Thursday, October 21, 2010

It was an exciting week at The Gan.

It was delightful to create the apple tree.

We have received some Montessori materials for the classroom. I feel that one of the benefits the Montessori method offers is the multi-sensory approach to learning. Maria Montessori often said the hand is the instrument of the mind. As the child traces the sandpaper letter or numeral, they are sensorially experiencing the texture as they look with their eyes, and say the sound or number.

We used rice to hide objects, which began a discussion about the roughness of the sandpaper letter versus the smoothness of the rice in our hands. We then sorted the objects by their beginning sounds.

Levi: Sandpaper tickles me.
Dena: Silly, it scratches.
Levi: Rice is sliding.
Tori: It's not scratchy.

We made rubbings of sandpaper numerals and sandpaper letters. It was as exciting for me to watch the wonder on the children's faces as it was for them to make the letter or number appear on the paper like magic, "Hey it's a C!" or "Wow 2!"

At Snack time, the children noticed the circle shaped pretzels looked like the numeral zero.

Levi: I have a lot of zeros.
Daniel: (holding a pretzel) ZERO!
Levi: (picked up his pretzels from his napkin) There are zero pretzels on my napkin!
Tori: Zero means nothing.
Dena: No more pretzels, all done.

This coming week we will begin having a "peace makers" circle as part of our thursday group time. Children are naturally affectionate, caring and loving. Peace makers are people who express these qualities through kind and helpful deeds. Peace makers also use kind words to solve disagreements. This by no means requires giving up one's point of view, but rather expressing what we are feeling with respectful, kind, yet firm words. We may feel like screaming and pushing our friend when they take our bike, but a more successful approach may be to say:

"When you take my bike I feel mad. I would like my bike back."

Over the course of this year I hope to help your child learn the vocabulary for him/her to fill in the following blanks:
When ____________ happens, I feel ___________. I would like _________.

We will accomplish this by looking at facial expressions in books and asking the question - what do you think they are feeling?Why do you think they are feeling that way? How do you think you might feel if (_____) happened to you? Stories are a fun and safe way to discuss feelings, and offers the children a chance to practice using feeling words. We will talk about the difference we feel when we are laughing and happy versus mad. We will practice making and recognizing facial expressions with games and songs.

Beginning this week we will begin the theme of the Creation of the World. Over the next few weeks we will be talking about how Hashem created our world. We will create a paper mural as we discuss the 7 wonderful days of creation. We will also begin our science studies as we look at ideas such as living and non-living and the differences between plants and animals.

Mock Shabbat

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