Sunnybrook Montessori School is in a transition Phase. After ten years as the Director and Lead Teacher, Lyn is moving on to a dream job of working in a library. She will join the team at the Whitefield Public Library to help bring books to life and assist in deepening community connections, programming, and collaborations.
This final week was bittersweet. With the excitement and joy around the arrival of summer and the struggle with moving on for many, emotions and energy were up and down, with lots of hugs and snuggles, some tears, and lots of laughter and excitement. In the busyness of wrapping up work projects and getting in as much last minute reading as possible, we tried to do some slowing down. The children’s love of Legos pulled them in as they constructed their final projects, collecting all the “best” pieces for their armories, bedrooms, homes, and vehicles. They were generous and caring, inviting others to share their creations. When the restlessness arrived, we took it outside where they ran and dug and pedaled and worked.
We released our White Admiral butterfly, who despite his injured wing eventually flew off after circling around us for several minutes, landing on a few of the children. They were so careful to refrain from touching it, holding very still and keeping their hands down. We watched it for quite a while as it flew around our playground before finally disappearing, off to find flowers for sustenance.
Monday students were introduced to the artist Jackson Pollock, who used various tools to dribble, drip, and splatter house paint over enormous canvases. The children took to their paints with concentration and flair, dripping, flicking, and dropping colors onto their papers. Some transitioned into finger-painting, making it a full sensory experience.
Our final sign language lesson with Rose started off with a Piggie and Gerald story then ended with an alphabet game. We went through the alphabet, choosing and signing a word for each letter, signing them all from beginning to end each time. We signed apple for a, then apple and bat for b, then apple, bat, cat for c, etc., all the way through vacuum, whale, xylophone, (and y and z, which I can’t remember). Some of the children remembered all the signs, signing right along with Rose the whole time. Thank you, Rose, for all you have taught us and all the fun we had together this year!
The children worked hard rehearsing on the stage each day for their end of year presentation, and when the big day came, they nailed it! They initiated this presentation several months ago when the first bee of the season arrived and two students formed the Bee Patrol and began recruiting members. Their mission was to SAVE BEES! They determined that rather than putting bee killers in jail, it would be best to educate people, just as they had been. The children spent months questioning, researching, preparing, and practicing so they could inform everyone about why it is important to save bees. They did an amazing job and I am confident that everyone in the audience will now be careful to not harm bees.
Thank you for sharing your children with us! We wish everyone a smooth transition into the summer and on to their educational journey next year, wherever that may be, Sunnybrook or otherwise. Michelle and Makenna are looking forward to seeing those who are returning in the fall, and I hope I get to see you all at the Whitefield Public Library! It has been an amazing ten years. Sunnybrook and all of the children and families will always own a piece of my heart. Thank you all so much!
We arrived to a Monday morning surprise. The butterfly had emerged overnight from the chrysalis we found last week. It was so exciting to watch it fly around. Sadly one of its’ wings is damaged, so it would not survive out in the world, so we have kept it in its’ enclosure. Our original research said on average a butterfly lives for about 2 weeks, but upon identifying it as a white admiral butterfly, it has been discovered that this particular species typically lives for 4 months.
The weather brought clouds and just right temperatures – not too hot and not too cold. We love being able to put on shoes and run outside to grab a bike and race around, do some digging, make some mud, collect some creatures, and go on adventures with friends.
During sign with Rose on Tuesday the children practiced the alphabet, spelled some names, signed and sang “Sally the Camel”, and read a story about Franklin the Turtle.
We ran through our Bee presentation, but focusing these last few weeks are hard, so we are minimizing things to keep it brief. The children have learned a lot about bees and are excited to share all of their knowledge.
We had two spanish 4 students from the high school visit to tell us about Puerto Rico and symbols that have been found painted on rocks that were used to tell stories. They shared some rocks they painted and showed us symbols to represent agua (water), caricol (snail), rana (frog), sol (sun), tortuga (turtle) and bebe (baby). They showed us some rocks they had painted, then each child got a rock to paint with symbols, and then a pot and dish to paint and plant some marigolds they brought.
Kindergarten students and some future kindergarteners worked on their reading, writing, sentence formation, continent maps, number work, etc. Each day they did a brief focus activity then spent time on work of their choice.
Our last Friday science was focused on the final sense – taste. The children tasted a variety of food items including cheese, black beans, ham, pretzels, olives, chocolate, lime, orange, apple, peach and dragon fruit. They shared whether it was sweet, salty, sour, savory, or bitter. They also explored texture, both in their hands and in their mouths, and smell. The final food item we hoped to taste was a coconut, and we had fun drilling out the eyes to drain the water, then cracking it open, but unfortunately it was moldy so we didn’t get to taste it.
The leaves are covering the trees, the temperatures were just right, the dandelions have gone to seed and the caterpillars, toads, slugs, worms, beetles, flies, birds, spiders and various other little creatures have been hunted, gathered, examined, and released back to their natural habitats. All the little scientists love collecting and watching and studying any living creature they can find. Friday students wanted to be farmers, so we brought out a big box of older seeds given to us by the Root Seller. The children selected some to take home and dug up soil to plant others. We discussed concerns about planting in the playground, but they wanted to give it a try, so we will see if our gardens grow this summer!
The children were introduced to sheets of beeswax that was formed into panels of hexagons. They used a wax coated wick and a sheet of beeswax to roll up a candle. They also colored and cut out a bee mask to wear (if they want) for the presentation.
Rose sang and signed “The Bees Go Buzzing One By One” all up to 10 (different from the version we wrote) and we tried our best to keep up with her speedy signing. She read Franklin Fibs, about Franklin the turtle who tells a fib, then feels bad about it and struggles with how to tell the truth. We finished up with five more student butterflies as we sang and signed the “Five Little Butterflies” song.
The students helped Michelle mix up some cloud dough, then had a fabulous time playing it in!
Group times this week were focused on rehearsing for our Bee presentation, practicing our bee songs, and reading stories.
Kindergarten students chose their own work this week, selecting to work on their story writing, number writing, number identification, and several students chose to do a reading activity where they had to match the rhyming words. They did some syllable clapping, clapping and identifying the number of syllables in each of their names – both given and nicknames – and those of their classmates and teachers.
During Friday science we explored a fourth sense; smell! We read Thank You, Omu! about a grandmother who cooks up some thick red stew and everyone in the neighborhood smells it and comes knocking on her door. We learned that Omu is Igbo, one of the languages spoken in Nigeria, for queen, but it is the term the author used for her grandmother growing up. We then did some smelling and guessing. Lyn attempted hide items from view and the children closed their eyes, being respectful to others by keeping their guesses in their heads until everyone had a chance to smell before sharing what they thought they had smelled. They smelled hay, cinnamon, ripe banana, chocolate, dish soap, onion, orange, watermelon, onion, and lilacs. They then did a little tasting, too. (The photos were posed after the fact).