The Parkside Montessori School
53 Norwood Avenue
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043
School's Open
We have made a number of modifications in our classrooms, with our teachers, our scheduling and our playground.
We're looking forward to a safe and successful school year.
In November our work with leaves, trees, apples and pumpkins continues,  but we also begin to talk about the upcoming holidays.  On our shelves will be the new Montessori materials coming in, and we will gradually put out some holiday activities in addition to the autumn exercises that are already in each classroom.
In Practical Life, the very popular clementine peeling which has been missing from our shelves for the last two years (Covid Protocols) can now be brought in.  One of the special things about this exercise (and the apple cutting which is coming in as well) is that in addition to children learning to set up a food prep exercise complete with aprons and tools, they will also be practicing “Grace and Courtesy”.  After completing the work, they  pass the sectioned clementines or apple slices to each of their classmates.   A challenging and fun fine motor exercise, also in Practical Life, is corn tweezing where the children pluck dried kernels from flint corn.  In preparation for the Thanksgiving and December holidays,  place setting will be added to the napkin folding, and the children will be making their own placemats for our Thanksgiving/ Harvest feast at the end of the month.  In Sensorial,  the large Geometric Cabinet with its six trays of different sized rectangle, circles, triangles and polygons will be placed on the shelves, and there are sets of accompanying cards for sizing and matching. 
In Language, the leaves that the children have been collecting and learning about (oak, maple, sassafras, sweetgum, etc.) are all from deciduous trees.  We will be adding to our understanding of trees by discussing the difference between these deciduous trees, which change color and fall from the trees in autumn, and the evergreen which do not.  On circle we will be showing the branches of both kinds including the evergreen trees and bushes that are around school such as the holly, pine, hemlock, and rhododendron.  It is always gratifying when the children share with us the kinds of trees/leaves they have observed in their own backyards or family trips to the park.  On the Math shelves, the  red and blue rods will be introduced.  This is a large piece of  equipment which promotes a clear understanding of the association between symbol and quantity.  We will also be counting feathers and more pumpkins.  And again, art projects will reflect these themes, as will the puzzle and book shelves.
As we get ready for Thanksgiving, it seems like an ideal time to focus on gratitude for even the simplest of gifts (my new lunchbox or stuffed toy, my light-up sneakers, my new baby, etc.) We will be talking a lot about what it means to be thankful and feel happy about the good things our lives. Also, going hand in hand with these discussions is the continuation of our Peace curriculum. The children really are getting the idea that they may put a colored stone in the bowl to represent a kind act they may have shown.  They are now asking us “Can I go put a stone in the Peace Bowl?” after they have helped a friend or teacher. 
As part of our Peace lessons this month, we will begin to talk about our feelings and how each of us has a “Love Light” which shines when we feel happy and are being kind and helpful.  Sometimes our lights may dim a bit if we are tired, angry or sad, but they will always return to full brightness when we freely talk about how we feel with our parents and teachers. We play a flashlight game where the children tell us if their lights are shining or maybe a little dim, and they tell us the reasons for these feelings.  We might hear that they are shining because they love their mom, grandma, sibling, or they have received a new toy or been to a special place with their family.  Almost as often they will share their sad or angry feelings which are usually related to a problem with a friend or sibling or perhaps just missing their parents.  Descriptions are fairly simplistic to start, but gradually the children become more comfortable with the sharing of feelings.  Sometimes when a child is a little down, just playing the flashlight game cheers him or her up and even results in laughter and some silliness.  Next month we will continue our Peace curriculum introducing, again with concrete demonstrations and lessons, the art of conflict resolution.
As we move through what has been for the most part a beautiful fall season, we are happy that the classrooms are buzzing with activity, but quite calm and settled.  This is the reason we as teachers are very thankful this year…for our students and for their supportive families.
“Thankfulness is the
    quickest path to joy.”
                                                                                                                   Jefferson Bethke
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