olume 3, Issue 2 | October 2016
Message from Matt Simberg, M.Ed.
October was a really good month and we had many good experiences as a community! The Collingswood Book fair was a success, especially combining it with the presentation of S.T.E.M. Families came by who remembered us from previous years and many new families expressed interest in participating in both S.T.E.M. and our school. We have outside students from Pennsauken, Merchantville, Westmont, Collingswood and Palmyra participating in our STEM Scouts Program in addition to our MSOE students.
We had our first Parent Collaboration Night with families of toddlers. We got to talk a lot about potty training and Ms. Chris went over the purpose of materials in the classroom. The feedback we received from this experience was very positive. We look forward to our Primary Collaboration Night in November. Our Social Night for Parents and Staff went very well too. It was very much appreciated that the Anderson's hosted our first one at their home. It was very nice socializing with the parents outside of school and we had a really good turnout.
It has been rewarding and exciting watching the school come into its own during this second month of school. The toddlers are proudly walking to their classrooms with Ms. Patty and myself in the mornings. Ms. Chris and Ms. Abby have established a nice rapport and daily routine with the children. It is so nice walking by the classroom and seeing your young children sitting so nicely and concentrating so well or seeing them smile and laugh when they sing together. The toddlers are even successfully being potty trained. It feels like such a big achievement hearing, "Mr. Matt I sat on the potty today," or having a parent smile and say, "No accidents so far."
Shifting gears to the Primary classroom, it is amazing to see what Ms. Anne and Ms. Mary have been doing with the classroom. Within in a short time, even the children with little or no Montessori experience look like they have been in the school for years. The concentration, the work, and the growth is wonderful. After an achievement the children express to me how proud they are and it is heart warming. For instance, one time when I walked in the room, one child could not wait to show me their work of the continents which is an extension of their work with the continents puzzle map. This child could tell me the name of the continents that I pointed to. Another younger child was just excited to show me a drawing they were working on, and in Transparent Classroom I saw
this same younger child polishing a mirror.
In Elementary, Ms. Shannon and I have been giving many lessons. We are nurturing the children's characteristics and tendencies and focusing on helping them with their different types of thinking; critical, analytical, and intuitive. We have already had a going out to Rich's Micro Roast. Jeff came from the Camden Childcare's Butterfly Garden to share with the children about butterflies. We have a couple of parents coming in during the month of Novembers well as several going-outs and a field trip planned to the Hamilton Sculpture Garden.
Also, it has been very rewarding preparing the elementary children for their Historical Presentations.
Ms. Aubrey has also been
assisting us and including her own experience and expertise with various lessons.
Aftercare has been going well too. It is a good sign when parents come to pick up their children after a full day and they literally still do not want to go home. We have established a nice routine. Ms. Aubrey and Ms. Jamie have created a nice environment and experience for the children.
Ms. Patty of course has been hard at work too. Ms. Jamie has been a really good support. They are working on some projects for our school which you will hear about soon. They have been helping to make sure everything runs smoothly. Furthermore, they do a great job of ensuring a sense of peace is maintained along with the guides that we have actually been told can be felt upon coming into the building. So to recap, while we will always be working on improving what we need and want too, MSOE is effectively running in a positive direction and that is thanks to the staff and all of you! We look forward to other families who may be joining us this year or next year to get to experience the same thing.
We have been very busy in the Toddler Classroom! The children have been really enjoying the Practical Life/Independent Living Activities in our classroom: learning to take off and put on their shoes, putting on their own jacket/coat, using the "up and over" technique, setting the table, pouring their own water, wiping up spills and sweeping are a few of the things that the toddlers are doing for themselves. We also have introduced banana food prep work, which they love! Your child would love to do this kind of work at home also; you can set up a tray with a small cutting board, a spreading knife for cutting, a bowl and a small fork. We have also added several water works, which the children love!
In the Language Area we have been acquiring new vocabulary and initial letter sounds. We have learned how to count to ten in Spanish and will be learning colors in Spanish in November.
I would like to thank you all for attending parent/teacher conferences. It was so nice to chat with you about your toddler. I especially found it helpful to discuss how they are doing both at home and at school and to keep the lines of communication open between home and school.
Please remember to dress your child warmly with warm coats, hats and gloves. Cold weather is just around the corner, and weather permitting, we will be taking our daily walks. Please have your child put on their coat by using the "up and over" technique and help them to zipper by helping them if they are having trouble but allow them to pull up the zipper
November is here! This month we will be focusing on Thanksgiving and its significance. In the Art Area we will be making feather Turkeys. The Toddlers will be learning about Cornucopias in the Language Area. We will be preparing our own Cornicopia to enjoy!
It was so wonderful to see everyone for conferences and touch base about the children. We had a wonderful month talking about Johnny Appleseed, Christopher Columbus, the changes in seasons.
Thank you for all your support with snacks. It's been working out wonderfully. During November, we will be thinking and talking about what we are thankful for and how different life was for the pilgrims. We will be planning a Thanksgiving event with more information to follow.
The classroom has been busy, especially with math and language lessons including beginning sound work and counting individual objects. We have also added rhyming, opposites, sequencing and sorting by category.
Those who are getting ready for elementary next year have been discussing the continents, especially North America. They focus on each country and what makes it special. They have also been working on letter formation using cursive writing, focusing on the process of joining letters.
We are working very hard on kindness and respect so that our classroom can remain a cooperating community. All the children are working on name recognition, including recognizing the names of their classmates.
The practical life area is a living part of the classroom and materials are rotated to help children develop their fine motor skills through cutting, pouring, and tweezing. This is also an area that helps children develop concentration, so that when they begin getting more involved with the language and math areas, they can stay on task for longer periods of time.
The children thoroughly enjoyed having someone from the Camden Children's Garden come to do a presentation about butterfly habitats. They also did a fun butterfly craft.
We had a nice Halloween. Thanks to Idan's mom for coming in and doing a jack-o-lantern project with the children. I hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween.
Thank you for your continued support and for sharing your children with us. We invite you to participate in our first Primary Collaboration Night on Tuesday, November 15th at 6:00pm.
-Ms. Anne and Ms. Mary
Lower Elementary Update
Wow I can't believe it is already November! It has been a very busy month in our classroom. Autumn is finally here in all of its record-breaking heat index glory! As I continue to review previous lessons and give more new lessons to the children, they have many options of work to choose from and the classroom is bustling!
We have done work on the parts of a circle this month and the children have really enjoyed repeating that work on their own. We have done work on analyzing the parts of a sentence and we have found the area of rectangles! The older children are learning how to use an encyclopedia and write research paragraphs according to any topic of their interest! The younger children had a lesson on the Hand Timeline, which illustrates how long humans were on the earth before they started writing. We've looked at timelines of early human beings which show the children the development and changes early humans went through- their clothing and how their tools changed, etc. They have really enjoyed getting them out again and again and looking at them and making their own early human timelines. The younger children had a lesson on the 3 states of matter that they thought was really fun!
As you know the leaves are all over the ground, so it is a great time to learn about leaves! We've experimented with how plants grow, we've looked at the leaf of a plant and its function and the older children have looked at the parts of a leaf and two types of leaves. We've also started to learn about the months of the year and where the months got their names.
In the middle of the month we took a trip to Merchantville Fire Station and the children really enjoyed getting to sit in the fire engine and learn about fire safety!
We have also all learned how to crochet and the children are very, very excited about gaining this new skill! In November we will have an MSOE parent come in and teach the children new crocheting techniques!
For the past couple of weeks we have been working hard on our historical figure reports and we enjoyed presenting them on Monday. Thank you for coming out and showing your children support on this exciting day. We have had a very busy and fruitful month!
Upper Elementary Update
I feel like I blinked and the month of October came and went. It is inspiring to see the variety of work that the children desire to do. The variety of their interests are vast and it keeps me on my toes. The newsletter articles that they write teach me more about their personalities and their needs for improvement with writing. I appreciate that we allow them to submit their articles with mistakes. It shows us and them their steady improvement, and that the work truly comes from them. The Montessori Model United Nations work is under way. Six of our students will be delegates of Turkey and two of our students will be delegates of Iraq. Also, Patty has a contact named Todd Camp. I am starting to communicate with him to see how he can help in teaching the children how to be better negotiators/collaborators. This is what he does. His website is
. Next month, I will update you about how this works out. It seems like a very exciting opportunity for the children and the school.
Additionally, the children have worked on or learned about fractions, pickling tomatoes from our garden, the metric system, equivalence for problems like 1 decameter = 100 decimeter, types of quadrilaterals, volume, converting percent, decimals, fractions, verb tenses, parts of speech, parts of the fruit, rivers, where they flow from and into, that they can create canyons or v-shaped valleys depending on the climate. Ms. Aubrey reads Story of the World Volume 1 to them every afternoon. We use this opportunity to teach them how to take notes and to get comfortable taking notes. I have taken this a step further with giving them a variety of follow-up work after each session. Sometimes, they write a summary. One time we suggested they could make a diorama for a scene they remembered. I offered another time that they make a comic strip of a scene. Recently, they have been taking notes and coming up with three questions. Each students asks a question and Ms. Aubrey chooses someone to answer it. Not all three questions are asked. Sometimes, someone might have the same question, or everyone won't know the answer to the question. This way they have another one or two questions to go to. Additionally, we have had opportunities to work on time management, responsibility, accountability, communication and conflict resolution.
I'm really looking forward to our experiences together in November! There is so much already planned and I know much that will happen that is not planned. Dewal Patel is coming in to do a presentation with Shane for Diwali. They will also be sharing food ( how can I better word the food part). Jed Morfit-Tigue is coming in to do an artistic and creative activity to do with the children. The children will be going on a tour of the boat building shop and maritime museum. They will be going to the Sculpture Garden with Ms. Nicole, our art teacher. There will be a trip to the Camden Water Treatment Plant. Laura So and So, is coming in to teach the children more crocheting techniques to compliment what Ms. Shannon has been doing with the children.
It's been a great two months with you and your children. I am so happy that I have been able to achieve one of the goals I set for myself this year, more going-outs and coming-ins. Now that this goal is rolling I can focus on the next so to speak. I hope you are looking forward to this next month and reading the recap at the end of November.
Adolescent Preview Activities
Over the past two weeks students harvested the garden's final crop of fruit and vegetables for the season and explored uses for unripe vegetables. The older upper elementary harvested green tomatoes that they decided to pickle. The resulting pickles had mixed reviews and students who liked the taste of them decided to take some home to share with their families.
The entire upper elementary was given a lesson on Parts of the Fruit using the last Sugar Bush Watermelon and a few students made paper models that they labeled with the various parts of the watermelon.
The older upper elementary are researching ways to grow a winter crop and planning a fundraiser for the materials they will use to protect the plants from the frost and eventual snow.
Donations of gardening supplies and seeds are always welcomed.
- Ms. Aubrey
The elementary students and I have been "playing yoga" this year
on Friday afternoons and it's really been so much fun.
For children, as with adults, one of the most challenging aspects of a yoga practice is the attempt to shut down the ego. Many children are naturally competitive and like to compare themselves to others, but we have been working on experiencing yoga personally and not worrying about what our friends are doing on their mats. We've talked about the fact that there is no "good" or "bad" in yoga, but that it really just is about being exactly who you are. All of our bodies are different, and therefore, all of us will have different yoga poses that come "easily" to us, but we've been working on realizing that it doesn't really matter in the end. Yoga is about the journey, and about the experience itself. My hope is that the children begin to learn these very important lessons on the mat, and that they begin to transfer these lessons into their daily lives.
In the meantime, I encourage you to ask your kids to show you a yoga pose or two. Ask them which pose they like the best and follow up with a discussion about why. Play yoga with them once in a while. It's fun and they'll love to teach you what they've learned.
Mrs. Jamie on Nutrition
I have thoroughly enjoyed working at MSOE, getting to know you and your children and wearing many different hats since I started. As many of you already know, I am a certified holistic health coach and eager and excited to start working with Ms. Anne and Mrs. Mary to create a nutritious lunch calendar for the Primary children. In the meantime, I thought that it would be fun to share some nutrition facts and recipes that you can try at home and the whole family will have fun making. Those of you who do try the recipes and are intrigued by the fun nutrition facts that I share, I would love to hear your feedback. In November's newsletter I will follow up based on your feedback and other ideas regarding healthy eating. I look forward to collaborating with Mrs. Mary and Ms. Anne and your children to prepare for our lunch program starting in January. In anticipation of a holiday that has a strong emphasis on food, I am sharing a delicious stuffing recipe that you can actually feel good about eating! See below for specific ways to get the children involved and
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food"
A Healthier Stuffing Recipe
1 large loaf wholegrain bread, cubed
1 cup green lentils
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup onions, diced
3/4 cup celery, diced
3 cups vegetable broth
1 1/4 tsp fresh sage, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear bread into approximately 1 inch pieces. Place bread into a bowl and cover with vegetable broth, allow soaking for 10 minutes. Sauté onions in saucepan with olive oil, when translucent in color, add celery and sauté for another 4-5minutes. Add lentils to saucepan and seasonwith salt and pepper. Combine soaked bread, celery andonion and sage well until the desired constancy. Place in one large or two smaller baking dishes and bake in oven for 15 minutes or until slightly crispy on the top.
Ways children can help with this recipe in the kitchen -
-Tear bread into pieces
-Blend ingredients together
Here are some upcoming important dates.
Click Her for our Google Calendar.
- November 1 - Upper Elementary Boat shop and Maritime Museum visit
- November 2 - Upper Elementary Sculpture with Jed Morfit; Diwali presentation
- November 9 - Elementary Art trip to Grounds For Sculpture
- November 10 - Upper Elementary to Camden Water Treatment Plant
- November 15 - Primary Collaboration Night
- November 23 - 12pm dismissal
- November 24-25 - Thanksgiving Break