October Gumbo Limbo Newsletter

Hello Gumbo Limbo families,

It has been a lovely start to the new school year. Thank you for your warm welcomes and open hearts. This is our first newsletter of the year. Newsletters are a great way to communicate what is happening inside our classroom and in our community.

Please know that if you would like to check in about your child’s well-being and progress, I am available by appointment after dismissal. The best way to contact me is via email at suzanne@montessorikeywest.com to set up a date. Thank you to those families who have already reached out. Additionally, we will have scheduled conferences in November. Look for a sign-up link via email in mid-October.

Returning and new Gumbo Limbo students are settling into the new school year with enthusiasm and curiosity. Jill and I, as the new assistant and guide, are enjoying getting to know each child. Returning children are exhibiting care and respect as they assist new students in feeling comfortable and independent in our Prepared Environment. The work cycle is peaceful and active. Dr. Montessori calls this transition “the normalization process,” and Gumbo Limbo is well on its way.

To aid the children in this process of confidence and peacefulness we spent August and September focusing on Grace and Courtesy. This curriculum area includes how to be in the classroom and in community. Some guidelines include:
Using walking feet and a quiet voice in the classroom
Choosing materials that the child has had a lesson on
Using a rug or table to do the work/exploration with the material
Restoring the material to working order and putting it back in its place
Cleaning up after oneself
Taking care of bathroom and clothing needs independently
Learning to express needs and wants verbally and with respect, and accepting the same from others

Group time etiquette is practiced daily as we share group snack and have short lessons on the geometric solids, colors, living and nonliving, the globe as a model of our Earth, or continents. The children are consistently able to sit quietly, raise hands to take turns sharing, and take part in answering questions and exploring new concepts.

The work cycles, three hours in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, are blocks of time when the child is free to explore materials that they have had lessons on, ask for new lessons, and be guided to a new skill or level with lessons suggested by the guide. This is an important time for each child to be allowed to practice with materials, building focus, concentration, and independence. The guide observes what is happening, where each child is in each curriculum area, and plans and gives new appropriate individual lessons. As Montessori guides we follow the child— each, individual child—and honor where they are and where they are going.

We appreciate the effort families make to be on time each morning. Consistency and peace during transition times aids your child’s sense of well-being. Many families have taken the time to develop a little routine around saying goodbye in the morning. Thank you for trusting us to comfort and assist your child on those days when goodbyes are more challenging for them.

Below are a few upcoming events to mark on your calendars. Please read the school newsletter and e-mails to stay up to date on all activities in our community.

October 7 to 11: School photos—Gumbo Limbo class and individual photos will be taken on October 8. Please be on time in the morning, as the class photo will be taken promptly at 8:30 a.m. We suggest brightly colored clothing.

October 14: Professional Day—No classes.

October 16, 5:30 p.m.: Parent Education Series Part 1—We will be offering a number of selections to choose from this evening.

Finally, thank you so much for your support. Thank you to Alizee’s dad for building shelves for the front porch area. They are beautiful and functional. Also, this has been my first experience with the Amazon Wish List, and we so appreciate everyone’s generosity in supplying items such as clay, a drying rack, curtain pullbacks, extra paint, a diffuser and oils, and more. These materials and extra touches truly make our classroom more organized, accessible, and beautiful. Feel free to stop in and take a look before or after school to see for yourself.

“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”
Dr. Maria Montessori

Ms. Suzanne and Ms. Jill