Jumping right into the new academic year!

Welcome back to the blog for the new academic year

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

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

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

Learning about the Seasons through art and colour.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take a trip to Sunny South America!

Renoirs "Les Parapluies"

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

Hedley Park's "Les Parapluies"

 

 

 

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

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

Prep Schoolers learn about the Wonders of Ancient Egypt.

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

Swish! Great African themed handwriting sample!

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

Autumnal Leaves! Displaying great pencil skills.

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

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

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

One of our Practical Life shelves in the preparatory school

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Footy Fun for everyone!

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

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

Our Family Trees! Colourful and Significant.

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

Labeling our science project.

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

Oil + Paint + Water + Paper = Art!

A Story by Scarlett (Age 7)

 

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

 

 

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

The Magic Box written and illustrated by Phoebe.

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

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

Big School News: Senior Class Science, Experiments & Projects!

"Hands On Learning" at the Young Scientist Expo.

In the last post we talked about the essential aspect  of  “hands on” learning style to the Montessori method, this runs the whole way through the primary system from 2-12. In our primary senior class the ladies have taken “hands on” to a whole new level.

How a tornado works.In January the class took a trip to the RDS to see the stands and projects at the Young Scientist Expo.  This proved to be a great success and in the words of the three oldest class members “it was really cool”. The school stands themselves, the fighting robots and the floor piano being particular hits. With all this inspiration under their bowler hats they returned to school to research and present their own science experiments to the class.

Science Experiment Presentation

Each girl researched a different experiment using the science resources in our library and on the internet then they practised at home. The next day they set up their chosen experiments to present to the rest of the class.

Our Experiments recorded on paper.

The presentations included combining bread soda & vinegar to inflate a balloon, creating a sunset from milk, water & a torch, showing how hot water travels from a hot place to a cold place, and proving that Co2 is denser than O2. This was the first step in the overall introduction to project work and presentation that the children of the senior class carry out throughout the spring term.

Fizzy Lizzy in full flow!

Of course individual projects are great fun, but nothing beats a class project, especially one that makes a big mess and has your teacher right in the middle of it. In a new take on the “Cocoa Cola Rocket” the class called this project “Fizzy Lizzy blows her top!” They took mint sweets and combined with 7up in a litre bottle. The aspartame in 7up combined with the gelatine from the sweets lowers the surface tension in the liquid and encourages bubbles of CO2 to grow exponentially, shooting out of the neck of the bottle to produce a fountain!

Goop in the beginning...

The class also tried their hand at making “goop”; combining cornflour, water and food colouring they made their goop, and then began to explore its properties. On a microscopic level, the corn flour goop consists of small starch particles packed close together. Separating the particles is a thin layer of water that acts like grease – allowing the particles to slide across each other and move around, as long as they move slowly. So, when you slowly push your fingers into the goop, the starch slides out of the way, allowing you to slide in easily. However, if you try to push your hand in quickly, the starch tries to move faster than the water can accommodate and grains come into contact. Now, the much stronger force of static friction acts between the grains – as long as they are being pushed together, there is force preventing them from sliding across each other – and the harder they are pushed together, the stronger the friction force is!

Goop on the move!

This is something like Roman arches that hold together without mortar. Gravity pushing down on the archway causes friction between the heavy stone blocks that stops them from sliding across each other and collapsing. In the case of our corn flour goop, the structure is random and “self-assembled”, occurring when there is a very high concentration of starch granules leaving only a small volume for the lubricating water to fill.

King of the Savannah!

All of the researching and presenting skills the students gained in the science experiments are composited in the presentation of the self-selected Nature Projects.

As our Directress Ashley informed me “Individual project work encourages the student to investigate varied subjects with great depth, promoting general reading, research and creativity in the child. The responsibility associated with completing their projects gives the students confidence in their own work and abilities.” Researching their projects from the wide variety of sources available from books on the topic, encyclopaedia and the internet the children learn to rate and compile sources and the information they contain.

Hippo Project.

Project work is the foundation for self-teaching in the senior cycle, learning the skills of time management, choosing relevant research sources, logical information compilation, and concise presentation of the facts will all be invaluable to the student in their further studies and in the eventual work environment.

Giraffe Project

It is no coincidence that the Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were Montessori educated, founding a business based on well researched individual work that merges to a larger project undertaken with cooperation and responsibility.

Stripey Sensations, the Zebra.

Another class trip was the stimulus of the natural world projects, this time to a resource right on our doorstep, the Natural History Museum. The girls selected an animal that inspired or interested them and the research began. I found it refreshing to note that while the internet was available to all students they did not rely solely on it, displaying a vigorous use of books as a resource also.

Flying Foxes.

Topics included Pandas, Flying Foxes, Leopards, Hippos, Giraffes, Zebras, Kangaroos, Lions and Tigers. I think you’ll agree that there was something for everyone to learn in the presentations of the projects and as Ashley reported to me “the class presentations are a chance to display the new-found and immense knowledge gained with the other eager knowledge seekers”

If you are interested in learning more, I know that the ladies of the senior class would be delighted to show you around their room where their projects are on display.