Peer learning creates the dynamics for a strong learning community. Some of the practices in Toddler that allow the children to interact with each other are: setting up for lunch, individual snack preparation, and washing dishes. Each activity gives the children an opportunity to respectfully alternate between leading and following.
Within this community, we often observe a sense of genuine concern at the sight of sensitivity. We often hear, "Are you okay?" followed by comforting words. There is seldom need for our intervention in such events because the children are attentive to their peers and demonstrate a strong capacity for empathy.
The classroom community comes together daily for academic lessons: to sing, read stories, or receive lessons in grace and courtesy. It presents a great opportunity for the children to take turns to speak and listen.
- When picking up children at 3:30, please be mindful of the Casa children lined up for the recess. If there is a need to come into the school, it is encouraged to wait for the Casa children’s exit in order to avoid interruption to their end of day routine.
- Please remember to dress the children according to the weather and to label ALL of the children’s clothing.
- Thank you.
Casa South: The Montessori environment allows for relationships to thrive. It is a realistic representation of relationships that they will have an opportunity to cultivate in the real world. The classroom functions as a small society, and within this society, like in life, everyone has an important role to play. Having a 3-year age mix promotes social cohesion, and it also means there will always be someone at your level. I love to see the older children helping the younger children... better yet when it is the reverse!
As adults, we are there to support and guide the child emotionally and academically. The adult assists the child on the outside so that the child can build themselves on the inside.
Casa North: Hello, Casa North Families!
First things first, thank you for your patience and understanding with all of the unexpected, weather related time off. The children are certainly affected when there is a disruption to their schedule! Montessori identified that there are sensitive periods that each child will experience under the age of six, with Order being one of them. Order can mean physical order, as well as anticipating their daily schedule and making sense of week days versus weekends (in our society, at least!). It has been a process to help them get back on track, but they are resilient and have been getting there beautifully.
Some of the children have been a little bit emotional, trying to get back into the swing of things. It's times like these that I understand why Dr. Montessori observed and understood the importance of creating a mixed-age community. I've witnessed compassion, empathy, understanding, and camaraderie this week as the children help one another back into our groove. Often, the younger children get to see a taste of what is to come with the physical materials in the classrom (whether it be through observing a presentation with a third year, or seeing the older children work independently with their work). One of my favourite things to see, however, is how they also get to witness how the older, more evolved children cope with the intangible. By modelling self-regulation, self-confidence, and a sense of ownership over the environment, the older children provide solace and comfort to the younger children sometimes without even knowing it. It's not unusual to see someone stop to rub a back, give a hug, or a word of reassurance before moving on their way.
We thank you for continuing to choose this environment for your child to learn and thrive! See you next week.
During our recent Parent Education discussion of the Planes of Development, we identified the elementary years as a period of gradual change and cognitive development, as compared to the fire planes of infancy and adolescence where adaptation is focused on emotional growth and increasing independence. For this reason, the elementary class enjoys a greater span of age ranges, with students from ages 6 - 12 collaborating and sharing discoveries. Mentorship is a critical part of the intangible atmosphere; the youngest students, who wish to be perceived as big are inspired when assisted by an older child rather than an adult, as they can imagine themselves soon becoming a master of a concept or material. While adults often appear to be able to do everything with ease, older students will kindly share their experiences of challenges and perseverance, enticing younger peers to embrace their mistakes and try again, and with a positive attitude.
The benefit to younger children from being in a mixed age grouping is clear, but what of the class elders, those wise senior students? The mixed-age grouping may bring them the greatest benefit of all. They have had the opportunity to observe and receive presentations, and see how things work. They have had the chance to work with their hands and their minds, to do and experience things concretely. Then, they must use that knowledge and experience, consolidate it, and apply it to teach it to another. Not only do the class elders lead through what they have learned, but also how they have learned, with grace and courtesy, good humour and respect, and a sense of wonder and awe.
Next week is our last full week, followed by a short, four-day week that brings us to March Break.
- March Break starts on Friday, March 8, and runs through Monday, March 18, inclusive. Lyonsgate is closed from March 8 - March 18.