As we begin October and enjoy the cooler fall temperatures, the children are continuing to adjust to their new schedules and the routine of school. There are still a few tears at the door, but the moments of hesitation and anxiety which came during our first three weeks have greatly lessened. Also we have been fortunate in that there have been only one or two days when we haven’t been able to go outside to the playground. The children are enjoying our new, colorful and interesting equipment as well as some of our older pieces. The sandbox is out, and this year we have added some large trucks with drivers and passengers. Boys and girls alike seem to have fun zooming them around the playground.
Our sea creatures will remain on the shelves a while longer, but in October we turn our attention to all things fall. We will be learning about the different kinds of apples and tasting them as well, and we will vote on our favorites. On circle we will be talking about the transition from summer to fall…the changes in the color of grass and trees, the falling temperatures, and the changes in the light of the sky. Then we will focus on the many kinds of trees in our area and the leaves they produce, including the oak, maple, sassafras, sweet gum, tulip and gingko. As we walk to the playground we will be able to observe first hand some of these leaves as well as the gradual changes in their color as fall progresses. This month we will also be talking about pumpkins, and hopefully watch the pumpkin seeds that were planted by Mrs. Rose in our garden in August turn into real pumpkins. The blossoms are already there.
In Practical Life we will be scrubbing the pumpkin, and we will continue our popular our “fishing” exercises and table and shell scrubbing. We will also bring in place setting, napkin folding and funneling. In Sensorial there will be many autumn puzzles as well as the introduction of the geometric solids…sphere, cone, pyramid, cube, etc. There will be lots of counting of apples and pumpkins. In Language, we will change our seasonal matching and sequencing to reflect autumn. At the art table the children will be making different kinds of apples and pumpkins using tissue and glitter. We will also be working on the skill of cutting by showing how to cut through small pieces of paper. There are many children who are already proficient “cutters”, and they will take their carefully cut pieces and make collages. Then we will move on to “fringing”. The children take little “bites” with the scissors all the way around a piece of paper. This is in preparation for a November activity when we will be making fringed placemats for our Thanksgiving Feast at school. More information on that to follow.
Another seasonal Parkside tradition is the planting of our bulbs. We will first talk about life underground and also about both animal and plant hibernation. Over the years we have planted crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths and tulips in beds which we prepared all around school and the church. This year, again, thanks to Mrs. Rose, we have newly prepared flower beds which are raised. They are ready to receive our bulbs which, after planting, will sleep all winter in their “cozy beds”. The most interesting part of the bulb lesson for the children is the placing of pine straw over our beds to prevent the squirrels from digging up and munching on our bulbs. The snow, cold and rain don’t bother our bulbs, but the squirrels are a different story. The pine straw serves as a deterrent (they don’t like the smell) to these busy and hungry creatures. Hopefully in spring we will have lots of beautiful color in our garden to add to the spring color which should emerge once more around our playground and entrance areas.
Also this month we will talk about the voyage of Christopher Columbus, and we will be creating one of the three ships at the art table. We use concrete materials for this demonstration including our Montessori globe and continent maps as well as replicas of the three ships. This becomes a lesson in geography, hopefully helping the children better understand the world and their place in it.
Of course in October the children begin to get excited about Halloween. We have a repertoire of fun Halloween songs that include movement, and the children love to sing them over and over again. The art tables and classroom libraries will reflect autumn and Halloween themes as well.