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Toledo, OH 43615-3010
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Ali Packo

Ali Packo

Amy Lawrence

Amy Lawrence

Maple Room is a Children’s House classroom on the Toledo Campus. Amy Lawrence and Ali Packo are the classroom’s co-teachers.

Birthday Celebrations-

Celebrating a birthday in a Montessori classroom is a very special and unique experience. It occurs after morning car line in our room. The children gather at circle and the quiet walk begins. The teacher passes a sandpaper numeral to the child celebrating their birthday that represents their age. They pass to a friend and take turns walking around the circle. The parent/grandparent/special friend is then asked about the day the child was born, how much they weighed, and where they were born. After, the child is given the globe and asked to walk around the sun (represented by a wooden sun and light in the middle). We then clap our hands one time. The adult is then asked what happened when the child was one (crawling, making noises) and the child walks around the sun again. This process continues until we reach his/her current age. We then sing a special birthday song and use sign language to match our words. The song goes like this:

We celebrate your birth

And your place on the Earth.

May the sun, moon, and stars

Bring peace where you are.

The child makes a wish and “blows” out our special light. They share a treat with us at the snack table throughout the morning. If you would like to come in for your child’s birthday, please let us know and we would love to have you come in. The children always enjoy sharing special pictures representing each year of their life.


The child holds the globe and walks around the sun.


We sing the birthday song to a friend.


Stories are shared about each year of the child’s life and pictures as well.


A unique element in a Montessori classroom is geography. Towards the beginning of the year, a unit on land, air, and water is introduced. Our Earth is made up of these things. The children are shown a sandpaper globe where the water is identified as being blue and the land as brown. A fun demonstration involved spooning dirt into a jar to represent the land, retrieving water from the sink to put into a second jar, and “catching” air to put into the third jar. Sorting objects and pictures into the categories of land, air, and water were work choices on the shelves.


Sorting objects onto the land, air, and water mat is a popular activity.


A kindergartner gives a lesson on sorting pictures into the land, air, and water categories.

UT Student-

You may have noticed another adult in the classroom when you drop your child off to school in the morning. This is our student from the University of Toledo. Her name is Lindsey and she will be with us from now until December all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. During her time with us, she will be presenting lessons to the children in several curriculum areas and also help to read and choose work with the children. We are very excited to have her with us.


Now that the season of Fall has arrived, there are several noticeable differences in the environment around us. The cooler weather is definitely one of them. Another element is the appearance of the leaves and trees. The children have pointed out the “changing” colors of the leaves from green to red, yellow, orange, and even brown. They are seeing that many leaves have already fallen off of the trees. As a result, we decided to make leaves our unit of study in science. We looked at and discussed the parts of a leaf, such as veins, stipules, and petiole.We talked about why leaves change colors in the Fall. Many plants stop making food in the Fall. The chlorophyll goes away. Then we can see orange and yellow colors. The colors were actually in the leaves all summer, but the green covered them up. The red color is made from food trapped in the leaves. The children were amazed. Work choices on the shelves included books about leaves to read, a leaf puzzle to label the parts, pin punching leaves, leaf rubbings, and tracing and labeling different types of leaves, such as gingko and hickory. It may be fun to take a nature walk around your yard and collect leaves to make a leaf collage or leaf rubbings!


A child traces parts of a leaf from the leaf puzzle, pin punches them out, glues, and labels the parts.


Our UT student introduces a unit on leaves and sorts leaves by similar characteristics. Types of leaves are also discussed.

Practical Life-

The theme for much of the practical life work is fall related, mainly pumpkins and leaves. The children have enjoyed scrubbing pumpkins with a scrub brush and bar of soap, hammering golf tees into a pumpkin with a real hammer and safety glasses, and tweezing corn off of the cob. All of these works require a great deal of concentration and coordination to complete. Other works on the shelf included rolling socks and spooning small pumpkin objects.


This is a hand transfer work using small pumpkins and pretend candy corn to sort.


Hammering golf tees into a pumpkin is one of our favorite works in the Maple Room at this time.


Tweezing corn off of the cob is very challenging work!


The moveable alphabet is one of the most used works in the language area of our classroom. This is a Montessori material that consists of a wooden box divided into 26 compartments. Each compartment represents a different letter of the alphabet and is filled with many small wooden letters. the work is used at a rug so there is enough space to spread out and work. The children can take out letters and move and manipulate them to spell their names, to place a particular beginning sound next to an object, to spell words, and even to write a sentence(s). It is easy to change or fix. They do not have to erase and start over. The lessons used with this work can be beginner level for those just learning the names of letters and range to a very advanced level, such as spelling words with blends,digraphs, and composing sentences to form a paragraph.


He is so proud of using the moveable alphabet to spell three letter words.


This is a table top version of the moveable alphabet.


This is the finished masterpiece!


There are so many great things happening in the Maple Room each and every day. All of the photos cannot be included (unfortunately), however these are a few pictures of friends doing challenging math and writing activities!


A friend has chosen to do all of the squaring chains, label them with the correct numbers, and record the results.


Creative writing about the kindergarten field trip to Gust Pumpkin Farm required great thought and reflection!


Just in time for your fall clean-up, West Side Montessori is offering a free community recycling event at the Toledo Campus on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bring over all your unwanted electronic devices for safe destruction and recycling. All technology equipment will be safely wiped for your protection. Check out the list below for what will be accepted!





Recently, the children were introduced to a unit on living and non-living things. It seemed like the appropriate time to acquire a new class pet. The children were so excited to see our small, blue male betta fish as it was brought to circle time yesterday. We reviewed the characteristics of living things. There were many volunteers to help feed the fish. It was decided that this job would be added to our job chart and was an important responsibility. The children were asked to go home and think about possible names for our fish.We would make a list and vote the next day. They were eager to share their ideas. The suggestions given included the names of Jacob, Alex, Thunder, Miles, Bubbles, Blue, Weston, Dory, Christopher, Chuck, Nemo, and Soren. After much deliberation and a final vote, the name chosen by the children was Nemo. The children were proud of their part in the decision making process!

The Maple Room friends have been very busy over the past few weeks. New topics and challenging work choices continue to be introduced! Here is a glimpse of what has been filling our days:

Opening Ceremony-

Opening Ceremony is a gathering of all of the Children’s House classes with Lynn Fisher at the beginning of the year. This year, it took place in the Birdhouse. Lynn welcomes all of the children to a brand new school year at West Side. She shared a book with us called The Peace Rose  and talked about having a peaceful year within and among each of our classrooms. The children were so excited to be together. It is a community building activity for our level.


Sharing a story of peace.


A gathering of friends!


The Solar System-

Our unit on the solar system tied together the curriculum areas of geography and science. A question posed to the children was “Where is our place in space?” The children were introduced to the names of the planets and their location from the sun. We sequenced felt planets on a rug and read snippets of information about each planet as we went. The kindergartners completed their own solar system book with interesting facts. For example, we learned that Venus is considered to be the Earth’s twin. Earth is the only known planet to support life at this time. Jupiter is the largest planet. All of the other planets could fit inside of it. The further the planets are from the sun, the colder the temperatures are. Work choices included a books to read about the solar system, felt planets, planet bingo, a picture of the solar system to color, and pin punching their own solar system (one of our favorite works this past week).


A tricky floor puzzle!


Working to complete the pin punching work of the solar system.


Our first science unit of living and non-living was presented. This is a very broad way to classify things. We will move into more specific ways to classify things throughout the year, such as plant/animal and vertebrate/invertebrate. We decided that all living things need food, water, and air to survive. Activities on the shelf included sorting objects and pictures as living or non-living, looking through books and making lists of things to fit into each category, nomenclature cards (labeling living and non-living things), and book making for each.


A kindergartner is generating a list of living things.


A second year student is working on the living things nomenclature cards.


In the sensorial area, we will explore all five senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling. Maria Montessori believed children were most interested in these experiences between the ages of 2 1/2 to 6 years old. The first one we focused on was touch. The children knew they used their hands to complete this work. A work, called the touch board, consists of half of a small board made of smooth wood and the other half covered with sandpaper. The kids rubbed their fingertips on the floor for ten seconds to sensitize them to touch the board. As a result, their fingertips were tingly and could more accurately feel the textures. There was also a work that included a bag filled with several objects and a mask. The child could put on the mask and reach into the bag to feel the objects, focusing only on their sense of touch. When they were finished, they took off the mask and could see if they had made the correct conclusion about which objects were in the bag. A textured shape puzzle was also a popular work. After feeling the shapes, many children traced the shapes, pin punched them, and labeled them as square, pentagon, ellipse, etc.


Exploring with our hands!


A very popular work in the Maple Room has been the bead cabinet. It is a hands-on way to practice counting. Children carry a chain of beads to a rug and mark specific increments with number counters. For example, the five squaring chain would have counters marked 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25. There are squaring chains of the numbers 1 t0 10 that lay flat in rows on the cabinet. There are also cubing chains of the numbers 1 to 10 that are hung on hooks on the cabinet. The children can choose one chain at a time and take it to a rug to complete. The colors of the chains correspond to the colors of the bead stair work (Ex-The squaring and cubing chain of four is yellow.)


A kindergartner focuses on the four cubing chain.


Recording the results!

 Creative Writing-

The kindergarten children have begun creative writing activities in the afternoon. Recently, they went on a field trip to the Erie Orchard. Before they went, we worked as a group to make our own KWL charts about the orchard and apples (what they Knew about the orchard and what they Wanted to know about the orchard). The day after the field trip, we completed the L portion of the KWL chart which was what they Learned after going on their trip. The teacher helped model the correct formation of letters, capitalization, finger spacing, and punctuation. A lot of hard work went into making these charts!


The kindergartners brainstormed ideas to use in their KWL charts.