"Hearing one of our newest students shout 'I did it!' after putting their shoes on their feet independently," said Ms. Dee about a moment of joy in the Toddler environment. "It's very important the adult plays an appropriate role," continued Ms. Dee, "letting and encouraging them to do it themselves and only intervening when they ask for help, and avoid correcting things like shoes on the wrong feet."
This past week, a lot of the toddlers have been working on activities that encourage fine motor skills: peeling off stickers, using tongs, sorting, spooning and transfering. The devlopment of fine motor skills is important for overall human development, but is especially important when it comes time to learn to write and work with more complex Montessori manipulative materials such as the beads that are used when learning math.
Notes to parents:
- As you begin to prep for winter, please ensure clothing items and boots are practical for toddlers. Avoid things that are too tight or otherwise complicated; avoid cloth/knit mittens as they get wet and little hands get cold; and try to leave enough time in the morning to have toddlers dress themselves in their outerwear (and let them practice in the evening).
- If there is an accident or incident during the school day we will complete an accident or incident report; these reports contain all of the details about the accident or incident, and what steps were taken in response. A copy will be given to you and a copy will go into the child's records. If you have further questions, please note them and contact Ms. Dee via email (email@example.com) with them, or to arrange a time to speak in person. The end of the day is a busy time when we ask the guides to keep their attention focused on all of the children in their care. Thank you for understanding.
Casa South: "I’m lucky enough to say that my moment of joy happens everyday in Casa South," said Ms. Moffatt. "My favourite moment of the day is arrival. I love to see the look of joy in the children’s faces when they arrive to school. They are eager, excited, and, most importantly, happy to arrive to school." Ms. Moffat added that seeing the evolution of children's arrival to school highlights this moment of joy.
"Sometimes, the beginning of the school year can be a difficult month for arrivals," she said, "but it’s that first day of tear-free peace that is so exciting for me. When a tear-y child walks in, for the first time, with a smile on their face... nothing is more exciting! That tells me that they are comfortable here, and that school is a happy place for them!
"We know that the children in our classrooms are being exposed to a plethora of academically advanced materials, but the most important thing is that they are happy to be at school. I hope that the happiness they cultivate for school at Lyonsgate trickles with them wherever they go."
Casa North: Ms Boyle's moment of joy involved a new, first-year Casa child doing the independent work of figuring out how his new community functions.
"I've been talking to them a lot about how we handle the materials," said Ms. Boyle. "I was in a presentation with one little boy and he was being really rough with the materials, so I asked him if he wanted to continue or if he wanted to put it away and he said he wanted to put it away, so I told him that because we didn't finish the presentation we would take it out to finish another day.
"Two days later, I asked if him he was ready for the presentation and I was wondering if he would remember it, because two days ago is a long time for a 3-year-old. He took it out, sat down with me, and said, 'Don't worry, that's not going to happen this time,' — he remembered the conversation. He was telling me he was prepared and ready for the presentation.
"We did it and it was so beautiful. He was so proud, so happy. I said 'Thank you for working with me, you can take that out whenever you like; I'm so happy you're happy.' Two minutes later he had taken out another material from the same set and had completed it and was looking at me just beaming — 'Look what I did!' He was so proud of himself. It was so nice to see him come to his own resolution about what the expectations are and what is an appropriate way to work with the materials, and also gave himself some joy."
"A big moment of joy came this week," said Marissa about a revelatory moment for some of the younger Elementary students. "The first and second year students were working on still life drawings of gourds, for the fall season, looking at capturing the single line shapes of the gourds, paying attention to texture, changes in colour, and layers of colour in the flesh of the gourds.
"They worked on the art project as a group, socially together but each working on their individual piece, with an explosion of joy and excitement as they all realized they could actually capture a realistic image with their pencils, rather than just something from their imagination."
Note for Parent:
- On Monday, Oct. 29, we will be heading out to do some pumpkin carving for the Hamilton Pumpkin House — one of our Lyonsgate's family's home that is raising money for An Instrument for Every Child. If you're running late Monday morning, please drop your child off at the Primary campus on Aberdeen, as we will be heading that way from the Locke St. Elementary campus at about 9:00. Some advice from the Pumpkin House-ers:
- Remind the kids to dress very warmly and, if possible, it would be a good day for boots; the backyard will be quite a mess by the end of a full weekend of carving. We will have rubber gloves they can wear over warm gloves, which I recommend; the pumpkin guts get quite cold on the hands.
A couple of reminders for next week:
- Halloween: Everyone's favourite candy holiday is coming up on Wednesday. This is a very exciting time of year for children (there's candy!). Halloween excitement can, however, be a disruptive time in the Montessori environments. We ask that costume and candy joy remain a special time for families to enjoy together outside of school. Please resist the urge to slip a few pieces of candy into lunch bags or pockets, and keep an eye out for candy smugglers, too! Thank you.
- PD Day: Friday, November 2, is a PD Day. Both Lyonsgate campuses will be closed. Lyonsgate staff will be busy attending Montessori workshops, doing prep work for the months ahead, and getting work done on some big projects that we never seem to have time for.