December Banyan Newsletter

Dear Banyan Families,

The month of November went by fast, and here we are getting ready to invite another season soon. Thank you to all of you for attending the parent-teacher conferences. It was significant to meet with you all and discuss your child. Our next parent-teacher conferences will be in April, and as always, if you have any doubts/questions, you can email me, or we can arrange a meeting.

We celebrated fall harvest with the other two primary classes by sharing our foods and eating together on the front lawn. As part of our fall studies, we used real corn to learn about parts of corn, and then cooked the corn for our harvest sharing.

What an experience to discuss what we are grateful for with our young children. They are thankful, and they are responsible for what they are grateful for. We talked about how we are grateful for our Elementary students for helping us set up the nap mats every day, and we showed our gratitude by making thank-you cards for them. One of our Kindergarten students said we should write, “We are thankful for your responsibility” on the card, and we wrote it. Then all the Banyans signed the cards for Spanish Limes and Coco Plums. One child said, “ I am happy in this classroom,” and when I asked “What made you feel that way?” the child said “the lessons.” It is a pure, honest feeling from a child. And then, I started to think about the work I need to do in our classroom to make the environment even more feasible for the children.

The Topic of the Month: Practical Life Area

“Respect all the reasonable forms of activity in which the child engages and try to understand them.”
—Dr. Montessori

Practical Life is one of the main five areas in the Montessori Primary classroom. It is the first main area of the class where the child spends most of the time when they start in the primary classroom, regardless of age. This area encourages students to learn order, cconcentration, coordination, and independence. It also has lessons to develop hand movements, penmanship, care of oneself, care of others, and care of the environment. This area also has a significant impact on future reading and writing. Frequently, people compare the Practical Life area with the kitchen area at our house. Yes, this area resides in the kitchen area of the Montessori house (class), as there is a need for water usage, a place for snacking, and food preparation — one of the busiest areas of the classroom.

Order is one of the needs of life which, when satisfied, produces real happiness.”
—Dr. Montessori

This area is also an important area to practice grace and courtesy. Children help each other with cleaning up the water spills on the tables, sweeping the floor to clean up the beans/rice/objects from “dry pouring” lessons, mopping the floor from over-usage of water. When the students hear any noise in this area, they all walk over there to check with their friends and help them clean up their work/spills.

Some other grace and courtesy activities that happen in this area, with older students presenting lessons to the younger students, are:

•Offering water to a friend who is eating a snack
•Preparing food to serve the whole class
•Helping load and unload the dishes

This area needs a regular rotation of lessons/objects to make the environment inevitable for the students. Like other areas of the class, this area’s lessons reflect the season, and the children enjoy the changes in this area. For our older students, this area is a comforting and socializing place after a long period of concentration. Practical Life is where real-life practices come alive.

“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”
—Dr. Montessori

December Unit Studies:

• Winter theme lessons
• Zoology — Animal Kingdom

Ms. Karthi