Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Friday, Feb. 21, 2020

Hello Lyonsgate Montessori Families,

Of central importance to all Montessori prepared environments are the Montessori materials. This week, your children’s guides have taken the time to explain the purpose of one of the materials in their classroom. Our hope is that these explanations, coupled with our regular Parent Education events, give you a better understanding of the Montessori method and how it works to help your children grow and learn. Read them all to get an idea of how Montessori education progresses through the years.


The Montessori classroom provides a prepared, language-enriched environment where the children are able to practice exploration of the world around them, care of self, care of the environment, as well as gross and fine motor development.

Dr. Montessori firmly believed that the child’s cognitive processes are assisted by combining movement with an organized task. One activity that facilitates those needs is Arranging Flowers, which satisfies the child’s innate desire to imitate the skills that they see adults perform around them. The activity follows a prescribed sequence which requires a great deal of attention and mental concentration. It also allows the child to exercise discrimination and judgment and development of their aesthetic sense.

The children often choose to bring their arrangements outside of the classroom. They always look proud of their work and are happy to be able to share it with others.

We thank you all for your weekly contribution of fresh cut flowers; they add beautiful colours to our classroom.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend,

Ms. Dee

Casa South


Maria Montessori brought carefully selected materials into her classroom. She developed these materials to support complex learning outcomes. The most widely recognized Montessori material is arguably the Pink Tower. At first glance the Pink Tower looks like a set of simple blocks, however, Montessori had many goals in mind when she constructed and developed this material. Through hands-on manipulation, children are introduced to a number of concepts.

The Pink Tower offers the child an opportunity to visually and muscularly explore dimension and understand size. It leads to observation of size within the environment (items that are small and large). It requires coordination and perfection of movement as the child carefully places the cubes one after the other. Most interestingly, the Pink Tower prepares the child for mathematics. The Pink Tower consists of 10 cubes as 10 is the basis of the decimal system.

The Pink Tower, as well as all the other materials in the classroom, is treated with the highest respect. You may be surprised but it is never knocked over. When the child wants to put the Pink Tower away they carefully disassemble the tower and return the cubes one at a time.

The Pink Tower is one of many tactile materials that allow the child to explore dimension, space, and coordination in a sensorial way. The Montessori classroom is a fascinating space where everything has purpose!

Miss Moffatt

Casa North

Hello Casa North Families!

This week I’d like to discuss a material from the Sensorial area called the Red Rods. This is a mathematically graded material of a set of 10 wooden rods, all red, varying in length from 10 centimeters to 1 meter. This material is shown on a mat on the floor — the children are shown to carry the rods one at a time, placing them carefully on the mat. This is beautiful gross motor movement, and also really draws the child’s attention to their body while navigating their peers, the shelves, and the surrounding activities — that 1 meter long rod takes substantial concentration to maneuver!

Once the rods are on the mat, I show the child to grade them (without using language quite yet) from longest to shortest, aligning them on the left hand side. Once I’ve built the red rods “just like they looked on the shelf,” the child is then invited to have a turn. At this point, I become a quiet observer. The child will reveal to me how they are visually discriminating for length, whether or not they build the rods haphazardly, out of order, or perfectly on the first try. One of the key components of the Sensorial materials is to allow the child to explore and deduce patterns and information that the material can give without adult direction.

After the child has worked with the Red Rods and has demonstrated the ability to build them with care, there are subsequent presentations to come. Exploring the Unit of Difference (that the 10 centimeter rod is the difference between each of the individual rods), building the Red Rods at a distance (using two mats, strategically placed across the room from one another) and providing the language of “long and short” or “long, longer, longest!” are extensions of the original presentation. As with everything in the Montessori environment, the Red Rods provide scaffolding for presentations that are to come.

Following the Red Rods, the child will be shown the Number Rods (that are the same in every capacity, other than that they have both blue and red segments that introduce counting and the physical difference between the quantity of 1 and each number leading up to 10). I love showing this material (and all of the Sensorial materials) as they truly provide an insight into each child’s varying process of thinking through the beginning, middle, and end of a task.

Thank you for taking the time to read about one of our beautiful materials. If you have any questions about a material that your child is talking about and you’d like to try to translate their explanation of it, please don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know! Have a safe, healthy, happy weekend.

With warmth,

Miss Boyle


Montessori environments are often energized by the hum of children’s chatter as the students share observations, discuss new information, and socialize with their peers. Because learning is an inherently social process where interaction with others helps to construct our understanding of the world, language is the connective tissue between all other subjects. Both the English and French languages are explored and studied extensively to aid students in building a rich and precise vocabulary, an understanding of the different role words can play to create meaning, and how to use language to learn and communicate effectively.

My favourite language materials to share with students are the activities of Sentence Analysis, using a series of wooden arrow and circle manipulatives and charts to parse the structure and meaning of sentences. These activities may begin in Casa with simple sentences and continue throughout the Elementary years with compound and complex sentences. Students are invited to compose their own sentences for the activity or pull lines from literary sources, and they collaborate to break it apart and identify how its meaning is constructed. The sentence is written on a long strip of paper so that words, phrases, and clauses can be physically cut apart and manipulated to answer a series of questions. While students of all ages in the Elementary class can work with the Sentence Analysis materials, this week the upper level students were hotly debating objects and modifiers. Here is one of the sentences they analyzed this week. Give it a try! (The answer is in the photo at the end).

Chloe leapt into the water and swam furiously to the end of the pool to win the race.

We look forward to sharing more of the children’s language work with you at our French Concert next week!

Have a wonderful weekend,


Coming Up:

All of the events listed here can also be found on your Lyonsgate calendar.

  • Elementary French Concert: On Thursday, Feb. 27, from 3:30-4:15 at the Primary (Aberdeen) campus, Lyonsgate Elementary students will perform their annual French concert. All Lyonsgate parents are invited to attend. Please remember — there is no food or drink permitted in the Sanctuary at the synagogue.
  • March Break: March Break this year runs from March 13-23, inclusive. The first day back to school after March Break is Tuesday, March 24.
  • Summer Camp: We will be offering a summer camp for Lyonsgate students going into their third year of Casa or whom are in Elementary. Please click here for more details and to register.