© 2013 Washington Montessori Public Charter School
January 14, 2013
We are really getting back in the swing of things! The children really seem to be enjoying all of the new works.
Winter is not my favorite time of year. It is wet, cold, and children are beginning to get sick. The flu has hit the area and we have had a couple of cases of strep throat. The news has also made us aware that the RSV virus is back this season with a vengeance. We are really emphasizing handwashing, and are sanitizing tables and chairs on a daily basis. Susan sent out an email to all parents requesting help to clean and dust our classroom. This is especially important this time of year. If you can help out please contact Susan. If you did not receive an email from Susan please let me know and provide me with a valid email address; I’ll be more than happy to pass it on!
We are focusing on activities within the classroom that build fine motor skills and concentration. Examples include; weaving, grinding lavender, sewing sachets, cracking nuts, and cutting cucumbers. We have worked all year preparing the hand to begin writing. You have probably seen a ton of insets. There is typically a huge interest in writing right before or just as children begin to read, and we are definitely in the “writing explosion”!
Georgia O’Keefe is the artist being introduced this month. Chopin and Schumann are the composers. Sadly, my Chopin CD has expired. If anyone would like to donate one to the classroom it would be greatly appreciated. If anyone has a Georgia O’Keefe print they could share with the classroom for the month we would really appreciate a loan.
If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please do not hesitate to call or email me. If you would like to schedule a conference I will do my best to accommodate your schedule.
Stay warm and have a wonderful week!
December 9, 2013
Christmas is definitely in the air! The holiday concert and light show was a wonderful way to begin our season of celebration. The children performed beautifully and thanks to all of you for participating.
After several conversations it has been decided to nix the idea of the hot chocolate and cookie sale to raise money for the heifer project. For some reason the Christmas hustle and bustle has crept up on all of us. We are all so busy and an event of this nature would take a lot of planning and commitment. We also have to consider the safety factors during such a busy and congested time. I am so excited that the children understand the concept of helping a village so far away. I would like to make the suggestion that you have a discussion with your child about ways they could raise money and give your child the opportunity to find a way to be directly involved with things they could do. Examples are odd jobs, a percentage of coins from their piggy banks, asking door to door, etc. The children have set a very lofty goal and are trying to raise $480.00 for the knitter’s basket. That would be $24.00 per child and that is a lot of money. There is a very real possibility that we will not raise the money needed and a whole new learning experience will develop as decisions are made on how to choose the next best option for the village.
Book orders are due this week. If you would like to receive books in time for Christmas please order online asap. If you need more information please call.
Have a wonderful week,
December 2, 2013
Wow! The time is really flying! It is hard to believe we are already in December. We’ve finished North America and are moving on to Australia. We are also introducing the students to landforms. In Science we are going to be studying leaves, magnets, Rigid, elastic, and plastic, and experiments with gas. We are going to be polishing silver, making homemade butter and cutting bread, learning how to braid, sewing on a button, and nuts and bolts in the practical life area. Our musician this month is Tchaikovsky. The artists we are discovering are daVinci and Michelangelo. We also have lots of surprises on our calendar. This will be a very full month of information and experiences for our sponges to soak up!
I have a few people to thank this week. I count my blessings every night for having the level of involvement and commitment from our parents. The experiences that are offered to the children are so valuable and the connections made between information and activities are priceless. Thank you to the Boutiliers’ for the wonderful Sopes made for our class to try. We could not believe that every child tried them and almost every child loved them! Nothing like amazing food to expand our understanding of our global community! We had family members share treasured recipes and traditions which really added extra meaning to our feast. Every parent turned in their money and really took off the stress of having enough money to cover the activities. Thankful am I for all you’ve given us.
The school wide giving project this year is the Heifer International organization. Heifer International provides livestock and training to impoverished families, and teaches them to pass on the gift. I have prepared the children by reading the book Give a Goat by Jan West Schrock. We then looked through the catalog and selected the package we wanted to purchase. The children were so excited and they finally came to consensus on the Knitter’s Gift Basket for $480.00. The Knitter’s Basket includes a llama, an alpaca, a sheep, and an angora rabbit. We told the children that the cost was about $24.00 each and that was a lot of money. I asked the question “What could you do to earn $24.00?” Oh my goodness! The conversation lasted for about half of an hour. As a result of our conversation the children want to sell hot chocolate and cookies. I am going to meet with Susan on Thursday and talk with Administration to see if such an endeavor on such short notice is a possibility. Please let me know how you feel and I will let you know ASAP. This would be a great way to get some volunteer hours (lol). I have never had a class understand and get so excited about a cause before. You all are doing such a wonderful job creating awareness and raising good stewards of our planet.
The Holiday Christmas concert is going to be this Friday, December 6th at 6:30 pm at Washington High School Auditorium on 400 Slatestone Road in Washington. Please arrive 15 minutes early.
If you have not purchased a glockenspiel for your child they are now available at PC Sounds on Hwy 264 in Washington. I will send your child’s glockenspiel home on Friday afternoon. Please bring the glockenspiel to the concert and then return it back to school the following Monday. If you are unable to purchase a glockenspiel, please let me know and we will do our best to provide a loaner for your child. We have a very limited number of extra glockenspiels so please let me know as soon as possible. I will be at the front of the auditorium with reserved seats for your child. You will leave your child with me and go find a seat. 3-6 year-olds are among the first to perform. After your child performs the lights will come on and you will be invited to come collect your children and return to your seats. Ms. Rhem does an amazing job and every child in the school has an opportunity to perform. It is truly beautiful to watch and really sets the spirit of the Christmas season!
If anyone has an extra copy of music by Tchaikovsky, we could really use one. I only have a mixed CD with other musicians. The Nutcracker would be perfect! I am also looking for items to place in our Australia continent box. The children loved the North America box.
Have a great week, and please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions.
November 25, 2013
I’m writing this letter a little late in the day because I wanted to be sure to thank everyone for their contribution(s) to a wonderful and successful Fall Festival.
To the volunteers that helped bake and shuffle our groups of children around, THANK YOU!!!! Ms. Leary, Mrs. Carson, Toby and Kelly Boutilier, Diane Hippard, and Chris Westbrook, we could not have done this without you. Everyone had such a great time. The children are still talking about how much fun they had! I had a blast watching the parents get so involved!
To my parents that sent muffin tins in, thank you. I realized at 5:00 am that I was in trouble and had not requested enough pans. I really appreciate your help! Thank you to everyone that sent their money in; we could not have accomplished everything we wanted to do for your children without your contribution.
Tomorrow, November 26th is our Thanksgiving Feast. We will prepare a stew from the vegetables that the children chopped and eat our pies and cupcakes that we made today. So, don’t send a lunch!!!
Just a reminder, school dismisses at 11:30 on Wednesday, November 27th. If your child has a sibling they may be picked up at 12:00 with their sibling. There is no after school for preschoolers or kindergartners.
Please have a wonderful Thanksgiving. As a moment of reflection I would like all of you to know how thankful I am for all of you sharing the gift of your children with me. I am so lucky to have such a rewarding job!
November 12, 2013
Thanks so much to Jessica Bass for giving us our Red Plate Day. It is so much fun to be able to go out for a real lunch! I’d also like to thank everyone for the donations to our continent box. We are starting a nice little collection. I can’t wait for the children to explore the contents of the box.
Just a friendly reminder that field trip permission forms are due on the 13th.
We are having our Fall Festival on Monday, November 25th. We have our pie making volunteers, but are still searching for a couple of more volunteers to lead a couple of groups of children through the stations. Please let Susan or me know if you are available.
The country chosen for Kidfest in our classroom is Portugal. Our class studies Europe during the month of March, so I have chosen the month of March as the time to present and display the students’ projects. We will be working on songs, games, art activities, and other projects all throughout the year. I have listed each child’s topic and date of presentation below. Your child’s presentation may be prepared on a poster board no larger than 18” x 24”. We will be displaying the posters in the hallway from the day of their presentation until Kidsfest. I will be sending out more information the closer we get to March. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Mae Mae Art March 3
Caleb Capital March 4
Kingsley Food March 10 and March 24
Olivia Holidays March 5
Delaney Music March 6
Aaron Industry March 10
Luka Games March 11
Joana Childrens’ Literature March 12
Savannah Animals March 13
Naomi Language March 17
Aiden Sports March 18
Brenna Flag March 19
Taylor Clothing March 20
Klara National Tree March 24
Jayden Climate/Weather March 25
Brody Transportation March 26
Cyrus Money March 27
Rose Plants/Agriculture March 31
Judah National Symbol April 1
Customs April 2
Thank you to everyone for tirelessly donating your time and resources to make our classroom such a rich learning environment.
November 4, 2013
This year is really going quickly! It is hard to believe we are already in November. This month we are going to be studying North America, Native Americans, The First Thanksgiving, Parts of the Plant, Mammals, Introduction to nouns and articles, Beethoven, and Claude Monet. I am still in need of items for our continent box. I do not have anything from Panama, Costa Rica, Belize, Honduras, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Canada, or Puerto Rico. Donations would be greatly appreciated.
I will be sending out reminders for snack money. I apologize in advance for any miscommunication that may have occurred. Snack is very expensive and we depend on everyone’s contribution to provide enriching experiences for your child. Food preparation is a big part of practical life and provides many opportunities for independence, concentration, developing a sense of order, and developing fine motor skills.
Ms. Tracy has asked that when you send in money if you could put it in a Ziploc bag or an envelope and label where the money is to be applied. Sometimes we have several things going on at a time and it can get a little confusing.
You will also be receiving a letter that will give you instructions for ordering Scholastic Books online. It is pretty simple and with the giving holidays coming up, may be something of interest to you. Our classroom receives credit and can earn rewards such as gift cards to Michael’s, Target, or Office Depot; as well as books for our classroom. We will still be more than happy to send your order in for you if that is your preference.
We are getting ready to start preparing for Kidsfest! Our country is Portugal. We will be working with your children selecting topics and choosing dates for their presentation. I will send out an initial list next week. If you have any specific interests or preferences please let me know and we will do our best to accommodate. We will try and do one or two presentations a week and will begin after Christmas break. All children will be invited to participate as we help develop your child’s understanding of how vast and how diverse our planet is.
I am looking forward to parent conferences this week. If the time allocated for your conference is not convenient we are more than happy to reschedule.
Have a great week!
October 28, 2013
Our field trip was such a wonderful experience, thanks in large part to all of you. I can’t wait for our next one!
I am attaching a letter about our Fall celebration that will be held on Monday, November 25th. We are asking for a monetary donation to cover expenses of the celebration as well as the food that we will be preparing for our feast on Tuesday, November 26th. We will be asking for volunteers on Monday, the 26th, to help with the stations and to supervise our groups of children. Our class has been assigned storytelling and pie making. I’ve got the storytelling covered, but am definitely going to need help with the pies! If you are available please contact Susan and let her know. If you have questions please email me or give me a call and leave a message.
The end of the month is upon us and we will be starting new lessons and experiences. We have studied the world and many of you are seeing the beautiful maps your child has created. In November, we will focus on the continent of North America. We are going to be studying the people, the flags of the countries, the animals, and the food. We will be serving snacks from all across the continent. I am also implementing something new this year and I really need your help. I am making a continent box. This box will contain items from all over North America. Examples are: money, post cards, artifacts, stamps, music, art prints, souvenirs, etc. If you have any of these items could you please send them in to the classroom? The more participation we have, the more your child will develop an understanding of diversity and global awareness.
Parent conferences will begin on November 4th. I have received requests for a few changes. If you need to change your conference time, please contact me and I will be happy to reschedule. I am looking forward to having discussions with everyone about your child.
October 21, 2013
I’d like to apologize for not sending a letter last week. I was in the mountains and my plan was to send my letter from my camp. Well, there was no internet service or phone service. I think I was beginning to experience withdrawal symptoms!!
We have been so busy this month. Your children have had lessons all across the curriculum. We are discussing Fall; I brought in some mountain apples and the Boutiliers’ brought in some apple cider from an orchard they visited. We are going to peel the apples and cook applesauce in our crockpot today. We will have applesauce and cider for snack on Tuesday. Yummm!
We are also talking about pumpkins, spiders, and skeletons. You should be seeing little books that your child has the choice of making. This work is called nomenclature. It serves so many purposes in our classroom. Developing concentration, vocabulary enrichment, print awareness, matching, and copying are a few objectives covered in this work. Save a book from the beginning of the year to compare with one made toward the end of the year. You’ll be amazed at the difference.
There are many lessons and works your child has been introduced to this month. In Science we are working on plants, animals, and minerals, vertebrates and invertebrates, 5 animal kingdoms, fur, feather, and scales, and the properties of matter - liquids, solids, and gas.
In Geography lessons and works have been presented on the continents of the world. Children are experiencing puzzle maps of the world, introduced to people and cultures in the world, animals of the world, and making their own map to take home. They will also be introduced to the parts of the flag.
In Art, your child has been introduced to Vincent Van Gogh. We are reading about his life, talking about his style, and looking at pictures of his work. They are having experiences with cutting, gluing, painting, sculpting, patterning, and drawing.
In music, we are studying Johann Sebastian Bach. We listen to a CD of his music everyday.
Language, Reading, Writing, and Math are presented to each child on an individual basis as they progress through the curriculum. Your child has been introduced to their work journal and are in the process of learning how to make choices. We are working on learning how to balance our day with what they would like to do and what they are responsible for. The work journal is also a record of all the individual lessons that have been presented to your child. First year preschoolers do not typically have a journal until well after Christmas, and then it is a choice.
If you would like to donate items to the classroom, we are in need of the following items: packages of 4 sponges, clear plastic coffee can lids or pringle potato chip lids, two apple trees and someone to plant them, a CD by Bach, and any prints by Van Gogh.
We would really like to thank Mrs. Hippard for volunteering in the garden. The hanging baskets look wonderful. If anyone would like to work in the garden there is still plenty of work to do. Please contact Susan or me for suggestions.
Your time is very valuable and very much appreciated. Please be sure and record your volunteer hours. There is a blue folder outside my classroom door for you to record your time. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to ask me or Ms. Tracy. Just a reminder; driving for field trips counts toward your volunteer hours.
The field trip itinerary has been approved! Mrs. Kennedy is typing up the final draft and you will find it attached to the parent letter.. Thank you for your patience.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call or email me.
September 29, 2013
It is hard to believe September is already coming to an end. Your children have been introduced to so many lessons! They have learned all of the grace and courtesy lessons from how to sit on line to how to shake hands. They have been introduced to land, air, and water, the address of the universe, prepositions, mapping their right hand. North, South, East, and West, the use of the compass, the four oceans, and all about each other’s families; and that’s just geography! In Science they have been introduced to the principles of matter, living and non-living, the five senses, and composting. They have learned how to work in the garden. We had art discussions and listened to the music of Mozart. Needless to say, our days have been full!
I would like to thank the Albaneses, Boutiliers, Keusenkothens, and the Perrys for all of their hard work in the garden. The plants are beautiful and the children are so appreciative and excited. If you haven’t had a chance to volunteer yet, don’t worry, there is always plenty to do!! Susan has a huge list!!!.
Please pay close attention to the field trip permission slip. There is a due date to have the slip and the money returned written on the form we sent home. If you did not get a form, please contact me and I will get one to you. We cannot accept money or slips past the due date. The field trip itinerary for the year has been completed and we are waiting for approval from administration. As soon as it is approved, we will send it home. We have some wonderful experiences planned.
Just a reminder; Donuts for Dads is Friday, October 4th. This is an opportunity for Dad to come in and have a donut with their child and let the children share some of the works they have been doing. If Dad is not available, Grand Dad or any male that can come in and spend time with your child is welcome. We’ve even had the occasional Mom!
We are looking forward to a busy month, full of lessons and activities. I will keep you posted on some of our topics and lessons as they are presented in the coming weeks.
September 22, 2013
We continue to work on building our classroom community. Lessons are being given, volunteers are being recruited, and everything is pointing towards the beginning of a great year. This week we will be celebrating the arrival of Fall, talking about apples and Johnny Appleseed.
If you have sent in your email address, thank you. You should be getting an email from our room mother soon. If you haven’t sent yours in yet, there is still time!
Last week I sent home order forms for Scholastic Book and neglected to send you a date to return the order forms if you were interested in purchasing any books. Please return the order forms by Thursday, September 26th.
When we had the parent orientation this past May, we went over our music program and talked with you about purchasing a glockenspiel. Unfortunately, the glockenspiel was left off of the supply list that was mailed to you during the summer. Ms. Rhem has expressed a need for more glockenspiels. If you are interested in purchasing one for your child it would be greatly appreciated. There is a specific glockenspiel that Ms. Rhem uses and it is available at PC Sounds on Hwy 264 in Washington. Just let them know you are from Washington Montessori Public Charter School and they will give you the correct glockenspiel. The cost is around $30.00.
We are continuing to work on our Field Trip Itinerary and we should have it completed it by this Wednesday, September 25th.
Just a reminder; Friday, September 27th is a Teacher Workday. There will be no school for students. Enjoy your nice long weekend!
September 16, 2013
We have had a very busy week. Everyone is getting used to the environment, learning procedures and making a lot of friends.
Thank you so much for sending in your child’s “All About Me” pages. I appreciate the family pictures. It helps your child feel welcome and comfortable. Montessori classrooms are supposed to be an extension of home.
As I mentioned earlier, Susan Keusenkothen is our room mother. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and her telephone number is 252 327-4409. She will help coordinate drivers for field trips as well as volunteers for classroom needs. She will be contacting you soon to volunteer to come in the classroom on September 20 for the teachers’ Red Plate Day. This allows each teacher to go to lunch for one hour once a month. If you are available that day, you may contact her and offer to volunteer for one or two hours from 11:30 – 12:30 and/or 12:30 – 1:30.
Susan will also be contacting parents to volunteer in the garden. The garden is an extension of the classroom and is in dire need of plants, weeding, and many other jobs. Some of the things we need done are as follows: We need plants. We are trying to have something blooming in the garden year round. We have divided the tasks up between the classrooms, and our class has been asked to dig up some bushes that are not producing, and dig up some Iris bulbs that have taken over the garden. We have been asked to plant zinnias, lantana, a hydrangea bush, a camellia bush, a rose bush, verbena, gerbera daisies, and the following herbs: fennel, parsley, lavender, mint, chamomile, or any other flowering herb. We are also looking for milkweed seeds to plant to attract Monarch caterpillars. We also need someone with a hacksaw to help prune our rose bush. We need someone that could hang our flower boxes back on the fence and our hanging baskets on the posts. The list goes on forever! The children are already having lessons on how to work in the garden, so your help is a real priority and would be greatly appreciated. If you can commit to any of the tasks listed above, please contact Susan and let her know. You can do this anytime convenient for you; even after school hours or on the weekend! You can even contact other parents and work as a team! Please keep up with your time and let Susan or I know so that we can record and count this toward your volunteer hours.
The level is planning to meet Wednesday and finalize our field trip itinerary. Once it is approved, we will send out a copy to you. We will send out permission slips prior to every field trip and this is when Susan will begin coordinating drivers.
We have been asked to select a country for KidsFest this year. Our class has selected Portugal. We will send out more information on activities planned at a later date.
You will be receiving book order forms in your child’s communication folder this week. If you are interested in ordering books you may send in a check made out to Scholastic Books or you may order online. If you are interested in ordering online, please send me an email and I will give you our class sign on information. Please return the book orders by Monday, September 23rd.
I hope everyone has a great week. I know we will!
September 9, 2013
What an amazing first day all together! There were a few nerves, a few tears, and a lot of joy. The children are quickly becoming comfortable in their new environment, with their new friends and teachers.
We have been giving a lot of grace and courtesy lessons, providing opportunities to practice, and finding where each child needs to begin lessons. If you ask your child what they did today chances are pretty high they will tell you “we played”. Listed below are some of the lessons introduced:
We have been talking about families and all about Me. Songs, stories, and a variety of enrichment activities are planned. Attached you will find a sheet for you to complete with your child. We love learning about each other. Please send in the address and phone number you would like your child to know. There is a work in the classroom to help teach this concept. One of my favorite works I like to request from families is a sequencing work. This is when a child picks an activity and the parent takes pictures of the child throughout the activity and sends it to school. In the past some things that have been sent in are: getting ready for Sunday School, baking a cake, riding a bike, etc. I will return the work to you at the end of the school year and you will have a priceless keepsake. Seven to ten pictures is usually the number of pictures in the sequencing activity. I hope we get a lot of participation. This is always a favorite work!
Other topics we will discuss this week are living/non-living; composting; the five senses; land, air, and water; the address of the Universe; an introduction to art; the calendar; and an introduction to woodworking. This month we are studying the composer Mozart. The children are listening to his music everyday in the classroom and learning about his life.
Susan Keusenkothen is our room mother. We will meet Wednesday and pass on more information to you next week. She will help coordinate events for our level and school; contact drivers for field trips; and contact volunteers for special projects.
Montessori has a very unique and beautiful way of celebrating birthdays. We call this celebration a “Walk Around the Sun”. We invite the parents and siblings to come in and celebrate with us. We’ve even had grandparents attend. We will contact you shortly before your child’s birthday and schedule a day (preferably the child’s actual birthday) to celebrate. It takes one year for the sun to revolve around the earth, so you will be asked to bring in a picture from birth, one year, two years, three years…… After each year we will ask you to share a special memory you may have. We usually schedule the Walk Around the Sun at 2:00 in the afternoon for kindergarteners or 8:30 in the morning for preschoolers. If these times are not convenient we will be glad to schedule a different time for your child’s celebration. If you would like to send in a snack, we ask that you send in a healthy snack the morning of your child’s celebration.
I am looking for volunteers to help with the garden. We need flowers planted, bushes pruned, weeds pulled, flower boxes installed, and we are always open for suggestions. Even an hour makes a huge difference.
One of the many jobs we have in our classroom is the florist. Every week we will ask a child to take a turn and bring in the flowers for the classroom. These flowers may be picked or purchased. Flower arranging is an important work in our classroom. The children love bringing something in for their classroom. They appreciate the beauty of flowers and it provides a way to take ownership of their environment. You will receive a note once or twice a year when it is your child’s turn.
I have had several requests from parents to visit their child in the classroom. I usually ask that parents wait until October before they visit. This gives the child time to become comfortable and independent in the classroom. After October you are invited to work with your child, observe, and have lunch. I would appreciate it if we could be notified of a visit, but it is not required.
We have a very busy week ahead of us and we are eager to get started. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call and leave a message (252 946-1977), or email me at email@example.com .
Our first three days have been amazing. I would like to thank you for your support and patience during our beginning days. Staggered start gives us the opportunity to set the stage for a whole year of learning. I have loved beginning to build a relationship in a small group with your child. Your child has already learned and practiced so many beginning lessons. One of my favorite observations is the excitement the children generate as they develop confidence and take ownership of their environment.
Today, you are receiving this letter in a folder. This is our communication folder. It is my goal to send this folder home every Monday. Please return this folder promptly. This is where you will find your weekly classroom letters, any other classroom communication, administrative information, FYI’s, etc. Every month I will send a snack envelope home for you to place your child’s snack money. It is $8.00 a month and I would really appreciate it if you would return it by the 15th of the month. Please pay for snack in cash. Checks are confusing for me and very time consuming. You also have the option of paying for snack by the year. If you would like to pay for snack by the year, please come by the classroom and pay in person so that I can record and receipt your payment in your presence.
If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me. You may leave a phone message any time during the day. Ms. Tracy or I will check messages throughout the day. If you need a call back, it will be after the children have left for the day, unless it is an emergency. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. I check my email daily and will do my best to reply in a timely manner. If you need a conference I will be happy to schedule one as soon as possible.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to teach your child. I am so excited about the journey to help your child develop a genuine love for a lifetime of learning. Oh, the things we will do and the places we’ll go!
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