Lyonsgate Weekly Update | May 24, 2019

Hello Lyonsgate Montessori Families,

Only one more week (and a bit) for parent observations in the Casa and Elementary Montessori environments. Observations in your child’s classroom are 20 minutes in duration and occur during the morning work cycle. Before your observation, please review the Observation Guidelines for Casa, and/or for the Elementary program.

Please click the relevant link(s) below to schedule your observation:

This Week:


This week, I will be shedding some light on the colourful materials that are often shared through the weekly updates. In the past, we’ve seen pictures of the children working with activities such as hammering, stacking rings, sorting, beading maze, and various imbucare box materials. The materials each serve a specific purpose directly tied to children’s development.

These materials are aesthetically pleasing and encourage the toddlers’ gravitation to them and simultaneously fulfill their sensorial needs. Children use their senses in order to study their environment. By participating in these sensorial activities, they can consciously obtain clear information that helps them classify their surroundings. Sensorial activities are used in Montessori learning to help children develop discrimination and order. They also help broaden and refine children’s senses, helping them become more logical, perceptive, and aware.

In the classroom, the Stacking Rings activity is designed to assist in visual discrimination by allowing the children to recognize differences in dimension, length, width, and size.

The auditory sense is developed in materials such as the Xylophone and the Triangle in our music corner. The tactile sense is sharpened through the use of Fabric Feel, and our snack area fulfills the children’s needs for the development of the gustatory and olfactory senses.

Dr. Maria Montessori believed that educating the senses preceded intellectual development. A child’s education begins at birth as they take impressions of their world through their senses.

Note: We are currently in need of plastic bags for our classroom and would really appreciate donations! Thank you. — Ms. Dee


Note: We are currently in need of plastic bags for our classrooms and would really appreciate donations! Thank you.


Casa South: Music plays an essential role in our society and culture. The child comes into the world with a sense of rhythm. The ear completes its structural development between the second and fifth month of pregnancy. From that moment, it is exposed to constant noise. The child’s ear is exposed to its first rhythm, the mother’s heartbeat.

Children (as we have all probably observed) have very little restraint in their bodily response to music. When no one else is singing or dancing, turn to your young one and they are probably groovin’.

The Montessori classroom is a place of musical exploration. Children who sing or hum while they work are encouraged to do so, music is accessible by a cd player and we are constantly introducing new music and singing as a group.

Montessori was not a musician but she recognized the value of music in relation to the child and the human race. Montessori sought a musical instrument that the child could have a sensorial relationship with. She wanted an instrumnet that the child could: match with, grade with, evoke language, produce games from, and be taken apart, isolated, and put back together with ease. This instrument had to be theoretically sound.

Montessori approached Anna Maria Maccheroni, a famous musician at the time, with her ideas and musical endeavour. It was in this collaboration that The Bells were developed.

I have witnessed entire classrooms become more peaceful as one child spontaneously plays a bell. I have seen children become so engrossed in the sound of a bell fading in its sound. I have seen children attempt to play “We Will Rock You” (with minor success!). The Bells are one of the most elegant and thoughtful materials in the classroom, a very special piece of work indeed! — Ms. Moffatt

Casa North: This week, I’d like to highlight some of the materials that introduce geography to the child under six. In a Montessori Casa environment, we always show them “the whole before the parts.” This means that we want the children to have an experience with the entire concept before breaking it down into individual components. In regards to geography, we introduce them to the Sandpaper Globe (a globe that depicts land with sandpaper and water that is smooth) and give them the language of “land and water.” Next, we show them the Painted Globe, which is smooth entirely but each continent is painted a different colour. At this point, we discuss the language of “continent and ocean.” By having two globes that provide different language, we are introducing the notion that there are both physical and political geography. It often results in beautiful conversations and evokes curiosity about geography in general.

Next, we introduce them to the Puzzle Maps. The maps are carefully constructed to be accurate and represent each country within each continent as a separate piece. Maria Montessori observed children and saw that they were interested in geography and also loved puzzle work, and so she created purposeful puzzles for them to use! I’m sure it’s no surprise that young children love working with puzzles.

I first show them the puzzle map of the world and discuss the hemispheres. The children are then free to use the puzzles that represent each of the seven continents. We have puzzle maps of Canada and the United States as well, which are great to encourage conversation about places explored and traveled.

The children are constantly seeking challenges. I encourage them to learn all of the continents, or the countries within a continent, and they are passionate about this information. The beauty of the Montessori classroom is that even if a child isn’t directly receiving the presentation, the language exists in the ether. The material is colourful, enticing, and exciting for them, and is one of my favourites, too!

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Elementary Parents: Today was the deadline to RSVP for the end of year sleepover. More details about what to bring, etc., are still to come, but please RSVP ASAP if you haven’t already done so. Thank you.

One of the most beloved materials in the Elementary environment is the Timeline of Life, which is presented each fall in connection with the Great Lessons. It illustrates the information gained through the fossil record of the ancient creatures that emerged during the Paleozoic Era, from invertebrates to fish and onward through the Mesozoic and Neozoic. The Timeline of Life guides students to identify the characteristics that define each class of animals: fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. It reveals the enormity of time that passed before humans arrived, with only a thin line red at the end representing how long we have been here. This is what the 6-year-old child sees, but there are many more lessons woven through the eras.

The Timeline of Life indicates periods of volcanic eruption, glaciation, and extinction. It contains maps of the continents as they slide into different positions, pushing together or drifting apart. Each little drawing is a new point of interest, a new piece of the puzzle of life on Earth, and the interplay between the physical world and the biosphere. This week, the students returned to the Timeline of Life in preparation for attending the School Strike for Climate, initiated by the remarkable Greta Thunberg of Sweden. They have learned about the role of carbon as an essential element and how it developed into coal through the Carboniferous period. Students were drawn into discussion of how humans later discovered and used coal to advance technology and society — to meet their fundamental needs for shelter and transport.

The Timeline of Life may look back through history, but it also provides the springboard for conversations about the future — about the interconnectedness of all life and the the responsibility of humans to act as the caretakers of this wondrous environment. Today, Lyonsgate students are being asked to think about our role in the world and to advocate for what they believe as they experience the Fridays 4 Future School Strike for Climate rally. They traveled to the rally in body and spirit with others who share their desire for a healthy future, and witnessed how to raise their voices collectively for change. — Marissa

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Coming Up:

Parent-teacher conferences:

Lyonsgate will be closed on Friday, June 14, for year-end parent-teacher conferences. There are also a few conference time slots available after school during the week leading up.

Conferences are 20 minutes in length and take place in your child’s Montessori classroom. Please be on time and do not stay beyond your scheduled time slot so that we can keep everybody on schedule. Thank you.

Please click here and select your child(ren)’s class(es) to schedule your parent-teacher conference.

The remaining photos this week are some photographic art pictures taken by a budding Elementary photographer during our botanical sketching outing this week to the local community gardens.

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Happy Spring!