Who can believe the term is passing so quickly. Rested and ready for action we have been hard at work in the week since midterm break, but before we tell you all that’s planned we want to tell you all about our work before the break.
We were fiendishly hard-working on our group project themes pre Halloween. Of course the obvious theme was everywhere, but each class also created some brilliant cross-curricular projects.
The senior class created a Haunted Recycling Tree, learning about recycling is very important to us in Hedley Park. Our pupils take great pride in caring for their environment. The Montessori method gently introduces the basics of caring for your environment at a very young age, from 2yrs old the children learn to clean up after themselves, put things away, care for plants and animals, building to looking after each other and their community. All this leads to the child becoming more aware of and confident in their ability to effect change and protect the natural world around them. Of course by the time they reach our senior class the children’s vision of the environment has grown from the home and classroom to the vast world around them. Recycling, Reducing and Reusing are all responsibilities the children take as given to ensure the planet is kept clean and habitable for all. The class tried their hand at recycling paper of their own.
The main project focused on the importance of trees to the ecosystem. Talking about the O2/CO2 cycle and all the benefits of trees to our ecology, the pupils decided to make a mural of a tree to illustrate their learning. The project incorporated science, art, botany, design, and great team effort. I love the way the fun and learning went hand in hand, and the tree became a haunted recycling tree.
In an effort to inspire creative thinking Ashley set the class a challenge to create Swap-imals. Take your two favourite animals and combine them to create a new creature with the features of both. I really enjoyed the Hendor and the Lionphant!
Moving to Aoife’s Junior and Senior infants Class, along side the seasonal discussions of autumn and Halloween, the class took a geographical and cultural trip to the continent of Australasia. The land down under was examined at circle time, with photos, stories, poetry and song all forming part of the learning. The children of Senior and Junior infants are very used to working with the wonderful Montessori geography materials such as the sandpaper and coloured globes and the jigsaw map of the world, at this age they are still very focused on absorbing as much new information as possible so culture packs and geography folders that spark conversation and further study are in constant use.
Animals are still a popular study point for the pupils and with that in mind they worked on creating a super Great Barrier Reef that was fixed across the classroom. Jellyfish, piranhas and tiny reef plankton all featured.
Outback kangaroos hopping through the desert sunset, furry koala’s and some aboriginal inspired snake art paid testimony to the areas of study the children undertook on their southern hemisphere odyssey.
The season would not be complete without some wonderful handwriting samples. This time on the Halloween theme! Great industry went into these samples, with witching words a plenty and ghoulish graphics to illustrate.
Katie didn’t hold back on spooking up the practical life area, and the children were very proud to show me their new work. Halloween spooning and transferring spiders using chopsticks, pouring witches brew, but by and far the most popular seemed to be the Vampire blood pouring. Not for the faint hearted I am assured!
Last but not least we go to the smallest in the Hedley Park family. They were as to be expected exploring and absorbing from a vast array of materials and themes in October. The beauty of the Montessori approach at all ages is the child directed learning, each child choses for himself what to work with, for how long and with whom. The adults in the environment serve as guides, to give the perfect material to the child at the optimum time, informed by thorough observations of the child’s interests and aptitudes. This creates a unique learning setting for the child and is so acutely observed to those who visit our classrooms, especially the nursery room. Gently guided towards the skills necessary for numeracy, literacy and logical thinking, the work focuses on increasing concentration, fine motor skills, sensory refinement and of course language rich interactions.
A beautiful activity for refinement of the muscles of the hand, are the insets for design. Comprising all the forms and lines needed to write every letter and number they aid the child in establishing good pencil control and hand strength all while giving the child the “muscular memory” of creating the lines necessary to replicate letters at a later stage.
Seasonal crafts, poetry and our special sound were all in action too, the nursery made a colourful witch, bat and Halloween mask display to accompany their poem “The Pumpkin Man” all of which came together nicely with the sound which had to be “h” for Halloween.
Finally, a quick recap of our special Witches Walk and Halloween mid term fun morning. Costumes were donned, faces painted and everyone looked spooktacular by mid morning even the teachers got in on the act with Ashley dressing as a super strict headmistress, Katie as the Great Witch Katie, Aoife looked strikingly spooky in her witches cape and Magda and Eavan were the good witches of the nursery.
Witch Katie held court, casting spells and daring only the brave to fish around in the “mummies brain” for a trick or treat surprise. At snack Witch Aoife turned milk into vampires blood, and treated us all with the help of her class to a fearsome reading of The Witches poem and we got to eat a piece of the Graveyard Cake.
Just when we were getting ready to go to the park, two wicked witches ran off into the park with our popcorn and apples and so a Witch-hunt was called for. With the help of Witch Katie and our two Good Witches Eavan and Magda the children followed the clues and found those sneaky witches before they ate all the yummy healthy treats!
Witch Katie then cast a spell and vanished for another year!
On the News Board we have some announcements:
We were all delighted to welcome Lisa back from maternity leave last week. Lisa was much missed but her bundle of joy Emily was worth us doing without Lisa for a few months. We look forward to Emily’s Hedley Park debut in a few years. Welcome back Lisa, and Luca too.
We’ve had the return of some old friends in our class, and some new faces too. So we welcome our new members to the Hedley family and look forward to learning and growing with you all.
Upcoming events: Our Family Breakfast morning is coming up soon, keep eyes pealed to the pigeon holes for notes, and the Facebook page for more info. We look forward to your company and support on that morning it’s always a lovely way to get to know the other families and spend time with the children in ‘their domain”
With that we’ll get back to work.
Lots of love from all of us in Hedley.