We were so grateful for the return of summer weather before the official arrival of fall next week! We enjoyed our time in the sunshine digging, balancing, riding bikes, running, rocking, raking, and driving trucks. We discovered and inspected many insects in their various stages, including a fir tussock moth caterpillar, and some arachnids, including many harvestmen (which, despite looking like them, are not spiders). The afternoon students even enjoyed a couple of picnic lunches.
When we arrived Monday morning we observed that our caterpillar had transformed into a chrysalis over the weekend. It is a beautiful bright green with gold spots, and we are anxious to see it become a monarch butterfly in another week. A friend informed us that when it turns black the butterfly will emerge.
We also have some other new friends in the classroom. Tammy brought us two goldfish to care for and observe. Each week a different child will have the responsibility of feeding the fish.
For Monday art we read, “Fall Leaves” and shared our observations about what happens when summer turns to fall. The days get shorter, the temperature gets colder, and the leaves begin to change color and fall off the trees. We then took maple leaves, turned them on their front sides, placed paper over the backs, and used the sides of crayons to rub over the ribs of the leaves to make a print of it. It takes a lot of coordination and can be a bit tricky, but everyone stuck with it and produced some colorful leaf rubbings.
The fall theme continued at the art table after we took paper bags outside with us to collect fall items, which we used to make fall art collages.
We celebrated our first birthday of the year. This birthday girl waited an entire year to celebrate her birthday at school with cupcakes! She smiled while she held the globe and announced for us that she was now four. She then orbited the candle sun four times while we named the seasons and counted the years for her. We then sang happy birthday before she blew out the candle sun and we all enjoyed her birthday cupcake treats. Happy birthday newest Sunnybrook four-year-old!
The kitchen area, water table, easel, Legos, and play dough continued to be popular,
and more Montessori materials and activities were introduced.
Magnets in the science area ATTRACTED a lot of interest as well.
We continued to learn the routines and expectations of the classroom. During morning meetings we learned how to wash our hands properly and how to set up and pack away our snacks. We Learned how to take out a mat, roll it out, and flip it over. We learned how to take out work, complete it, and put it away. We learned how to walk around a mat and to show respect for the work of others by leaving it for them to complete. Finally, we learned to flip our mats back over, roll them up, and put them away.
We read some stories of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and discussed some of the errors of proper etiquette that Goldilocks made and what she could/should have done differently. The children shared that she should have knocked and waited to be invited in, and invited to eat, etc. The Three Bears’ house was brought out to play with and practice ways to be polite when visiting someone’s house.
Living and non-living was introduced during group gathering. We read the book Is It Living or Nonliving? and learned that living things need air, water, food/nutrients, and plants need sunlight to live. We also read that living things can move on their own. Each child then closed their eyes and selected an item from a bowl and identified it as living or nonliving.
A friend brought in our second insect for us to observe. At first we thought it was a grasshopper, but we discovered that with its’ narrow body, leaf-like wings, and thinner legs, it was a katydid. We enjoyed watching it munch on the grass in its’ jar and closely examining all of its’ parts. We could see that it would blend in with plants in the environment very well with a leaf green body and wings that look like leaves.
On Thursday we introduced rhythm with the story Crocodile Beat, then made our own rhythms by stomping and clapping lento (slowly), andante (regular), and presto (quickly).
For Friday science we all removed our slippers to do some comparing, contrasting, and sorting. We observed which were longer and shorter, and ordered them by length. We sorted them by color and by material – soft fabric slippers or rubbery crocs, then black, pink, and characters. We will continue to do sorting and classifying activities to help develop this understanding further!