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


MARCH - 2019

March certainly started without even a hint of spring, but hopefully by month’s end we will be seeing some indication that winter is truly behind us.  Our robin’s journey is bringing him closer and closer to New Jersey.  He passed by Washington DC last week, flying over the special monuments there.  This part of his trip follows our February discussions about some of our most famous Presidents who are commemorated in Washington.  This week he will be flying over Philadelphia with the famous Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall.  And finally we should be seeing him here by month’s end. Some of the children have reported spotting robins in their yards or in the parks.  We have yet to see the ones that usually show up here at school each year, but are hopeful that we will soon because the robin is the true announcer of spring. 

In March, as we finish our study of birds, we continue to look upward as we begin our unit on the solar system.  We will talk about the importance of the sun as its center, as well as the interesting characteristics of each planet such as the dark spot on Jupiter which is a never-ending storm, the thick clouds of Venus, the icy rings of Saturn, and the red dust of Mars.  We will also discuss comets, meteors and asteroids.  The children will have the opportunity to work with baskets containing cloth or plastic replicas of the sun and planets.  As always, related books, puzzles, and art projects will also be brought in.  In Math and Language will be matching and counting planet objects and pictures and counting rocket ships and stars.  Our solar system singing and moving games also contribute to the the children’s understanding of the “Family of the Sun”. 

In Practical Life we continue mixing colors with color whisking,  and the next exercise features mixing colors with an eyedropper and toothpicks on cards, more difficult but fun.  We will also bring in silver polishing and  carrot cutting, and we will be making soap bubbles with an egg beater. In Sensorial, the sound cylinders, a more challenging auditory discrimination exercise which helps us work on our listening skills, will be put on the shelves.  The children really enjoy the introduction of the picture/label game as part of our ongoing Language curriculum.  We have taken small (3x3) pictures of each student and made tiny labels exactly like our name cards on the banner each morning.  With help from the teachers, the children match the labels with the pictures.  It is fun for them to find pictures of themselves and their friends and try to pick the corresponding label.  It is a job done with two or three at a time, thereby making it a nice cooperative learning experience.

We are hopeful that, when the snow melts, we will be seeing signs of spring, not only in the singing of the birds in the morning, but also in our garden.  We hope to see the early sprouting of our bulbs which we planted last fall.  Even after the worst of winters,  both older and newer bulbs have always survived and brought a welcome splash of color and a mood-elevating feeling that spring has arrived.  At the art table this month we will be creating some of the early spring flowers and bushes such as pussy willow and crocus.     

Picture Day will be held on Wednesday, March 27th.  If your child does not attend school on Wednesday, you may bring he or she in between 10 and 11 a.m., and we will bring them to our photographer, Gary from the F-16 Company.  He has been our school photographer for years, and he is great with the kids…very funny and very quick too, so you shouldn't have to wait too long.

We have actually been surprised to find that our inability to go to the playground has not, for the most part, negatively affected what goes on inside.   We have simply extended our work time, and we also use some indoor balance beams as well as working on our teacher-led indoor exercises and yoga movements.   In addition we have a large repertoire of indoor moving songs and games.   Of course the most favorite of things to do when we can’t be outside is watching a puppet show.  As many of you know, Mrs. Walia writes, produces and directs these shows, and she and her husband actually constructed the puppet theatre years ago.  It is solidly built with wood, nicely painted, and is on wheels.  The children love puppet show days.   Often the presentation is related to whatever theme we are working on….sea animals, dinosaurs, birds, etc.  There are also shows about feelings, about being kind, about helping the environment, and about the holidays.  Mrs. Walia has done a great job over the years adding new characters and shows.  She solicits different teachers to take different parts as well.   The flair for the dramatic on the part of some of the teachers who help Mrs Walia with the show is great to see and hear!  Puppet shows have been important over the years.  If things get a little crazy in the classroom towards the end of a session, hearing the puppet theatre roll down the hallway settles everyone right down.

It was Maria Montessori’s strong belief that a child learning from other children is a key element in a successful classroom. As our year progresses and our children gain more and more confidence, both in their work choices and in their abilities, we see this happening more and more frequently.

“Coming together is a beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Henry Ford

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