Dear Banyan Families,
I cannot imagine that we have already marched into March; it feels like we just started the school year!
Last month, Teagan from the Mangrove class transitioned to the Banyan classroom. I have to share with you all how wonderfully the Banyans are supporting their new friend with her transition process.
I recall once entering the Banyan class after observing the Toddler classrooms when I felt that transition for myself. I paused by the door for a moment, and started thinking and putting together all the processes and procedures that a child goes through when they transition from one classroom environment to another. So many factors are included in that transition process: class size, number of students, new classroom environment, teachers, peers, lessons, and change of routine. The transitioning child needs support from the entire classroom community in order to feel safe and adapt to the new class, peers, teachers’ lessons, and routine. Isn’t “the empathetic human” an excellent lesson for all of us to learn, to feel others’ feelings and needs, and to support them accordingly?
Moving on to March, the Banyans will slowly start the North American continent study.
We will continue our practices on following the bathroom procedures (ask your child about it), using the tissue to blow the nose, covering the cough and sneeze, and washing hands.
Discussion of the Month: “What Is Happening in the Banyan Classroom?”
In my October newsletter, “What is happening in the Banyan Classroom?” was mainly about the daily routine and what we learn together at the beginning of the school year.
Now we are close to the end of the school year. The children are growing and needing a change. Especially this time of the year, children get ready for the next developmental stage. So children need a shift of pattern in their routine. The routine is the same, but with modulations and extensions. For example, in the morning circle, we sing the same song but with different voice modulations. At the beginning of the school year, kindergartners were willing to place the nap mats. Now our young leaders (first-year students) are placing the nap mats, and kindergarten students can run the circle.
As Dr. Montessori said, we “follow the child” and guide them accordingly. Once we understand and study the child, it is a pure pleasure to follow their pattern.
Change of Pattern in the Environment
The classroom environment needs consistent changes throughout the school year. Some changes are:
Switching around a couple pieces of furniture
Replacing the lessons and objects
Adding new lessons on the shelves
Every time I make a change to the environment, I feel refreshed to come to the classroom and see the children’s excitement when they enter the class. Changes should be made carefully, and should not overwhelm the children when they enter the class.
Adults in the Environment
We adults must recognize that the children have physically, emotionally, socially, and intellectually developed over the months, and thus, their needs and expressions have changed. This requires being present with the children at all times, studying about them to support them.
“The teacher, when she begins work in our schools, must have a kind of faith that the child will reveal himself through work.”
— Dr. Montessori
So, what is happening in the classroom at this time of the school year?
“The satisfaction which they find in their work has given them a grace and ease like that which comes from music.”
— Dr. Montessori
The older students in the class have been enjoying their pattern of tasks (work-help-socialize), and sometimes the patterns take twists and turns. They all know their responsibilities, and sometimes require a gentle reminder. The building-year students have been building the bridge to walk on for the kindergarten year. They have been working, working, and working with the same lessons again and again, and helping young friends.
Our young leaders are familiar with the routine and have been building confidence via consistent routine, working with the lessons, and socializing with their peers. In young children, the process of unfolding from the unconscious absorbent mind to the conscious absorbent mind may happen at various times, and for some students, it is just starting to happen.
“The child passes little by little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of joy and love.” —Dr. Montessori
On the whole, the Banyan classroom is filled with little humans (25), their work, the noise from the materials, and the children’s work. The class also has lots of feelings and expressions: waves of laughter, excitement, sadness, crying, screaming, and talking. The beauty of a Montessori classroom is allowing the children to regulate their feelings and guide/ support them as per their needs. A child’s expression is related to their feelings, and it is OK to let them feel their feelings as long as the child and the children around the child are safe.
“Once a direction is given to them, the child’s movements are made towards a definite end, so that he himself grows quiet and contented, and becomes an active worker, a being calm and full of joy.”
— Dr. Montessori
The life cycle of a butterfly Parts of a flower Continent studies
Ms. Karthi and Ms. Desiree