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.
IWe have completed nearly two months of school, and, as autumn continues, the children now seem completely comfortable in their classrooms and are progressing nicely in both their skill and social development.   We have learned to identify many kinds of leaves, and this month we will focus on the difference between the kinds of trees from which our leaves have fallen (deciduous) and those trees which don’t shed their leaves in fall (evergreen).  We will bring in the actual branches from both the deciduous and the evergreen trees that are around school for the children to feel and to look at and sort them on circle.  The deciduous trees we will show include maple, oak, sassafras, tulip, sweet gum and locust.  The evergreen tree branches or bushes include balsam, holly, hemlock and rhododendron.  Then, as we complete our study of trees, we will begin to talk about the upcoming holidays and place new holiday activities on the shelves.
       Our bulbs have been planted and are resting in their “cozy beds”.  The winter cold, wind, rain and snow will not harm them, but one thing we do have to consider is keeping our bulbs safe from the squirrels digging and munching on them.  We cover the beds with pine straw which, because of the scent, deters those hungry squirrels, and this part of the activity fascinates the children as much as the actual planting of the bulbs.  Our hope is to see a beautiful and colorful garden popping up towards the end of March (crocuses) and through April and May (hyacinths, tulips, daffodils and perhaps some irises as well). This year, in addition to the bulbs which have been planted around our playground and our entrance, we have use of some raised beds behind the playground, so come spring there should be lots of color near our playground.
       Some Practical Life exercises this month are reflective of autumn.  We continue pumpkin scrubbing and then we will be tweezing dried flint corn and putting the kernels in our creative art bins.  As Thanksgiving approaches,  we will bring in napkin folding, table setting and flower arranging. Maybe the skills fostered in these exercises will become useful during the holidays!  Perhaps most popular new addition to Practical Life is clementine peeling.  The children really love this work.  They first peel the clementine, break it into sections, and then serve their friends. We  orange trays, mats, serving dishes  and aprons.  In November a very large piece of Sensorial equipment will be brought in.  The Geometric Cabinet has six drawers each housing six of a certain shapes in different sizes.  There are also cards to match each shape in solid, thick and thin lines.  This cabinet holds many opportunities for extension of the basic identification of shapes.  In Language we will be discussing the meaning of the harvest celebration which became the first Thanksgiving and talk about the of special foods that were planted, grown and harvested.  These foods include potatoes, corn, beans, cranberries and squash. This is in preparation for our Thanksgiving Feasts here at school will take place on Monday and Tuesday, November 21 and 22, both in the morning and in the afternoon.  We will be asking for contributions of harvest foods, and there will be a sign-up sheet in the hall.  As another Thanksgiving preparation activity,  the children will be making placemats and special gratitude crowns at the art table which will be used at our school feasts and then brought home.  In Math, the children have so enjoyed some of the Halloween exercises such as counting and placing plastic spiders on webs and tweezing pumpkins into mini ice trays.  So we will leave these on our shelves for another week or so and then replace them with turkey,  feather and mini football counting among other new exercises. 
        During November we are continuing to emphasize the importance of peace (kindness and respect) by talking about our peace candle and our love lights (those feelings inside of us that make us feel happy, special, productive and friendly towards others).  We will discuss how at times we may feel sad, angry or tired and so our love lights may dim a bit.  We explain that these feelings are temporary and that with quiet breathing, talking and thinking,  we will eventually feel peaceful again.  We as their teachers always want to recognize and validate their feelings and help them through those difficult moments that are part of life for all of us.
       As Thanksgiving and the holiday season approaches, it seems like a good time to talk about the importance of gratitude, and we do this with conversations about the things that we are thankful for…even the simplest of gifts…a new lunch box or toy, a special family excursion, a new jacket or pair of light-up sneakers, a mom, dad, brother or sister, a visit from grandma or a new baby.   We Parkside teachers also feel thankful for our children and the support and interest of our Parkside families.  We wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.
“The heart that gives thanks is a
happy one, for we cannot feel thankful
and unhappy at the same time.”
                                                                                                                          Douglas Wood
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