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


      This is the first edition of our monthly newsletter for the school year 2017-2018. 
We have completed our first full week of school, and we are off to a relatively peaceful start.  
While there are still a few tears upon entry, the children are getting used to the classroom organization
and routine.  It is a happy and exciting time for all, although any time of transition can be a challenge
for children, and probably for adults as well.  Our most important job right now is to help our students
become relaxed, productive and secure at Parkside, whether they are returning to our classrooms or
entering them for the first time. Children thrive in a loving and supportive community, and this is
always utmost on our minds as we move through the early weeks of school. 

The purpose of our monthly or occasionally bi-monthly “Notes” is to give you information about upcoming dates and events, and also to highlight in detail the new materials and concepts that are being brought in to our classrooms on a regular basis.  The four main areas of the Montessori classroom are Practical Life, Sensorial, Language and Math.

Generally speaking, Practical Life includes many different exercises that enhance concentration, sense of order, and the development of large and small motor skills.  These tasks include spooning, pouring, grasping, tweezing, washing, polishing, table setting, zipping, buttoning, snapping, etc, and a little later, food preparation.  The activities change on a regular basis and are presented on and in colorful trays and containers.  The Sensorial area consists of the building, sorting, and arranging of blocks, rods, cylinders as well as extensive work with shapes and puzzles.  In Language there are many matching exercises including object to object,  object to picture,  and picture to picture.  We also have sequencing and go-together exercises.  In each classroom there are full sets of sandpaper letters to encourage the identification of letters, and more importantly the sounds that those letters make.  There is also tracing, writing, picture story, and many other reading readiness tasks.  The Math area features sandpaper numbers and lots of counting exercises as well as some beautiful math puzzles.  There are some advanced math exercises which are available to those who are ready and these include addition, subtraction and work with our Golden Bead materials.   Each month in these notes, you will hear about specific exercises being introduced into each of the above classroom areas.

Another very important area is our Art area.  The children are free to enjoy a number of different art projects each week which feature lots of different materials and mediums to both develop skill and encourage creativity.  Also there is music and singing in the classroom every day, as well as a variety of fun moving games.  Finally each classroom has a book corner/reading  area, and the children may go and sit in the little rockers to look at books or to listen to a story read by one of our teachers.   Also,  each day at the end of the session we will be reading a story from our very large library.

In addition to our Montessori materials, every month we will introduce a concept which will be explored in depth.   Some of these themes include Leaves and Trees, Dinosaurs, Birds, the Solar System, Continents, the Body and Nutrition.  In each area the materials on the shelf will reflect the concept being studied, including books, puzzles and art projects. At the very end of summer comes September, and so it makes sense that our theme this month is beach and sea life.  We will begin by examining and discussing the many things we have experienced at the beach.  We will look at all things related to sea life from the tiniest shell to the largest sea creature.  The children will be able to examine the actual shells and also many of the museum quality sea creatures such as the dolphin, humpback whale, great white shark, manatee, giant squid, sting ray and octopus.  They love learning about the different characteristics of the many sea creatures we have. In Practical Life, in addition to the basic early exercises, we begin our “water play” with sponge squeezing, pouring, and fishing.  In addition to the basic Sensorial materials of the Pink Tower, Broad Stair, Cylinder Blocks and Boxes, and Geometric Solids, Sensorial will feature some challenging shell discrimination exercises as well as many beach and sea creature puzzles.   In Language we have many ocean life matching tasks as well as trays and baskets of shells and sea animals.  On the math shelves there are many kinds of colorful fish for counting as well as shell sorting and counting.   Of course there are numerous sea creature books on the shelves and lots of art projects related to beach and sea life

We are happy to be back.   Again, much of our time this month will be spent helping children develop a feeling of comfort and security away from home….some for the first time.  They are learning to interact positively with classmates and teachers alike as they move around an environment that supports their natural talents and choices.  We thank you for entrusting them to us and for your cooperation, and we want you to feel free to share any concerns and ideas with us as we will with you.  While we have great fun with our students, we take our job here very seriously, and we will do our best to make the experience a happy one for all who are with us.   

“We must create a favorable environment that
will encourage the flowering of a child’s natural gifts.
The first thing to be done….is to discover the true nature of
the child and then assist him or her in his or her
normal development".

Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood

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