And we're off! Our first month of school is coming to a close and it has certainly been memorable. We had our first severe weather (on the third day of school!) and endured what was hopefully the hottest week of the school year. We've been busy getting to know each other, learning to leave our families with confidence and comfort, and discovering some of the beauties that Mount St. Francis has to offer (just the tip of the iceberg!).
Our Primary children (ages 3-6) have been focusing on their developmentally appropriate goal of independence. Little things like carrying and putting away their own belongings, dressing and undressing, opening and closing food containers, and listening to/responding to their bodies are so important for them right now. They are learning just how capable they are, which builds confidence and agency. These acts of independence also build physical strength, stamina, and coordination. We have seen such growth since the first days of school!
Primary has also been practicing interdependence, or their relations with others. It is such big and important work to learn to exist in a society and our children get to do it when they're three and four! Grace and courtesy has been a focus as they learn to carefully walk around each other's work rugs, wait patiently when a work is not available, help a friend when they're struggling, and work together to accomplish large goals.
In addition, the children have received lessons on preliminary "work" available to them in the classroom (activities that capture their interest and/or work on a skill). As they show readiness and learn to treat these materials with care, more and more will be added and introduced.
Another highlight this month has been hiking! It is impressive to see their stamina develop as they explore new places such as the "little creek," "big pond," "small pond," "triangle platform," and "lake bench." Maybe some of these kids will set out on a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail one day.
Meanwhile, the Elementary children have also had a strong start to the school year. They jumped right into academics alongside their outdoor adventures, with many lessons in mathematical place value and operations, grammar (noun and article), sentence analysis (subject, predicate, direct and indirect objects), reading/phonemic awareness, cursive handwriting, telling time, and the calendar. We've also explored a range of science and history, including Montessori's "First Great Lesson" (the story of the universe), "Second Great Lesson" (the coming of life), the needs of a plant, states of matter, laws of the universe, formation of fossils, and more. In the afternoons they've made amazing progress in Spanish, tree identification, art from nature, flower arranging, and other "lost skills."
We took our first two Friday Field Trips (this part of our program is why we're called The Montessori FIELD School instead of Forest School!). These outings included The Falls of the Ohio, a concert at the Floyd County library, Bernheim Forest, and Tyler Park's splash pad/natural playground (on the hottest day in August!). Tomorrow we are excited to pick some produce at Huber's Winery, which will lead to some cooking projects next week.
Our Forest Club (Wednesday homeschool enrichment) is also in full swing! We have had a ball singing silly songs with Ethan, getting to know each other through group games, exploring the lake and creek, and starting our nature/survival studies through shelter building. Now that our community is building cohesion, we are looking forward to many more weeks of adventure to come!
Things to Look Forward To:
Please plan to join us for our Fall Equinox Family Gathering on Friday, September 22nd.
Look for us at MountFest on Saturday, September 23rd! Our incredible PTA has arranged for us to have a booth.
On to September!
Heather, Kris, TeNnile, Mary, Kirsten, and Ethan