Friday, December 21, 2012

With Thanks

 It is with love and gratitude that I say, "THANK YOU" to each and everyone of our families at the school.  I ask and you give.   It is so appreciated.  Thank you for bringing your children along to see where it all goes and what kind of difference it makes to those in need.

The children worked so hard on their gift bags this year.  I was moved to tears by all of the beautiful art work that graced our food bags this year.  Such amazing children you all have.  It is truly a gift that they all gave.  Thank you also, for allowing me to post their pictures and share this moment.

From the bottom of my heart, Thank you all and Merry Christmas!  ~Ms. Michelle

Mel and the group from Maple Tree

Giving Tree Bags for Parker Street

Thursday, December 20, 2012

More Merry Making

 It has been a lovely day making decorations, gifts and cookies.
Christmas in a Montessori classroom is a lot of fun with lots of
opportunities for fine motor activities.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Making and Gifting

 It is such a flurry of activity right now in our classrooms.  I commented to one parent this morning that I will be happy when we get back to our regular routine.

But right now, right this moment, it all feels good and secret and special.  We've been working on some special gifting this past week.  It was not planned.  I have a very dear friend who keeps an amazing garden in the valley and she stopped in to see me this week with bags full of seeds that she dried and kept and labeled with pictures for our Maple Tree Children.     Her idea was that we could collect the seeds and make seed packets as gifts.  LOVE IT!!!

So we did just that.  There were scarlet runner beans, calendula, morning glory, zinnia, dill and marigold seeds.  So enjoy and make sure you make them part of your garden planning and planting in the Spring!!

Seed collecting

Seed packet

 Other gifts are coming in different ways this year.  We made a lot of gift tags and ornaments.  Back again this year was our lovely pine cone weaving and popcorn and cranberry stringing.

And so as we wind down this week, we are taking great care to package and wrap and tidy.  Yes it is busy but such a good kind of busy.

Wool Wreaths with hand dyed wool from Fleece Artist!  Thank you Jana!!

clay impressions with fine glitter

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Feeling Festive

 Christmas at Cork...
This week the children were busy making decorations for our tree and planning their grocery list for the giving project. 

The children are very excited about filling their bags with food they think are healthy for other families. The tree looks fabulous with all their decorations and giving bags around it. Now all we need is snow :) ~Ms. Stephanie

Friday, December 14, 2012

This Moment...

{this moment} - A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Merry Making

Red Rods Christmas Tree with Knob less Cylinder lights
 I love this time of the year.  I am trying very hard to slow down even for a minute and enjoy all the merry making going on around me.

Yesterday, Ms. Melanie sent this beautiful picture of extensions with the sensorial materials!  I love it.  It may just have to be made into a card next year!

 This morning I was able to get into some needle felting with my older children.  They really loved it and it was nice to see how all that pin pushing work everyone has been doing is paying off.  While this had to be supervised by a teacher, the children were very capable of doing this.  I am thinking a much larger class project just might be in order for our walls.  There are so many possibilities with all that wool.  I can't wait to get into it some more.

These are not coming home right away, more by the way of a gift from your child to you and only a few children made them.  But don't worry, there is so much merry making going on that you are likely to get something beautiful for your tree or that gift going to grandparents.  I am loving all the gift tags we've been making.  I hope you use them.  Your children are so happy and pleased with themselves and all these little projects.  Oh, happy day!  ~Ms. Michelle

Roving from the Loop

Finger print gift tags


Burlap Sewing

Friday, November 30, 2012

Eleves and all things Merry

 It's fair to say we are in full on holiday mode at the school now.  The new thing for me this year was the discovery of Elf on the Shelf.  How did I not know about this?!!  Turns out this is a very old tradition.  Ms. Deanna informed me that she has an elf that goes on her Christmas Tree from when her husband was a boy and it is this Elf on the Shelf.  So imagine my surprise when one of my children came to school to tell me all about his elf at home.  The Elf sits somewhere in the house and watches you all day to make sure you are being good and then at night he fly's back to the North Pole to report to Santa on your behaviour.  While your sleeping the Elf comes back and finds a new place to sit and watch.  You can't touch the Elf or it will lose it's magic.  So, I thought we should have our own Elf at Maple Tree.  I bought three actually.  One for each campus and one for home which I didn't actually need because my daughter likes coming down to the classroom to check on him.  I am sure your hearing all about the elf .  I introduced our Elf through our yoga class by telling a story set to yoga poses and Music and we ended the class by reading the story and setting our Elf up on the shelf.  Here's the tricky can't forget to move the Elf or the jig is up.  So set a reminder on your phone!!  It is very sweet to watch the children walk up to the Elf and tell him what they want for Christmas.  I also love watching the search for him each morning.  What to do if your child touches the Elf?  Check out this Sweet Solution to see what this mom did when her daughter touched the Elf.  I also read that one mom got a note from Santa saying the elf that her son touched just made it back to the North Pole because he was so weak and had to stay in the Elf hospital for a few days to recover before he could come back to their house.  The mom said the look on her child's face made her feel bad.  I don't know I think it's good for children to respect and take rules seriously.
 Anyway, it's a sweet idea and it feels magical.  We are gearing up for more magical stuff in the weeks to come.  Our nature table is slowly making a transformation.
 The children have started making sweet snowmen thumb print gift tags.  Save them all and use them on your gifts going to family and friends.  just wait there is still so much more to come.
Metal Inset trees and snowmen

Pin Pushing Christmas trees

Don't you just love all the Merry Making?

~Ms. Michelle

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sending Ice to Africa

 I just love a crisp walk around Long Lake this time of year.  Yesterday though, it wasn't part of my plan for the day.  My day started like many do, arguing with my daughter about why she had to go to school.  Poor thing is missing her Montessori environment.

So like any good mom I made a deal.  The deal was if she went to school I would come and get her at lunch and we would take our dog to Long Lake at lunch time for a big walk.

She was in and so was a friend of hers!
 The girls made quick time eating up their lunch in the car on the drive to Long Lake.  All the while talking about how they needed to be quick so they would have lots of time to play.  I hadn't planned even to blog about this except that as I watched them play I realized how happy they both were finding sticks to break up ice.  They also climbed rocks and poked around in the woods.  Neither of them needed anything more in that moment.  It was pure bliss.

So this is what they were doing...
They were breaking up ice to make an ice table and then I was told they were sending the ice off to Africa by throwing it in the lake.  The lake current would carry it away to Africa because it is so hot there and they would need it.  There was such a sense of purpose in this work or play.  I did not have the heart to tell them the ice would just melt and not make it to Africa.  I was just taken in by it all and it really was lovely to watch unfold.
Ice Tables

Breaking Ice Up
 In the past I have spoke of natural play spaces for children.  It really is important for children to feel a connection with the earth and the natural world.  How can we ask them to take care of it when we are gone if we don't foster that love early on?  I must admit, it was a great way to spend lunch time. ~Ms. Michelle

Sending Ice to Africa

Thursday, November 15, 2012

This Week...

 This week I have been doing some letter recognition with my language sensitive children.  The urge to work with the large movable alphabet is so great these days and so we are doing just that!  The last few days I have had some of my children who are getting ready to head into pink reading boxes work with the large movable alphabet.

I would hand each child a letter and give them the sound and send them off into the classroom to find an object to match the sound.  This was fun and interesting.  I had to encourage some children to think outside the box and look in cabinets and through materials to bring items.  Funny how Montessori children are so sensitive to everything having its place in the classroom.  I really had to say, "its ok to bring a metal inset for the sound m".
In this picture wood was brought for "w" bear for "b" nut for "n" and tile for "t".

Fox for "f", Racoon for "r", Pink for "p" Owl for "o", Red for "r" and Metal inset for "m".

 I cannot express to you how much I love exploring art with your children!  They embrace many mediums and truly love this part of their day.  The poppies that are being drawn and painted this week are simply stunning!

Please think of a way to use these beautiful pieces of art that are coming home. ~Ms. Michelle