Respected Banyan Families,
March was a great month filled with amazing experiences and learning opportunities. The Banyans continue to enjoy our cultural studies about Africa and the works we have been doing on our cultural studies. Going to the annual Montessori conference in D.C. with my family and colleagues was a refreshing and fulfilling experience. I learned new strategies, extensions for lessons, and other various classroom strategies for teaching the Montessori way. I always love learning more about how I can improve my work with the children, and of course, I bought some new materials and books for our classroom and me!
“It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. She must first love and understand the universe. She must prepare herself, and truly work at it.”
– Dr. Montessori
April is going to be another month of exploration! In April, Toddler parents will be observing our primary classes. Kindergarten parents are invited to Elementary Parent night on Wednesday, April 3 at 5:30. I encourage all of our parents to observe our Elementary classrooms. Please call the office to make an appointment to observe the Spanish lime classroom. ‘Follow the child’ will be on Saturday, April 6th, online sign up has already been sent, please check your email.
The Focus of the Month
As a human, we all know the importance of language and the vast usage of the language and its different forms; oral, writing and gesture. Montessori classrooms offer multi-sensory learning materials to help a child develop language skills. The child will slowly and steadily evolve with language. Some children like to focus on writing first and then reading while other children choose to read first and then write. Montessori encourages the children to first learn the sounds of the letters in their writing; the understanding of the sounds leads them to read rather than memorizing the words. This is the same philosophy that we follow with all the Montessori materials, the concept of concrete to abstract and then memorization. At the conference, I learned new Montessori Language strategies to incorporate in our language area and have started experiencing it in action.
“Language lies at the root of that transformation of the environment we call civilization.”
– Dr. Montessori
Visual discrimination is the first step to the process of learning a language. Children love patterns, patterns, and more patterns. Matching patterns and creating patterns will increase the child’s attention span and later it helps a child develops letter writing skills. When I learned that the ‘pattern matching’ is the first lesson in Montessori Early childhood Language in my Montessori training, I wondered, and then I started to understand the importance of the work of ‘patterning’ as I followed the children and witnessed their language skills. If you see your children creating patterns, please encourage them. And as always every material in the Montessori classroom has a purpose behind it.
“By reading I mean the interpretation of an idea by means of graphic symbols.”
– Dr. Montessori
Talking about language, I would like to share an important topic ‘Language of Encouragement’ that I learned at the AMS conference. As we all know, we would like to encourage our children for their hard work, to foster self-esteem and reinforce learning. Encouragement is different than rewards. Rewards focus on material objects. Encouragement avoids comparison and competition, and it gives satisfaction and internal joy.
The following are a few strategies/ language to encourage a child that I learned at the conference, some of them we have already been practicing with the children, and some of them are new.
Be specific on your statement; For example, if you see a child is helping another child, first thank the child and tell the child the reason why you are thanking him/her. “ Thanks for helping Kara. You helped her clean her spill.”
Use ‘you’ on your statement when encouraging a child: Remember we are encouraging them for their hard works, so the first step is to avoid using ‘I’ in our sentence/comment. For example “I see you have used different colors…” instead of start the sentence with ‘you.’
Personal appreciation/encouragement: If there is more than one child in the situation when you try to encourage/appreciate, go close to the child and talk in a whisper voice. It will encourage the child and avoid hurting the other child who is present in the environment. They will learn the public appreciation of others as they develop their emotional skills.
Here is a tool to give a child feedback and encouragement to continue their work/help/act of kindness.
Review, Present, Preview
Review – Yesterday – Example: Yesterday, you helped us set up the table
It will help a child to remember his/her work from the previous day.
Present – Today – Invite the child to do the same today, it could be a work, act of kindness, etc.
Preview – Tomorrow – prepare /encourage the child to continue the work/action the next day
So start the statement with review and invite the child for the work/action/words at present and upon completion, preview what have done and give the child a plan for the next day.
I found this is a great way to help a child accomplished their skills; emotional, social, personal and academic.
Here is an example of encouragement language,
NO – Wyatt helped set the table for snack
YES – Thank you for helping set the table, you put a spoon by every bowl. (Thank the child and be specific with what they did)
Always ask your child how they did the work because the children focus on the process of their work than on the final product of their work. It shouldn’t be perfect all the time, and children work towards perfection by themselves if we offer them the environment and give them enough time.
I hope you find this helpful.
April Primary Events:
Follow the Child: April 6, Saturday – Online sign up has sent out
Parent Teacher Conferences: April 22, 23, 24,25,26 – Will send the sign up soon
Professional Day: April 22 (NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS)
Unit Studies: : Cultural Studies
Get ready to work together with your child to build a biome/habitat for your child’s choice of Mammal/Bird/fish/Amphibian/Reptiles. I will send an email with the details.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to cherish the beautiful moments, work through the sensitive times and learn together with your children.
Ms. Karthi and Ms. Desiree