Friday, December 17, 2010

Thank You for Your Generosity

Dear CMA Students, Families and Community:

On behalf of all of us at Central Montessori Academy, I would like to say thank you to each of you for your support and generosity during this Holiday Season. Here are some of the highlights of your generosity:
  • Our community raised $146.96 for our Pennies for Peace Campaign.
  • Many area families were able to have a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Our families contributed so generously to our staff holiday fund that each CMA staff and team member received a $100.00 gift card to Target.
  • Our fundraising and development efforts have been very successful due to your participation.
  • Our classrooms received wonderful gifts form you and your children during today's gift ceremony.
Have a wonderful holiday season and winter break. All of us at CMA all look forward to seeing you and your children in the new year!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

An Article by Our Very Own Miss Kristin

Pictured above Nate, Emma and Fin show off some very large leaves found as they explored the natural areas of CMA's backyard. Kristin Patterson, one of our Lower Elementary teachers, has written an article about her observations of the children in CMA's backyard. Her article is complete with children's photos. drawings, maps and quotes. To read her article click here. To download and print her article click here. Thanks for your good work Miss Kristin!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Sensorial Area

The sensorial areas of the classrooms in the early childhood programs at CMA are more than just building blocks and color sorting.

The purpose and aim of the works in the sensorial area is for the child to acquire clear, conscious, information and to be able to then make classifications with the work and the material. This work does not just produce a built tower or organized color pattern, but also produces in the child a way of thinking, a system for organizing information and classifying new learning.

This work is more important for young children than ever. The amount of new information that comes to children in this day and age is much more than previous generations experienced. Children who have developed a system of thinking, organizing and clarifying information will be much better suited to the navigation of unending information streams and determining how to organize and classify all that they experience.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

McKenna and Tracie stopping for a picture during the 6th grade shopping trip to purchase Thanksgiving food for families in need.

This Thanksgiving season at CMA has been marked by the children’s generosity and enthusiasm for giving back to their community.

The pre-primary sponsored a food drive and collected over 173 pounds of canned goods and non-perishable items for families in our community. The Mt. Healthy Food Alliance, which served 376 families in this area in October, gratefully accepted the children’s gift on Friday of last week.

The Upper Elementary raised over $400.00 with a successful breakfast event last week. The Upper Elementary students and their families provided baked morning treats. Coffee was provided by the Blue Ash Starbucks and was served up by barista, Melody Cassada. These funds more than covered the expense of providing two very full and bountiful boxes of thanksgiving goods and fixings. The sixth graders accompanied their teachers to the North College Hill Kroger where they shopped for the best prices and nest produce to maximize the donations given at the breakfast event.

Our entire CMA community rallied around these events and supported our kids in making a difference in the world. Thanks to each of you for making our kids successful in giving back to their community.

Most of all, thanks to each of you for sharing yourselves and your children with us every day. Your children are the most precious of gifts and we count ourselves as blessed that they have entered our lives. Thanks to all of you who in small ways and large help in making CMA the wonderful school and community that it is.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

An Integrated Curriculum

Classrooms at CMA are organized into several curriculum areas, which include language arts mathematics and geometry, practical life, sensorial development, geography, history, science, art, music, and movement. Each area is made up of one or more shelves with a wide variety of materials on display and ready for use. CMA’s curriculum is organized into a spiral of integrated studies, rather than a traditional model in which the curriculum is compartmentalized into separate subjects. Our course of study uses an integrated thematic approach that ties the separate disciplines of the curriculum together into studies of the physical universe, the world of nature, and the human experience. This integrated approach is one of Montessori’s great strengths. For instance, in the photo of the snack table above, you may notice that choosing snack at CMA offers an experience that contains nutrition education, development of independence and sequencing skills, social skills practice, one-to one correspondence, and recognizing one’s name in print. As a further example, please follow this link to see a video book about the life cycle of a rock created by one of our students. She even took it a step further and produced this video book in Spanish. This work allows her to further develop he scientific knowledge, story writing and telling, and Spanish skills. The bonus is that through her produced wok we can assess these areas and determine her next steps in learning.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Going Out

"Going Out" is a Montessori phrase we use in reference to field trips and related to the children's acquisition of culture. Montessori believed that the elementary aged child was developmentally suited to learn from activities outside the school building, in the thick of the society, the culture, and the natural world. Elementary teachers, emphasize such things as fossil hunting field trips, as well as other field trip activities, to teach children that the source of all knowledge is human curiosity about the world we live in. Pictured above is a photo of the Upper Elementary children at the Johnny Appleseed monument at Spring Grove Cemetery. The children go to the cemetery annually for an educational scavenger hunt that guides them through our local history and botany.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Moveable Alphabet

The moveable alphabets are often in use at CMA, particularly in the pre-primary classrooms. It is a wonderful work because it allows children the opportunity to compose words and to express themselves. For example, while many children may be mentally prepared to write, they may not have the fine motor skills needed to actually write down words, sentences or stories with a pencil and paper. With the moveable alphabet, a child can select the sound or letter they need to compose a word, eventually working towards writing an entire sentence or even story. Not only does the movable alphabet aid the child in composing words at and early age, practicing with it is a precursor to reading. Once a child has composed a word, it becomes easier for them to read it from another source.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What Are Natural Playgrounds?

This excperpt is form The Natural Playground Website:

"If you’ve ever climbed trees, rolled down hills, scrambled up rocks, made mud pies, dammed up water, hid in grass, played house in bushes, built snow forts, dug in sand, played in dirt, planted seeds, jumped in leaves, tracked animals, or had fun outside in other, similar ways, you’ve experienced natural play.

Our unique design process helps our playground designers work with you to combine landscape elements, movement corridors, sun paths, weather patterns, drainage courses, plant groupings, and other site amenities with carefully chosen natural materials, structures, and features to create safe, accessible, age-appropriate play, social, and learning opportunities in natural play areas that look and feel like they’ve been there forever."

We hope to see you at The Natural Playgrounds Meeting today after school. Please let us know if you will be attending and if you need childcare.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Montessori Math Preview

When I think about the Montessori math materials, many of which were developed by Dr. Maria Montessori herself, I think about their qualities of order, clarity and even beauty. Math materials are in constant use at our school. The children are drawn to them and come to love their math work. This is a far cry from what many of us grew up believing or feeling about math. The math materials which in every level move from the more concrete to the more abstract and from the more simple to the more complex have not ceased to bring about a sense of awe and wonder from children and adults alike. The lessons allow children to absorb the process of math and in that process further develops their mathematical minds. It's no wonder that many of us after observing a child engaged with the Montessori math materials wish that we had learned math in this incredible way. If you would like to see a few of our children doing great Montessori math work click here.

This system in which a child is constantly moving objects with his hands and actively exercising his senses, also takes into account a child's special aptitude for mathematics. When they leave the material, the children very easily reach the point where they wish to write out the operation. They thus carry out an abstract mental operation and acquire a kind of natural and spontaneous inclination for mental calculations. ~The Discovery of the Child, Maria Montessori.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Monarch Watch

Central Montessori Academy has participated in the Monarch Watch tagging program. In Rene’s Lower Elementary room, the students have raised two caterpillars brought in by Brendan Bohon. The class studied and photographed the different stages of development and because of their good care, Monarch butterflies appeared from their cocoon. The class then tagged the butterflies with special identification stickers provided by the Monarch Watch research program. Hopefully, these two butterflies will make it their migratory destination in Mexico and be part of a resurgence in the Monarch Butterfly population. Great Job Lower Elementary!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Walk-A-Thon 2010

The dots can tell the tale of how many laps were walked at CMA today. The children received a stamp for every lap they completed. In total 3,428 laps! We estimate that some of the older children walked over 6 miles and some of our younger children walked almost 2 miles! The longer laps walked by the elementary children were about 1/5 of a mile, while the younger children's laps were much smaller. Thanks to all our entire community for making our event such a success. Special thanks to our corporate sponsors: Emery Oleo Chemicals; Kamphaus, Henning and Hood Accountants, AXA Financial and CARSON . Photos are on the blog. Click here to see a short video.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

CMA Sings Peace

Yesterday, September 21, was World Peace Day. To commemorate, our children along with many other Montessori students from schools around the world sang a song called "Light A Candle for Peace". The experience was heart-warming and oh so sweet. Click here to see the video.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Independence Day

"Oh, how cute!" is one of the first things often said as we gaze into the toddler room. And, the indisputable fact is that they are cute, very cute. But upon a closer look, perhaps we should be gazing in and saying, "Oh, how independent!". After all these children have an amazing drive for independence and a strong motivational force that makes the exclaim: "I do it!" In our toddler program these traits are quite evident in our children who have recently mastered walking and can now focus on doing so much with their hands. These children can work on their own, eat on their own and to do so much more for themselves. They are also developing independent thought. Of course, many of us have heard young toddlers voice this independent thought with a strong "NO!". The infant and toddler staff are so patient as they listen to these voices of independence with respect and attention. After all, they recognize that for a toddler, every day is Independence Day.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Patriot's Day at CMA

CMA Graduate Jacob Hauer shakes hands with a grateful Megan

This morning the children and staff of CMA welcomed some local heroes to our school. In celebration of Patriot's Day we gathered around the flagpole. On this day of remembrance we talked about three ways to celebrate this day and to remember September 11th. The first way was to think about our country. The children responded to this prompt with words like "freedom" and "happiness". The second way was to serve. The children had lots of answers for how they could serve others today. The third way was to say thank you to those who protect us and keep us safe. Our celebration was brief, sweet and happy. For us adults, we remember the pain of that day nine years ago, but in celebration with the children we were able to smile and know that our children are growing up as thoughtful citizens who love to serve and who express gratitude in the most magical way. Special thanks to our visiting heroes: Carl Blackwell (Dad to Camden and Myles), Jacob Hauer (Brother of Nick and son of Cheri), Jerry Kinebrew (Dad of Shannon), Tom O'Connor (Dad of Aidan, Brennan and Addison), and to Suzanne Casteel, Boyd Collett, Alan Guile, Randy Miller and Mark Thurman of our neighboring fire station with the Springfield Township Fire Department.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dance of the Cosmos

As a part of our introduction to the solar system, the Earth room and the Lower elementary classes ventured outside to "build" a working model of the planets as they orbit the sun. Maria Montessori called this the "Dance of the Cosmos". This concrete experience helped the children conceptualize how the planets move around the sun and serves as an introduction to more detailed solar system studies in later years. Click here to see pictures and here to see the corresponding song, "The Family of the Sun" .

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Power of Concentration

There are many important pieces to building the foundation for the house we call learning. Key among them is the power of concentration. In our Montessori classrooms we nurture this power, even with our youngest members. In fact, in our early childhood program nurturing this power is the very aim of many of the materials. Another way this is nurtured is by the Montessori teacher’s discipline to resist the urge to hurry up to help the child and “fix” something for them. Instead the Montessori teacher waits and observes, allowing the child to build focus on the problem at hand. Of course, she is there if needed and if the child just needs the comfort of not being alone in their quest. Additionally, concentration is aided is by allowing children to finish what they start. In our early childhood classrooms, it is rare for a child to be interrupted while focusing on a work.

Concentration has always been an important cornerstone for human learning. One might argue that in today’s world, building this power in our children is more important than ever as children must learn to remained focus in an age of an undeterminable amount of information and interruptions.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Being witness to The Great Lessons, an important and unique part of the Montessori curriculum in the lower elementary years, is as thrilling for me as it is for the children. These exciting lessons are designed to awaken a child's imagination and curiosity and to strike them with the wonder of all creation.

Pictured above are some of our lower elementary children working on "The Timeline of Life" work that represents the beginnings of life on Earth from the simplest forms through the appearance of human beings. A great variety and magnificence of life is presented on the chart, with each living organism a play a role in an awesome and grand cosmic plan.

This chart and the children's work with it are such a great example of Dr. Montessori's quote: "Our aim is not only to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Our first days at CMA

We are off to a great start! The classrooms are buzzing and the energy is fabulous. I am amazed at the good work already happening as we complete our first week. Take a look at the slideshow on the left to see some great examples of our kids happily at work.

Community Help Day

Community Help Day was a great success. The results are more than a newly mulched playground and repairs around the school though. Helpers had great fun and shared in the great satisfaction of community service. Special thanks to all who came to join us. We had kids and grown ups alike chipping in to make CMA shine. Enjoy the slide show to the right and click on the images to be connected to the CMA Picasa web album.