Toledo Kindergarten Enrichment

Amy Wagner

Amy Wagner

Amy Lawrence

Amy Lawrence

Kindergarten Enrichment is part of the Children’s House program on the Toledo Campus. Amy Lawrence and Amy Wagner are the program’s co-teachers.

Animals are a topic of interest for the kindergarten children. Our last week of school before Spring Break, two staff members from Nature’s Nursery visited us. Nature’s Nursery is located in Whitehouse, Ohio. They help provide medical care to orphaned wild animals that are sick or injured. Their goal is to set the animals back into the wild when they are healed. That’s where the animals are at their best.  They also provide nature education programs for children and adults. The ladies from Nature’s Nursery began our program by asking the children what kind of wild animals we have in Ohio. Their responses included squirrels, birds, toads, deer, bunnies, and owls. Then, we talked about what to do if you see a wild animal that is sick or injured. It was emphasized that you should never touch it. Bunnies, for example, can die from fret because they get so scared. Always tell an adult and you can tell them to call Nature’s Nursery for help. Several animals were brought with the ladies from Nature’s Nursery to share with the children. They included two toads named Clementine and Winston, who were injured in a gardening accident. They blended in with the grass. The toads were missing some toes and fingers and one had lost his left eye. The next animal was a squirrel named Amy. She was thrown off of an amusement ride and has one back foot missing, as well as half of her other back foot. She ran around in a wheel as if she was perfectly normal. The third animal we viewed was an American Kestrel named Maverick. She was taken out of the wild as a baby and now Nature’s Nursery is taking care of her because she would not be able to survive in the wild. Finally, the children had the opportunity to touch a tortoise named Adobe. We learned tortoises live longer than turtles. As an activity, a few children held up paper wings to represent different birds of prey, such as an eagle, a turkey vulture, and a hawk. Two things needed to be a bird of prey include talons and a sharp beak. It was an amazing presentation and the children loved viewing the animals up close and personal!


A story about two toads named Winston and Clementine was shared with us.


Winston and Clementine close-up!


The children are excited to see the animals.


Questions are answered.


A squirrel named Amy. The kids loved its name!


Amy was in constant motion.


Children hold up the birds of prey wings.

Over the past couple of weeks on Tuesday and Friday aftenoons, we began our class in a special way. The children were read a chapter or so of the book Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. At the end of each chapter, they were asked to make predictions for the following chapter.They were told the title of that chapter to build excitement for the next time we met. As this story was shared, the children practiced such skills as recognizing characters in the story (Fern, Charlotte, Wilbur, Avery, etc.), identifying the setting (the barn, the fair), sequencing events that occurred, and finally seeing the conclusion of the story. There were minimal pictures in the book, which truly encouraged them to use their imaginations. Important concepts were also discussed such as kindness, sharing, and the friendship between Wilbur (the pig) and his friend Charlotte (the spider). The two friends are respectful and loyal to each other. As a culminating activity, we viewed the movie on the last day of school before Spring Break. It was fun to watch their faces light up as each character was introduced and when they remembered parts that we read in the book brought to life.

To coincide with Charlotte’s Web, a few spider projects were completed. We first discussed the parts of a spider that make them special, such as their eight legs, many small eyes, and spinneret (which is the silk-spinning organ of a spider). The children helped identify differences between insects and spiders. The first project was named Mondrian Spiders. The children colored the webs of the spiders red, yellow, and blue which were trademark colors of some of Piet Mondrian’s work and then created their own spider to place in the web. In our second art activity, yarn was used for them to weave a spider web. Each web was a unique creation!


Mondrian Spider Art Activity


Creating a unique web!


Hard at work!


Making a spider for the web.


A spider named Charlotte, as in Charlotte’s Web.

parent surveyWest Side Montessori is in the process of being re-accredited by the American Montessori Society. This is a title that WSM is very proud to have as one of only five schools Ohio and of 126 schools nationally who have this special recognition!

An important part of the process to retain the accreditation is to offer an anonymous parent survey which allows families to express their opinions about our school, including our strengths and areas of improvement. Every opinion counts!

Please take a few moments to complete the specific campus – Perrysburg or Toledo – by clicking a link below to participate. Complete the general questions and then skip to the program-specific questions that pertain to each of your children.  Your comments are welcome.

Perrysburg Campus Families

Toledo Campus Families

If done online, follow the directions to print off the “Thank You” page at the end of the survey, add your name, and return it to school. In doing so, you will earn two free hours of child care for your child!  Your survey will still be submitted anonymously. Paper copies also are available at the front desk or you can complete an online survey using a laptop set up in the lobby.

Thank you for your continued support of West Side Montessori.

We changed gears this week and placed our scientist hats on.  As the children arrived in the classroom, before them sat a vase of blue water, (half full), a cup with baking soda in it, raisins, and a bottle of vinegar.  What are we doing???  As we continued…the oooh’s and ahhh’s began.  The children were split into 5 small groups where one kindergartner led the experiment with written directions.  Following each experiment, the children drew what they saw and journaled about their observation.  The directions for the experiment are here for you to try at home…


A pint glass

Warm water


Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda)

White Vinegar

Food coloring


Fill the glass half full with warm water

Add a drop of food coloring to tint the water. (This has no scientific bearing on the experiment other than I like things to look pretty!)

Add two heaped teaspoons of Bicarbonate of Soda.

Add a few raisins

Put the glass in a tray (just in case is overflows!)

Top of with white vinegar (I would pour slowly if I were you…)

Watch the effect

You should see the raisins begin to rise and fall

The science bit…

The vinegar and bicarbonate of soda reacted to form carbon dioxide as one of the products. The carbon dioxide bubbles collect over the many surfaces of the raisin. Because carbon dioxide is lighter than water it rises to the top and takes the raisin with it. As the bubbles pop at the surface the raisin descends, only to be covered in bubbles gain at the bottom until the reaction finishes.

We watch as the raisins begin to "dance."

We watch as the raisins begin to “dance.”


A child from each Children's House class collaborate on the Raising Raisins experiment.

A child from each Children’s House class collaborate on the Raising Raisins experiment.


The kindergarten children have recently been studying about the artist Paul Cezanne. He was born in 1839 in Aix-en-Provence, which is located in the south of France. He was very interested in becoming an artist, but his father very much wanted him to become a lawyer. His father, however, had a lot of money and gave some to Paul to go to Paris and become a painter. Paul wanted to try different ways of painting. He enjoyed patterns of color and shape. Paul spent the last 28 years of his life in isolation painting. Some of his later works included still life paintings, figures, and landscapes. He used the colors yellow, orange, red, green, and blue to add brightness to his work.

For our first art project, the children practiced using watercolors to complete a still life painting. A green plate with an orange, banana, apple, and grapes was placed on a table where the children could see it. They then observed the plate of fruit and painted what they saw, trying to replicate as many details as they could. It was interesting to see what each child observed such as the size and shape of the fruit. Some children that were close up painted it larger than those who were further away. Some were quick to complete the painting, while others took a great deal of time.


The focus of our still life painting was fruit.


We begin our watercolor painting.


Deep in thought to complete this work


The children then painted a Paul Cezanne landscape picture.

Our second art project involved a painting by Paul Cezanne titled The Blue Vase. It was   painted between 1883 and 1887 when he was in his late 40′s. It was a still life of a blue      vase with flowers inside of it. A few oranges are placed to the side of the vase and a plate behind it as well. In order to look deeper into the meaning of this painting, the children were asked questions, such as what room in the house did they think this painting was done (Many children’s response was the kitchen.). They were asked where they thought Paul got the flowers (Some thought he grew them in a garden in his yard since he lived in isolation.) We also talked about the colors used, the placement of items in the front, middle, and back of the painting, and what they thought was the most important object in the painting (to which many responded the blue vase). The children cut out their own blue vase and flowers and added details to the picture that made it similar to Paul Cezanne’s.


We begin with the blue vase.


An adaptation of Paul Cezanne’s The Blue Vase.