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Stones from the bucket! Coming full circle! February 23, 2017

Filed under: community,Community Building,creativity,peace,Uncategorized — bevfollowsthechild @ 6:36 pm

Coming full circle!
Recently our elementary kids’ performed a short play called ‘Stones in a Bucket’ to help us all get a better understanding of how our words can weigh someone down or be uplifting. The stones the children dropped into a bucket represented the harshness and meanness of put downs. Afterwards the children then said something uplifting, and they removed a stone from the bucket.
Now those very stones have been turned into mini works of Art, and distributed around downtown Pullman, our community, to brighten someone’s day. If you find a stone nestled somewhere, it might make you smile, or pick it up to look closer and enjoy the art. These stones are like stones thrown into a pond to send out ripples. These beautiful stones are sending out ripples of kindness and joy!

 

Stones in a Bucket ~ A Play about the Power of Words to put down or uplift! February 20, 2017

annikahalienina

Stones in a bucket

The Maple Room kids  wrote and performed a very short play called, ‘Stones in a Bucket’ as a way to show their understanding that words and tone of voice can hurt, as well as make someone feel happy and accepted.  They performed this play for the 3 – 6 year old children, too, so the younger children can learn from the older children about ‘put downs’ and ‘put ups.’  Thanks, Megan, owner of Montessori Children’s House of Lewiston, for introducing me to the concept of ‘put downs’ and ‘put ups.’

One child held a bucket.  The children took turns walking up to her, saying a put down and then dropping a stone into the child’s bucket.  This child’s face and body language showed her weighed down with sadness.  Examples of comments were:

“I don’t want to play with you.”

“You’re not my friend.”

“I don’t want to sit with you at lunch.”

“You’re not invited to my birthday.”

“Who cares?”

The words and the sound of the stones made a big impact on the preschoolers.

Next the children took turns walking up to the child with the bucket and said ‘put ups’ and took a stone out of the bucket.  The child responded, showing that she was feeling more confident and happier.  We wanted to end on a happy note.  Examples of ‘put ups’ included:

“Do you want to play?”

“You’re my friend.”

“I like you.”

“Do you want to sit with me at lunch?”

“You’re nice.”

Afterwards we had a ‘chat back’ with our audience, and asked for the younger children to respond.  They said:

“The stones sounded mean and hard as they clanged in the bucket.”

“The mean words with the stones made her feel sad.”

“When they said kind words, they took a stone away.  Her bucket got lighter.  She was happier.”

“Words can hurt and make people feel sad.”

The actors responded by saying that it was hard to say the mean words and it made them feel sad.  Saying the kind words was easier and made them feel good.

Thanks, big kids, for teaching the younger students a lesson on kindness and the power of our words.

 

Montessori Memories February 18, 2017

Filed under: Montessori education,Montessori memories,Mother,peace,Practical Life,Uncategorized — bevfollowsthechild @ 6:22 pm

16826004_10208585533099345_3254929054996917078_oWhen I first saw this photograph, recently sent to me from one of the children in the photo, I thought that it was a photo of me, around 1984, working in a childcare center.  And then I realized it was just my back yard. We are dying Easter eggs.  The child, now grown, said that she always remembers doing interesting things at our home.  I think I was meant to be a Montessori teacher!  I loved cooking with the children, setting out pouring games, and our favorite, the doll’s clothes laundry.  Most of the time in Texas, this laundry was set up outside, but on cold days, I would string a washing line up in the den!

Looking back, I realize my first exposure to Montessori was in a friend’s home in England.  She never called her home a Montessori home, but I remember how peaceful and calm it was, and how activities were available in baskets on shelves, ready for the children to choose.  Anna, my daughter, used a knife to cut up her own snack while we were there.  We left England when Anna was two and a half, so she was very young to be using a knife.  That is my confirmation that this was indeed a Montessori home.  There was the right size knife for Anna to use.

My next exposure was at Arlington Country Day School.  I was looking for a preschool for my daughters, Anna, now four and a half, and Elanor, almost three.  Once again, it was the sense of peace that really hooked me in.  I was close to tears when I realized that this is where I wanted my children to go to school, but also because I had found my passion!  I wanted to be a Montessori teacher.  Thirty-two years later, I am still passionate about Montessori education.  The sense of peace and joy remains an inspiration.  I am full of wonder that after so many years children still surprise me with new and unique ways to learn, problem solve and create with the materials.Just look at the variations below!

HeAnna loves pouring games. Love the wellington boots and apron!re are a few more photos from the eighties!  This is Anna, long ago in England, playing pouring games.  When I saw the water works in practical life at the first Montessori school I visited, I thought, “Pouring games!  my children will love this!”

My one year old son washing dishes at the kitchen sink, while big sis helps!

 

Random Acts of Kindness and Friendship Words February 10, 2017

These photos show our jar that we are filling with notes about our random acts of kindness, and our Friendship display. By the end of the month, we hope the jar is overflowing and we have put all of our ideas about friendship into practice!
The Maple Room kids can teach us a lot about friendship! Here are some of their answers to the question, “What is friendship?”
Playing with all
Helping
Giving hugs
Looking at your friend’s eyes when talking
Loving
Giving
Using words, not hands
Gentle touches
Inviting all
Talking nicely
Being polite
Please
Thank you
Saying sorry
Forgiving
Caring for all.
Emotions of friendship included joy and happiness.
One way to increase friendship in your classroom and home is to do good deeds and random acts of kindness.

 

Friendship Tea February 7, 2017

February at our school is all about the heart!  We are celebrating love and friendship.  Friendship Tea is one of our favorite activities in the preschool.  One child initiates the activity, setting up the beautiful table with everything neccessary for sharing a pot of chamomile tea with a friend ~ cups, teapot, teabags, hot water, tongs for transferring a teabag to the pot, and a timer to time the steeping of the tea.  The host then invites another child from the class to share a pot of friendship tea.  The idea is to invite someone whom you do not know very well, in order to share conversation and get to know each other better.  During a group presentation, the teachers model conversation starters that the children can use while the tea is steeping.

“Do you have a brother or sister?”

“What are your favorite games?”

“What do you like to do at school?”

“Do you have a pet?”

After tea and conversation, the host is responsible for cleaning up, and the guest for thanking the host for the invitation.

This is such an amazing activity in so many ways ~ practicing grace and courtesy, social skills, language skills, and practical life skills.

During this month, I will be writing about other prosocial ideas.

 

 

Child Development Right Before My Eyes! November 11, 2016

Filed under: Child Development,learning,Observation,Uncategorized — bevfollowsthechild @ 7:51 pm

This morning, early in the day on the playground, a few of our older children were pretending to be cats.  They were miaowing, wrapping themselves around my legs, pretending to wash themselves with their paws, etc.  I love pretend games.  I have a drama background.  I learn by trying out different roles,  So, when children themselves initiate fantasy play, especially fantasy play based on reality (e.g. acting in ways they know cats behave), I can play along.

“Oh, you are pretending to be cats.  O.K. ”  I then pretend to stroke the cats fur, and make comments such as, “This cat has such smooth fur.”  or “This cat feels so warm.”  I might wonder aloud about whether the cats are hungry, or what their names are.

One of our youngest children (just turned two) seemed very confused by what the children were doing.  I told him several times, “The children are acting like cats.  They are pretending.”  He still seemed unsure of what was going on, so we moved away from the game and went to check out our gardening boxes, and picked the last of our ripe tomatoes. (Amazing, I know, in the Northwest in November!)

Before I left for the day, I once again spent time on the playground with our children.  Our youngest child, who couldn’t quite grasp what was going on first thing in the morning, got down on all fours and began miaowing.  He was pretending to be a cat.  Somehow, during the day, his brain had figured out what was going on and he had learned to pretend to be an animal.  He had remembered the game from the morning.  He was so proud of himself.

And I was so thrilled to observe such development of the imagination in a single day in the life of a child!

 

We are the kids of the Montessori School of Pullman and we approved this message November 9, 2016

Filed under: Community Building,cultural studies,peace,Uncategorized — bevfollowsthechild @ 9:12 am
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We are the kids of the Montessori School of Pullman, and we approved this message!

Our primary students, ages 3 – 6, are currently inspired to learn about North America, and many of them are busy making North America books (see photos above, for cultural work about North America)  Our elementary students have been focused on the election for President of the United States of America.

Today, on election day 2016, as President Barack Obama comes to the end of his second term, the kindergarten and elementary students gathered in small groups to discuss their platforms for when they run for president, some time around 2044 and 2048.

“What are the biggest problems facing our nation?”

We have some strong environmentalists among our children. 

“Our biggest problem is water.  In some areas, we don’t have enough water and other places are flooding.  This is bad for people and animals.”

“Everyone needs clean water.”

“We need to plant more trees.”

 We also have children who are very concerned over helping others.

“There are people with no homes and not enough good food.”

“Some people don’t have enough money.”

“There are too many people in jails.”

Other children are most concerned with peace. 

“Crime is a big problem, and violence. “

“What is something we should change about our country?  What is something that would make Americans have a better happier life?”

This is where we heard our children who strongly believe in social justice come through.

“Everyone should have the same rights.”

“We need to use our words to solve our problems not our bodies.”

“We need to change our world through peace.”

Other ideas for improving the lives of Americans:

“We need to recycle.”

“We need to pick up litter.”

“We need to plant more trees.”

“We need to build more homes.”

“Don’t quit!  People need to keep going.”

“Everyone should go to a good school.”

And finally, What would you do if you were president?”

“I would help everyone who needs help.”

“I would give people money who need money.”

“I would give money, food, clothes and homes to the poor.”

“I would build a ginormous reservoir and connect it to all of the pipes.”

“I would help people go to school.”

“I would make it so that everyone can come into America.”

I love to hear the ideas of our young problem solvers.  Maybe one day in the future, one of our students will be asking for our votes.