Recently, we had a garden work day with our children and some parent volunteers. Many thanks to our volunteers for helping to keep our garden beautiful! Did you know our outdoor area is 'Schoolyard Habitat' certified by the National Wildlife Federation?
We love having a beautiful outdoor space for the children to explore! The children always have a wonderful time playing in the garden. I think these pictures capture this quote from Maria Montessori perfectly:
"Let the children be free; encourage them; let them run outside when it is raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and when the grass of the meadows is wet with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet; let them rest peacefully when a tree invites them to sleep beneath its shade; let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning."
Thank you Meg Porter of Meg Porter Photography for capturing these moments of childhood!
We had a great time at our Valentine's Day parties. Many thanks to our wonderful parent volunteers who made this happen, and to Meg Porter Photography for capturing the smiles and memories we made. Enjoy these photos of our fun parties!
"We love because God first loved us" 1 John 4:19
The Afternoon Class is an extended learning period for our children ages 5 and 6 years. During the time after lunch, the children are able to delve deeper into some of the classroom work. On this day, they were doing a special activity learning about the differences between mammals and reptiles.
The children enjoy working in small groups. Working together provides plenty of opportunity for practicing social skills and navigating relationships. Problem solving with others is a skill that will be needed throughout the one's life.
The children also worked on Geography using the puzzle map of Europe. We have one map for each continent and one for the United States. The puzzle maps are a great example of how a material can be expanded upon. The younger child might do the puzzle and compare it to the globe, an older child can write the names of the countries and read and write about them.
The afternoon children work with math materials, moving from the concrete beads to more abstract activities. We say the child has abstracted the concept when she has memorized it and can apply it to other ideas. The earliest math materials work with numbers 1-10, and the later activities allow the child to manipulate large numbers and understand the hierarchy and mathematical language of numbers.
Very rich language work takes place in the afternoon class. In addition to practicing writing and reading, the children study the way our language works. They learn about the word that tells you 'what' (the adjective), 'the action word' (verb), and 'how' (adverb). They cut apart sentences and read them out of order and in order to understand sentence structure. For example 'The children laughed' can be moved out of order to say 'Laughed the children'. We talk about which sentence makes sense, and which sentence means the same thing. It is very interesting to experience language this way, and it leads to a deeper understanding of spoken and written word.
More in depth studies of art, music, and geography may also take place in the afternoon. It is a wonderful time to learn more about any subject!
"Free the child's potential and you will free the world" -Maria Montessori
Many thanks to Meg Porter of Meg Porter Photography and Meg and Kate Weddings for the images in this post.
"I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year" - Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Last month, we celebrated the Christmas story with a lovely play presented by our children. It is always very special to see the story of Christ's birth through the children's words and actions. Below are some photos and words from the play. Thank you Meg Porter Photography for these images!
Getting in costume...
Our toddlers were the stars of the play...
Finally it was time to go up to the sanctuary...
"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken. Joseph went from the town of Nazareth to the town of Bethlehem. He went there with Mary, who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born."
"Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them at the inn."
“There were shepherds keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them”
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy. Today a savior has been born”
"Glory to God in the highest, and peace to His people on Earth"
Family Day is a much loved tradition here at COLM, and the Friday before Thanksgiving we celebrated our 23rd annual Family Day. The children enjoy making a soup to share. All the families sent in ingredients, and the children prepared the soup on crock pots the day before.
Families were able to visit the classrooms and take a peek at all the activities the children enjoy working with.
After visiting the classrooms, the primary children made a turkey with their hand prints and a picture frame with their class picture.
Next, we headed up to the sanctuary for our performance. Everyone did a wonderful job singing, and we were so proud of all the toddlers for their exuberant song and dance!
We love our garden and natural play area at COLM. A few weeks ago, we had a garden work day with the help of some of our dedicated parent volunteers. The children love this day for many reasons. Not only do they get to play in the dirt; but they experience contributing to the community, using real tools, and taking care of the environment. These are some of the hallmarks of the Practical Life curriculum that the children use everyday.
For our fall garden day, we cleaned up weeds and cut back overgrown shrubs. We planted winter vegetables too. Just like with any activity involving children, the tools used must be functional and the right size. If the tools are too big and heavy, the children cannot manage them. If they are too small, like a toy, they do not work properly.
The young child is developing strength and coordination, and using the proper tools to complete a task makes the activity every empowering for the child. Everyone is able to contribute in the garden!
It is really amazing how hard the children worked. They loved spending time outside and spent the whole morning gardening, despite the cold!
After a morning of work, we are proud of our garden and spruced up courtyard area. Huge thanks to our parent volunteers for spending their time with us this morning, and to everyone who helped by sending in plants and seeds. It is exciting to watch everything grow!
“We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children's memories, the adventures we've had together in nature will always exist.”
― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
Every morning, the children start with a job. M above is folding napkins for lunch. These small jobs help the children settle into the routine for the day and allow them to contribute to the community in an important way
Look at all the napkins she folded and put in napkin rings! Now the children can use them for lunch.
Geography is an important part of the curriculum. One way the children learn about other countries is through puzzle maps. There is a puzzle map for the continents, one for the US, and one for each continent. The ones pictured here are Africa, Asia, and the United States. Little known fact - the white knob on each puzzle piece is in the location of the state or country capital!
This three year old is working on the Red Rods. This is a material that allows the child to experience the quality of length. It is also an indirect preparation for later math work.
Pictured here is the Decanomial Square, It is a visual representation of the decanomial equation - the squares of all numbers 1-10. The small red dot in the upper left represents the 1 squared. What a great way to see how the equations grows exponentially!
This boy is working on the binomial cube. It is a 3D representation of the binomial equation in the form of a puzzle. The Montessori math materials are absolutely amazing!
Here, we have a polishing activity and a window washing activity, which are part of the Practical Life curriculum. Polishing and washing items in the environment allow the child to help keep the materials beautiful. It also builds focus, concentration, hand strength, and self esteem as the child contributes positively to the class.
This is a Metal Inset, which is part of the Language curriculum. There at 10 shapes on the Metal Inset shelf. The child traces a shape and carefully fills it in using vertical lines, which get closer and closer together as the child refines her skills. This work is a direct preparation for writing, as well as a beautiful and creative artistic activity.
This child is working on language activities also.
This is a Geometry exercise that allows the child to experience the idea that all linear shapes are made from triangles.
The courtyard offers a lovely place to paint!
Snack always tastes better with a friend!
This month marks the beginning of COLCMS's 24th year! When COLCMS started in 1994, it was with one employee and 8 students. Although we have been many different sizes over the years, our commitment to children and families remains as strong as ever. We are honored you have chosen us to start your child on a life long path to 'growing in spirit and intellect.' It is always a joy to see returning students fall back into the rhythm of school.
We love welcoming new friends to our community, as well as reconnecting with returning ones.
Towards the end of the morning, the children enjoy some outside time in the garden or playground before lunch. We have a beautiful, natural garden area that is certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a School Yard Habitat.
Everyday, a few primary children help set up for lunch. Tables are set with place cards, plates, cups, and water pitchers.
Each child brings his or her own napkin and napkin ring, as well as a lunch box. The children are called in a few at a time to wash hands and set up their lunch. Once everyone is ready, a short blessing is said and we all begin eating together. Lunch is a wonderful opportunity for Grace and Courtesy (manners) practice.
After lunch, the children ask to be excused when they are done eating. There is no rush, and it is a lovely time to socialize and enjoy each other's company. Each child clears their place and washes their plate when they are finished. Then they can look at a book or go back outside.
Our year is off to a wonderful start and we hope you will check our blog regularly for updates! We have very limited toddler openings, if you are interested in our toddler program, you can read more about it here on our website. Email colmadmin (at) gmail.com to set up your personal tour.
Many thanks to Meg Porter of Meg Porter Photography and Meg and Kate Weddings for the images in this post. Meg graciously shares her talent with us throughout the year. Thank you Meg!
It has been a tradition for several years for COLM to visit Farmer Sue at the Art Barn. We always have a FARM-tastic time, and this year was no exception. We started our visit with a tractor ride.
We toured 'Mr. MacGregor's' garden and Farmer Sue told us about some of the vegetables growing there.
After the tractor ride, we painted under the trees. We all raised our brushes and affirmed our artistic talents!
After painting, it was time to hold some chickens and pet the barn yard animals.
We learned about different types of chickens and all the different colored eggs they lay. Did you know eggs can be white, brown, speckled, green, and even pink? They are also large or small depending on the breed of chicken.
The children really enjoyed petting and brushing the donkeys, sheep, and goats. We finished up our day with a picnic under the magnolias. Thank you Farmer Sue for a wonderful time!
Thank you Meg Porter of Meg Porter Photography and Meg and Kate Weddings for the images in this post!
We are an AMI accredited Montessori school growing daily in spirit & intellect!