The Parkside Montessori School
53 Norwood Avenue
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043
“The instructions of the teacher consist then merely in a hint, a touch - enough to give a start to the child. The rest develops of itself.”
Dr. Montessori’s
Own Handbook
          As we move into December, we expect that this busy month will go very quickly. The materials on the shelves as well as the art projects, books and puzzles will reflect the monthly theme of the holiday celebrations taking place over the next few weeks.   
In Practical Life, the very popular clementine peeling and pumpkin scrubbing are still on the classroom shelves as well as ladling, funneling,  table setting, napkin folding and flower arranging, all appropriate learning exercises which can relate to holiday cooking and entertaining.  We will also continue to make beaded bracelets in holiday colors.  In Sensorial we will be adding rectangular and triangular prisms to our baskets of geometric solids which already hold the cone, sphere, pyramid and cylinder, and matching them to pictures of everyday objects that are the actual shapes of the solids in the basket.  Many holiday puzzles, both the large floor ones and the regular table ones, will be added to our puzzle racks.  In both Language and Math new holiday matching, sequencing and counting exercises will be brought in.  Much of our work at the art table this month will involve seasonal projects.  We will be painting, decorating and sponging trees, dreidels, menorahs  and wreaths.  As you know, each month many of the materials in all of our curriculum areas change, and it is worth noting that many of these new activities are and have always been made by several of our teachers. 
As mentioned last month, our Peace curriculum is ongoing and we are beginning to focus on conflict resolution.  The children have already heard about the importance of peace in the classroom, helping and being kind to others, spending time working on shelf materials, showing respect for one another and their teachers.  But, in the normal course of the nursery school day,  problems may arise between classmates.  These problems or conflicts are usually minor and may relate to a child not understanding why another may not want to hold his or her hand, play with them on the playground, share an activity, or sit near them at snack or circle.  To help the children navigate these occasional difficulties, our Peace Flower has been brought into each classroom Peace Corner.  If a child becomes upset with a classmate or even with a teacher, we gently guide them to the Peace Flower where he or she can take turns holding the flower and using their words to express their feelings to the other child.   As the children move to this quieter space in the classroom, a little bit removed from the normal hustle and bustle of the room, they, with our help (and lot of it at first) can feel comfortable expressing their feelings freely, and, just as importantly, listening to what the other child has to say. 
Conflict resolution takes time, and the art of listening is a valuable skill that we strive to teach in the classroom.  Again, in the early months of school our guidance through this process of settling difficulties is needed and often sought.  Hopefully, as the year progresses, we as teachers are usually able to step back a little and let the children work through any problem without too much intervention on our part.  A peaceful classroom leads to a productive one, and with many interesting and diverse activities available to the children, they are, most of the time,  busy and happy.
We wish all of our Parkside parents happy and peaceful holidays, and we look forward to continuing our work with your little ones in the new year of 2024!
It isn’t enough to talk about peace.  One must
believe in it.  And it isn’t enough to believe
in it.  One must work at it.”
                                                                                         Eleanor Roosevelt
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