18 March, 2017
18 March, 2017
2 October, 2016
What: Come play with friends in the Sunnybrook Classroom. Meet other local families with young children. Do an art activity. Explore the classroom. Have a snack. Listen to a story. Meet the Sunnybrook Director/Teacher.
Where: Sunnybrook Montessori School
When: The first Monday of each month, October – May (January is the 2nd Monday) from 10-11 AM.
18 March, 2017
Snow, snow, and more snow filled our play yard and made for a short week! It was so high that we were all worn out from walking around, pulling each other in sleds, and shoveling out. The children had so much fun digging out houses, shoveling roads, making snow angels, creating and eating snow pies, and taking sled rides.
For art on Monday the children were introduced to portrait painting by European artists. We looked at the Mona Lisa by da Vinci, The Girl with Pearl Earring by Vermeer, and The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough. We then chose a partner to work with and took turns posing and painting. We introduced portrait painting to the entire class on Wednesday, and many children created some truly delightful portraits of their friends, many of which are displayed in our portrait gallery.
We welcomed Isabella Southworth on Wednesday, a native of Poland. She shared many interesting facts about Poland. She showed us a photograph of herself when she was a little girl, as well as her family and friends. We learned that many Polish people have blond hair and fair skin, though some are a little darker. She spoke about the weather in Polish. She spoke very quickly and we heard lots of swishy sounds. We talked about how we could get to Poland and how long it would take – 22 hours by plane! She brought some vegetables that are commonly eaten in Poland, including a beet, potato, and cabbage. We learned that Poland used to have princes, princesses, kings and queens. We saw photos of castles and learned that there are hundreds of castles in Poland, some that have been damaged or deteriorated, and others that are still maintained. We saw photos of the houses in Poland, which are mostly made of brick. Isa showed photos of people in traditional dress for special occasions, but learned that daily wear is the same as we wear here in the US. We also saw a photo of a beach along the coast of the Baltic Sea on the northern boarder.
On Thursday morning we made thank you pictures for Isabella and for Liz, who visited last month to tell us about South America. The children drew pictures of guanacos, beaches, clay houses, and harpy eagles for Liz. They drew princesses, beaches, Easter eggs, and castles for Isa.
The market was once again busy with shoppers, bakers, and cashiers. Lots of baked goods, fruits, vegetables, and boxed items were purchased. The children have been enjoying their market and have been working hard to keep it organized and get everything back to where it belongs when they are finished.
11 March, 2017
We returned from a warm vacation week to a skating rink playground, so we made good use of it. On Monday we played hockey with brooms and ice chunks. Go Big Green! Go Boston Bruins! With a light dusting of snow the following day, we skated around with our snow shovels and made paths for the vehicles. After a rainy recess Wednesday some streams wound through the ice, making for a fun muddy Thursday, then back to ice skating on Friday. The trucks were well used, though the wheels on the vehicles kept jamming up with packed snow, a frustration for the drivers. We attempted to come to a solution, but we didn’t have chains for toy truck tires. Requests for chase and tag were denied to eliminate the hazard of running on ice, so the children took to giving sled rides and shoveling to expend their energy.
On Monday morning we noticed that one of the two butterflies in our tank had emerged from its’ chrysalis. We were so excited to see it, and the children loved watching it throughout the week. They pretended to be caterpillars hatching out of eggs, crawling around eating green leaves, hanging upside down and breaking through their skin to become chrysalises, then emerging into butterflies flying around the room. It was a very exciting week! Sadly, it was much too cold to let it out into nature, so we made some sugar water mixture for it. Unfortunately, it was not sufficient to keep it alive, so our butterfly did not survive through Friday.
Pointillism was introduced for art on Monday, particularly the French artist Paul Signac, who, together with Georges Seurat, developed this painstaking form of painting. The children observed several paintings, noticing the small dots or slashes of color that were used to create the pictures, then they used Q-tips to make their own pointillism art. Pointillism was introduced to the group on Tuesday, and children continued to create beautiful works of art throughout the week.
As Monday was a play date day, the students had fun on their monthly visit to the library with Tammy, where they played school bus, trains, play dough, and doll house.
We began our study of the continent of Europe. We examined some items from Europe, including some wooden clogs from the Netherlands, a marionette puppet, a model of the Eiffel Tower, some Scottish tartan fabrics, and a Euro – the money used in most of Europe. Susan brought additional items to share on Wednesday, including a 100 year old nutcracker in the shape of an old woman, a Scottish kilt, a knit sweater from the Netherlands, and several nesting dolls from various countries, including Poland, Russia, Lithuania, and Romania (I think). The children loved trying on the shoes and clothes, playing with the marionette, and taking apart and reassembling the nesting dolls.
We played an over, beside, under game with the small globe. Each child took a turn holding the globe either beside, over, or under them while we chanted, “My friend . . . is beside/over/under the globe.” Several children began to make books in which they drew pictures of their friends beside/over/under items then wrote the names, the position, and the item.
The children took down the Amazon rain forest. They did some brainstorming and took a vote about what to put in dramatic play next. Out of their five suggestions, they decided on a Market, so they got underway setting that up and playing in it. There is a bakery, and several stalls selling fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and boxed foods. Sign makers were busy pricing out items and posting them, bakers were busy baking, shoppers were busy making wallets to hold their money and selecting items to purchase, and cashiers were busy ringing up the items.
On Thursday morning we had a special visitor, Debra Chen, who did a fun experiment with us. First we discussed what it means to be sick and how we feel when we are sick. The children had a lot to share about that! Then she explained what an experiment is. We then did an experiment. She “sneezed” into her hand three times, using a spray bottle with colored water to sneeze, then she shook hands with the student beside her, who shook hands with someone else, who shook hands with someone else, who shook hands with someone else. We observed that the germs from the sneeze had spread to all the children who shook hands. Debra then washed her hands and shook hands with another student, and we observed that the “germs” had all been washed away, so they did not transfer to anyone else. The children were more careful to scrub well with soap and water and count to twenty before rinsing before snack and after nose wiping!
String instruments were introduced, specifically those invented in Europe, including the lap harp/zither from Germany, the violin from Italy, the guitar from Spain, the ukulele (from Hawaii/US but invented by a man from Portugal), and the piano from Italy. We learned that they make music when the strings are strummed, plucked, bowed, or struck. We examined each instrument and took turns playing the guitar, ukulele, and piano. We opened the front of the piano and watched the hammer mechanism strike the strings as we pressed the keys.
For science on Friday we studied insects. The children each selected an insect figure to observe. They noted that some had wings, they all had eyes, they all had six legs, and some were fuzzy. We read the book About Insects and learned that all insects not only have six legs, but three body parts – the head, thorax, and abdomen. We also learned that they have exoskeletons and hatch from eggs. We looked at our chart and recognized that all animals except for mammals (and a select few reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects) hatch from eggs. We talked about some animals that we might often refer to as insects, but are not, such as spiders, worms, centipedes, and snails, because they do not have six legs and three body parts. We learned that insects go through metamorphosis, like amphibians, and looked at some models of insect metamorphosis, including a butterfly, ladybug, and honey bee. We also discussed what a bug is. We read the book Bugs Are Insects and learned that bugs are a specific kind of insect that have triangular shaped heads and beak like mouths and that despite their name, ladybugs are NOT bugs, they are beetles!
25 February, 2017
We were so grateful this week for the gorgeous sunny days and super warm temperatures, which allowed us to get LOTS of much needed time outside! There was a lot of wrestling, chasing, scooping up and playing with water, sled rides, and running, running, running. The spring like weather and week before vacation energy made for a week of active outside play.
Wrestling and “rough play” is a favorite activity of many Sunnybrook students, and research has shown how very valuable this type of engagement is for young children – both with peers and the adults in their lives. There are many articles available citing the research, so feel free to google. This one and this one give a good overview of the benefits and how we as teachers regulate and moderate this type of play. That said, if you do have concerns about rough and tumble play and would prefer that your child not engage, please let us know!
Friday students had some fun times outside the fence, as well . . .
For Monday art weaving was introduced. The children were each given a paper with strips cut, which they wove colored paper through to create colorful designs. A yarn weaving and potholder weaving activity were also made available for the week, and the children took turns threading the colorful pieces over and under, over and under.
At the art table the children used watercolor paints to paint on coffee filters, which we will turn into butterflies by wrapping pipe-cleaner bodies around them. They also used tempera paint to pain on one side of a paper, then folded it over to print onto the other side, making a symmetrical pattern. Once dry, these were cut into butterfly shapes and added to our rainforest.
The rain forest was busy with fishermen, both paddling down the river in their dugout canoes and fishing from the banks. There were some rather large fish captured and hauled in for a tasty meal.
We watched the beginning of several videos so that we could get a real life look at the Amazon rain-forest. We watched butterflies flying around the Amazon, a speed boat heading down river, an Amazon jungle tour in a canoe with a native guide, a quick look at some Amazon villages, and an introduction to the Amazon Rain-forest.
We were thrilled to have a special visitor, Liz, join us on Wednesday morning to talk about her time living in South America. She told us about living in Chile and Brazil, and showed use many pictures of her time there. We saw the Atacama Desert, Machu Pichu, families dressed in bright clothing, city views, glaciers, guanaco (an animal similar to a lama or alpaca), and many other wonderful photos. She also shared her Alpaca made with Alpaca hair, which everyone took turns petting. It was so soft! Thank you so much to Liz for coming all the way up from southern New Hampshire to share her stories and photos with us!
Thursday was our final Spanish lesson for session II with Zeanny. We sang the songs she has been teaching, listened to the Spanish version of the story Mortimer, by Robert Munsch, then we learned to make empanadas. Everyone was given a bowl, several scoops of masa, and some water. We stirred and mixed then formed the dough into balls, then flattened them into circles. Zeanny scooped beans and sprinkled shredded cheese, then folded them over to make half circles, pinching the edges together. While Zeanny cooked them up, we ate snack and listened to stories, then we tried our creations. Some children chose to bring theirs home to share with their families. They sure were yummy!
We celebrated a special birthday on Tuesday. Our newest four-year-old was super excited for her turn to hold the globe and orbit the candle sun while we counted for her. After the “Happy Birthday” song, she blew her candle out in one try, then we all enjoyed pink frosted cupcakes with sprinkles. Happy birthday to our most recent four-year-old!
Friday science continued our study of animal classes. We examined some frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders, all member of the amphibian class. We learned that they have soft, moist skin, typically live in wet areas, go through metamorphosis, hatch from eggs that are jellylike and clear with little black spots, and breath through their skin. The children did the animal classification sort (they are really getting to know their classes!) then drew pictures of the metamorphosis of a frog.