El Nido News
Notes from the Parent/Infant Class
Our parent/infant class is off to a wonderful start with an assortment of babies, moms, dads and grandparents taking part in the opportunity to discuss child development and the Montessori approach to supporting infant development. In the Montessori world infant class teachers are called "assistants to infancy" because the idea is to provide the furnishings, foods and learning materials that are appropriate for each stage of infant development rather than setting up an environment that makes it easier for the adult to care for him. Lynn Chadderdon adds her experience as an AMS Infant and Toddler Teacher and Montessori mom to bring something specific and unique to each class in consideration of the child and family's needs. She is happy to present information on information specific to your situation as well. If you know any babies or are expecting one, please join us on Fridays.
News from the Tadpoles and Sunflowers Classes
The school year begins with simply following the routine of the school day at a pace that allows each student to take in the new experiences. There are classmates and teachers to get to know, routines to figure out (e.g., sitting on the circle rug, singing songs, waiting for a turn), coat hooks, lockers and cubbies to find, and new activities to discover. Much of the toddler curriculum revolves around learning self care - washing, dressing, toiletting and being responsible for one's possessions as well as for one's actions. Teachers are skilled at introducing each new concept in a concrete manner and encouraging the child to practice until the skill is mastered. The classroom is a safe and happy place and even the youngest student soon enjoys the routine. The simple consistency builds his confidence and independence. This is what Dr. Montessori referred to as "normalization" - the transition of the child into the responsibility, productivity and joy of the school day. We traditionally allow 6 weeks for the normalization process to occur. Children who attend shool 4 or 5 days each week will complete this process much sooner. Those who attend school 2 or 3 days each week may take longer. We are sensitive to the needs of each child and maintain the consisitency that makes them feel most comfortable.
We begin our Cultural Curriculum starting with taking a closer look at rocks (geology), fruit (botany) and our community (cultural geography). During toddler walks adults move at the child's pace, allowing her to inspect each leaf and bug and experience the textures of rocks, bark and grass.These sensorial explorations and new vocabulary introduce the toddler to scientific classification and enrich his school experience.
You can carry through at home by allowing time for your child to put on his own shoes or change wet pants, and by providing hooks at his level where he can hang his clothes and giving simple choices (e.g., "Would you like raisins or a banana?" "Do you want to wear the green shirt or the blue one?") so your child can begin to take responsibility for himself. Provide a mirror, a box of tissues and/or baby wipes and a small waste basket at his height so he can take care of nose drips and messy face issues on his own. And take some time to watch the ants, study rocks and give the names of fruits and vegetables (e.g., Mcintosh, Granny Smith and Red Delicious apples). Enjoy the slow pace of toddlerhood - it's over all too quickly!
Early Childhood Calendar
News from the Turquoise, Rainbow and Cottonwoods Classes
We will be reviewing health and safety rules this month and taking a field trip to the Fire Station during class (we will need a few parent helpers). Please take time to practice full names, phone numbers, addresses and walk through a family fire drill. Each child should know two ways out of every room and an outside family meeting place. Other rules we reinforce include the following.
- When lost in a crowd, stay put and ask a "mommy with children" for help.
- When lost in the wilderness, find the biggest tree or rock and stay there.
- If a grown-up you don't know asks you questions, tell a parent or teacher.
- If anyone says, "don't tell your mom or dad", be sure to tell a parent right away.
- Don't ever put anything in your mouth unless a parent or teacher says it's okay.
- If a stranger comes too close, yell, "You're not my parent - leave me alone!"
Every teacher has a slightly different approach but you'll find the same activities going on in each EC class every day. During each work period the children are given lessons individually or in groups according to their own needs and level of ability. This is the time when the children are free to choose activities in Practical Life (exercises in care of self and environment), Sensorial (matching, grading, sorting and sensory exercises), Art, Penmanship, Math, Language, Science and Geography. A very young child may spend the entire work period watching others and absorbing what the older students are doing even though she may not yet be ready for the work herself. An older child may spend most of the class time working on making a book, writing a story or practicing a math layout. The 4-year-olds often practice many different concrete activities, working on the details of each to their own satisfaction and often simultaneously working on social skills with classmates. At circle time we introduce the cultural units as indicated below.
Monday - Art / Music
We'll start out with an introduction and the timeless question, "What is art?" followed by a simple Art History timeline. We will begin our study of artists in October and be into music and composers by February. We have some favorites we like to study but by all means give us suggestions, especially those in the community we might visit. The Montessori philosophy is that children learn best by absorbing the artwork they see around them and the music they hear playing during class. We keep an appropriate selection of visual art and music in each classroom as a backdrop to our daily activities.
Tuesday - Time / Seasons
Through September we'll talk about fall and go on walks to find signs of the season. This is a good time to take your child on walks to look for signs of fall and bring back some leaves to share with the class. In October we'll take our annual field trip to the farm. We'll start on the Thanksgiving Timeline which culminates with the Thanksgiving Feast in November. We'll study winter, then the clock, until April when we'll be optimistic and look for signs of spring!
Wednesday - Geography
Our first group lesson is about the community - living things that help one another. We will talk about the community of our town, neighborhood, school and class. As the year progresses we will expand our concept of the community to include natural communities such as the mold community growing on a piece of bread, the rain forest community and the world community. Then we will begin our study of the Earth with land, air and water, progressing to the eight basic geographical land/water forms (island, lake, bay, cape, gulf, peninsula, strait and isthmus), then to the globe and map. We'll be ready to begin the continents with North America in time to tie it in with the Thanksgiving Timeline. From there we'll take each continent in turn. We can always use help finding people, food, plants, animals, music, stories, videos or anything from the various continents as we study them. Those of you who travel frequently may wish to contribute to our "Dolls of the World" collection.
Thursday - Biology
We will first define "living" and "non-living" and work toward the ability to classify things accordingly. Next we will take a look at protoctists, plants and invertebrates. We will grow mold, beans and create an invertebrate zoo. By January we will be ready to start on the vertebrates with fishes and work up to a study of mammals, finishing the year with a look at "Me" or the human animal. This unit will also entail nature walks and field trips whenever possible.
Friday - Literature
Beginning with lessons on how to care for a book and how they are made, we will study various authors and poets, becoming familiar with the work of each and trying a little of our own creative writing. We will also take turns visiting the local public libraries for Storytime.
Early Childhood Curriculum
Even though we repeat the same curriculum each year, the child is a little older and on a slightly different plane of development and will pick up concepts at a new level. Cultural curriculum lessons are given at circle time and are correlated with art projects, snacks, books, songs and games whenever possible. We present the material at a level aimed at the 3- to 4-year-old but vary the presentation depending on how the group as a whole is responding. The 3-year-old watches, listens and absorbs. The 4-year-old remembers some of this from the year before and starts to put it all together. The 5-year-old gains a command of the material and may join the 6-year-old in more advanced activities such as making books about an aspect of the subject, writing stories or even doing a research project on it. Virtually everything in the classroom from the pink cubes to the biology lessons include a broad spectrum of variations which take the child from initial exploration through elementary level work.
In teaching this curriculum certain themes weave in and out of our activities throughout the year. Concepts fit together and support each other. For instance, by the time of the Thanksgiving feast, Monday's art lessons will have included Native American art and Rembrandt, who was a contemporary of the Pilgrims. Tuesday's Thanksgiving Timeline will have taught the children the entire Thanksgiving story while giving them a concept of the passage of time. Wednesday's Geography lessons will have included the characteristics of North America and its native people and animals. Thursday's Biology lessons will have included Parts of Plants and which parts are edible which ties in with the Pilgrim's first harvest and feast while Friday's literature lessons will have included some wonderful Native American lore and Thanksgiving stories. You will notice, particularly in your child's second year of this program, how certain themes repeat throughout the year and how the child develops a holistic grasp of the subjects while continuing to discover the tiniest details therein.
Afternoon Elementary Prep Classes
Elementary Prep students enjoy the full spectrum of the Early Childhood Class in the morning, the social aspects and practical life skills of the lunch period (aka "Lunch Bunch") and finish their day with an additional work period aimed at refining sensorial, reading, writing and math skills. The lunch period begins with an emphasis on nutrition, the Practical Life exercises of setting places, washing lunch dishes, cleaning up, compositely and recycling. Students will be bringing home copies of the Food Rainbow to post in the kitchen to help them remember which foods to choose for their lunches. If you stock a low cupboard with lunch items such as fruit and crackers, and stock a special shelf in the refrigerator with yogurt, applesauce, juice drinks and prepackaged leftovers such as pizza and spaghetti your child will be able to create a healthy lunch all by himself. Please avoid "Lunchables" and "GoGurts" both of which cause problems with their packaging, provide little nutritive value and usually end up in the trash. Most children at this age need only a half sandwich, a piece of fruit and a drink each day. We recommend the Japanese bento box approach to lunch preparation wherein the child arranges a selection of slices fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses in a "Gladware" type box. In Japan moms prepare bento boxes to depict cartoon characters. Your child could create a sunset, flower garden or an abstract design with simple, nutritious whole foods. Candy, gum, soda pop and snack bars that may contain nuts are not allowed. Read labels to ensure that prepared foods are not high in sugar or colorings.
Afternoon Elementary Prep classes are aimed at preparing the child for our Elementary Class and include group lessons in Sensorial, Math and Language and time to practice individual reading, writing and math skills. Elementary Prep will also join the Elementary Class for some of their field trips and cultural lessons including Healthy Lifestyles, Social Studies, Botany and Zoology. On special days, such as Party Days at Halloween, Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day, there will be an optional noon pick up for Prep students.
Lower Elementary Lowdown
News from the Moose Tracks Class
Welcome back, Moose Tracks parents! We are excited to begin a great year starting with reestablishing our connections and ensuring a smooth year with team building during the first week of school. Unless your child is enjoying the school lunch program, please remind your child to pack a sack lunch each day since we will be dining al fresco.
Our Fall Family Campout is scheduled for September 26th and 27th at Wasatch Mountain State Park. Information packets will come home soon. Parents are welcome to join us for the entire campout or just drop in at your convenience. Our outdoor curriculum provides an important set of skills for Elementary students. We spend the days prior to the Fall Campout and the Spring River Trip preparing for the activities we have planned months in advance. These experiences are complemented by our Friday field trips. Students learn communication, problem-solving and teamwork skills that promote their confidence and independence. In addition the students work on real world tasks utilizing their academic skills. If your student cannot participate in our outdoor curriculum for any reason please talk to Michelle or Erin about getting a homework packet to compensate for the absence. Otherwise, bring your best campfire stories and be ready for a great time!
The Moose Tracks and Eagle's Nest classes work harder and play harder, too. We encourage all students to be responsible and independent enough to remember their school t-shirts for field trips, their lunches and to come to school with homework completed each day. We appreciate your help with these responsibilities. The trick is to help just enough and to let them know we are confident they can do it themselves! We want you to be aware of what is expected of your student so you can carry through with the expectations at home. Michelle and Erin are available every day after class to discuss ideas and answer questions. We are looking forward to a great year together!
Monday - History
Introduction to History with the Great Lesson of the Big Bang. The Great Lessons are jumping off points for elementary level cultural studies that typically include much drama and significance. The Big Bang involves costumes, complete darkness, flashlights and glitter!
Tuesday - Geography
We begin with the Solar System, stars and planets before we come in for a tighter focus on our own special planet and it's features.
Wednesday - Healthy Lifestyles
From a review of Health and Safety skills, human physisology and nutritional awareness we add our Team Building lessons then continue, while the weather is warm, with outside game skills. Please reinforce our focus on nutrition by posting your copy of the Food Rainbow in the kitchen where your child can refer to it when packing her lunch, choosing snacks or helping prepare dinner. Students will plan a meal for the Fall Family Campout and go to the Farmer's Market to purchase ingredients in preparation.
Thursday - Biology
To begin a study of Biology we start with the characteristics of Living and Non-living things. From there we will cover a survey of Botany, Invertebrate and Vertebrate Biology over the coming school year. If you have any interesting specimens to share with our young biologists please send them in!
Friday - Field Trips
Our Outdoor Expeditionary Learning curriculum begins with Team Building and the Fall Family Campout. On Fridays we will take some hikes and bike trips into the surrounding hills to experience fall as it approaches. We also plan to visit Recycle Utah this month. Over the winter we will be visting museums, businesses, historical sites, and natural spaces as well as spending plenty of time sledding, skiing and perhaps snowshoeing and ice skating. An important component of the Montessori elementary currciulum involves "going out" into the real world to confirm what the children are learning in class. Talk to Michelle if you'd like to help with any of our field trips.
We begin Spanish lessons on Mondays and Wednesdays following up with practice during class. We are reviewing vocabulary, greetings and simple phrases commonly used during class, lunch and transitions as well as following up curriculum lessons with the same information in Spanish. Ask your student about la luna and el sol.
Upper Elementary Update
News from the Eagle's Nest Class
Monday - History
We have begun our introduction to History with the Great Lessons beginning with the Big Bang. The Great Lessons are jumping off points for elementary level cultural studies that typically include much drama and significance. Students were introduced to a simple version of this story as toddlers and early childhood students, and a more complex version as lower elementary students. Upper elementary students are ready for more detail as they consider this evolving theory as a basis for the Timeline of Life.
Tuesday - Geography
The Eagle's Nest Class will review our understanding of the Solar System, moon, Earth and it's makeup and practice finding geometry in nature before zooming in on the Eastern Hemisphere in general and Europe in particular. We will extend our study of Europe to take a close look at it's topography, biomes, botany, zoology, cultures and geopolitical significance. If you have artifacts or experiences to share, please let Erin know.
Wednesday - Healthy Lifestyles
This month we review health and safety, human physiology and nutrition as well as other qualities of a healthy lifestyle including hygiene, exercise, rest, academics, fine arts, athletics, Earth-consciousnes and peaceful living skills. We celebrate Rosh Hashannah this month and prepare for our campout on the 26th and 27th.
Thursday - Biology
We will review the process of classification and botanical nomenclature with an Intro to Domains and the Tree of Life. We will focus on Kingdoms beginning with Bacteria.
Friday - Field Trips
Our Outdoor Expeditionary Learning curriculum begins with Team Building and the Fall Family Campout and becomes more challenging and more student-driven as we delve into the upper elementary curriculum. Our class will think about what they want to know and where to go to find out. We will hike the hills, inspect museums and businesses and ask a lot of questions. And we will often ask for your help with transportation. Thank you in advance for your support. Plans include hiking the Canyons, a trip to Rcycle Utah, a bike ride and the Fall Family Campout. .
We begin Spanish lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays following up with practice during class. We are reviewing vocabulary, greetings and simple phrases commonly used during class, lunch and transitions as well as following up curriculum lessons with the same information in Spanish.
“When the child goes out, it is the world itself that offers itself to him. Let us take the child out to show him real things instead of making objects which represent ideas and closing them up in cupboards.”
Dr. Maria Montessori
Half day before holiday - noon dismissal
Toddlers pick up inside 12:00 - 12:15, EC at playground gate 11:45 - noon, Elementary at playground gate 12:00 - 12:15.
Labor Day - No School
Happy Birthday, Leti!
Happy Birthday, Leah M!
Happy Birthday, Stevie!
Happy Birthday, Michelle!
Early Childhood Field Trip to the Fire Station during regular class time. Remember SWIMS t-shirts.
Cider Social for Tadpole and Sunflower Toddler Families: 11:45 - 12:15 on the patio Early Childhood and Elementary Families: 2:30 - 3:30 pm on the playground. Please plan to join us for this simple party celebrating the coming of fall and our school community. There is overflow parking at the park. No parking on Old Ranch Road.
September 26th - 27th...
Lower and Upper Elementary Family Campout, Wasatch Mountain State Park
"Confident and Courageous Children" workshop featuring Dr. JoAnn Deak, author of Your Fantastic Elastic Brain. Anyone who is interested in children will enjoy Dr. Deak's presentation on the development of the child's brain and how best to support this. We are hosting this workshop for the Utah Montessori Council and we invite all parents, grandparents, nannies and teachers to join us in the Santy Auditorium at 1255 Park Avenue, 8:30 am- 3:00 pm. $65/person. Contact email@example.com to register. The registration deadline isSeptember 6th.
September 30th - October 3rd...
School photos! Our good friend, alumna SWIMS parent and talented photographer Kay Beaton is once again making a guest appearance all the way from Colorado where she is recieving raves for her beautiful wedding and family portraiture. She will photograph all students and post the results on her website so you can order photos in plenty of time for holiday cards. Look for information to come home soon.
Back-To-School Night @ 5:00 - 7:00 pm
All families are invited for a child's eye view of a day at school including a lesson prepared just for you! There is overflow parking at the park. No parking on Old Ranch Road.
Half day before a holiday - noon dismissal. Toddlers pick up inside 12:00 - 12:15, EC at playground gate 11:45 - 12:00, Elementary at playground gate 12:00 - 12:15.
October 17th & 18th...
Fall Break - No School
Parent/Teacher Conferences - No School
No candy, nuts, weapons, bloody or grotesque costumes, please!
Toddler students - normal schedule - costumes optional
Early Childhood students - costumes welcome, arrive at 9:30 am. Noon pick-up optional for afternoon Prep students.
Lower and Upper Elementary students - normal schedule - bring a costume to change into for the party in the afternoon.
Parent/Teacher Conferences - No School.
Navajo Rug Show Field Trip for Early Childhood, Lower and Upper Elementary during class time.
SWPTSO is a volunteer group of teachers, students and parents who organize civic, social and fund-raising events enhancing the school community. They make it possible for each student to learn that they can make a difference in their world. SWPTSO events include;
Cider Social - The first SWPTSO event of the year, this party is being planned for September 18th to include all teachers, students and their families. Plan to join us in giving us in getting to know each other a little better while enjoying one of the last days of summer. Overflow parking is available at the park. No parking on Old Ranch Road.
Conference Refreshments - SWPTSO volunteers provide tasty treats to help parents and teachers get through the busy days of Parent/Teacher Conferences in October/November and March.
Fall Food Drive - SWPTSO volunteers organize the Fall Food Drive in October to benefit Adopt-a-Native Elder expanding the student's involvement with Native American culture.
Angel Trees - In November and December volunteers will organize the Angel Trees project to benefit Peace House reminding students to do what we can for those less fortunate than ourselves.
Yearbook - In April SWPTSO volunteers help the Elementary Classes put together a unique memento of the school year.
Teacher Appreciation - The first week of May is Teacher Appreciation Week and parent volunteers will help prepare surprises for our teachers to thank them for the work they do all year. Shh! Don't tell the teachers - they'll forget by May and be truly surprised!
PC Children's Fair and Auction - SWPTSO held a very successful 20th Annual Park City Children's Fair in June and students will make donations of the $10,000 in proceeds to the organizations of the Children's Planet Fund chosen by students for their role in promoting a healthy world for children. These include Adopt-a-Native Elder, Plan International, Recycle Utah, PC Library, Summit Co. Library, Friends of Animals, Kimball Art Center, Swaner Nature Preserve and the SWIMS Enrichment Fund. Through the SWIMS Enrichment program students can write proposals for new equipment or field trips beyond the classroom budgets and teachers are able to attend professional conferences and workshops enhancing their professionalism and enriching their classrooms and their students' experience. Planning begins in November for the 21st Annual PC Children's Fair to be held on June 1st.
Committees are assembling for all of this year's SWPTSO events. If you have not already volunteered, talk to any teacher about how you would like to help, look for sign-up sheets in the halls or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Confident and Courageous Children" Workshop
Our school is hosting the annual Utah Montessori Council Fall Workshop on Saturday, September 28th from 8:30 am until 3:00 pm in the Santy Auditorium at 1255 Park Avenue. This year's workshop will be presented by Dr. JoAnn Deak, author of Your Fantastic Elastic Brain. Anyone who is interested in children will enjoy Dr. Deak's way of explaining how a child's brain works and how best to support them. To register contact email@example.com. The cost is $65 per person and the registration deadline is September 6th.
Tuesday, October 8th we will host "Back to School Night" from 5:00 - 7:00pm. Your child will escort you to her classroom for a lesson prepared just for you. See you there! There is overflow parking at the park. No parking on Old Ranch Road.
Please say goodby at the gate - lingering parents make transitions more difficult.Toddler: 9:00 - 9:15 am at the playground gate.
Early Childhood: 8:45 - 9:00 am at front gates
Lower and Upper Elementary: 8:30 - 8:45 am at playground gate
Toddler: 12:00 - 12:15 inside
Early Childhood: 11:45 am - 12:00 at playground gate
2:45 - 3:00 pm at playground gate
Lower and Upper Elementary: 3:00 - 3:15 pm at playground gate
Teachers will be standing at the playground gate to help your student in or out of your car to keep traffic moving.
EC parents: Please display car signs in passenger window at pick up so teachers can see you coming and prepare your child for pick-up until they get to know your car. There is no parking in pick-up/drop-off lanes.
If your child must leave school early, please let us know in advance. Circle lessons are often done at the end of class and disruptions can be ruinous to the teacher's carefully prepared lesson and the childrens' moment of wondrous absorption.
When picking up your child, please remind them to put away whatever equipment they may be using, check cubbies and lockers for belongings and say good bye to the teacher. Saying good bye is not only a matter of etiquette but also ensures that the teacher is aware that your child is leaving and with whom.
Please feel free to come in after class to explore the classroom, talk to the teachers and ask your child to show you what he's been working on. Make sure that teachers are familiar with people authorized to pick up your child. Teachers will not release a child to an unauthorized person. Please also make sure we have current phone numbers, emails for both parents and addresses as well as alternate numbers to call in case of emergency.
The first six weeks is traditionally a sensitive time in the Montessori classroom when the new children are acquainting themselves with the rules and routine of the school day and the returning children are settling themselves into a slightly different framework in the new class. We spend this time getting to know each other and concentrating on a smooth running class with as few interruptions as possible. You are welcome to schedule a time to observe in October or any time thereafter.
What do you love about a new school year?
(Asked of our faculty)
Kim - Freshly organized materials.
Sally - Seeing the children and their families.
Leti - Teachers, children and families working together.
Tama- The fresh atmosphere.
Erin - Planning exciting field trips.
Anne - Meeting new students and welcoming back old ones.
Bruce - Seeing all the pieces neatly in place and running smoothly thanks to our talented faculty and dedicated parents.
Carla - Anticipating the unexpected.
Leah - Imagining the new class and preparing for them.
Leah M - Seeing old friends and meeting new ones.
Jules - New possibilities.
Lina - Stepping into a new routine that keeps everyone happy and healthy.
Stevie - The change of seasons, new and familiar faces in the classroom, leaves changing... and new Starbucks drinks!
Amy - A fresh beginning.
Ari - The seasons change - snow is coming!
Duna - I love the smell of purposeful work in the morning.
Michelle - New adventures to come.
Lynn - All the wonderful possibilities - what can happen?
Happy New School Year!