March Cocoplum

Joy, feeling one’s own value, being appreciated and loved by others, feeling useful and capable of production are all factors of enormous value for the human soul.
~Maria Montessori

Dear Coco Plum Families,

March’s newsletter begins with exciting news, the welcoming of Ms. Ashleigh’s two precious new babies. The two, Sunny Luella 7 pounds, 12 ounces and Cedar Moon 5 pounds, 5 ounces, made their debut on February 20th. Ms. Ashleigh and the babies are doing well and growing stronger each day. We look forward to meeting the babies when they return to the Keys.

Otherwise, the Cocoplums have not been without their excitement as we welcomed a new community expert duet, Tobin and David of The Red Trouser Show, a local circus troupe currently performing on Mallory Square through the end of April. Tobin and David are teaching the children tumbling, balancing and juggling for the next several weeks.

We enjoyed a sunny exploration of the West Martello Gardens where we photographed our favorite flowers and turned them into beautiful cards to sell at our annual bake sale which was a huge success thanks not only to the creative efforts of the children, but also to the contributions of parents. Thank you.

Ms. Debbie has continued to lead the children in growing our garden with lessons in pollination, root vegetables, and edible flowers while SOS has helped the children learn how to choose and prepare their own healthy snacks like cinnamon sprinkled apple spirals and fruit salad. SOS also hosted us again at their kitchen where the kids measured, whisked, and scooped out corn muffin batter. Next year, they are prepared to bake for the bake sale, or better yet, let them make you a nice treat one evening.

February was bustling with other events too. Thank you to the children and families that participated in the the annual Love and Play event. Everyone enjoyed the popcorn made by the Cocoplums.  The Open House also provided opportunity to families both already flourishing in Montessori and in our community to explore and ask questions about continuing Montessori education into the elementary program where children fine tune their organization skills, explore critical thinking, and become more self-directed, independent humans.

In the classroom, the children are continuing the exploration of early humans with learning about Homo Habilis, the toolmaker. If your children start fashioning rocks into spearheads, do not be alarmed. It is all part of the process. I will be sure to give notice before they make fire. We will soon be shelter building and could use plastic gallons or cleaned cardboard milk and juice cartons. If anyone has skins, furs, or any other material they think useful to early shelter building, please let me know.

We are coming to a conclusion with our vertebrate research and moving into studying invertebrates, and look forward to examining specimens under microscope and in their animal rich tropical environment.

Cocoplums are fortunate to spend time exploring the environment outside the classroom to enhance their learning and serve their school and local community. We are an industrious group with much to learn. In March, we will continue our practice of parts of speech, grammar symbols, simplifying fractions, multiplication, and division. We are also doing some practice of abstraction that could aid for upcoming testing with tentative scheduling in March before spring break. Please look for an email with details about testing and try to keep children on their best sleep and eating schedules in the preceding weeks. We also look forward to seeing you at Parent Education on Wednesday, March 6th at 5:30 where you can explore your child’s typical week in the classroom.

This newsletter gives insight to the mental maturation your children are experiencing at school. At home, there is opportunity to grow this independence as well. Ask yourself, what can my child do that I could not expect them to do last year? What ways can my child become more helpful and responsible to household function and to his or her routine? For example, every child can help some way in the preparation of the evening meal or household chores. Maybe it is time for your child to start preparing the lunchbox or folding his or her laundry. As for education, engage them in their interests, read with them, and it never hurts to practice a little on the addition and multiplication facts. Most of all, laugh with them. We only get a few more years before they learn cynicism.

Ms. Jennifer