Back to School
Summer Recap: What a wonderful Summer we had! August in particular was an exciting month. We have two fun in-house fieldtrips; the firefighter visits and the Reptacular Animals Petting Zoo. This year’s firefighter visit was different from the year before. This time the focus was more on home and school safety. The firefighters also emphasized to the children not to fear them when they are wearing their full uniforms during an emergency situation like a fire. Fridays were fun days, with water play and bubble day every other Friday. The Reptacular Animals experience during our Carnival was amazing! There is nothing better than holding and feeling real animals! The School Spirit Week too was an event the children were looking forward too. Our Crazy Hair Day was crazy, and Pajama Day is still the most participated event! Our class explored hand painting and we used it for the Down on the Farm crafts. Our August bulletin board showcased these hand painted farm animals. September is coming, and we will have a new set of children. Welcome to our new students and families. We are all set and ready for learning and a great school year!
September Recap: We have started the school year by going over the school rules and reviewing the basics; Walking inside the classrooms, washing hands, using indoor voices, using kind words, taking turns, proper ways to handle our Montessori materials and much more. We had a rearrangement of mine and Ms. Elda’s classrooms. Both rooms seem spacious now. We were off to a good start and all seems getting in their supposed places. The first theme for the schoolyear is about the child – all about the child. We started by asking each to bring a picture a talk about themselves; names, age, parents, and their favorites. The children were happy to know that they have many similarities and, were curious about their differences. They were more surprise to know that best friends could have different things they like. They also brought in their family picture and proudly showed it to the class. The book Yo! Yes? Was an excellent prompt to talk about friends and how it could begin, supporting this concept was journal writing about their best pals. In math, the children are doing number writing and practicing counting. The same way in language, we are working hard on phonics-letters and their sounds and practicing our letter writing. So far aside from our Kinder reader who is now on the blue box and blue books series, 4 more potential readers have started working on the movable alphabet and the pink box. For Geography, we have reviewed the continents and the oceans. As a follow up activity on this lesson, the children came home with their own map of the world, coloring the continents and the oceans. In Science, we are starting with plant and animals, their characteristics and how they differ with one another. As an activity the children had an activity-sorting activity on which are plants and which are the animals. The season has changed and Fall is now upon us. Our class are doing some fun Fall crafts. The changes accompanying weather, leaves, animal behavior had been discussed in class. For Cooking, we did many yummy snacks; one-cup salad, celery and pineapple sticks, animal-shaped sandwiches, and me pizza. I am proud to say we used healthy ingredients and still came out with delicious snacks.
October Recap: October is an exciting month having one of the most exciting holidays of the year-Halloween. The children worked on the nomenclatures related to Halloween. Nomenclatures like, Parts of the Pumpkin, Parts of the Bat and Parts of the Owl.
In Language, the children worked on the Vocabulary Enrichment Folder. We learned Halloween words, like jack-o-lantern, haunted house, black cats, and many more. We made special projects for this holiday, haunted house, jack-o-lantern, and owls. The children were very eager to show off their crafts. They were proud of their own idea and designs. The children also made a couple of craft, fall mosaic and fall wreath.
Our science focused on the Solar System. Studying the night sky is always very interesting! The children were so excited, every time I read them a book or talked about it. We learned the terminologies, yellow star, planets, dwarf planets, asteroids, etc. The planet Earth was just one part of the vastness of the universe, and that although there are multitudes of celestial bodies each one has an important part in the balance of the universe.
North America, our home continent, was the Geography focus. Related to this lesson, we worked on North America puzzle map and classified nomenclatures about the plants and animals native to our continent. Because we were also talking about the land and water forms, we used the North American functional map to identify and give examples to the concepts.
Our effort to move on with reading is making a lot of progress. We have 5 readers, 1 student putting sounds together already. That means half of the class is working on the Pink box and Word Ring already and reading sentences. Some of our readers have brought home the Red Phonics Books and have been practicing reading simple books. I am very proud of our hardworking children! In Writing, we did a lot of exercise hoping to further improve the pencil grip and strokes.
We had so much fun playing Round Robin in Zoology. We were talking about mammals and had been using the puzzle pieces of, The parts of the mammal and the nomenclature of different kinds of mammals. During circle time, we play Round Robin naming mammals found in the zoo, mammals found in the farms, and mammals that we could see around our homes.
We made some yummy dishes during Cooking Class. We made Green Meanies out of green apples and pretzels, Witch Broom from cheese and extra-large stick pretzels, Pumpkin Tostadas, and Ritz crackers spiders.
November Recap: I would like to thank our dear parents for their active participation with our school events. During the Thanksgiving Feast we each shared what we are thankful for. As we observed and celebrated two important holidays, Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving, the emphasis was given on the virtue and value themes of these two very important occasions. We discussed what it is like to be a friend to others. Then we talked about showing gratitude towards our Veterans. As we honored our Veterans on, Veteran’s Day we remember the courage and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. We admired their sense of responsibility to our country by maintaining peace and order. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, taught us the value of unity, working together, and preserving traditions. Teaching children the right virtues and good values starting at a young age has always been emphasized in the Montessori philosophy.
Talking about accomplishments, In November, two more children graduated from Alphabet and Sounds and are now starting to read 3-letter words. We have seven children in the reading level. Journal writing is another of our learning activities that the children are getting more and more comfortable with. Journal writing is an activity when children could apply their phonetic skills, writing simple phrases and sentences explaining their drawings. Talking about budding writers!
Our Kinder students are sufficient in practicing their Addition. They are currently working on the Addition Strip Board and Math Ring memorizing the Addition tables. The Pre-Kinders, on the other hand, continuously practice on perfecting writing numbers, Counting On, and Ordinal numbers.
We continued on by focusing on a North American country – our beloved homeland USA. USA was a very appropriate focus. As we talked about our country, we also talked about the cultural values of our people that helped shape our nation and made it great. In Botany, we continued on to the Leaves, working on the puzzle parts of the leaf and the cabinet of the Leaf Shapes. Again, the emphasis is on the importance of plants and leaves. In Zoology, as an extension of our country in focus, we talked about the animals native to our country such as turkeys, eagles, and bears to name a few.
For our November cooking lessons, we did yummy snacks and made sure we used ingredients that are abundant during this season. We made No-nut trail mix, turkey avocado sandwich, apple fruit donut, and tree snack.
We can really feel the chilly weather as the season progresses. Please make sure to layer our pupils’ clothes and remember to bring a jacket or sweater to school. Also, please check your kid’s cubby every now and then to see if they have enough change of clothes.
December Recap: The month of December was fun-filled. Our lessons about the 3 big celebrations – Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas, helped set the merry mode of the month. Add to this were the special events, like Santa’s visit, giving present to the children of Hathaway Orphanage and the holiday recital. All these highlighted the spirits of the season which were love, charity, and celebration.
In Geography, our focus was about Europe. The children worked on the puzzle map and country labels of this continent. Pictures of the famous landmarks were used in this lesson as a classified nomenclature. Our class played a game on matching the landmark with the country which they enjoyed so much.
Our class made beautiful holiday crafts. Among them were Christmas wreaths, which were hung and arranged like a Christmas tree on one of our walls. We also made Snowman on a Snowy Day using torn small pieces of paper. Tearing paper into small pieces was a great fine finger exercise in Practical Life that required concentration and focus. Our third holiday craft was the colorful Christmas tree ornaments.
Immediately after the Thanksgiving, our class became so busy learning and practicing our songs for the recital. The children sang the songs Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and Up on a Housetop. This was the first time our school did a recital. A merry event indeed!
Our Cooking recipes were also holiday-inspired. We made Graham Cracker Reindeer, Fruit Santa, Green Grape Grinch, and Green Apple Christmas Tree.
January Recap: January the rainiest month of the year! We had so much fun in the rain. The children had a lot of fun jumping in the puddles with their rain boots. Because of the rain we mostly stayed indoors where we did many winter activities.
We continued working on reading, using the Movable Alphabet, the Pink Box and the Phonetic Boxes, 1 and 2. Our kindergarteners are almost done with the Blue Phonics Book and will soon move to Book 3, the Green Book. Our nomenclature in focus this month was winter outfits. In math, the children worked on showing the Decimal Box 3, laying out the beads and showing the corresponding numerals. This was the continuation of our lesson on place value showing the families of numbers-thousand, hundred, ten and unit. We also started skip counting, by 10’s and 5’s, using the short beads. We were starting to prepare for counting money and telling time for the kinder and advanced ones.
Because of the cold season, we dedicated this month to learning the dressing frames, zipper, button, lacing, buckle and bow. We were loaded with Practical life lessons this January, we also practiced blowing the nose, putting on jackets, as well as hanging the jacket on a hanger.
We worked hard on the 4-sided shapes (quadrilaterals.) There were 8 of them and the children had a great time learning/remembering their names.
In cultural Arts the focus was Antarctica and the animals associated with the cold weather- polar bear, penguin and animals that hibernate. Each child worked on a 3-part classified nomenclature about animals that hibernate and as a final activity made book. Some plants also hibernate. The class talked about bulbous plants – tulip, Amaryl’s and lilies. All these are considered with bulb roots. These plants lose their leaves during winter, looking dead but regrow them back in spring.
In cooking, we made many winter themed snacks, marshmallow and pretzel snowflakes, banana snowman, rice crispy snow owls and apple turtles. January was the month we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. A book about his life and work was read to the class.
The literature book we read was, “The Mitten,” by Jan Brett. This was a hilarious story about animals who found a mitten knitted by a grandma for her grandson. The scene of the story was very appropriate as it happened on a winter day. As the book described the coldness of that day, it also mentioned the winter animals that were involved
February Recap: February was a month dedicated to cultural awareness and friendship. We talked a lot about the different cultures and their similarities. Come to think of it, where we live is actually a melting pot of different cultures. Talking about our own background, we have identified eight cultural from our class. This theme about cultural awareness was a wonderful lesson to emphasize diversity, understanding, and friendship.
Our continent in focus for the month of February was Asia. We used the puzzle map, Control and Working map of Asia. We named the different countries and identified the islands and oceans that boarder the continent. Aside from the puzzle map, we also used the functional globe to locate the position of the continent to explain why weathers and seasons vary in different parts of Asia.
In Zoology, the children worked on the classified nomenclature of Asian animals, matching the cards of animals such as the Sumatran tiger, Asian elephant, panda, and orangutan. In Botany, we talked about the plant’s native to the continent, such as the tallest grass in the world-bamboo and cherry blossom.
The children learned about the different land features of Asia; the mountains of Himalayas, then Gobi Desert of China and Saudi Arabia Desert, the groups of islands of Philippines and Indonesia, the tropical jungle of Indonesia, as well as the tundra dessert of Siberia. Asia is a continent of many wonders.
In terms of the famous landmarks, our class talked about the magnificent tomb of Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China which is very long that it almost covered a fourth of the earth, and the very modern Tokyo Tower.
We had two big celebrations this month and a holiday. We celebrated the Chinese New Year with a lot of fun and red. On this day, we came dressed in red and four of our friends were in traditional Chinese costume. Two of our grandparents volunteered to bring a lion mask with music and performed the Lion Dance. We would like to thank the grandparents of Damon and Samantha Chang, Susan and Roger Chang for making the Year of the Pig a merry event. After the dance, Susan and Roger passed around fortune cookies to each and every child. At the end of the day, The Kinder students brought home the Chinese lantern they made at school and an orange (a symbol of sweet life in Chinese culture).
Another celebration was Valentine’s Day. Each class had potluck with each child bringing a light snack and valentines for their friends. We also make valentine cards for our families. On this day, we wore red, pink, purple shirts and anything with heart on it or, the word love/kisses.
The message of these two celebrations seemed to coincide with the theme of the month.
Rain continued to pour this February and so it was timely to talk about how rain forms. For our Science lesson we discussed the Water Cycle.
We had many indoor days because of the rain that we used these days to continue working on the Dressing Frames and Writing.
We made may delicious snacks during February. February 5th was the Chinese New Year, Year of the Pig.
And the children made the Watermelon Pig. For the Valentine week, the children made Fruit Hearts Kabob. As for the cultural-inspired snacks, they made Banana Sushi and English Tea Sandwich.
It is a bit challenging as to the variety of ingredients since we have children with allergies and dietary restrictions, but I am trying my best to keep in mind these issues and still come up with snack recipes that are delicious and safe for all.
March Recap: We were so ready for March and the arrival of Spring! We had so much rain during this year’s Winter that the we were counting the days to see more sun and feel the warmth of Spring.
March started with a week dedicated to Dr. Seuss and his memorable books. There was a Dr. Seuss book focused on each day of this week and the children dressed up corresponding to the theme of the book.
On Monday, the children wore their funny hats for Cat in the Hat, then their college shirt for Oh, the Places You’ll Go, next their shirts and dresses were backwards for Wacky Wednesday, wore mismatched socks for Fox on Socks, and wore red and blue for Red Fish, Blue Fish. This was a great experience for the class. We had a little fun on the book Fox on Socks. I let the children read the book to the class. It was a class group reading activity with me holding the book facing the children as they read in chorus the whole book. I am so happy of their reading progress and they were so proud of themselves.
The theme for March was African Savanna. Coincidentally, the continent in focus was Africa. Initially, the children did not know much about Africa, except for the animals. At the end of the second week, they could identify most of the countries and remembered the richness of the continent; it terms of land, animals, plants, minerals, diversity of people as well as the cultures. Africa is the home of the great pyramids, the largest desert, the longest river, the famed Kalahari, and the forest of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Africa’s mineral resources included oil, diamonds, and gold.
The Montessori materials use to name the countries were the puzzle map, the working map, and the control map of Africa. The world map and the globe were also used to name the oceans surrounding the continent. We talked about Madagascar, an island and a part of Africa. It has many interesting animals not found anywhere but in this island. I also used the classified nomenclatures on the following; People, Landmarks, Plants, and Animals in Africa.
During our Arts and Craft, the children each picked a savanna animal they liked. They made animals masks using paper plates and color paint. The animal’s masks came out beautiful and were displayed on the class bulletin board.
March 17 was St. Patrick’s Day. The Friday before, since 17th was on a Sunday, green was the theme. Children and teachers were wearing green. Classrooms were decorated with leprechauns and shamrocks. The children were so happy that Lenny, the leprechaun left them with a gold coin each. They said the gold coins were fake – since they tried to unwrap them and found no chocolate inside. They were treated with St. Patrick’s Day cookies and elfwich during the afternoon snacks.
In cooking class, we made 3 delicious snacks. For week 1 we make Cat in the Hat Fruit Snack using banana and strawberry slices. Week 2, we had Apple Leprechaun using green apples, Clementine oranges and strawberry slices. For week 3, we did Graham crackers Lion using graham crackers, stick and Loop pretzels and cranberries.
April Recap: April was a shorter month but one of the busiest of the year. The moth started with the much-awaited Scholastic Book Fair. The children were so excited with the new arrivals. Thank you to our dear parents who donated books to our library.
Middle of the month, the school celebrated the Week of the Young Child and the children dressed according to the theme of the day. On the same week’s Friday, the school held the Easter egg hunt. Pajama day still tops as the most popular theme. What an awesome day when they dyed their eggs. They watched in amazement as the eggs changed colors, from white to bright red, blue, yellow, green and orange. The message of Easter was beyond eggs and bunnies. Spring is the time when animals come out and have babies. Plants grow and flowers started blooming again.
On the academic side, it is my great pleasure to announce that all the children in our class are now on the reading level. Our next focus will be writing sentences and 3-sentence paragraphs.
In Math, the children worked on addition using materials such as Golden Beads and the Addition Strip Board. In geometry, we finished working on the last drawer of the Geometry Cabinet which was the drawer of the close curved figures. Next study will be the solid insets.
The continent in focus was Australia, the only continent that is also a country itself. It is a very interesting continent because many of its plants and animals seemed not to be found anywhere else. For this geography lesson, we used puzzles and the control of maps of Australia. As we talked about the facts of this continent, we used the classified nomenclature of the plants, animals and its people.
Earth day was also in April and part of the lesson was on two well known landforms, islands and volcanos. Science books depicting how islands and volcanoes form. As a follow up activity, the children looked up islands on the world map and the globe. Part of celebrating Earth Day was talking about recycling. Our class had a lively discussion on how we could help maintain our planet pollution-free. We had a lesson about the rainbow and as a follow up activity each child made an artwork displaying the colors of the rainbow.
Thank you, parents, for continuously participating in our snack host program. April was the month one of our friends left and moved to another state. Zoey Brown and her sister Cassidy were in our school for many years. We will miss you! Good luck to your new home and school.
May Recap: I would like to express my sincerest thanks to our classroom parents for the appreciation and love that they showed the staff during the Teachers’ Appreciation Week! We also had the Mother’s Day Tea Party and it was a successful one. We had a high number of attendees, despite of the early rain we had on that day. Thank you so much, dear moms for making this event a successful one.
We also finished the Spring Parent-Teacher Conference. The report cards will be given out on the 7th of June. Our pupils did a great job learning so much in class. I strongly believe that they are ready to be in the next level of schooling.
Spring pictures have been taken and so were the graduation pictures. In this time of the year, both myself and our pupils have mixed feelings. After months of getting to know each other well and building friendships, the time has come for our students to move on to their next adventure. By now they have already secured a spot in their next schools. A few of them needed to go through a more thorough process and was able to make it, Congratulations for making it!
This month we talked so much about the whale. We talked about their parts, diet, migration path, as well as naming the different kinds of whales. The children made whale mosaic and whale & calves mobile during arts and crafts.
Our continent in focus for May was South America. Naming the countries of South America was pretty easy since there was only twelve. To study the name of the countries, the Montessori materials of the following were used; puzzle map, working map and control map of South America. Since the children are in the reading level already, the labels of the countries were also given. The two-part Classified nomenclatures of the people of South America were shown. The children noticed the similarity of the indigenous people’s costume to that of the Native Americans, the feathers of their headdress, use of colorful fabrics, and some jewelry. We talked about the animals and plants that are native to this continent using the Classified nomenclatures.
May is a Spring month when flowers are abundant, and butterflies are everywhere. This month was dedicated to the butterfly and its metamorphosis. The book of the month was, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” This book talked about the many fruits that the caterpillar ate before wrapping himself up into a chrysalis and the becoming a beautiful butterfly. The children ended up knowing the words of the story by heart.
There were also other life cycles that we talked about like the life cycle of the bird, the frog, and the fish. We just acquired new materials on the life cycles. They are now in boxes and on the Science shelves.
The children made beautiful picture frames for their moms. They put gemstones around the frame making different patterns. They also made a Mother’s Day card using fuchsia hearts and they wrote the message themselves.
June Recap: We finished the final month of the school year. We focused on Community Helpers and our own state, the great state of California. The topic of the community helpers was initiated in class by talking about their parents’ work or profession. Each of the children described the professions by talking about what they saw their parents do. From this, our discussions progressed to each child bringing a book about a certain job. We had books about a dentist, a baker, a doctor, a zookeeper, and a firefighter. As a follow up activity, the children colored and cut pictures of the community helpers. For the children’s Montessori work, we used the classified nomenclature of the Community Helpers.
In Geography, our region in focus was California. The children worked on the puzzle map, the work map and the control map of California. They worked also on the classified nomenclatures of the important landmarks of the state (Yosemite Park, Hollywood) and its important symbols (Sacramento capitol, grizzly bear, California poppy).
In Zoology, the children worked on the parts and kinds of the insects. For the parts of the insects, they worked on the puzzle pieces of the butterfly and the ladybug. For the kinds of the insects, they worked on the classified nomenclature of the insects. Recently, new materials about the insects were added in class – the object and card box about the life cycle of the butterfly, ladybug, and the mantis. These 3 new materials surely stimulated the curiosity of the children.
Last Spring, we started gardening and planted bell peppers and zucchini. We continued caring for our garden and now our plants have produced flowers and fruits. Our class was so happy about this. Our lessons about the life cycle of the plants happened in our own garden.
Father’s Day came and we had a successful attendance. This time the weather was on our side. The Dads went home happy with their sweet presents.
Graduation was the biggest event of the year! The children sang, danced, and recited their lines in front of their families and friends. It was a wonderful experience for them. We practiced well and it paid off.
Congratulations to all our graduates! Good luck to your new schools! To all who made this event a successful one, thank you for helping make this occasion a memorable one to the children and their families.
Summer News: To all our parents, let me take this opportunity to express my sincerest appreciation for all the help and support that you had extended that helped the children achieve their learning goals. As we begin our summer program, we will have numerous events that the children will love! We will have water play, bubble days, and picnics. There will be exciting in-house activities, just wait for the school’s summer flyer.