Sunnybrook Montessori School

Montessori preschool & kindergarten in New Hampshire's North Country

5 April, 2019
by Lyn

Glorious Spring!

Melting snow means lots of great mud, one of our favorite materials to play with!  Everyone was busy scooping and pouring muddy water, walking in the puddles, kicking balls, and digging our trench from the puddle under the tree to the back corner.  A student collected scoops of black shelled seeds from the bird feeder and dumped them in the trench to help it melt faster because black absorbs heat.  This initiated an experiment with Susan.  They collected light to dark colored papers and some silver foil and black foil, as well as some black metal trays and a black plastic tray, and placed them around the playground in both sun and shade to see what would happen.  The following day, we discovered that the black trays and black foil had sunk further down, having melted the snow underneath, while the snow under the silver foil did nothing.  Unfortunately our papers had blown away in the wind, so we were unable to observe any outcomes. 

a river of melting snowa muddy swirlhauling waterpouring mud into the potscoopingpulling the babydigging the trenchwhere will we put the black tray?setting out the paperpaper behind the tunnelchecking out the foilthe black foil has melted the snowthe black tray melted the snow

Monday student read The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle, then each took their painted paper and picture plan that they made last week, and got to work cutting and collaging.  Using their picture plans, they drew out the shapes they would need, then cut and pasted them to match their picture plans. 

a pink cata purple caterpillaran apartment buildinga green T-rexEric Carle Art

Painting was popular, both at the easel and with watercolors at the table.  There was quite a bit of partner painting using monochrome paints at the easel.  Some lovely works of art were created.

a blue flowersetting a masterpiece up to drya team effortfull colorwater color worksquigly purple linelots of colors

As of Tuesday morning, our chicks had been incubating for 8 days, so it was time to candle them (hold a flashlight underneath to check development).  Some students helped to block out the windows in the kitchen with cardboard to make it nice and dark, then we all found a spot to sit while Alicia brought the eggs in the incubator in.  She checked them one at a time, showing us the eggs, and we were able to see the dark eye spot and the baby chicks inside four of the eggs moving!  Three eggs did not develop, so we cracked them open to observe.  We found that they pretty much looked like eggs we would cook to eat, but one of them had a slight ring around the germ spot.  We thought they would smell, but they didn’t, and we got very close to sniff them!  We read Where Do Chicks Come From? Which gave lots of detail about how they develop and hatch. 

the chick and the black eye spotanother developing chickan undeveloped egglooking for the germ spotdo you see the germ spot?Does it smell?right there

We broke down our theater in dramatic play and voted on a new theme.  This time the teachers gave three options of things that we might visit in the community, and we voted between them; a store, a bakery/restaurant, and a post office.  They chose bakery/restaurant, and on Wednesday morning the children discussed what they would need and were very anxious to get busy setting up.  The kitchen set was pulled out of the back and set up, the dishes and utensils were unearthed, and a variety of restaurant and bakery foods were put into the refrigerator.  They set up the cash register, put out tables for customers, and some students worked with a classroom volunteer to create menus.  During Thursday morning meeting we discussed the different roles people could play; customer, baker, server, chef, busser, dishwasher, and cashier.  We talked about the script that people may use when waiting on customers, such as, “What may I bring for you today?” and “May I clear your plate?.”  It was quite a busy area!

menu makingan elegant mealhave some food!What may I bring you?serving foodthe taco bar

We talked about the start of spring and what starts to happen to the length of days and the temperature.  We also discussed what is happening with animals (babies are being born) and trees (their sap begins to run).  We read Sugarbush Spring about a girl maple sugaring with her family, then everyone who wanted had a taste of some sap and then some maple syrup.

blue snow slimelong ten chaina rainbowrace to the topwriting and readingthe witchloving the blue stuffblue play doughmath work

introducing the number scroll to a friendnumber workfarm animals6 book9 long chainwalking 6

During our discussion of the seasons, we also talked about the months and days in a year. The children learned that there are 365 days in a year, and they know that there are 7 days in a week, so we challenged them to figure out how many weeks are in a year. A group of students chose to work with Susan to solve this question. They decided that if they counted out 365 objects, then put them into groups of 7, they would know the answer. They selected pattern blocks (as there are a lot!) and counted them out. They then counted out groups of 7 and put them in bowls. They found that there were 52 bowls, and one block left over, therefore there are 52 weeks in a year. They presented their findings to the group, lining up their bowls and counting by 10’s to 50, then counted up 2 and one day left over, which Susan explained is actually a quarter of a day, as each year is actually 364.25 days.

Counting out 365bowls full of daysrows of ten52 weeks

We read Talk and Work It Out and chatted with Wolfgang and Henrietta about how to solve a problem when we disagree with a friend or have a conflict.  We posed a scenario where someone grabbed some food out of a friend’s hand in dramatic play and we asked the children how it could be solved.  A student suggested we ask for the item back and say you can use it when I am done.  Henrietta then shared a similar scenario, where Henrietta was building in the block area, and Wolfgang took a block she had set down.  Henrietta grabbed it out of his hands, and Wolfgang asked her to ask for a turn rather than taking it, and Henrietta said she had been using it first.  They both apologized, and someone suggested that Wolfgang could get another block just like it from the shelf.  We saw these scenarios tested out in the classroom and on the playground, and gave reminders that we use our words rather than hands.

Mr. Bond worked with the students to add more pieces to the bird houses, using their strong hand, wrist, arm, and core body strength to twist in the screws.

putting in the screw

attaching the supports

turn to the right

We celebrated the second 6th birthday of the year with clementines dipped in chocolate. The birthday boy answered questions about the month, season, and day of his birth, as well as how many times the earth rotates on its’ axis in one year, and with a small hint he remembered. After he walked the globe around the candle 6 times, we sang Happy Birthday before enjoying our special treat.

handing out birthday snacks

the newest 6 year old

the special birthday napkin

Susan did some fun dancing and moving songs for music on Thursday, and the children had great fun balancing, skipping, galloping, bending, jumping, and sashaying.


shuffling sideways

stories from the week

Friday students returned to boat building.  We again read Who Sank The Boat? then took down our boats from last week.  This week the challenge was to not only create a boat that could float, but that could hold something – either round or able to balance on it’s own.  There were some aluminum foil wrapped ping pong balls, some tongue depressor rafts, some sponge boats that floated until they became too heavy with water, and the most successful boat was merely a piece of wood which took some cows for a ride, created by our youngest engineer.

boat construction

a boat for chickstime to float!

ping pong balls on a boat

cows on a raftbears on a raft

29 March, 2019
by Lyn

Cheep, Cheep, Cheep

As we anxiously await the arrival of spring, we continue to make the best of our snowy play yard.  We did some sledding, puddle jumping, ditch digging, snowball sitting, potion making, house building, and ball kicking. 

top of the hillhappy girlsled housea warm day

Rain kept us in on Friday, so we did some dancing, tumbling, and crab walking.

crab walkcrawling and crab walk race

Monday students were introduced to the artist Eric Carle, who is well known for his picture book illustrations, including The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  We learned that he creates his pictures by painting large sheets of tissue paper in different designs, then cuts and glues them together to create collage illustrations.  Each student made a plan and drew a sketch of what they will collage.  They then proceeded to paint papers using various implements, including paint brushes, a roller, and a spiny ball.  Next week they will cut their papers into the needed shapes, then paste them together to create their pictures.

painted papergreenish black and purplish black printing

We read This Little Chick about a chick who learns to make the noises of the other farm animals by playing with them, and From Egg to Chicken about the life cycle of a chicken.  The sensory table was set up in a safe place against a wall for the incubator, and we discussed how our job is to keep the eggs safe from being jostled by keeping our distance from the table.  An egg cycle activity was also introduced, where you can follow the development of the chick within the egg.  Alicia delivered and set up the incubator, then returned when it was 99.5 degrees to put in the eggs.  One side of each egg was marked with an X and the opposite side was marked with an O, so we can track to ensure they are turning properly.   We watched as the eggs entered the incubator, where they will stay for 21 days. We check them regularly to see if they have turned, if their temperature is steady, and if they have enough moisture. So far they are doing well! On Thursday morning we had a visit from some chicks that have already hatched, so we know what to look forward to.

X and Osetting the eggs in the incubatoralmost readychick development

After reading Horrible Bear, Henrietta Hen and Wolfgang Wolf chatted with us about how we speak to our friends.  Henrietta shared a story about the time Wolfgang ate her snack, and she got so made she said something very unkind.  She told Wolfgang he was not her friend anymore, which made him so sad.  We discussed what else we could say if we get upset instead of something hurtful, such as “I am so sad that you ate my snack!” and how to resolve that.

sorting and countingelements blocksthe cow and wolf showtrinomial cubebuilding the townVerbs bookdominoesreading and writingdramatic playmath worksorting and counting recyclablesa family bookthe animal castleGo Fish

Susan introduced Living vs Nonliving with the story Living and Nonliving.  We learned that living things breathe, need water and nutrients or food, and can move on their own, even plants, who make their own food with sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide.  We then did a group sorting project where we looked at models of real things and sorted them according to whether they are living (plants & animals –fungi, monera, and protist kingdoms were not discussed) or non-living (everything else). 

living or non living

Illustrators, artists who draw the pictures in books, were introduced.  The children were introduced to 6 children’s book illustrators; Eric Carle, Jan Brett, Brian Pinkney, Lynley Dodd, Yangsook Choi, and Mo Willems.  The children then sorted books by illustrator, placing them next to the photo of the illustrator who made the pictures in the book.  They matched the styles to determine the illustrator.

I know!sorting books by illustrator

The children began assembling their bird houses with Mr. Bond.  They each attached the four small sections at the base of the walls that will support the floor.  It was a lot of work screwing in all the screws!  Everyone worked hard to turn and push them in, with a bit of help from Mr. Bond.

screwing in the supporthere are the piecespush and turna folcrum fingerpush hard!

During music Susan continued to teach about pipes, and each child made their very own kazoo to take home.  I am sure it was a restful afternoon/evening with all those kazoo players tooting around!

During Friday science we read the story about Penny the sailboat, built by grandpete and sailed around lake Winnipesaukee until her boards were too spongy and broken to sail any longer.  We used the data we gained last week during our sink and float experiment to help guide us today with boat building.  Our goal was to create a boat that could float.  We discussed how a failure can be just as helpful as a success, as we can learn just as well from what didn’t work as what did.  The children had a great time experimenting with the materials set out, creating boats from ping pong balls, aluminum foil, tape, wooden sticks, tongue depressors, wax, yarn, wood, and pipe cleaners.  They tried out all shapes, sizes, and methods of adhering materials together.  Next week they will use their knowledge to build a boat that will hold something!

foil boat and wax boatping ping raftping pong balls floata long boata wooden rafta ping pong ball boata wax boat holds a ballhow to hold a wooden boat togetherboat buildersthey floattaping sticksthe boat fell apartthe wooden house boat

22 March, 2019
by Lyn


peek-a-booYay for spring!  We did some ice skating and sledding on our tundra toward the beginning of the week.  Later in the week we were so excited when we got outside and discovered some lovely puddles that were just right for scooping up snowy water with birdseed, and muddy water with chunks of ice.  We chiseled out a ditch for drainage and filled our buckets and sleds with water and slush.  A Friday snowfall was just right for rolling enormous snowballs, which were much too big to stack!sunny day for ice skatingglowhis snow hill seatthe pumpkin emergeshello in theredigging out the big blocksdigging into the pumpkinI can see youscooping water and bird seeda sled full of melted snowscooping waterdraining the puddleworking to drain the watersledding on fresh snowan angelsnow fallworking on his giant snow ballso big!climbing on the sleeping snowmanOn Monday we looked at some beautiful marbled paper.  We then made our own by carefully dropping inks into pans of water, then carefully pulling and swirling the colors, moving slowly to keep the colors separated.  We then gently laid our papers on top before slowly picking them up and placing them on the drying rack.marbled papergreen, orange, and blackswirling the colorscool colored paperWe read several stories about friendship, kindness, and handling frustrations, which initiated important conversations about the ways we communicate with and treat others and how we handle challenging situations.  We read Wanted: Best Friend, Words Are Not for Hurting, Be Kind, and I Can Handle It.  “You are not my friend” is a common phrase young children use to express their displeasure, but it is a hurtful phrase.  The children shared other ways to communicate when they are upset that are kind and informative, such as “I did not like it when you took my puppet.  It made me sad.  Please give it back.”Go In and Out the Windowrabbit, police officer, & lambyLego housepouringspooningwriting togetherlocks and keyspink and brown towernumber puzzlemarble towersquigzopening and closing containersunlocking lockssorting and counting recyclableswritingworking the concessions standsetting up the townfloor workLittle Red Riding HoodC bookRivers, Roads, and Railsbooks about familiesscent matching & more Rivers, Roads, & Railsspooning colored glasscolorful patternsafternoon workcounting tensrace to the top & wildlife bookhundred boardrace to the topamazing mazesBelieve in Books sent Katie, A.O., and Cat in the Hat to visit on Tuesday.  A.O. read us two stories from the Sneetches book, The Zax and What Was I Afraid Of?  After the stories everyone had a chance to greet the Cat in the Hat with a hug, high five, fist bump, or wave, then chose a book to take home.  We posed for a photo with The Cat before he, Katie, and A.O. returned to the Theater in the Woods.The North going Zax and the South going ZaxHugs for the CatPosing with the CatMr. Bond brought out everyone’s boards for their bird houses and worked with them to measure and mark the lines for cutting.  Each child worked to set up the layout of their board, which Mr. Bond took home to cut in preparation for assembly, which will begin next week.marking the spothow long?mark this spotRight hereThe Shannon family will be bringing fertilized eggs to our classroom next week with an incubator.  We will monitor and observe them until they hatch in 21 days.  On Wednesday they brought eggs from their hens for us to examine and a catalog showing various breeds of chickens.  The catalog listed the names and showed a photos of the adult chickens, the chicks, and the eggs.  It also told whether the breed was used for eggs, meat, or both, and if it is heat and/or cold temperature hardy.  We found the chicken breeds that laid the eggs in the carton, Golden Laced Wyanotte, Buff Orpington, and White Leghorn, and used the photos to determine which chickens laid which eggs, according to color; light brown, dark brown, or white.  We then opened an egg to find the germ spot, yolk, and albumen.  We looked at the germ spot to see if it had been fertilized, and it appeared to be, as it had a ring around it.white, light brown, and dark brown eggsA fertilized egg?Zeanny continued teaching about fruit and healthy eating during health and Spanish on Thursday.  We watched and sang along to the fruit song, then she read La oruga muy hambrienta (The Very Hungry Caterpillar).the fruit songSusan once again brought our her piccolo, fife, alto recorder, and flute.  She reminded us that the longer the pipe, the lower the pitch.  She played each one and asked us to identify which had the lowest pitch and which had the highest, first trying to guess by looking at the lengths of the pipes.  She introduced some new woodwind instruments; a slide whistle, a train whistle, a flutophone, a harmonica, and a kazoo.  To wrap up music she brought out some boom whackers, which make their sound when the air passes through them when they whack something.  First the children organized them from longest to shortest, then everyone took a turn whacking them on things; shelves, the pole, the floor, chairs, tables, our bodies, and the wall.  We found that they made the best sound when we whacked them on our bodies, but we had fun testing them out on most anything we could find!the fluteWhich hole on the fife will the air come out if I cover this hole?If I cover all the holes, where does the air come out?the alto recorderthe flutophonepicking a boom whackerwhacking the shelfwhich one will you play?boom whackers on the pillarwhack, whack, whacka neat tonetry it on the tableFriday students read Who Sank the Boat? then did a float or sink experiment.  To begin, we determined which materials we were working with and made labels for each one; wood, metal, glass, plastic, rubber, and other.  The children then took turns picking items, determining what they were made of, and hypothesizing whether they would sink or float before testing our hypothesis.  We discovered that all things wood floated, and even when we tried we could not make them sink.  We found that glass sank unless it had air trapped inside, and that all metal sank.  We were able to make metal items float if they were a particular shape, which spread their weight over the surface of the water.  We will use this information next week when we get busy building boats.wooddoes it float or sink?Can we make it sink?What should I try?It sinks!Will this metal pulley sink or float?Can I make this wooden flower pot sink?If I fill this glass bottle with water will it sink or float?plastic, metal, wood

14 March, 2019
by Lyn

Counting Down to Spring

squirrel lureAbove freezing temperatures and the later arrival of night were warmly welcomed and taken advantage of.  Slushy snow and muddy puddle water made lovely potions.  A squirrel lure was created to study visiting squirrels.  Tracks were discovered the following day, showing that it was an effective lure.  Now to get the squirrels to stay for observation . . . Snowball fights were had.  A snowman was constructed.  The gate was finally extracted from the ice.  Afternoon students spent the after hours outside further enjoying the snowy warmth.peeking outHappy almost spring!snow and dried flowersinvestigating squirrel tracks at the squirrel lurechecking the lurepotionsthe outdoor sleeperqueens of the mountainwarm weather snowmanup in the treemuddy waterscoop it upgoing for a rideMonday students read about how paper is made, then used wood pulp and scrap paper to create their own colored sheets of paper.  They selected their favorite colors, tore them into small pieces, then blended them up with some water to make a pulp.  The pulp was poured into a screen frame and pushed down to extract the water.  The newly formed paper was turned out and rolled to extract more water and flatten it a bit before setting up to dry.ripping papermaking orangesqueezing out the waterpouring in the waterrolling out the water & mixing up the pulppushing down the pulpmixing orangepink paper and black papersquishingWe began to learn about authors, illustrators, and story writing.  In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, we read several Dr. Seuss stories, including Yertle the Turtle, Gertrude McFuzz, Horton Hears a Who, and Cat in the Hat.  We had discussions about the characters and their feelings and our thoughts about the different stories.  We read about what authors do in What Authors and Illustrators Do and Ralph Tells a Story.  We also had a special visitor, Lisa Savage, who read the fun syllables story Tinka Tinka Skunk.alphabet BINGOhundred boardmarble run towerbuilding treesordering the apple from whole to corebuilding monsterspuzzles and circle matchpin punching, and what I like about winterboys readingalmost finishedafternoon workand her little beavers tenher favorite pastimemore number scroll work and the latin names of North American mammalsafternoon workmarble run constructionreading, writing, arithmeticfabric matchinga puzzling castlebonesstories with TammyAt the art table the students used Dr. Seuss character stencils to trace and color their own copies of the characters.  Some students really enjoyed tracing stencils!Dr. Seuss StencilsThe Grinch and Sam I AmHe's a mean one, Mr. GrinchNumber scrolls have become a very popular activity lately – we have some very skilled number writers.number writing7number scroll workteens and seventies190sThe children set up a concession stand in the dramatic play area for those attending shows at the shadow puppet theater and on the big screen.I would like some pizza, pleasemaking popcornshadow puppet showcounting all his moneyMr. Bond introduced the final project of the year. He brought out a board – there will be one for each student – and showed them the birdhouse they will each build using that board. This week they ordered the pictures for the steps of the project. Next week they will draw the lines on their board for Mr. Bond to cut into the pieces needed to build the bird house.which step comes first?What is the final step?Zeanny came on Thursday morning for Spanish and Health.  She showed us different types of fruit in different forms – fresh, frozen, canned, juice, and dried – and told us that we should each have 2 servings of fruit per day.  We learned a fun Spanish song about fruit, El Baile de la Fruta.  We washed our hands then washed and cut up the fruit for our tasty fruit salad!  It had apples, mangos, peaches, pears, kiwi, clementines, grapefruit, star fruit, strawberries, pineapple, raspberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, bananas, and dried cherries.  It was so yummy!fresh, frozen, canned, juice, driedfruit prepmelon, strawberries, pineapple, applepear, strawberries, apple, clementine, bananaapple, grapefruit, kiwi, mango, clementineWe celebrated a fifth birthday with the end of winter birthday boy.  He counted that his birthday is four days before the start of spring.  He shared that his birthday is in the month of March, in the season of winter, and that the earth has orbited the sun 5 times since his birth.  He walked the globe around the sun while we listed the seasons and counted the years to his fifth birthday, then blew out the candle.  He brought tasty blueberry muffins topped with mini chocolate chip cookies to share.  Happy birthday 5 year old!birthday boy