This week, we'd like to offer a reminder about the Lyonsgate schedule and the importance of arriving to school on time. A Montessori school day is divided into two work cycles, each lasting for approximately 3 hours. The morning Montessori work cycle at the Primary campus begins at 8:30; at the Elementary campus it starts at 8:45. The morning arrival schedule for each level is as follows:
- Toddler: 8:30-8:45. Please escort children to their guides outside the Toddler environment where they will be greeted and guided to prepare themselves independently; parents can help by saying a quick goodbye to establish a consistent routine. The Toddler guides are not available to greet students after 8:45.
- Casa: 8:30-8:45. Please have children come up the stairs on their own to be greeted by their guides. All students are to be settled into activities no later than 9:00 a.m. Guides are not available to greet children after 9:00.
- Elementary: 8:45-9:00. Please say goodbye to Elementary children at the gate so they can enter the school and cloakroom independently. The 8:45-9:00 period is essential social time at this age; when students arrive closer to 9:00, or later, they still seek to socialize but it becomes disruptive.
The purpose of the Montessori work cycles is to allow children large, uninterrupted blocks of time within which they can choose to work on the activities available to them, and to allow them the time and space to achieve a state of concentration and focus. Montessori children also receive planned presentations, sometimes individually and other times with small groups of other children who are working at the same level. The job of the adults is to observe and guide the children to activities appropriate for their developmental level, and to protect the sanctity of the Montessori environment from disruption during the work cycles.
Arriving late to school disrupts the morning work cycle.
We all have those mornings where everything goes awry, and we are all late every now and then. Please do your best to be on time every day so that your children, and their classmates, receive the full benefit of the Montessori education you have chosen for them. Thank you.
From the list of sentences you never thought you would write: We have an update on your children's toilet activity — many of the children in the Toddler environment have transitioned to wearing underwear. Ms. Dee has some tips for continuing to help them progress at home:
- Making sure the potty/toilet is readily accessible to the children is the best way to remain consistent with using the toilet at home.
- The toddler-aged children are in their sensitive period for toilet learning; when sensitive periods are missed it becomes more challenging for children to learn, and for parents to help them.
In other Toddler news, the children are busy preparing for their winter concert. They are excited to show you their work and have been practicing daily.
Casa South: This week, we’ve been working on a lot of practical life activities — hammering, care of plants, making bread, and pressing flowers. Higher energy in children due to Halloween excitement means lots of practical life to help ground them.
There has also been a lot of practice with writing throughout the class, and lots of writing each other’s names.
On Wednesday, the third year Casa children visited the Hamilton Pumpkin House for their first community outing. This is an important step for the older Casa children as it is part of the preparation for their transition to the Elementary Montessori program they will be entering next year.
Casa North: This week in Casa North we have been working on grace and courtesy. In the Montessori Casa environment, the children are shown many different presentations that fall under the "grace and courtesy" heading — how to interrupt, how to introduce yourself, how to clean your nose, how to pick up what someone dropped... and many more! These presentations are always enthusiastically received for two reasons: because they are fun, and because the children are so very eager to adapt to the world around them. They are constantly observing us adults, and our interactions with one another, so it's nice for them to master some of these things now as opposed to trying to show them as teenagers when the sensitive period for such learning may have passed.
Thank you for your support, as always. We look forward to welcoming you for parent observations this month.
Children ages 6 — 12 are cultural explorers, eager to understand and experiment with a variety of celebrations and rituals. This week, the Elementary students excitedly prepared for Hallowe'en, each working to carve a pumpkin independently, design a costume, and learn a bit about how our modern Hallowe'en festivities developed. The class has also been working in botany, conducting plant experiments and researching chrysanthemums.
We look forward to having parents come to observe our class at work throughout November.
- Plastic Bag Request: if you have an overflowing pile of plastic shopping bags, we'd love to take some off your hands. We have a variety of uses for them (you don't want the gory details) and are running low.
- Parent Observations:
Observations in your children's Montessori environments will be taking place throughout November. Observations are 20 minutes in length and take place during the morning Montessori work cycle. Please read and familiarize yourself the Lyonsgate Observation Guidelines prior to your visit:
Thank you for taking the time to observe in our environment. An observation is an opportunity for you to get a glimpse of how a Montessori environment functions. There are a few things to consider when you are observing in the classroom:
- The observation chair is an adult sized chair, intended for observers only. It is placed in a specific spot in the classroom. The children are aware of this. This is the space where observers can see the classroom from an open perspective, while allowing the environment to operate as usual with as little disruption as possible.
- The guide will not be available to answer any questions during the observation; please ensure you make note of any questions and feel free to ask after the observation is complete.
- The children may approach you. The best way to ensure that you are seeing an accurate depiction of the space is to politely say “Hello,” and tell them that you are here to see them do their work. Please refrain from engaging in conversation with them.
- When your observation is complete, please quietly exit the classroom; do not feel the need to say goodbye to the children or the guides. We thank you for joining us, and hope that you thoroughly enjoy your time in the environment.
When you are observing, you may want to take some of the following questions into consideration:
- Are the children choosing work independently?
- Is the guide the focal point of the classroom?
- How do the older children engage with the younger children (and vice versa)?
- Are the children focused on their work?
- How do the children solve conflict?
- How do children transition from one activity to the next?
- Is the environment productive? Respectful? Engaging?
“Wait while observing. That is the motto for the educator. Let us wait, and be always ready to share in both the joys and the difficulties which the child experiences. Let us have endless patience with his slow progress, and show enthusiasm and gladness at his success.” — Maria Montessori
Please click the relevant links below to book your observations. We ask that each family only book one observation slot, and that no more than two people attend each observation (please contact us if exceptional circumstances require multiple bookings):