Montessori Children's House of Nantucket

November 2015
"If education is always to be conceived along the antiquated lines of a mere transmission of knowledge, there is little to be hoped from it in the bettering of man's future." -Dr.  Montessori

In the article  Grit: The Secret Ingredient to Success (published on  the author, Paula Davis Laack, JD, MAAP, explains that "Grit is having both the passion and the perseverance to achieve a goal, and grit often predicts who achieves the highest levels of success in school and at work."

Providing children with opportunities to take risks, fail, and problem solve helps to develop grit and promotes a growth mindset ( watch a TED talk on growth mindset here!).  

In Montessori classrooms children have an extended work period, during which they can explore, experiment and work through problems without interruption. Children are encouraged to tackle new tasks and materials. Should an obstacle arise, a teacher is available to ask questions that will gently guide the child in exploring possible solutions, emphasizing process over product.  Montessori teachers also role model how to utilize available resources and go through the trial and error process in order to overcome challenges.   

Laack also touches on the importance of the type of praise we give children (also mentioned int he TED talk linked above).  Consistent with the teachings of Montessori education, Laack suggests careful word choice in order to "Praise effort and process ('You tried so hard at that puzzle') rather than smarts."

Montessori in the News:

You may have heard of Kahn Academy- a free, online based education platform that has gained much attention in recent years.   Sal Khan, the creator of Khan Academy, demonstrates his belief in growth mindset in a recent interview by Entrepreneur magazine:

Entrepreneur: You often say that anyone can learn anything. Why do you think that?

Khan: If you're doing well in school you can have one of two things: You can say, "Oh, well, I have the DNA for doing it." Or you can say, "No, my brain was able to tackle it. I had the right mindset."

Khan academy just opened its first school, where they have chosen to use an educational model based on many Montessori principles.  Hear Sal Khan discuss the benefits of mixed-age classrooms and individualized learning on CBS This Morning (11/20/15).  

Last month, Emily MacKinnon of the Nantucket Land Council visited Children's House to deliver monarch caterpillars.  Students observed the metamorphosis from larva to butterfly take place over the course of four weeks.


Last week, the monarch emerged from its chrysalis and Emily returned to tag the butterfly's wing.  The students watched this process and were even able to gently touch the butterfly's feet.


The butterfly was then released from the Children's House playground to begin her migratory journey!
Did you know? 

Monarchs can travel between 50 - 100 miles a day; it can take up to two months to complete their journey to winter habitats!

"I don't know much but I know what I know. I gotta go! I gotta go! I gotta go to Mexico!" 
- Gotta Go, Gotta Go by Sam Swope
(one of our favorite children's books about monarchs!)
Students also spent a morning planting milkweed seeds in a section of our playground in hopes that we can attract monarchs back to the Children's House to lay their eggs next year!

Important Dates:
Please mark your calendar!

November 25th-27th
No School
Thanksgiving Break

December 4th
Parent Coffee 8-8:30
Stay and chat or grab a cup to go!

December 17th
Holiday Sing
5:30-6:30 at the Bartlett's Farm Hayloft

December 24th-January 2nd
No School 
Holiday Break

 Students use the knobless cylinders to explore size and form

Dr. Montessori was a trained scientist who valued observation as a tool used throughout her career, and it is still central to the practice of Montessori educators today.  Montessori also believed that children should be given "the power and means for this observation...through education of the senses."

In order to foster this development, she created many materials especially designed for this purpose.  At the Children's House, the Sensorial materials are found in the basement, each isolating one of the five senses.  Additionally, these materials are self-correcting, therefore simultaneously promoting independence.    

Sensorial materials also offer the opportunity for language and vocabulary lessons (for example: thick, thicker, thickest; thin, thinner, thinnest; names of two- and three-dimensional shapes; identification of colors).

The Sensorial materials can be combined in various ways to extend this exploration with increasingly complex comparisons.

Children work side by side with materials that highlight different senses.  By observing one another, children are inspired to try new things, make connections and learn from their peers. 
Many Montessori materials in other curriculum areas have a Sensorial component as well.  Below, children work with "the bank of golden beads", which demonstrates quantity in a way that can be both seen and felt by the students as they carry and stack various amounts ranging from a single "unit bead" to nine "thousand cubes".  

Children's House Song Book:

You may already know some of the songs your child sings at school- 
a few have been performed by groups like Peter, Paul and Mary, Johnny Cash and the Beatles. 

Click the links below to hear these songs & sing at home!

First year students organizing and matching their classmates names and photos 
matching images of landforms (this month's focus: isthmus and strait!).

Household tasks in Practical Life provide children with opportunities to actively participate in caring for our school and to take pride in this  responsibility.
Folding laundry, washing snack cups...

& polishing pennies!
In Practical Life this month, students have also been using a needle and thread to create felt wreath ornaments for the Children's House tree downtown. 
Our tree is located in front of the Methodist church on Center Street- 
stop by and take a look next week!

Thank you to all who participated in the Tea School Days fundraiser  & those who attended the Alumni, Family and Friends Dinner on October 30th!

We are so grateful for MCHN's dedicated Development Committee members who have made these events possible!

Up Next: Christmas Tree Removal Program

By simply using the MCHN link, families have earned
over $566.00 for our school since September! 
Please click the amazon button below and bookmark the page for future orders!

Thank you for your support!

Third Year Art Appreciation:
Shades of Blue ( with oil pastels)

Third Year students meet for two sessions of Art Appreciation each Wednesday.

During the morning session children are introduced to art concepts through books, songs and discussion.

In the afternoon, students work on projects that reflect the current concept of study. 

The Third year students have participated in two of a three session program offered by Nantucket Community Music Center, thanks to the help of parent volunteers! 
So far, students have toured the new NCMC building and tried out the piano, ukelele, violin and cello.
In March, our Second Year students will have the opportunity to participate in this program as well!

Last month, our Third Year students visited the Atheneum.  They worked as a group to write and illustrate the following "thank you story" to Leslie for hosting them!

"Once upon a time, children went to the library.  They had the library all to themselves. 

Leslie, the librarian read the children a book 'Read It, Don't Eat It'.  She gave a test by showing misused books. 

All the children passed the test.  Some children got library cards.
Some children already had library cards. They learned where things are kept. 

All the children picked out books or movies.  They were thankful for the trip."

Thank you Leslie!

Leslie also visits the Children's House twice each month to read to the whole school from a selection of seasonal children's books.  
We are thankful for all members of our school community.   To MCHN families, friends, staff and volunteers-

Have a happy Thanksgiving!