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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Our Seniors are Out of This World!

Solar System Collage Board

The senior class have finished their individual presentation activity for the spring semester. This time the topic was, the Solar System and the students really went to the ends of the Milky Way with the effort involved.

Each child chose a planet and had to research their planet, using the school iPad, the “regular” Internet via the in class pc’s and all the books they could find, then organise and type or write out the information on large poster sheets. Finally they each stood up in front of their peers

and teachers to present the information clearly and succinctly. The presentations were also recorded on our iPad and if you are a parent and haven’t seen them already, or have but want a copy of the video file for yourself send me an email and I’ll give you access to the secure online storage of them.

Illustrations and photos were all put to good use, as well as some wonderful typing skills and lovely handwriting and I have to

say not only did the posters give you a flavour of the planet in question but there was some real flavour of the student themselves in each presentation. (No one was left wondering who was the owner of the Earth poster!)

 

Poster presentations are a wonderful tool for learning, enhancing each individual’s preparation and research. Giving the child practice in selecting the most important pieces and summarising what they have discovered leads to focused learning and appeals to the students, visual, logical, verbal and kinesthetic learning styles. Allowing the child to prepare a poster independently heightens their ability to focus on how best to communicate and organise the information they would like to have on the poster gives them a sense of the flow of information both visually and verbally.

Of course the presentations themselves are a learning experience and our future public speakers will have no confidence issues at all. Montessori education allows for peer-to-peer teaching as a large part of the method. Children who have mastered particular task are encouraged to demonstrate the lesson to younger classmates. This creates a bond in the class and helps the younger child emulate their older classmate, and gives the older child confidence in delivering a message to one or more people.

All this amazing research and presentations was founded and furthered by the group classwork on the major theme of the solar system. The class created a fantastic collage solar system around which their presentation posters were placed, so that everyone could benefit of the research.

They also created some really interesting flip books on the planets, showing what they learned from their classmates presentations.

Finally their last art project was “far out” as they depicted themselves falling through space. Using tracings of their own hands and feet, they learned about perspective and drew their bodies falling backways! Very spacey!

Come back soon as we will be posting all the fun of our Leprechaun hunt, and news of our Easter activities. Not to mention our Open Day on May 12th. If you are a past pupil, current parent or prospective student, we’d love to meet you and show you our great work in person.

Have an "out of this world" week!

Big School Mooos! Senior Infants Dairy Tasting.

Fun Food & Nutrition!

Who says learning can’t be tasty and fun? Not our Senior Infant class, that’s for sure. Any class that involves tasting cream, cheese, chocolate, home-made scones and ice-cream is sure to remain in the minds for a long time.

Discussing the food before tucking in!

Modern teaching practices extol the virtue and indeed necessity of hands on tactile experiences to the young learner, but it was Maria Montessori at the turn of the last century who recognised involvement of the senses as the essential learning tool of the child.  Throughout the Montessori curriculum we see the engagement and refinement of the child’s senses to organise and classify the world around them.

Yummy Dairy Goodness.

Beginning with the sensorial materials, the child’s senses are honed to distinguish fine variations in texture, weight, length, width, temperature, colour, sound and taste. Once these foundation blocks are in place the child can use them to frame their learning in all areas. The “sensorial” learning style is evident in maths, language, culture and science.

Parts of the Cow Display

Our Senior Infants embarked on a project to discover the place of dairy products in our diet. Beginning with a study on the dairy cow, they labelled the parts of the cow and created a wall display.

They practiced their handwriting cutting and drawing skills through various handwriting samples on the theme.

Handwriting Samples.

Handwriting Samples

The budding scientists then collated and classified various food packaging to produce another display of dairy products commonly found in our diet.

Dairy Food Packaging Samples

But by far the highlight of the Dairy Food Project was the tasting morning.

Tasting Table

Using their senses of smell, taste and touch the children sampled various dairy foods and classified them according to sweet, savoury, bitter, hard, soft, cold  and warm.

Cheese, Crackers & Grapes.

Discussing their experiences of the foods in the group added to their vocabulary store, allowing the students to learn new ways of communicating the food experience to each other.

Likes and Dislikes

 

They then filled in their “likes and dislikes” to record the morning’s activity.

 

 

We all know which dairy food our friend “Lots’o Huggin Bear” liked!

Lots'o Dairy Fun.

Lots’o Thanks from Senior Infants for reading all about their project.