Well, here we are - just a week left of the 2009-10 school year. The spring performance has come and gone - and wasn't it terrific? There are many special events that are going on now, which the teachers will tell you below in their letters. Graduation is next Wednesday night for kindergarteners and 6th graders. Yearbooks will be given to each child as soon as we receive them from the publisher.
I want to thank all of you that have given your time and energy to your children's classrooms or to the school as a whole. It's what makes the PVMS experience great for you and for us all. It takes all of the different talents and skills that we have as a group to accomplish all of the tasks.
I want to thank Marie Spellman and Alicia Bell for being co-presidents of the parent group. They handled the job with grace and attention to detail. All of our events were fun and well-organized.
A big thank you to Leah Dow and Lynne Barton-Cimino for their work as chairs of the auction. The auction raised about $5000, which will go into the playground effort.
Thanks to everyone else for all of your contributions.
June 8 Elementary field trip to Look Park June 9 Graduation for Kindergarten & 6th Grade - 6 pm June 10 Last Day of School - half day June 21 First Day of Summer Classes (Toddler & CH)
Goodbye One of the hardest parts of this time of the school year for teachers and staff is saying goodbye to children and their families. We come to love the children over the year or years and it is hard to let go. We've noticed that it is sometimes hard for parents to say goodbye to us, also.
Psychologists and social workers say that every goodbye brings up our feelings about all of the other losses that we have experienced. So it is a somewhat painful task to bid farewell to those we have shared something important with. But we also know that it is very important for children to have the opportunity to say goodbye to their friends and teachers. It is important to acknowledge the milestone and it is important as an early opportunity to face difficult moments with grace and openness.
So while we may all be feeling sort of sad about it, please do come and say goodbye.
Music next year I'm pleased to announce that we will have continuity in our music faculty next year.
Leticia Davies will return next school year to teach group music classes, as well as direct the Spring Performance. Leticia will also offer individual lessons on guitar after school. Her phone number is: 413-256-1778 and her email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hywel Brown will continue to offer piano lessons after school to children aged 4 and older. He will also offer violin lessons. For the younger children taking violin, it is necessary for parents to be very involved in the lessons. Hywel will be happy to talk with you in more detail if you are interested in violin or piano lessons. His phone number is: 413-279-1216 and email is: email@example.com
Staff & Faculty Appreciation Dinner The teachers and office staff want to enthusiastically thank all of the parents who played a part in creating such a lovely evening for us all last week. The food was delicious, and it was such a fun and relaxing time for us. Thank you so much - we know how much it takes to create such a nice event.
Mystery Ride bus
The fun started when the Strong bus arrived with the words "Mystery Ride" where the destination is usually written.
The elementary students, from first grade through sixth grade, were off on the annual field trip to ....somewhere!
It turned out that we went to the Essex Steam Train, where we learned lots about trains. The train took us to a boat, where we went up and down the river and ate our lunch. Then we went off to tour Gillette Castle for our final stop of the day. The children were excited, though very well-behaved. By the end of the day, all of us were tired, but happy.
Essex Steam Train
Becky Thatcher Riverboat
Morgan, EMma, Alana, Marthe' and Ella
UPPER ELEMENTARY with Pamela Kinn and Donna Wegge
Time is relative. As you add years to your life, one year is a smaller portion of your existence. That's why a school year seems to fly by these days. It still amazes me! We have only a few short weeks left. May is always a month of contradictions. We have so little time; there is so much I still wanted to show them. Yet, when we look back, there is so much we have done.
We recently finished a five-paragraph essay. It is exciting to look back to the work from the fall, and see how far they have come. Math work, that was once new and challenging, is now chosen as an "easy" review job. Planning for a week, keeping track of assignments, and finishing work on time has become the norm. I guess it really is the end of the school year!
One standard in a Montessori curriculum is the learning area called "practical life." In the Children's Houses students learn to pour liquids, wash tables, put on their own coats, and many other practical life skills. As an Upper Elementary teacher, I have always pondered how "practical life" translates to the Upper Elementary child. One of the topics I have chosen to represent this curriculum strand is the study of Manners. We have spent a few weeks researching manners. The students explored, chose topics to study, and wrote an Upper El Guide to Good Manners. As I write this, they will be typing the final few chapters into the computers today.
Our society is changing. Many families do not have the opportunity to sit down to family dinners as often as they would like. Parents and children have differing schedules with seemingly unlimited demands on their time. Children have grown up with DVD's and home players. Talking during movies is not a problem; you just rewind to hear what you missed. Nintendo's and other video devices have allowed our children to be entertained every waking minute. The arts of entertaining oneself, making polite conversation, and waiting patiently have suffered in this environment. It seems a good time for a study of manners.
A trip to a nice restaurant, Rinaldi's (Longmeadow), will be the culminating event for this unit. The students will have a fun opportunity to practice all of their new skills.
The last two weeks are always a whirlwind of activity. While finding time to review lessons and squeeze in some practice, we will have the Mystery Trip, a picnic, and some other fun activities. On June 9th, our sixth grade students will graduate and move on to the next step in their education. Luckily, the rule is "Once a member of the PVMS family, always a member of the PVMS family," so we will keep in touch.
Gavin and Morgan
LOWER ELEMENTARY EAST with Susan Hershey and Donna Wegge
The end of the 2009-2010 school year is fast approaching. Some of the highlights this year have been:
Spring Production Visiting the toddler class Ancient Egypt Writers' Workshop Science experiments Loaves and Fishes Moms' and Dads' Nights Third Years' Europe reports Springfield History Museum Australia Wolftalk Stanford Achievement Tests Mad Minutes Sharing Day Sewing projects Grandparents' Day The Tale of Despereaux Helen Keller and Benjamin Franklin
All of these things and more have given us many learning experiences, as well as enjoyable times.
We wish the best for all of our friends who are moving on to new schools, and we look forward to seeing our returning students in the fall.
Have a fun and relaxing summer with your children. Read good books, walk in the woods, cook together, swim. Enjoy.
LOWER EL WEST with Sue Foerster and Lucy Maleshefski
Another year is about to end and it will certainly be busy, but fun right until the end.
The Spring Performance was a wonderful whole school event and such a positive experience for all to have participated in. There was a pervasive feeling of community and harmony! They avidly watched as all levels performed and their faces showed the appreciation of the performances.
The Mystery Trip is a long awaited trip soon to be here. Children are already trying to guess the location and trying to trick the teachers into revealing the destination. Some parents too! Some students actually bring maps along on the bus to plot the path and guess the location!
Martha and Russell Cable brought in a bottle for classroom pennies. The idea being that at the end of the year the class would vote on how best to use the money. The third year students counted our monies and we have $36.00 to spend. Everyone voted for an end of the year sundae party. Votes were cast for ice cream and toppings! We'll share a movie as well.
Talent, field and pet days are yet to be decided upon!
Stanford testing is presently going on for the third year students in Lower El East and West. All are telling me that it's fun!
This is a bittersweet time for many since our class is changing. Some are moving up to Upper El, and others are leaving to attend other schools. We wish all these leaving to be sure to visit!
Thanks for all your support this last year. It really is a team effort! Have a safe, happy summer, Sue and Lucy
CHILDREN'S HOUSE SOUTH - with Christine Druckenmiller, Rosemary Gossman and Gerri Haynes
I can't believe it is already June - how quickly this month flew by! During May, the students focused their attention on metamorphosis, with the help of caterpillars that were donated to the class by Kate Wurm and tadpoles that were given to the class by the Stacey Tyburczy, whose daughter is in the Toddler class. As the children witnessed these small creatures developing and changing, I couldn't help but reflect on the growth and development I have seen in them.
I am so proud of our graduating Kindergartners: Asia, Cameron, Elsa, Kayla, Mason and Mary. Some of them will be joining the Lower Elementary classes next year, while others move on to other schools, but all of them have gained the skills they need to be successful.
The youngest students have learned to explore the environment. They are beginning to engage with some of the more challenging materials, having explored the Practical Life and Sensorial areas thoroughly.
The second year students have become so much more mature in the last few months, showing me that they are ready to take on the role of being next year's class leaders.
Have a great summer! Let your children catch you reading. Enjoy nature and the outdoors together. Your children are amazing and it has been a pleasure working with them.
Thank you all for your support.
CHILDREN'S HOUSE NORTH with Andrea Thibert and Sara Liptak
The end of the school year is approaching us quickly. So much is going on throughout the classroom. Explosions of learning, newly formed friendships, apprehensiveness and feelings of nervousness for those moving up or on. Whatever may be happening with you and your child please try to keep things simple and consistent to help minimize any stress.
Summer is a time to review, relax, and rejuvenate. It is also a time to rediscover the simplicities of life. If we adults slow down your children will as well. Plant a garden with your child or let your children help with cooking and preparing the meals. This is a great way to reconnect with your children and they can feel empowered with helping in the kitchen too.
Incorporating simple math, language, and practical life activities in the home can sometimes be fun and easy for everyone. For example, cooking involves measuring, dividing portions, and setting the table. Have your child write out name cards for place settings and don't forget to set up that dishwashing on the kitchen table or in the sink.
Summer is especially a great time for nature and discovery walks. Identifying bird sounds, animal tracks, picking berries, and listening to the crickets at night are just a few activities that are important to your child's sensorial experiences.
Let's not forget to read together. All children love to listen to one form of a story or another whether it's a familiar children's book you've read 100 times, a newly discovered series, or the almost forgotten art of story telling (just use your childhood memories they love to listen).
If I can leave you with this final thought let it be this: your children need your attention and time (even if it's short)- they love when you make time for them. If ever at a loss for what to do with your children just ask them and I'm sure they will have something great to teach you in return.
Have a peaceful, safe summer.
TODDLER ROOM with Mary Ann Ross and Janice Merrill
At the end of every school year I'm amazed at how quickly time has passed and yet when I look at the children it is very evident that time and a lot of growth has taken place. The children are no longer the toddlers they were when they started school. They have grown not only in stature but in competence and confidence. They are a true testament to Dr. Montessori's philosophy and teaching. There will be many more changes over the summer months. It will be wonderful to see the continued growth of the children that will stay with us and those moving to the Children's House in the fall. Transitions, as you know, can be challenging for children and adults alike. Some preparation is important and we will discuss the summer break the last week of school. The children are still very interested in insects therefore we will continue to explore the topic for the last few weeks.
Janice and I would like to thank you for entrusting us with your children for their first school experience as well as your support and ideas throughout the school year. Have a fun and relaxing summer.
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM with Maxine & Gerri and Margaret & Donna
May has been a busy month for us! Our entry is blooming with colorful flowers the children enjoyed making with coffee filters and washable markers, then folding and dipping into water. They were fascinated watching the colors blend into unique patterns. We spent two afternoons coloring, drying and forming the rounds into the blossoms we then affixed to the tree on the door.
This month our group created interesting tree paintings, and recycled art sculptures using cardboard tubes and various trims. We strung button bracelets to wear, and printed bugs on large green leaves.
We had many sunny afternoons to spend outdoors running and playing in the grand spring weather.
The After School children spontaneously broke into song, often this month, practicing for their musical evening on stage, which we all enjoyed so much! We are so proud of each child!
Diego Suprenant and his family have donated a wonderful wooden fire station, with all the bells and whistles, to us. All the children in the After School program have been enjoying playing with this exciting new addition everyday. Thank you so very much, Suprenant family, for your generosity!
The school year is quickly coming to a close. We will continue to have fun during the last few weeks we will spend together at P.V.M.S.!
ART for Upper and Lower Elementary Classes with Christie Hester Moore
What an amazing year it has been! I find it hard to believe that it is June and this is my last newsletter. The students have grown so much during the school year, especially our first year students who've made the giant leap from Children's House to first grade. During the final weeks of classes, the students designed collaged mixed media sculptures of their mothers using recycled materials such as plastic bottles, wooden spoons and felt. It was so interesting and often amusing to witness what the kids felt was most important to convey artistically about their mothers. For some it was a certain style or interest, while others had to get her hair and face just right.
The children also used extra time to complete any unfinished projects as well as cleaning and organizing the art materials that were used during the course of the school year.
It has been a great honor and pleasure to teach your children this year. I would like to thank all the parents who have stopped me to express how much they have enjoyed the art work the students have created this year.
Before closing , I'd like to recommend an exhibit on display at the Springfield Museums from June 16 until September 5, 2010. It is called "THE ART OF THE BRICK". Artist Nathan Seaway builds awe-inspiring art out of LEGO building bricks. Nearly one million colorful pieces are transformed into 30 whimsical sculptures. I know that we have quite a few fans of LEGOS at PVMS so I think that you will enjoy this amazing exhibit. This is the exhibit's only stop in Massachusetts.
Have a safe and wonderful summer! Christie
SPANISH with Paula Wicks
El Espanol/mayo, 2010
May is a very busy month here at school and Spanish classes are not exempt from missing class time for field trips, performances, and Stanford testing! There are always loose ends to tie up as the end of school approaches and Fiestas to get ready for. This hectic schedule sure keeps you on your toes! All in all I am very pleased with the way Spanish classes went this year. We have learned some topics easily; we have struggled with some of the work. We have spent hours reviewing and practicing; but, most of all, I think that we had fun doing it! Happy Vacation! Paula
Much of the time in the Children's Houses has been spent getting ready for the Fiestas at the end of the year. Christine's class will have its Fiesta on Wednesday. June 2, and Andrea will have hers on Thursday, June 3. We will have the traditional pinata followed by a Spanish story. The children will participate as the story is told. We made special Fiesta bags on Mondays and Thursdays as well as a "ratoncito" puppet and a "oso" puppet for the story. The Fiesta bag has a red, ripe strawberry (la fresa roja y madura) on the front . We need that for the story as well! It's nice to get the opportunity to work with just one or two children at a time as we worked on these special projects. The children love to tell you what is going on in their lives and ask a thousand questions about the Fiesta! It's also a good opportunity for following directions practice en ingles and en espanol!
We spent the remainder of the time reviewing colors and numbers. We continued to sing and move at "line time" prior to each Spanish class. The children have learned many Spanish songs and words this year through song and movement. I look forward to the Fiestas in June and I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing summer vacation. See you next year!
One of my favorite end of the year activities is reviewing all of the papers in the children's folders. We practice everything that we studied all year long. I am impressed with what the children have retained! They are very proud of their work and couldn't wait to take them home to show them to you! I hope you enjoyed them and that the children will have the opportunity to practice over the summer.
The kindergarteners will, of course, participate in their respective Children's House Fiestas; but, we will also have a Fiesta Story at the end of the year. We made a basket for our story and decorate it. Next we will color and count all of the objects found in the story. Once we have finished this project, we will hear the story and participate as well!
I am hoping that my fifth year students will be performing a short play, "Si Quieres Una Mascota."-about adopting a pet and what you need to do that! After the play, I would like the older students to work with the younger ones as we discuss the story and tell about what pet they would like to adopt (if they could!!!!).
I am looking forward to working with these students next year in level one Espanol. Good luck to those not returning to PVMS. I have enjoyed working with them . Have a fun vacation!!
LOWER ELEMENTARY/mayo, 2010
Poems and Stories:
Level 1 - Mariposa poem and project
Level 2 - Wrong Notes (Las Notas Malas) story
Level 3 - A Review of all of the stories
We have been preparing for the Fiesta during the month of May. We decorated a bag and made the "ratoncito" and "gran oso muy hambriente" puppets, as well as a paper chain and a disguise for the Fiesta story. The Fiesta for Lower El will be Tuesday, June 1, at 9:30 a.m. We are all looking forward to the pinata and the story. If time permits, a snack may be in the plan as well!
We have also been reviewing the mountain of work and words which we have practiced all year long. The children especially enjoy the game, "Maestra vs. Estudiantes" (Teacher vs. Students). They have three chances to get the answer and then it goes to me! The children usually win by a landslide! We will be going through their notebooks to get them ready to be taken home.
We had a very enjoyable "Dia de La Fruta" or Fruit Day, in May. The Level Three students made the fruit salad which they shared with all Lower El students. The First and Second Level students made placemats for the occasion. These placemats were Food Bingo cards and after the snack, we all played Food Bingo. The Third Years also presented their food people projects. They worked hard on the written description and the picture. Most were able to read about them quite fluently.
If possible, please encourage the children to look at their Spanish notebooks during the summer. It will be a great way to review and to begin the year next year! Buenas vaccaciones!
UPPER ELEMENTARY/mayo, 2010
Stories, Poems, and Plays
Level 4 - Sight and Word Story El Pajaro Poetry-Las Palabras que se Lleva El Viento by Juan Carlos Martin Ramos
Level 5 - play "Si Quieres Una Mascota"
Upper Elementary Fiesta-Thursday, June 3, afternoon
Fourth Year students have been practicing food vocabulary during the month of May. We finished up the sight word stories with one about a bird. We will do a project concerning the poem "Las Palabras que se Lleva el Viento" I will let the children choose one word from each of the units which we studied this year and write them on our "windy" picture.
The Fiesta bags will be decorated with paper mosaics. We are preparing the notebooks for taking them home this summer. Once at home, I hope that the children will occasionally open them and read the Spanish words, at least on rainy days!
Fifth Year students also practiced food vocabulary in conjunction with the meals-el desayuno, el almuerzo, y la cena. I thought that they might enjoy sharing a short play about pets with my Kindergarten class. They were enthusiastic and the play will be performed at the end of May or beginning of June. The Kindergarteners love to work with the older students, and vice versa. This will be a fun time for both!
To prepare for the Fiesta, the Fifth Years will decorate their Fiesta bags and they will prepare salsa to share with Upper El on the day of the Fiesta. I hope they don't pummel the pinata too badly. Usually the three spins kind of throws them a little off balance!
Good Luck to those students going off to other schools next year. I believe that they are well-prepared for whatever lies ahead of them in any foreign language. Practice over the summer!! I am looking forward to working with some of you next year!