The Parkside Montessori School
53 Norwood Avenue
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043
NOTES    September
We are beginning our second month of school, and the children have really done a great job accommodating themselves to their new schedules, routines and classrooms, and, more importantly, their classmates and teachers.  They are learning to trust us and to allow us to attend to their individual needs and concerns.  One important factor in the success of these early weeks is that the weather, for the most part,  has been good, and we have been able to use our playground almost every day.   We purchased some new and colorful equipment last year which the children enjoy.  We also bring out some large trucks and cars most days,  and the boys and girls alike love to zoom them around the playground.  We are excited about our purchase of a new climbing structure which will probably be delivered by the end of the month. 
Traditionally at this time of year we have held our annual fundraiser which has usually been soliciting orders from catalogs featuring wrapping paper, candy, bag or housewares or some combination of the above.  Because  of Covid we have not done a fundraiser for the past two years. Instead of a catalog fundraiser, we thought it might be a good idea to ask our parents for a donation towards our playground improvement project.  We will also be asking for volunteers to help us erect the new structure once it arrives.  We truly appreciate in advance any help you can give us to offset the cost of the new equipment.  
As October begins, we are not quite ready to put away our baskets of sea animals.  The children are continuing to enjoy learning about their individual characteristics, habits and  personalities.  Very soon we will be transitioning into our October activities which reflect the themes of autumn….apples, pumpkins and leaves.  As we mentioned last month, with each new monthly theme, some related activities will be placed in each of our classroom area which include Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math and Art.  In Practical Life, we will also bring in table scrubbing, pumpkin scrubbing, wet pouring and napkin folding.   In Language, we will be learning about the different kinds of trees and the leaves they produce such as oak, maple, sassafras, gingko, beech, tulip, etc.  Children are careful observers of nature and love to share their observations with us, particularly on circle.  Our discussions will include the transition to fall with the changes in the color of both trees and grass, the falling temperatures, and the changes in the light of the sky.  We will also be learning the different kinds of apples.   We will have baskets of real leaves and real apples for the children to use.  There will be pumpkin, apple and leaf matching and sorting exercises. 
The Sensorial area as mentioned last month is designed to enhance discrimination and sensory skills, and a popular Sensorial activity this month is apple tasting using the kinds we have learned about such as Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Macintosh and Honey Crisp.  Also introduced this month in Sensorial is the Broad Stair and the Red Rods. In Math we will bring in new counting exercises using tiny apples, pumpkins, leaves and acorns, and finally, at the art table we will have falling leaf projects as well as leaf rubbing. The children will use leaf, pumpkin and apple stencils at our easel.  We will be making tissue and glitter apples and pumpkins as well as a pumpkin patch.   As always, our books and puzzles will also be reflective of our fall themes. 
A long-time favorite Parkside October activity is our bulb planting.  We first demonstrate the planting on a communal indoor circle including all three classrooms.  We use a large plastic box filled with soil and some special gardening tools including a bulb planter. We plant the real bulbs in the boxed soil and water them.  After the indoor demo, each child will have the opportunity to plant the bulbs (crocus, tulip, daffodil or hyacinth) outside into the prepared beds around our play area, entrance and in the back of the building as well.  We explain how, after the fall planting, they will rest in their “cozy winter beds” for the next few months through rain, snow, wind and much colder temperatures, only to emerge in spring as beautiful flowers.  We cover our beds with pine straw because the smell of the straw will deter any hungry squirrels from finding, digging and munching on them.  The discussion about keeping the bulbs safe is an interesting to the students as the actual planting. 
Of course for many young children, the highlight of October is Halloween which will fall on a Monday this year.  We will be celebrating with many songs, moving games, books and puzzles, and some special treats.  The children do not wear their costumes to school.  It makes an already very exciting day a little too long for little children.
Our Peace curriculum has begun and will continue through the entire year with a series of concrete lessons, songs and projects illustrating the meaning of peace.  In its simplest form, peace here at Parkside (and everywhere) means being kind and helpful to others, sharing well, taking turns, enjoying working and playing with friends, staying busy and productive and feeling happy.  We begin by setting up our Peace Corner in each classroom upon which is a glass bowl and heart shaped dish with pretty stones.  If a youngster has done something kind and/or helpful, he or she may go and place a stone in our Peace Bowl.  We play act on circle what would be considered a kind act, such as sharing an activity, helping another (classmate or teacher) clean up their work, comforting a child who is upset,  or taking the hand of one who does not have a partner as we go to and from the playground.  At first many stones are being tossed into the Peace Bowl as the children like the sounds the stones make as they hit the bottom of the bowl. But gradually, through our suggestions and play acting, they begin to realize that each stone represents an act of kindness and good will.  They do seem to be proud of the small ways they are being peaceful, and they grow to understand that showing care and concern for others in their community, whether it be at home or at school, is to be valued.   More Peace lessons will follow throughout the year including exercises in managing feelings of sadness, anger or fear and also handling conflict resolution.
As we move through October things remain busy for all of us, but we are gratified by the ease of our opening this year.  We look forward to seeing you on Back to School Night on Tuesday, October 18th.
          “It isn’t enough to talk about peace.
One must believe in it. 
And it isn’t enough to believe in it.
One must work at it.”
                                            Eleanor Roosevelt
Nota Bene
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.
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