Spring Catchup: Open Day, Art Exhibition & Hatchlings.

Senior Class: Flat Stanley Display

Senior Class: Flat Stanley Display

Spring term has flown by and we are almost into the Summer term! What an exciting and action packed time we’ve had. New arrivals, Lifecycles, Open Day, Art Exhibition, Lego Trip, so much learning, fun and friendship.

Enjoying the fluffy new arrival

Enjoying the fluffy new arrival

 

Where to begin? We left you last with the news that we had received some eggs and a hatchery. We can tell you that we witnessed two chicks emerge from their shells and they were proudly named Niall and Zayn (there really was only “One Direction” we could go after that) it was fantastic to witness the chicks’ hatch and observe them get stronger day by day. They seemed to enjoy their custom made home in our classroom. Once they were big enough they went back to join their flock but we really delighted in having them in the class with us and we all learned so much from their time with us.

 

Daisy's egg hatched

Daisy’s egg hatched

 

Another new arrival was from our school mascot Daisy Duck who found a little companion Diddle, hatched from an egg filled with little chocolate treats! What a lovely surprise for us all.

Senior Class: The Art of the Brick trip

Senior Class: The Art of the Brick trip

The senior class had a wonderful trip to the Art of the Brick in the Ambassador. We love Lego, it is one of our favourite free play toys, it has so much to offer from design and imagination to cooperative play and cognitive skills Lego is one of the primary “go to” play resources. The exhibition featured many 3D models made from Lego and amazing artwork reproduced with the iconic plastic bricks. It gave us lots of inspiration to do something really amazing with our Lego bricks back at school.

Speaking of art we were getting pretty creative ourselves. Working hard all month on canvas, each child had created a work of art of their own. Subjects, colour scheme, and media all chosen by the individual child we worked on our beautiful creations with the aim of an exhibition for our parent and family community to enjoy.

Welcoming our guests to the Art Exhibition

Welcoming our guests to the Art Exhibition

On the 16th April we were ready to receive our guests, with the senior class putting their years of grace and courtesy lessons to good use and took it upon themselves to act as silver service hosts of the event.  Bedecked accordingly they circulated amongst the parents and friends offering canapés and drinks, ensuring a good time was had by all. The exhibition itself was a sell out and we raised €1300 for new equipment to further assist in our learning.

 

 

 

Flat Stanley goes viral!

Flat Stanley goes viral!

On the topic of interactions with the wider community, the senior class also embarked on one of our favourite projects, Flat Stanley! We have such a wonderful culturally diverse senior class it seemed to be the perfect way for everyone to share a little more of their background and family connections worldwide by sending Flat Stanley on his travels to report back to us all. This year we had the happy coincidence of benefitting from some of our schoolmates that have left us to continue their studies in other countries and still keep in touch with their Hedley Park friends.

Flat Stanley, never one to be left behind the times also took some virtual travels as suggested by one of out teachers Aoife, and went on an internet tour of our wonderful Facebook followers. He was shared 30 times and visited New Zealand, Jordan, various cities in the USA & Canada, had a mini tour of the UK & Ireland, before heading to Germany & the Netherlands.

 

Of course that wasn’t the only project on display at our Open Day, each year we think we’ve seen the most amazing projects and work from the children, who really relish creating wonderful and unique pieces to highlight their learning over the past month, but this Open Day the students surpassed all plans and came up with some really wonderful projects and pieces to show to the Hedley community.

Reception Class: Practical Life Shelves

Reception Class: Practical Life Shelves

 

Starting with the youngest in our Reception class, it is here that the work is at its most concrete, the children love to work with the practical life an sensorial pieces, their shelves filled with wonderful activities to inspire and motivate them to work on elementary movements vital to later learning and expression. The polishing and folding work area has been expanded, young children love to be more involved in their own care, cleaning, folding, tidying and keeping things in their environment in order helps children to find their place and value in the group, whether at home or in school.

Reception Class: Polishing & Folding work.

Reception Class: Polishing & Folding work.

The skills learned in practical life activities assist the child to refine their movements and logic enabling them to successfully complete tasks around the home and class, thereby increasing the child’s self esteem and concentration.  Role Play, another popular area in the classroom, is a fantastic tool for expression, the listening skills, the verbal reasoning, imagination and turn taking are all vital elements in building social skills and verbal capacity needed to make successful relationships.

Reception Class: South America Continent Display

Reception Class: South America Continent Display

Our youngest learners also took on a study of the continent of South America, using their natural interest in chocolate (who doesn’t like chocolate) as a key to their learning, they found out about the continent and its people. Using pictures as discussion starters and stories of the animals, foods and people in the continent the children get a sense of the region that they will build on year upon year as they continue to study each continent in more detail as their interests change and grow.

Identity and belonging are natural cornerstones of the Montessori approach, each child innately discovering their natural abilities and finding their space as equals in the group. A wonderful activity for the children was on display, “Guess Who?” the children brought in a photo of themselves as new babies which they could discuss and figure out which picture matched which child. It gives the children an opportunity to discuss their families and histories with each other, bringing mementoes of their family into the school setting makes the daily transitions from home to school natural.

 

Reception Class: Guess Who Display

Reception Class: Guess Who Display

The Junior class had their own transition project, “My week with Bunny” saw the children spend a week with the class mascot, recording the process with photos and writing on their display posters. The children could then present the bunny posters to their classmates, sharing the story of their week and what happens in their family time through the activities of bunny’s visit.

 

Junior Class: Bringing Bunny Home Display

Junior Class: Bringing Bunny Home Display

The students in the junior class are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to using the amazing

Junior Class: We Love Our Work

Junior Class: We Love Our Work

selection of Montessori materials they have at their disposal. They get immense pleasure from the concrete learning that comes from working with the materials. Practical life, sensorial, maths and language are all used daily, alongside the culture subjects of history and geography. The learning that comes from the materials can often be hard to explain to those who are not in the class to witness the concentration and skills building daily as there is no “product” at the end of the session, so our teachers Aoife & Sinead decided to record the junior class love of Montessori materials in a photo collage.

 

Junior Class: Butterfly Habitat

Junior Class: Butterfly Habitat

Our most exciting project has been our Butterfly lifecycle, it has been fascinating to watch the evolution from larvae to caterpillars, cocoons to butterfly. We have been so drawn to the mini beast area, so it has been an amazing experience to see the changes daily, as the caterpillars grow bigger, climbing to the top of the jar to begin their metamorphosis from cocoon to butterfly. A project, which combines science and history, observation and prediction, recording and wonder. We really have been so inspired.

 

Senior Class: Ecosystem Display

Senior Class: Ecosystem Display

Not to be outdone the Seniors had a remarkable line up of learning achievements and outcomes on display. We discussed our Flat Stanley project earlier, but another major project combining some of what Montessori referred to as the Great Lessons. The importance of the Sun, and from it a study of the water cycle and the growth of plants and the delicate balances at work in our own ecosystem. This was an action research project, the learners in the senior class were inspired to reproduce a model of our ecosystem they discovered on their research. Using recycled lemonade bottles they built a perfect working example of how a natural ecosystem can be self-maintaining. Anyone visiting on the day was treated to a wonderful guided tour of the ecosystem and its operation. Thankfully we captured a later presentation of the same information to the children in the junior class. Enjoy!

 With so much done we will leave you now, but as the summer term beckons we know we will have much to report, tennis, sports days and school trips are all on the cards this term. Where will we get the energy!

 

Here is our slideshow of images.

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Yoga, Dinosaurs and The Heart…. a tour of our projects!

We are really happy that summer has returned to Ireland! It is brilliant to be able to take advantage of the warm afternoons in the park playing with our friends. Its just the kind of relaxation we need after all our hectic project work for Open Day 2012.

Reception Class Walking with Dinosaurs

This years Open Day was on Saturday 12th May and we were delighted to have so many visitors. Our students came with their families and friends and were so good at explaining all our hard work and projects to everyone. It was great to see so many new faces too, we look forward to getting to know you all better.

The students are eager to share their work with all our blog readers so here is a little recap of the projects and classwork.

Preschool Frog Lifecycle

The Preschool Class studied the lifecycle of the frog and the difference between frogs and toads. They learned the poem Five green & Speckled frogs and played the Speckled frog game. Playing games and learning poetry appeals to those that learn best through movement (kinaesthetic) and song (verbal).

We have many types of learners in our community and it is in our early years classroom that we observe the children first, to discover their learning styles. This is information that will be invaluable as they grow with us, enabling us to tailor the presentation and content of lessons to each child’s learning style.

Preschool 5 Green and Speckled Frogs

In Geography the pre-schoolers tackled the continent of North America, they learned about animals and plants native to the continent. They also created their own personal totem poles to represent themselves and made dream catchers. I love the airplane with a photo of the whole class “flying to America”.

Preschool North America

Our Science corner was very popular and we created lots of hands on learning experiences with the children to explain light and colour, wind and weather.

Preschool Class Science Corner

For many visitors their favourite part of the pre-schooler’s displays were the Self Portraits, listening to the children explain each part of the portrait to their family and classmates is adorable and the self confidence they show is a treasure to hold on to.

Preschool Self Portraits

Finally the preschool class would like to share with you their Yoga classes that they have been taking with Lisa and Magna. They have learned lots of poses and are really enjoying them all.It’s a very fun and relaxing time for all.

Speaking of relaxing, its tough being a 3year old and when the world is just getting too much our pre-schoolers have a place they can revive their sense of chi.

Preschool Relax Corner

The “Relax” Corner, has a soft mat, nice music and calming scents, plus soothing hand cream. It’s an express spa for toddlers! Namaste Pre-schoolers!

Preschool Yoga

Things were no less busy in the reception class where Junior and Senior Infants studied Dinosaurs and The Evolution of Humans.

Reception Walking with Dinosaurs

The project Walking with the Dinosaurs was really fun, each student picked one of our model dinosaurs to take home for a weekend. They named it and brought it on an adventure, took photos and made a Dinosaur presentation with the information and images. Very personal and very informative. Projects like this allow the students to express their uniqueness, the idea of the students as people in their own right is really emerging in this class, and they are encouraged to foster a sense of themselves, their abilities and individual natures.

The study of the evolution of humankind was fascinating, they learned about fossils and archaeology, making their own archaeological finds. Learning about early human kind, their tools and habitats gives the children an expanding sense of what it means to be human, what qualities we need to survive and what sets us apart. This is all incredibly important to the emerging sense of self our students have in this age group.

Reception Evolution of Human Window Display

In geography reception class explored Europe and it’s Volcanoes, specifically Pompeii. They made a giant paper volcano for the fireplace, complete with falling ash!

Their handwriting samples bare testimony to how far they have come since the beginning of the term. Again with the study of early humankind, the use of tools has been one factor that sets us apart, mark making being one of the most important. These young students have made fantastic progress with their handwriting and it is obvious these students are going to be separate from the rest!

Reception Class Volcano Handwriting

There was so much complementary work to the study themes available in the classroom, one of the ways of keeping the children absorbing without even trying is to incorporate the lessons into all the activities, art, practical life, history, creative storytelling, Aoife and Katie work hard to ensure that it all ties in making the learning is open-ended and personal to the children.

Check out the slide show at the end for more photos!

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Senior Class Flat Stanley visits South Africa

The Senior Class were not snoozing on the job either, they took on some weighty projects befitting our stately seniors students!

Senior Class Flat Stanley in Australia

Flat Stanley showed us the world, as he embarked upon his travels to Hong Kong, America twice, (East and West Coast), South Africa, Amsterdam, Australia & Wexford to name but a few places!

He played things incognito by trying on various disguises, designed by the students and the seniors finally made kites of Stanley Lambchop so he could continue his adventure wherever the wind took him!

Senior Class Flat Stanley in Disguise

Speaking of weather, the seniors created a very 3D water cycle display board. I love the clouds and raindrops, very lifelike! It is complete with their learning rhyme (to the tune of She’ll be coming round the mountain) being our scientific seniors they also partook in some weather related experiments; Making Rain in a Jar and The Evaporation Experiment (disappearing water).

Senior Class Water Cycle

Of course these were not the only scientific experiments undertaken, studies of the heart and blood were the “piece de resistance” of this Science inspired Open Day project work.

Senior Class The Heart

A heart dissection had earlier taken place with Ashley and was documented in photos on the wall. They learned about the components of a drop of blood, making their own replica of microscopic particles of blood, drawing their interpretation for display. Studying the parts of the heart and lots of facts about blood they even made a quiz for parents. In fact we might get a copy and put it here in case you tried to skip the test!!

Senior Class Microscopic Blood

The wonderful thing about our learning community is how well the students and teachers know each other, the projects really are a culmination of months and years of discovering what each child is already fascinated by or what even more importantly, they can develop a love for.

Senior Class Rain Experiment

The teachers on our staff prepare the topics armed with this knowledge and encourage the children with exactly the right information sparking the light of interest in each child confident that it will blaze within.

The senior class also displayed their linguistic ability as Gaeilge with their micro studies Mo Chorp and in English, with wonderful creative writing essays on display.

Senior Class Creative Writing

Of course there is lots of “all school” projects too, we don’t just stick to our classes, and many projects we enjoy come from our wonderful extracurricular classes, like ballet, music, drama, sport and new this year, Mandarin. In honour of the year of the dragon we extended our dragon project to include sample or our chinese calligraphy and phrases we have learned!

Our Chinese writing display

Now time for us to get to the park, and gear up for the summer term’s highlights of sports day and tennis camp!

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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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All School News: Obama Day!

Just a quick post to show off our Daisy Duck!

Daisy  - The All American Duck! :)

Daisy - The All American Duck! 🙂

She got into the stateside spirit to welcome President & Michelle Obama to the neighbourhood. Staying close by at the Merrion Hotel we thought we should ensure Daisy donned her best American outfit on the off-chance that the Obama’s decide to call in for coffee & cupcakes 🙂

We also want to say a huge thank you to everyone who came along to Open Day 2001 it was great to see so many familiar faces and many new faces too. We are looking forward to September already! 🙂

Keep your eyes peeled for a larger update on all the hard work done by our students in the nursery and preparatory school for Open Day. We know you wont want to miss it! 🙂 And I think when you see all the work you’ll agree the spirit of Obama’s  “Yes We Can” or as gaeilge “”Is féidir linn” is very apparent in the wonderful work undertaken by the students.

Thank you for reading and Happy Obama Day!

Staff and Students of Hedley Park.

An Open Invitation to you.

Returning from a summer afternoon in the park.

It’s been a busy Spring for us in Hedley Park and after an extremely industrious Spring term culminating in a relaxing Easter Holiday we are all looking forward to all the delights of the Summer Term.

Of course summer term has a few unique characteristics in Hedley Park. The most obvious being the return of our delightful summer uniforms. Our little ladies look enchanting in their dainty floral summer dresses and straw boater hats, and the gentlemen are not left out with the change to the vest sweater and blazer. It really is like the cherry blossoms marking the change of season for us.

Another cornerstone of the Summer Term is the

Hedley Park Open Day.

This year the big day occurs on

Saturday the 21st May from 10.30am – 12.30pm

Invitations will be on their way to you soon, but if you want a sneak peak, or if you are a prospective parent, feel free to download a copy here: Open Day 2011 Invite.

This Summers most exclusive invitation.

We are really looking forward to seeing you on the day, and I know our students will be delighted to show off  all their hard work on both personal and class projects.

It’s a great opportunity for current parents to meet and show their support for everyone’s hard work, and we are happy to welcome all the family, brothers, sisters, grannies, granddads, aunties, uncles; all are welcome. We are exceedingly proud of our students and their work and we know they want to share it with everyone.

It’s also a great time for new parents to come along and see what our Montessori environment can give your child. All our staff will be on hand to answer questions and chat about the work and facilities. It’s a “drop in” so no appointment necessary, however if you are new to us and would like to call to announce your intent to come visit we’d love to hear from you.

So mark the date in your diary, Saturday 21st May and come join us for a few hours of chat, fun and appreciation of the students work!

Look forward to seeing you then.

The staff and students of Hedley Park!