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The Importance of Music - Loree Birkenback

head of school


n this month’s Monday Morning Montessori meeting, Lisa Muratore of Kindermusic joined me to present the importance of music in your child’s development and

ways to incorporate it at home. I’m sure you’ve noticed just how much we rely on music in our classrooms; it’s a cue for transition, quiet work time, keeping rhythm, movement, marching on the line and of course singing! I hope you’ll take a minute to look at the power point demonstration to learn more. I’ve also attached Montessori Services musical instrument promotion…what a great Christmas gift idea! .


We are having such a great semester. The children are becoming increasingly independent. We are focusing on their indepenThetoChildren lovejackets, to take careand dence by encouraging them put on their shoes socks. Lessons have also been given in cutting with our child of our classroom!! We water our safe scissors and food preparations such as picking grapes off the stem or slicing fruits such as about bananas. With their indepenplants 3 times a week dence, potty training is been a part of our daily schedule. Many the children love and taking students are now wearingand big girl/boy underwear we could not be more proud of their success.

turns to keep our plants alive

Spring will be here soon and that will new works to look forward and beautiful to and nature walks for discovering. Thanklooking! you for letting us be a part of your child’s life. We have enjoyed watching them blossom over 6 months. Lindsey, Eva and Yoli

In the Classroom

During the month of October one of the children’s favorite works is our pumpkin scrubbing work. The children take turns every day cleaning and touching our different pumpkins. We talk about the bumpy spots and the smooth spots and how clean they are after they clean the pumpkins.

Our window blocks are a great work because the children love to look through them to see what color everything turns. They love to build with the window blocks too. This is a “floor work.” This means they need to have a rug rolled out on the floor in order to have the work out.

This is our scooping work. We have made it festive for Halloween. The children have done a great job with this work. We emphasize on how important it is for the beads to stay IN the bowls and if we drop one we MUST pick it up. This is a “table work.” When they would like to get this work out they put down a green underlay for their work station.

Our window blocks are a great work because the children love to look through them to see what color everything turns. They love to build with the window blocks too. This is a “floor work.” This means they need to have a rug rolled out on the floor in order to have the work out.

Attention: With the cold weather finally here, please be sure to dress your child in warm clothes and always bring a jacket. We go outside unless it is under 42 degrees. Also, please be sure to put warm clothes in the their bag for their extra outfit.


Ethan basks in the glow of satisfaction at his accomplishment! He has managed to try on our classroom sweater independently.

“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.� -Maria Montessori

Normalization in the Toddler Community Sometime in October, the weather begins to cool, but the temperature isn’t the only thing changing in the autumn season. The children begin to work with more sense of purpose, with more focus and specific intent. There is a calm buzz around the class and you notice the children working through the full cycle of activity and completing each task with finality and the pride of a job well done. The daily routine is automatic and few reminders are necessary. The teachers or guides in the class are suddenly free to observe the children, give quiet lessons and silently help to maintain the environment with very little intervention. This moment is unimaginable a few short weeks before it occurs, but when it happens it is magical, tangible. This moment is what Montessorians refer to as normalization. It is the moment when the young child’s strong will is distilled with purpose and discipline. We have begun to experience the normalized community and are excited to witness this transition. The children enter the classroom excited to work. Many of them know what work they want the moment they walk through the door and set off to complete the pre-ordained task. Some parents have even mentioned that their children discuss their choice of work in the car! These are children who love to learn, are self directed, motivated and disciplined. What terribly important skills for all people to have! What absolute joy and freedom they must feel at having chosen worked with and restored the very thing they wanted to perfect. - Ms. Charlotte

Even our youngest, Cooper, works with great focus to transfer the pumpkins with a ladle developing fine motor skills and hand eye coordination.

Charles is patiently making orange juice by hand while Noah receives a math lesson and other children work.


Audrey concentrates on the lock and key work.

Nathan paints while Cameron carefully puts dry spaghetti into a salt shaker.



he wind is in the air and pumpkins are rolling! We have been reading Halloween books and learning about Fall. A few of the works are nut sorting and leaf matching. Colors we are using are brown, yellow, orange and of course black. Painting, gluing,stickers, stamps and play dough have been fun ways to use the fall colors and learn about the seasons. We have also started learning some new songs from Montessori Mozarts. So you may hear and see Do Re and Mi from your toddler. Another song is Freight train and we are learning fast and slow and keeping the beat with “Mill wheel”, fun new songs and concepts. With the weather getting a little cooler, we are also learning how to put our coats on. I just love to hear them say “I did it!”. -Ms. Anna and Ms. Bea

Timo and Mr. Hungry

Ms. Coral’s Class Making a pumpkin into a Jack-o-lantern by using shapes and colors have had the children busy all month! The children really enjoy making the pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns by creating their own work of art. Nelly is extremely proud to present her own Jack-o-lantern

The “Broad Stair” is an introduction to Primary work; however, the toddlers love to experiment with all the variations. It is a beautiful thing to see a child master one of the most challenging works in the classroom.. Here: With Ms. Coral’s help, David has built a tower using a variation of the “Broad Stair”.. The children were so enthused by this, an on-looking group of students were glued to David’s concentrations and love of building. The “Geometric Shapes” are a math work anyone can take to. The children have been in a sensitive period for building shapes and structures and trains. John, in particular is fascinated with making his geometric shapes into different variations of houses. He is very careful to color coordinate his structures and designs in a way where all of them match and fit as a whole.

Vivian among other children have been infatuated with the “Fall Foam Sticker Work”. Many have been sticking the pumpkins on their paper to make a “Pumpkin Patch”. This work helps strengthen the muscles in the children’s hands by using their fine motor skills for peeling.

Fall works have been buzzing in the classroom lately! One of our most recent works in Ms. Coral’s class is the “Fall Felt Board Tree”.. We use the felt board in group time and the children enjoy it so much that we made an individual felt work for them to work on during “work time”. Astrid is proud to present to you her “Felt Board Tree!”

Primary W

e would like to start off by thanking you guys for coming to the open house; it was the best turnout we’ve ever had! We loved watching the children share their favorite works and give lessons to their parents and younger siblings. We hope that all of you enjoyed it as well. In our last newsletter, we introduced the areas of the classroom. This month we are going to tell you more about the practical life area and explain some of the works your children do. Practical life activities are considered the foundation of the Montessori 3-6 class. Through these activities the child learns to make intelligent choices and to become physically and then mentally independent and responsible. They learn to concentrate, to control muscles, to move and act with care, to focus, to analyze logical steps and complete a cycle of activity. This lays the groundwork for mental and physical work in all other areas of work, not just in early childhood, but throughout life. The child’s reasoning and method of working is different from ours. Adults will usually look for the most efficient and quickest way to do something and then they will rush through it or avoid anything labeled “work.” A child, on the other hand, works to master the activity and to practice and perfect his abilities. Children may scrub a table each day for weeks, then turn their attention to some other activity to master. We must not look upon their method of learning as inconsistent or lazy but rather as a cumulative mastery of their abilities. The child’s purposes is not only to complete the task as much as to construct the self.

Practical Life is divided into three areas:

Care of environment sweeping, table scrubbing, care of plant, folding clothes gardening, etc.

Care of self dressing, cooking, hand washing, hair combing, brushing teeth, etc.

Grace and Courtesy serving works, please and thank you, walking on a line, carrying a tray, etc.

Practical life activities provide superior groundwork for physical, mental, and social development and teach the work habits that lead to success in all later academic work. It provides practice in eye-hand coordination, the control of large and small muscles, the ability to walk and to carry objects with control, and to behave with good manners.

These are the activities that bring the child’s attention to their own progress and development, and that open up a world of important work. Grace and courtesy includes learning to look a person in the eye when speaking, to listen patiently, etc. These lessons enable the child to be welcomed into a social group, to be happy and to make others happy.

-Julia and Tamara

Hayes is exploring the “rectangular prisms” of the Brown Stair. Each of the 10 prisms varies in the two dimensions of width and height. The children are presented the language of “wide” and “narrow”

Santi brought a lovely blooming branch of cotton for the children to explore. When all the seeds were pulled from the soft cotton, Santi made a poem: “The seed pods are like butterflies�.

“The Arboretum Story” by Dawson Clemmons, Miriam Griffith, Harper Mooney, Aubrey Tillery and Landon Peters Language in the Montessori Classroom begins with Oral Language: Telling Stories, Playing Sound Games and Enrichment of Vocabulary. Language in the Montessori Primary Classroom, as in all areas, begins with the Sensorial Experience. All of the third year students visited the Arboretum together at the end of September. This is the story told in our classroom on the afternoon of their return. “The Arboretum Story” We found so many pumpkins. We found Cinderella Pumpkins and many TigerStriped Pumpkins. We found a Cinderella Carriage and we got to go in it. We sat in sparkly golden seats. But it didn’t drive. No one can go in the front. The sign said, “Do not go in the front of the carriage”. There was lots of fun at the Arboretum! There were Pumpkin Houses. They were awesome! We got to play tag on a field where we ate. “Dawson, how ‘bout your Dad chasing all of us?” We saw Pioneer Houses. There was a ladder that goes up to a bed.

We got to play freeze tag. We had lots of fun and when we left we found a toy in the parking lot. We got to run down the grass to where we took a picture. We sat on the stairs. Landon found a secret hideout with the bamboo. Then we got to run back. We saw blue glass lines. There was smoke coming out of the trees right by the blue glass. It was super blue. There were skiddley, doodley ones, so crazy in circles. We saw a big, tall pokey yellow one. We saw a red glass sculpture by Mr. Davis Chihuly. He used firey tools and spinned it around to make glass. It glows in the dark at night and glows up. We got to go to a pumpkin class, a science class. We got to be a seed and grow into a flower and then into a pumpkin. She showed how to peel the coat off of a lima bean. The baby was inside the bean and when you peel the baby off you see the baby food. -Ms. Bailey and Ms. Woodruff

Audrey concentrates on the lock and key work.

Ethan is the Snack Chef. He washed his grapes in the colander, pulled off all the stems and now is sweeping them with the table brush and dustpan. His Snack Assistant wants to arrange the stems into artistic little groups but Ethan is working with a different “purpose�. He wants to get the snack ready to eat!


“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.� -Maria Montessori

Emma explores the Pink Tower using both hands. The 10 cubes of the Pink Tower vary in all three dimensions: length, width and height. The language of “large and small”, “tall and short” is presented.

Violet concentrates on “cutting on the line”. She is preparing for Handwriting by developing the necessary focus as well as fine motor control.


aria Montessori believed that normalization was

“the single most important result” of a child’s work in the classroom. In a Montessori classroom, normalization refers to the child’s love of work, concentration, and self-discipline. It has been very exciting to observe our classroom as it has begun to “normalize.” The children are choosing appropriate work on their own, concentrating for longer periods of time, and taking ownership and responsibility for their environment. Many of the second level and kindergarten students take great pride in keeping the classroom clean and organized, and the younger children watch carefully and learn from their older friends.

We have been amazed by the children’s

Our class has had a lot of fun learning

work during the past several weeks.

about the season of fall and using spe-

The second level and kindergarten chil-

cial fall works like: gourd sorting, pump-

dren have been busy writing stories

kin punching, and acorn scooping. Sev-

about rainbows and alligators with the

eral children have made fall leaf collages

moveable alphabet. Two kindergarten

by tracing leaves from the leaf cabinet

students spent an entire day working

onto red, orange, yellow, and brown pa-

on the long chain of 8. They remained

per, punching them out, and gluing them

excited and focused throughout the day

on paper.

until they had counted by 8’s all the way

We read The Stubborn Pumpkin during

to 512!

circle time and learned to use a book-

Many of our younger students have

mark because it was a bit long. We also

enjoyed working with compound word

had group lesson on the life cycle of a

picture puzzles. They learn that putting

pumpkin and parts of a pumpkin.

two words together can make a brand

-Miss Elizabeth and Mrs. Ashley

new word! It has been especially exciting to observe many of the children begin to blend sounds and read! When children begin to learn the phonetic sounds of letters, they can start to spell using the moveable alphabet. The children may choose small objects or picture cards as prompts to spell simple words phonetically.

“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.� -Maria Montessori


ractical Life exercises are the foundation on which all of the various exercises in all areas of the classroom are built upon. It is in these exercises the child begins to form control of movement, build concentration, hand and eye coordination, order, and physical as well as mental independence. These exercises may appear very simple or even like “play� to the child and the other adults in the environment. But as the child repeats various exercises he is working on perfecting a specific skill or movement. It is through this movement that the child develops and actually builds his own abilities. The child

watches a presentation on a skill then is allowed to repeat the skill at his/her own rate. There comes a time when the child no longer feels the need to repeat the skill. This usually occurs when the child has gained confidence in the skill. The child no longer has to concentrate to bring about a certain movement, it gradually becomes an unconscious action. Through practice, the child builds himself. Finally, the child learns Good Working Habits as he finishes each task and puts away all of his materials before beginning another activity. -Mrs. Barrineau/Ms. Ana

In the Garden with Ms. Loree

In The Children’s Garden... We have had lessons on living/nonliving and the parts of the pumpkin. Living/ non-living is introduced to children three years of age and up, but it can still be a difficult concept to grasp! How do we know things are living? Do they require the fundamental needs in order to remain alive? We get into some pretty deep conversations about the topic! The children worked together beautifully as they marched through the garden designating all the living and non-living. The rocks are nonliving, the plants are living.

Each time we walk through the garden I say the names of the plants and play word association games or tell them something unique about the species to help them remember the plants name… The Lavender has lavender flowers; the Pineapple Sage smells like pineapple; Lamb’s Ear is as soft as, well, you probably can guess the rest of this one. During the living/non-living presentation day I also showed the children the Snapdragons and demonstrated how the flower can snap its mouth like a dragon; I even imitated a little dragon roar! The children all laughed and we continued, but later a child pulled me over to ask me to visit the Snapdragons one more time with him. “They’re living, right?” asked the child. “Yes, it needs water, sun and soil to live, so it is living”. “Will it bite me?” asked the child, with a look of fear in his face. “Ohhhh, it’s a living plant, but not really a dragon!” Ha-ha-ha, lesson learned; present snapdragon during a separate lesson and maybe lay off the roaring sound!

-Mrs. Loree


n art, this month, we finished up the 4 seasons tree and the children ventured out to the pumpkin patch to draw from life! It was a great experience and the children had a blast! The kindergartners used chalk pastels to fill in their pumpkins, while the 4’s used oil pastels and made them into jack-o-lanterns! Please stop by the Highlands Cafe to see the display of the Kindergartners’ work! It will be up through the month of November.

Art with Ms. Judi

Technology with Ms. Judi


his past month in Technology, we learned to open up the internet from the desktop, and navigate through the homepage, Symbaloo. Through websites such as Alphablocks and Red Fish Soup, the children are able to continue to learn to use the mouse and have control of the cursor to click and explore the website.

I am really enjoying getting to know your children this year and I have a wonderful staff assisting me. Lilly Petrini, Delaney Cotten, Hannah Squires work with the toddlers and Julia Contreras, Elizabeth Stark and myself work with the primary. Do you ever wonder what your child does when they come to ASC? We start the day off with roll call and snack. We continue the healthy eating habits that you see in their classroom when they come to ASC. Primary children will play outside first until 4:30 and then the toddlers have outside time until 5:30. We have been so lucky with the weather and have not had to stay inside. We will continue to play outside even with the cooler temperatures. Please be sure to send a jacket with your child. We will have baskets for the Primary Students in Mrs. Bailey’s and Mrs. Barrineau’s Class and Mrs. Anna’s Toddler Class. Please beTip! sure to check the basket for their jacket when you pick up your child each day. If you ever need to extend your child’s day, drop in dates are available, but you must call to schedule. Please contact the school office for details. Lisa Wilson



ctober was such a fun month for Chapel! All of the Kindergarten students are now well acquainted with their jobs and look forward each week to leading the younger children during our worship service! We were also able to celebrate St. Francis’ day at St. James! Father Gardner led us all in giving thanks and asking blessings for our wonderful pets! Many children brought their animals, pictures of animals or even stuffed animals to join in the celebration! It was a wonderful time had by all and a great memory for the children. Coming up in November we will be learning about the Thanksgiving story! This is a fantastic opportunity to ask your child about what makes them thankful! We have so many reasons to be thankful and we can always find the source of where those blessings come from. I’m thankful this year that God has given me the opportunity to share His love with all of the children at St. James. What are you thankful for? Happy Thanksgiving and Many Blessings, Ashley Woodruff Christian Education Director

Upcoming Events November November 16th Thanksgiving Feast

Oct 31

November Halloween 20th Parties Noon Dismissal Grandparents Day 11:00 am Dismissal November 21st Thanksgiving Holidays November 22nd Thanksgiving Holidays November 23rd Thanksgiving Holidays

December December 10th Monday Morning Montessori Discussion with Loree Birkenback

SJES October News  

sjes october newsletter