Saturday, September 13, 2008

Photographic Album September 2008 (1)

Here are some images from our first full week of school. My assistants and I had set up the classroom pretty much the same as when the children had left in June with a few changes here and there. In a three year program there really should not be an "end of a year" as that segments the program into year long periods and in a way it promotes children leaving after a year rather than encouraging a commitment to the entire three or four year stay. So when the returning children came back to school after their "holiday" they went right back to work. Some had work that needed to completed still in their folders from June and independently returned to that work. One child came in, walked straight over to the math area, found his number scroll and sat down to continue it.

After a day of my assistant Patti being asked numerous times to help older children extended their number scrolls, she put together a self-help tray with graph paper strips, a stapler, an eraser and, next to the tray, scotch tape and pencils. It worked wonderfully. They even helped each other now that the materials were available. The returning students picking up their work like knitters pick up a dropped stitch is great in regards to classroom management.

Above: A second year student goes right to the carrot work.

Only the new children lack something to do on occassion, which provides an opportunity for a lesson. This Friday there was so much work being done by the older children that I was able to give several lessons to the new children. Already, older children have lead groups with the youngest new children. All and all, the year has begun well.

Above: A new three year old was so engrossed in his leaf washing work that he even washed the stones placed in the soil around the plant.

A new three year old carefully used the tweezers with his Indian corn work.

Above: Another new three year old does bread crumb work.


Above: Kindergarten children explore with the sensorial materials.


This year, I decided to focus on the hexagon in our geometry area. Therefore we did some work with that geometric shape and have begun growing crystals. As we move towards the winter months, our work with crystals will continue. Then when spring arrives we will shift to the study of bees and the hexagon patterns used in making hives. I have also decided to focus on the sense of smell this year. This does not mean that I will not being using all of the geometric solids and such or using all of the sensorial materials. It simply means that my extension-lessons will focus on the hexagon and on the sense of smell.

I continue to carefully complete the room finding hand embroidered towels for the hand washing table (above),

replacing the old sand tray table with one I purchased at the thrift (above) and completing the continent folders (my assistants Patti and Cristina did a wonderful job mounting and laminating the pictures I found).

Above: Also, I was so lucky to find an amazing piece of furniture for the children's work folders.

Another tremendous find where the above architecture models for the geography area. I love them and so do the children.

We ended the week with the bell game. Here a child walks the bell across the room and places it in front of a child who then walks it to another. The goal of the game is to not have the bell ring. New children get three rings when they first try. If the bell does ring the child carrying it returns with it to their place in the circle and tries again. This is not a punishment but a new opportunity to deliver the bell without it ringing. Children really enjoy this game. Years ago, I saw a child try 5 times before he was able to walk across the room and place his bell in front of a fellow classmate without the bell ringing. The room was completely silent as he walked and when he finished the children spontaneously began clapping. They were so pleased at his success.

My last word is this: Welcome aboard Mrs. Patti Ryan. I am glad you have joined the classroom.


Child's said...

Susan, you always give me so much food for thought. I was trained to begin each year with almost empty P.L and Sensorial shelves, with just language and math out for returning students. You have convinced me that your approach is actually consonant with Montessori philosophy, and I can't wait to make some changes tomorrow. Have you done any work as a consultant, and would you consider traveling to our school in NJ (30 minutes from NYC) to do a day of professional development with our staff? Thank you for your insightful posts!
Susan Lazev
Child's Way

Susan Y. Dyer said...

To Susan Lazey,

I can do that. Email me some dates. Mondays or Fridays are best for me. My Father lives in Princeton so I would take the opportunity to visit him. Also think about what you would like me to focus on when I am there ex. a specific area such as Practical Life, overall classroom management or set up. This would be very helpful for both of us. Please send me the above details via my email

I am looking forward to meeting you and your staff.

Susan Dyer