Iris Room is a Little House classroom for ages 2-3 years old on the Toledo Campus. Jessica Boraggina and Cheryl Pocrnich are the classroom’s co-teachers.
Posted by Iris
It’s hard to believe it’s the middle of December already! At this time of year the children have really settled in and the classroom runs quite smoothly. Their growing independence is amazing to see, from hanging up their own coats and backpacks, to putting their work away when they are finished.
One of the most frequently asked question’s is “What can we do at home to help our child?” The answer includes some surprisingly simple things to complement what is done at school. One of our primary goals is the education and nurturing of the whole child. We do not place more emphasis on social development versus academic or vice versa. We begin by reinforcing a child’s natural sense of order and encouraging independence.
At home, there are also many opportunities to nurture and encourage your child’s independence. Children love to dust tables, water the plants and sweep the floors. Choosing her own clothing and dressing herself can also be an exciting event for a child. Children are proud of their accomplishments, and dressing themselves is quite an achievement.
The winter break may seem long to children used to coming to school on a daily basis and even longer for those who only come two or three days a week. Sometimes the winter break seems even longer for the parents than the children. If it is impossible to develop a routine during these times, try a simple, special and familiar activity.
Keep in mind your child’s temperament when making plans. What is fun for one child may be overwhelming for another. For example, when traveling, on shopping trips, or at family gatherings, your child may show signs of stress by becoming clingy, whiny, resistant, or by throwing tantrums. When these behaviors begin to occur, step back and take a look at what is going on in your child’s life right now. Have nap or bed times been off schedule? Is your child receiving to much adult attention? (Relatives love to shower children with attention.) What about you? Are you feeling stressed? Children are very good at picking up non-verbal clues and may become distressed because they feel your tension.
Now that you know what some of the stress producers can be, you can take steps to minimize the effects. Keep the child’s daily routine as much the same as possible, especially eating and sleeping. For big family dinners away from home, very young children may feel more comfortable eating from their own dishes. If your child balks at the introduction of new foods, make sure some familiar foods are available. This is not the time to pick a battle over food.
When children are feeling overwhelmed, fussy, silly, or overactive, take the time for a quiet break. Go for a walk, find a quiet place to watch a calm video or take a nap. This will give your child a chance to regroup and may lower everyone’s stress level. To keep this time enjoyable, simple is better!
Our children can spend quite a long time using our special homemade playdough. Not only does it strengthen developing muscles, but it also allows for creative play. The receipe follows and the children LOVE helping to make it as well!
PLAY DOUGH RECIPE
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 cup water
(you may add food coloring if desired)
Mix all of the above ingredients in a pan and cook for approx. 3-5 min, stirring consistently
Remove from pan while still a little “wet” and knead with your hands
Posted by Iris
As you will see, the children have been very busy! A couple of weeks ago, the children helped to plant tulip bulbs in the garden area outside of our patio. A big “Thank you” to the Lilac room for sharing bulbs with us. We are looking forward to watching/hoping that they bloom in the spring!
The children practiced heavy lifting as it took at least 3 friends to carry our pumpkin to the table for carving. There were a few who wanted to help clean out the pumpkin but many more who chose to watch! Comments such as ..” it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s slippery” could be heard throughout the process. However, they were all excited when it was finished!
Over the past few weeks, walks in the woods on our beautiful campus have been a weekly experience. The children help guide us to follow the RED trail or the BLUE trail and seem excited by the things we see. Many leaves are collected, trees inspected, and squirrel nests are observed “way up high”. We are so fortunate to be able to enjoy this beautiful setting. The children (and the teachers) LOVE IT!
And now the cold comes…brrr! As the weather begins to change and the temperatures are unpredictable, we would like to remind you that we do try to get outside for even just a few minutes each day. A breathe of fresh air really does feel nice to everyone! If daily, you could send warm jackets, hats, and mittens vs gloves (they are much easier for the children to put on) we will try to enjoy as much fresh air as we can. Their hands are tiny and it can be difficult to find mittens that actually fit and stay on, however, some parents have been successful in finding mittens at Carters. The “gripper” mittens, or “stretch” mittens seem to work the best. They are not great for playing in the snow but they seem to work well for being outside at other times (and the children seem to leave them on :-)). Please remember to LABEL everything. It helps to ensure your child’s belongings get back to them.
Inside the classroom, the children are making wonderful work choices.
Posted by Iris
We are sure to have the cleanest pumpkin in town! Pumpkin scrubbing has been a big hit! This work is for one child at a time, and there are many steps to this activity. The first step is to put the apron on, which lets everyone know this is her work. Next, she fills a pitcher with water and pours it over the top of the pumpkin. A scrub brush is then rubbed on a bar of soap and the scrubbing begins. After the child is content with her work, a sponge is used to wipe off the soap bubbles and the apron is laid back down for the next friend. The children enjoy working with the water and making the bubbles. We enjoy how they are strengthening their hand and wrist muscles.
Another new favorite is pumpkin hammering. The children use a hammer to pound golf tees into the pumpkin. It is quite challenging for the children to hold the tee while trying to hammer. We are hoping this will strengthen their hand-eye coordination, not result in sore thumbs! After all the tees are in, its a challenge to use the back of the hammer to get them back out as well.
With the arrival of the cooler mornings, the children are practicing the “coat flip”. Ask your child to show you how they put the tag (or hood) by their toes, place their arms in the holes, and flip it over their heads. This is a great activity to practice at home too! They are so proud when they can do it themselves. Per some requests, we will send home a print out of these directions; we encourage putting this in your coat area to help guide them.
The children really enjoy when we sing the song, Five Little Pumpkins Sitting On A Gate. Here are the words to the song so you can sing it with your child at home!
Five little pumpkins, sitting on a gate,
The first one said, “Oh my, its getting late!”
The second one said, “Their are witches in the air!”
The third one said, “We don’t care.”
The fourth one said, “I am ready for some fun!”
The fifth one said, “Let’s run and run and run!”
“Ooooo!” went the wind, and (clap) out went the lights.
And the five little pumpkins, rooooollled out of sight.
Our favorite way to perform the song is to use the five little pumpkins from the sensorial area of the classroom as “performers”. These pumpkins also have double duty of being graded from the largest to the smallest.
Ask your child to sing this with you, you will love it!
Reminder: Parent/Teacher conferences are Oct. 28 & 29 .. 4:00-6:00 and Oct. 30.. 8:30-3:45. Childcare will be available on Oct. 30, with a reservation. There is no school or childcare on Oct. 31. We encourage you to observe, if possible, before conferences, so you can see all the amazing things they are capable of.
First Thursday: Beyond the Continent Song
Posted by West Side Montessori
Little House Video Series
Posted by Rose
We often get parents requesting the words to the songs we sing at school. So we decided to post videos of some of the popular songs. We hope to publish more videos with our younger friends as they become more comfortable at circle time. We hope you enjoy these videos! Please allow a few minutes for each video to download.