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!