Sunnybrook Montessori School

Montessori preschool & kindergarten in New Hampshire's North Country

25 September, 2020
by Lyn
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Autumnal Equinox

a helping handmaking music

The first week of fall was very autumnal with frosty mornings and sunny days with sightings of robins all puffed up to stay warm in the morning chill surrounded by trees sporting red, orange, yellow, green, and brown leaves.

early morning frost sparkling in the sunshine

Monday students continued to explore color with Yves Klein, famous for his paintings in blue. They created monochrome (one color) paintings using varied shades of their chosen color.

Monochrome art with Yves Klein bluegreen strokespurplesmixing bluessunshinetones of yellowshades of redputting artwork on the drying rack

We discussed the changing of the seasons by reading books about fall and learned that the autumnal equinox, the first day of fall, means equal night because the day and night are each 12 hours long. The children shared observations about the changes that fall brings, such as shorter days, longer nights, cooler temperatures, dying plants, and colored leaves.

We practiced our first reverse evacuation drill and fire evacuation drill. We pretended a bear was in the area and joked that he was going to eat us but the children reassured us that black bears are afraid of people and wouldn’t eat us. We practiced going inside anyway. Then we practiced coming back out.

the top floorsorting and countingthe artillerygoing for a morning driveting, tang, tongwagon trainclimbersfun friendsresting at the summitfull of sandconstructingbreaking rocksracingclimbing upcooking up some sandy treatsplaying songs with Susanbuilding butterfliestransfering rockstable timescrubbing all the spotslearning the flip trickplanting apple seedswatering her apple seedsrounding the bend8 purple balls100 board

Wednesday was our first sign language lesson with Rose. She introduced herself and sign language by signing while she spoke, explaining that she was a teacher for many years and communicated with her students by signing with her hands, as that is the way the deaf community communicates. We learned how to sign the letters a-g, I, love, you, morning, noon, afternoon, evening, and night. Rose showed us how to sing and sign the song Skidamarink and added on a fun ending we were not previously familiar with, which included blowing a kiss at the end. We really enjoyed our first week of sign language!

aenoon

Kindergarten students continued their number work by counting, tracking, and recording the number of days and finding patterns in the number groups. They worked on ways to identify odd and even. They created C’s out of cones from coniferous trees.

odd and even leaf tracking and counting4 leaves and 2 acorn caps

We continued to learn about trees and leaves and had fun singing our tree songs with Susan. We all stood underneath the apple tree and moved backward to measure it, each person finding a branch and standing underneath the furthest end. We then looked all around and realized that the root system underneath was of equal size, under the ground! It was quite a large area!

swish, swish, swish go the leavesWet earth, warm sun, my life as a tree has just begunI'm growing up and growing outyippee, hooray, I am a sprout!as long as it can gomaking a giant Twhat do you think?trucks in the sandrocking with the ball100 boardbalancing birdspatterninvestigatingtheir favorite game of rock and fall offpartner paintingchillinmonsters under the kitchen sinkpainting picturesattempting to break open a peach pit found on the playgroundleaf symmetrybarefoot girlscooking up some evil piedinner is servedcreatingpink tower, brown stairsplaying the steel drumLocked in jailting, ting, tingpercussion5 and 3 is 8ten counting boardinsect puzzlebench slidingpainting timemore paintersdigging for treasureinstruments

Thursday was our harvest celebration. The children took turns playing the parts of the lazy, sleepy bear and his neighbor hare and hare’s family while reading the story Tops and Bottoms. The children enjoyed acting out planting, tending, and harvesting the crops as the hare family and snoozing in the rocking chair as bear. During the morning the children enjoyed printing with fruits, vegetables, and leaves, painting mini pumpkins, and pounding golf tees into big pumpkins then pulling them out with a hammer. Each of the students shared their favorite foods that come from plants, including maple syrup, pancakes, apples, cherries, carrots, and potatoes.

the hare familyWhat will it be, bear? Tops, or bottoms?planting the cropsplanting carrotsbear asked for tops, so we take the bottomstaking off the tops for bearcollecting the tops and leaving the bottoms for bearwe get the topstime to harvest the cornwe get the middlesprinting leaveshammering in tees, and pulling them outmini pumpkin paintingwork place safetymaking the orange pumpkin greenright here!colorful pumpkinshow many can you pound in?working carefullyfull of holesthis is the spotteam worksibling teamtap, tap, tapprinting with vegetables and leaves and coloring a butterflyfun friendsIMG_6332 (2)hammering

Friday students further discussed which parts of the plant different vegetables are. We learned that there are 8 different parts that our vegetables could be; leaves, stem, flowers, fruit, seed, tubers, roots, and bulbs. We got so engaged in our discussion that we ran out of time for our vegetable sorting activity, so we will come back to it next week.

We celebrated our first birthday of the year, though we have one to make up from last week! Our youngest student turned 3, and in honor of his birthday donated the book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. It is one of his favorites and it taught us that we should always catch our sneezes and coughs with our elbows so we don’t sneeze down any houses (or spread our germs)! The birthday boy held the globe while he orbited the giant yellow sun ball 3 times, the number of times the earth has orbited the sun since he was born, then we sang the Happy Birthday Song to him. Happy Birthday to our newest 3 year old!

orbiting the sunbirthday boy

19 September, 2020
by Lyn
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Observing

The children were super excited to use the new sandbox! They did lots of climbing, jumping, digging, pouring, and hauling. Thank you Ian Schulte!

testing out the new sand box
digging a hole
digging girls
sand play
scoop and pat
sandy
shoveling

Monday students listened to the story To Be An Artist by Maya Ajmera and saw that an artist is someone who expresses themselves through drawing, painting, dancing, performing, playing instruments, sculpting, creating, etc. The Sunnybrook artists were then introduced to color mixing. They used the three primary colors, red, yellow, and blue, to create new colors. They used Q-tips to combine red and yellow into shades of orange, yellow and blue into shades of green, and red and blue into purple. When they mixed all the colors together they made shades of brown. We read White Rabbits Color Book by Alan Baker and Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh.

making orange and purplewhere two colors meetgreen and purpleartists mixing colorsmaking greenred and bluelines of colormixing dotsteal greenred, orange, yellow, brown

We continued to discuss school strategies and expectations. We demonstrated how to get a teacher’s attention by placing a hand on her shoulder, hand, or a pocket. We also demonstrated how to ask for help and offer help. We practiced asking a friend or teacher for help by saying, “Will you please help me with _________” rather than saying, “I can’t do this” or making noises of frustration. We discussed how we can offer help as well and how we can respond when help is offered. Sometimes people really appreciate help, and sometimes they prefer to try themselves. We can ask, “Would you like help?” then listen for a “yes, please” or “no, thank you” before assisting, or respectfully saying “Okay” and walking away.

Morning Meeting

The children shared all the rules they could think of that we should follow to be safe, respectful, and kind, our three overarching expectations, and why we have these rules – what could happen if we don’t follow them. They had a lot of great suggestions to make our school a safe, respectful, and enjoyable learning environment. Some of their rules were, No hitting, kicking, or punching, walk inside but you can run outside, stay off the fence, don’t be mean, don’t climb on the mud kitchen, don’t smoosh Daddy long legs, don’t run on the stumps, don’t pour sand on people, don’t disrupt or destroy people’s work, etc.

Wonder Womanbuilding with rockstransfer workmaking mudone monkey up on toppartner artpondering the next movebuilding towers quicklythree girlsstanding back for the big crashthe table is setapple piezoomingchefs in the kitchenhow to open the doorcutting and coloringThis face doesn't like the sour orangenature artcoloringbiker girlsrockinpreparing some tasty dishespipeswatchingconnectingserving upteam worksnackingcolorfulbalancingsitting on the wallplay dough and puzzlesmemorytrying to take it apartball with Susanbutterfliesbiking boyacorn capsplay doughbig steprolling a ballsilly girl walking while holding her bootshungry kidspuzzles and play dough againmaking pancakesThis is Lynfortressvehiclespuzzlingraking leaveszoomingsuper fastwatchingafternoon math workpink tower and brown stairstaking apartinsectstall treeswheelbarrowsgluing acorn capssetting up memorylots of glue to hold them onwork timeconstructing with blocks and smashing rockswhat goes where?paintingdrip dropOh no!  Is it going to fall?

We began to introduce exploring our natural environment around us, and documenting what we observe and wonder. We began to learn about trees by reading a bit about the three main parts of a tree – the crown, trunk, and roots, and how we need trees to live, specifically the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between trees and humans and other animals. We breathed deeply in, pulling in oxygen from the plants and trees, and deeply out, expelling carbon dioxide for the plants and trees to breath in. Susan taught us two great songs by Billy B. about trees that we acted out; “Yippee Hooray I am a sprout” about an acorn growing up into a sprout and “This Bark on Me,” about how bark protects a tree from insects, elements, and disease.

acornsgrowing up and growing outyippee, horray! I am a sprout!This bark on me is my skindying treessmelling the fir treethe family collecting appleslittle green crawlytiny insect

Kindergarten students, and any others who chose to participate, have really enjoyed documenting our days at school and finding patterns in the number line they are creating on the fence. They have been using the patterns to skip count and have been jumping between stumps, mats, etc. while counting by 2’s and 3’s. They created Bb’s out of birch bark strips and colored an equal number of dots on each side of some ladybugs.

kindergarten work timeskip counting by 2'sskip counting by 3'sKindergarten countingcounting patternskindergarten groupskip counting3, 6, 9chilly morning for kindergartengluing on the barkBark Bbcoloring ladybugspurple heads

Friday science students named some fruits and vegetables that grow on trees and plants. We discussed how some vegetables are the fruit part of the plant, such as squash and tomatoes. We cut open and talked about the part of the fruit. We examined an apple, pear, banana, zucchini, and tomato. The children wondered if all of the fruits had seeds, and some hypothesized that the banana and zucchini do not, but the apple, pear, and tomato do. After cutting them open, the children examined them to look for seeds, and discovered that they all had seeds, though some were quite small. Finally, they observed that they each had a skin on the outside, some flesh under the skin, seeds in the middle, a stem where it attached to the plant, and spot at the bottom where the flower was. (Sorry, I forgot to take photos)!

12 September, 2020
by Lyn
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New Experiences

We were so excited to be together at school, reconnecting with friends and making new ones! We are all adjusting to the new normal of life in the times of COVID. We are learning our new routines and becoming familiar with our outdoor work environment. Being outdoors most of the day has been an adjustment for some of us, and a welcome opportunity for others.

buildingIMG-0983 (2)leaf rubbingsbalancingteeter totter with friendswild cucumbermastering the climbing wallwalking the logtree block towercooking in the mud kitchenpaintinga bowl of mudrockingdigging in the sandbikingbasketballpainting on slate with watera scarlet heartmaking apple piemoving rockson the tunnelrocking and falling offpink paintA applepouringbirch tree block towersfriends coloringputting on the coverplay doughworking in the kitchenred cake layerstable worktree castlebarefeet in the sandhappy diggingup and overraking piles of leavesa brave climberbumblebeehappy faceafternoon partner artpainting girlswater paintinggathering her leaf pilessitting in the truckscooting itpin punching and letter sound books

Our focus this week was becoming familiar with the routines and work space and getting to know each other. We reviewed our daily schedule, introduced the different work areas, practiced placing our name tags in our selected work areas, and discussed the expectations for our days at school. We read books about toileting, hand washing, and why everyone is wearing masks all the time these days. We had fun singing songs and reading silly stories, including “Hickey, Pickety Bumble Bee,” “The Hokey Pokey,” A Hunting We Will Go, Big Chickens, and Hello, Hello!

morning meetingsnack timebuilding a forestafternoon quiet workdrawingelements puzzlecounting boardearly morning cleaningreading while waiting to use the bathroom and wash hands before snackmagnet color cubesbikingrecess timeobserving a dragonfly landing on the fence during morning meetingsnack timesnackersFriday afternoon quiet time

The kindergarten students have been enjoying their work time with Susan, beginning with creating a number line by recording the number for each day of school on a fence picket – 1 for the first day, 2 for the second, etc. They have also been finding and collecting things from nature that begin with particular letter sounds. They discovered tiny crab apples all over the ground and declared that they begin with A /a/, so made upper and lower case A’s out of apples.

collecting applesAa apple

Friday students began to discuss what a scientist is. We learned that scientists ask questions about things, do experiments to find answers to their questions, and observe and record their observations. We read Over in the Meadow and began the book What is a Scientist? The scientist in the story wondered if all pea pods have the same number of peas inside. The students determined that they could find out by opening up lots of pea pods (anywhere from 2-100) and counting the peas inside, then recording their findings with drawings, numbers, and words. Each student scientist took a collection container to find things from nature around the playground then document what they found by drawing and writing about them.

scientist collectionsdocumenting his findsa stick, an apple, a leafWhat did you discover?labeling

We are looking forward to a great year together and getting to know each other!

6 June, 2020
by Lyn
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Good-bye Friends

A favorite song about friendship is the Girl Scouts song “Make New Friends.” We always sing this song at this time of year as we say goodbye and in the fall as we begin to meet new friends. I am so grateful for all the wonderful friendships that have been made at Sunnybrook over the years, and am so glad to know you all. Susan, Tammy, and I love spending our days with you and are so sad that we missed so much time together. You will always be part of the Sunnybrook family and we are thankful to know you!

Our friends this week welcomed a new sister, created a tasty meal, admired the blooming lilacs, studied the food chain and practiced writing, hung out with some goats and chickens, spent some time in the water, got lost in the balls, painted furniture, watered the plants, went for a ride, and caught some bubbles. We will miss all these smiling faces. Have a wonderful summer!

big sisterssmilesup close and personalvisiting baby goatsmaking bubbleswatering the gardenwatering the plantswhite nightstanda beautiful viewoutside playa boy and some ballsa tall carboys on the gocan you spot the girl among the trees and the chickensfloatingfood chainhanging with the chickenslilac seasonomnivoreparts of a plantpurple lilacsscooteringwhiskinga chef at workpad thai noodle dish