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


In Practical Life this month baby and table washing will continue along with sponging.  All of the children, including all our returning students, love these exercises.   Pumpkin scrubbing and apple cutting will be introduced.  In Sensorial we will have apple tasting.  We have been bringing in several different kinds of apples to be identified and tasted.  In Language, we will be looking at and sorting the different kinds of trees and the leaves that they produce such as oak, maple, sassafras, gingko, tulip, etc.  On our walks to the playground the children are observing all the different kinds of trees and bushes and hearing their names.  In math we will count tiny apples, pumpkins and leaves.  Our art activities include leaf rubbing and painting, glitter and tissue pumpkins and apples, and several Halloween projects.  And of course we will have lots of Fall and Halloween books and puzzles.  Please note: The children do not wear their Halloween costumes to school on Halloween.   This would make what is already a very exciting day a little too long for children who are so young.  We do celebrate with games, songs and treats.

Another special project in October is our bulb planting which will take place later in the month.  We will be planting crocuses, daffodils, tulips and hyacinths near the playground and our entrance.  The children are fascinated by the fact that the bulbs are planted now, in fall when the ground is still soft,  but will bloom months from now.   We show them and they will see for themselves that the bulbs stay in their “cozy beds” all through the fall and the winter, and will emerge as beautiful colored flowers next spring.  It’s a nice lesson in the natural changes each of the four seasons brings in temperature, on the ground, in trees, and in the sky.   We plant the bulbs fairly deeply, using a special tool, and then cover them with pine straw in order to deter the always hungry squirrels looking for food in the winter. 

Here at Parkside an important year-long theme is “Peace”.   We tell the children that peace simply means caring about one another and showing kindness in the smallest of ways (helping a friend roll up a mat or put away work, giving up a seat next to the teacher to a friend who really seems to need to be there, helping a teacher clean up after snack or lunch,  taking a friends hand who needs a partner, comforting a friend who is upset.)  We do some play acting on circle to demonstrate different examples of being “peaceful” , and eventually we will show examples of how to be peaceful at home as well as school. We have set up our Peace Bowl in our Peace Corner in each classroom where the children may go and place a colored stone in the bowl following an act of kindness.  In the beginning it is often  the teacher who points out to the child that he or she has been a peaceful friend, even if they don’t realize it.  We want to help them understand that being peaceful fosters a calmer, happier environment for all.  Sometimes, at session’s end, we bring the Peace Bowl over to show the children how many stones (acts of kindness) are in the bowl.  Eventually, the Peace Corner is used for conflict resolution.  We will talk more about that next month.

“Peace is not something you wish for.
It is something you make, something you do,
something you are.  And something you give away.”

                                                                                      John Lennon



While we have just completed our first full month of school, our children have settled in well and are enjoying each other and the many  activities and Montessori materials on our shelves.   There are still a few hesitating at the door, and even a few tears, but overall it has been a peaceful start.  We have been fortunate with the above average temperatures, and we have heard many stories of summer trips to the beach and aquariums.  We aren’t quite ready to put away all of our sea creatures, as the children seem to be really enjoying learning about the busy, hungry sea gull, the shy octopus, the slow-moving manatee, the playful, friendly dolphin, and many others.  As the temperatures turn cooler,  though, we will be turning our attention to all things fall…apples, pumpkins, trees and leaves, and the changes that come with a new season. 

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