Sunnybrook Montessori School

Montessori preschool & kindergarten in New Hampshire's North Country

24 September, 2016
by Lyn

Me, Myself, and I

Go!We continue to appreciate and enjoy the warm, summer weather.  By the end of the morning everyone is excited to get out, get active and enjoy the sunshine! the road crew at workbats, balls and rakesfreeing the toadrocking and rollingtime to get to work!the mechanics hard at work repairing the road building equipmentAnd then . . .raking up the leavesDo you want to play ball with me?searching for toadsbucket drumssandboxresting in the shadebig ball baseballMonday students were introduced to the artist Frida Kahlo, who is known for her many self-portraits.  We observed that her self-portraits were accurate representations, with authentic skin, eye, and hair color, clothing, and face shape and depiction.  We again read parts of We Are All Alike, We Are All Different, then the children made their own self-portraits using the most accurate portrayal and colors possible.  Throughout the week, all children took a turn looking in the mirror to examine their faces; checking eye color, skin shade, and hair and lip color to make their own authentic self-portraits. Frida Kahloself portraitsself portraits with Caseythese are my teeththis is the color of my skinlooking in the mirrorThe sensory table was traded out for the light table, and the children used their imaginations to create pictures with translucent colored shapes. light table picturesmore nature collage artlight tableThe magnatiles were put away and the vehicles came out, which were racing across the floor and lining up neatly in the “garage” barn and in rows along the carpet.
lining up the vehiclesmini vehicles all in a rowOn Tuesday during circle time we read the story, Wash Your Hands and started a hand washing science experiment.  We placed four pieces of bread into four separate bags.  The first piece was the control, which was touched only by a gloved hand.  The second slice was the “dirty” piece, which we passed around the circle for everyone to pat with their unwashed hands.  The third one was the “rinsed” piece, which was touched by a child who had dipped her hands in water to rinse them off, and the final baggie held the slice that had been touched by hands that were scrubbed with soap for 20 seconds and rinsed with warm water.  (Each slice of bread was later misted with water to initiate some activity). We will continue to watch our experiment to see if we notice any changes over the next several weeks.
putting in the control piece of breadhand-washing experimentThe students were introduced to how to get a teacher’s attention by walking up to her and placing a hand on her shoulder or holding her hand until she has finished her conversation.  We also saw how to walk around the work mats to respect others and their work.

On Wednesday we read the story Fire Drill and had a discussion about how to evacuate the building.  The students were very knowledgeable and had many things to share, including how to crawl on the ground under the rising smoke, walking quietly to line up when a fire alarm sounds, that fire personnel always come to put out fires, and that although a fire will likely not happen at school, we practice how to evacuate in case we are baking and smoke sets off the alarm.   For the initial drill we all got ready for recess then lined up before pressing the smoke detector button, counting, filing out silently, lining up along the fence, and counting again.
stories with Caseyplay dough with a friendafternoon letter sound gamenesting dollsthe trinomial cubepattern block picturememorythree cylinder blocksapple tree number puzzleWolfgang, Woolbur, and Henriettamatching the bellsmore stories with Caseyhundred boardFriday morning work timedrawing peopleland, air, waterIs this where it goes?tracing and coloring Australiametal inset handwriting workbead chain number matchplay doughwooden word cardsBark, George!do these sound the same?the xylophonepuzzles!illustrating picture bookspicture word matchmorning workmaking shapes with trianglesEurope puzzle mapafternoon sound game with Tammyblocks and animalstracing South Americathe thumb pianoinstrumentsA small basket of instruments was available for students to take out and play throughout the week, but everyone was excited to pick and play instruments together as a group again on Thursday.  The whole note symbol was introduced and we practiced playing one note for a count of four.  We played our instruments to the tune of “twinkle, twinkle, little star” then played loudly and quietly and loudly and quietly before putting our instruments away for the day.
putting out he instrumentspiano timethe big drumFriday morning musicFriday students were very engaged in a science discussion about what makes up the land parts of the earth.  We talked about rocks that make up mountains, large boulders that break off, smaller rocks, gravel, and sand that is created when rocks crash against each other and break down into smaller and smaller pieces when pushed around in the water.  We looked at a variety of rocks, some quite heavy and others much lighter.  There were some very smooth round ones and some rough ones.  We also looked at different sands that were made up of rocks, shells, and/or coral.  We talked about volcanoes and how land can be formed by cooled lava.  We also played with some soil, which we learned was formed by dead plants and animals as they decay and break down with the help of insects, rain, fungus, etc.  Several students listened to the Magic School bus story about the Rot Squad’s visit to a hollow log and learned how slime molds, beetles, and the elements contribute to decomposition.
soil is made of decomposed plants and animalsmatching rocksStories we read:
books we readWe Are All Alike, We Are All Different by, The Cheltenham Elementary School Kindergarteners

Why Do You Cry? by, Kate Klise

Wash Your Hands by, Margaret McNamara

Fire Drill by, Paul Dubois Jacobs

Pete The Cat – I Love My White Shoes by, Eric Litwin

A Tree For All Seasons by, Robin Bernard

The Magic School Bus Meets the Rot Squad by, Joanna Cole

Abiyoyo by, Pete Seeger

Bark George by, Jules Feiffer Bark, George puppetSongs we sang:
“Make New Friends”
“If You’re Happy and you Know It”
“Jump Jim Joe”
“Ram Sam Sam”
“Way Up High in the Apple Tree”

17 September, 2016
by Lyn


pushing the tree downWe were so grateful for the continuation of warm, sunny weather most of the week.  After a morning of fun inside we are always ready to get out to run and move and be loud.   We even enjoyed the Wednesday rain showers.  Even though we all had to change into dry clothes, we had fun getting wet.  We spent our outside time playing with the big silver ball and the smaller balls, running, kicking, and throwing.  We loved playing crocodile chase, digging in the sand, being goofy with our friends, and searching for toads, spiders, and other creatures. hauling junkkicking the ballget that ball!on the ballMonday students read To Be an Artist by, Maya Ajmera & John D. Ivanko and I Am an Artist by, Pat Lowery Collins.  We learned that artists may paint, draw, sculpt, sing, dance, perform, weave, and sew.  We also learned that artists see art in the world around them.  We took a walk outside and collected items from nature then brought them back to the classroom to create nature collages.  The art table stayed busy for the remainder of the week as many marvelous nature collages were constructed. nature collages with LOTS of gluecreating nature collages, eating snack, cutting play doughhard at workIn the tank we searched for the two chrysalises that were formed over the weekend by the two black swallowtail caterpillars that some friends brought in for us last week.  One climbed all the way to the top and transformed there, while the other remained close to the bottom and changed on the underside of the bark piece.  We looked on the tank underneath them to find the little crumpled up skins that they split out of when they changed from caterpillar to chrysalis.  (This video shows the process of shedding the skin – it is incredible to see!) looking for the chrysalisesthe green guyplay doughworkingdrawingplay dough timebuildingwriting timered rods, cube pictures & wild animalsmagnatilesThere the Wild Things AreUSA puzzle map and sorted cubeswhere do little brown bats live?matching"a" bookmatching wordsfun in dramatic playcovering the markeranimals in the barnreading with Caseyland, air, water animalshelping a friend with his paintingcutting the play doughcookingmini gearsDuring circle time we introduced names for a variety of emotions and feelings and how we might appropriately express them and react to them.  The children had many suggestions and ideas to share. We talked about getting hugs, walking away, taking deep breaths, going to a quiet place to be alone, looking at a book, and crying.  We sang the song “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and used some of our suggestions for actions in the song, such as, “If you’re mad and you know it walk away” and “If you’re frustrated and you know it take some breaths” to help reinforce these strategies.

On Thursday we read Max Found Two Sticks by, Brian Pinkney and introduced percussion instruments.  We were pretty excited to take them out.  We talked about how we would get a chance to play two different instruments and we may not get to use our first choice of instrument today.  We discussed that we may feel disappointed and it would be okay to say, “Oh, bummer!” but that we could pick something else for today and would get a chance with the other instruments another day.  The children did very well being polite and expressing disappointment appropriately.  It was fun to play our instruments together while we counted, and then to play them louder and louder like a rain storm or a jet passing overhead, and then more quietly as the rain and jet passed.
percussion instrumentsforte (LOUDER)!the jet is overhead, so it is really loud right nowpuzzle mapstesting all of the instrumentsWe decided to postpone Friday science in favor of getting outside, as we had lots of energy to expel, so our exploration of rocks and soil will resume next week.  The children had a busy day filled with playing instruments, writing, puzzle maps, play dough, magnatiles, letter games, word matching work, art, cooking in the play kitchen, and chatting over snack and lunch.  Outside we had fun playing ball and hauling all of the “junk” into a big junk pile, then returning it all to the toy box at the end of recess.
feelings matchname writing practiceletter workFriday afternoon quiet work Books We read during group times this week:
books we readI Am an Artist by, Pat Lowery Collins
To Be an Artist by, Maya Ajmera & John D. Ivanko
Duck on a Bike by, David Shannon
A Porcupine Named Fluffy by, Helen Lester
Paul Meets Bernadette by, Rosy Lamb
Bark George by, Jules Feiffer
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by, Audrey Wood
Max Found Two Sticks by, Brian Pinkney
Earth’s Landforms and Bodies of Water
The Mermaid and the Shoe by, K. G. Campbell

10 September, 2016
by Lyn

First Week

taking the trainWe had a fun first week at Sunnybrook!  It was great to see all of our returning friends again and to welcome new friends.  Everyone quickly got into the routine and had fun exploring the classroom.  The arrangement is new for everyone, but is working very well.  We are quite thrilled with our new shelves!  Thank you Zack Colby! three little monkeys, climbing up a treeThe summer weather was still going strong and we enjoyed running, digging, jumping, taking train trips, and swimming around trying to get away from the crocodiles before racing and jumping back onto the boat.
lining up to jump into the sand boxAt the art table the children used many bright colors to paint a large branch.  Many children returned several times to add extra layers.  By the end of the week it was quite colorful and it now brightens up our classroom atop the shelves. painting the stickadding colorThe sensory table was filled with water.  The children enjoyed squirting, scooping, pouring, and stirring it up.  When there was a spill, they used the towels to clean it up so no one would slip. water tablecleaning up the spillsThe magnatiles and the farm were very popular as we began to gradually introduce the classroom and materials to new students and the returning students became familiar with the new set up. magnatiles with friendsSee this horse?towers and animal homesbig broThe dramatic play area, which is a new addition this year, has started out as a home.  The children were busy cooking, serving, cleaning, taking phone calls, baking cookies, making food deliveries, and scooping up ice cream.  This area will change throughout the year, inviting lots of social and imaginative role play activities. cookingWe spent our group times discussing the classroom expectations of safety and kindness, and the children all shared what this means and how we do this.  We learned how to introduce ourselves to a new acquaintance and everyone had an opportunity to practice.  We discussed nick names, what they are, and how some people have them and others do not.  We read the story, My Name is Elizabeth, about a little girl who prefers to be called by her full name and has to ask everyone who shortens her name to call her Elizabeth rather than Betsy, Liz, Beth, or Lizzy.
yellow, red, orangeart with lettersacorn transfer with tongsthe nesting dolllocksrock transfer with a spoonplay doughafternoon playdough timewhere is the baby?three balls of claygeo boardVery Hungry Caterpillar puzzlelots of little pieceslocks and clayhanging out in the new Quiet Housewhere do these animals live?cuttingart & practical lifeafternoon quiet timerolling, patting, pokingFor Friday Science the students were introduced to land, air, and water. We passed the sandpaper globe around and everyone had an opportunity to feel the smooth blue water and the rough tan sandpaper land parts. We then looked at the earth, water, and air jars each containing, respectively, soil and rocks, water, and air. We then took a basket of animals and decided how they travel – through the air, over the land, or in the water, and placed each animal on the picture that represented their travel areas. We discovered that some animals used more than one.
Sandpaper-Globeland, air, waterSongs we sang:


Way Up High in the Apple Tree

Jump Jim Joe

Hickety, Pickety, Bumblebee – a name introducing song

Stories we read – during circle time, afternoon quiet time, and morning work time stories with Caseyafternoon reading

Can I Play Too? by, Mo Willems

From Head to Toe by, Eric Carle

I’d Really Like to Eat a Child by, Sylviane Donnio

Silly Sally, by Audrey Wood

A Beginner’s Guide to Bearspotting by, Michelle Robinson

We Are All Alike, We Are All Different by, Cheltenham Elementary Kindergarteners

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by, Don & Audrey Wood

Piggies by Don & Audrey Wood

Whose Mouse Are You? by, Robert Kraus


12 June, 2016
by Lyn

Saying Goodbye

Our last week was full of energy and excitement.  We made good use of our time outside; running, digging, playing ball, and spending time with our friends.
chattingIMG_3809 (2)two friendsconstruction crew at workIMG_3851 (2)workingrelaxingblowing a dandelionIMG_3877 (2)riding the horsesvisitingIMG_3843 (2)For Monday art the children painted on flat, round objects, placed them on their paper, then turned them to blend the paint, making colorful circles.
artThere was stamping available at the circle table, and the students made animal track prints, letters and numbers, and artistic designs and patterns. IMG_3799 (2)stamping mapsstamp patterns and footprintsIn the sensory table the children had a lot of fun with water beads!
water beadsexamining the water beadsreally getting into it!IMG_5162 (2)sorting by colorcleaning up the water beadsFor the last week we brought out some favorite activities from the year . . .
the play dough dentist set,
IMG_3804 (2)drilling out cavitiesIMG_5166 (2)IMG_5195 (2)a mouth full of teeththe magnatiles,rocketsIMG_5158 (2)building with magnatiles
and the puppet theater.
boys and Wolfgangpuppet theaterIMG_5266 (2)dragons
last letter sound gamecounting turtlesknexpulling up the tapetape boyWe read the story Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, about a girl who grows up with three goals: 1. to travel to far off places, 2. to live by the sea when she is old, and 3. to make the world more beautiful.  We also read Because Amelia Smiled, about how a little girl’s smile sets off a chain of good deeds.

We had a special visitor on Tuesday.  Lyn’s father, Roger Irwin, who is a nature and wildlife photographer, came in to talk about moose.  He showed us some moose pictures.  He talked about antlers and how they start growing in the spring, then fall off in the winter, and everyone had a chance to try to lift one up.  They are very heavy!  They also learned how the antlers act like an extra ear to help funnel in sound.  He demonstrated moose calls, both cows and bulls, which the children had fun practicing.  Did you know that a bull moose can hear a cow call from a mile away!? He also told us how a bull moose will create a wallow and pee in it then roll in it to attract a cow.  The children loved that information!  Then everyone got to smell some “moose pee” and decided that it was not particularly appealing.  We also got to smell the base of the antler, which smelled like evergreen trees, as moose will rub on them.  It was a fun and informational visit. learning about antlersIMG_5197 (2)listening with a moose antlerIMG_3840 (2)IMG_5218 (2)using his musclesdemonstrating a moose callchecking out the grooves where the veins wereIMG_5214 (2)smelling moose peesmelling the evergreen at the base of the antlerThank you card for Roger IrwinOn Wednesday we had our field day with an obstacle course.  The children had a lot fun hopping through hoops, jumping with sacks, throwing bean bags into buckets, walking a balance beam, crawling through a tunnel, hopping on a hoppy ball, spinning on a dizzy disk, kicking a kick ball, and playing toss.  Some children repeated the course over and over and over again. waiting for a turnobstacle courseIMG_3890 (2)jumping in a sackkicking the ballcatchZeanny came in for the final Spanish class on Wednesday, and she taught the students how to make tortillas, which they mixed, cooked, then ate together. tortilla fingerssmooshing it upmixing up the tortillasIMG_3924 (2)yummy!Thursday morning was busy making sure belongings were packed to go home, spending time with friends, dancing, and celebrating a final birthday.  We counted as the newest five-year old circled the candle sun with the globe, then we sang the “Happy Birthday” song before enjoying some tasty lemon cupcakes.
dancinghanding out scarvesIMG_5305 (2)IMG_3951 (2)eating cupcakesEveryone was anxious for our performance and graduation.  The students did an amazing job singing and doing their presentations about the people in our community.  It was hard to say goodbye.  It was such an incredible year and we so loved spending our days with your children.  We truly do have the best job in the world!  Thank you! Last day performance