October Banyan Newsletter

Greetings to Banyan Families,

SPECIAL NOTE: Our class group photo will now be taken on Tuesday, October 8.  Our individual photos will still be taken on Thursday, October 10.

We are excited to meet you all via the first newsletter for the school year!
You will receive our newsletters every month. In my newsletters, I discuss various topics regarding my observation, Montessori philosophy, the Primary program, and other related topics. Moreover, newsletters are one of the communication tool between you, your child’s classroom, primary program, school, and teacher. It contains information about what is going on in our class, our monthly unit studies, and important dates to remember for that particular month. So, watch out for our monthly newsletters.

Banyans have been slowly adjusting to the classroom routine. New friends have been settling into their new environment and routine with the help of our old students. Old students came back with the eagerness to work, to swing into our classroom routine, and to welcome our new Banyan friends. I have observed how our students are supporting their new friends in every way that they can. Here we see the beauty of the mixed-age group classroom and the natural leadership of a child.

Thank you to all the parents who volunteered to walk with us and let us borrow your wagons for our Peace Day March to Bayview Park. It could not be successful without all of your love and support.

“The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.”
Dr. Maria Montessori

Discussion of the Month
How’s what does your child’s day look like, and what is going on in our Banyan classroom?

After you drop your child on the playground (and thank you for bringing your child on time to school), your child will play, socialize, and get connected with their peers, teachers, and the playground environment and the activities.
Between 8:25 and 8:30 a.m., we start singing the song “It is time to put our work away” and then ring the bell at 8:30. Children get their lunch boxes and gather at the circle to say our morning mantra:
“ Here I am, right here, right now, open. (3 times)
I am grateful.
I am grateful for myself,
I am grateful for others,
I am grateful for the earth,
I am grateful for this day.
Let us begin.”
Then we line up and walk to our classroom.

Morning Circle/Group Time:
We have a morning group time where we sing a song with hand movements (every day the same song, and sometimes with different tune and movements), eat our group snack (which contains carbs), and sometimes read a book, have group discussions, and role-play grace and courtesy, if we all feel that we need a gentle reminder on that. We dismiss our group with the meditation.

Morning Work Cycle:
Right after our morning group time meditation, children begin their work. Everything that happens in the classroom environment is considered as “work,” and every moment is a learning opportunity for the children:
Saying “Excuse me” to a friend who is in their way
Saying “Thank you” to the friend who serves the snack
Helping a friend, giving a hug or checking on a friend who is sad/crying
Using “words” to solve a misunderstanding/conflict
Dressing, and undressing
Waiting for the snack table to be available to have a snack with a friend
Choosing the lesson from the shelf and placing it back to the shelf
Watching other friends’ work/lessons with their eyes only
Walking around friend’s work
Waiting patiently on the line for other friends to come and join
Walking together with the class
Cleaning the area after making a mess
Working with the lessons

Sometimes friends want to express their feeling of fulfillment/sadness, happiness, and excitement by giggling, shouting, rolling on the floor, running, and crying. We value and respect all of their feelings and guide them accordingly. Every action is considered as work.

If the children have work from the previous day/week, they will continue with that work/we encourage them to continue their work. Some students choose a new lesson, choose a book to read in our living room, observe their friends working, walk around and observe all in one, choose to have snack and socialize, receive a presentation from me/I choose to give individual or small-group presentations as per their need and my plan for each student in the class, and help friends in need to find a work to do together.

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

At around 10:45 a.m., we start cleaning up our snack area to close it for the day. Students will start to place their nap mats with guidance from teachers and friends who are willing to help with the task. The students continue with their works until 11:10 a.m. Then we have a short circle time to get ready for our transition to playtime. We get ready by putting our shoes on and checking our bodies (use the bathroom before we go outside). We go to the playground between 11:15 a.m. and 11:20 a.m. We are grateful to have our Spanish Lime (Lower Elementary) and Coco Plum (Upper Elementary) friends to help us set up our nap mats for the rest time.

Afternoon Playtime:
We take turns using the front lawn for our afternoon playtime (while one Primary class is on the front lawn, the other two classes will use the Primary playground. Our playtime is around 35-40 minutes.

Transition Time:
It takes 10 minutes to transition from the end of playtime to the beginning of lunchtime. We slowly walk back to the class, sit on the line, use our three sinks to wash hands, get lunch boxes, and walk outside to eat in our lunch area.

Lunch Time:
The children have between 20 and 25 minutes to eat their lunch. We sit down and sing a song (“Thank you for the food we eat…”) before we start eating. We have a microwave in the classroom to heat lunches as needed. We encourage the students to keep any leftover food in their lunch boxes so that parents will know how much their child is eating at school. We gently remind the kids to eat their lunch first (“main meal”). If the student is going to aftercare, we suggest to them to save snack items for aftercare.

Rest/Nap Time:
After children finish eating, we pack up the lunch boxes, clean up the area, and then line up to go back to the classroom. Children lay on their nap mats; some students fall asleep, and the others rest their bodies. This is our time for recharging mind and body.

Afternoon Short Work Cycle:
The students who fall asleep will continue sleeping until around 2:00 p.m., and the rest of the students continue their work from the morning, choose work, and I present small-group lessons according to their needs and my plans. We try to use quiet whisper voices in the afternoon to give some peaceful time for our napping friends. This is our real-life grace and courtesy lesson.

Afternoon Clean-Up and Getting Ready to Say Goodbye:
At around 2:10 p.m., students start cleaning up their work and putting up the chairs to place the big works on the chairs. Our kindergartners walk around and make sure the lessons are sequentially placed on the shelves, and help the nappers pack their nap stuff. Then children sit at a circle with their lunch boxes to sing our goodbye song. Sometimes we review our classroom routines or come up with ideas that help us all peacefully flow in the classroom environment. The aftercare students then have a snack in the Practical Life area with our aftercare assistant, and I take the students who go home to to the front lawn to meet their parents.

I know this is a rather long walk through our daily routine,but I feel that our new parents may curious to know what is happening all day in the Banyan classroom and at the school.

October Unit Studies

Living and nonliving
Parts of a body
Pumpkin—parts and life cycle

A fall theme is incorporated in the areas
October Primary/Banyan Events
Tuesday, October 8: Banyan class photo
Thursday, October 10: Banyan individual student photos
Wednesday, October 16: Parent Education Series, Part 1 @ 5:30 p.m.
Free childcare and pizza for the children

Ms. Karthi and Ms. Desiree