Snow + Wind = No School

Due to the unusual weather we experienced today, and the continued bad weather expected tomorrow, The Children's School will be closed until Monday November 29th.
Just so we're clear, there's "s'no" school tomorrow!! (Ha! ha!)

Snow Threatens - No School Today!

Due to the threat of snow today, The Children's School is CLOSED TODAY. Enjoy the day off!


Prek Thanksgiving Ideas

We read a book that prompted us to say what we were thankful for at Thanksgiving and which games we might want to play at Thanksgiving.
Amit-Chutes and Ladders
Leah-Little sister,Inky
Grace-Dog- Bodie
Caleb-Dog- Maggie
Skye-Cat- Molly
Andrew-Brothers -Ben and Will
Kate-Mommy and Daddy
Teacher Cinda- All of these wonderful children and my family


Leah,Andrew-Hide and Seek
Skye,Kate, Emi,Gavin-Duck Duck Goose
Lily-Clock Game
Teacher Cinda-Speed Scrabble
Have a great holiday...
Teacher Cinda


And What Are YOU Thankful For?

When Mrs. Banks asked her students what they were thankful for this Thanksgiving season, this is what they shared:

Teodosa: Crabs at the beach. Grandma's pumpkin pie.
Max: Baby Cousin. My mom.
Addison: The playground.
Julian: Rocketships.
Mielle: Mom takes me to the park.
Anishka: Riding a train with Mom & Dad & Nishan & Grandpa & Grandma. Pretend baby cousin.
Maddie: Mommy. Little babies.
Frank: Ride "Thomas" with Daddy. Mommy.
Amin: Train station. Spiders.
Jack: Mommy.
Clara: Being home.
Christopher: Turkey.


The Number Board - A Classic

How many times have you heard the phrase "Math is a language of its own?" You can really get a sense of this when watching a child try to put the symbols of numbers together with the act of using the names of these symbols while we are counting. We have to get to a place where we know that the counting of objects has symbols associated with those sounds we make while doing the counting. One way to start this process is with a number board. It's akin to learning to speak our first language, and then going to school to learn to read and write that language.

Here is an example of using the Number Board.

This is my friend Dominic's work. Dominic was presented with a blue board with a grid on it, a container with printed tiles of the numbers 1-20 in it, and a board with the numbers 1-100 printed on it in a grid. He was then challenged to recreate the printed board by searching through the tiles and start putting those tiles on the blue board in the same order he saw the numbers on the printed board.
As you can see, Dominic has navigated his way successfully, not only through the first container of tiles numbered 1-20, but the second container of 21-40, and had just emptied his 3rd container out when I snapped the picture. To assist Dominic in keeping track of where he is, Teacher Cinda has taped a paper to the printed board underneath the last row of numbers from this particular container.
So what is the teacher's role in this task? Well, that varies. For our friend Dominic, taping the paper in the correct spot is just about it. He is really quite self-sufficient and self-motivated in this task! We suspect Dominic may be completing the board to the number 100 relatively soon!
For others, just working with 10 tiles may be a challenge. The teacher may sit and hold a pencil or finger on the number the child is searching for, and continue to encourage that child to "not give up" until they have chosen a tile they feel is the one they are looking for. This reserved encouragement is much harder than it sounds. For many of us, the instinct is to "help" by pointing out the number, or maybe correcting the positioning of the number once the child has placed it on the board is simply too much to restrain from doing. But the magic of the Montessori method taught here at The Children's School is to applaud the work the child puts into the task - THEIR WORK, not the teachers. If it is not perfect, no worries. That child has shown focus and willingness for the time they have put into the task, and that is to be applauded. They will get another opportunity with the number board or any other Montessori task, and they will have positive memories of doing a good job, and the next time they will do more! It's a beautiful thing!

Silver Polishing Update!!

I am happy to report that Silver Polishing is alive and well at The Children's School. Our friends in the M-F morning class have been working with this practical experience for a week, and now MWF is having a turn. Some of them have shown not only curiosity at the task, but a real interest in producing a "product!" So if you are doing some holiday preparing and find a family heirloom that may need a little love and attention, teachers tell me that Teodosa, Addison, Christopher, Anishka, Maddy, Julian, Max and Mielle from M-F, and Amanda, Matthew and Leah from MWF have all shown they know how to use their elbow grease with this one!!


How DO you peel a carrot?

Here is how we have this Practical Life experience at The Children's School:

A tray with newspaper, a carrot, and a peeler is presented to a child. A short demonstration of peeling -- holding the carrot at one end with one hand, while in the other the peeler is placed at that same end of the carrot, and then drawn down the carrot, AWAY from the peeler's body, creating a "peel" of carrot.

Now the tray is placed in front of the child and with as little interference as possible, that child is encouraged and allowed to create as many peeled strips as he or she would like. Those peelings may be placed on a tray and offered to classmates, much like we do with bread after bread cutting.

Or for a lovely twist on things, the individual peels may be put on a piece of paper next to a ruler to be "measured."

The obvious purpose of carrot peeling is to learn how to peel a carrot, but there's more going on than that. We are learning about sharp tools, and their proper use. We are having the opportunity to watch and repeat a series of actions (instructions). With serving, we learn about community - sharing, offering what we have to others, how to say "Would you like ..." or "Yes, thank you;" or even "No. Thank you." When you add in the ruler, you offer the opportunity for yet another seemingly simple tool - but with all of those confusing numbers on it! So here is a chance for not only seeing a ruler, and one of its uses, but also the exercise and opportunity for comparison. Even if the idea of "measuring" a peel with a ruler is too complicated, very often just the act of comparing one peel to another is great fun!

So, does this mean we have created an army of vegetable peeling helpers just in time for Thanksgiving? Probably not. Take a look at these carrots --

We do not stress the need to stop peeling here at school, which may be evident from the examples included above. But if you would like to offer any of your holiday family and friends a plate of peels, you know who you can have do the job!


Silver Polishing - A Lost Art??

Here at The Children's School, our Montessori "magic" can generally be broken down to fall into one of 4 categories: Sensory (colors and shapes), Math (starting with number recognition), Language (starting with letter recognition), and Practical Life. For many of us, the Practical Life piece creates some of our sweeter moments here -- watching a child arrange flowers for the first time, serve bread to a friend, or carry a tray with soapy water to the table for a friend and then wash and dry it. These are all tasks that we as adults rarely think twice about, and all to often when we are at home, our desire to let our children participate brings up thoughts of spilled water, broken vases or other "inconveniences" we would rather skip, so we resort to "just doing it ourselves." Here at school, though, under the leadership of Mrs. McArthur and Mrs. Banks, we all work very hard at providing child-friendly opportunities for these practical skills.

With that introduction, meet the practical life task of SILVER POLISHING!! Children experience a sense of accomplishment and joy when the silver polish is rubbed on, obscuring the image in the silver, and through their own hard work, see that same object take on a real shine and brilliance.

If you have something at home that could use a little "love rub," this would be an excellent time to bring it in for our students in the Silver Polishing Shop to love your item to its greatest advantage.


TCS Celebrates Diwali

Thanks to the members of one of our families, we are learning about Diwali - a holiday celebrated this time of year (determined by the lunar calendar) as a celebration of light, good over evil , an uplifting of spiritual darkness (according to Wikipedia). Diwali can be literally translated to "row of lights."

Some of the items that one would see during this celebration have become parts of the latest Take Away Game!! Oh, you never played Take Away?! Ask your 3 or 4 year old (or a teacher); it is very fun. In the Diwali Take Away you will have a greeting card, clay pots, sweets, sparklers, containers with kumkum and tumeric (red and yellow colors, symbolizing blessings), and incense!

During this time of year, when days are ever shorter, and darkness is quicker to find us, finding an excuse to celebrate light is a blessing in itself. Thank you so for sharing this wonderful celebration!