Hedley Family Breakfast Morning.

Lots of conversation and happy faces.

Lots of conversation and happy faces.

We wanted to update you all on our terrific Family Breakfast Morning last Wednesday.

It was fantastic to see so many of our delightful families taking time to get together and catch up. It is at events like this that the extended community of Hedley is formed.

We are so lucky to have such lovely families.

We are so lucky to have such lovely families.

Our families have always had a history of great friendships between each other and this atmosphere is part of the magic of our school, something that stays with families for years to come.

The children were busy all week preparing tasty treats and working out different competitions for everyone to enjoy.

Lots of fun working with chocolate icing.

Lots of fun working with chocolate icing.

From early in the week the senior students spent time with their younger schoolmates icing and decorating Yule Logs, and making delicious marshmallow and chocolate buns. They were so creative and worked like a true team, everyone helping each other with the jobs, getting it all in order for the big morning ahead.

On the morning itself our older students manned the competition stands and the younger students helped their mum and dad find some yummy breakfast and get to know the other families.

We were treated to a spectacular chocolate biscuit iced in the image of Minions dressed in their Hedley Park finest!

What an amazing cake! Thanks to Saorise & Michael's mum for donating it to us!

What an amazing cake! Thanks to Saorise & Michael’s mum for donating it to us!

It was truly remarkable, and we were so grateful to the lovely Mummy of Saorise & Michael; Susie who went to great lengths to get this fantastic creation for us. Everyone wanted it, but the fairest way to find out who should bring it home was by raffle.

Speaking of raffles’ there were so many prizes and treats that everyone won a lovely prize, which was a wonderful way to end our morning.

So all in all a very warm and friendly way to spend a morning, and to top it all we raised €1,100 so that was quite an achievement. We already know what we want to do with the money so stand by for more updates very soon!

 

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March Madness

St Patrick on the hunt

St Patrick on the hunt

Now that the Easter Eggs have been eaten we decided to look back at all the activities of March and share them with you.

The cooking crew!

The cooking crew!

Early in the month we went on a much-anticipated visit to our friends in The Glebe Montessori Primary School in Celbridge. Some of the teachers from The Glebe had come to visit us a week or two before and they invited our senior class to come and have a cooking class in their kitchen with their senior class. We could not wait and on the 11th March with our teachers Ashley and Katie we got on a bus and took a trip to The Glebe.

On the bus to The Glebe

On the bus to The Glebe

What a fantastic day, we cooked, we ate together, we laughed, and we got a tour of the school and especially the gardens with rabbits and chickens. Taking our lovely freshly laid eggs we went to the kitchen and got started.

Rolling our thumbprint cookies

Rolling our thumbprint cookies

Many hands make light work (and great memories) and we had lots of help from our new friends and their teachers.  At the end of the cooking we all went to the communal area where we sat together at huge tables all laid out, and we ate together. It felt a bit like Hogwarts and we loved it! Such an amazing experience for all involved.

Enjoying the feel of the dough

Enjoying the feel of the dough

Montessori promoted “wider horizons” in the 6-12 group, by which Dr Montessori meant showing the children the world outside their classroom walls, both physically and metaphorically. Not only giving them a chance to use their classroom learning in real and vital situations but understanding the implications of our actions in the wider community. Demonstrating to these young people why responsibility, tolerance, honesty, dependability and empathy are so important. It also gives them opportunities and situations in which to hone these skills that will be vital to the next generation.  Being in a close community like Hedley or The Glebe our children can only experience so much, but connections like these between schools is essential. Thankfully Montessori teachers are a very gracious and connected group but such sharing and friendships between schools isn’t always possible due to geography and transportation costs so we are in an enviable position with our friends in the Glebe. We look forward to returning the hosting very soon.

Being responsible and cleaning up.

Being responsible and cleaning up.

To thank our friends in the Glebe for the wonderful day the senior students made a photo book with personal thank you essays and poems, and sent it to them to commemorate the day. The students of the senior class in The Glebe emailed me with some lovely comments also; here is a sample of both schools observations.

A Special Day Out by Anna from Hedley Park.  
Hello I am Anna. Yesterday I went to The Glebe Montessori School. It took a long time on the bus. The Glebe school was cool. They had one rabbit and six hens. I made a chocolate mousse and some other children cooked jamcookies. They had eight goldfish.  They were very nice to us. I had a lovely day at The Glebe.

Getting started.

Getting started.

I enjoyed having the company of another school and we had fun.
Luke Aged 10 from The Glebe

I enjoyed talking to the children from Hedley Park and cooking with them.
Killian Aged 11 from The Glebe

It was really fun having another school over and it was really enjoyable.
Kerri McCarthy Aged 9 from The Glebe

Looking a lot like Hogwarts

Looking a lot like Hogwarts

The school trip by Scarlett from Hedley Park. 
I went to the Glebe school yesterday. When we arrived at the school the teachers showed us around.  We went into the classrooms, we stayed in the 6-9 classroom. We met some new friends they were very nice. We went outside and had a snowball fight. It was really fun. We then went inside to cook. We chopped some onions and grated the garlic. Then we put tomatoes, beans and sausages on the pan and mixed it all up. Next we cleaned our work space and got a mixer out. We got lots of butter, sugar and flour, we made some delicious cookies. We also made lemonade. When the cooking was finished we sat down and ate lunch together. I wish the day could start all over again, it was the best day ever!

Waiting for the bus back to school

Waiting for the bus back to school

I thoroughly enjoyed my day cooking and dining with Hedley Park. – Callum Age 11 from The Glebe

I had fun meeting the children from Hedley Park. Ben  Age 10 from The Glebe

I had great fun cooking with them and I liked their hats. –  Ethan Age 10 from The Glebe 

A graffiti artist Leprechaun

A graffiti artist Leprechaun

The next day we had yet more excitement, we had a secret visitor! Our leprechaun friend from last year had returned and was looking for his lost teddy.

We left him a message and he replied

We left him a message and he replied

 

Over the week preceding St Patrick’s weekend his antics got more mischievous and the children really got into the fun. Setting traps, hunting clues, counting the golden coins on the tree and leaving Paddy O’Leprechaun messages on the computer. Each morning everyone was in high spirits to discover what funny prank or message was left for us.

We are craftily getting ready for St. Patricks Day.

We are craftily getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day.

 

 

 

On the Friday before St Patrick’s Day we set off on a treasure hunt to find the man himself. Led ably by our representative of St Patrick we followed clues around the park, stopping for a song a poem and even a bit of a celli until we found Paddy and got our reward.

At last we find O'Leprechaun

At last we find O’Leprechaun

Just when you think we couldn’t possibly fit in any more excitement Easter was upon us!  A holiday we all love as its filled with our favourite thing, chocolate!

Bake Sale Wonderland

Bake Sale Wonderland

To get us in a sugary mood on Friday we had a wonderful coffee morning and bake-sale, with the added pleasure of an Easter Bonnet competition. The coffee morning raised €350 euro for additional upgrade to our equipment which is just amazing, and a huge thank you to all the bakers and buyers for their generosity. We had a really serious spread of delicious cakes, coffee and hot chocolate. When all was done and dusted we were also able to help the homeless of Dublin by donating 6 large bags of edible goodies to the Fr. McVerry Foundation an all round fantastic result.

So I think you will agree that we marched a huge amount of fun, learning and experiences into the month. I for one cannot wait to see what the rest of the spring term has to offer, especially with Open Day on the horizon!

The Bonnet Brigade

The Bonnet Brigade

Stay tuned for more news on that very soon!

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Winter 2012 – Science Snow & Sparkle

The Kind Christmas Tree Board

The Kind Christmas Tree Board

The winter season is well upon us and the Christmas spirit is alive and well in Hedley Park Montessori school.

The children are deep in character for their Christmas extravaganza, and all I can say is, even though snow may be forecast for this week. On the 18th December “the sun will come out ……..” and it wont be “a hard knock life for us” … what can I say, we will offer you “Annie” excuse to get in the Christmas mood and “wear a smile”. For parents looking for tickets, please talk to a member of staff. Our rehearsal is today Monday 10th (see Facebook page for details) for children from junior infants upwards.

Nursery winter wall

Nursery winter wall

On the big day itself (18th December) there will be an arrival schedule for each class group that will be communicated to you in the coming days. With our play housekeeping done let us fill you in on all the work we’ve been doing throughout November.

Polar Insulation experiment

Polar Insulation experiment

Starting with our senior class who got into the spirit of Science early in the month and have brought a scientific method to their studies in all subjects since.  They looked at Arctic insulation with a very hands-on experiment to show how polar animals keep warm.

Does a flame burn oxygen?

Does a flame burn oxygen?

Then a look at another side of that coin with an experiment to prove that a flame burns oxygen, this was fascinating as they got to witness the vacuum created by the flame as it burned the available oxygen and the water rose to fill the void generated.

In a further experiment, that took a little more time to witness, the senior class also created their own crystals along a line of thread. It was fascinating to watch the frosty looking crystals spread along as we progressed through the week.

Growing crystals

Growing crystals

The senior students also took a scientific look at leaf structure and types with some leaf rubbings and parts of a leaf analyses.  It is this sensorial approach to learning that the students have hones through their years in Montessori education that allows them to perceive the finest details of each leaf structure, identifying leaf types by touch alone, and internalising and synthesising this knowledge to build on their schemes of the natural world.

Leaf Structure Studies

Leaf Structure Studies

They got into the seasonal spirit with some lovely language arts display work, both as gaeilge and as bearla.

Snowman creative writing

Snowman creative writing

In English language arts they created original stories from the starting sentence “My snowman came alive today and he…” very creative an imaginative stories are on display on the walls. In Irish language arts they completed their Crann Nollag focloir sheets.

Crann Nollag Focloir

Crann Nollag Focloir

In a little bit of arts and crafts the class created gorgeous winter fir cone owls. I’m sure you will agree each is a very unique size and personality, but make a wonderfully unified clan en-masse, reflecting the class group itself.

Fir cone owl

Fir cone owl group

Another art moment took the class to a practical life exercise that helped them count down the days to Christmas day. They made a Santa with a numbered beard, each day they cut a little strip off with that days date until they have trimmed the beard in full and Santa is on his way!

Cutting down to Christmas

Cutting down to Christmas

Handmade Cards

Handmade Cards

Finally taking their place as the elders of the school, the senior class lead the school in creating wonderful Christmas cards and Yule logs for the sale of work at our fundraising breakfast last week.

It was wonderful to see the admiration in the younger students working with their older schoolmates and in turn the care and attention shown to the younger student by the senior students.

Creating a community

Creating a community

This really is the essence of a Montessori environment, younger children learning from and aspiring to the elder students, and the elders assuming responsibility and learning through teaching the younger. It was wonderful to see and experience.

Parts of a Reindeer

Parts of a Reindeer

While all that was going on in the senior class the reception and nursery classes were not falling behind in their winter learning. The Reception class also took a scientific approach to the season with their “parts of” displays.

Montessori created a wonderfully scientific and sensorial approach to learning about botany and the animal kingdom in the early years. “Parts of” jigsaws allow the child from the earliest experience to become aware of how the parts of something come together to create a whole.

Parts of a Robin

Parts of a Robin

Once the child has sensorially internalised this, they can move to connecting the names of each part. This serves as the first stepping-stone to further study and dissection of the unique characteristics of each aspect of the natural world. The Reception class chose the seasonal emblems of Robin and Reindeer.

Independent learning Robin

Independent learning Robin

The robin is a standard of Montessori part of study, but the reindeer is a lovely departure to inspire the students to look further than the materials to hand and a commendation to our staff who love to encourage the students to pastures of new learning.

Independent learning reindeer

Independent learning reindeer

The beautiful winter tree display with migrating birds leaves the room cheered to brightened the darkest winter spirit and serves to house the parts of labelling work that the students undertook either by handwriting each label (if they are at the writing stage) or cutting the appropriate labels (if they are at the reading stage) and identifying the parts during independent work. It is this independent work at the child’s level that is vital to the Montessori class, each contributes the work at their stage and all work comes to form the class board, no one feels in front or behind as each contribution at that students level is vital to form the whole and leave the student feeling accepted as an individual part of the unified class community.

Reception class Winter Tree

Reception class Winter Tree

The nursery class proved themselves, as ever, an art and craft phenomena. The scale and amount of projects and displays they create are astounding. It brings great joy to the class and their teachers to fill the room with wonderfully creative and bright display boards. November saw them on a literature exploration with Elmer the Elephant as the face of their sound of the month “e”, the elephant handprints are just exceptional!

Elmer the Elephant.

Elmer the Elephant.

They threw a party with the Gruffalo, on the party menu was scrambled snake, roasted fox and owl ice-cream and if that didn’t tickle your taste buds then the Gruffalo cake was sure to please the discerning palates of the nursery community.

Gruffalo Cake

Gruffalo Cake

I loved the Dr Seuss like rhyming words on the board, it’s a fantastic way to open the student’s ears to the sounds in words, and vital to inspire the word building that they are embarking on.

Gruffalo Party Display

Gruffalo Party Display

Annie Enright’s ‘The Kind Christmas Tree” took us on a journey of empathy with the birds to whom the kind Christmas tree gave homes to, a wonderful way to begin a conversation about the spirit of the oncoming Christmas season, being kind to others. The footprint robins are so cute and I’m sure when they go home they will make wonderful Christmas tree decorations for years to come.

Arctic Art

Arctic Art

The continent studies in the nursery this month was the Arctic and Antarctica. The students filled the walls with penguins, polar bears, ice caps, walruses and puffins. They had lots of experiential fun with the Arctic sensory box.

Arctic Sensory box

Arctic Sensory box

A sensory box allows the student to explore the colours, textures, sounds, smells and even tastes (depending on) attached to the topic. Small imaginative play items allow the child to construct meaning and explore the subject matter at hand in their own way.  The sensory box was very popular and we will with the aid of the students create more on further topics of study.

Jack Frost nipping at your nose.

Jack Frost nipping at your nose.

The seasonal theme of winter was also explored and illustrated in the displays and circle time talks on aspects of the season.  Jack Frost and the words that describe his work was illuminated on one, another depicted an igloo and winter scene snow globes, while paper cut snowmen was the icing on the cake for me. They really have created a “winter wonderland” of seasonal art.

Nursery papercut snowmen

Nursery papercut snowmen

With the season of winter well underway, we begin to decorate our classrooms for the Christmas festivities and we are looking forward to sharing all our holiday handiwork with you soon.

Lots of love

Students and Staff of Hedley Park.

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Spring Notes: Leprechaun hunt, Afterschool Activities and Open Day Invitation!

Gathering the clues to find our leprechaun

What an eventful March and April we have had at Hedley Park. Lots of news and events to share with you, but before we talk about all that has happened let us just remind you that this Saturday (May 12th) will be our annual summer Open Day. From 10am to 1pm you are very welcome to come and say hi, view our students work , classroom environments and ask any questions you may have. Current students and their family and friends will be there, as will any past students wanting to catch up with favourite teachers to share the news of their past years endeavours. So make your way to town for brunch and pop in on Saturday to see all the exciting display boards and ask our students all about their work.

Back to our spring catch up; March was a hectic month the centrepiece of which was our fantastic St Patricks adventures. Beginning early in the month we set our Leprechaun trap, but we did not plan on him being so crafty.

Day after day we found Larry had not only eaten the snack we left to tempt him but he had played with our shelves, left us notes, used our toilet and even left us a video message!! Still we could not catch him.

Leprechaun’s love Jam and Nutella on crackers!

 

On the day of our St Patricks walk we knew the time running out and our excitement was growing, finally we would catch Larry and find our pot of gold! We had an early and impromptu Irish dancing lesson and ate slices of our rainbow cake. Then with an enthusiasm even the rain couldn’t dampen we set off to look for Leprechaun clues. We looked high and low, around all the wonderful monuments in Merrion Square and yes, we did find our very own Hedley Park Leprechaun.

Finding Larry

Daffodil cupcakes

But that wasn’t the only thing happening in Hedley Park, March 23rdsaw ourDaffodil Day commemoration and the preschool class made fantastic daffodil cupcakes to mark the day.  We also learned about the chicken lifecycle by creating a lovely display board, just in time for the Easter break.

Shaving Foam Painting

 

 

Our afternoons have also been really fun packed. Lots of arts and crafts, gloop making and shaving foam painting being two on offer, and enjoyable games like musical chairs not to mention freeplay and dressing up. All of these allow us to work together and enhance our creative and imaginative capabilities. Children learn much about themselves during freeplay sessions, creative outlets, social play and personal projects give the child a fuller understanding of themselves and others.

Dressing up Fun

Our eager and interested teaching staff supervises the afternoons in Hedley but the children’s interests and wishes are the controlling factor. Allowing the children this freedom to decide what they spend their free time doing gives them a sense of empowerment and personal achievement that is at the heart of Montessori holistic education.

Finally a big thank you to everyone who came along to our sponsored walk on March 30th, thanks to your generous donations we raised enough for 3 more iPads! Now every class in Hedley Park has an iPad to research and learn on. It is amazing to see the children use them with ease and confidence. Even the reception class are giving their iPad a daily workout, they particularly enjoy using Montessorium’s intro to letters and intro to numbers,to compliment their work with the Montessori materials for sounds and numbers.

Montessorium’s iPad Apps

If you’d like to download them and use at home feel free to ask us about them at open day or next time you are in the school. While iPads will never replace the physical hands on with the beautiful Montessori materials in our classes, eLearning, confidence with computers and computer-assisted work are essential parts of the 21stcentury child’s learning portfolio. It’s the combination of traditional hands on learning and sophisticated eLearning in a natural and supportive setting that gives Hedley Park students the winning edge.

Layering our Rainbow Cake

So don’t forget to drop in this Saturday between 10am-1pm to see our students as they showcase their work and fun class projects and meet our team of warm and dedicated teachers ready to welcome you to Hedley Park.

See you then!

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Hedley’s Haunting Halloween! (Part 3)

The final installment of our Halloween work comes from the smaller students in the “little school”

Not to be outshone in any way by their older schoolmates, and in many cases older siblings. The preschool students got into the Halloween mood early thanks to some great junior class wall art.

 

Happy Halloween!

They charmed us all with their poem, Flutter Flutter Little Bat…. and created an arch way of painted bats under which they practiced.

 

In the senior class they also used the Halloween theme in some freakishly fun counting game.

 

How many Skeletons can you count?

 

Everyone loved getting to the five werewolves fingers, putting them on and howling made them giggle! 🙂

Another popular activity was our balloon vampires and ghosts….

 

Count Dracula I presume?

Ghosts Floating in the classroom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By far the most exciting craft was our pumpkin carving afternoon!

The rainy autumn evening was made more cheerful by the delighted and satisfied faces as they ate their afternoon snack in its glow. Knowing they carved his scary face and scraped his insides clean made our little charges only too pleased to show their handiwork to the proud mummies and daddies that evening!

Here we are cleaning him out…

Eugh its slimy! 🙂

Getting stuck in!

 

 

Forgive us for not having photos of the face carving, small hands, pumpkin carving tools and cameras are not a good mix. And all eyes were firmly on the carving tool! Hours threading, crayoning and painting joined to strengthen those hand muscles and sharpen the hand-eye coordination needed to carve the features, and the students excelled! But here for your votes is the little school Scary Mary Pumpkin... (don’t ask, that’s what he was called)

 

Turn the lights off, he's COOOOL!!!

 

A close second to the pumpkin, our Ghost and Bat Iced Cookies! Lots of rolling and shape cutting, spreading and a little bit of writing came together to make these yummy treats. We were happy to share at our Witches Walk Party! 🙂

 

Spreading the jam on the cookie!

and the outcome? …. yum yum!

 

 

OOOOOOhhhhhhh!

 

Of course yummy as the children’s cookies looked, we’d like to say a super huge thank you to the mummy who delivered the most divine cupcakes to us on the morning of our Witches Walk. Fresh and homemade, all the teachers are begging for the recipie!These are the cupcakes to beat all cupcakes. (We of course are happy to adjudicate on any challengers to that throne!)

Thank you Anya, Kyla (&Dylan)’s Mom

 

The only words are.... Om-Nom-Nom!!