Dear Parents,

We have had a great week!  The first few days of this new school year are unfolding beautifully!  The returning children were happy to get back to “work”; setting a wonderful tone for those new to our class!  The children are becoming reacquainted with old friends and making new ones!

Thank you very much for making sure your child arrives on time.  This really helps establish excellent work habits and allows your child to comfortably start each day!

When I sat down to write this letter, I could not believe how much we have done this week!!  We have concentrated on establishing routines and important classroom ground rules.  For families new to Millhopper Montessori, you might have heard your child mention some activities he/she has learned such as: Practical Life activities (i.e., pouring (wet and dry) using various utensils, “frosting a cake”, silver polishing, sewing (the children love this activity; it helps to develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and increases the ability to attend), Golden Beads and painting.  Lessons on grace and courtesy (raising our hand, using a quiet voice in the classroom, walking in the classroom, how to come to line and sit appropriately) caring for our classroom environment – unfolding/folding a rug (your child’s workspace), and carrying his/her work have been presented.

Some other activities that have been presented during large group lesson time include:  Geometric Solids (i.e., sphere, cylinder, cube); My “Cosmic Address” (atom, child, Millhopper Montessori, Gainesville, Florida, etc. to the Milky Way); and an introduction to our first mini unit study on “Pets” which leads into our study of Vertebrates and Invertebrates.  Additional activities have included: short-vowel work, beginning addition skills and an introduction to journal writing for Kindergarteners.

At story time, we have been reading books pertinent to our ongoing unit study.  As we continue to read at story time throughout the year, we will be reading some Caldecott Award winners, classics and studying various children’s authors.

The children have also loved singing and learning some new songs this week! Some of their old favorites have included: Star bright; One Small Voice; Ollie the Otter; The Worm Workout; Looby Loo, Move Fast, Move Slow (concentrating on left and right and directionality concepts as well as increasing gross motor skills) and ABC Disco.  I will soon be adding additional movement exercises, yoga and dance aerobics to our Music and Movement curriculum.

All throughout the year, we will be doing Developmental Art using various media in the Classroom.  This week the children have enjoyed making a picture to go along with our visualization of animals (see attached simple visualization story to help children to learn to quiet themselves and to develop concentration and creativity) using watercolors. 

One child each week will be chosen to be the classroom’s “Helping Hand”.  He/she will be responsible for activities such as leading the class with our calendar activities, ringing the bell and being the line leader.  The children rotate each week to be “Classroom Helpers”.  The children learn to take care of their environment (classroom) by washing the tables, sweeping, dusting the shelves, sharpening pencils, etc.

Formal student evaluations and assessments will be ongoing for the next couple of weeks.  This will ensure proper academic placement (especially in mathematics and language) within the classroom.  As I mentioned in our orientation letter, small and large group lessons will be presented daily.

Our specials:  Spanish, Music, (for all the children); and PE for Kindergarteners will begin next week.  Media (for all the children); and Technology for Kindergarteners will begin the week of August 25th.   The children are very excited to have these specials!  

On Thursday, August 28th from 6:00-7:00 p.m. we will have our Preschool/Kindergarten Parent Orientation Meeting for this school year.   This is a time for parents to come and learn more about your child’s classroom.  I will be explaining the scope and sequence of learning in a Montessori environment; student expectations and goals; our daily classroom schedule; and discussing this year’s classroom curriculum.  This will also be an excellent opportunity to ask questions regarding our classroom, policies and philosophy.  We are looking forward to seeing you on Thursday!  Remember, this is for parents only; childcare will be provided, please R.S.V.P.!

Take Home Folders have begun going home.  Please make sure they are returned the following school day. 

If you have not yet sent in a change of clothes for your child or the “About Your Child Form” please do so as soon as you can. 

We are having a wonderful time in the classroom!  We are very excited about this year and want to thank you for your support!

Have a nice weekend!

Sincerely,

Ms. Elizabeth and Ms. Jessica