Sunnybrook Montessori School

Montessori preschool & kindergarten in New Hampshire's North Country

21 October, 2017
by Lyn

Pumpkin Time

a giant maple leafThe trees are almost bare and the nip of fall is in the air.  The sunshine kept us warm while we traversed the balance beam and the log, played toss, rode bikes, hauled loads of dirt in our trucks, dug in the sand, raked leaf piles and threw them up in the air, and set up a toy shop for everyone to purchase their toys with leafy currency.walking the logthe toy shophelping with a shoecatchrocking girlsleaves in the truckdigginga ladybughanging with Tammya shovel full of sandrockingsailing in the boatjumping off the tunnelhoppingso fastbalancingAs seen through the lens by a three-year-old.
feet in the leavessunny birchpeeking over a shouldera girl with some ballsleaf playshopping for toysMonday students listened to the stories Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh and Mix It Up by Herve Tullet.  We learned that the three primary colors are red, yellow, and blue, and we can create other colors by mixing these together.  We then gave it a try, selecting finger paint colors and using our fingers, hands, and even arms to smoosh them together and make new colors.
red and yellowmaking purple and greenred and blue make purplemaking orangemore purplewhat will it make?The partner teams continued to finish up their webs and spiders.
finishing up spiders and webslacing through the holesOn Tuesday morning the students were introduced to a sorting and matching activity that was created, cut, and assembled by a student’s grandfather.  We laid out the activity on a mat for the students to see what they would each have in their bag, and encouraged them to find different ways to group them.  They were then each given a bag of different sized and colored shapes, labelled with a letter from A-Z.  There were large and small, red, yellow, and blue triangles, squares, circles, and hexagons.  Some of the students very enthusiastically took their shapes to a mat and laid them out, then looked at them to see how they were the same, then decided to sort into piles by color, by shape, and by size.
sorting by colorAfter reading Pumpkin Jack, about a boy’s jack-o-lantern that eventually rots and decomposes into soil and grows a new pumpkin plant the following year, we looked at all the parts of a pumpkin.  We found the blossom end, where it grew from the blossom on the vine, and located the stem, the rind, and the tendrils.  We cut it open to see the pulp, the seeds, and the fibrous strands.  We questioned which part of pumpkin Jack would have grown into a new pumpkin plant, and the children all agreed that a seed would have to have been left in the jack-o-lantern to grow into a new plant, otherwise it would just become soil.  The children worked on hollowing out the pumpkins, then we took them outside to carve, where everyone who wanted a turn chose an eye, nose, or mouth to help cut out.
loving the mushinessscooping the fibrous strandsscoopingdigging out the insidestaking a turnplaying with the insidescarvingsawing back and forthdumping the pumpkin innards in the gardencutting out the noseJack-o-lanternsSusan, who is our resident singer and musician, has enthusiastically volunteered to lead group music times.  She began by reviewing high and low tones with the song, “There’s a Spider on the Floor.”  When the spider was high on our heads, we sang in high pitched voices, and when it was low on the floor, we sang in low voices.  Susan began teaching us about whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes.  She showed us a long block, two blocks that equal one long block, and four blocks that equal the same length.  She then led us in some clapping and marching to the count of four.  We would march on one, two, three, four and clap on one and three.whole notes, half notes, quarter notesmarching and clapping the notesFor our second Spanish session with Zeanny we saw that the orugas (caterpillar) that went into the magic box last week had become la mariposa (butterfly).  We played a game, passing la mariposa around the circle (like the hot potato song) then flying it around if we held it at the end.  Zeanny began to teach us colors – verde (green), azule (blue), Amarillo (yellow), and roja (red).  We also continued to work on the numbers from uno to caja magicaamarilloWe celebrated a fourth birthday with our newest four year old. He smiled while walking through the seasons, taking the earth on it’s journey around the sun four times. He passed out cups of dirt and worms for everyone to snack on after the happy birthday song and blowing out the candle. Happy fourth Birthday!
birthday boyworms in dirtTo introduce an important lesson, that everyone makes mistakes and that they are opportunities to learn, we read the true story The Day Roy Riegels Ran the Wrong Way, when he did exactly as the title says, and ran for a touchdown to the wrong end zone during the 1929 Rose Bowl.  (We had to do a little football lesson first, for those of us who don’t follow football).  At the end of the story, after Roy had run across the field and stopped only 1 yard from the opposing teams end zone, finally realizing what he had done, he was very upset with himself.  His coach, being a wise and supportive mentor, told him that mistakes are in the past, to let it go, learn from it, and don’t let it change the rest of the game.  Roy Riegels took that advice, and played a great second half.
By the Light of the Halloween Moonrhyming puzzleagate slices on the light tablegray, purple, redafter rest workscooping rocksa curved top barnbells, cylinders, number beadstaking a closer lookhundred board in the quiet housestretching with Tammypreposition cardssweeping uppumpkin parts nomenclaturemat workemotions cardstransfermatching circlesletter formation practiceHow many apples on the apple tree?where on the globe?setting upportraiturecolor mixinga large meal for a friendrocksa series of cylindrical towersalphabet BINGO & movable alphabetsound cylinder matchleaf nomenclatureconstructingrocks in the sensory tablerock matchingcolor cube artreading to the groupstories with a friendtransfer with long tongsflower puzzlea pen for the animalswriting with Tammyapple tree puzzleteen boardCostume Partystories from the weekFriday students reviewed how igneous rocks are formed – by lava or magma cooling in or above the earth, and sedimentary rocks – by layers and layers of rock, debris, sand, soil, etc. piling up and being pressed together into rock.  This week we learned about metamorphic rocks, which are formed when other rocks are under heat and pressure, which morph, or change them, into new rocks.  We watched a short video, then did an experiment with crushed ice.  We agreed that if we made a ball of the ice and applied high heat, such as over a stove, it would melt, therefore becoming melted rock which would then turn into igneous rock.  If our snowball was put under only pressure, such as being hit with a hammer, it would break into smaller pieces, turning it to sediment to become sedimentary rock.  Finally, we made a snow ball that I held for a long time in my hands (it was very cold, so the children decided not to hold theirs) while applying steady pressure and heat from my hands.  After several minutes, it was much more solid, compact, and melted together, just like a metamorphic rock.
making a metamorphic rock

14 October, 2017
by Lyn

Fire Safety

investigatingFrosty mornings led to sunny fall days.  We enjoyed the crisp air building with blocks, raking up leaves, playing chase, digging in the sand, and playing toss.
teamwork to build a towertelling a storyconstructing wallsdigging in the gardenhere comes the dump truck!stopping for a chatplaying tossdriving trucks in the sandreleasing a friends butterflyCan you see where the butterfly landedhow many can fit on Susan?hoppingcarefully loading the truckbig hopscatching the yellow ballSeveral students asked to take photos around the playground. Here are some of the images they captured.
Captured on film 1A view of the playground from the front cornera funny facehanging outSmile!a steering wheelOur first project on Tuesday morning was to make our invitations to Bring Your Family to Sunnybrook Night, which will be on Thursday, October 19th from 5-6:30 PM.  The children drew pictures or decorated with colors on their invites, then placed them in back packs to go home.
Family Night invitationsfinishing up his inviteFor art this week students were partnered up to work as a team to create a spider web and spiders.  They planned how they would work together to punch the holes and thread the long yarn web, then each student made their own spider.  They worked very well together and practiced some valuable social, problem solving, turn taking, and negotiation skills.  We are excited for our families to see them on Thursday at Bring Your Family to Sunnybrook night.
spider web weavingworking as a teamlacing the websspiders and websworking as a teamspiders in their websclose up of the cute spidersWe had our first Spanish group with Zeanny on Tuesday.  She began the year by teaching the name song, Me Llamo.  Each child chose whether they wanted to sing their verse lento (slow) or rapido (fast).  She also introduced the body song, Mi Cuerpo.  She read two stories, a counting story featuring the Mexican artist, Frida Khalo, and La Oruga Muy Hambrienta (The Very Hungry Caterpillar) then each of the children took a turn feeding the caterpillar. Before leaving, Zeanny challenged the children to write the word manzana (apple) and draw a picture of a manzana. Many have taken on the challenge, and we are posting them for Zeanny to see when she returns next week.
La Caja Magica (the magic box)La Orugafeeding la orugamanzanasArachnids were introduced.  We read About Arachnids and The Very Busy Spider.  We learned that arachnids have two body parts – a cephalothorax and an abdomen.  They also have eight legs.  Most are predators that survive by eating other small creatures.  Many are venomous, and they do not have wings.  We then did a picture sort of insects and arachnids.
100 boardaddition BINGOnumber trayleaf matchU for umbrellaplay doughlocksa big buffetwooden word cardsdrawing on the chalk boarddrummingrough & smooth, number sort traythe car elevatorfire truck puzzleafternoon writingreadingfabric matching by feela very long tunnelanimal puzzlecleaning up the construction zonename writingplay doughreading storiesmore pumpkin BINGObetween, next to, in front of, in, on topletter BINGObooksa wind powered generatorsome writing work - time lines and manzanaWhat goes together?which letter will I get next?Fire safety was a major theme of the week.  We read a book about fire safety and the children shared many helpful suggestions and information about how to stay safe in a fire.  We discussed crawling under smoke, as smoke rises.  We practiced STOP, DROP and ROLL to put out a fire on your clothes or body.  We talked about touching doors before opening to see if they are hot.  We shared that it is important to NOT hide under beds or in closets and to call out so firefighters can find you.  We practiced our second fire drill of the year, using our back exit through the back hallway, up the stairs that lead into the church, and out the front of the building.  We read the story Impatient Pamela Calls 911 and discussed when and why 911 would be used and talked about learning our addresses and phone numbers.
washing hands for snackfirefighters snackingOn Thursday we visited the library to meet assistant fire chief Stephen Jones.  He talked to us about fire safety, and we shared lots of information that we knew about fires and how to stay safe.  He put on all of his fire gear, so we could see what he looks like when he is dressed to enter a fire, and how he sounds with his air mask on.  We then went outside to see the fire truck.  This year he brought the ladder truck, and we enjoyed taking turns going up inside and checking out the cab where the firefighters ride.
Walking to the libraryAssistant chief JonesIn all his gearlearning about the fire truckchecking out the dialsWhen we returned to school, we were visited by fire inspector Stacey and Molly the fire dog.  Stacey showed us how Molly will sniff out and indicate accelerants by sitting and pointing with her nose.  We learned that Molly is a food trained dog, so she only eats when she is working or training, but that she gets all the food that she needs in one day, just in small meals.  Stacey told us that Molly is an important tool for detecting fires and with her help they can much more quickly and accurately detect the possible origins of a fire.  We also learned that Molly is one of only two fire dogs in the state of New Hampshire, so she and Stacey work all over the state.  And just like other members of the family, after working during the day she goes home every evening where she lives with her family.   Thank you to Stacey and Molly for our fantastic fire hats, books, pencils, flashlights, and fire safety plans!
meeting Molly and StaceyMolly has detected the accelerantWe celebrated the birthday of our oldest student on Friday. She marched around the globe 6 times as we named the four seasons for each year since she was born, then all sang happy birthday before she blew out the candle. Everyone enjoyed her vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting and silver sugar sprinkles. Happy birthday!
silver sprinkle cupcakesBig smiles from the birthday girlFriday students had fun being caterpillars with Kira Willey’s Yoga song Caterpillar, Caterpillar.
being caterpillarscaterpillars pushing upFriday students continued to study rocks and rock formation.  We reviewed how igneous rocks are formed (by magma or lava cooling inside or above the earth), then started to learn about sedimentary rocks.  We looked closely at a sedimentary rock from Arizona that was loaned to us by one of our families.  We observed all the layers that were pressed together.  We watched two short videos about how sedimentary rocks are formed by particles creating layers and being pressed together over hundreds and thousands of years and bound by minerals into rock.  We made our own sedimentary rock by gathering sediment outside, consisting of sand, soil, leaves, grass, small sticks, tiny rocks, etc. then taking turns adding a handful of the sediment to a jar, then pouring in epsolm salt and water.  We then took turns shaking it up.  We watched as it separated into layers and began to settle.  We will continue to observe it over the next several weeks as the water evaporates and the layers form.  To help better understand how layers upon layers add weight that put pressure on the lower sediment, the children themselves made layers by laying on top of each other so they could feel the pressure of being on the bottom or middle and how that weight presses down.  They had great fun taking turns at different levels of the pile.
outside on a Friday morninggrabbing some sedimenta bin full of sedimentadding a handfulpouring in some watershaking up the sedimentwatching the video of how sedimentary rocks are formedlayers under pressurelayers of sediment becoming rocksediment layers

8 October, 2017
by Lyn

Jump In

jumpJumping was the name of the game this week.  The children lined up on the tunnel and took turns jumping into the sand below.  They jumped around on the hoppy balls.  They jumped off the log and the balance beam.
getting ready to jumpreadysetJUMP!all lined up to jump offjump!hopping ballshop!a harvestman arachnidsand boxmaking leaf soupplaying in the sandlistening to a storysoil in the gardengoing for a ridea tower of blockschasetrying to get the aphid on her stickcomforting a friendleaf soupdumping the blocksrakingoutside playThe artist Yves Klein was introduced on Monday, who is known for developing his signature blue, which he used to make his monochrome paintings.  The children helped to mix varied shades of several colors, then used them to create their own monochrome paintings.  Monochrome painting was introduced to all students on Tuesday, and they created some unique works of art.Yves Klein - and blue monochromesbluepurpleshades of redmany greenspurplemonochromesred, orange, greenred & purple monochromeblue monochrome squares and a circleAs it was our first play date day, while younger children from the community visited with their families, the Monday students took their first trip of the year to the library with Tammy and Susan, and had fun with puppets, trains, the doll house, etc.
readingsetting up the tabledolls at the doll housetrainsrocking her babydriving the school busWe celebrated our first fifth birthday of the year on Tuesday.  The birthday boy passed out bags full of popcorn, dried fruit, and yogurt covered raisins.  As we said the seasons and counted the five years since his birth, he held the earth and orbited the candle sun counterclockwise.  When he reached the sixth fall, he blew out the candle sun.  As the children ate their treats, we read the birthday book he donated, A Birthday for Bear.  Happy fifth birthday!
birthday boyWe had a couple of observers in the classroom.  A college student came to observe our social emotional strategies, and Ann Auger, the coordinator of the Coos County Director’s Network and owner of ECE Visions, came to do an ECERS assessment to give us feedback on areas where we can improve the quality of our environment and program.

Magnets were removed and rocks were added to the science shelf.  The children enjoyed inspecting them and matching the small rocks to their pictures on a guide sheet and learning their different names.
rock matchdoes this match?We read the story When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang, then we discussed emotions – how your face looks and how your body shows emotion.  When you are angry your face and body get tense and scrunched up.  When sad, you may turn your head down, hunch your shoulders, and frown.  When happy, you smile and your body is relaxed and open.  The children shared some strategies for what to do when feeling strong negative emotions, such as taking a break in the quiet house, asking for a hug, or snuggling with a toy.

We introduced role playing, and did some role plays to help introduce perspective taking and using people’s facial and body expressions to give us information about how they are feeling.  After each initial role play, we then did a second role play voicing our thoughts so that everyone could see that we don’t always know what one might be thinking.  We role played a chasing game where all the children were having fun, but then the child being chased got boxed in and felt scared.  We also did a role play where a student was playing with a bus and set it down, and another child took it.  After each role play we discussed the children’s interpretations and understandings, and how individuals could react and respond to each situation.  We had a wide range of understandings and interpretations, which led to discussions about how to respond.
There's a spider on my head, on my headsound cylinders & the number traywriting in the sandglow sticksB A Jcylinder blockspuzzles & living or non-livingwritingcommunity puzzleorganizing the booksorange play doughbrainstormingplay dough and beadingputting away the number rodswriting a monkey bookfloor workpractical life workpink tower and broad stairsinsect metamorphosisteen boardsandpaper letterspaintingrampsbeginning sound sortwooden word card matchshowing her guitar from Mexico and taking questionscontainer openinga sturdy structure?alphabet picture matcha colorful sunlocksdrawing jack-o-lanterns protocol19 blocks longhelping a friend pack up after restfly up and fall downletter handwriting tic-tac-toehandwriting practice tic-tac-toeplay dough letterscooking in the kitchenlocks and containerspastelsmorning workpicture matchOn Thursday we watched some videos of buskers using a variety of items for drumming.  First we watched Gordo using buckets, then we watched Darrio Rossi from Rome drumming on a variety of pots and pans and other items.  We then took out a selection of items and handed out sticks for each child to drum with.  We listened to high and low notes on the piano and determined which “drums” created high notes and low notes.  We took turns playing metal, glass, plastic, and pottery drums.  We followed a conductor and played quietly, then louder, then more quietly like a rainstorm coming through and a train passing by.  The most fun, though, was when the children had a chance to take them out and play like Gordo and Darrio.  The drums will stay under the piano for children to take and use on their own so they can make their own rhythms and explore the sounds of the various materials and items.
drumming!setting up the drum setsdrumsdrummers drummingFriday students were introduced to rocks.  We read several books about rocks, including If You Find a Rock by Peggy Christian, Rock, Rocks and Soil, and Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor.  We learned that there are three types of rock formed in three different ways.  We focused on igneous rock, which is formed when magma or lava cools and solidifies, either above ground or below.  One type of igneous rock is granite, which is found all around New Hampshire.  We watched a video of a volcano exploding and a video of flowing magma.  We then did an experiment.  We melted sugar, then placed it on a cold pan.  We boiled a water and sugar solution, then placed that in a glass with a stick.  We inspected them when they had started to cool.  We observed that the one that cooled quickly was smoother and rounded at the edges, while the other was much more clumpy and rough.
inspecting rocksrock matchingigneous rockstories from our week

1 October, 2017
by Lyn


sitting around the bonfireAfter a hot beginning to our week, the rapid transition from summer temperatures to fall temperatures was welcome.  The students have been enjoying bouncing around on the hoppy balls, raking leaves into piles, digging out a pit for a “bonfire,” filling trucks up with sand, and playing lots of running games.  They have continued to find insects and other small creatures, though they have been thoroughly disappointed with the lack of worms in our rather dry garden soil.  Hopefully it will moisten up soon.buckets all in a rowbuilding a bonfiresandboxin the tunnelputting away the bucketstrucks and bucketschecking in with the driverladybug, ladybugraking up fallgirls rockingwalking with hoppersduck, duck, gooseraking up leavescollecting the hoppy ballsFor Monday art students were introduced to the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and her focus on self-portraits.  We learned that self-portraits are pictures that we make of ourselves.  We discussed making our self-portraits as accurate as possible.  We talked about using a mirror to determine the shape of our face, our hair, eye, and lip color, and the placement of our features.  We looked at a variety of skin color markers and selected the one that best matched our individual skin colors.  The children created some wonderful portraits, which we have hung in our literacy area for all to examine.  The remainder of the students were introduced to self-portraits on Tuesday, and each child took some time during the week to produce their most accurate rendition of themselves.Frida Khaloeyes and armsdrawing self portraitsmy brown eyesthese are my lipsmaking her headdrawing self portraitsOur study of insects progressed to reading and learning about the process of metamorphosis – the four stages that each insect goes through, from egg to larva, to pupa, to adult.  We read Waiting for Wings, by Lois Ehlert, and A Beetle is Shy, by Dianna Hutts Aston.  Life cycle models for a monarch butterfly, bee, and ladybug were introduced and set out for students to use.a book about beetlesA B C D E F Gsound sortmagnetic?table workordering and writing numeralsg, r, emorning workHow high can he go?counting number bead barsbellsteaching a friend to do the wooden word cardsafternoon writingboys driving their vehiclesfine motor lacing workspooningmorning floor workwater timebuilding butterfliesworkingtunnels and curving roadsmagnatiles and magnetsnumber tray sorting, counting, and matchingtwisting and turningbeginning sound item sortLegos are great for fine motor development!chefs in the kitchenthe 50 United States of Americacoordination to make two hands work together to lace the beadssorting and countinghandwriting practicesweeping up the sand from his shoesMonday Dancingforming letters with claythe number traynumber peg boardsAfternoon students put on a puppet show and did a little ribbon dancing after rest.puppet showswirl and twirlafternoon ribbon dancingHenrietta and Wolfgang visited on Wednesday to share a problem that Henrietta is having.  She very much wants to play with the other puppets, but she is not sure how to do that.  Sometimes they get upset with her if she jumps in and starts doing things without asking, or if she takes something that someone else is using.  Last week the children learned some ways to initiate an interaction, and they demonstrated their understanding of those strategies by sharing ideas with Henrietta, including asking to play, inviting someone to play, offering a toy, and sharing a play idea. (Thank you to our student photographer for the photo). Wolfgang and HenriettaThursday was a very exciting day.  We were anxious for our first visit of the year from Believe in Books, who brought Piglet for us to meet.  Andrea greeted us all and introduced herself, Piglet, another friend, and A.O., who read us a story about piglet trying to play with his friends, but being left out, so he made up his own game to play by himself, and was then later joined by his friends.  Everyone was gifted a book of their own to take home.a story with A.O.high five for Pigleta hug for PigletRight before our morning students left for the day we were thrilled to find out that our monarch butterfly, who joined us as a caterpillar on the first day of school, had emerged from its’ chrysalis.  We had been patiently watching and waiting through the stages of metamorphosis, and knew that it would be coming out soon, as the chrysalis had become clear and the black of the wings could clearly be seen.  We were so fortunate to have a parent set up a video camera to record the process, which he later edited and has posted here –  – for everyone to view.  Thank you so much, Chad! It is quite enchanting to watch the process.setting up the camera to record the butterfly emergingwatching the butterfly in its' chrysaliswatching the butterfly in the sunFor science Friday each student got a bin with 11 items to put in order from shortest to longest.  They then traced around them.  Some children also colored them in and labeled them (or had help labeling).  With so many items of varying shapes, it was a bit of a challenge, and took some time and careful comparing to see where each item should go.  For students just beginning to work with length, we took away all but three items, and ordered just those three.shortest to longestIn which order do these go?longest, shorter, shorter, shorterwhich one is the shortest?ordering by lengthtracing the lengthIMG_9990 (2)stories from the week