Montessori Children's House of Nantucket

October 2015
"The child can develop fully by means of experience in his environment. We call such experiences 'work'." -Maria Montessori
"I Spy" in a Montessori Classroom
Can you find:
The teacher?
Children working in a group?
Children working independently?
An older student working with a younger student?
Children working on the floor?
Children working at a table?
A child observing others?

Also notice:

The materials are on low open shelves, neatly displayed and easily accessed by the students.  

All of the furniture is child-sized so that it can be used and moved easily by the children.   

There are no "teacher areas" or desk.  The school belongs to the children, and as they come to understand this, students develop a sense of responsibility for the environment and one another. 
It may take a moment to locate the teacher in a typical Montessori classroom, as she is not the focal point of the room.  Instead, the child, environment and teacher form a learning triangle, with each side impacting the others and no single source of information or knowledge.  The teacher carefully creates and maintains a "living" environment, one that is continuously adjusted based on her close observation of each child and his/her interactions with the materials.

Within the environment, children have the freedom to choose where they work, what they would like to work on, and if they would like to work independently or with friends.  With gentle guidance from the teacher, students are supported in following their individual interests and developing their personal strengths, through work designed to meet their level of development.

The curriculum at Children's House is designed to integrate the observable changes in the natural world as the year progresses.  

Activities in science and language reflect the season, with a focus on trees and leaves, spiders, bats, nocturnal animals and stories about pumpkin carving and Halloween!

Students use a picture book and corresponding objects to retell a Children's House Halloween favorite- The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams

Click below to hear the story!

Early in the month, Emily MacKinnon of the Nantucket Land Council visited Children's House to deliver monarch caterpillars.  She talked with our students about how to care for the monarchs, their life cycle and migration.

Since then, we have enjoyed watching the caterpillars grow...

and change! 

With one healthy chrysalis formed, we are now awaiting the next stage of the lifecycle, when a monarch butterfly will emerge.  

We hope to tag and release the butterfly with Emily before the cold winds of winter arrive!

Students watched as the caterpillars shed their skin, each transforming into a chrysalis.

Materials like the monarch life-cycle puzzle and The Very Hungry Caterpillar have been popular choices!

Autumn on Nantucket also brings the cranberry harvest.  We were happy to have visitors from the Nantucket Conservation Foundation teach our Second and Third Year students about the cranberry bogs here on the island.  

They even brought a part of the bog to the school for students to see up close!

The next week, the Third Year students visited the bogs to see the harvest in action!
October is Fire Prevention Month!

  Materials, books and little group lessons reinforce fire safety concepts.  
We also enjoyed a visit from the Nantucket Fire Department for our younger students and a field trip to the station for the Third Years!


By simply using the MCHN link, our families have earned
over $434.00 for our school since September! 
Please click the amazon button below and bookmark the page for future orders!

Thank you for your support!
Children's House Song Book:
Just a few of the many songs that we sing at school each day:

This Little Light of Mine
This year we have sung this song to compliment our peace education curriculum- the tune is the same but some of the verses may be new!

This little light of mine,  I'm gonna let it shine (3x)
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
Everywhere that I may go, I'm gonna let it shine (3x)
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

My brothers and my sisters, I'm gonna help them shine (3x)
Help them shine, help them shine, help them shine.

This little island of ours, we're gonna help it shine. (3x)
Help it shine, help it shine, help it shine.

This big world of ours, we're gonna help it shine (3x)
Help it shine, help it shine, help it shine.

Third Year "little group" with love light pins

Open Shut Them
Ask your child to teach you the hand motions!

Open, shut them,
Open, shut them,
Give a little clap.
Open, shut them,
Open, shut them,
But them in your lap.
Creep them,
Creep them,
Slowly creep them,
Right up to your chin.
Open wide your little mouth,
But do not let them in.
Open, shut them,
Open, shut them,
To your shoulders fly.
Then like little birdies
Let them flutter to the sky.
Falling, falling,
Falling, falling,
Almost to the ground.
Quickly pick them up again
And turn them round and round.
Faster, faster,
Faster, faster,
Slower, slower,

Freight Train
Each child chooses what they would like to "carry" in his/her train car.  Then the train moves around the circle as we sing!

Freight train, freight train
Goin' so slow
Freight train, freight train
Goin' so slow
Please don't tell what train I'm on, 
So they won't know where I've gone.

Freight train, freight train
Comin' around the bend
Freight train, freight train 
Gone again
One of these days, turn that train around
And go back to my hometown.
Important Dates:
Please mark your calendar!

November 3rd:
No School
Staff Professional Development
Open House

November 6th:
Parent Coffee 
Stay and chat or grab a  cup to go!

November 11th:
No School 
Veterans Day

November 25th-27th
No School
Thanksgiving Break

This month also brought the first visit of the year from Leslie Malcom of the Weezie Library!  
Leslie shares seasonal books with the students every two weeks.

Leslie also hosted our Third Year students at the Atheneum, where they were able to sign up for library cards and choose books to check out!


by KJ Dell'Antonia (published on describes the benefits of involving children in important tasks and jobs at home.

Including children in meaningful work (just like their parents!), promotes a sense of responsibility, pride and accomplishment.

In Geography, students continue to study landforms (gulf and peninsula), the continents of the world, and the passage of time with materials that depict our daily routine!

A Children's House Tradition!

Billy Sherry, who is a local artist and past Children's House parent, came in to carve a  jack-o-lantern for our school- a tradition that goes back over 20 years!  

We are so grateful that Billy continues to share his talent and humor with our students- we had so much fun!
Lunch Parent and Observation Sign-Up:
These calendars will be posted in the coatroom in November

2nd & 3rd Year Parents: If you are available from 11:15-12:15 we would love to have your help at lunch time!

All Parents:  Observations will be begin at 8:30 am, please feel free to sign up for a visit!

Did You Know? 
Bringing green tomatoes inside can help them to ripen- 
we tried it here at school!
Third Year Art Appreciation:

The year begins with an introduction to color:  
colors of the rainbow and complimentary colors with oil pastels

Have a Safe & Happy Halloween!

MCHN pumpkin carved by Rob Graves!