January Banyan Newsletter

Respected Banyan Families,

Thank you all for your love, support, gratitude, and encouragement that you all have given to us thus far. I am grateful to be part of your child’s day to day life and help them grow in this unique phase and time of their life.

Thank you to all the parents who attended the parent-teacher conferences. I appreciate your presence and value your time. I observe and make notes every day in the classroom, which helps me support and follow the children accordingly. It is my privilege to share my thoughts and observation notes with you during our meeting. Also, it is an opportunity for me to learn more about your child from you and guide them accordingly. I hope you all felt the same way. Our next parent-teacher conference for the school year will be in April.

“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

Since we discussed more social and emotional skills at our conferences, I thought this month’s focus should be on social and emotional skills from the experiences I gained/felt and how that has been helpful in the classroom and to our children.

The focus of the month:
The Importance of Social and Emotional Skills in early years

We have been talking and insisting on kids’ needs to feel safe and connected in order for them to start their day in the classroom. Also, in my first newsletter, I discussed the importance of bringing the children early to the school to give them enough time to start their day at school slowly. Believe me, they will not be happy if they do not feel safe, if their emotional needs are not fulfilled, and if their social obligation is not satisfied appropriately. So again, the first step towards supporting them achieve these skills is to PLEASE BRING YOUR CHILD EARLY TO SCHOOL EVERYDAY.

In previous years, I spent more time preparing the classroom environment as I feel more satisfied when I do things by myself. I ended up staying in the classroom even after 8:00 am sometimes and checking/arranging the class and the lessons. A prepared environment is one of the significant elements in Montessori Philosophy, and we cannot expect the students to clean their mess or put the work back on the shelves when the classroom is not prepared. Don’t worry, the classroom is getting arranged as I learn more about time management skills!

I am on the playground in the morning to welcome the students and to spend a few minutes of one on one time with the children and guide them to play and talk as a group or with a new friend. This time in the morning is the most valuable time for the child to set the emotional and social tone for the entire day. I have observed that they spend a significant amount of time in the day preparing themselves for transitions; to go to the playground for afternoon play time, then on the playground getting ready to eat, and during the dismissal to get ready to go home or to aftercare. They are showing us that they need time before and after every transition throughout their day. Then I asked myself a question, wait a minute, What am I doing to keep myself peaceful and calm throughout the day? Oh, I slow down if I have to and feel the inner peace within me, I do things on my own time, I need time to breathe, I need time to think about my day, I need time for my emotional well-being, and I need time to connect with other people. Of course, I can list them all out because I am an adult. Children won’t come to us and tell us their needs. They do not tell us that they need time to talk and visit with their friends or adults in their life. Kids need time to prepare themselves before and after every transition; they need time to plan what they are going to do in their next transition period. Also, children do not tell us that they are emotionally hurt. However, they will show us all these feelings via different actions which we tend to label as “Behavior issues.” Slow down, let us give them enough time and opportunity to practice their social skills, and allow us to provide a healthy environment to nourish and strengthen their emotional well beings.

Children take time to develop these skills at the school. Normalization happens in different forms in the classroom. One of the most common ways of normalization occurs via socialization, especially when the child moves and comes to a new classroom environment. Students build emotional skills via socialization and learn through practice and real-life experiences.

We focus on the word “preparation” only as a materialized thing as opposed to our feelings on social and emotional skills. I think inner preparation and development is more important than outer preparation. Let us support our kids learn these two skills that are important to become a peaceful human being.

Coming up:

Our school’s most prominent annual fundraising event Comedy and Cocktails will be January 26, 2019.

Each classroom chooses a theme to create a basket of stuff to auction off at the event. This year Banyans have chosen “Tools for Little Hands” theme. Our school raises money through this event to support our scholarship fundraiser.

Online sign-up will be out soon with the details.

January Unit Studies:

Continent, land, water and air

Ms. Karthi and Ms. Desiree