenger hunts at the park. The children also take turns asking each of the adults in the classroom about our weekends and will chuckle as they listen to our adventures.
Our Gathering encourages the development of self-expression and honours our basic human tendency to communicate. Taking the time to expose the children to a rich vocabulary fosters the ability to share knowledge and ideas precisely and concisely. Abundant oral language experiences inspire the children to become poised and effective communicators through the power of well chosen words.
A couple of reminders this week:
- Sick Children: We've all had that call to come pick up sick children from school. We know that having to take time off work to pick up and care for sick kids can be frustrating, but there are mandated Hamilton Public Health guidelines you have to follow depending on the child's illness. We've put together a little website you can check to see what the public health requirements are for a variety of common childhood illnesses (it's a good one to bookmark).
- As always, please remember to label everything! Our lost and found basket found at the entrance can be searched in the event that a clothing item is missing.
Casa South:Thank you to all the parents who attended the Show-N-Share on Thursday! It is one of our favourite events in Casa South. It’s so lovely to see the pride and excitement on the children’s faces as they show their parents their most recent presentations.
We’re seeing a lot of lightbulbs going off in Casa South, not literally, of course, but in the minds of the children. The children are doing lots of “big work,” as we say in Montessori, wherein they are using skills gathered from smaller activities and applying them towards larger work; the pouring and snipping and dusting transform into care of plants, for example.
We’ve also seen a lot of projects happening by the third years — making their own maps of the world and labeling them! It’s so exciting to see this transition from primary to elementary happen.
We caught a little video this week of a Casa child mastering one of the jobs that leads to bigger work: braiding involves following specific instructions, sequential order, repeating patterns, motor control, and concentration — all skills that come into play during future work in all areas of the curriculum.
Casa North: Casa North has been abuzz with impassioned, enriched conversations lately. I've loved listening to the children discuss anything and everything with one another. The community really thrives when children are free to communicate. The adults are regularly repeating the phrase, "Why don't you ask a friend?" when we are asked a question. Their ability to understand, to empathize, to articulate, and to listen become infinitely stronger when they are engaged in discussion with their peers. As adults, of course we are able to simply give an answer because we have it. It's much more rewarding and important for them to talk it out with other children. This week, I heard conversations about family vacations, favourite types of dinosaurs, how a volcano erupts, and how to say, "I love you!" in Spanish — and that was in one lunch period! Socialization is critical and I'm so happy to work in an environment that supports that need.
Thank you so much for attending our Show-N-Share. What a huge success! The children were thrilled to show you what they have been working on. As teachers, we got to watch and feel the swell of pride for them that I'm sure you all feel every day. Thank you for sharing them with us, we are grateful!
Your kids love to read! Although many appreciated the snow day on Tuesday, everyone was excited to start reading in support of the MS Society this week. Students are tracking their individual minutes (and practicing telling time!) with stopwatches and clocks during the work cycles, as well as participating in a 20-minute group reading period each day. The children are proud to colour bands on their hourglasses and excited to share what they are reading, but what stands out most is the generosity of spirit exhibited by them all.
Whether it be mentoring a friend to improve their reading skills or their genuine concern for unknown people living with MS, the students embrace every outreach project with full hearts. Activities like this emphasize for the Second Plane children that although they are young, they can have an impact on real people. They are able to contribute positively through simple actions, empowering each of them to go bravely forward as a complex world unfolds before them. At an age where they become aware of social ills and injustices, it is important to feed their imaginations with ways in which they can make a difference.
A nice quiet week coming up next week, unless the weather has more fun surprises for us.
Do remember that Lyonsgate will be closed on Friday, Feb. 15, and Monday, Feb. 18, for a PD Day and the Family Day stat holiday, respectively.