I always have a mixed bag of emotions this time of year! It’s a busy chaotic time in the life of the school. It’s filled with beautiful days and schedules of events that never seem to end! I’m also preparing myself to say good-bye to 21 amazing SJES Kindergarteners. This week-end I was in the midst of putting together the Kindergartener’s crosses and thinking about our journey with these children. My husband Bob listened patiently to endless stories about each child as he helped me drill holes for the sticks. Many of these students have been with us since they were toddlers! We’ve known some of these particular children since they were infants! Each one leaves their imprint on me in some unique way. During this time I’m also watching all of the children at the end of their particular experience and preparing for their next step. I’m also thinking about all the other children in the past who have touched our lives…this is the complicated part of working with children! I am always so grateful to have had all these years with each child, but saying good-bye is heart wrenching! I have all these wonderful memories, but the visits… visits to keep me going and give me the strength I need to do it all over again next year!
Here are just a few photos of visitors and special occasions from this year. For those of you about to transition from this â€œhomeâ€? to your next, please keep in touch and drop by once in a while for a visit!
Eva, Kenzie and Levi come to visit!
Merrill and Kathryn stopped by to share their lamb, Violet.
Nico and Alexa who dropped by The Dietz Girls, The Montalvo Gals(all the way from Hong Kong) and Olivia came by
One of my first students, Christine, getting married last summer
Happy Spring everyone! We can't believe it is already May. This has been such an amazing year with amazing students.
We have had so much success with potty training. We have over half of our children in MDO potty trained. And I think we will have a couple more before summer starts. This is so great and we are so proud of all of our children! Everyone responded so positively. The children always love this time of year because the spring works are so fun. They enjoy going to the prayer garden for extra works, they always enjoy our Easter and Mother's Day projects, they enjoy collecting items outside to make sorting works in the classroom, and as always they love making and prepping our class snack. Love, Your MDO teachers
Chloe is making pizza bagels for our class snack
Elizabeth is making hot dog spaghetti as our class snack for the day. This was a fun snack to make and she loved pushing the noodles through the hot dogs.
Top Left: Mason is kneading the dough for our Easter project Top Right: Ms. Lindsey giving a lesson on making dough for our Easter Craft Bottom Right: Luke is painting his Easter cross. Brock is watching him and patiently waiting his turn.
Toddler Toddler One is going to be finishing up the school year with blast of new words and social skills. All of our toddlers are learning how to socialize and begin more parallel play especially on the playground. Language is keeping our classroom all a busy buzz. The children are stringing their words together to make sentences and some are even making small talk conversations about the weather, days of the week and the moon and stars. This time of year our young toddlers have absorbed so much language just listening to the older toddlers and watching them work on nomenclature cards and puzzles and the sound book and all the practical life works that are used every day, that they are picking up works with out even asking for a lesson. We are all working beautifully with friends and works around the classroom. -Mrs. Anna and Miss. Bea-
Chit chatting while brushing
Following the moon and stars on the ceiling
Magnifying glass with nature from scavenger hunt
The month of April is quickly coming to an end. Spring is always a fun time in toddlers, the children have grown some much and are ready for more challenging work. They are asking more questions and craving to learn. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is our popular story this month. The children have been learning about the life cycle of the butterfly. Here is Chloe and Mason looking at a replica egg and caterpillar.
After everyone gets a chance to look at them, we then place them to their matching pictures. The children love working on this in a group or individual work. This is wonderful way to take a classic story and extend it to more of a challenging work by them now building vocabulary, sequencing, and math(counting the days until caterpillar metamorphosis into a butterfly). Next time you see a butterfly ask your child about the life cycle, they just might be able to give you a lesson. :) Leander is proud of his pink tower. (bottom right) Annie is deeply focused on her drawing, she is demonstrating her pre writing skills. (bottom left) April, Lilly and Eliane
Hello Sun! How we've missed you!!! The end of the year is drawing near and spring fever is more profound than ever. The children have been begging for spring works and sunshine! In Ms. Coral's class we have rotated the works once again to help the children focus and be more engaged when the outside world is so tempting! New challenging puzzles have been put on the shelves to gear the three year olds up for primary next year. We are practicing problem solving with different situations in the classroom and the children are catching on quickly and are starting to do their own problem solving with works and friends. The Sensory Bin has been one of the favorite works among the students this year. We have experimented with various pouring works, pasta, rocks from the garden, kneading dough, and most recently rice with dried beans. The sensory bin is good for many skills, it helps the children refine their fine motor skills by pouring, kneading, and sifting and it also aids in them being able to clean their own spills (sweeping and wiping up water spills). Being outside lately has been so tempting and we just couldn't help ourselves! We have been working out on the porch watering plants, sweeping and climbing on the structure. Ms. Coralâ€™s class has also gone to the garden to draw with chalk, take garden walks and the children have enjoyed rock scrubbing immensely. We are so excited spring is here!! Much love T3 Ms. Coral, Martha, Jana
Porter and Eva scrubbing rocks together
Aidan working on the parts of a flower puzzle.
Carter climbs the structure in order to move his body
Jane working with rice and mixed beans in our Sensory Bin
Truitt watering hanging plants
Dear Parents, As teachers, we are often privy to some of the most candid and hilarious discussions that the children share. I recently overheard a conversation that made me laugh out loud, and later gave me cause for reflection. It went something like this: Parker begins, “This muffin is bueno! Bueno, that’s Thai for delicious because I’m Asian. Santi is Mexican.” Santi, smiling, nodding and whole-heartedly agreeing says, “Yep!” Hayes, eager to join the discusion chimes in, “I speak Dallas!” I just love my job!! Not only do I have the opportunity for such levity, but I also have the chance to help inform these budding anthropologists about the world around them. The Montessori approach greatly values expanding children’s understanding of culture, their own and others, at a time when they are free from prejudice. By introducing cultural studies to the children, they learn tolerance and acceptance of all people and nationalities. By teaching them about science and caring for the envornment indoors and out, we plant the seeds for stewardship and ecological responsibility. On Earth Day we had a visit from the Perot planetarium. It was an awe inspiring experience to observe the planets and stars so closely. We discussed the theory of gravity and why Earth’s placement in the solar system is so important. It was a good feeling to know the children have recieved lessons and have a firm understanding of living and non-living, what living things need to survive, how long it takes the earth to orbit the sun, and a basic knowledge of our solar system and planets. They understand that Earth is a sphere comprised of land and water that form the continents and oceans, and many other vastly complicated things, through their interaction with the Montessori materials. All of the space exploration brought us back to one common theme. We share a very special home on Earth, on the North American continent, in the United States of America, in Dallas, Texas, and most especially at St. James. It is here that our children have learned the true meaning of community. As the year draws to a close and many children prepare to move up, and some on to their next school, we can rest assured that no matter if they speak Thai, Spanish, Romanian, German or Dallas, our precious children will always have a home at St. James. Namaste, Ms. Charlotte and Ms. Kalindi
“April showers bring May flowers.” I just love this saying. But where were the April showers? As I am writing this, there are only two days left in April. I guess we missed the showers this year. Oh well, I am very positive they will come in May. Our trees, flowers, plants, bushes, etc. needs the water. GRACE AND COURTESY In a Montessori classroom the lessons in Grace and Courtesy set a tone of respect and kindness. The students are shown how to shake hands at the door each morning. They learn to wait and be patient when needing help from a teacher or when waiting for a turn to have morning snack. From out practical life serving works, the students learn to say “Yes, please” or “no, thanks you.” We always have several boxes of tissues in the classroom and students are consistently encouraged to use them as needed. We work on “conflict resolution” -----the students involved talk and work out their differences in the presence of a teacher and the teacher intervenes and helps as necessary. Closing classroom doors quietly is emphasized and practiced. The students are expected to walk around “rug works” without stepping on another students work. When a work is dropped or broken and scatters all over the floor the student is taught to pick/clean up independently. The third level students teach lessons in grace and courtesy as they help younger students as needed. Being in the Montessori classroom for the kindergarten year allows the child to experience this role of leadership. Now, for those May showers??? All the best, Mrs. Barrineau and Ms. Ana
Maria Montessori and Care of Our Environment In honor of Earth day this month, we would like to share about the Montessori perspectives on care of the environment and the planet. Maria Montessori observed that children observe their environment from birth on and that they learn how to relate within that environment according to what they see. The Montessori cultural and science curriculums build on the children’s innate curiosity in the world around them by giving them knowledge to understand and care for the world. These lessons facilitate the child’s development of the spiritual force which includes the reverence for all living things and respect for our relationship within nature. Montessori addresses the importance of understanding the inter-connectedness all living things and states; “The maintenance of life on earth depends on many species, each one of which has a special, specific function…Everyone knows, for instance, that the disappearance of one species in a certain place upsets the balance, because the lives of all species are interrelated.” (Education and Peace, Maria Montessori, page 67). The curriculum teaches the children the names, parts, and classifications of plants and animals and also the important role that each living thing plays in the ecosystem we share. We discuss ways to reduce waste, recycle and reuse materials, and others means to reduce our carbon footprint. Montessori states, “The child who has felt a strong love for his surroundings and for all living creatures, who has discovered joy and enthusiasm in work, gives us reason to hope that humanity can develop in a new direction.” (Education and Peace, Maria Montessori, page 58).
As adults, it is our obligation to demonstrate to children a loving and respectful way to care for the earth, the animals and the plants in order to sustain the environment for coming generations. Here are a few ideas that you and your family use to continue the celebration of Earth day all month of April:
Miss Julia and Miss Tamara
Wow! Itâ€™s hard believe that the month of April has come and gone so quickly! The children are enjoying the warmer weather and we are fast approaching the end of another great school year. There has been so much exciting work happening lately! The kindergarten students have all completed several long skip counting chains. The chains are a concrete introduction to multiplication, allowing the children to practice counting by twos, threes, fours and continuing up to tens. Leo, Eddie, and Claire all worked together to complete the 100 board and then traced or wrote all the numbers from 1 to 100! Danielle, Lily, Brooke, and Parker have been practicing writing words and sentences with the moveable alphabet. John, Noah, and Summer made beautiful flower arrangements and placed them throughout the classroom. Allie is continuing to work on the map of the United States and knows how to do all the phonetic object boxes in our classroom. The children absolutely loved the portable planetarium presented by the Perot Museum! Space studies is a favorite topic among the children in our class and they were very excited to learn more about planets, stars, and constellations. We learned that several new dwarf planets have recently been discovered in our solar system. We also learned how to find the North Star and the Big Dipper in the sky! Ms. Elizabeth and Ms. Ashley
In the Garden with Ms. Loree Guess who came for dinner in the Children’s Garden? It’s the Black Swallowtail caterpillar! This particular variety has returned every year for the past three years, and can always be found on our Green Fennel. This caterpillar absorbs toxins from the host plants, and tastes awful to bird predators. The Black Swallowtail caterpillar has an orange "forked gland", called the osmeterium. When in danger, the osmeterium, which looks like a snake's tongue, extends and releases a foul smell to repel predators. The children have a wonderful time observing the caterpillars through the magnifying lenses, and try very carefully not to disturb them. Soon they will change into a chrysalis, and then complete their metamorphosis into this beautiful butterfly! I think it’s ironic that this sequence of events simultaneously happens at this time of year as we watch the children morph into their next stage of development! Happy spring! female swallowtail
with Ms. Judi
As we start and end each art session, the children are so very helpful to me and each other. This month in April, the second level children finished up their little critters. The children really went above and beyond thinking about creative ways to decorate them. The kindergarteners started to work with photography and on earth day, we went into the garden and around the school and took pictures to draw. The children had a great time exploring.
Technology with Ms. Judi
n Technology, we used the vtech digital camera and went around the school and took photos of the garden and of the school. The children are going to be able to learn to upload the pictures and see how it transfers to their own USB drive. Itâ€™s great to see their interest and curiosity of technology. Next, we are starting to work on powerpoint presentations of their favorite montessori works for the month of May.
Another year has flown by and somehow we are in May again. I have enjoyed this year tremendously. There has been such growth since August, tears have been replaced with smiles. In the last couple of weeks I have noticed the second year toddlers are looking like primary students. One of the favorite activities in the toddler room is story time. Sometimes we will line the chairs up in several rows so that everyone can see the pictures. The toddlers enjoy this and have begun to line up the chairs themselves and if they are not being read to, they like to take turns singing a song or saying their ABCâ€™s for their friends. It is extremely sweet to see and their friends love to be the audience. Needless to say, they have grown since August. The primary students continue to be a continuous burst of energy. They love to draw and absolutely love markers and stickers. Their growth can be seen during playtime. Their ability to resolve their differences with friends has improved greatly. They can talk to their friends and resolve their differences and very seldom need to seek the help of a teacher. It makes for a peaceful environment in our little ASC Family. Happy May and Last Month of School! Lisa Wilson & The ASC Staff
As April is coming to a close we have been reflecting on all the wonderful stories of the school year. Every child has heard a story this year that has truly impacted them in some way. Even though they may have only heard the story once or twice, something about it has remained within them so that they remember the story even into adulthood. As a child I loved the parable of the lost sheep. I’ll never forget a game we played in Sunday school with a tiny sheep toy. Our Teacher told us that God was like a good Shepard and we were all His little sheep. If any of us forgot about God’s great love and wondered away, God would be a good Shepard and look for us until we were found. Like the Shepard, God always takes care of us and protects us. This idea made me feel so safe in life and know that God will always protect me. When we are close to God we recognize his calling and follow him. As God’s flock, we are in need of his shepherding from the time we are tiny lambs until we are old muttons (name for an old sheep). In chapel, I was able to share this special parable with the children. They had so much fun trying to find the tiny sheep in the chapel that was lost and playing the listening game to see if they could hear my voice. This would be such a fun Bible lesson to learn and game to play at home. I hope all of your enjoy the teaching and continue to learn and grow in the knowledge that God is our good Shepard and He loves us so much! This week we talked about the story of Daniel and the Lions den. A story that shows us that we must do what is right in the eyes of God even if people around us do not agree. God will always protect us and love us! Even in a lions den!! :) Blessings, Ashley Woodruff Christian Education Director
Upcoming Events May May 8th- Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast May 16th- End of School Picnic/Head of school Day May 22nd- Kindergarten Showcase (5:30pm) May 26th- Memorial Day ( School Closed) May 29th- Last Day of School (10:30am dismissal)
SJES April 2014 newsletter