As January ends and February begins, our School’s focus and appreciation turns to friendship. The staff as a whole has discussed and chosen to create our own unique Montessori ways of honoring relationships this month. Although we will not be exchanging valentines (a common practice in public schools), we have decided to continue with our new tradition of getting together with the other toddlers as well as the oldest students on campus, the Spanish Lime elementary class, for a friendship appreciation snack. Toddler students and Elementary students will work within their own communities during the school day to bake, cook, and appreciate the relationships that have developed within these two different and yet similar communities. Then on February 24th, the Toddler Community will set our snack tables to include all of the Elementary students and we will enjoy class made snacks made with love.
As many of you know, our Toddler classrooms include students between the ages of 18 months to three years of age. Elementary schooling begins at age 6 to 9 years and in terms of child development may feel like milked away. Our toddler students have just mastered walking and are working on climbing and running. Elementary students have just finished a unit on soccer and are working on learning the rules and skills of badminton. Our students are learning to identify and name objects in the world. Elementary students are zeroing in on objects of interest and then learning how to research those objects in order to gain more knowledge about the world. And although these communities are focused on different levels of learning, the core is the same: respect for self, respect for others, and respect for the community all while igniting a life long love a learning. In the end, all these students have a lot in common and we are thankful to able to have them get together throughout the year. Our full day toddlers get daily visits after nap from the Elementary students who read stories to us before dismissal. And recently, the entire school including all the toddlers received a handwritten, hand delivered invitation to watch a musical performance put on by the Spanish Lime Elementary class. We are always slightly hesitant when asking 24 toddlers to sit quietly and respectfully on a blanket to watch anything for 20 minutes, but our toddlers were ENTRANCED and MESMERIZED. They watched their Elementary friends dance, sing, act, and play instruments on a beautiful set they created. At the end, our toddlers were clapping and were asking for ‘more’ in sign language or were saying, “again, again.” It really is an honor to watch their relationships grow and we look forwarded to appreciating those relationships this month.
“There is a great sense of community within the Montessori classroom, where children of differing ages work together in an atmosphere of cooperation rather than competitiveness…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.” – Maria Montessori