November and December 2021: A Busy End to a Big Year!
I'm very happy to share we've had a busy couple of months at CMC with plenty of good photos and videos to show for it. Our days have been full of birthdays, new faces, farewells, and lots and lots of hard work and progress.
At CMC, we structure our daily routine and environment in uniquely child-centered ways. Our aim as adults is to prepare an environment where children can engage a community beyond their home with confidence. One key benefit of our program is the level of independent choice of work and activity our Montessori approach affords. Independent work builds focus, perseverance, and specific skills. Both independent work choice and independent work also lay a stable foundation - especially among our youngest and newest community members - for engaging with our community socially and collaboratively.
This emphasis on independent work is why you'll find as much as half of the photos and videos we share here featuring just a single child working with purpose.
One big benefit of independent work that I hope the photos above and videos below make clear is the sense of satisfaction and pride young children derive from doing things "all by themselves." Please don't hesitate to reach out as questions arise over the nature or purpose of all our independent work at CMC!
Another key benefit of cultivating independent work habits in our community are the opportunities to observe that all our independent efforts create. When children are encouraged to join in and especially share their work from the beginning, it can be difficult to build a culture of observation and reflection like the one we have at CMC.
One of the things that makes me proudest of our little community is the genuine care they take in their observation of each other's work.
Check out all the observation going on among the community as Yaz weaves his way through our learning environment while building the Pink Tower:
From their foundation of independent work and careful observation, our community has built genuinely collaborative relationships this fall. Much of the most developmentally supportive activity we undertake each day is while working and playing in freely-formed pairs and small groups.
Many in our community with strong math skills take special pride in working together to add, subtract, multiply, and divide four-digit numbers with the aid of our Golden Bead and Number Card materials.
Below, SJ, Wally, and Lou take special care in welcoming Rita and Mia to the Golden Bead Addition club!
Many of the children of CMC also regularly support one another in building phonemic awareness, letter recognition, and categorization skills through the playing of daily Sound Games.
I've been heartened to watch many of the leaders of our child-centered community take the reigns from me in leading Sound Games these past few months.
Lou: . . . and. . . and. . . this is a bead bar. What thing starts with 'b'?
Oliver: nnnnnnnnnnn. . . pencil.
Lou: No [big smile], if pencil starts with, started with 'b' . . .
Oliver: bead chain!
Lou: . . . if pencil started with 'b' then it would be a bencil. Is this a bencil?
In the extensions of our Sound Games above, small groups of children enjoy matching the objects of our Sound Games to the Sandpaper Letter that makes the first phoneme in its name.
The careful set up and breakdown of each birthday kiddo's special birthday mat is also an important occasion for small group conversation and collaboration.
In the lower left-hand corner, see Roshan, Yazan, and Rita waving to our new two-year-old, Hannah's little brother Zane, from Yaz's third b-day mat. Zane will be joining our community in January and we were having a conversation about how each the three above joined our community as a two-year-old but are two no longer.
Last but not least, our self-appointed cleaning crew works together each afternoon after lunch to maintain our beautiful environment to the best of their ability.
Our balance of independent work, careful observation, and chosen collaboration mean that when we do come together as a larger group to celebrate a special event - such as the departure of a long valued community member, the changing of seasons, or the anniversaries of our births - most of our members have success engaging.
We've even had fun with a series of innovative races to keep warm as the temperatures drop this fall!
As we wrap up our second calendar year of operation at CMC, please join me in wishing a very fond farewell to two long-standing CMC community members, Dávid and SJ, as well as their supportive families. We hope to see both the boys and their families at community events in 2022!