Dear Casa III Families,
I'd like to start by thanking all of you who were able to make it to Parent Night last week. The children really loved having you all in the environment and showing you all of their favorite materials. I'd also like to thank all of the families who volunteered to help with the JMS garage sale over the weekend, whether your family donated items to the sale or if you helped to set up or run the event. As a community we are so lucky to have families who are willing to volunteer their time and efforts to support the school.
Spring has sprung! The children have been loving seeing the trees budding with leaves, seeing the return of many colorful birds, and playing outside in the warm weather. Just a reminder that we do have a lot of ticks on the playground and I'm sure the mosquitoes aren't far behind them! When we go outside we will be applying sunscreen and bug spray. If you would like your child to have their own sunscreen/bug spray please send a bottle with their first and last name on the bottle in permanent marker and we will be sure to apply it before going outside. We will be checking our supply of sunscreen from the fall this week and will let you know if your child is in need of a new bottle.
Please continue to check your child every night for ticks. If we find a tick on your child after playing outside we will remove it immediately unless it is attached. If it is we will call you right away and you can either come to the school to remove it yourself or you can give verbal consent for a JMS staff member to remove it.
With summer quickly approaching I just wanted to remind you all that we have some really great summer camps coming up this year! Each week is a different theme and the guides have some amazing activities planned to go with each one. If you would like to sign up please contact the JMS office as space is limited for the camps.
Color Run 5K
I'm so excited for the upcoming Color Run this weekend! It is the first year we are doing something like this as a fundraiser for the school and I hope to see many of you there! Just a reminder that packet pick-up is at 7:00 am and the race starts at 9:00 am at 3598 Lyman Blvd Chaska, MN. A reminder that children five and under are free and there is no age limit if you haven't signed up yet. I'd also like to thank everyone involved in organizing this event, from volunteers throwing color or providing water to the runners and organizers!
Montessori at Home
As summer approaches I wanted to share some ways that you can bring the Montessori philosophy home.
Children at this age are striving to achieve functional independence, meaning independence in caring for themselves and for others. There are many ways you can support your child's development at home- from involving them in daily household chores to setting up spaces in your home that make it easier for them to care for themselves. This week I put out a few articles in the hallway outside of Casa III that list many age-appropriate tasks children can help with at home.
It might take a little extra time, but children truly love being able to help in the home. It not only provides them with a sense of independence, but it helps them to coordinate and refine their movements, increase their confidence, and often it provides a time for family bonding. Some of my favorite family nights are when my cousins, aunts, uncles and I all work together to cook a meal. Having my 6 year old cousin chop the vegetables might take a little extra time, but you can tell by the smile on her face that she loves playing a role in preparing the meal.
You can also create ordered spaces in your home for your child. Children of this age are in a sensitive period for order. Because they are ordering and classifying their understanding of the world, external order is extremely important to their development. External order leads to internal order- by having a place for certain items your child comes to understand their home environment more easily.
First, for children's toys you can use a low shelf to display a few toys at a time. Then your child can easily choose what they would like to play with and it removes the clutter of large toy bins. It also allows you to rotate the toys as your child's interests change. You can also place your child's clothing in a low drawer so that they can independently choose their outfit for the day and dress themselves. You could also hang a mirror low on the wall so that your child can see themselves once they are dressed.
In the kitchen you can use a low shelf or cupboard to hold items that your child can use independently to fulfill their needs. For example, you can place a small pitcher and cups on the shelf so that your child can get a drink of water when they feel thirsty, or you can place a small dish filled with a healthy snack so that they can serve themselves when they feel hungry. You can also get a small dust pan and brush and a small bucket with a towel so that your child can help to clean up any wet or dry spills. You can get your child involved in the process of setting up these areas to make it even more exciting.
Any materials you put out should be child-sized and functional- it can be frustrating to your child if they are trying to accomplish a task but the tools they are using are preventing their success. Also, make sure to show your child how to use the materials very carefully to support their independence. Sometimes you might have to show them more than once, but with repetition you will be able to see them master those skills and move on to more challenging activities. For example, you could put out a small tray with a cutting board and a spreader, along with a small container of sunbutter/peanut butter and another small container with bread (and probably an apron or smock as it can get messy!). You can carefully show your child how to prepare a small sandwich for themselves and how they can independently clean up the activity. As they master that skill you can move on to more challenging activities, such as slicing a banana or an apple, washing fruits and vegetables, or chopping/preparing food for dinner (please note that children using any knives or sharp utensils should first have good coordinated movements and should be closely supervised). These are just a few ways that you can support the development of your child's functional independence at home. If you are interested in more suggestions on how you can bring the Montessori philosophy home, feel free to e-mail me anytime.
End of the Year Picnic
The end of the school year is coming up fast! Every year to celebrate we have an end of the year picnic- this year it will be at Lion's Park in Chaska on Friday June 2nd from 5:00-7:00. It is a potluck style picnic (a sign up went out earlier this week for food items). If you signed up to bring a food item, please be sure to write down the ingredients used as there are many families with varying food preferences/allergies. It is a really great time so share a meal with other JMS families and to get together one last time before the end of the year. There is limited seating so you might want to bring a blanket or lawn chairs for you and your family members. Plates, napkins, and utensils will be provided, but please bring your own beverages for your family members. I look forward to seeing many of you there!
I hope you all continue to enjoy this beautiful spring weather!
-Kasey, Kita, Natalie and Julie