Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ready to Start!

Where did the summer go?  I usually have the to opportunity to post periodically throughout the summer, but in all honestly, the time just got away from me…  I have been spending a great deal of time and attention getting our classroom ready for the new school year - we are ready to start another year in just a few days!

So far, this year is turning out to be quite different from years past.  Some of my readers may recall that my family is getting ready for an extended period of international travel beginning in January of 2015.  Preparation for this endeavor has enabled me to hire another Montessori teacher beginning at the start of this school year.   For the first time, I will have another Montessori trained teacher working with me.  This is something I very much look forward to as sharing ideas and learning new information from one another will be invaluable both for  our own professional growth as well as for the children in our care. Our four months together in the classroom prior to my departure will allow for a smoother transition in the classroom come January when I will be leaving.

Another difference this school year is the fact that our incoming class is very young and new.  For a variety of reasons, we do not have the regular proportion of new students and returning students and I have been mentally preparing myself for a what will seem to be an entirely brand new class.  While we will not have as many returning students this year, I am pleased that we have a very full class and we will focus on establishing strong foundational beginnings - both in practice in the classroom as well as with parent education.

Most years, I have an overarching (general) theme which is carried throughout the school year and throughout the curriculum areas.  The last couple of years, this theme has had to do with geography and the continents of the world.  Beginning this year, we will be highlighting a Montessori math material called the Short Bead Stair.
Numbers 1-9 with the Short Bead Stair.   Click HERE for an example of how this lesson is used in the Montessori classroom.
Our plan is to focus on the color and number correspondence to guide us in creating lessons in the other areas of the classroom.  For example, as we prepared the classroom for the beginning of this year, we have chosen the color red (and the number one) for our Practical Life shelves and some of the art materials.

Here are some examples from around the classroom:

Practical Life shelves:  basic transferring lessons on the left (spooning, tonging, dry pouring);  basic water transferring lessons on the right (we will be using colored water - there is no water in the vessels in the photo).  Also, the large vase on the top shelf is filled with red carnations - right now they are for decoration as the Flower Arranging lesson is not out yet.

The corresponding number with Sandpaper Letters...

…and the Sandpaper Number (next to a print of one of our group art projects last year).
I feel it is important to have these items on display throughout the environment as the children are getting to know our classroom and the Montessori materials.  Also, because the class will be very new, we are only planning to change the shelves ever other month or so.  If all goes according to plan, we will only get through number five (light blue) by the end of this year.  So, this is really a two year plan which is especially critical given that I will not be here for part of this year…  (There is also a part of me that does not want to miss out when we get to the number ten whose corresponding color is gold!!!).  In any case, this general theme allows us to have a plan in place even when I will be out of the classroom this year.

There are many other activities that have been prepared and I will be sure to share them with you as we get our school year started, so stayed posted!