Jumping right into the new academic year!

Welcome back to the blog for the new academic year

Our senior prep school class have certainly jumped into learning with both feet!

We have so much news to share with you, September has been a busy, happy and productive month for everyone in Hedley park.

Firstly welcome to all our new friends and their families, we are delighted to have you in our Hedley Family. I’m sure you feel right at home by now and that’s when the fun really begins! And to our old friends we are glad you all had a great summer and cant wait to show off all you’ve done this month.

Learning about the Seasons through art and colour.

We will start with the preschool group, its been great to welcome so many little brothers and sisters of our pupils in the prep school group. While Hedley does have a strong family feeling in general, nothing beats actually having your brothers and sisters close at hand to share in the fun.

On the “new” theme, the preschool room got a summer makeover and sports a fantastic new home corner area and loads more notice board space to display all the work our littlest ones are doing.  If you haven’t done so already, give us a call and come take a look!

Through September the Preschool group have been learning about many themes, Autumn, South America, and Weather being the main ones. Aside from the traditional academic, sounds and numbers for  preschool, the Monetsssori environment places an emphasis on assisting young children to understand world cultures, geography, natural sciences and the society they live in. This is achieved through art, music, story and movement. But particular to Montessori is the exploration of these themes through the senses.

Exploring the properties of 3D geometric shapes. Do they roll? Do they have sides or edges?

Using touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing young children absorb the physical impressions of  world around them and use these later as the foundations and cornerstones of all the abstract information older children and adults process. In the Montessori school there are materials created to provide this input to the child and assist the child in really creating the strong logical framework it needs to be an independent and active learner.

Group Painting the South American Continent: a social and physical learning experience.

South America was the focus of our geographic trip around the globe for September. As you may know Montessori colour codes the seven continents, this helps young learners to classify and connect the learning and images related to each continent. Allowing for quicker recall and better connection of plants, animals, people and traditions of each continent. Pink is the colour of the South American continent and with the help of our teachers, the preschool group painted a huge mountainous continent for our notice board.

Take a trip to Sunny South America!

Renoirs "Les Parapluies"

Another amazingly fun project got the preschoolers talking and exploring the weather through art. Using Renoirs “Les Parapluies” as an inspiration, we talked about rain!

Hedley Park's "Les Parapluies"

 

 

 

What rain felt like? What rain sounded like? What a rainy day looked like? What clothes we would wear? What things we would need?

All great topics to expand vocabulary and enhance listening and speaking skills in the group. Then we made our own version. We are sure you will agree the feeling and ambiance of a rainy day is captured perfectly!

Prep Schoolers learn about the Wonders of Ancient Egypt.

In the preparatory school group Aoife & Katie’s class have been busy beavering around too! Enjoying the mixed age range in this class, with the older ones helping the younger ones. It really is true what they say, you remember 90% of what you teach someone else to do, experiential learning has been a big feature of the work of the junior prep school class. Montessori classes have a mixed age range from each plane of development, knowing that younger children watch older ones looking for example, this n turn inspires the older children to be more responsible, assisting the younger children enhances self esteem and providing the social cohesion of a caring learning environment.

Swish! Great African themed handwriting sample!

The group learning themes this month have been The African Continent, (coded green) Ancient Egypt, Autumn and our phonogram “Sh” and the sound “C”.

Autumnal Leaves! Displaying great pencil skills.

Everyone is enjoying the discussions, art, song and story during group work and circle time, but personally I am really impressed with the personal handwriting and colouring work from these young students.

Africa Wall Display, lots of fine motor skills needed: colouring, cutting, glueing!

Practical life, a wonderful staple of the Montessori environment has been given a seasonal update. Practical live allows the younger child to gain independence and fine motor skills, and in the older child it enhances concentration and raises self esteem through accomplishment of interesting and detailed tasks.

One of our Practical Life shelves in the preparatory school

Halloween spooning. Enhancing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Witchy Eyedropping Work. Eydroppers strengthen fingers and utilise the pincer grip essential for handwriting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Halloween and Autumn themed work has been really well received and was proudly displayed to me by the students when I went to ask them about their work. I really liked using the magnifying glass to “spot” bugs in the sand! 🙂

Footy Fun for everyone!

Last but by no means least, our senior prep school group in Ashley’s class have indeed jumped right in! You can see from their fabulous “Footy Fun” display board (also at the top of the page). This was a fantastic team building experience for the new “big kids” to be welcomed by their more seasoned senior class colleagues. Everyone got to experience a mini spa, as shoes and socks were discarded and painted feet left their mark. Highlighting that even down to our toes everyone is unique, our differing feet impressions were lots of fun to create. A nice aside to this was a small lesson in “care of self” as foot washing and drying finished the group work nicely. Well done to all you really did put your best foot forward!

Aside from their extensive individual learning the senior class have been working on three projects. Family Trees, Properties and Characteristics of various materials, and finally Story telling and Writing.

Our Family Trees! Colourful and Significant.

The family tree project saw, history taking on a very personal journey. Each child took time to talk to family members and classify each segment of their family tree. This is a great project for the older class, who are developmentally very aware of their position and place in the greater family and relative structure. It promotes a feeling of belonging that is central to self image.

Labeling our science project.

In science the junior experimenters have been exploring the properties of materials. What better way to find out about a material than to add something to it. Letting the students predict what may happen,  then observe and  record their findings. It is this concrete emphasis on the steps involved  in the scientific approach that will assist these young minds to really take in what is necessary to explore the world in a scientific manner. They tried their hand at oil marbling with great success. They also created a wave bottle, which was great fun until it fell and broke on the carpet. But all proving to be valuable physical property based learning experiences.

Oil + Paint + Water + Paper = Art!

A Story by Scarlett (Age 7)

 

The final group project involved literature and an interesting community based twist. The students used their imaginations, and IT skills to compose and print fairy tales of their own creation. Once the stories were complete the senior class authors had a “story time” for their younger school mates. This proved very popular and was enjoyed by all.

 

 

Knowing the senior class it’s just the first of many creative sharing experiences they will lead for the whole school to enjoy!

The Magic Box written and illustrated by Phoebe.

Thanks for stopping by, as you can see we’ve been really busy. We look forward to showing you our work from October very soon.

Don’t forget to keep your eyes on the Facebook page for detail of this years “Super Spooky Witches Walk”.

Hedley’s Haunting Halloween! (Part 2)

So now you know all about our Witches Walk, but that was really just the climax of weeks of Halloween themed work in many of our class groups.

As with our usual themes we like to use the Montessori and the national curriculum to scaffold and inform our work plans. Using these tools we make the learning fun and natural for our students. Allowing imagination, art, writing, observation and practical skills to intertwine our projects and bring them to life….. or “back to life” in the case of some of our Halloween crafts! 🙂

In the big school, Junior Infants had lots of spooky work taking place. Montessori practical life staples of spooning, sieving and pouring took on a new dimension with the addition of spiders and witches fingers, and other creepy cuties in the sand, water and rice. Lots of treasures to be found kept the students returning to the shelves for the work. You may ask why we have shelf work like spooning and sieving and pouring in a junior infants class. This work promotes hand-eye coordination, concentration, fine motor skills and the all important pincer grip for correct pencil holding. This strengthens hands for writing, eyes for reading and minds for further work. Changing this work often keeps the students interest and so further expands their developments in these key areas.

Four Cats or Four Pumpkins?

Another addition to the class activities was Cackling Counting! Number recognition, counting, pattern building, gluing and lots of fine motor skills combine to make a really fun individual learning activity.

Where shall I pin the pelvis?

Of course not everything is best learnt on your own, and Junior Infants work very well together on the Pin the Bone on the Skeleton.

Something else the Junior Infants are very proud of is their Witch and Pumpkin Art. Free Painting, stenciling, gluing, crafting and layering were techniques all put to scarily good effect on the halls and walls of Haunted Hedley Park! (Click each image to make it bigger… don’t be scared now!)

Senior Infants were bubbling up some devilish delights of their own. Again the marriage of the two curricula with a pinch of Hedley Park Magic, saw the children using thier phonogram work to put the Boo, Zoom, Broom and Spook into their “oo” phonogram.

They built a Dracula’s Castle, haunted by ghosts and many many vampire bats. This tied nicely into the end of their autumn hibernation theme with the study of bats.

The bats are sleeping!

Of course no truly scary art display could be without a portrait of the infamous SnuggMonster! I hope he doesn’t come after me! 🙂

Rounding up Senior Infants Halloween Work display, some frighteningly good handwriting!

Finally, the entire big school got involved in some pretty spectacular crafting and baking! The reception area planting took on a scary air with miniature witches hats, ghost lanterns and pumpkin lights!

They constructed a creaky haunted mansion from card……

And not to be forgotten…. the sweet treats (for eyes and mouths)

Ghoulish Cookies!

 

Eating the Cookies!

Icing the Cookies!

 

 

 

 

 

Haunted House Cake!

Spookily Spectacular!

I think you’ll agree the Junior and Senior Infants, with help from the rest of their big school friends are a talented bunch!

Hedley’s Haunting Halloween! (Part 1)

Hello All.

We hope you are all suitably refreshed from the midterm break holidays and ready for a great second half of our autumn term, but before we get stuck in we’d like to share our most special of Halloween activities with you.

At Hedley Park we like to take the students favourite celebrations and make them really special, and Halloween is one of the more spectacular in the calendar. With 2010 being our 20th Anniversary Year, the students and parents  were hoping our annual Witches Walk would be  just that little bit more dramatic and spooky and they were not disappointed.

Listening to a wickedly good story!

From early morning our little mummies, monsters, witches and warlocks, pirates, princesses and an action hero or two came to “ghoul” for their midterm party!

Faces were painted, as songs and stories, popcorn and warlocks brew kept the trick or treaters happily guessing what magic awaited them on the Witches Walk!

The Warty Witch

Up in the “big school” all was not as it should have been, it seemed that the spells cast by our  apprentice witches during the week worked, and we all gasped as we discovered a Warty Witch had kidnapped our beloved teacher Katie…  to help release her (and get our treats) we had to race to the park and collect the ingredients for her  most peculiar  of potions!

Our Witchy Families head to the park.

The Witch made a List......

Off we scurried and hurried to the far corners of the park (thankful we had our parents to help us on our way) in search of the witches horrendous haul. We found on our journeys amongst other things, bat wings, and slugs, buzzard’s innards, snake skins and bugs.  At each new discovery we sang our halloween songs and recited rhymes, some of us had even penned a poem or two for just the occasion.

Singing for our sweeties.

Bewitching the Witch with our words.

All of this kept our Warty Witch cackling with delight and we just knew one way or another that we’d get our Katie back!
Finally we gathered at the Warty Witches cauldron fire. We then had to ask her very nicely using all of our manners if we could please have Katie back.

We turned our backs for the magic spell and……. WHOOSH! We got our wish, Katie was back at school and we had yummy treats for our hard work!

We hope everyone had a Hauntingly Happy Halloween! 🙂

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.