Cheri's Weekly Update 12-5-15

posted Dec 7, 2015, 9:06 AM by Cynthia Friedman
Upcoming Events:
12/5-12/6 and 12/12-12/13 Holiday Tree Sales
Monday-Friday, 12/14-18: Joy of Sharing-Bring items to help families in need
Monday, December 21: Winter Break begins
Tuesday, January 5: Back to School

**Return Homework Friday, please!

Sharing Theme: Dec. 7 - A sign of winter, Dec. 14- A symbol of a holiday tradition

STONE SOUP: This year’s assembly, Fiddle music and story-telling of Louisiana culture, was so entertaining and educational! The soup was delicious thanks to our talented parent volunteer cooks. Students and family members enjoyed eating together in the classrooms. Thanks for your food donations and your support.

WINTER HOLIDAYS & CELEBRATIONS: We’ll spend December and January discussing holidays around the world. We’ll especially focus on Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Chinese New Year, Los Posadas, Christmas, Solstice and New Year’s! I’m hoping students will share a story of one of their family’s holiday traditions with their classmates. If you have books or objects that support our studies please consider sharing.

BOTANY AND THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD: December’s botany studies focus on parts & types of bulbs. We’ve started an Amaryllis bulb in the classroom and the children wrote a hypothesis and started weekly observations to record results. Ask your student how tall our Amaryllis plant is this week in both inches and centimeters!

ZOOLOGY RESEARCH IN THE CLASSROOM: Many students are involved in preparing research projects. Younger children are learning about vertebrates-fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Older students are focused on invertebrates. After collecting information and preparing a poster, researchers present their information to the class.

THE JOY OF SHARING: Winter break is almost here, which means it is time for the Joy of Sharing! This annual Food Drive begins Monday, Dec. 14, and continues through Friday, Dec. 18. Please bring non-perishable food donations to school during the week. In addition to food, other items such as toilet paper and personal hygiene items are welcome. With the donated items, we will create and distribute food baskets to Ridgeline families in need of assistance. Thanks for your support with this program.

PLAYDOUGH (Children asked me to send home our playdough recipe)
1 cup flour
¼ cup salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 drops of food coloring (or more)
1 tablespoon vanilla or other flavoring

Combine the flour, salt and cream of tartar in saucepan. Add the water and food coloring. Whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat until playdough is nearly set. Add the flavoring. Stir until blended, then remove and knead when cool. Store in ziploc bag or airtight container.

Suggestions for successful holiday planning with children:

Tips for a Calm and Bright Holiday

Marie Conti, M.Ed, shares 8 tips to help your family adjust to the busy schedule of the holiday season. With the hubbub of the holiday season upon us it’s a good time to reevaluate your plans and schedules to avoid some common pitfalls that can make your holidays seem less than merry with your children.
Children thrive on routine—set times to eat, sleep, play and have family time and outdoor playtime. They are in their sensitive period for order, as Dr. Montessori noted, and when this order is disrupted, which is almost always necessary at holiday time, children can become testy. It is understandable that you still wish to see your relatives who might be visiting and to have meals at different times than usual, but be prepared to expect some “fallout” from your children. Below are some ways to ease these times that should be happy family times, but often are not:
Give your children fair warning about the upcoming events—frequently. Children under the age of 6 do not have much of a sense of time, as time is a real abstraction. However, it still can help to give them a timeline of upcoming events. Start the week before the holiday giving them brief snippets of the plans: “Next week is Christmas. We will be having dinner with Grandma and Grandpa at their house instead of our house.” The next day add: “We will be seeing your cousins there also. You will probably not go to bed at your usual time.” Each day add a few more reminders of what will be happening and show the child on a calendar how many days until the event and have him mark off each day. You might even want to draw a timeline of what you will do to prepare for the event each day.
If meal time will be at a different time than your children are used to, be sure to give them some healthy snacks at their usual meal and snack time. Hunger can cause irritability, even if a child doesn’t realize that she is hungry. Do not expect your child to eat the full meal if you have given snacks beforehand.
Aim for a bedtime as close to the usual time as possible. If you know you will be out late, take your child’s pajamas with you so he can change before you leave a party or gathering and will be ready to go right to bed when you return home.
Be sure your children get fresh air and exercise. If you know you will be spending lots of time visiting with relatives, preparing a big meal, or attending long concerts, plays, church services, or events, give your child some outdoor run around time before she is expected to sit or be indoors for an extended period of time. A brisk walk around the block or jog around the back yard for everyone can help you and your child feel more refreshed.
If you are preparing a big family meal, involve your child in the preparations. Children can set placemats and utensils on the table, help peel and chop vegetables, empty utensils from the dishwasher, and older children can write names on place cards.
If you are traveling, pack a variety of simple games, toys, books, and healthy snacks. Avoid sugary snacks and carbohydrates and go for proteins that will take longer to digest and help calm your child. Try to pack the amusement materials compactly. There is nothing like a box of markers or crayons spilling all over the airplane aisle as other passengers are boarding to make the trip start off badly. Try things like Etch-a-Sketch or Magna-doodle boards instead (both come in travel versions). Ask your child to select his favorite books to take along (setting limit on the number of books, of course!). Remember that children do not understand when the pilot asks you to power devices down, and if a child is in the middle of a game and must turn it off, this can cause an outburst. Hold the iPads/games until you are in the air.
Find some time each day in the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations to slow down and breathe! Even if this is only 5 minutes a day, just before dinner time, or right before bedtime, make it a ritual. Turn the lights low, perhaps put on some soothing music, and take time together to breathe deeply in and out and slowly calm your bodies. It will help you and your children.
Enjoy these special moments with your children. Childhood passes all too quickly. Don’t worry if you aren’t able to finish baking all the cookies you wanted to bake, or you don’t have time to send cards to everyone on your list, and your home doesn’t look like your favorite Pinterest posts. Family time and enjoying each other is what holidays are all about!

I wish you and your family a calm, bright holiday season!

About Marie Conti: Marie Conti, M.Ed, is head of school at The Wetherill Montessori School in Gladwyne, PA. She previously served as AMS (American Montessori Society) senior director of school accreditation and member programs. She is also an instructor at Chestnut Hill College Montessori Teacher Education Program in Philadelphia, PA. AMS-credentialed