440 Class Newsletter – January 2012
Welcome back to school! The children seemed very eager to come back to school after the long Winter Break. We were excited to see them and begin a new year of learning in the classroom. We look forward to seeing many of you at Mother’s Night later this week.
Kristen, Melody and Vida
440 Classroom Teachers
In this section of the newsletter, each month we highlight an area of the Montessori classroom or provide information about the philosophies of the Montessori and Reggio approach to education.
This month’s classroom area is the Language area. The Montessori Language program supports the development of the uniquely human characteristic called language. For humans, language is not only a way to communicate, but also an instrument of collective thought. This makes language a critical component of every child’s development – it is necessary in order to be a part of the social fabric of our society. Language provides two basic functions: it helps us to communicate with one another, enabling us to establish and maintain social relations, and it provides a system of symbols and patterns that aid the thinking process.
The Montessori Language Program starts by building upon the foundation that is created in the Practical Life, Sensorial and Math areas of the classroom. These areas provide indirect preparation for language by developing motor skills, refining the senses, introducing the use of symbols, and building vocabulary.
Young children develop language with a great deal of liveliness and spontaneity. Children under the age of three are taking in language from their environment without much discrimination and without much effort.
Like a sponge, the child’s mind is absorbing everything around him. Development of language during this period is characterized by “explosions,” and by age three the child has formed the basis of his language. By the age of six, the child has command of a wide vocabulary and has perfected his sentence formation. All of this development of language occurs without any direct instruction on the part of an adult.
The Montessori Language program supports the development of reading and writing in a similar way. In order to foster a desire to learn to read and write, there are skills and abilities that must be cultivated. These skills and abilities form a solid foundation upon which to develop reading and writing. The child must be loved and encouraged and should develop a joy of having someone read to him. He must have a language rich environment and be exposed to knowledge of the world. He must have the ability to use his own language well and to enjoy the sounds, rhymes and patterns in it. He must develop knowledge of print and how it is used in both reading and writing. Finally, he must develop good control over his body, and in particular his hand, if he is to find writing easy. The indirect approach for helping the child to discover written communication begins at his birth. Written communication is visualized language and is an extension of oral language. The environment should be saturated with human sound and the child should be included in all that the family does from his earliest moments. He should be talked to and listened to with patience and interest. In addition to oral language, the child should also be surrounded with the written word. He should see people reading books and be exposed to written communication so that he develops a natural awareness of another form of communication in his environment. This “spontaneous” approach to the development of reading and writing mimics the indirect way in which very young children develop their oral language skills.
Mother’s Night will be held next Wednesday, January 18. This is an opportunity for children in the primary classes to share their school with their Mothers or other special guests. Ask your child to show you their favorite work! AM classes attend from 5:30pm – 6:30pm, PM classes and XP attend from 6-7pm.
Parent Volunteer Opportunities
Please continue to watch our Parent Volunteer Basket, which we bring out to the gate periodically, for ongoing Parent Volunteer Opportunities.
We would like to wish a Happy Birthday to the following children who have birthdays this month:
Isabella J January 4
Sully S January 10
Annika B January 14
Thank you to Elizabeth K for the cupcakes for the teachers. Thank you to Nevi L for the swiffer refills. Thank you to Oliver H for the book in celebration of his birthday. Thank you to Elizabeth K for the Waffles and honey for our Food Prep area. Thank you to Sully S for the book in honor of his birthday.
Thank you to Jennifer J and Lori S for substituting.