November and Early December 2020: Fall Whirlwind
A lot has changed at CMC since the last time I compiled photos and videos to share with our community! Due to primarily the ongoing but changing realities of operating through a pandemic, we have had many sad goodbyes and a few joyful hellos in the last six weeks.
We are now a team of just three adults caring for just eight children enrolled in Children's House East and five children enrolled in Children's House West. At this point, we're planning for a cozy, quiet, and safe winter at CMC. While we may say a few more hellos or goodbyes in the months to come, we will wait for warmer weather and safer conditions to once again intentionally grow our community. My hope is that these photo and video collections will offer you all a window into our world and insight into the children's experiences at CMC. I also hope they will prove a good jumping off point for discussions with your children - keeping things as concrete and specific as possible is usually a winning strategy in conversing with preschoolers! As always, please reach out to Ms. Ada, Anna, or me as questions arise. We are here to support you and your children through what is shaping up to be a very different winter.
Dávid picks up where many left off in Chilren's House East in giving the glue box a whirl (or 20).
TJ tries his hands at some introductory activities in his first few days with us.
We have had a ball these past few weeks with "big sound games" in Children's House East. First, a child (or three) fills a mat with objects in the room that they are curious about. Then, I sit down with the initiator(s) and any other children that would like to play. We work on learning the names of the selected objects and then hearing the sounds that make up those names. See if you can identify the following objects: 'th', 'th', thousand cube; 'j', 'j', journal; 'ar', 'ar', archipelago; 'p', 'p', pencil sharpener.
Maren shows off her first crack at the newly introduced chalk and chalkboards in Children's House East.
Wally uses a stack of Brown Stairs to compare his and Rita's relative heights.
Rita works on the Pink Tower the same day.
Clara and Maren work on organizing their knowledge of the numbers and quantities from 1 through 10 in different ways.
Clara and Maren are both quite excited to build their understanding of the decimal system with an introduction to our Golden Beads material.
Here's Maren showing Wally the addition of rubber bands to an old counting and quantity material: the Spindle Box. Maren also got to work on the Movable Alphabet for several weeks, building her phonetic writing ability, before her departure from CMC right before Thanksgiving:
Meanwhile, time spent outdoors continues to be a highlight of most of the children's days at CMC, especially when leaves and snow are available. We apologize for missing the opportunity to document the first snow of the season at CMC last week, we were quite busy ensuring everyone was having as fun and safe an experience as possible!
We also had a ball in the heavy rain on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving while offering Break Session Care. Introducing: the intrepid puddle jumpers!
Our time in the Children's Houses since Thanksgiving has been focused on working with an increasing number of challenging materials as well as planning, preparing, serving, and eating from our new snack menu at CMC. As a reminder, we now ask families to pack just the food needed to enjoy a nutritious, varied lunch at school and, if desired, a reusable water bottle for outdoors and our Movement Room. CMC now provides: morning and afternoon snacks; milk at lunch; plates; bowels; silverware; and 6 oz glasses throughout the children's time in their room.
Roshan practices use of a spoon; a new member of Children's House East, Josiah, experiments with rainbow beads; David practices pouring with some corn; and SJ takes up the challenge and excitement of flower arranging (something that has brought both Children's Houses much joy in the last two weeks).
Lou and Amara take up Cylinder Blocks in Children's House West while TJ enjoys the same activity in Children's House East. The Cylinder Blocks are an introductory material in our Montessori Sensorial work, designed to support each child's growing ability to perceive and organize the physical world around them through their senses.
Here is Dávid building the Pink Tower in the morning sun and Josiah examining his first attempt at the same!
Carsten tries out a new work, pin punching, designed to offer a fun new way to build the specific strength and coordination needed to hold and control a writing implement. The goal here is to use an oversized thumb tack to perforate the outline of the pink triangle and thereby be able to remove just the pink triangle from the paper.
SJ follows in Maren and Clara's footsteps in using introductory math materials to organize his understanding of the numbers and quantities from one through ten.
Elijah and David hang out in the new reading area discussing a new series of books (purchased through For Small Hands) outlining the basic needs of all living things. I'm looking forward to finding more comfortable seating to support such conversations soon!
In saying farewell until our next post (likely mid-January) I wanted to share a picture that showcases many new additions to both Children's Houses this past month all in one place. Here you will see (from top to bottom): our powerful new air purifiers; completed flower arrangements; hand sanitizing work; drying rack; work folders (when we send these home from time to time, please review and keep your child's work from the folder and return just the plastic folder to CMC); and work storage drawers. We're looking forward to fine-tuning these new systems in the months ahead, as always, please reach out as you have questions!