Earlier this year, we shared some photos of Lower Elementary students building various things in their outdoor classroom with our new Outlast blocks. Although the newness appeal of these blocks has begun to fade ever so slightly for some students, we have a small crew of Grade 2 and 3 students who continue to find new uses for them. The blocks are so basic and durable, and the configurations so limitless, that building with them has proven to be a great way to stretch our students’ imagination.
Lately, our students have been using these blocks to construct a variety of vehicles. We’ve had one-person cars, cars for a group, and even a spaceship, as you can see in the photos above! Students also built an obstacle course earlier this week, which included some hurdles, a limbo station, and a ramp station that required students to connect two of the wheel-shaped blocks and roll them intact down the incline blocks. We can’t wait to see what creations will come next!
The uninterrupted Work Period is a fundamental element of the Montessori philosophy. It allows for individual variations in the learning process through which students have time to work on various tasks and responsibilities at their own pace.
In the Upper Unit, students typically have a Work Period in the morning as well as in the afternoon, during which time they can work on assignments of their choice either alone or in small groups. The uninterrupted Work Period gives the students an opportunity to hone their organizational and time management skills.
Last weekend, McGuffey’s music teacher, Elizabeth, began Saturday Kindermusik classes. In collaboration with McGuffey, these classes are held at our school but open to the community, and they provide an opportunity to have Music class for 2-3 year olds and their parents. Kindermusik is an internationally recognized music program providing for the whole child, nurturing gross motor, fine motor, language, social, and literacy skills all wrapped up in the joy of music.
Elizabeth will offer classes for 8 weeks this fall. How nice to see happy faces and new friends here! For more information and to learn how to sign up, visit Kindermusik with Elizabeth Taylor on Facebook.
The individual Work Plan is an important element of our Montessori education. It helps our students become more independent and strengthens their internal motivation to complete difficult tasks.
The Upper Unit uses their Work Plans to set priorities, track assignment due dates, and monitor progress. This allows students to complete their assignments independently and at their own pace. Work Plans also allow teachers to easily check in with any student at any time and monitor how he or she is doing, and what he or she has been working on.
McGuffey students have begun yoga practice with the help of yoga instructor Jill Levenderis. Students in every classroom will be enjoying four weeks of yoga instruction, which will give them a basic foundation in yoga and knowledge of several basic poses.
Yoga can help children deal better with stress and anxiety through meditation and relaxation. It is a nice way for our students to practice mindfulness while getting some physical activity.
Since our own butterfly garden has not yielded a whole lot of monarch caterpillars this year, a generous Upper Unit parent brought us some from her yard. We have been loving watching them eat and grow, feeling them tickle our fingers as they crawl around, and watching them slowly change into a chrysalis.
We set up a time lapse video to capture the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly. We’re so excited we caught it in time!