The Parkside Montessori School
53 Norwood Avenue
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043



As winter weather begins to settle in, here at school we are settling in to our renovated classrooms with a sense of both relief and gratitude.   With much help and cooperation from so many….PCUM, teachers, parents, and friends, we are finally back downstairs.   Again, we wish to thank all those parents who gave so generously of their time in helping us build our new shelves, cabinets, tables, etc., and also our teachers and many volunteers  who helped us move a very large amount of furniture and materials back downstairs from our temporary classrooms.  We also thank you for your financial donations. We could never have done it without you.  It truly does “take a village”.  Our students seem really excited and pleased with their new classrooms, and because we have more room, there are more activities for them to enjoy. 

December always seems to go very quickly with the holidays in full swing.  Much of the new materials on the shelves are related to the holidays…both Christmas and Hanukkah.   We will be painting, decorating, sponging, and even punching our menorahs, Christmas trees, dreidels, wreaths, candy canes and Santas. 

December Practical Life includes some popular exercises.  We are continuing to peel clementines and use basters.  We will work with beads and tweezers and make structures with pipe cleaners.  The activities are presented in holiday colors, and the children are further refining their motor skills, but having lots of fun at the same time. 

Our Peace curriculum continues this month.  In its simplest form, Peace is being kind and caring towards others,  staying busy and productive, and feeling happy.  In the first lesson in October, we set up our Peace Corner with the Peace Bowl and stones.  When a little one does something kind for a friend or teacher, they are encouraged to put a stone in the Peace Bowl.  At first, the children enjoying tossing many stones into the bowl because they like the noise the stones make as they hit the bottom of the bowl!  However, they come to understand with our suggestions and direction, that each stone represents an act of good will or kindness.  In November we began to talk about how each of us has a “Love Light” which shines when we feel happy, when we are busy and having fun, and when we being kind and helpful.  Sometimes our lights get a little dim if we are sad or tired or angry, but they will always return to full brightness.  We have a flashlight game where the children tell us if their lights are shining or a little dim, and they enjoy telling us the reasons for their feelings…good or bad.  Often we hear that their lights are shining because they love their mom, dad or sibling, or they received a new toy, or went to a special place.   Just as often they will share their sad or angry feelings that usually relate to a problem with a friend or sibling, being tired, or just missing Mom or Dad.  Descriptions are of course very simplistic when we start.  Gradually they become more comfortable with sharing their feelings.  The Peace Table also includes a Peace Flower or Peace Stick which are tools to help with conflict resolution.   More about this next month. 

As we near the end of the year, happily back downstairs,  we wish you all holidays filled with joy and peace.

“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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