Week Seven at The Montessori Field School
Like little squirrels preparing for winter, the children were particularly busy with foraging this week. We wrapped up our hickory nut harvest and are greatly anticipating sampling some hickory nut "hot chocolate" next week. We will serve this at pick-up when parents are nearby, since it's probably a nut most children haven't tried before. Although the chance of an allergic reaction is slim, better safe than sorry with tree nuts! We also began collecting persimmons in preparation for a couple of baking projects, including persimmon pudding and persimmon spice cake.
We completely underestimated how much joy and learning would come from leftover husked corn in a harvested field...What started last week as husking and shelling continued this week, but this time through printmaking with the corn cobs and grinding corn in an old-school coffee grinder to make corn meal. We also transformed the water table into a corn sensory table.
It's been lovely to observe how popular our Montessori classroom space is with the children. Many of them seem to prefer the Montessori materials over nearly everything else, spending long periods of great concentration choosing work after work. We presented lessons on the plant and animal puzzles, sandpaper letters, the long rods, the tower of cubes, and even some more advanced math lessons. Children receive lessons based on their interest and readiness, and once they've received a lesson on a material are free to use it on their own as often as they'd like.
Something unique to Montessori education is that even though we are "teachers", we are often not directly imparting knowledge to the children. Instead, our role is to help the children understand how to use a material, and it's the repeated interaction with the material that actually allows the child to discover a concept. This is referred to as "auto education." For example, our tower of cubes helps children understand big and small, and how to order by size. These are important concepts and skills in preparation for mathematics. When young children first build with the tower of cubes they may order them incorrectly and not see the subtle differences in size, so their tower may be wobbly or fall over. However, with time and repetition they will notice the size differences and build a strong and stable tower. They internalize the concept naturally, with joy, and without direct instruction. Most Montessori materials lend themselves to auto education.
The children remove their boots to work on the rug, and as temps continue to cool their feet might get chilly. Feel free to send in some slippers to stay at school or go back and forth in their backpack.
Things to Look Forward To
Hickory nut hot chocolate, persimmon pudding, and persimmon spice cake
The arrival of our Bunch Bike (it ships next week!!)
New friends and activities during Nature Camp weeks (October 3-7 and 10-14)
Ways to Get Involved
Your generosity has been outstanding; we have surpassed the funds needed for one Bunch Bike and are now on our way to purchasing a second one. THANK YOU!
If you have a child who attends in the morning and you enjoy fire building, we welcome volunteers to come early and start our fire. We will start having fires daily after the first freeze.
Enjoy a stunning weekend!
Heather & Kris