Hello Lyonsgate Montessori Families,

This past week, a number of your fellow Lyonsgate families had the bureaucratic pleasure of making sure their children’s immunization records are up to date with Hamilton Public Health. This is one of those cracks in the system. Parents are required to notify Public Health each time children rececive a vaccination.

We always think it would be nice if the doctors offices just let Public Health know, but we imagine there are privacy and medical record issues, or just technological logistics, that prevent this. When children enter their second year of Casa (equivalent to JK), you will or may have been asked to complete a Hamilton Public Health vaccine/immunization history form; this is what enters children into the Public Health system and is the record that needs to be updated after each new immunization. If immunization records are not up to date, we receive a “Suspension Notice” from Public Health asking us to suspend children from school until immunizations, or records, are up to date.

When your child receives a new immunization, please report it to Public Health via:

  • Phone: 905-540-5250
  • Fax: 905-546-4841
  • By mail:
    Vaccine Program
    P.O. Box 897
    Hamilton, ON L8N 3P6
  • Online: Click here for info and access. (This new online system is designed to replace paper records — the yellow immunization cards — and make reporting easier)

Thank you. Let us know if you have any questions.

This week, your children’s Montessori guides are once again highlighting a specific material or activity from the Montessori environment and explaining what it is and how it helps children’s development and learning. Be sure to read what they have to say to help reveal some of the mysteries of Montessori education (such as, “Why is my child always talking about metal insects?”).

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This Week:

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Practical life activities in the classroom present themselves as a logical, sequential chain of activities that lead the children to grander things. A child is first introduced to Transferring and Pouring, helping them develop fine motor control and isolating single skills the child will later need for more complex processes. It is also an opportunity for the child to practice the prerequisite skills that will set them up for success in the more challenging activities that follow, such as table washing and cloth washing.

Through control of error (the water spills), the child learns to correct themselves in their work, eliminating the need for adults to point out mistakes.

Pouring helps the child build concentration as they are preparing for more complex work requiring more steps. The ability to pour oneself water to drink builds independence. Coordination is built by the child’s ability to pour the water without spilling. Gradually, the child learns to evaluate the amount of water in a jug and estimate how much should be poured, helping them develop a mathematical mind. Small muscle control is developed by moving from a whole hand to a pincer-grip movement — an indirect preparation for holding a pencil and writing.

“To have a vision of the cosmic plan, in which every form of life depends on directed movements which have effects beyond their conscious aim, is to understand the child’s work and be able to guide it better” — Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind.

Reminder: With warmer weather approaching, we want to remind parents to provide sunscreens (if applicable) for the children to enjoy the outdoors. Sunscreens should be applied in the morning prior to the children’s arrival to school. We will apply another layer in the afternoon prior their last recess. Please remember to label everything. — Ms. Dee

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Casa South: This week, I decided to talk about the Montessori material “Metal Insets” (sadly, as some of you may have come to believe, they are not metal insects). I chose this material because it is a very popular material, often filling up the children’s files. Although it may look like your child has been tracing circles every day of the year, there is much more going on beyond these curvilinear lines.

The Montessori Metal Insets consist of ten flat metal squares; within each square is a metal shape cut-out. The cut-outs are the same shapes found in the Geometry Cabinet and on the Sewing Cards. The Metal Insets are accompanied by coloured pencils, white or coloured square paper, and a tray.

The child is free to select the shape(s) and coloured pencils they desire and they will be shown a total of 10 presentations. These presentations begin by tracing the frame and outline of the inset and progress to using two insets, three insets, multiple colours, grading, shading, and design.

The Metal Insets help the child to prepare their hand for writing, but what does this really mean? Metal Insets help the child to:

  • Grip and hold the pencil (and hold the pencil upright)
  • Refine hand control to steady the pencil
  • Develop hand-eye coordination
  • Develop movements of straight and curved lines, up and down motions, and side to side, which is direct preparation for letter formation and cursive writing
  • Develop lightness of touch
  • Develop fine muscles in the hand, but also larger muscles required for sitting and maintaining a writing posture.
  • Develop concentration
  • Develop geometric sense, learn the name of each shape, how it looks when turned or moved, and how it relates to other shapes.
  • Plan out and carry out artistic designs.

— Ms. Moffatt

“When the child has begun these exercises, she/he is seized with a desire to continue them, and she/he never tires of drawing the outlines of the figures and then filling them in. Each child suddenly becomes the possessor of a considerable number of drawings, and she/he treasures them up in their own little drawer. In this way she/he organizes the movement of writing, which brings her/him to the management of the pen.” — Maria Montessori, Dr Montessori’s Own Handbook, A Short Guide on Her Ideas and Materials.

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Casa North: Happy Friday, Casa North families!

We have introduced some new Practical Life materials in the classroom. The children are starting to prepare their own snack, start to finish. They are given a presentation (like any other material) to demonstrate how to wash, slice, rinse, and cut the snack that we will enjoy each morning and afternoon. The children are thrilled to have autonomy and responsibility for such an important part of the day.

We have been having discussions about serving size as well — in our environment, we encourage the children to be reflective and to self-regulate when choosing what they will eat for snack. We sometimes check in with them to see how they are feeling, what portion they feel hungry for, and discussing the importance of not wasting food that others could enjoy. The open dialogue is intended to encourage the children to communicate with us, but more importantly with themselves! Feel free to have discussions about serving size and include them in serving their portions for home meals as well (within reason, of course!). A big hearty breakfast will help them manage until snack is served by their peers as well.

Thank you for your support and we look forward to another full week next week! — Ms. Boyle

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The Montessori math curriculum is tremendously successful in making connections between concepts and facilitating independent work through an extensive series of manipulative materials. In the Casa environments, children begin work with fractions sensorially, working with circular metal insets that have been divided into halves, thirds, fourths, and so on. These same materials are present in the Elementary classroom to assist students to perform operations and work with different denominators. The next step is to learn to express these fractions as decimal quantities, using the Decimal Fractions Material.

The familiar place value colour-coding that has supported students from the Stamp Game through the Bead Frame and Chequerboard are still present, but now the colours are shown extending in the opposite direction and diluted in colour. Where tens are represented by dark blue, tenths will be pale blue. To introduce the expression of fractions as decimals, different expressions of units and tenths are compared, before looking at the procession of hundredths through the millionths. A series of lessons using this material will demonstrate numeric and word form representations of decimal fractions, as well as performing all the operations with them.

In other Elementary news:

  • During Immersion Week, your Elementary children were introduced to and listened to the Carnival of the Animals/Le Carnaval des Animaux.  This Sunday afternoon, March 31, at 3:00 p.m., Melrose United Church (corner of Homewood and Locke) is holding a free concert in which two pianists will perform the Carnival of the Animals/Le Carnaval des Animaux. It is a free concert — any donations go to the church’s organ fund (the performers are donating their time).
  • Elementary students will begin two weeks of karate at United Family Martial Arts next Friday (April 5). As a very gracious gesture, UFMA has offered to hold a graduation ceremony for your kids on Saturday, April 20, at 2:00 p.m. The ceremony will consist of a short grading and the students will work through the curriculum they were taught in the sessions. They will receive a certificate, a uniform, and their first (white) belt. As a small token of appreciation for choosing to visit their school, UFMA is also offering Lyonsgate Elementary students the opportunity to come to regular karate classes for the remainder of the month. Please let us know (email jason@lyonsgate.ca) if you are interested and able to attend the ceremony on Saturday, April 20, at 2:00 p.m. Thank you.

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Coming Up:

The synagogue is getting ready for Passover. Please know that no food or drink can be brought anywhere in the building, except the Lyonsgate section, from Monday, April 8 to Saturday, April 27. Thank you.

Other than that, we’ve got nothin’ but schoolin’ for the next few weeks.

Things to remember in April:

  • Easter Weekend: no school Good Friday (April 19) or Easter Monday (April 22)
  • Parent Education Evening Thursday, April 25.

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