December 2,   2016

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Eric's Earful: 
 Musings from the Head of School


Self-discipline is difficult to attain.  As an average adult, I have continued to learn over the course of my life what it means to be self-disciplined.  I have been very good at it and have also struggled with it.  I often think of reading that I have done previously around positive discipline (i.e. Jane Nelson) and how the Montessori setting attempts to direct students toward this level of personal attainment.  

The ability to exercise control over one's behavior amidst temptation is generally agreed upon as what self-discipline is.  Research I have read will point to a child of about 9 is when he/she is becoming more capable of disciplining themselves.  I often think that most of the early elementary students are not capable of it and trying to get them to display this is tough because they are at a different level of development and self-discipline is too much to expect.  Impulsive behavior is the norm and I felt that working with kids to begin to see how their behavior impacts others is where I would start.  They can be held accountable for their actions.  It does not always work the way that I want, however beginning to use language around impulse control is helpful for them to hear daily.

I feel that this research I have read on positive discipline clearly supports Dr. Montessori's doctrine of the Three Levels of Obedience. "What we call the first level of obedience is that in which the child can obey, but not always. It is a period in which obedience and disobedience seem to be combined." (Montessori, The Absorbent Mind , 1964)   The three levels are as follows:

This first level of obedience is generally observed in children 3 and under, however, older children may also exhibit disobedience.  Children often act as if they cannot obey and are doing it on purpose.  Children at this stage do not have the will to obey.  They only have the ability to do what is telling them to do.  Montessori spoke about this older child, "Even after 3, the little child, must have developed certain qualities before he is able to obey. He cannot, all of a sudden, act in conformity with another person's will, nor can he grasp, from one day to the next, the reason for doing what we require of him." (Montessori, The Absorbent Mind , 1964)

Montessori said, "The second level is when the child can always obey, or rather, when there are no longer any obstacles deriving from his lack of control. His powers are now consolidated and can be directed not only by his own will, but by the will of another." (Montessori, The Absorbent Mind , 1964) Children at this stage are acting a certain way because they are adhering to someone else's demands.  I am still in this stage of development when I slow down on the highway because I see a police officer running radar.  I am obeying the law to avoid the ticket not because I feel 70 is the appropriate speed on the road.  Students adhere like this often in the classroom and it is better than not following directions, however we want something more for them.

The third level of obedience is when the child "responds promptly and with enthusiasm and as he perfects himself in the exercise, he finds happiness in being able to obey." (Montessori, The Discovery of the Child, 1967) This is the stage of true self-discipline.  We are working here at Leelanau Montessori to help kids discover how much more effective their lives can be when they are working in conjunction with others and following rules that everyone has agreed upon because it will allow them to live more fruitful lives.

Ad Hoc Committee- The Future of Our School

The Ad Hoc Committee- The Future of Our School had a successful first gathering with over 20 community members in attendance.  The next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, December 6th from 6-8 p.m.  All community members are welcome and encouraged to attend.  

Click here to access the Farmraiser website.  
Greetings Hickory Parents,
I am trusting everyone had a peaceful Thanksgiving break filled with moments of joy and gratitude.  Many of you know me from previous years and for those who don't, I was the lead Hickory guide for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years and I also have three children at Leelanau Montessori, Sophie, Parker, and Violet.  I am honored to be spending this transitional time in the Hickory classroom as many of the students continue to hold a dear place in my heart.  I am hoping to maintain as much consistency as possible for these children as well as hoping to inspire, challenge, and support their growth.  I want to thank and welcome Julie Yoffy and Len Mankowski to the Hickory community, as they will be helping to support on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and extend gratitude to Emma and Eric for helping to maintain consistency for this environment.  Please reach out to me via email if you have any questions or concerns or leave a message at school and I will respond  within 24 hours

I plan to spend some time the first week observing the current environment as well as jumping into some engaging projects.  I have attached the requirements for a couple upcoming projects.  We will discuss these in class, but please review these with your child and provide support as needed.  They are welcomed and encouraged to work on these at school, but may need out of school time or support.  

Math
Students will be working on math practice with Eric on Tuesdays and Thursdays using Saxton math online.  I will continue to use a combination of Albanesi as well as assessing students ' progress through our math benchmarks.

Language 
Students will continue to receive language lessons in grammar, word study, punctuation and mechanics, and sentence analysis as well as integrating writing assignments and reading book reports.  We are in the process of establishing reading groups and literature circles.  

Science
I am grateful and excited to be sharing my time here with Emma.  She will be utilizing her strengths in science to lead lessons focusing on chemistry and matter, ecosystems, earth systems and processes shaping the earth, as well as physics.  We look forward to having Len in the classroom room for his amazing expertise in this area also!

Culture
We will be continuing the Great Lessons beginning with The Coming of Humans followed up by an art project and a mini research project.  We will then move onto Michigan History for the whole group, landforms for 4th years, and economics and a river study for 5th and 6th years.  

Practical Life
We will continue our practice of practical life in our school community and will be providing an opportunity to support the continuation of this at home.  Attached is December's Practical Life Bingo that is to be done at home.  Have your child bring his/her board in when it is complete.  We will vote on ways to acknowledge these at-home efforts e.g. student's name entered in a drawing, movie, game day, etc.  

Current Events
Students are given the option of exploring current events in the classroom by accessing a variety of websites such as Newsela, National Geographic, and Scholastic and filling out a informative/reflective form.  One way you can support your child is by talking about these issues at home and asking them questions about what they have learned from their reading and how they feel about it.  

Nurturing interests and the multiple intelligences
As long as our amazing parent support continues, so will our interest based groups.  We are currently in week 4 of our 6 week session offering drama, community service and the exploration of social justice as well, and primitive skills.  These groups allow children hands-on experiences, as well as exploring areas of interest and tapping into multiple intelligences. Gratefully, the Montessori philosophy already supports this by allowing children the freedom of nurturing their intelligence, strengths, and creativity.

Mindfulness
We will continue to explore the benefits of mindfulness and self regulation in our classroom community.  We will be learning the benefits of mindfulness and exploring the many ways it can be done, as well as offering time for practice.  If you are interested in more information on mindfulness, I have provided some links below:


Parent Reading Suggestions
Below is a link to a book that I have found extremely useful when finding a mindful and respectful way to approach children regarding behavior.  Taking the approach that all behavior is meaningful, this book allows us to look at what is causing the behavior rather than how to punish the behavior.

Please remember when ordering through Amazon, create a smile account to help fund-raise for Leelanau Montessori.

Again, thank you for your support and trust.  We are hoping to create a balance of inspiring and challenging presentations as well as nurturing the child's own interests and providing support with time management, self motivation, accountability, concentration, and building healthy, relationships and trust in one another.  

Upcoming due dates:
Coming of Humans mini research:   Friday, December 16, 2016
Book Report:   Friday, January 6, 2017 (Please support your child with choosing a level-appropriate book. You may refer to your child's progress report for his or her lexile score.  They will also have the opportunity to find a book  on Thursday at the library.  I have attached a list they may choose from.  If the book is not on this list students are asked to get approval from guides.)
December Practical Life Bingo (to be done at home):   January 3, 2017
Research paper:  end of January, this will be introduced towards the end of December. Guidelines for this will be sent home soon.  

Wishing everyone peace and joy through the holidays:)

In gratitude,
Bethany and Emma


Featured Dish
Elementary Snack
Growing children need lots of nourishment- brain food.  Children are encouraged to bring a healthy snack each day. We have a small stash of items in the office for those who forget but the supply of granola bars and apples is dwindling.  Get your child involved in picking out the juiciest apple, crackers and cheese, carrots and hummus, hard boiled egg, granola bar........ Thank you!
Young Entrepreneurs Marketplace December 22nd 
Once again, the elementary students are invited to take part in the Young Entrepreneurs Marketplace.  On Thursday, December 22nd we will open up the marketplace and invite students to sell their wares.  Students may pick up a form in the office and return it by Wednesday, December 22nd.     
  
Looking Ahead..........
On Thursday, December 22nd we have an 11:15 a.m. dismissal day before we begin our winter break.  We are planning some special events this day.  We will have a Community Sing, Young Entrepreneurs Marketplace, and some sort of winter activities.  Stay tuned for the complete timeline and schedule.  


 

 
Community Updates

 
-This week's 25 cent State Theater kids movie is Arthur Christmas!

 
Science Day-
Central High School is hosting Super Science Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, December 3rd at the cafeteria.  Kids ages 3-10 and their parents can drop in for robotic battles, create electricity with lemons, make their own slime, take apart electronics and more.  Admission is free.

The Leelanau Children's Choir & Leelanau Youth Ensemble present their 24th Annual Madrigal Concert on December 2 & 3 at 7:30 p.m.  Leland Community Methodist Church.  Tickets available by calling 231-883-7464.

Private Tutoring Offered:  Click here to find out about this service to our community.
  The Practice of Gratitude

~Thank you to the Beuerle family for the donation of trucks and sponges.    
~Thank you to Bethany Sparling, Len Mankowski, Eric Royston, and Julie Yoffy for supporting the Hickory classroom. And of course Emma Kelly!

***If you have time in your day and would like to volunteer to read with children. please give the office a call and we will hook you up!  It's great fun!!!
Elementary Hot Lunch

 December Lunch Menu
Dates to Remember

This Week
FarmRaiser Fundraiser
December 6- Ad Hoc Committee Mtg. 6-8 p.m.


Coming Up
December 12:  Farmraiser orders due
December 16:  Supper with Santa 5-7 p.m.
December 19:  LMPSA Board Meeting 7:00 p.m.
December 20:  Farmraiser orders delivered 
December 22:  11:15 a.m. Dismissal
Community Sing, Young Entrepreneurs, Outside Activities  

In Search of:
-Lamps for the Hickory Classroom
-Band aids
-Reams of Copy Paper
-Sea Salt for the Hickory Classroom 
-Office Snack{ granola Bars and apples to keep in the office for kids with no snack
~Dry Erase Markers
~Wooden Kitchen Matches


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