Sunnybrook Montessori School

Montessori preschool & kindergarten in New Hampshire's North Country

11 October, 2019
by Lyn


The early morning chills were chased away by the warm, bright sun so we could enjoy our outside time with friends.  A new climbing wall, financed, designed, built, and installed by the Schulte family, was waiting for us when we arrived at school this week.  We received a demonstration of how to climb up and over and discussed ways to be safe and respectful while climbing.  It was really hard to patiently wait for a turn at first, but the dedicated climbers stuck it out and made great use of the wall every day.  We are so very grateful to the Schultes!  We played some chasing and running games, including “Are You Sleeping Mr. Bear?” and had races across the playground.  Big Monday rains made lots of water for puddle fun and the mud kitchen.  Bikes, trucks, and wagons negotiated the many obstacles in their way.

climbing demonstration
First run
testing out the new climbing wall
up and over
conquered the wall
balancing on a bumpy blue ball
everything but the kitchen sink
her own obstacle course
Hello lightning bug
all set up
letting the trucks through
on the go
taking turns
big trucks
mixing up
demonstrating the mechanics of the big hook
raking fall leaves
preparing pies for tea time
up and over
Are you sleeping Mr. Bear?
puddle work
puddle walking

loading up

Monday students were introduced to the artist Paul Klee, who used lots of shapes in his artwork.  We identified the shapes in each of the pieces of art we examined, then used Castle and Sun as an example to create our own shape art.

triangles and rectangles

circles, rectangles, trianglessquares and trianglesbig blue square

We had such a busy week!  Zeanny joined us Tuesday morning to read and talk about GERMS.  We learned that germs are everywhere, and many germs are bad and make you sick.  We talked about ways to keep germs from making us sick, such as keeping fingers out of mouths to avoid getting and sharing germs, keeping toys out of mouths, and catching coughs and sneezes with the inside of the elbow.  Most importantly we talked about washing hands thoroughly with warm soap and water for 20 seconds after using the bathroom, blowing noses, and before eating.  Each child got some glow germ lotion to rub all over their hands then we used a blacklight to see them.  Everyone took turns washing hands to remove the germs, following the routine of getting hands wet, taking one pump of soap, scrubbing out of the water to make lots of bubbles for the count of 20 or the ABC song, then rinsing, drying, and turning off water with our knuckles.

look at all the germs!handwashing practice

glowing germs

washing off germs

We wrapped up our study of the earth and are moving on to the moon.  Susan played some fun rotating, revolving, and orbiting games with us.  Children took turns being the sun and the earth.  As the earth child revolves around the sun, it rotates on its axis.  As it turns to face the sun, it becomes day, and when facing away, it is night.  As Susan spun the earth child around, the children would call out day or night when the earth stopped, either facing toward or away from the sun.  Children then took turns being the earth and moon, with the moon revolving around the earth, but NOT rotating.  The moon remained facing the earth and moved sideways around. 

making waves for WWhen the earth faces the sun it is daytime

Rose helped us remember and practice the ten signs we learned over the past two weeks, then taught us five new signs.  We learned family, mother, father, sister, and brother (click on each word for a video demonstration of the sign).  Rose told us that all the female signs are in the chin area, while the male signs are formed around the forehead.  After practicing each sign, everyone had an opportunity to choose a sign to show the group.

signing mom, mommy, mommaSign for father, dad, daddy,

We learned about fire safety and firefighters.  We read a story about what firefighters do, then shared what we know about firefighters.  We watched a short video of firefighter Beth answering questions and firefighter Pete in his fire fighting gear, then looked at some pictures and talked about a firefighter’s job and how they keep us safe if there is a fire.  We learned that we always go to a firefighter if we are in a fire.  We talked about different types of fires and how there are many good fires, such as campfires, fires in the fireplace to keep us warm, and fire in the stove to cook with. We watched a video about smoke detectors and how to be safe if there is smoke by crawling under the smoke, but keeping our face off the floor away from dangerous chemicals.  We practiced getting LOW when the smoke detector goes off and we see smoke by playing a game where we walked around until we heard the “alarm” then crouched down.  We practiced Get Low and Go by crawling under a large stick with paper “smoke.”  We then watched one more video about what to do if fire gets on our clothes. We learned and practiced how to STOP, DROP, and ROLL. Finally, we did a brief picture game, putting stars on pictures of things that are okay to play with, such as toys, and the not safe symbol on things that are only for adult use, such as candles, matches, stoves, grills, and lighters. 

Cover your faceRoll

We read the story Too Many Pumpkins, then Henrietta and Wolfgang chatted with us about how we all like, think, and feel different things, just like how Rebecca Estelle in the story hated pumpkins, but her neighbors all liked them.  The children took turns asking Wolfgang and Henrietta questions about their favorites, and we learned that even though they are best friends, they have different preferences.

building finger strength with tong transfer work
cleaning the plant

Asia puzzle map

making Ts on the chalkboard
moon phases
letter sound books
circles and cylinders
alphabet BINGO
Go Fish
taking food orders
100 Board
living and non living
leaf puzzle
beginning letter sound sort
letter sound books
cutting skills in action
around the globe

For Thursday Spanish Zeanny continued teaching numbers and colors.  She brought colored egg shakers, and each child said the color name they wanted in Spanish, then we took turns shaking different ways by color.  She read two books; Azul el sombrero, verde el sombrero (Blue Hat, Green Hat) and Contado con Frida (Counting with Frida).

colored shakerscounting with Frida
Adios Amigos song

We made some cards for Mr. Schulte and Mr. Schulte to thank them for the new mud kitchen and climbing wall.  The children drew some nice pictures and wrote thank you messages.  We really are so very, very grateful to them!

Thank you letters

We headed to the library for a visit from a real life Lancaster fire department firefighter, Zina Schmidt.  Ronnie read us a story about a fire station, then Zina showed us how she stays safe in a fire by putting on her fire gear; first boots and jump pants, then jacket, mask, head protection, hat, and gloves.  She talked to us about fire safety and being sure that if we are ever in a fire to go to the fire fighter rather than hiding or running away.  She also asked that we get out of a burning house and stay out – never go back in for toys or special items.  After learning about fire safety, we headed out to see the firetruck.  Zina gave each child a special fire safety coloring book. Thank you, Zina!

a firefighting storysuiting up for a fireputting on the maskchecking out the truckthe fire finding camera

Friday students continued to learn about water.  We looked at some solid water (ice), liquid water, and saw a video of boiling water with rising steam to see water as a gas.  We pretended to be water molecules that were moving around gradually and staying in a relatively close space.  We then crowded all together and stayed as close and still as possible to form solid ice, then we gradually began to move and spread, getting faster and faster until we were evaporating water.  We read about the water cycle and did an experiment with condensation, precipitation, and evaporation.  We placed some very hot water into a glass, then placed a bowl with ice over the top.  We observed how water evaporated up to the bottom of the bowl, then precipitated down when the droplets combined and became too heavy to stay up.


4 October, 2019
by Lyn

Land and Water

muddy puddlecatching leaves

It was a cool, dark week, but we took full advantage of the muddy puddles, damp sand, buckets full of rain water, and leaves littering the ground.  There were chefs in the kitchen, landscapers gathering up leaves, taggers freezing friends, leaf chasers catching leaves, construction crews hauling sand, bikers pedaling, catchers playing ball, passengers taking rides, and engineers driving the wagon train.

balancing actdigging up the mudcatch!pushingsled rideprepping tea waterscoopingtossbalanceon the goleaf collectorsmixing up ingredientspushing and pullinga big pile of leavestransportsinging about tree barkleaf collectors

Monday students were introduced to the artist Yves Klein who invented his very own shade of blue, which he used to create monochrome paintings in blue.  We learned that mono means one, and chrome means color.  The children each selected a color and created their own monochrome paintings.  Throughout the week other children used the six shades of a color to paint many works of art.

shades of purpletones of orangea blue dinosaur & Blue AnnoGreen monochromeRed Flowers & a Red Housemonochrome greenfall leaves & monochrome blueBLUEpurple and red monochrome paintings

As we continued to learn about land, air, and water we read some stories about land and water travel; Sheep on a Ship and Bears on Wheels. We did an activity where each child was given an animal from around the world to place on our air, land, water mat. The first time we did this activity two weeks ago we used familiar animals, but this time many of the animals were from various continents around the world, such as a capybara, wombat, giraffe, and wobegong.

Does a Panda live on land, in air, or in water?

We learned that the 7 large land masses on the Earth are called continents. We are practicing a song about the continents to help us remember their names and locations on a map. The continent puzzle maps were introduced, and many students enjoyed taking them apart and putting them back together, a rather challenging project.

The children used the technique of wax resist for a land and water art project.  They used crayons to color the continents of the Western and Eastern Hemispheres, then painted with blue watercolor paints to add the oceans.  When dry, the children cut the hemispheres out and attached them to a stick.

Coloring land and waterWestern HemisphereAfricablue waterland and waterEastern Hemispherecoloring South America

We read the story Horrible Bear about a girl who is flying a kite, which lands in a bear’s cave.  The bear is sleeping and rolls over the kite, breaking it.  The girl is very upset and shouts “Horrible Bear” then stomps home in anger.  The bear, have been awoken by the girl stomps down the mountain with a plan to get revenge.  When the girl accidentally pulls the ear off her stuffed rabbit, she realizes that she blamed the bear for an accident and decides to remedy the situation by apologizing.  When the bear arrives at the girl’s house, and she apologizes, all the horrible goes right out of the bear and he comes up with a new plan to be nice.  We discussed ways to handle our anger and sadness in appropriate ways, such as asking for a hug, taking deep breaths to calm down, walking away, and apologizing.  We also read Be Kind, about a girl who tries to figure out a way to help another student feel better after she spills her juice all over her dress and the other children laugh at her.  We shared ideas for ways to be kind to others.  We were introduced to Henrietta and Wolfgang, the hen and wolf puppets who live in our classroom.  They told us a bit about themselves and how we are each different in our very own ways and how to respectfully ask for or offer a hug and reply “yes, please” or “no, thank you.”

additiongeometric solids
letter workGo Fishapple tree counting puzzleseven in the bedsetting up the car washGo Fishchildren around the world puzzleleaf puzzlebeginning sound picture matchsolo alphabet BINGOcontinent puzzle mapswater playwater playbooks we read

We discussed how people all over the world communicate by speaking different languages.  We speak English, but other people speak Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, etc., and some people speak using their hands in sign language.  We learned that some people cannot hear, so using their hands to speak is how they communicate. Rose introduced 5 new signs this week.  We learned yes, no, please, thank you, and sorry (you can access a video for each sign by clicking on the word).

sorrySigning NO

Our first Spanish class with Zeanny was held Thursday morning.  We learned several songs in Spanish.  We sang a song about our names and introduced ourselves.  We sang cabeza (head), hombros (shoulders) , piernes (legs), pies (feet), and a color song.  Zeanny introduced colors with a colored beach ball and colorful scarves. We began to count and learn number names with two stories, one about perros (dogs) and one about animals.

blancoIMG_2371 (2)

Susan introduced the layers of the earth with 3 songs, 2 stories, and 1 activity.  We learned that the outermost part is called the crust, which is mostly rock covered by soil and water, then underneath the crust is the mantle, which is melted rock, then the outer core, which is liquid metal, then the inner core, which is solid iron.  Susan showed us a hard boiled egg, peeling away the shell, which represents the crust, then the soft mantle, then the yolk which represents the core.  We looked at the fold out book The Street Beneath My Feet and named all the different things we spied down under the sidewalk, including rocks, skeletons, artifacts, caves, insects, soil, magma, etc.

crust, mantle, inner core, outer core

Friday students did a sink and float experiment. They tested lots of different items made of different materials.  We recorded which items sink and which float and classified them by what material they are; wood, metal, glass, plastic, rubber, or other.  We observed that all wooden things float, and all metal and glass things sink unless they are filled with air or curved like a boat, but will sink once filled with water.

testingthe plastic straw floatswood, glass, plastic, metal, rubber, otherthe plastic fish floatsthe metal hook sinkswhat sinks and what floats

We celebrated our first 6th birthday of the year on Friday! The birthday girl was super excited to share her monster ring and fall leaf cupcakes with her friends. She held the globe while she orbited the candle sun six times while we all listed the seasons and counted the years since her birth. We then serenaded her with the Birthday song and she blew out the candle. Happy Birthday 6 year old!

6 years oldblowing out the candleBirthday cupcakes

27 September, 2019
by Lyn

Fall Fun

The first week of fall gave us some fabulous puddles, a few trees with colorful leaves, plenty of itchy fuzzy caterpillars, loads of tiny crab apples for apple soup, and a new slide left outside our fence.  The students scrubbed the slide down, then took turns climbing up and sliding down. Bridges were tested, roads were built, and the crash tests were completed.



Monday students read about the artist Mary Cassatt, who loved to paint portraits of children and their families.  We learned that she was born in the US, but lived many years of her life in France.  She decided at a young age that she wanted to be an artist, much to her father’s dismay.  The children thought about who the members of their families are, and decided who to include; just immediate family, extended family, pets, only people, or family that lives in their home.  Throughout the week many of the children finished up self portraits and created family portraits. 

all the family members

On Tuesday we returned to our discussion of rules and classroom expectations.  The children shared many ways that we can keep ourselves and other safe, be kinds, and be respectful, including walk in the classroom, ask kindly to take a turn, not hitting, kicking, or hurting, walk away when frustrated and someone won’t listen, keep our indoor shoes on so we don’t slip in our socks, and carry materials carefully with two hands.

nature walk collection
hands on land and water
cracking open
growing up and growing out
Hooray, I'm a sprout!
land and water
matching triangles
self portraits
construction vehicle puzzle
apple tree counting puzzle
the solar system
number bead bars
puzzles and GO FISH
alphabet BINGO
a fence to keep out monsters
construction underway
finding the letter
all the workers in the building
Ten in the Bed books
writing work
Go Fish
pumpkin holes
water color painting
drying time

We read Fire Drill about a preschool class that practices for a fire drill.  We talked about what we do when we hear the fire alarm sound and why we do those things – to stay safe.  We then practiced stopping what we were doing, walking to the line, standing silently while the teachers counted, walking carefully and silently outside, lining up along the fence silently, responding loudly and clearly when our name is called, and then following silently back inside.

All but one butterfly have emerged and been released to begin their journey toward Mexico!IMG_2225 (2)

Our first sign language lesson with Rose Polland was Wednesday morning.  Rose introduced five signs.  To begin, she showed us a bonnet that a girl would wear long ago.  It ties under the chin with a string.  Rose showed us that the sign for girl is made by tracing the thumb down the jawline, indicating the bonnet string.  She then showed us a cap that a boy would wear.  She lifted and tipped it off the top of her head, then demonstrated the sign for boy, made by curving the hand into a c shape and tipping it away from the forehead.  We also learned the signs for friend (hooking pointer fingers together then flipping and hooking again), snack (the letter s sign, which is the thumb in front of the fingers, coming up toward the mouth), and toilet (wiggling the letter T sign, which is the thumb between the pointer and middle finger).  We practiced each sign several times then everyone who wanted showed their favorite sign.a girl's bonnetsigning snacksign for toilet

To prepare for our Thursday Harvest Festival we read about fall and gardens.  We read the story Tops and Bottoms and some children helped perform the story using puppets.  In Tops and Bottoms a Hare and makes a business deal with his neighbor Bear.  Hare agrees to plant crops, tend and weed them, then harvest them using bears land, and bear doesn’t need to do anything.  He just needs to choose whether he wants the tops or the bottoms of the crop.  When bear chooses tops, Hare and his family plant beets, radishes, and carrots.  When bear chooses bottoms, Hare plants lettuce, celery, and broccoli.  Finally bear chooses both tops and bottoms, so Hare plants corn and takes the middles, leaving the tassels and roots behind for bear, who finally wises up and decides to plan his own crops!

beets, radishes, and carrots

Thursday morning we welcomed Rachel Cliché, a biologist, who came to press plants with us.  Rachel showed us photocopies of plants that she has collected, pressed, and labeled. She and Tammy took small groups of children out to collect plants, preferably with flowers, then helped each child cut and place it on some newspaper between layers of cardboard.  When everyone had picked and placed their plant, she tightened the straps on the press to smoosh them flat.  They will dry for several weeks, then the children will glue and label their plants.

pressed plant pictures

We celebrated our Harvest Festival on Thursday with lots of fun activities. We had sack races, apple transfer races, acorn on a spoon races, cucumber bowling, apple and pear printing, butternut painting, fall hand trees, fall leaf watercolor painting, and hammering golf Ts into a pumpkin. It was great fun!

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We read apple stories on Friday, then had an apple taste test.  The children tried 8 varieties of apple and described the shape, coloring, taste and texture of each.  When asked if anyone had a favorite or preference, they all agreed, “All of them!”

apple tasting
sour Granny Smith!
all the apples
our record of the taste test

20 September, 2019
by Lyn

Me, Myself, and I

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The last week of summer was preparing to put on its’ fall coat for the arrival of cooler temperatures and colorful leaves. Hunters were on the lookout for caterpillars. Work crews were hauling huge loads of rocks for crushing.

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Monday students learned about the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who is known for her many interesting self portraits. We examined several of her self portraits, which included many pets and animals, including her parrots, some monkeys, butterflies, and even a large black cat. We learned that a portrait is a picture of a person, and a self portrait is a picture one makes of oneself. We looked at several other self portraits and discussed how the artists drew or painted to look like themselves, including face shape, facial features, and skin, hair, and eye color. We then selected the medium we wanted to work with and created our own self portraits, using a mirror to examine our faces to be as accurate as possible when creating them. Throughout the week, most students worked with a teacher to study themselves and create their own self portraits, which are hanging in the literacy area. Students who did not have a chance to create a self portrait this week will do so next week.

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IMG_2110 (2)We are beginning to learn about our planet, Earth, and how we each fit into the Universe. The cosmic nesting boxes were demonstrated. We imagined we were floating around in the blackness of the universe, then began to travel toward a cluster of bright stars. The nesting boxes were stacked on top of each other as each smaller unit of space was introduced, from the Milky Way Galaxy, to the Solar System, the Earth, North America, The United States, New Hampshire (and Vermont), Lancaster, Sunnybrook Montessori School, the Child, and the Atom & each child's energy. This is a big, abstract concept, so this was just a broad introduction. Our focus will be more age appropriately concrete as we progress. IMG_2031 (2)

Susan is teaching us some Earth songs, including one about the oceans and water. We played a game where we passed the globe and shared our names, and another where we tossed the ball and caught it, then observed whether our hands were touching land, water, or both. We discovered that there is a lot of water on the Earth! We were introduced to Land, Air, and Water and the land, air, water mat. Each child took a turn placing an animal either on the land, in the water, or in the air, depending on where it lives or spends most of its time.

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We released our first butterfly Monday morning. It was busy and ready to go when we carefully carried the butterfly house outside. It took a little bit of maneuvering before we were able to get it out of the net to fly away, but as soon as it was free, it quickly flew the roof.  Two more butterflies emerged Thursday morning, and we were able to release them at the end of the morning.  Susan coaxed them onto a twig which they used to launch themselves on their first flight.

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IMG_2053 (2)IMG_2056 (2)IMG_2065 (2)IMG_2069 (2)We read some stories about rules and rulers: My Rules for School Book, Officer Buckle and Gloria, and Yertle the Turtle. We began to talk about kindness and how we all like to be treated by others. Next week we will discuss and create our classroom expectations, keeping in mind how to be safe and kind and respectful to others and our classroom so everyone feels safe, accepted, and respected at school.

IMG_2010 (2)IMG_2011 (2)IMG_2014 (2)IMG_2015 (2)IMG_0575 (2)IMG_0573 (2)IMG_0572 (2)IMG_0569 (2)IMG_0579 (2)IMG_2117 (2)IMG_2115 (2)IMG_2114 (2)IMG_2085 (2)IMG_2084 (2)IMG_2081 (2)IMG_2079 (2)IMG_2118 (2)IMG_2122 (2)Thursday was portrait day, and the children all excitedly awaited their turn. They were anxious to pose in their dressy clothes and fancy hair dos.

We introduced the parachute, and had fun bouncing the globe and trying to keep it on. After it fell off three times, we took off all our slippers and mixed them up under the parachute, then when our names were called, we ran under, found our slippers, and put them on as quickly as we could then ran back out while everyone cheered for us. Our final game was Mr. Crocodile. Each child took a turn crawling under the waving parachute and "eating" someone by pulling on their foot. That child would then become the next Mr. Crocodile.

IMG_2086 (2)IMG_2089 (2)Friday students continued to learn about living things. We read Plants are Living Things and learned that plants are the only living things that make their own food. We learned about the different parts of a plant and their jobs, including leaves, the stem, the fruit, and the roots. We tried tugging a plant from a pot, but found it was stuck very firmly in the soil. We wondered why it would not easily come out. Lyn wiggled it out and we saw that the roots were keeping it steady so it did not tip over or come out of the soil. We learned that the roots hold the plant in place and drink up water and nutrients from the soil. The stem carries the water and nutrients to the leaves, where sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water are combined to make food in a process called photosynthesis. We then looked at several different food items that come from plants and determined whether we eat the leaves, stem, root, bulb, seeds, or fruit.IMG_2096 (2)IMG_2104 (2)IMG_2105 (2)IMG_2107 (2)IMG_2109 (2)