Wow, it was an incredible launch week at The Montessori Field School. The perfect weather eased us in gently and made for some great photos; we hope you enjoyed the ones shared on the Band App! Each week we'll give a little synopsis of our adventures, some information related to child development, and some needs/considerations moving forward.
This week's goals centered around developing personal relationships with each other and getting to know our "classroom", aka Mount St. Francis. We observed incredible social cohesion between the children from the earliest moments. Nature (the great neutralizer) has a way of bringing out the best in children and their interactions with each other. Without exception the children were kind, generous, inclusive, and encouraging of one another. We joyfully observed their connections grow over elaborate mud kitchen creations, hiking the property, catching Fowler's toads in the creek bed, and working together to fetch an abandoned frisbee from a tree.
As guides, our goal is to always support the children in developing both independence and interdependence. Independence is encouraged through carrying one's own belongings, mastering opening snack containers and using the restroom (younger children), dressing independently (younger children), fully exploring yet staying within boundaries, and advocating for themselves in healthy ways. Interdependence goes a step further, allowing them to recognize the needs of others and work together to accomplish larger goals. With interdependence, children learn to prioritize the needs of the group alongside their own and then experience how everyone benefits. We saw both of these forces hard at work this week.
Areas of Interest This Week
Here are a few concepts that emerged from our explorations:
Nests - who builds them (not just birds!) and how are they made; some children tried their hands at making their own
Animal & plant identification - some favorite species included Fowler's toads (especially the TINY ones in the creek bed), wolf spiders, a great blue heron on the pond, and turkey tail mushrooms
Exploring physical capacity - carrying heavy buckets of water; coordinating movement through stirring, pouring, and whisking in the mud kitchen; hiking to the small pond, creek bed, and meditation path; swinging on the vine; climbing steep banks and trees
Group Games - the elementary children particularly enjoyed group games (more to come in future posts about why group games appeal to 6-12-year-olds more than 3-6-year-olds); some favorites were Zip, Zap, Zop and Poison Dart Frog
Songs - the younger ones loved singing! This week was to the tune of "Muffin Man." Feel free to try this one in the car on the way to school. "We're on our way to forest school, to forest school, to forest school. We're on our way to forest school, on this <insert weather here> day."
Read-alouds and independent reading
Opportunities for Involvement
We are assembling an Amazon Wish List and a very exciting Go Fund Me campaign (stay tuned for more info!) to support some upcoming projects. We'll share when they're ready!
Do you have a skill or interest you'd enjoy sharing with the children? Let us know! We're lining up guest experts/presenters for the coming weeks.
Things to Look Forward To
The weather is looking clear for next week as of now, but we know rain will be in the forecast eventually! Make sure that waterPROOF rain gear is ready. We're excited to see all of the new activities that will open up to us with the change in weather.
In future issues we'll share more about the difference between the first and second planes of development (ages 0-6 and ages 6-12) and how you can support your child's natural tendencies at home. We'll also look at all of the benefits (including, yes, academic ones) of mud kitchen play!
Our first family gathering is Wednesday, September 21. Mark your calendars!
Looking forward to next week's adventures already!
Heather & Kris