What a great first week we had! The weather cooperated, allowing us to get outside daily despite the heat and torrential rain. It was nice to run and stretch and move around after our mornings inside working.It was an exciting start to school. The teachers and returning students enjoyed welcoming all of the new students, some who had their very first days of school ever! New students were introduced to the classroom and the daily schedule. We discussed the flow of the day, from entering, changing to inside shoes and washing hands, to the signal to freeze when the lights go out and the bell rings, then gathering for morning meeting before choosing work for work-time. New students had a brief tour and orientation to the classroom. The snack routine was introduced and students learned how to take out a mat, roll it, and flip it before selecting work, carrying it to the mat with two hands, completing it, and returning it to its place. Some Montessori materials were introduced – some that the students requested, and others that we felt would be engaging for them. Returning students were helpful guides when friends needed assistance or had questions.Each day we discussed how to be safe and respectful in the classroom so everyone is able to have an enjoyable experience at school. The children had many ideas and suggestions, including walking inside, not hitting, punching, or kicking, offering help but listening when told no thank you, asking for hugs before taking them, making sure that our touches are gentle, being kind, being honest, being safe by not touching others’ eyes, mouths, or where underwear covers, telling an adult if someone does hurt you or touch you where they shouldn’t, walking around others’ work mats, picking up our work when we are done, and saying please and thank you.
We read many stories and sang lots of songs, including Hickety Pickety Bumblebee (a name introduction song), Way Up High in the Apple Tree, Peanut Butter and Jelly, ABC’s, Jump Jim Joe, BINGO, and Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.The easel, block area, play dough, and dramatic play were quite busy. The children quickly welcomed each other and integrated together. They enjoyed painting many colorful pictures, building a variety of roads and structures and driving cars around, pushing, kneading, shaping, rolling, and cutting playdough, and cooking all types of food, caring for babies, and making phone calls. Some new materials were set out, and returning students quickly gravitated to them. It was a week of getting into (and back into) the space, and learning the (new) classroom set up and routine.We spent Thursday diligently watching a monarch caterpillar brought in by the Shannon family. As soon as it exited the jar and entered the tank, it climbed up the side to the top and began the process of attaching itself. One of the students wanted to know how it did that, so he did some research with Susan. They discovered that it creates a silk pad, then attaches to the silk pad with its cremaster. It then hangs in a J shape before wiggling and squiggling out of its skin. We observed it throughout the day, and around 3 PM it split its skin and formed a chrysalis. We will observe it over the next couple weeks, along with a second, smaller caterpillar the Shannon’s brought later in the day, until they emerge as a butterflies.
Friday students were introduced to science through reading the beginning of What is a Scientist? And discussing what it means to question and wonder and try to find answers, and how to do that using our five senses. We read a book about shapes, and observed how many sides and angles they had, and looked around our classroom to find matching shapes. We are looking forward to further scientific wonderings and explorations!