January Banyan Newsletter

New Year Greetings, Banyan Families,

I hope all of us got enough time to get connected with our families and friends during the holiday season. May we all have the strength and peaceful mind to walk through this year with grace, gratitude and satisfaction.

“We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.” —Dr. Montessori

December was a short yet exciting month for the Banyans. As they experienced the holiday spirits around them, when the students came to the classroom, they enjoyed the routine, prepared environment, and the works. The classroom was quite noisy once in a while out of excitement that they experience during the season. Moreover, the Banyans were happy and were eager to practice the work every day.

We sent off Maddie for the rest of the year and invited Darwin to our classroom. We have 24 Banyan students in our class.

Extended Practical Life Area Lessons

In my December newsletter, I wrote about the importance of the “practical life” area in the classroom. We have extended the practical life area works to the outdoor environment to help the children understand the need for practical life area lessons and the application of the lessons in real life. Sweeping our outdoor environment and playground, mopping the hallway, and cleaning the easel are a few extended practical life lessons.

The following are a few more practical life lessons that we have been learning together:

Nose blowing: We encourage the children to use a tissue to blow their nose, and we have tissue boxes available for them to use whenever they need. We discussed the germs that stayed with us and spread to others if we use our hands or clothes to blow the nose, and the importance of washing our hands right after blowing the nose.

Coughing: We have worked with covering our coughs (coughing into a bent elbow or a tissue), and washing the hands right after.

Bathroom: We discussed how and where we use the bathroom and the steps we use in the bathroom. Children feel funny when we talk about it, but we all agreed that it is part of our classroom, and we need to follow a few steps appropriately to keep us and the bathroom clean.

“Only practical work and experience lead the young to maturity.”
—Dr. Montessori

The Topic of the Month: Patterns

I always wonder about patterns, especially since learning about their importance in my Montessori training. I recently got to learn, explore, and connect with spirals, Voronoi diagrams, the golden ratio, and fractal patterns. It made me connect with the patterning lessons in our classroom and the values of those lessons. I was curious to read and discuss it with my daughters, and I thought I should share it with you all.

The first concept of the Montessori Early Childhood Language area is “visual discrimination.” The first set of lessons under the visual discrimination concept is patterning: matching object patterns with cards, creating patterns, and bead stringing with various patterns. I have observed that children who regularly practiced with patterning work have the ability to make connections with objects. Then later, the patterning works helped them naturally develop advanced language skills. As we have the excellent opportunity to observe and follow the child for three-four years, I’ve enjoyed observing the children progressing on their learning path with various patterning lessons and patterns.

In real life, patterns are everywhere: patterns in nature, in art, patterns in the universe, patterns in our body, in our thoughts, patterns in math, and patterns all around and within us. Even every breath we take has a pattern. Children get the opportunity to explore and experience these patterns around them every day. We must encourage them to observe and play with various patterning objects around them.

Once I was invited by a child to see the shadow on the floor. She asked: “Do you see the Nevada state on the floor-shadow?” I realized that the child remembered the pattern of the state and was relating that to a similar pattern.

Understanding and discovering patterns will reveal the answers to the importance of patterns. We learn about a concept and then we follow, practice, and execute. But it may take a while to understand the real value of it until we get an opportunity to reconnect, explore, and re-evaluate the same concept.
“Without changing our pattern of thought, we will not be able to solve the problems we created with our current patterns of thought.”
—Albert Einstein

January Studies

Geography and history
Days of the week
Months of the year

Though these lessons are part of the curriculum, the first month of the year is the perfect time to reintroduce these lessons.

Ms. Karthi and Ms. Desiree