Big School News: 1st-6th Class Update

Here it is, the final September catchup from the Big School. Where last but by no means least, is the news from our mixed age community First to Sixth Class.

As our most wide-ranging age mixed class, first to sixth is a lovely student community to observe and engage with. The Montessori method allows students to develop and engage at their own level and pace, with younger members being encouraged, inspired and aided by elder classmates. This is very evident in our eldest class grouping and the work they engage in is confirmation of the success of this collaboration.

The overarching topic of study for the senior class this month has been Water.  Again as with all classes in the “big school” the topic study is used to inform and frame the national curriculum studies while the students learning is reinforced by the hands on experience with the Montessori materials available in class.

Water Anagram Art

The students began by creating water anagrams as an exercise in english grammar and then went on to create a fantastic water cycle mural on the wall. Researching labels and definitions for the water cycle on various internet children’s science sites.  These exercises allow the students to engage with english grammar on a multisensory level, ensuring they absorb the knowledge in a fun and creative manner. The use of internet for research is a vital skill for students and internet enabled computers, supervised by staff, are available in all classrooms.

Handwriting & Research Wall

Using arts and crafts, alongside computers, books and other resources opens the students minds to the variety of research methods and forms of expression that exist and can be utilised to communicate messages to the world. As a class group using multimedia, art, and I.T to convey their learning allows all students to showcase their talents and develop new methods through teamwork with their classmates.

Water Cycle Collage

Our Rain Gauge

Another benefit of the Montessori primary class structure is that it allows the learning and practical work to be student lead. On Tuesday 21st this was particularly inspirational when the students decided to measure the heavy rainfall that had been occurring. They created a temporary rainfall gauge and placed it in our patio area. From 9.30am – 10.30am they took record of 80ml of rainfall. The success of this experiment led them to create a more permanent instrument (pictured) and they are measuring rainfall over a period of a week to be recorded in their weather chart.  I’m sure we’ll have the results of that in their next update.

To close out this post we thought we’d leave you with the students beautiful water themed paintings. Colourful and cheerful enough to shake off the long evening blues! 🙂

Water Themed Paintings

So with wise words from our school elders, Don’t Waste Water! we leave you for now, but expect more updates from them soon.

From all the staff and pupils of “the big school”

Big School News: Senior Infants Update

Welcome back to more Big School News!

This post concerns the wonderful work taking place in our Senior Infants class so be prepared for some spectacular samples of their activity.

Firstly we’d like to say thank you to all the visitors to our blog, we really appreciate your support and interest. There have been some extremely busy days on the blog, with Monday 20th Sept seeing 94 visitors in 24hrs! In total, as this piece is being written, we have received almost 500 visitors in the past 6 weeks. To anyone unfamiliar with blogging stats this is really positive and we are very pleased that your interest is so high.

There are so many fantastic purposes of blogging for a Montessori school but the paramount one for Hedley Park  is facilitating our parents sharing the precious moments of their child’s school days at home and with family members near and far. So please feel free to send the link to aunties, uncles, grandparents and cousins! There are special buttons at the bottom if you use Facebook or Twitter too!

With that, we are bursting with news from Senior Infants. The newly graduated big school juniors are now well installed as the  second year sophomores and have even welcomed some new students to their group. With almost a month completed they are working up a storm. The main themes for their studies this month have been Autumn and Africa. (alliteration not intentional 🙂)

Learning about the Seasons is an integral part of the curriculum, it allows children to experience and appreciate nature, while honing their discrimination for colour, texture, scent and taste. Talking about nature scenes and experiences allows children to develop their written and spoken language confidence. Finally the cyclic nature of the seasons appeals to the young childs sense of order and curiosity and inspires them to experiment with and question the changes in the world around them.

With the help of our artistic Emma the Senior Infants created their magnificent autumn sensorial wall complete with tree, tactile hedgehogs, leaf collages collected from nature walks in Merrion Square and a badger at home in his sett.

Autumnal Tree & Badger Sett

To supplement the autumn wall Aoife encouraged the students to perfect their written language and individual drawings with their descriptive seasonal handwriting samples.

Autumn Handwriting Samples

Our class themes frame and support the national curriculum workbooks used in class, while the Montessori method and materials allow the student to independently build on and concrete their learning in a hands on way that really resonates and remains long after the learning unit has been completed.

The second major theme of study for the Senior Infants is the continent of Africa. They have chosen to focus on Ancient Egyptian culture alongside African traditional jewelery, customs and topography.

Pyramids & Pharaohs

African Masai collars

The final thing Senior infants wanted to share with you is their wonderful handwriting samples on their African adventure

African Desert Handwriting

African Grassland Handwriting

So as you can see the Senior Infants are getting stuck in and their work shows the effort put in by all concerned.

Thanks for reading our update!

Best wishes from all the staff and students of the Big School.

Big School News: Junior Infants

“At last” we hear you cry!

Yes the big school have taken a moment from their seriously busy days to tell you all about what they’ve been getting up to, and the first class to share their news is Junior Infants.

Before we update you on all their new projects, we’d like to say that the Junior Infants students are all doing fantastic work in the big school. While we have had a few new faces join in this year, most of the group are old friends from the “little school”. We are proud to say that all evidence points to the fact that they have made the transition to the world of the big children with ease and it feels like they were always “big kids”. So a huge Well Done to them. 🙂

At Hedley Park we are very lucky to be one of the few pre and primary Montessori schools in the city center so our young students can continue their Montessori experience from nursery and preschool right through to sixth class. The national curriculum works hand in hand with the Montessori curriculum all the way, developing the child’s curiosity and intelligence alongside emotional and social awareness. The small classes and friendly staff give the school a ‘home away from home’ feel from which the children in our care thrive.

As you have read in the preschool posts, Culture and Geography play a large part in the Montessori school syllabus. Each year the children learn about the seven continents, but the depth of knowledge and detail the child discovers grows deeper with each encounter, while still unifying all they have learned thus far.

In Junior Infants they have begun their continental journey with Australia.

Our Kangaroos in the Outback Sunset

Similar to the preschool, learning through music, art and food are cornerstones, however the big kids in Junior Infants also work on great handwriting and stencilling relating to Australia.  Thanks to Catriona they have lovely Kangaroo, Kookaburra & Koala stencils. This is doubly lucky as they are also doing the K sound!

K for Kangaroo

In P.E on Fridays they are learning how to move like the animals in Australia, and its no surprise that everyone loves to hop like the kangaroo! So expect some boingy junior infants hopping around the park on a sunny afternoon.

My Australia Book

Other items parents will find coming home soon are the wonderful Australia books Katie made for the class  full of colouring pages relating to Australia. Apart from being great fun to work on in class, these books help develop concentration, precision and colour work all the while strengthening those hand muscles for great handwriting.

The final Art piece the Junior Infants wanted to show everyone, and rightly so, is their fantastic Aboriginal themed art. Kookaburras, Kangaroos, Platypuses and more are all beautifully decorated below.

Aboriginal Art Wall

All the lovely art, handwriting, movement and song aside, I’m told that the highlight thus far was unsurprisingly the food! Junior Infants have tried all the jewels of aussie cuisine from Vegemite to TimTams, they even made Australia Cookies.

Katie kindly shared the recipe with you, so now even if you don’t have a junior infant of your own to show you how, you can make these yummy australian cookies anyway. Download it here -> Butter cut biscuits

The children all wanted to share something else with:

Junior Infants Top Tips for Cooking!

1. Wash your hands with soap and water before starting your kitchen preparations. Continually wash hands as needed – after cracking an egg.
2. Re-read the recipe several times.
3. Make sure you have all of the necessary ingredients. Put them out on the counter.
4. Get out all of the equipment like pans and measuring cups and talk about how to use them safely.
5. Follow the recipe exactly.
6. Use oven mittens or pot holders when taking food in and out of the oven.

They promise me that if you follow these rules you will get extra scrummy results every time! 🙂

So here is a photo of their handiwork!

Australia Cookies

The shape is unmistakable but I have been told that the icing came out a bit runny. 🙂 Yellow was to represent the desert and bushland and the green for the woodland and rainforest. Next time our chefs say they will use rollout icing. Still I’m assured they were hands down the best tasting australias ever!

Here they are hard at work decorating their own biscuits.

Hard at Work......... they will be yum!

After all that cookie making, rolling, cutting and icing I can only imagine there was lots of contented smiles as they enjoyed the best bit…. eating!

Congratulations Junior Infants, we are very proud of you all.

Come back soon for news from Senior Infants and First to Sixth Class.

From all the staff and pupils of “the big school

The Pink Tower and The Post Office

It has been another great week in the nursery, hard to believe we are into the latter half of our first month back.

We are all truly settled now and enjoying the return of our extracurricular classes.

Ballet on Tuesday was much anticipated by all our budding ballerinas. While it does give our petite prima donnas a chance to don their fantastic pink tutus and wraps, it’s not just the girls that benefit.  Ballet refines the gross motor skills of boys and girls alike. Rhythm, music, movement, balance and coordination are all core aspects of the senior nursery ballet classes.

Drama on Wednesday is a roaring success, quite literally! The return of Esther saw the junior and senior nursery class visit “Chocolate Land” and “Monkey Land” they all drew their tickets, packed their cases and boarded the imagination express to explore the wonderful lands.

Music on Fridays is always a treat. Especially this year as we will be gearing up for the Big 20th Anniversary Christmas Musical. Keep in touch for more news on that!

Even with all our great extracurricular classes we had more than enough time to get into our Montessori curriculum.

The junior nursery class are really immersed in the culture and animals of the Australian Continent.

Junior Nursery Continental Australia

They started by painting the continent it’s Montessori key colour brown. Once that was done they began to add their cultural art items. Including the cutest Koala Bear’s, some pretty dazzling boomerangs and spectacular snakes!

We were all very proud of our new nursery juniors, who range in age from 2yrs 2 months to 3yrs. This week one of our youngest students completed the first in the sensorial curriculum, the pink tower.  It really is a great moment to see a child understand and internalize the lessons of the Montessori materials, as each lesson builds the child’s confidence and cognitive abilities.

My First Pink Tower.

The pink tower is a beautiful material, and gives so much to the young learner. There are 10 cubes in graduated dimension from 1cm to 10cm. In carrying and sorting, grading and building the tower the child develops coordination, concentration alongside visual and sensorial discrimination of size.

Our “big school buddy” Emma came to visit on Thursday and she began a new literature project with the junior nursery class. The Gruffalo.

If you havent read Julia Donaldson’s classic children’s tale, get to your local bookstore quick and enjoy it for yourself. Emma brought a fantastic Gruffalo pop up theatre book and we recreated the story as we listened to the Gruffalo song. Then everyone made their own Gruffalo mask, complete with prickly purple spines and tusks! Have a look below, click on the image to zoom in and see all the detail.

Junior Nursery Gruffalo Wall

With all the news from the Junior Nursery Class, lets not leave our Senior Class out of the updates.

We are still continuing on our Asian expedition.

Now you see it..... soon you wont!

This week we made sushi.

Many hands did indeed make light work, both of the creation and the consumption of our sushi. It vanished so fast we hardly had time to take photos.

Everyone enjoyed spreading the rice on the nori, laying the cucumber, mango or tuna and rolling the maki.

Enjoying the maki.

Then we all enjoyed a piece with our lunch, accompanied by pickled ginger, soy and some even ventured towards the wasabi. A real treat for our developing taste buds.

Next week we hope to explore the beauty and diversity of Asian architecture. Come back at the end of the week to find out what we discover.

Not to be outdone by our little neighbours in the junior class, the senior class have been creating their own fantastic interpretations of the animals of Asia. Our chosen animals are the Golden Monkey and the Giant Panda!

Our Golden Monkeys

Our Giant Pandas

We also began our Role Play area this week with the Post Office.

Role Play is important for young children. Role playing encourages the use of critical thinking Participation in role-play allows students to make decisions, and through the feedback received, see the results of their actions, and can therefore learn how to adjust words and actions to produce more successful outcomes. It also teaches many lessons that are needed in society, such as competition, cooperation and empathy.

The Post Office is a great hit and we will be expanding its tasks this week. So far we have been posting letters, emptying the letter box and sorting the post for delivery.

We have two functions of sorting, either by shape or by stamp colour. We take turns posting, collecting and sorting. Children work in pairs at the role play area and everyone ensures they get their time to get into the role.

In the coming days we want to create our own postcards and take them to the local post office to send to friends and family as a keepsake of our time in the Nursery.  Before we do, we have to practice our stamp buying, and our post office etiquette in our role play area.

Hedley Park P.O

Finally, perhaps you may have seen our 20th Anniversary write-up in the Metro Herald on Friday 17th? If not, or if your copy got wet in all the sudden rain showers we’ve been having, worry not, here is a pdf copy to read at leisure.  MetroHerald 17-09-10

It is with that note, that we await the beginning of a new week in Hedley Park Montessori, I wonder what we will learn this week!

Thanks for popping in to catch up, if you have something to tell us feel free to comment. We’d love to hear from you.

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Have a great week

From all the staff and pupils of the little school!

September in full swing.

We are all very busy in Hedley Park Nursery these days. Everyone is in full on work mode and the buzz in the classrooms is fantastic.

Our Asia project is taking shape and thanks to an artistic friend we drew a fantastic map of Continental Asia.  Monday morning we all gathered round to wax crayon in the Indian and Pacific Oceans in the south and the Arctic Ocean in the North. Then painting smocks were donned and together we painted the continent its unique yellow colour.

In Montessori all continents have a colour, and yellow represents Asia. This helps the child connect all the various images and cultural items, books and most importantly the map jigsaw together. Giving the child a linked and unified perspective on each continent and a clear path for later recollection.

Each Thursday the junior and senior classes in the nursery join together for a cookery class. We try to alternate between sweet and savoury, always healthy, fresh and most of all fun! Everyone puts on their chefs hats and washes their hands as every child is encouraged to participate. Last week we voted on Jam Tarts! This is a great store-room treat, with lots of manipulative fun from rolling and cutting the pastry.

First we made the pastry, sieving and weighing are key skills.

Then we greased the tins, little fingers love the minute of these tasks.

Lots of rolling pins were ready once the pastry set.

After the rolling we used the pastry cutter – hours at the playdough table coming in handy here.

And finally spooning the jams and getting a teacher to help us put the tarts in the oven!

Yum Yum! We needed no help eating our jammy creations later on.

This Thursday we hope to try our hand at sushi! It will be great to make our own lunch, and try out new flavours. Hopefully our budding chefs will go easy on the wasabi.

In the senior class our special sound – C is coming along nicely too! We have our tray choc-a-block with Clocks, Cars, Caterpillars, Cows, and Cats! There is still time to bring your special C to class!

Check out our C board.

On that note see you all soon for more Nursery News!

From all the staff & pupils in the “little school”