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



As we begin our third month of school, we remain hopeful that  we will be returning to our downstairs classrooms before its end.  The progress has been steady and significant.  There is much work to be done before the move, but we are up to the task, and we will let you know when help is needed.  We do want to thank you for the positive response to our on-line “Wish List”.  Already some needed equipment has been ordered by parents, and we are so grateful.  There are still items on the lists (Walmart, Overstock, Childcraft, and Alison’s Montessori) to purchase.  We have had a little trouble with items being automatically removed once ordered.  So if you decide to purchase something on any of those sites, please let us know via e mail so that we can make sure it comes off the lists and there are no duplications of orders.  Again, thank you so much for your participation.

One of our lessons this month as a follow up to leaf identification, is to show the difference between deciduous and evergreen trees  We are observing both kinds of trees on our walks to the playground.  We have talked about how and when the leaves change color even though the colors this year have been somewhat less brilliant.  Perhaps this is due to an unusually warm, humid and rainy September and early October.  Since we have spent some time showing the children the many different kinds of leaves,  it is always gratifying when they share with us the trees and leaves that they see in their yards or parks they frequent, and when they can pick up and identify leaves during our circle moving games. 

Our bulbs have been planted and are now resting in their “cozy beds”.  We explained that it will be a long time before they emerge as beautiful flowers in the spring.  We also tell them that the winter rain, snow, sleet, and cold temperatures will not harm our bulbs.  We are now covering the beds with pine straw which serves to deter hungry squirrels from digging up and munching on our bulbs.  The discussion about protecting the bulbs is as interesting to the children as the actual planting that they each experienced. 

Much of our time in November will be spent preparing for Thanksgiving, and these preparations naturally complement our ongoing discussions of Peace in the classrooms.  Our Thanksgiving theme is both a lesson in history and geography as we tell of the Pilgrims long and difficult journey across the ocean to find a new life in a new land.  They arrived in December and faced a harsh winter where many were ill and there was little food.  However, they came not to an uninhabited land, but to one where they found people (the Native Americans) who were willing to help them survive in this new land.  The Pilgrims were shown how to build homes, hunt and fish, and how and where to plant food.  The first Thanksgiving resulted in  a celebration of the successful harvest where the Native Americans and Pilgrims came together and were thankful for that harvest.   As many of you know, we have our own Thanksgiving Feasts here at Parkside.  They will take place on Monday, November 19 and Tuesday November 20, both in the morning and the afternoon. We will be asking for donations of harvest foods which we will share at our celebrations.  All month the children will be working on making placemats and Pilgrim and Indian hats as we get ready to recreate the first Thanksgiving of 1621.

Our new shelf activities will revolve around harvest time and Thanksgiving. We will continue pumpkin scrubbing in Practical Life and bring in clementine peeling, a real favorite.  We will also introduce table setting flower arranging, and napkin folding.  In Sensorial, the geometric solids are on the shelves, and the children are becoming familiar with the cone, sphere, cube, pyramid, etc.  The Geometric cabinet with its many drawers holding trays of different-sized circles, rectangles, triangles, and polygons will be brought in.  Language will feature Thanksgiving and harvest matching exercises, along with identification of and matching Native American symbols.  And of course in math we will be counting leaves, feathers, footballs, and pumpkins. Books and puzzles are changed to reflect the November themes, and some more challenging floor puzzles will be brought in. 

Our time in our temporary space is nearing the end. Both students and teachers have done well in the upstairs rooms, and the PCUM has been incredibly helpful and flexible.  But we are excited to return to our classrooms, and thankful that we all made it through this period of change and transition positively and productively.   We wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a
Very Small Heart, it could hold a
rather large amount of Gratitude.”

                                                                                             A.A.Milne, Winnie the Pooh

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