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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.

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.

Thursday, Sept. 4 • 8:30 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. at Toledo Campus

pink towerMontessori education is designed to maximize development of your young child’s brain power. How?

Join Head of School, Lynn Fisher, at September’s First Thursday as she unlocks the secrets of how an authentic Montessori program works. Little House & Children’s House parents are invited to attend this monthly program held at the Toledo Campus. This month’s event is Thursday, Sept. 4, from 8:30-9:30 a.m. and again from 3:45-4:45 p.m. Come and discover your child’s super powers!

First Thursday is a monthly parent education program presented by West Side Montessori faculty. Any family is welcome to attend! First Thursdays are opportunities for parents in our community to learn more about Montessori through the eyes of children, teachers, and other Montessori parents.

Make plans to come, meet other parents, and learn more about the Montessori method.

Family Interviews and Orientation-

We began our year with Family Interviews and orientation for children new to the Maple Room. Thank you parents for sharing such important information about your children with us. Your excitement and support mean so much. We can’t wait for you to volunteer, observe, and be involved in our classroom. For the children, the first couple of days were really devoted to sharing basic procedures in the classroom, such as carrying, holding, rolling, and walking around a rug. Working at a table was also introduced. Steps included showing how to keep their work organized and using a work mat. When finished, we say “Put your hands in the air, push in your chair, and put your work away.” The children also helped to develop some basic ground rules that will help make the Maple Room run smoothly. They include using walking feet in the classroom, using an inside quiet voice, raising your hand before you speak, putting your hand on a teacher’s shoulder when needing something, and using your words to communicate with each other. Bathroom etiquette was reviewed, such as one person in the bathroom at a time and knocking on the bathroom door before entering. We reviewed hand washing procedures to help us stay germ-free, as much as possible. The children were taught a song to sing while they wash their hands that help them wash an appropriate amount of time. It is sung to the tune “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” It goes like this: “Wash, wash, wash your hands. Wash them nice and clean. On the tops, and on the bottoms, and even in between.” A tour of the playground was given and the children loved the slide, climbing, playing in the sand, and running and laughing together. At the end of the week, we enjoyed a visit from students in the Monarch Room (Upper Elementary). They read to our younger friends.

A Visit from our Friends in the Monarch Room














The First Full Week-

There were work choices available on the shelves in almost every area of the classroom. Much of the work that was demonstrated to the children, however, could be found in the practical life and sensorial areas. Practical life lessons included hand transfer activities, dry pouring, floor sweeping, and sponge squeezing. The children also practiced serving their own snack at the snack table (with glass plates and glasses). At the Children’s House level, the children can choose when they want to have snack throughout the morning. Two people may sit at the snack table together. They get a glass plate, scoop their snack onto it, and carry it to their table. They can then pour themselves a drink. While enjoying snack, they may have polite conversation at the table. When finished, they may wash their plate and glass at our washing table and put it on the drying rack.They spray their table and dry it (They can spray however many years old they are. Ex- 3 sprays for a 3 year old.) Finally, they sweep any crumbs they may have dropped. They then wash their hands and return to work.


floor sweeping


sponge squeezing one bowl to another


sponge squeezing







Both the younger and older children love the hands-on materials found in this area. Everything is very concrete and visually appealing. One of the works introduced was the pink cubes. There are ten pink cubes carried to the rug one at a time. The children then use their detective eyes to grade them from the largest to the smallest. Other works presented included the brown prisms, red rods, and knobless cylinders.


The pink tower of cubes

Back-to-School Sing Along-

The children love music and to gather together. This past Friday, the Children’s House classes enjoyed their first sing along. A West Side parent, Marc Brown, played the guitar and led the children in singing some fun songs, such as “Down By the Bay” and “The Wheels on the Bus”. We gathered outside on the grass and were happy that many families were able to join us. We will keep you informed of upcoming sing alongs.











maug22It was an exciting first couple of weeks! We look forward to a wonderful year!


Learn more about Little House and Children’s House through West Side Montessori’s First Thursday event at the Toledo Campus. It is a monthly parent education program that discusses a different topic each month. Plan to attend one or more of the following 2014-15 dates:

Sept. 4
Montessori 101 with Head of School Lynn Fisher

Oct. 2
Beyond the Continent Song:
Understanding Montessori’s Approach to Geography

Nov. 6
Toy Shopping Tips:
Pick the Perfect Toys for Your Child

Dec. 4
Handwriting Without Tears

No First Thursday

Feb. 5
Tears and Tantrums

March 5
Unchildproof Your Home

April 2
Montessori Math

May 7
Ask a Teacher
Answers to Your Toddler Conundrums