The Parkside Montessori School
53 Norwood Avenue
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043
As we finish the first full week of March, we are all looking forward to spring, and the changes that come with its onset have begun. With a relatively mild January and February, we have been on our playground almost every day, and the children are really enjoying our new structure.
We are watching our Robin move closer and closer to New Jersey.  He has already flown over the Carolinas and is approaching Washington, DC where he will see the beautiful Presidential monuments and the reflecting pool.  He will then be passing Philadelphia looking for the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall, and finally arrive here in New Jersey.   Our students’ books are taking shape with a new page being created each week, and by late April, they should be complete, covers and all. 
We are finishing up February’s theme of Birds, and it has been a lot of fun.   Now in March, we continue to look upward as March is the month of the Planets at Parkside.  We hope to have our children begin to understand the vastness of the solar system and our place in it.  They usually show real interest in the mysteries of outer space.  We are talking about the sun as the center of the solar system and then each of the planets with their unique characteristics such as Jupiter’s dark spot which is a never-ending storm, Saturn’s icy rings, Mars’ red dust, Venus’ beautiful clouds and Mercury’s very hot temperatures.  We will delve into the  sizes, geographies, climates and atmospheres as well as each planet’s distance from the sun and the number of moons they have.  In each classroom Mrs. Valentine has hung from the ceiling inflatable replicas of the solar system including the sun and all of the planets revolving around it. By simply looking up the children can absorb the configuration of the solar system.   Also on the shelves will be baskets with full sets of the planets made with plastic and also paper mache.  Of course we will have solar system books, puzzles and matching and counting exercises. We have several solar system singing and moving games always enthusiastically learned and performed by the students.
Last month in Practical Life we began celery cutting and mirror polishing.  We will be moving on to silver polishing and shoe polishing this month.  Mixing colors with both a whisk and dropper bottles continues, and now we will drop colors onto small white laminated cards and mix those colors with toothpicks.  The Practical Life exercise that is the highlight of the month is dishwashing.  Two children decide to work together and bring to a large table two basins, dish brushes, towels, a dish drainer and of course dishes.  One is the “washer” and the other is the “dryer”. There are the usual benefits of of this Practical Life work such as understanding order in a task, concentration and developing motor skills, but it is also an exercise in cooperative learning including turn taking.  It encourages some nice social interaction between students just as our “Snack for Two” activity does. 
In Sensorial, the third color box of shading is out, and now the 4th color box has been added.  The children first match and then shade the different color slides.  We are also adding some geometric solids such as the ovoid and ellipsoid and the rectangular and triangular prisms. We will bring in the large and small hexagon boxes which contain many different sized triangles to be formed into more unusual shapes such as the rhombus, trapezoid and parallelogram. 
We will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day by making and serving Irish soda bread in class, and punching shamrocks and Irish flags in the Language area as well as creating them at the art table.
As March progresses and Spring comes closer, we are watching for our bulbs to pop up.  Because of the warmer weather in February, our crocuses have already appeared, but with the recent snowfall with more snow to come this weekend,  we are not sure if we will see them again.  In March we will also be looking for the blooming of pussy willow and forsythia, and reproducing these early spring flowers/bushes at the art table which helps us all to get in the spirit of Spring.
“That is one good thing about this world…
there are always to be more springs.”
                                                                                                                                            John Muir
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