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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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 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!

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.........

............bet 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!