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Johnson County Montessori Preschool

Parent Publication Volume XXXIV, Issue 4, December 2011

Wishing Star Program Makes School Gift-Giving Easier If you and your child are looking for a way to include your teacher, classroom or our school as a whole in your gift-giving this holiday season, we hope you’ll consider granting one or more of the small wishes that appear on the Wishing Star displays throughout our school. It all started a decade ago when some of our parents asked for “wish lists” from the teachers, and at the same time, other parents were asking for suggestions for how they could show appreciation to our staff in a more meaningful way than a token knick-knack. The whole thing evolved into the Wishing Star Gift Program. You can shop for and purchase an item from the display, OR you can make it easy on yourself during this hectic time of the year by making a monetary contribution toward the purchase of any of the items. Just put your contribution in the envelope, indicate whether you’d like a receipt for tax purposes, and put the envelope in the classroom’s tuition box. We’ll handle the ordering, shipping, etc. If you have any questions about the Wishing Star Gift Program, please contact Barbara Lyons.

P.S. If you, a relative, or friend want to make a year-end charitable contribution for tax purposes, contributions to our preschool are tax-deductible thanks to our status as a division of a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. We can provide a letter acknowledging any contribution for tax purposes. Please make sure contributions are received well before December 31 for 2011 tax purposes.

Help us Plan December Staffing Please turn in your Late December Attendance Notice slip to your child’s teacher as soon as you can so that we can plan our staffing for later this month. We try to take advantage of the usually low attendance during the holiday weeks to schedule some well-earned vacation time for our staff members, as well as arrange for deep cleaning of the classrooms to help start the New Year all fresh and clean. Thanks for your cooperation!

Are You Handy with Tools? Montessori environments are beautiful and intact, with Montessori equipment and materials that are quite precise. Parts are difficult to replace - sometimes if one little part of a piece of equipment/material is lost or broken, we have to purchase an entirely new piece. We would much rather purchase completely NEW materials than REPLACEMENT materials as part of our Wishing Star program. If you are handy with tools, please contact Barbara at 913-649-3838, ext. 13 and find out about some of the small repair jobs we need done, which could mean lots of savings for us and more money available for purchasing NEW materials.


 keeptime our to stuff! you  Help Now us is the makeIf sure

spot Montessori teaching your achild has appropriate tool or piece of equipment in outerwear for school for the your child’s pocket or toycoat, box winter, including a warm at home, aplease it to mittens, hat orreturn a coat’s snugyour child’s so that we fitting hood,teacher waterproof boots, can get it back to its proper and snow pants. You can either place. bring these items on a daily

basis or keep of them  Please label allsome of your child’sat school for the (jacket, season. coat, clothing items mitten/glove,  each Please label each ofeach yoursnow boot, snow pants, etc.). So child’s clothing items (jacket, many items look alike that it’s coat, each mitten/glove, each hard for us to keep track of snow boot, snow pants, etc.). what belongs tolook whom! So many items alike that hard forneeds us toakeep track  it’s Each child complete

of whatofbelongs to(including whom! change clothing socks) to keep at school that is  Be sure your child is dressed appropriate for the current in comfy play clothes that can season. Please label every withstand the rigors of yearsingle round item! outdoor play and art projects.  Normal closing time is 6 p.m.

late feeneeds is $1.00 per  The Each child a complete

minute, payable that change of clothing toevening keep atto the teacher who has to school (including socks) stay that is past closing time. appropriate for the current

season. Please label every in  Be sure your child is dressed

single item! comfy play clothes that can withstand the on rigors year Tuition is due the of first of round outdoor play and art the month. We appreciate projects. The children love your timely payment. playing in the fallen leaves,  and Normal closing time is 6 p.m. we have tons of them! The late fee is $1.00 per You’re likely to encounter minute, payable that evening some happily dirty little kids to thethe teacher stay at end ofwho thehas day,towith past closing time. dust smudges on their faces and sand and bits of leaves in their pockets & shoes.

Thank You, D & G Tree Farm If you’re in the market for a real, fresh-cut Christmas tree for your home, consider a drive out to the D & G Tree Farm near Louisburg, Kansas. For the last eight years the folks at D & G have been warm and generous hosts for our field trips and have donated trees for our classrooms. The children have a great time on this annual trip. D & G Tree Farm is at the northwest corner of U.S. Highway 69 and 247th Street, north of Louisburg.

Use School Directory Info to Mail Invitations A major reason we prepare and distribute a school directory is to make it convenient for parents to contact each other to arrange outside-of-school play dates, send party invitations, etc. Please help prevent hurt feelings by mailing invitations to birthday parties, etc., instead of handing them out at school or putting them in cubby boxes. Nobody – even an adult - likes being left out: imagine the emotional pain a young child can feel when there’s no invitation in their cubby box, or when their classmates talk excitedly about a party they were not invited to attend. Our policy is that invitations to private parties should not be distributed in a classroom unless every child in that classroom is getting an invitation. We appreciate your cooperation.

We Appreciate Punctuality At this time of the year, we start our Montessori work time earlier in the morning in the classrooms. We appreciate all the extra effort parents make to get their children to school on time. When everyone is punctual, the children are better able to focus on their work without the distractions that late arrivals can cause. When a late arrival cannot be avoided, please accompany your child to his or her classroom, say your good-byes quickly and quietly at the classroom door, and let our teachers take it from there. A friendly reminder about pick-up times: depending on the program your child is enrolled in, a parent or authorized adult needs to pick him or her up at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., or no later than 6 p.m. Please do your best to be here a few minutes before our 6 p.m. closing time if you need time to gather belongings, etc. Our goal is to lock the doors at 6 so that our staff members can get home to be with their loved ones.

Cold Weather Attire and Snow Days The first snow always seems to arrive before we grown-ups are ready, so take time NOW to make sure your child has appropriate cold-weather attire. Each child needs: a warm coat; hat (or a coat’s snug-fitting hood); mittens or gloves (mittens are generally easier for the children to put on by themselves); warm, water-proof boots; and snow pants. Please make sure your child’s name is on EVERY ITEM, including individual mittens and boots. You can bring these items to school daily or keep some of them at school. Since our school is located within the boundaries of the Shawnee Mission School District, we generally follow their guidelines for staying indoors during extreme weather conditions. We’ll keep the children indoors if the temperature outside is 15 Fahrenheit or below, or if the wind chill factor is 0 Fahrenheit or below. We may also stay indoors if there’s too much snow or ice to move about safely on the playground. If it is safe, however, we’ll get the children into their warm cold weather gear and go outside to run around and play. If the Shawnee Mission School District closes all

of its schools because of snowy or icy conditions, our school will be closed, too.

Help Us Stay Green We want to thank everyone for their efforts to help us with recycling. It is a HUGE task, as our chef, Angie, has become the queen of kitchen recyclers, and we could use some more help! Angie packages up recyclable items very neatly and leaves them conveniently located either in the kitchen or on top of the freezer in the lunchroom. All you would need to do is to grab a bag or two and take it with you when you’re on your way to a recycling center, or add them to your recycling barrel at home.

Income Tax Information If you’re one of those incredibly organized people who is already gathering 2011 income tax return information, our federal tax number is 48-0896520.

Classroom Happenings From Deja and Lei in Classroom 2 We hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving with their families. December is going to be a wonderfully busy month! Thank you to all the parents who participated in our fabulous annual visit to the tree farm. We are busy decorating the tree we picked out for our classroom. Our sound-of-the-week activities will continue through the week of December 5th, covering letter/sounds h, n, d and e. We are also talking about the different holidays in December and why, even though we may not celebrate all of them, we still respect others and what they believe and celebrate. We will start with Hanukkah, with a family visiting our classroom to share this holiday’s traditions. We will study Christmas next and finish with Kwanza. Our class will celebrate the season with a party on Thursday, December 22 nd; be on the look-out for a sign-up sheet that will be posted on our class clipboard. The party will include a book exchange. Please have your child bring a wrapped book and label the gift tag “To my friend,” from (your child’s name).

From Emilie in Classroom 3 It has been a wonderful school year so far. Our Thanksgiving feast was great! Thanks to all who contributed paper products and food items, and to Rebecca Colwell (Evan’s mom), who read about Thanksgiving and helped with our feast and crafts. We had a great time and hope that everyone had a good time at home, too. The children are eager for the next season to arrive and December is one of their favorite months. The excitement began with our field trip to D & G tree farm. Thanks to the parents who braved the chilly morning weather to help us search for that special tree and gave us a good start for the holiday season. The children will soon fill our tree and room with holiday decorations. December’s learning themes will be money, winter and Christmas around the world.

Reese Holmstrom modeled Thanksgiving headgear at the classroom 3 feast.

The children love listening to stories. We will share our love for reading with our annual book exchange on Friday, December 16th. Please bring a gift-wrapped book (with your child’s name/year inside the book and your child’s name labeled on the wrapper) and place it under our Christmas tree. Our Christmas celebration and special play will also be on the 16th; look for a sign-up sheet for food items and paper products on our clipboard. Our Polar Express Pajama Day will be on December 22nd. I am very grateful for the responses to our Wishing Star program and look forward to receiving new materials for our classroom. Thank you, everyone! Have a very merry Christmas and a safe New Year!!!

From Tammy and Jen in Classroom 4 November flew by, but we still had time to learn about living versus nonliving things, vertebrates and non-vertebrates, time, nursery rhymes, the zoo, and Thanksgiving. It was an extra-special month with Ms. Jen getting married. She looked beautiful in her wedding dress and her reception was terrific, with great friends, food and dancing. In December our learning themes will include winter, shapes, and Christmas around the world. Our field trip to the tree farm was fun and the holiday spirit is already evident in our classroom. Although the weather has certainly gotten colder, we still play outside daily, so your child needs to have appropriate clothing to keep him or her warm when outdoors. Layering is a good idea. Snowy weather is right around the corner and the children LOVE playing in it. It wouldn’t be much fun if your child was not able to join his or her classmates because of a lack of snow gear. Boots, snow pants, etc. may be kept here at school or taken home daily.

From Cassie in Classroom 5 Autumn work has been a huge hit on the shelves in all areas of our classroom. Our sound-of-the-week activities are going great; we are already working on sound set 2. The kids have had fun with our review weeks, too. I have added memory and sorting games to help them with their recall. For the few weeks before Thanksgiving, the children shared what they are thankful for and I encouraged them to think of something new each day. I heard everything from “The heart in my body” to “stickers.” As usual, the fall season is rushing right into winter, and we will be getting our room decked out with holiday cheer. Even though the temperature outside is getting lower, I do like to get the children outdoors for a little bit each day. We like to run, skip and hop around on the black top, as well as play games with the states. This is a busy time of year and I look forward to finishing up a fantastic 2011 with you all.

Menu for December Monday



Thursday 1 Green Salad Red Cabbage & Apple Slaw Fresh Seasonal Fruit Milk (+ am & pm snacks)



Turkey, Cheese & Spinach Sandwich Chips Carrot Sticks Fresh Seasonal Fruit Milk (+ am & pm snacks)



Chicken Hotdog on a Whole Wheat Bun Fresh Veggie Sticks Fresh Seasonal Fruit Milk (+ am & pm snacks)


Lemony Lentil Soup with Kale Crackers Corn Pears Milk (+ am & pm snacks)


PB & J Sandwich Carrot Sticks Apples & Oranges Milk (+ am & pm snacks)


Meatball, Brown Rice & Vegetable Soup Green Beans Crackers Peaches Milk (+ am & pm snacks)

School closed for Christmas holiday

Minestrone Soup Green Beans Spinach & Garlic Bread Applesauce Milk (+ am & pm snacks)

27 Potato & Kale Soup Crackers Pears Milk (+ am & pm snacks)

7 Veggie Pasta Bake Peas & Carrots Spinach & Garlic Bread Applesauce Milk (+ am & pm snacks)

14 Chef’s Salad (with turkey ham, eggs & cheese) Garlic Bread Fresh Seasonal Fruit Milk (+ am & pm snacks)

21 Roasted Chicken Whipped Cauliflower & Potatoes Stuffing with Vegetables Peaches Milk (+ am & pm snacks)

29 Spinach & Orzo Salad Garlic Bread Pineapple Milk (+ am & pm snacks)

8 Quinoa, Broccoli & Cheese Casserole Corn Pineapple Milk (+ am & pm snacks)

15 Pizza with Veggie Sauce Broccoli & Carrots Oranges Milk (+ am & pm snacks)


Friday 2 Breakfast for Lunch: Pancakes Cereal Fresh Seasonal Fruit Milk (+ am & pm snacks)

9 Green Salad with Beans Goldfish Crackers Apple Slices Milk (+ am & pm snacks)

16 Breakfast for Lunch: Pumpkin Pancakes Cereal Mixed Fruit (Banana, Mandarin Orange & Pineapple)

Milk (+ am & pm snacks)


School closed for Christmas holiday


School closed for New Year holiday

Chef’s Choice

29 Meatball Sub Sandwich (with veggie sauce on a whole wheat bun) Carrot Sticks Fresh Seasonal Fruit Milk (+ am & pm snacks)

Musical Notes from Ann Stein In music class I have been spending time with individual presentations to the students on the various instruments in their classrooms and have been monitoring each student’s responses to individual instruments during their work time. We are celebrating the holiday season by playing dreidel during Hanukkah and singing Christmas carols. The children are playing their instruments in our Jingle Bell Band. We have also been listening to and discussing choral music, choir music, and ballet, which is a good introduction to seasonal music like The Nutcracker. We are finishing up our study of the Baroque composers with Handel’s oratorio, The Messiah, and we will proceed to the Classical composers in January.

Spotlight on Sensorial Activities in the Montessori Classroom Sensorial activities deal with the development and refinement of the five senses and help the child to sort out the many impressions given by the environment. This is the beginning of a conscious knowledge of the environment as opposed to the unconscious knowledge the child has already absorbed from his or her surroundings. Each of the sensorial materials teaches a given quality in isolation.

Pink Tower Direct Aims: ▪ Developing visual discrimination of differences in dimension ▪ Developing concentration, independence, and appreciation for beauty in design Indirect Aims: ▪ Voluntary movement ▪ Preparation of the mathematical mind: - 10 cubes as a preparation for the decimal system - 8 of the smallest cube make the second cube; 27 of the smallest cube make the third cube; 64 of the smallest cube make the fourth cube; 1,000 of the smallest cube make the largest cube

Knobbed Cylinders Direct Aims:  Developing visual discrimination of size, which leads to observing one’s environment with an intelligent eye  Developing concentration and independence Indirect Aims:  Preparation for writing (holding a thin pencil)

Sound Cylinders Direct Aims: ▪ Training the auditory sense ▪ Developing concentration Indirect Aims: ▪ Establishing an attitude of quiet

December Newsletter  

December Newsletter

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