Dear Mangrove Families:
As the temperatures in the Northeast begin to cool down and the leaves fall to the ground, it is not hard to miss the change in the seasons and the welcoming addition of cinnamon, nutmeg, and of course…. PUMPKIN!
Although the seasonal change isn’t so obvious down here in the Keys, this Jersey girl still loves to incorporate those familiar and comforting scents into the classroom. Those smells always stir up memories of family and this time of year is when we express gratitude and thankfulness to the ones we care about… often in the form of delicious food. It will be no different inside our Toddler classroom.
The toddlers will learn a new song at circle time about cooking. As a group, we will decide what type of food item to cook and then brainstorm different ingredients we could ‘add’ to our muffins, pies, or soup. “Put some (butter) in the pot, stir it up, nice and hot. Put some (butter) in the pot, (Pumpkin pie) is coming.” We then ‘bake’ the ingredients, never forgetting to put on our oven mitts so we do not burn our hands…HOT!
We will also incorporate new lessons onto our language shelf, which include real items we use in the kitchen when cooking such as a whisk, spatula, bowl, and frying pan. We take the time to describe each item and use descriptive language to show toddlers how the items are used when cooking and baking. Just like any language lesson in the classroom, the goal is to provide the toddlers with as much language as possible, since they are actively acquiring both receptive language and expressive language skills. By giving them words for the objects they see in their everyday lives, along with descriptions of those objects, we are helping them to name, sort, and categorize all the information they are being exposed to.
Finally, at the end of the month, the two Toddler classrooms with gather with the lower elementary Spanish Lime classroom, the eldest children on campus, to share a harvest feast prepared by the children. The Spanish Lime children visit us in the afternoon to read to our full day students and sometimes we catch a glimpse of them if they gather on the front yard. This event allows the children from the programs most separated by age to connect each other, which under different circumstances may be difficult due to the large age difference. But as we know, food can be a great unifier and all the children at The Children’s School LOVE snack, so the older children become less intimidating and the younger children less like ‘babies’ as we all sit around the snack tables together and share what we made for each other with our own hands.
Let us know if you have any special recipes you would like to share with the classroom and the toddlers can always give it a try. We bake without pressure. If ingredients make it into the bowl- excellent! If not, we will take the opportunity to learn how to clean up the flour that ended up on the floor and try the recipe again tomorrow.
All our best, Ms. Liz and Ms. Leci
“No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.” – Julia Child (a Montessori alumni)