Sunnybrook Montessori School

Montessori preschool & kindergarten in New Hampshire's North Country

9 December, 2017
by Lyn

Fall Snow Falling

a worm in the snow!Ice, mud, and snow took turns coating the ground this week, making for a variety of outdoor play experiences.  We slipped and slid around then cracked open the air bubbles trapped in the ice layers.  As the temperatures warmed, puddles of water and mud were dotted around the yard, which became paint, stew, and mud pits.  The temperatures cooled again, and we were showered with soft fluffy white flakes, just right for shoveling, forming into snowballs, and building miniature snowmen.the toy salesmenbreaking the icecracking the icecollecting the ice chipspouring the ice chips into the bucketslipping and slidingsitting on the icea big hole in the icerockingpulling the sledmuddy puddlechattingsitting on the stumps in the mudboys in the leavescatching snowflakesbuilding a snow mancarrying snow ballsrolling snow ballsfilling the sledmaking a pathfun in the snowshovelingmini snowmenusing the boot jackFor art on Monday we read Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, then made winter forest night-time art by using our fingers to tear brown paper into tree trunks and branches, then adding white paper and paint for layers of snow and falling flakes.
snow on the treessnow in the foresta forest at nightgluing on the treestrees on a winter nightAfter art, the Monday students took their monthly trip to the library with Tammy and Susan, where they had a quiet morning playing trains, reading, caring for babies, playing battleship, and using the doll house.driving around the tracksdollhousecaring for the babytrainsreadingbattleship at the libraryOur week was once again dedicated to the upcoming Winter performance, the arrival of winter solstice, and the holidays surrounding this season.  The students continued to practice their songs.  They drew, painted, and cut out the props for This is the Jacket I Wear in the Snow.  Several students enthusiastically volunteered and diligently practiced with Susan to play the glockenspiel to “Snows Are Falling On Douglas Mountain.” At the art table they completed their ornament gifts and made night-time winter paintings with white paint and black paper.  At the writing table they made holiday cards to distribute to the residents of the local elder care facilities.all lined up to singReciting The Jacket I Wear In The Snowpracticing for The Snows are Falling on Douglas Mountainwhite on black & painting the clothes & tears for This is the Jacket I Wear in the Snowfinishing up his ornamentmaking cardsdrawing pictures in cards for the elderlymaking holiday cardsWe read the stories The Shortest Day and Lights of Winter, about winter solstice and holidays around the world that are celebrated around winter solstice. We read about Diwali, an Indian festival of lights, Saturnalia, an ancient roman solstice celebration, Hanukkah, a Jewish celebration, Soyal, a Hopi celebration, and Christmas, a Christian holiday, among many others.  We also introduced The Nutcracker through a picture book by Susan Jeffers.  We watched several videos of portions of the dance by the New York City ballet, including the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Mother Ginger, and Waltz of The Snowflakes.  We played the nutcracker music throughout the morning, and several of the students enjoyed dancing to it.stories from the weekdancing to the NutcrackerThey requested the puppets and took turns acting out Silly Sally, a fun repetitive story we introduced a few weeks ago, by Audrey Wood.
reading Silly SallyHow did Sally get to town sleeping backwards upside down?acting out Silly SallyThe dollhouse returned to the classroom, and the students were excited to play with it once again.
dollhousePlaying with the doll houseThe Jacket I Wear in the Snowmatching bellstweezer transferletter work & money nomenclaturemat workreading to friendsmorning work timea purple personreading about animalsmatching patterns to animalsrolling nad cuttingbuildingsound sortvery careful fine motor workbalancing the clowna red rod mazeconnectorsco-pilotsblack play doughletter workFor Friday science we read What Do You Do When Something Wants to Eat You? And I See Animals Hiding.  We talked about many protective and defense mechanisms that animals use, including poison, running away, kicking, breaking off body parts, and camouflage.  We then did an experiment where we were birds using our beaks to hunt for insects in their environments.  We took turns rotating through the five colored environments, where we pecked out only the S insects hidden within the Ms.  When every student had visited every environment, we then returned to the rug where we sorted and counted out our catch.  We charted how many of each color M and S we captured.  We observed that we were able to collect more purple, orange, and greens than reds and yellows, and recognized that these were easier to spot as the colors were slightly different, while the red and yellow were exactly the same shade, making it more difficult to pinpoint them.  We dumped our captured insects into the compost and each took home a small baggie of fresh ones.Which ones should we eat?only eat the reds with S on themcan you find the purples in the brown environment?pecking out the orange onespecking up the red onessort and countHow many purple and brown did you capture?counting out his "insects"Why would the birds have captured fewer of these than the other colors?

2 December, 2017
by Lyn


an angel in the snowThe first sticking snow fell, making a white playground perfect for pulling sleds and making snow angels.  It didn’t last long, as the temperatures warmed enough to melt the snow, which then made ice puddles, then rain made water puddles over the ice.  We enjoyed our week playing with the snow, then the ice, then the water.
happy angeldelicious snowsleds with snowchillingkids in hidinga sled bridgekids and blocks in sledsexiting the vehiclethe snow familyfun on the icepulling a friendexamining the frozen water and what got trapped insidebreaking through the icepenguins waiting for a turn to slip and slidethe ice is demolisheddropped her hatall in a rowa patch of ice for usFor Monday art, students were introduced to the artist Wassily Kandinsky, and his famous circle paintings, Squares with Concentric Circles, and Several Circles.  They used circular objects to print black circles on their papers, then set them up to dry.  They then used colorful paints to paint their clay pots that they made last week.  We introduced the Kandinsky Circles to the entire class on Tuesday, and the children made prints and painted them throughout the circle printsKandinsky Circle Artpainting potspink and purple potscolorful circlescircle printsartists workingKandinsky circle artThe art table was also busy with children making Christmas ornament gifts for families.  The children enjoyed tracing and cutting out circles, using the winter themed punches to punch out a white shape, and brushing on modge podge to coat their ornaments..modge podgecutting out circlesornamentsWe were gifted with a beautiful new sign from Gerrie Scott, who was a Sunnybrook teacher for 27 years, and who continued to join us monthly to read, until this year, when health concerns prevented her visits.  She stopped by briefly on Tuesday afternoon to have the sign she commissioned presented to us.  Gerrie has been a presence for good in our community throughout her life, and her quote “Only Kindness Matters” is a valuable Sunnybrook philosophy.  The children all signed a thank you card, which was delivered to Gerrie on Wednesday after school.A new sign from Gerrie Scottsigning a card for Gerriethank you from SunnybrookWith winter weather here, and winter fast approaching, we read many stories about the arrival of winter and the first snow.  The majority of group time was dedicated to learning the songs that we will be performing for the winter celebration.  Susan has selected several wonderful seasonal and holiday tunes for the children to learn, and they are particularly excited about getting to use bells to accompany their singing.  Susan also read The Jacket I Wore In The Snow, a repeating story that we will be reciting and presenting.jingle bellsThe Jacket I Wore In The Snowtall towersnumber worknumber scrollbotany puzzlesmultiple levelsten frame additiontall wallsmath and sensorial workmorning floor workwhat type of bird is this?colorful patternsAlphabet BINGOblock timemorning workLetter worksound cylindersanimal sortingairplane passengersa future engineer at work?matching bellsIMG_1753 (2)teen boardplay dough and brain flakesa red rod mazecounting the beadsbuilding with Legosthe nesting dollmorning worksound cylindersreading and writingnumber boardreading timebuilding with trianglesZeanny came on Thursday for our final Spanish group of 2017.  We sang some of our Spanish songs, then she introduced a cooking activity.  She took out some pieces of giant green leaf and laid it out for the children to see, then asked them what type of leaf they thought it might be.  She told us that it is from a fruit tree that grows in tropical climates.  There were many guesses, including pineapple, mango, orange, lemon, peach, and pear.  Someone eventually said banana, which she confirmed.  The children noticed that it had a smell, some came closer to sniff it, and they disagreed about whether it was a good smell or a yucky smell.  Zeanny then explained the process of making a tamale, which starts with washing hands, then washing the banana leaves, criss crossing two leaves, placing the masa and ingredients on the leaves, then wrapping and tying them.a section of a leaflaying out the partswhat kind of leaf is this?stinky banana smell!hand washingwashing the leavesleaf scrubbinggetting off the banana juicewiping down the leavesbuilding the tamaleselecting ingredientsfolding and tyingwrapping upready to refrigerateBooks from the weekFriday students checked out our egg that we placed in vinegar two weeks ago to see what happened. We observed that the shell had been removed by the vinegar, and the albumen and yolk were contained only by the soft membrane left under the shell. The children took turns gently touching it before we carefully placed it back in the jar. We then read about, discussed, and did some experiments about bird beaks.  We read Unbeatable Beaks by Stephen Swinburne and Beaks! By Sneed B. Collard, and discussed the various types of beaks and what functions they serve.  We looked at pictures of six different birds, and presented 6 different tools, then decided which tool was most similar to each bird beak.  We paired the hummingbird with a straw, a heron with a skewer, a grosbeak with pliers, a robin with tweezers, a hawk with serated tongs, and a duck with a strainer.  We then went to the six stations, each containing one of each of the six tools, and a type of “food.”  The children then used the tools to determine which “beak” would be the best for eating each type of food.  One station contained tiny “plants” floating in water.  The second was a pot of soil with (rubber) worms.  The third station was a shallow dish with (swedish) fish in the water.  The fourth was a bowl of sunflower seeds.  The fifth held a narrow neck soda bottle with water (nectar in a flower), and the final station held marshmallows (animal flesh) on a skewer.  They really enjoyed experimenting, and were very thorough in their research.the "rubber" eggbird beaksWhat is the best tool for collecting small floating plants?how to get worms out of the soilThe best way to get a wormI got it!digging for wormsHow do Blue Herons fish?I got it!many ways to catch a fishspearing the fish with her heron beaka heron catching dinnerfishingcracking seeds openthe best seed cracking beakhummingbirds sipping nectarWhat type of beak can tear apart an animal?pulling apart the musclepulling it apart

24 November, 2017
by Lyn

Soup From a Stone

The cold air kept us moving outside to stay warm.  Susan and some friends taught us some new games, which the children had a wonderful time playing together, including Red Light, Green Light and What Time is It?
red light, green lightDinnertime!digging sandThe familygiving a friend a ridesled trainThe much anticipated Stone Soup week finally arrived.  The children were anticipating and busy preparing for our feast.
Stone soupreading with Susanexchanging pennies, dimes, & dollarspattern matchcaterpillarsthe bird buildingwriting ticketsreading with Tricialetter sound gameFor art on Monday students learned how to make pinch pots and coiled pots out of clay.  They used their fingers to roll balls, then push in and pinch around to make the pot, or roll a long snake then coil it around into a pot.  They have set them out to dry for painting next week.making pinch potsher pinch pota coil pot out of clayWashing, cutting, and preparing ingredients for stone soup began after art on Monday, and continued Tuesday morning.  The children washed, peeled, chopped, pressed and/or snapped carrots, potatoes, celery, sweet potato, mushrooms, onions, green beans, garlic, and broccoli.  On Wednesday morning they helped to open cans and bags of broth, corn, peas, beans, broccoli, and noodles, adding them to the soup when it was time.
cutting up carrotspeeling the sweet potatocarrot peelingcutting carrot sliceschopping carrotseven more carrotswashing off the mushroomspreparing ingredientscarefully peeling a potatocutting potato chunkscarrots and potatoeschop chopThe Armstrong family sent in a fun turkey story and art project, which the children loved doing!  After reading the story, the children followed the instructions that came with their set, sticking together the foam body, wings, legs, head, etc. to build their very own turkey character.
a big green turkeyturkey artOn Stone Soup day the children were anxious for our feast.  After reading Look and Be Grateful by Tomie De Poala we talked about the things that we are grateful for.  We read The Loud Book and The Quiet Book, then we closed our eyes and listened to the singing bowl.  When we could no longer hear it vibrating, we silently placed our hands on our heads.  We did it several times, listening as closely as we could to hear it as long as possible.
listening for silenceWe introduced the Thankful Tree, where children could draw a picture on a leaf to hang on the tree, or tell Tricia what they are thankful for, which she would write on a leaf for the student to hang on the tree.
What are you thankful for?writing what we are thankful for with TriciaI am thankful . . .the Thankful TreeMany children helped to make butter.  Heavy cream was poured into two jars, and the children and teachers took turns shaking throughout the morning, until finally a ball of butter was formed, which was rinsed in cold water and sprinkled with salt before being refrigerated to wait for soup time.
making buttershaking the creamshake it upMany children also helped to make biscuits.  They took turns measuring, adding, and mixing together flour, salt, baking powder, butter, and milk, then rolling out and cutting the biscuits, which they placed in pans to bake.
biscuit makingmixing in the butterusing hands to blend in the butterworking as a teampea size chunkscutting out the biscuitsAfter arranging and washing tables and chairs, Susan read stories while soup was ladled into bowls, cider was poured into cups, and napkins were set out.  Finally families arrived, and everyone enjoyed soup, crackers, bread and biscuits with butter, and cider.  It was wonderful to have so many family members join us for our stone soup feast!
crackers and soupStone Soup timeenjoying stone soup and biscuitsfinishing upbuttering the bread

18 November, 2017
by Lyn

Freezing, Fowl, and Flying

what is on the other side?The winter chill has settled in and we bundled up to stay warm.  We moved the logs and blocks to the edge of the yard so they did not freeze in the middle.  We raked up more leaves and moved them to the garden to compost.  We played running games to warm up.  And we started to move the trucks, rakes, and warm weather toys inside.sittingtoy sellersice pieceslining up the blocksmixing up leaf soupthree in a rowWe spent a rainy Thursday recess inside with the inside toys, then we had fun performing the story Silly Sally with puppets and doing some ribbon dancing.puppetsKnexmagnatilesPlaymobile farmingbristle blocksFor Monday art we read The Boy Who Drew Birds about John. J. Audobon, and The Painter Who Loved Chickens, then we made our own pictures of art using the medium of our choice, mostly pencil & watercolor and pastels. Watercolor painting was then available to use throughout the week.a blue jay and a pink birdcolorful bird artbird pictureswater color paintingAt the art table the children finished up their birds, nests, and eggs, then assembled them and took them home.  They really enjoyed creating them and working through all of the steps, from nest building through choosing which type of bird and what color eggs.  Some children chose to do realistic representations, while others decided to get creative. We enjoyed having Stacey with us on Tuesday and Wednesday while Susan was out.  She helped everyone finish up their bird projects, which kept her quite busy!painting eggsblack loon eggsIMG_1378 (2)pieces for a nestmaking the eggs cozy in the nesta bird in a nest with eggsWe celebrated a fourth birthday on Wednesday.  As the birthday girl carefully walked around the sun candle with the globe, we named the seasons and counted the years as she aged. After the Happy Birthday song, she blew out the candle and we all enjoyed the tasty popcorn she brought to share.  Happy Birthday, birthday girl!Birthday Girl!The airplane continued to travel to many destinations, flying travelers all around the world.What is the destination?pilots flyingthree pilots and two passengersCome in air controlWe continued to learn about our bodies, particularly focusing on our muscles and bones.  We located many of our bones and named them and continued to sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” but changing the words to skull, clavicle, patella, phalanges.  We located our hearts and felt them beating, then did some active moving, including running in place, jumping jacks, and frog hops, then feeling our hearts and observing that they were beating much faster, feeling our muscles strain and begin to feel tired, and noticing that we were breathing faster and heavier as our bodies worked hard.a forest full of birdsbirds in the treesbuilding with blockslacing beads, japanese garden, and the "baby" under the tablemaking alphabet bookspenny exchange game
apple tree number puzzleblock structures100 board7 continentsafternoon writingcontinent & USA puzzle mapssetting up bird habitatsalphabet BINGO with some creative licenseorangestone soup memory gameexchanging penniesblocks and birdsschool bus puzzlenumber scrollscolor gradingmorning workexamining the birdsplay dough timeopening containersafternoon writingGo Fishsensorial & geographybird sanctuariesletter sound worknumber scrolls, pin punching, journal writing# scroll writingfabric matches by feela giant ship and a fleet of boatscylinder blocksrhyming, reading, & writingBlack sparkly play dough shapesWe watched a short story video of another version of the Stone Soup story and discussed the theme of giving to others and introduced the idea of donating food to those who may not have as much as we do.  We will be collecting food items through the second week of December, after which the afternoon students will walk them across the street to the food pantry.

For music on Thursday Susan sang the song Dem Bones with us, changing the words from foot bone, leg bone, etc., to the real names of the bones.  She then taught us a very fun song called Father Abraham, a body moving song, which gets harder as different motions are added.  Here are the lyrics:

Father Abraham,

had many sons,

many sons had Father Abraham

And they didn’t laugh,

and they didn’t cry,

all they did was go like this

left arm (move it up and down).

(continue, adding right arm, left leg, right leg, nod your head, turn around)

She then read us several story songs, including Over in the Meadow, Hard Scrabble Harvest (illustrated by students at Aurora school which Susan founded and ran for 20 years), and the food web song There’s a Little Black Bug, Sitting in the Water, also adjusted and illustrated by Aurora students.Father AbrahamA Story SongSome Stories from the weekdrummingOn Friday we read about and examined eggs.  We then did an experiment to test how strong eggs are.  We stood them in little cups to stabilize them, then stacked books on top to see how many they could hold before cracking.  We counted the books as we stacked them.  We piled on 41 books before the eggs broke!  We then took turns holding books to see which was stronger – the egg shells or ourselves.  The most we were able to hold was 22, so those little egg shells were very strong!!  We then started another experiment, which will take a week, though we enjoyed observing some changes right away.  We placed an egg in a jar of vinegar.  Immediately after placing it in the jar, it was coated in bubbles, which began bubbling up.  After a while, the egg floated up to the top.  We will continue to observe it over the coming week and will check it out after Thanksgiving break to see how the vinegar changes the egg.3 eggs can hold 41 books before breaking17 books22 books!Can you hold as many books as an egg?an egg in vinegar