December 2020 and January 2021: Ushering in a New Year!
Since I last shared pictures and videos of our little community, it has been six weeks of big changes at both CMC and in the wider world. I'm happy to share that our days have largely been peaceful and productive. Whatever comes our way in 2021, I'm confident we'll continue to build a strong and supportive community.
Please join me in welcoming Leslie, our new Children's House East Assistant. Leslie comes to CMC with a decade of experience in Central Ohio Montessori as an Assistant at St. Joseph Montessori School and a Guide at Columbus Montessori Education Center. After our first week together, Anna, Leslie, and I are confident we will be able to bring together our diverse early childhood education experiences to create a warm and supportive environment this winter. Dan will continue to serve as an On-call Substitute in the months ahead; we thank him for stepping in as the Children's House East assistant until we found a more permanent replacement in Leslie.
Speaking of winter, let's start with the pure glee our children find in playing with snow!
We've also taken up racing as a strategy to stay warm on the coldest and windiest days outside. By the fourth or fifth race one cold morning, Carsten had clearly persevered in wearing down his fastest competition (notice Clara is sitting this one out):
Inside, we're staying cozy with a continued interest in all things food. From unloading dishes and groceries, to sampling different veggies, to use of our "dish washing station" (all dishes washed by children are cleaned and sanitized in a commercial dishwasher before reuse), it's certainly a highlight of many of our children's days!
During work in the Children's Houses, our bead stringing work has taken on a special significance for many of the children. I have modeled taking the string of beads for a walk around the room after completion and our youngest community member, Roshan, has taken up the activity with great purpose every morning. On many mornings, another child will either help Roshan organize *his* rainbow - we have nicknamed the work "Roshi's Rainbow" - or construct their own before touring the group.
"Sound Game" has continued to be an important feature of our morning work cycle and has also led to increased interest and work with the Sandpaper Letters. In the weeks to come, Leslie and I are looking forward to taking more pictures and videos of our work with these two important pillars of our phonics-based introduction to reading and writing as well as asking all of you to support our children in their work at home!
Can you find something on the mat that begins with 'g', 'g', 'g'? What about 'th', 'th', 'th'? (I was thinking of globe and thousand cube!)
In all things Practical Life, the children of our community continue to build independence, concentration, coordination, and specific skills to care for themselves and their environment. This month, Practical Life activity has also taken on an important role in welcoming new members of the community.
Roshan helps welcome our newest community member, Hannah (pronounced like our Assistant Director, Anna, not like Anne of Green Gables), with a frank comparison of inside shoes at their neighboring cubbies.
Wally develops the fine motor skills needed to control a pencil with our new "Pin Punching" work (the object is to use the oversized thumbtack to remove the triangle from the pink square) while also working on his mask wearing skills.
Some particularly beautiful products of our flower arranging work, created by Clara and SJ, compliment our bead cabinet and Indian quilt well.
SJ fine tunes his fine motor control and his pouring skills with an activity that looks like it was designed to match one of his favorite shirts.
Lou quietly works on a Velcro Dressing Frame back in Children's House West last year (in his "party pants", as Wally and Lou have begun calling their striped leggings).
Ms. Ada reads Rita a story in the last days before Winter Break. Ms. Ada's contributions to our community, both actual and potential, will be missed in the years ahead!
While waiting for his father at pick-up, Roshan does something I had once believed him too small and/or young to accomplish. As a Montessorian, I should have known better than to underestimate the power of a little determination paired with a couple of months of peer and adult modeling!
Above, Clara welcomes our new Children's House East Assistant, Leslie, by carefully showing her how we fold our laundry one quiet afternoon. Below, part of our little group gets in a good groove one morning.
David carefully takes a walk through my Red Rod "maze." SJ shows off one of his many reconstructions of the maze!
We have all been so happy to observe our community's increased interest in and engagement with our Montessori Sensorial materials, especially in the past few weeks! The Sensorial materials have been used in Montessori classrooms for over 100 years to awaken awareness of and increase ability to organize children's sense perceptions. Below, Rita uses the Cylinder Blocks with her sense of sight intact and then, impressively, (mostly) without.
Clara works with a more advanced Sensorial material, the Decanomial Square, one afternoon while I worked to set-up some even more advanced math materials. Later, she noticed and reflected on the similarities.
Above, SJ and I work together with the Geometry Cabinet. I'm introducing SJ to the curvilinear figures (clockwise from my hand): ellipse; curvilinear triangle; quatrefoil; and oval. Below, Dávid shows TJ the Brown Stairs while Clara works with some younger children to exuberantly explore our Continent Picture Booklets.