Newsletters 2013-2014

I apparently did not send the April News correctly, and everyone did not receive it; here it is!

Coming up:
Loaves and Fishes April 7-baking cookies in Children's House
April 8-Sandwich-making and delivery on Tuesday
April 8- 5:30 pm PTO Meeting, child care and Pizza provided
April 7 & 8- drop off of children's clothing and gear for
April 18- Good Friday, School closed
April 21-25 Spring Break
April 30 - Earth Day celebration (parents do not need to do anything for this)
April 30- Staff Appreciation Dinner (more info to follow from

From the Head of School
Watching the children go out on the playground this week was like seeing a flock of birds suddenly released, fluttering, flapping and flying about. The freedom to run, unfettered by ice-topped snow, getting back on the swings after their winter restriction, was liberating for them in a way that shone on their faces. I hope for an extended Spring, not a quick launch, as with some years, into hot weather.

Our Loaves and Fishes food preparation is under way, and you have all received requests for items that will be part of the meal that we will deliver, and that the Upper Elementary will serve on Tuesday April 8. The ingredients are all calculated and necessary, so please be sure to send your item in on time. Your classroom teacher and Charmaine both have lists, if you've forgotten what item you should bring.

With Spring comes some traditional events at PVMS, such as our celebration of Earth Day on April 30. While the official date is April 22, during our break, we are not limited by the calendar in celebrating it. In the morning we have three half-hour sessions of activities, and the children are divided (not the Toddlers) into three groups that rotate through these activities. Paula Wicks saves her yogurt containers all year to give each child a flowerpot in which to plant a cutting and bring home. Christie does chalk art outside, and her husband David helps the teachers with a scavenger hunt. He has been doing this since their daughter Makalah attended PVMS (she's a sophomore in college now). We will also have a presentation from Forest Park's Zoo on the Go. We will not be doing plantings this year on our Earth Day. We will wait until later in May so the teachers can make a list of the plants they would like for the garden beds in back, which have become very popular and useful in many ways.

Before we know it, we will be doing our rehearsal for the Spring Concert. Rehearsal will be held on Sunday May 18 from 2 pm to 5 pm. The younger children will not need to be there the full three hours; we will provide a more accurate schedule soon. The performance will be on Thursday evening, May 22, so be sure to save that date; it's a wonderful event that you won't want to miss. Although the Toddlers do not perform, we do show a film of them during their music class with Miss Leticia, and Toddler families are encouraged to attend.

We are also planning our 50th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday September 6, and will soon be requesting input and help for planning of that wonderful occasion!

Thank you to all the parents who do so many wonderful things, from volunteering in classrooms, making donations of things needed, working on the PTO and the Board, and all the many other things that help make PVMS the wonderful school we all love!
Thank you all!
Margaret Bagge

El Espanol with Paula Wicks

Marzo has been a busy month for the Spanish classes. It is a fairly long period of time with no breaks!! Most classes have been practicing parts of the body or clothes vocabulary, as well as the beginning of animal vocabulary. We have been hard at work creating and presenting various projects.

SPANISH in TODDLER-The toddlers are really starting to use their words so much more! Generally they are English words;but, I hope that the Spanish words will not be far behind. We are finally beginning to be able to enjoy outside play again. I also continue to "help" read the stories and help with lunch. Adios for now!

SPANISH in CHILDREN'S HOUSES-We have been practicing parts of the body words through songs, stories, and games. We are singing "Cabeza, Hombros, Piernas, Pies", and "La tia Monica" during our line time. The children especially enjoy singing "Head, Shoulders" really fast! We participated in telling the story of "Mr. Nobody" or "Senor Nadie" who lost his body in the park. We created faces using felt features. We used household items and toys to create a "junk" person. At the end of the month it was on to clothes words with a clothesline activity. Please continue to look in their bags for the at-home Spanish work. Enjoy!

SPANISH in KINDERGARTEN-Finally we were able to hear the story "The Mitten" or "El Miton" in both Spanish and English. We did a lot of prep work for this story by creating paper mittens, cutting out all of the animal characters, and even unscrambling some animal words! The children liked putting their animals in their mittens as the story progressed. They were good listeners! We went on to practice parts of the body words . We did a cut and paste activity for the vocabulary for the cabeza. We filled in the missing consonants for the rest of the body words. The children created cabezas from paper plates and the rest of the body from paper. Charming!

SPANISH in LOWER ELEMENTARY-We continue to read, illustrate, memorize and present our stories and poems. First Years did the poem "Pin Pon" and a puppet project. Second Years are hard at work with the poem "El Reloj" which is quite lengthy! Third Years are illustrating and reading the story "Jugando en la Nieve" or "Playing in the Snow" and also "Que Me Pongo" to practice clothes vocabulary. Lower El students have spent most of March studying clothes vocabulary and the corresponding projects. First Years created a boy oso and a girl oso. They were able to choose the appropriate color for the clothing and then read a sentence about the clothing and color. Second Years cut clothes from magazines and created a madre, padre, nina, and nino. They were able to write sentences about what each was wearing. I read random sentences and the children identified which person I was talking about! Third Years created a closet (armario) out of paper and filled it with our clothes vocabulary. They also wrote about what clothing is in their closet and the color of that clothing. We continue to stress the importance of managing their time so that their assignments will be completed within a week. It is going very well! Animal vocab next!

UPPER ELEMENTARY SPANISH-We continue to become familiar with using our notebooks to aid in the completion of our classwork and assignments. Organization is so important at this level! Proofreading is another skill which they need to embrace! Slowly but surely we are making progress.
Level Four-Their story was "Cinco Munecos de Nieve" which practiced the use of quotation marks as well as practice with translation. To study clothes vocabulary, the children created four cartoon people in various settings (school, the mountains, the backyard, the playground). They wrote sentences about the clothes and colors. They read those sentences to the class. They listened as I read the sentences and told which person I was describing. We waded through four review pages of animal vocabulary. They have excellent memories !! Our new vocabulary is Sea Animals. The children are working on creating a seascape and then writing about one of the animals. Their projects must include color, verbs, what the animal eats, and comparisons (bigger/smaller than).
Level Five-Their story was "Los Gatos" (Cats). They are becoming very proficient at looking up words in the Spanish dictionary and translating the pages. Their illustrations are most adorable! Level Five finished with the parts of the body project and the use of the verb "dolerse". They created pictures of various parts of the body and put bandaids on the parts which "hurt". They wrote sentences about their pictures. We have begun the study of clothes vocabulary and a writing project with clothes and the seasons. More about that next month!
Level Six-Just when I think that they are beginning to know their way around their notebooks, we have a class when they just cannot find the information they need to complete their work! One step forward and another step back! The good thing is that they don't give up and just keep plugging away at the problems. We continue to practice new grammar with conjugated verbs plus the infinitive. We worked our way through pages 10 and 11, reading silently, orally, and answering questions in writing. We began pages 12 and 13 by finding and highlighting the vocabulary in the story. We reviewed the conjugation of verbs in the present tense. We learned a grammar structure using antes de and despues de (before and after) plus the infinitive. We reviewed the "tener" emotions.


Level One-The children finished "Zlateh the Goat" with a picture of "After the Blizzard." We worked on the story "The King of the Frogs" The children enjoyed making a "symphony of sounds" to create a pond filled with frogs in Africa. We shared some words as I told the story. We wrote about and discussed what we like to do when we are in a noisy mood or a quiet mood. We collected all of our work and put it inside of a cover to take home. We created crocodile puppets in honor of Mamba, the new King of the Frogs!

Level Two-The children found the story, "The Blue Moose" to be quite entertaining! I read it through once while they listened and they read it to me once. We analyzed one page of the story to find out why Mr. Breton believed that the moose was going to leave. We wrote and illustrated postcards from the moose to Mr. Breton. We discussed the story finding facts and then using facts from the story to explain our answers. They traced their hands to make antlers for the moose as a cover for all of their work.

Level Three-We are working on the French story "The Red Balloon". The children heard the story read to them and discussed vocabulary. We discussed whether or not we would like a friend like the Red Balloon and gave reasons from the story as the children read it to me. We did a textual analysis of two of the pages to find out why the balloon was not afraid of the principal. We did a bit of creative writing, describing an adventure that we would like to take.

UPPER ELEMENTARY with Mary Os and Yer Lo

March seems to have flown by, perhaps because we have our systems, routines, and expectations well ingrained and work through the days from Problem of the Day to chores and the daily read aloud smoothly. The morning work cycle is very productive and goes by quickly.
In history, we have had just about all we are going to take from King George III and are getting ready to write the Declaration of Independence. The Third years joined us for a simulation lesson on what it is like to get taxed without representation. King George III (Tristan) gave some compelling reasons for why he needed the tax money and Parliament (Diego and Emily) wrote up the decrees so that colonists-turned- tax-collectors Kayla A. and Jacob could legally (?) do George's bidding. As the colonists' money dwindled away, the rest of the Upper Elementary (planted among our Lower El guests) made it clear the taxation without representation was becoming increasingly unpopular.

What was popular and wonderfully attended was the Science Fair. There was a variety of presentations showcasing individual interests. We toured the displays in the Lower El in the morning and found many interesting projects to learn from and admire.

We have now covered all four operations for signed numbers and will continue to work with them over the next couple of weeks. This is an area in which the Common Core has pushed the standards down into the earlier grades, but even our fourth years are embracing them and doing quite well.

All students have moved up a grade level in their vocabulary Wordly-Wise books and have read with me individually to be sure they are challenged but not overly so by the narratives. It looks like we will be able to carry these books over into the beginning of next year without skipping a beat.

Taking a break from historical fiction, everyone is reading a realistic novel, either Charlie's Raven, The Same Stuff as Stars, or Wingnuts. Soon the entire class will begin Slave Dancer, and then choose from other ante-bellum novels as we move toward studying the Civil War Era.

We continue to enjoy our Scholastic News, writing prompts, and various reading comprehension selections. As students become more independent, some are taking on individual research inquiries such as Who was William the Conqueror? , Can I study moray eels? and What is the history of Legos? They may be partially inspired by our sixth years who are researching their year end projects!
We are looking forward to the next two/three months of work and activity and hoping for better weather in which to enjoy it!

Mary and Yer

LOWER ELEMENTARY with Sue, Lucy and Lisa

Who would know that April is here? Yet, we still look for the harbingers of Spring to appear. Till then it is winter coats, hats etc. Please keep sending in clothes which are appropriate for all weather boots are needed for the muddy conditions.
Thanks to all who came to enjoy the Science Fair. It still amazes me to see the excitement from both children and parents. Thank you all for the support and guidance you provided your children. The results of the effort were evident. The projects were wonderful and fit the individuals so well. They were confident and presented their projects from morning till night! We're so proud of them! Next year might be the time to expand our space to accommodate all our families and visitors. The rewards of pride and development in self-confidence last a life-time!

Coming up:
Grandparents Day
Loaves and Fishes
April School break
Earth Day

ART - Upper and Lower Elementary, with Christie
Can you believe that it is April already? I know that I can't. It seems like the school year has just started! In Art we have begun a new lesson on Steampunk design. If you're not familiar with the term Steampunk, this is a brief definition: The term "Steampunk" was first used in the early eighties and is a hybrid concept that combines elements of fantasy, history (19th century), and modern technology.
Springfield's George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum is hosting an exhibition entitled "Steampunk Springfield: Re-Imagining an industrial City". This exhibition is set to run from March 22 to September 28.
Upon hearing about this exhibition I decided to design a lesson for our students in which they could learn about this art form and then maybe at some later date they might visit the museum with their families. We started this lesson by exploring Steampunk design and where it derived its inspiration. We looked at images from the 19th century as well as some examples of Steampunk design. While not all the students were familiar with the term "Steampunk" many were familiar with this style of design from books and movies (especially the Upper Elementary students).
Using air dry clay, 4x4 canvases, acrylic paint and metal finding each student was given the task of designing a creature that reflected the elements that makeup Steampunk design. The students have started this project by sculpting a head for their art pieces. The head, once dry, is then painted and metal findings like old clockwork gears, screws and other metal findings are used to give the piece some mechanical elements. Once we complete our projects we will display our results to share with the school community.

TODDLER NEWS with Mary Ann, Janice, Cynthia and Jean

Is it really Spring? Last month we talked about the coming of spring despite the twenty degree temperature and bone chilling wind. During group time we read about the early signs of spring. While outside we observed the young buds on our gingko tree and the growing number of returning birds. Dr. Seuss' birthday was marked by making "Cat in the Hat" hats. Our eating area has a lovely shamrock painted by the children for St. Patrick's Day. Regarding our Grace and Courtesy theme, the children did very well with the carrying an egg on a spoon game to help us walk carefully in the classroom.
This month we are hoping spring is here to stay. We will expand our study of spring by daily observations of Forsythia branches and continue noting the changes happening outside. As the weather becomes warmer the class will have the opportunity to plant some seeds, learn plant care and conditions needed for seeds to grow. Many of the children are fond of a garden song we sing at group time. The art area will offer activities to create individual and group spring inspired masterpieces. Many of the stories we read at group time will highlight the awaking of the earth after the winter. When we return from the spring break the school will observe Earth Day by planting flowers, sprucing up our outdoor area and making art out of recycled materials. You can recycle you children's art by using it as gift wrap or cards. This is a great way to change the art work on the refrigerator without diminishing its value.
Thank you to Julien's family (now in Children's House) for donating some of his outgrown toys and clothing.
Thank you to the Leela's family for donating some delicious clementines for the class snack.

CHILDREN'S HOUSE SOUTH with Angelika, Rosemary and Gerri

Welcome to our new student, Mohammad, who has joined us from the toddler room. We are also pleased to have Jayden in our class. It is always a pleasure to watch these little ones grow and move into the children's house classes. We often see them on the toddler playground, knowing that soon they will be playing on our side of the fence.

We are beginning to learn some of the songs we will be performing for the Spring Performance. The children are showing enthusiasm and excitement and are eagerly learning the many motions that go along with their new songs. Ms. Leticia is well loved by your children. She does a wonderful job with them each Friday morning.

We have some exciting things planned for the month of April:

Grandparents Day: The children are looking forward to showing what they are learning and how they spend their time at school.

Spring offers many opportunities to learn about new life. We will learn about the many types of seeds and how they grow into plants. We will also be reading books about birds and how they build nests, lay eggs and then raise their young.

Thomas' family has generously offered to purchase Painted Lady caterpillars for our classroom. We will have a caterpillar habitat in our room and the children will be able to observe how they eat and grow, make their chrysalis and eventually evolve into pretty butterflies. It should be a wonderful and exciting experience for your young children to be able to learn about the butterfly metamorphosis.

We are hoping that spring will soon allow us to feel warmer temperatures. Please continue to send the appropriate outdoor clothing, as your children's recess time is an important part of their day.

As always let me know if you have questions or concerns.

Angelika Deaton

CHILDREN'S HOUSE EAST with Susan and Donna

The coral reef was the next phase of our ocean study. Some things we learned were: coral animals have exoskeletons; coral reefs can be found in warm, shallow water; many different kinds of creatures make their home in the coral reef; colorful fish are camouflaged among the brightly colored coral. At the end of our study, we made a "coral reef" in a jar, complete with coral exoskeletons, fish, a shark, an octopus, and sea stars.
We have also been learning about fish. We have had stories about parts of a fish, how fish protect themselves, and fish that live in both fresh and salt water. Children enjoy a fishing game in the math area, trace different kinds of fish in the art area, and do matching fish puzzles in the sensorial area. We read the book Swimmy and did an art project about Swimmy and his school of fish.
Our most recent "grace and courtesy" exercise was about what to do when someone is standing in the way of where you want to go: say, "Excuse me, can I please get by?" Wait until the person moves, and when you can go by, say, "Thank you." I think that is one we will need to practice a bit more! It has been interesting to watch the children role play all these different expressions of courtesy as the year has gone by.
Upcoming events to look for: baking cookies for Loaves and Fishes, April vacation, and Earth Day celebration.
Warm wishes from Susan and Donna.

CHILDREN'S HOUSES NORTH with Andrea, Sara, and Debbie
Welcome spring maybe! We are looking forward to warmer weather and the children are preparing to see the early signs of spring. For example, the budding of the forsythia and lilac bushes, the crocuses and daffodils emerging from the ground, and of course the sounds of the birds. Please help your child to stop, listen, and absorb the simple pleasures right outside your door.

In continuation of our Grace and Courtesy theme, we have been discussing the concept of "classroom community". The children are working on understanding that everyone is part of our community and what that means within the classroom. We have been discussing how each one of us makes a difference within our environment and how the choices we make impact others. For example, the importance of being kind to one another, remembering to use quiet voices while working, volunteering to help each other when needed, demonstrating proper use of materials, respecting one another's work spaces, and respect for oneself and other's individuality, strengths, and areas of development. Also, many children take initiative to support the newly enrolled students by helping them with their belongings, find specific materials, and demonstrate lessons as appropriate.

Our school will be participating once again in the annual "Loaves and Fishes" meal in a few days. Each year all the classrooms are responsible for some part of the lunch that the Upper Elementary serves at the Food pantry. We will be making oatmeal raisin cookies the day before. Please check your child's bag for the important ingredient you need to bring to help make this lunch a success. A special thank you to Debbie for helping with the baking and monitoring of the ovens for all our classrooms. As always, please continue to send in your Friday non-perishable food donations as this is another important way to contribute to the community and the children are proud to place their donation into the basket.

A lunch reminder: Please remember, if sending in an item that needs to be heated, we are only able to warm up foods that are already cooked; we are not able to cook frozen foods, or foods that need several minutes of heating , as there may be up to 16 children's lunches in our classroom. Thank you for your cooperation with this.
What a cold spell! It has been so cold that the students haven't been able to go outside to play. The teachers have been creative with the indoor activities to keep them active during the times that they would have gone outdoors. But just as I am about to send this, the Children's House are exiting onto the playground, delighted by the snow coming down. One child announced that he sees "a hundred million snowflakes"!
From the weather reports, we may be seeing another hundred million on Wednesday, so be alert to the possibility of a snow day. "touch" alert for tablets makes weather and cancellation info quick to find, but TV channels 3, 40, and 22 carry the info, and I also send an email.

This newsletter enables families to read about not only what happens in their own child's classroom, but the others as well. Parents of Children's House and Toddler students can read about the interesting things happening in Upper and Lower Elementary, as well as in the Enhanced Learning classes. Please also see the entries by the After School programs as well.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about anything, please call or email me ( and we'll find a time to meet.
Margaret Bagge

COMMUNICATION: We do most of our communicating by email, but also mail items and, of course, may need to contact you by telephone, especially for a sick or injured child. We find that parents forget to tell us that they have changed their telephone number or address. If yours has changed, please be sure to let us know.

Each family should have received a new enrollment contract, where you have the opportunity to let us know your plans for next year. If you have not yet returned yours, please do so as quickly as possible to help us in our planning for next year.

If you can't find your contract, please contact the school office and we will print a new one out for you.

For families interested in applying for financial aid for the 2014-15 school year, please go to our website, under ADMISSIONS/Financial Aid, to read about the process. The deadline is March 1st and awards will be granted March 15th. If you have any questions, please call and set up a time to meet with me (Margaret).

In the past few weeks we have had several cases of conjunctivitis in children. Two of our teachers have also been infected. Please check before sending your child to school, as it is very contagious, and must be treated with prescription drops. Most children appear to have "gunk", as they call it, in their eye upon waking, usually only one eye, and sometimes the appearance of being slightly swollen or closed, along with a very red inner eyelid. They sometimes say that it feels like there is a cotton ball on their eyelashes.
The following info is from the CDC: Bacterial conjunctivitis is highly contagious. Most bacteria that cause conjunctivitis are spread through direct hand-to-eye contact from contaminated hands. People can get conjunctivitis just by touching or using something that has been infected by a person who has the eye infection. Infectious conjunctivitis (viral or bacterial) can also be spread by large respiratory tract droplets. This is most common in children under the age of 5.
We understand that it is very inconvenient when your child is sick and that it often affects your employment. We all struggle with that issue with our own children - it's a challenge that in many families there is not a parent or grandparent home and available to care for a sick child. However, it is our job to keep the school environment as healthy as possible.

If you have any questions about this, please refer to our Health Care Policy, which is online, or give a call to the office.

Thank you for doing your best to help us to protect the health of the school community.

-to the parents who have been willing to take our collected non-perishables to the Food Pantry most recently Bryan Lora. Please let me know if you are willing- we have another collection of food ready to be delivered.

-to Amy Meunier, who gave a wonderful presentation to the staff on nutrition. It was very informative, and gave us lots of ideas to implement. Amy also gave a class on food preparation for interested parents. There is always new information, and we appreciate her willingness to share with us.

-to the families who donate to the food collection every Friday; we have collected and donated 316 pounds of food to date this year, with another delivery ready to go!

-to everyone who donated to the HUGS collection- the Jefferson Ave shelter is always appreciative of our donations.

-to all who donated to the Annual Fund and the Day of Giving. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

-To all our parents and families for all the little extra things you do to make PVMS the wonderful school it is.

-To our wonderful staff who helped us move the Toddler Program to the Multi-Purpose room while the heating unit was being repaired. And then move it all back again.
And to the parents of the Toddler Program for their patience and understanding during that disruptive time period.

February 7- First Friday Coffee for Parents at morning drop-off
February 11- PTO Meeting 5:30 pm
February 17 - 21 School Vacation Week
The E.I.N. for PVMS is: 042325461

You may need this number for your taxes.


The Toddler Class grew a little more during the month of January. We welcome Adem, Leela, Cora and their families to our school community. Leela's brother is a toddler class alumnus. Our new students are becoming comfortable through the kindness of their classmates. We can see our school theme, Grace and Courtesy exemplified by the children's eagerness to embrace our new friends.
The transition back to school after the December break was quite smooth. Many of the children were very happy to see their friends. It only took a short time to get back in the swing of things.
During January we talked about the season of winter and Mother Nature gave us a first hand experience of what winter is all about. We read several stories, "The Mitten" by Jan Brett, "A Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats and "The Mitten Tree" by Candice Christiansen , made winter inspired art work, experienced the concepts of melting and freezing. Making orange juice with a hand juicer was a big hit in our practical life area. More food preparation will be added as the year progresses. At the end of the month we celebrated Chinese New Year, the year of the horse, with moon cakes prepared by the children and painted a horse together.
This month has several celebrations to highlight, Black History Month, Groundgs Day and Valentines Day. There will be stories, songs and art activities to introduce these events.
Please remember to bring your child's labeled snow pants, boots, hats and mittens as we play outside whenever possible.

Mary Ann, Janice, Cynthia and Jean


January has started with much enthusiasm and energy. The children have continued to work hard in all areas and I see so much growth and learning.

We would like to welcome our new student Milania. She has joined us from the toddler classroom and we look forward to her becoming an integral and important part of our classroom community.

We have delved into our unit on vertebrates. Books and discussions have helped us to understand the differences between various groups of animals with backbones. This study is aided by special x-ray pictures, which show the animals and their skeletons when backlit. We are reading about fish and birds. This past week we have explored amphibians. The Lower Elementary class loaned us their class pet, Christy, an African mud frog. The children are thrilled to watch our long legged visitor swim in her terrarium and gobble up tasty meals of bloodworms. Next we will talk about the characteristics and habits of reptiles and mammals.

We continue to encourage grace and courtesy skills throughout. Grace and courtesy teach the children to be kind, polite, thoughtful, considerate and respectful to one another and our environment. Maria Montessori also stressed in her writings the importance of graceful movements. We practice careful heel-to-toe walking to beautiful piano music. These exercises help foster self-control, balance, self-awareness and build the child's confidence in his or her physical ability. We also carry our bell (without ringing it of course), carry pom-poms on each palm and beanbags on our heads. These activities take a great deal of concentration from your children and even the youngest enjoy the challenge!

Cold winter days of course are perfect for indoor gross motor activities.
When we really need to get the energy out, we love skating around the room on white paper plates to many fun tunes. The children absolutely love this!!

Black history month is just around the corner and we plan to read some appropriate stories in its honor. We are also looking forward to activities in preparation of Valentines Day.

With respect and love.

Angelika, Rosemary, and Gerri

We have arrived at about the midpoint of the school year. The results of the children's hard work are becoming evident. Academic readiness stems from the Practical Life and Sensorial activities created for the purpose of repetition and mastery of skills. These activities foster independence, concentration and focus, self-esteem, and fine motor skills.
In January, we welcomed two new children into our classroom - Kailesh (a student from the Toddler Room) and Akam (a new student that joined our program). Everyone has been enthusiastically helping both boys to become familiar with the routines and transitions of the classroom and has warmly accepted them into our classroom community.
Our Grace and Courtesy skills continue to develop as new challenges and situations arise within the classroom. For example, the arrival of new students allows for the opportunity to appropriately greet and introduce themselves to one another and also with the new activities we added on curriculum day, supports the opportunity to improve the ability to wait, take turns, and share.
Our group time gives us the opportunity to present diverse topics and lessons. This past month, we read two children's books about Martin Luther King Jr. and the laws he helped change in our society. Our discussion opened with reviewing the civil rights that he fought for, talked about the similarities and differences among each of us, and how Reverend King helped make it possible for everyone to be treated equally and fairly. The children were moved and surprised when they learned that our society and laws were once unfair and that the people were not treated as equals because of skin color.
As always, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. This time of year, many families are beginning to look ahead for next year's plans and I would like to help in any way possible. Also, parent conferences are coming soon (March 7) and your child's Mid-Year Update report will be sent home.
With Peace - Andrea, Sara, and Debbie


Since we have been back from winter vacation, we have begun our study of the ocean. This unit will continue for the next few months and will cover many aspects of this major part of our planet. So far, our activities have included: discussing what the children know about the ocean, finding the oceans on our globe and world map, learning the names of the oceans, talking about fresh and salt water, tasting salt water, and making a wave bottle that imitates the action of waves. We have now begun our exploration of the seashore: the sandy beach, the rocky coast, and tide pools. Books and classroom activities will help us learn about some of the many creatures that live where the ocean meets the land.
With "grace and courtesy" being our school theme this year, we have brought in our puppets, Henry and Tamika, to help us learn about living in cooperation with each other. They are a fun way to role play various social situations. Some of the situations we have acted out include: how to offer something to someone, saying "yes, please" or "no, thank you," how to ask someone for help, how not to interrupt, and what to do when you accidentally bump into or hurt someone. Because children are not born with these skills, we adults have to pass them on, both by teaching, and by example.
Susan and Donna


Children's author, Laura Numeroff, has written several books, such as If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, which follow a particular format. We read a few of these books and discussed the sequence of events in her stories. Based on these books, we did a shared writing of our own "book," using the same format. Finally, the children created illustrations for our narrative, and we put our pages together in a binder. You can see our creation, If You Give a Bunny a Hot Dog, in the library of Children's House East.

The last few weeks have certainly flown by. In spite of the many days too cold for our class to go outside, we were able to watch our pair of Red Tailed Hawks soar by our large windows and view "Rosie" our red fox trotting through the field.
Thanks to the parents who attended Move-Up Night. It's a good opportunity for me to further explain the concepts and day to day activities of our Lower EL program. Please feel free to contact me about other times to discuss any questions you may have.

I'd like to share with you a special, but important, part of our curriculum which is one that addresses the developmental stages of the child. Children at different age levels have similar developmental characteristics. Maria Montessori called these levels Planes of Development. Level 1 (birth-6years), Level 2 (6 thru 12), Level 3 (12 thru 18), Level 4 (18-24). There is some disorder at the beginning of each plane but children move into the next plane gradually and spontaneously. One can't push them. The second plane of development (6 thru12 years) is characterized by certain stages of learning. The children want to know the whys of things, develop a moral sense, and seek knowledge about their peers and their relationships with them. As a result of the peer group and its complexities, we have been reading and discussing books that teach about handling feelings and other social skills. We might role play to enable the children to better understand how they can interact positively, and in a kind, respectful manner with one another during times of stress or misunderstanding. Now is the time to learn how to deal with problems using words and develop empathy and understanding of how others might feel in various situations. I hope this informs you as to other important aspects of our curriculum which in addition to math, language, etc. helps us nurture and develop a well rounded, happy child.
Susan's presentations on planets and the study of volcanoes
Trip to U Mass to see The Great Mountain
Sue & Lucy


Time has certainly flown since our last newsletter and now! The children have taken home their gold findings and have completed another inquiry-based science project. To help better understand the human skeletal system, the children dissected and investigated the contents of owl pellets.
The barn owl swallows its small prey whole and separates the digestible parts from the non-digestible parts by processing the material in the gizzard. The digestible parts continue on the expected journey, while the indigestible parts are tightly balled up and regurgitated out. The pellets are collected and sterilized to be dissected and analyzed by students. The students identified a number of small animals, mostly voles and moles, and drew analogies between the bones found in the pellets and those in the human body.
Work is ongoing with fractions and we will be evaluating expressions and equations according to the accepted protocol every middle school child learns as PEMDAS.
Each student will be researching the life of a prominent Revolutionary Era figure. To execute this assignment successfully, students have to do a great deal of reading, note taking, and paraphrasing, and figure out how to budget his/her time to also get other assignments done. Please feel free to send in any resources you may have that will help with the research.
The Secret Snow Flake activity went well with some really thoughtful and creative gifts going to happy recipients. Only two people guessed who their donors were beforehand! I was impressed the class was able to stay so closed-mouth!
The building of the gingerbread houses was a real learning experience. While cleverly disguised as a simple craft activity, the project required the students to measure, estimate, consider symmetry, create patterns, share, cooperate and exercise patience.

A special thanks to Pamela and Christie who have filled in while I deal with this back issue. It's certainly testing my patience, but I expect to be back soon.

I hope everyone has a great New Year!

Mary, Yer, and Pamela


Hello and happy New Year. We began the New Year with a lesson on American artist, George Rodrigue who recently passed away on December 14 of last year. George Rodrigue was born in Louisiana and raised in the heart of Cajun country. Throughout his life his work was strongly influenced by his home state and his work celebrated the Cajun culture. Early in his career he was known for his landscape paintings of the dark and lush Louisiana bayou. Rodrigue was best known for a series of portraits of a soulful looking dog known as the "Blue Dog". Mr.Rodrigue was inspired by his dog Tiffany, who had died. She was in fact black and white but, became blue in his imagination, with yellow eyes.
The students learned about George Rodrigue. We discussed and viewed examples of his work. Rodrigue's "Blue Dog" was often depicted in fantasy environments and at times wearing outfits or various accessories. Each child was given an 8"x 10" canvas panel to create a work of art inspired by the "Blue dog" paintings. We used our Gelli printing plates to create colorful backgrounds for our art pieces. Students then chose their favorite animal from a selection of black and white photocopies. The animal photocopies were then carefully cut out and glued onto their canvases. Each student then altered their animals using colored pencils, oil pastels, water color crayons, glitter, markers and paper.
The students really embraced the process and you can see the results on display in the school's hallways. We are currently working on a mini version of this same project, but instead of canvas panels the students are working on mini note books that they will be able to use once these project are complete.
Have a wonderful month and keep warm.
Christie 

Cold,cold January has flown by! The children were busy learning emotion vocabulary, practicing reading and improving their writing skills.

Toddlers-I continue to spend about half an hour in the toddler program on Wednesdays. I participate in the "end of the morning" activities such as storytime, playtime and lunch preparation. The children are beginning to repeat some Spanish words, especially "hola" and "adios." They have become accustomed to hearing Spanish spoken in the classroom!

Children's Houses-We had fun with the word "familia". We made small paper houses with "ventanas" and "puertas". On the back the children were invited to draw a picture of their families. This year I decided to introduce two emotion words to the preschool students, as these are part of the vocabulary in the upper grades. We practiced "triste" and "contento/a"-sad and happy. We played the matching game with our target vocabulary and made a triste/contento plate to take home for practice. We reviewed the numbers 1-10 with the dog puppet and dog bones. The children chose a number and counted out that many milkbones to feed the dog! Colors were reviewed with the snowman activity. The children told the colors of the snowman's hat and scarf.

Kindergarten-We began with the "Three Kings" celebration which is popular in Latin America. The children enjoyed hearing about this celebration and decorating paper bags for the kings to leave the "presents" in while they were "sleeping." We reviewed school words with pictures and a small paper backpack. The children had to use letter sounds clues to tell about the picture and place it in the pack. We began our Spanish/English reading project of "The Mitten/El Miton. The children first laced a paper mitten. Next they decorated it with small pieces of paper doily-the mitten has to be completely white for the story! We discussed the animal names in Spanish and English. We wrote the Spanish names as well. This project will probably be complete by February vacation!

Lower Elementary-Our focus was on emotion vocabulary and how to use the words with masculine and feminine subjects. We practiced with various forms of the verb "estar", "to be." The children made sentence games to practice the verbs and vocabulary. We played a beanbag game , a matching game, and a bingo game to practice as well. Each level created emotion projects to illustrate the vocabulary. The Level Ones created flowers with faces on them (Hurray for Spring!!). They labeled the flowers according to the emotion. The Level Twos created stick people with family vocabulary and different faces. This level wrote excellent complete sentences to describe their work!.. Level Threes made silly Cyclops creatures with different emotions and wrote about them as well. We continue to practice our poetry and short stories. Level One is working on the poem , "Osito". Level Two is working on the poem, "AEIOU, Arbolito de Peru" which is the introduction to the Spanish vowel sounds and beginning reading en espanol. Level Three is working on the short story "Cumpleanos Feliz" about birthdays. You may have seen the beautiful munecas de nieve (snowmen) which the children created . They had to read short phrases or sentences in Spanish and color the snowman accessories according to the directions.

Upper Elementary-We continue to read and write en espanol! Level Fours are finishing up their "diary" pages and will soon go on to a story. Level Fives are just about done with "Ballenas" or "Whales". Level Six is of course continuing to read their short story, "Un Viaje A Mexico".
Level Four-We are learning to conjugate "ar,ir,and er" verbs in the present tense. We are learning about subject pronouns and how each form of the verb has to agree with the subject. We have been hard at work with the verb "estar" in conjunction with our study of emotions vocabulary. These students are practicing not only masculine/feminine agreement, but singular/plural as well. We have a sentence game which seems to defy logic, there are so many pieces! The children seem to do just fine with it!
Level Five is finally finishing up the family unit and will shortly begin emotions work as well. Our maps have provided a great deal of practice with prepositions and the verbs "ir" (to go) and "estar" (to be). We also have been working with the verb "ser", the other "to be" verb used not for emotion and location; but, for description. They are getting very adept at translating our "Whale" story. Practice really does make perfect!
Level Six-organization is presenting a challenge for these students! They are working hard at organizing their notebooks to be effective tools for them as we read and write. I am trying to foster independence with these students. I want them to figure out words, phrases, and sentences on their own! My frequent expression has become "I am not your dictionary!" Of course it is easier to ask me for the answers, or if an answer is correct. I would rather that they try to work it out on their own, using their common sense and their notebooks. This level is totally capable of the work that they are being asked to do. They just need to "step up"!!


JGB 1-We took a little departure from short stories and worked on a poem instead. It was a poem entitled "Imagination" and was about a boy flying. The children found nouns and adjectives in the poem. We wrote a class poem about flying. They interpreted the story with pictures as well as writing. They enjoyed making a little flying ghost.

JGB 2-WE have been working on an African folktale, "Arap Sang and the Cranes". The children are beginning to use facts in the story to justify their answers. Much of this work has to be done with me, as they are not used to this skill yet. This is a hard-working group and they are progressing with each class. Our discussion centered around the question "Should Arap Sang give up his power - Why or why not?"

JGB 3-We have been working on a Punjabi folktale, "The Jackal and the Partridge." We have been exploring our ideas about friendship and how they differ from those of Jackal. We located parts of the story where Partridge was or was not being a good friend. We studied the meanings of the word "cunning" and how Partridge used these ideas to show the Jackal that she was a good friend.

The weather outside has been frightful, so we have been staying in for January. But not to worry; ever though the afterschool program under normal circumstances is a mostly outdoor program, we know how to keep it interesting inside as well.
Cooking is one of my favorite indoor activities with the children in the wintertime. With the amount of time we spend outside we can really not do both, so as soon as we start staying in I start to get out the baking dishes. Last week we made the most delicious banana bread. In my opinion there is not much that tastes better than fresh baked banana bread hot from the oven with a little butter. The kids really enjoyed it and are looking forward to doing it again in a week or two. With a recipe this simple it's hard to say no. Really all you do is mix all ingredients and put in a loaf pan and bake at 350° for 1 hour.
Banana Bread
4 bananas
1/3 cup melted butter
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1t vanilla
1t baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 ½ c flour

We also like to keep busy with more than a few art projects. I took out an old favorite and made owls that are meant for Halloween, but they are so cute we though why not in January? The kids worked, in some cases, for two days on these little owls, and the end product is so wonderful I think you will agree. Especially with the untraditional owl coloring and, as always, glitter makes every project a little better.
Margaret O.

In the month of January, the Afternoon Program was transformed into the South Pole! We explored the life of penguins. We started out by watching Happy Feet. We enjoyed a snack of gold fish of course! Next our adventure took us into the ice cold weather where our water table became an ocean of sharks and icebergs. Our sharks were made of frozen ice cubes colored blue. We used water frozen in large bowls to create the iceberg s. We measured how tall we were compared to the largest penguin, the "Emperor Penguin", which can grow up to 4 feet tall and the "The Fairy Penguin", which is the smallest measuring only 13 inches tall. Our journey also had us making penguin food. We snacked on goldfish and used sunflower seeds to represent krill. We also read stories about penguins.
Debbi and Yer
Thank you all for your support (and patience) during my first year as Head of School. I am fortunate to work with such a dedicated staff, committed parents and wonderful children.

2014 IS THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF PVMS- PLEASE SAVE THE DATE OF SEPTEMBER 6 TO SHARE IN THE CELEBRATION. Anyone interested in helping us plan this event is welcome to join us on Tuesday, June 24 at 6 pm. Please RSVP to this email, or to the school office (or just come!) Your input will be helpful and welcome.

Another great year ends at PVMS, and the end of year events are rolling quickly along! Spring Performance was an amazing evening! Leticia Davies is a fantastic music teacher who brings out the best in all of the children. The DVDs have gone home to those of you that ordered them to replay your favorite moments.

I know you will be enjoying the yearbook shortly, a marvelous piece of work put together by Margaret O'Shaughnessy. We are fortunate to have her working on this so conscientiously, and with such a good eye for detail.

Graduation for kindergarten and 6th grade is on Wednesday evening at 6 pm. The community is welcome at this event. Please RSVP to Charmaine in the school office. Graduation is held at First Congregational Church Hall in East Longmeadow.

Upcoming events:
9 Children's House Field Trip to Forest Park
10 Elementary Field Trip (Grades 1- 6) Look Park
11 Graduation for Grade 6 and Kindergarten
After School ending at 5:00 pm, Graduation at 6 pm
at First Congregational Church in East Longmeadow

12 Last Day of Classes- Full school day, but
no after school program

TODDLER CLASS with Mary Ann, Janice, Cynthia and Jean
The end of the school year is just days away and it's time to prepare for the upcoming transitions. Many of the toddlers will be moving to the Children's House in the summer and others in the fall. We also have a few students returning to the Toddler room.
During these last days, those that are going to the Children's House will be visiting and becoming familiar with the other classrooms and teachers. During the last week of school we will discuss the summer break and moving to the "big kid's class" when they return. We also want to reassure them that we will all see each other when we come back to school and our friendships will continue.
I know you are all as proud as we are of the confident and competent people your children have become over the past school year. It's amazing how much toddlers can do. We hope the joy of learning and discovery will be with them for their entire life.
Janice, Cynthia and I thank you for entrusting us with your precious children and supporting us throughout the school year.
Have a fun and relaxing summer. Stop by if you're in the neighborhood.
Just a reminder to apply sun screen, bring hats, and wear closed play shoes.
Thank you.

CHILDREN'S HOUSE EAST with Susan and Donna
As the school year draws to a close, we look back on our year of the ocean and remember the sandy beach and rocky coast. We liked creating a tide pool and coral reef in our classroom. We learned about fish and shore birds, as well as invertebrates that live on the shore and in the water. We ended with marine mammals and enjoyed our stuffed manatee, sea lion, dolphin, and walrus. Hopefully, if you go to the ocean this summer, your child will remember and appreciate these creatures who share our earth.
We say good-bye to several of our friends who are moving on to the lower elementary class or new schools, and we look forward to spending next year with many returning friends, as well.
Read, play, cook, walk, be outside, and have a safe and happy summer.
Susan and Donna

Some kindergarten poetry to share with you:


Spring Summer
Sometimes a seed grows. The bee saw a tree.
Sometimes a seed grows. The tree said to the bee,
It is fun to have a seed. What are you doing here?
I love it. I am having fun.
Good-bye, seed. Payton
What do seeds need?

Fall Winter
The bird is sitting in the nest. The boy is making an igloo.
The pumpkin is in the wagon. He is bringing some of his books
Aluel In the igloo.
He lost his hat.
Oh! No!

A New Year
Tomorrow's a special day,
Because tomorrow is New Year's Day.
And we can stay up till 10:00.
We can gallop all around the house
And play games.

Untitled Untitled
A pond A tree sways in the moonlight.
A frog jumps in. Birds rest their heads.
The sound of water Bugs scatter home.
Rhys Rhys

Love, love, love is in the air.
Come on, people!
Love is in the air.

LOWER ELEMENTARY with Sue and Lucy
Another year is about to end and it will certainly be busy, but fun up 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 such a pervasive feeling of community and harmony. The children avidly watched as all levels performed and their faces showed the appreciation of the performances. The slide show is always a popular, wonderful part of the night.
Upcoming is our yearly trip to Look Park with Upper El students. It is such a great location, as we can enjoy the water park, play ground, and share a lunch together. Talent and pet days will be announced at a later date. Stanford testing is a yearly event for third year students in Lower El. Most years the children tell me that it's fun. They especially look forward to the ice cream treat after the testing is completed.
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 those leaving to be sure to come back and visit. Children past and present are part of the PVMS family.
Thanks for all your support this past year. It really is a team effort!
Have a safe happy summer,
Sue and Lucy

CHILDREN'S HOUSE NORTH with Andrea and Sara

Our final newsletter! I am grateful to all the children for a wonderful year and everything we have learned together.
Congratulations to the graduating kindergarteners in our classroom. Many will return in the fall to Lower Elementary, and a few children are moving on to new schools. I wish all the children the best of luck.
I would like to congratulate the entire class for a job well done at the annual Spring Performance. The children worked very hard with their songs and also for being a terrific audience to Upper and Lower Elementary classes as well. It is a lot of hard work for the teachers, staff members, parents, and mostly the children. Thank you to all who participated in helping out and to all that attended!

A quick look ahead for the remaining days ahead:
Progress Reports will be sent home last week of school.
Thursday June 5th Children's House Field Trip to Forest Park Discovery Program
Monday June 9th and Tuesday June 10th celebrating our 10 summer birthdays (a notice will be coming home on your child's bag with more information)
Wednesday June 11th Graduation (for Kindergarten and 6th Year Graduates)
Thursday June 12th Last day of classes
Please call if you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding your child's progress or if you are in need of anything before the school year ends!
With Peace,

CHILDREN'S HOUSE SOUTH with Angelika, Rosemary and Gerri

Just like butterflies the students in Children's House South have been showing great patience. Our butterfly chrysalises are hanging in their protective butterfly net waiting to emerge and to reveal themselves. In the meantime we have been learning about Insects and Arachnids. The children are truly fascinated by the many creatures and their curious habits, differences and similarities. We are also looking forward to our fieldtrip to Forest Park Zoo on Thursday, June 5th. The children love this trip and it should be a lot of fun for everyone. Please remember to send in your yellow envelope if you have not done so yet. We could use another chaperone or two, please call the school or send me a note if you would like to join us on that day.

I would like to thank all parents for their generosity in sending delicious snacks throughout this year. We very much appreciate all your support. This has been an exciting and rewarding year for all of us. I am looking forward to be at Children's House South in September!
Your children bring me great joy and I am thankful that you have entrusted them to me. I wish you and your families a great and relaxing summer.


UPPER ELEMENTARY with Mary and Yer
June already! I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you (parents, PTO members, the Board, staff) who have supported the classroom this year through various ways: material donations, terrific snacks for the kids, books, shopping, words of encouragement, and a willingness to help out whenever needed. I especially thank Pam for subbing and delivering the work I sent in while I was bedridden, as well as choosing from other aspects of the curriculum. And a big thanks to the students who carried on daily this is a huge testimonial to them and their work habits and growing independence, as well as to the Montessori program with its systems and procedures, and to previous teachers who laid a firm foundation of high expectations. I am so looking forward to next year when the class will be a little bigger and returning students will step up as role models.
The fifth years took the full battery of Stanford tests, the results from which should be mailed to your homes over the summer.
All students will receive a summer reading assignment which is due when school opens in the fall. Also, please have students memorize all their math facts, as that frees the mind for higher order thinking as the math gets harder.
The students have written about some of their more lasting memories of this school year:
Lydia Collins: Winslow Farm was the best field trip I ever went on. I liked it because I met some "friends" that I will always remember. There were miniature horses, cats, horses, and goats. It was a field trip to remember.
Kayla Rosati: I think having birds in the classroom is wonderful because we got to watch the birds' lifestyle. We all voted and the winning names were Charlie and Athena. Charlie is a small yellow bird and Athena is a slightly taller blue bird. We all love having them!
Kayla Asare: Every year our school has a spring performance. This year I was a narrator with the other 6th graders, Emily and Tristan. It was fun because we could sit backstage and watch from there. It was my favorite spring performance in all of the nine years I've been here.
Jacob Keller: I enjoyed the Science Fair because I like to see all the projects and see what they have to offer. I also like the effort people put into making these projects.
Asia Blakeborough: In December Upper Elementary did Secret Santa. We picked a name out of a basket and that's who we gifted. My favorite part was hiding their presents around the classroom then looking at their faces when they found them.
Diego Suprenant: During the winter Upper El had the great opportunity to learn how to pan for gold. We each got a bag of sand with gold flakes in it. The bags came all the way from Colorado. In a tub of water, we swished our pans full of sand and gold flakes and slowly got rid of the sand. We were left with our very own flakes of gold.
Tristan Lynch: Doing the senior project was definitely a great experience. I've learned many things about what I'm researching, but I also have learned much about the method of researching. Before this year, I was not aware of the many steps that have to be taken when researching a topic. I am very glad that I was able to improve my research skills this year.
Emily Jones: In the beginning of the year we played games with our names to get to know each other. They were all very fun. My favorite was the ball toss. We would say the person's name then toss the ball to them. That was the highlight of my first day and my last year here at P.V. M. S.
Julia Pelletier: One of my favorite things we did this year was when we did a simulation of King George taxing the colonists without representation. I liked how we got to feel how the colonist felt without representation. We were joined by the lower el.J
Olivia Schonagel: The spring performance has always been an event I look forward to each year. My favorite song this year was "Light a Candle." I also enjoyed the instrumental pieces (ukulele, piano, and guitar). I had a fun time performing the songs we practiced for nearly a year!
Getting honorable mention were: Loaves & Fishes, gingerbread house making, Earth Day, Sharing Day, Owl Pellets, Halloween Party, math improvement, literature circles, coordinate graphing (four quadrants) and the Scholastic News and Book Club.

Espanol with Paula, mayo,2014

As the end of the year draws near, I am struck by how time flies! As I get older, it just seems to fly faster! All in all it has been another productive year for the Spanish students at PVMS. We have covered a lot of material, as you will see when the notebook pages go home at the end of May,beginning of June. I wish you a safe and restful summer vacation and I hope to see the students next fall!

SPANISH-TODDLER-The toddlers are all smiles when I enter the classroom singing "Buenos Dias." They are used to me chattering away in Spanish! As the year progressed, they were more willing to repeat words and simple phrases.

SPANISH-CHILDREN'S HOUSES-We concluded our study of food words with the ever-popular "raton" game. The raton "steals" the food from the child and he/she has to guess what is missing. We worked on our Fiesta projects which include goodie bags and props for the Fiesta story. The children had a wonderful time on Review Day playing bingo/lotto/matching games with the vocabulary of the year. The fiestas are coming up the first week of June. Angelica/Rosemary on Monday, June 2. Andrea/Sarah on Wednesday, June 4. Susan/Donna on Wednesday, June 4 , as well. It's been a fun year!

SPANISH-KINDERGARTEN-We practiced pet words with a missing sounds vocabulary list and an art project of pets we have (Yo tengo) or we want (Yo quiero). The Fourth Year Spanish students also performed a short play about pet care for the Kindergarten and worked with the children afterwards. We wrote a food vocabulary list. The students reviewed all of the vocabulary in their Spanish folders before bringing them home.. We will have a story called "Fiesta" on the last day of Kindergarten Spanish, Wednesday, June 4. The children made paper baskets in anticipation of the story. The story involves counting en espanol. Looking forward to seeing some of mis amigos in First Year Spanish next September!

LOWER ELEMENTARY-We have continued our tradition of stories and poetry with "Cinco Pollitos" a poem for Level One; "La Ranita", a poem for Level Two; and "Mi Mascota" a story for Level three. May is the month of "El Dia de las Frutas" on which the Level Three students make fruit salad for all of Lower El and present their "food face" projects to the students. We gather in the multipurpose room to play bingo using the cards which each students made . The fruit salad was enjoyed at lunch! We worked on our Fiesta bags and props for the Fiesta story called "Una Cola Muy Especial". We created covers for all of the Spanish work from our notebooks and the"notebooks" went home. The children are looking forward to the Fiesta on Tuesday, June 3. LOOK AT YOUR SPANISH OVER THE SUMMER!!!

SPANISH-UPPER ELEMENTARY-We wrapped up the year with food and animal words and projects. We continued to read our chapter book and short stories in May. The notebooks were organized to go home. It wouldn't hurt to look at the Spanish vocabulary this summer!! The Upper El Fiesta is Thursday, June 5.

Level 4-The children created beautiful "Gigante" stories which they read to the students in Lower Elementary. Each giant was different and the LE students seemed enchanted! We worked on a meals/food project which was presented in class. The students presented a play about pets for the Kindergarten. They were very comfortable working with these young students after the performance. Our final project of the year was based on a poem called "Las Palabras Que Lleva el Viento" (The Words Which the Wind Carries.) They students went through their notebooks writing their favorite Spanish vocab onto the swirls of "wind" which they had drawn.

Level 5-We finished up our story about butterflies by reading it and answering oral and written questions. The students created desert animals and their habitat projects. Each project used color, prepositions, a comparison sentence (bigger than/smaller than) and told where the animal lived and what it ate. Based on a typical Mexican meal schedule, the children wrote about what they would eat and drink at the typical five meals during the day! This was a food vocab project.

Level 6-We have been trying to reach the middle of the chapter book by the end of the year. It's going to be close!! In any case, we have been reading and translating at a much faster pace, which the children seem to enjoy! They have been arriving to class ready to work! The chapter book will go home at the end of the year, regardless of how far along we get. This is a golden opportunity to continue reading and writing in Spanish during the summer months in preparation for the coming school year. Adios and Buena Suerte, Sixth Years!!!!!!


Level One students enjoyed one of my favorite Junior Great Books stories, "Buya Marries Tortoise." This humorous story tells of the persistence of Tortoise in his quest to marry Buya, terrible Moma's beautiful daughter. They interpreted the story with several pictures of both Moma and Buya. We wrote a celebration chant together as a class to celebrate Buya's and Tortoise's marriage. We created a tortoise as a final project.

Level Two students read the Japanese tale, "The Magic Listening Cap" With this special cap, an old man learns about nature by listening to the trees and animals speak. We analyzed parts of the story to find answers to the question, "What surprising thing does the old man learn about nature?" We wrote why these things were surprising. The children wrote about what they would do with a magic listening cap.

Level Three students end the year with the Japanese story, "The Terrible Leak." We interpreted the word "fear" using examples from the story. We discussed whether the tiger was wise or silly to leave the "terrible leak" alone. We wrote our own stories showing how a harmless thing can be misinterpreted. Though the students will not be part of the Junior Great Books program next year, they will enjoy "Literature Circle" instead!! Keep reading all summer long!!!

We are approaching the final six weeks of the school year with a full schedule. Please be mindful of these events, and if they aren't already on your calendar, please take note.

6 PTO Meeting, 5:30pm, pizza and child care
11 Happy Mother's Day!
13,14,15 Grade 5 Stanford Testing: arrive by 8:30 am, well-rested with a good breakfast for brain power!
18 Sunday rehearsal at Minnechaug High School for all children except toddlers
2 to 3 pm for Children's House (Susan's Andrea's and Angelika's classes)
3 to 5 pm for Elementary classes
18 Clean-up Day at PVMS (while the children are rehearsing at Minnechaug)
Volunteers needed!
22 Spring Performance 6:30 pm Sharp! All children to be at Minnechaug by 6:10 pm
23 Cast Party Pizza and drinks for all children at 11:00 am
26 Memorial Day- School closed
27 -30 Grade 3 Stanford Testing: arrive on time, well-rested with a good breakfast for brain power!
2- 5 Fiesta Week in Spanish classes
5 Children's House Field Trip to Forest Park (tentative date- awaiting confirmation)
10 Elementary Field Trip (Grades 1- 6) Look Park
11 Graduation for Grade 6 and Kindergarten
12 Last Day of Classes- School closes at 3:00 pm, no after school program

Detailed information will be sent to you shortly regarding the Spring Performance, as well as other events on this calendar. Stay tuned!

Many families quietly do wonderful, helpful things for their children's classrooms, and for which the teachers, and all of us, are very appreciative. This is what makes us a community- being helpful, thoughtful, seeing a need and addressing it, sharing and communicating. Some recent examples of that community spirit were evident in the Clothing Exchange Event. Lots of our children are sporting new wardrobes! Some are thrilled to have recognizable items from older children they admire, making happy connections. The ongoing generosity of parents sending in non-perishable food items has been great for our Friday morning collections, as was the response to the request for food items for the Loaves and Fishes meal.
A really big thank you goes to Gabriel's family for the donation of two computers for the Lower Elementary classroom to replace the less than cooperative two computers that were in that classroom. Patty and Peter saw the need and quietly talked with Margaret O, our resident techie, about replacing them with ones that would be compatible with our system. They also donated lots of fun paper items. Thank you to Diego's and Sophia's family for the donation of items for the After School program; an assortment of interesting new things are now available for that room. Valerie's family donated some updated Encyclopedias for Lower El; newer than the ones we had, which are appreciated.

Montessori and Public Education
We are often asked about Montessori Curriculum, and how it relates to what is happening with public education. Please be sure to read Upper Elementary Lead Teacher Mary Os' contribution to the Newsletter for information on how Montessori Education relates to the Common Core.
UPPER ELEMENTARY with Mary Os and Yer Lo
Fortunately for our school, Montessori training has always instructed teachers to embrace authentic instructional methods, using real world concepts and materials whenever possible. So we are a step ahead of the game when it comes to implementing instructional practices that will satisfy Common Core requirements.
The teaching style most closely aligned with the Common Core Standards engages in authentic learning. Research shows that when teachers and students engage in authentic instruction and learning, student achievement increases. The four authentic instruction standards are:
1. Higher-Order Thinking: Through use of synthesizing, generalizing, explaining, or drawing conclusions, teachers involve students in producing new meaning and understanding of relevant concepts. (This is the central goal of Montessori instruction.)
2. Deep Knowledge: Via exploring connections and relationships between concepts, teachers thoroughly discuss central ideas of a topic or discipline. This allows students to understand at a relatively complex level of thinking. (The hands-on, integrated nature of Montessori instruction and materials, as well as the encouragement to take on research projects in fields of interest, supports this standard of instruction completely.)
3. Substantive Conversation: Using extended conversational exchanges between the student and his teacher or peers, teachers build an improved and shared understanding of ideas or topics within a particular topic. (Students in Montessori classrooms share ideas freely and frequently as a natural part of the day as work related conversation and cooperative learning are almost always encouraged.)
4. Connections to the World Beyond the Classroom: Students make connections between the concepts they have learned in class with either public problems or personal experiences. Teachers attempt to expose students to these scenarios through discourse, problem solving, and reflective practices. (The Montessori child is encouraged to make global and universal connections as well as personal connections by the very nature of Montessori education. The student strives to understand his/her place in the cosmos relative to all other beings, materials, and concepts, and to construct meaning through experience and knowledge.)
So much of what has been taken for granted within a standard Montessori education is right in line with what is being expected through Common Core. Whether it is panning for real gold, constructing skeletons from owl pellets, making text-to-self connections in literature, planting a butterfly garden, balancing a checking account, or making lunch for and serving the less fortunate, a Montessori style pedagogy is ideal to facilitate the goals of the new Common Core Standards.

CHILDREN'S HOUSE NORTH with Andrea, Sara and Debbi

Many exciting events are coming up in the month of May, and coming fast too. Currently, the children are hard at work learning their Spring Performance songs and movements and they are doing a great job. We are now starting the beginning stages of our Spring Performance art project that will be raffled off during the performance. Also, we have our Spring Field Trip coming up and we will be asking for chaperones to attend.
During all the excitement and the end of year projects, the children continue to progress throughout the classroom and it is amazing to see the many spontaneous discoveries happening from the youngest to the oldest child. These individual discoveries, whether it be a newly formed friendship, a strengthened skill, overcoming a personal obstacle, or completing a challenging work, all are an amazing part of the learning process.
Our Special Friend Paper will be sent home soon; be on the lookout for this as well. Please help your child answer the questions and write for them as needed. Once all the papers are returned from home we will add this project to our group time activities.
Also during this last full month of school, I will be reviewing and assessing each child for progress reports and trying to squeeze in every last lesson possible. It always amazes me how much can change the last few weeks of school and every bit counts.

CHILDREN'S HOUSE EAST with Susan and Donna

Since the beginning of April, we have covered several topics. In geography, we started learning about the continent of North America. Books gave us an idea of the different terrains, climates, and people. Through our puzzle map and coloring maps, we learned the names of some of the countries. We have a basket on our shelf with flags of Canada, US, and Mexico, as well as clothing to try on from Mexico, and dolls from Central America and Alaska. We also learned about some of the animals that are native to our continent and made booklets of them.
In preparation for the final topic in our study of the ocean, marine mammals, I introduced the concept of "mammal." We discussed the characteristics of this kind of animal and named as many as we could think of.
With spring comes not just warmer weather, but returning birds, the awakening of animals, and new life, as well as the celebrations of Easter and Passover. Through books, art projects, and the tasting of charoset and matzoh, we explored these spring happenings.
Botany will play a role in our classroom for the next several weeks, as we learn about plants, watch bean seeds grow, and plant seeds, both in our classroom and in our garden. We look forward to these fascinating activities.


Our most recent project was to create our own book, based on the book SHEILA THE BRAVE, by Kevin Henkes. After listening to the story, children retold it in their own words, then each student chose a page to illustrate. The next day, we put the pictures out in sequence, and each child dictated the text for his or her own page. The following week, the students copied their words onto their pages, and we put the "book" together in a binder. You are invited to read our work in the Children's House East library.

CHILDRENS HOUSE SOUTH with Angelika, Rosemary and Gerri
Spring is springing, and we are all so delighted! We have been enjoying our time outdoors and the numerous teaching opportunities provided by the changing of the season. Just this morning during recess two boys came running to me from across the playground beside themselves with excitement: "We found ants crawling under a rock!" And with that they were off again to explore further.
Grandparents Day was a wonderful morning. Having Grandmother and/or Grandfather visit was such a treat. All of the children enjoyed having the visitors and everyone showed their best. It was a reminder for the teachers to see that special bond that demonstrates how much your little ones are loved by their grandparents.
Our Loaves and Fishes event was successful once again. The Children's Houses made delicious oatmeal cookies. Thank you to all the families for donating the needed food items to make this event possible. This was a small way to teach your children the importance of reaching out to the less fortunate members of our community. Thanks again!
The week after spring vacation is always a great time to add new and a bit more challenging activities to the classroom. We have added some weaving activities as well as a small sewing unit onto our shelves. Both girls and boys love the new materials and are all looking forward to having a turn exploring these new skills. We also are learning about things that sink or float. Everyone of course is finding this new activity very fun.
Our painted Lady caterpillars arrive Friday May 2nd, a little later than originally planned but with still enough time to see them off before the end of school. We cannot wait!
All the best until next month!
ART, UPPER AND LOWER ELEMENTARY with Christie Hester-Moore
Hello, I hope that everyone enjoyed the wonderful week of Spring break! Right before Spring break I installed our Steampunk exhibit with the help of the Upper and Lower Elementary Students. As I reported in last month's news letter, we have been working on a lesson inspired by Steampunk design and as we had a small wave of students out sick we had to devote extra time to catching up on missed work. I am happy to report that everyone's work has been included in our exhibit. The inspiration for this project was the Steampunk exhibit at the Springfield Museums which will be on display through September of this year (See last month's newsletter for details). I was so pleased to learn that several students have already had the opportunity to visit the exhibit at the Museums. We were also able to squeeze in some work time in our art journals in April. During the next few weeks in May we will be focusing on some wonderful projects for the PVMS spring production raffle.
If you have the chance, do make time to view all the wonderful work that we have on display in our student Steampunk exhibit. The students worked so hard and would love to share their work with you.
ESPANOL with Paula
TODDLER-In addition to the "Buenos Dias" song that I sing as I enter the toddler room, I have begun to sing a short animal/animal sounds song as well. The children enjoy my animal puppet as I sing! Lunch continues to be a learning experience. The children seem to enjoy hearing about their food en espanol!

CHILDREN'S HOUSES-We finished up the clothes vocabulary unit with the popular gingerbread cookie race. We roll the dice and see which cookie will be "frosted" first-the summer cookie or the winter cookie. Of course, the cookies are paper and the frosting is the summer or winter clothes! The children enjoy predicting who will be frosted first! We moved on to animal vocabulary: pets and farm animals. We heard a story about Charlie Brown and his pet. We played the pet matching game. We chose wild/farm animals from a bag and practiced their names as we chose whether they were wild (Silvestre) or tame (domesticado). We played animal bingo. Toward the end of the month we began our food vocabulary. Two plastic foods were placed in a bag. Without peeking, the children had to select the named food from the bag. We continue to enjoy moving to our songs at the beginning of each class.

KINDERGARTEN-The children labeled their fabulous "body" projects as we began abril. We filled in the missing letters of our clothes vocabulary and matched the words with pictures. This work went into our Spanish folder which will be going home at the end of the year. We had fun with a silly animal dress-up project to further practice our clothes vocab. On Earth Day we labeled the parts of a flower en espanol.

LOWER ELEMENTARY-Abril was a little of this and a little of that for Lower El! We practiced clothes, animal, and food vocabulary! We continue to work on our poetry and stories and to present them to our classmates.
Level One-We practiced the poem "Cinco Pollitos" , about some pretty talented chickens! Our focus for animal vocab was pets and farm animals. The children practiced pet vocab with two prepositions: encima de and debajo de. They created a very impressive farm animal project which involved writing the animal names, a specific animal body part, and the color. Noun/color agreement is practiced through all levels of Spanish. They did a great job! On to food vocabulary! Their project involved coloring the food and telling about it. We pasted the food to a plate and labeled it as well. We also tried a little "Me gusta and No me gusta" to tell which foods we liked and disliked.
Level Two-We are learning the poem "La Ranita" about a singing frog in the moonlight. We presented our "Rainbow Forest" projects to the class. This project involved creating a rainbow forest with the animals from our forest vocab . The children wrote sentences topractice noun/color agreement. We illustrated an animal book "Mi Animal Favorito." In conjunction with food vocabulary, we read and illustrated a counting story called "El Monstruo". He liked to count fruits, veggies and animals! Our food project involved creating and writing about a food mobile. We also told which foods we liked and disliked (Me, gusta and No me gusta).
Level Three-As a clothes/color review, we wrote and illustrated a short story, "Que Me Pongo." We reviewed pet, farm and forest vocabulary with our preposition list. We practiced our new animal vocabulary, Jungle animals, with the colors. The students worked hard on a jungle animal project. Each chose three animals to write about en espanol. Included in the paragraph: color, what the animal eats, and two comparison sentences (bigger than and smaller than). They also illustrated their work. I was so proud of their work! We began food vocabulary towards the end of the month. Our project will involve a food face!

UPPER ELEMENTARY-Lots of writing! All levels are busy writing sentences in conjunction with the given vocabulary! The reading and translating is also coming along well. They can accomplish this work in a much shorter period of time! Practice makes perfect!
Level Four-The students are writing and illustrating a fantasy story "Mi Gigante" Their imaginations are boundless!! Each did a fantastic sea animals project. They chose an animal to write about. The paragraphs had to include color, what the animal eats, three verb sentences and some sentences about the seashore. Fab! We studied food vocabulary and meals. Our project illustrated what we eat for the three meals plus a snack. Sentences about eating and drinking were written as well. We made a reversible face to practice "Me Gusta and No me gusta" for foods we enjoy and don't enjoy.
Level Five-We finished the "Gatos" story with some questions to be answered in complete sentences in Spanish. Our next story is about butterflies "Mariposas". We practiced demonstrative adjectives in conjunction with clothes vocabulary. The students worked very hard on a clothes and seasons project. They chose a main character for their story. They described the weather during the season and what their character was wearing. Of course, each article of clothing had to be two colors! On to animal vocabulary! Our new vocab will be the desert animals.
Level Six-We continue to practice vocabulary and grammar at the beginning of each class with three sentences which they must translate. They must be getting used to them. They are finishing much quicker! We have been reading pages twelve through fifteen in our Trip to Mexico book. Each page involves looking up vocabulary, oral reading, and translating. At the end of each two-page chapter, the students answer questions about the chapter. They are finally beginning to get comfortable with their notebooks!


FIRST YEARS-The children have been working on a native American tale, "Coyote Rides the Sun." We discussed vocabulary during our first reading. We drew pictures of Coyote riding the sun. We shared some words during the second reading. We discussed if Coyote should be chief of the animals and why. Reason from the story please! We wrote a chant entitled "In the Hour Before Dawn."
SECOND YEARS-The children have been working on a West Indian tale called "Anancy and Puss and Dog and Friendship". The story is written in a funky and unusual way; but, the children were able to comprehend it. We discussed many facets of friendship, both our own and Dog and Puss'. We discussed whether or not the two should be friends and who was the better friend. The children made friendship bookmarks.

THIRD YEARS-After writing a very creative story about an adventure that they would like to have, we went on to the African story, "Anansi's Fishing Expedition." Anansi wants a fool to go fishing with but he ends up being the biggest fool of all! The children enjoyed this humorous story. We discussed vocabulary. We wrote about Anansi's biggest mistake, citing reasons from the story. We underlined reasons in the text to support questions about the story.
LOWER ELEMENTARY with Sue, Lucy and Lisa
Greetings - Happy Spring!
It's hard to believe that we have so few weeks of school left and yet so much to do!
I want to thank the many Grandparents who attended our Grandparents' Day. The room was humming and as one looked about the room happy faces were aplenty. Watching the sharing of snacks was heartwarming. The children made sure their guests washed their hands, just as they do, before enjoying daily snack time. This is such a special yearly event.
Earth Day was a great opportunity for the older and younger children to interact and enjoy many activities. The teachers and children are split up into mixed age groupings. These teams will go from planting, to chalk art, and lastly to a program put on by the Forest Park Zoo on the Go. We hope to see our friend the porcupine.
Thanks to Terri (Arielle's mom) and Arifa (Inaya's mom) for helping our students prepare our portion of the two hundred or so sandwiches needed for this year's Loaves and Fishes meal. The assembly line ran smoothly as all the children made and bagged the ham and cheese sandwiches. Upper El children went and helped serve the luncheon. It's one of the ways in which we as a whole school can support the community, and enables the children to feel good about the small part they had in helping others less fortunate. Thanks to all those that have been sending in canned or packaged food for our weekly collection as well.
We'll soon be studying: flowers, frogs and birds in and outdoor the classroom weather permitting.
Up Coming:
Spring Performance, Picnic at Look Park
Sue & Lucy
THE TODDLER PROGRAM with Mary Ann, Janice, Cynthia and Jean
April in the toddler room was everything spring. The children colored eggs, collaborated on painting and decorating a giant egg for our eating area. Everyone seemed interested in creating multiple pictures with paint, markers, stickers and colored pencils. The children were able to note the changes in the daily forsythia branch observation during group time. There were pussy willow and other branches to inspect with a magnifying glass. Apple cutting was a big hit in the practical life area. The children liked using the apple cutter and eating what they had cut. Earth Day is always a fun day for toddlers. This year our recycle project was newspaper hats. If all goes well you will have a flower or vegetable to plant in your yard in a few weeks. The children are eager to help beautify our outdoor areas. We had a few helpers redistributing the wood chips with wheelbarrows. They were proud of helping and doing real work.
This month we will look at different types of seeds and taste some unusual fruits. The children will continue to watch and care for the plants they started. Toddlers are always fascinated with insects. As these little creatures appear we will have activities to increase understanding of our crawling and flying neighbors. The boys and girls can inspect some insects under magnification, make them with art materials and enjoy listening to many stories. When insects are spotted we take the opportunity to remind the children that insects are living things and they should be treated with care.
As the end of May approaches it is important to remember sun protection. Our outdoor play area is very sunny during the time we are outside. If your child usually wears sun screen it is a good idea to apply it before school. Hats also offer good protection and comfort as it gets warmer.
Happy Mother's Day to all moms!
A few announcements, reminders, and Thank Yous:
Vacation: PVMS is closed from December 19- January 2.
Wednesday, December 18 is not a half day
HUGS COLLECTION All items need to be at PVMS by Wednesday, 12/18.
VOLUNTEER NEEDED to bring the food to the food bank on Wednesday

Bryan Lora for bringing food to the food pantry
Erik Skar for help with parking on Mom's night
Amy Meunier for the wonderful cooking demo
Tony Asare for social media computer help in the office
For all who send in food for the food pantry, and clothing for the HUGS collections.
For all who donated to Valley Gives Day, and those who have sent in donations for our Annual Fund Drive.
For all our wonderful teachers and staff who make this school the wonderful place it is, and thank you to all the families at PVMS for being part of this great community! Wishing you all a peaceful and Happy New Year.

Welcome, Grace Langone! Nicole Langone, former teacher at PVMS, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on November 26. We all met Grace at Friday morning meeting.

'Tis the Season...for glitter. Most of us, even those not directly involved in glitter projects, have found ourselves with sparkly spots on our faces, clothing and hair. I'm sure some of that sparkle is coming home to you, too. Enjoy your opportunity to shine!

Please be sure to read the Enhanced Curriculum teacher news also, after the classroom news.

CHILDREN'S HOUSE EAST with Susan and Donna
It looks like the month of November was devoted to animals. With the onset of colder weather, we began talking about how people prepare for winter and what things we can do in winter that we don't do other times of the year. This led us to a discussion of wild animals, who live outside, and what they do to get through the cold months. Through books, cards for sorting, cut-and-glue activities, and discussions, we learned that some animals leave the cold climates and migrate to warmer places; some animals eat a lot in the fall, then go to sleep (hibernate) when it's cold; still others grow warmer fur coats and stay awake and active, hunting for food even in the snow.
Snow is one of the easiest ways to find animal tracks, and we spent some time on this topic, as well. We enjoyed looking at books with pictures of different animals' tracks, as well as stories about following different footprints. One of our puzzles showed a variety of animals and their tracks. We had cards for matching animals to their tracks, and some children made booklets, also. It might be fun to see if you and your child can identify some animal footprints in the snow this winter.
Just a reminder: we go outside most days throughout the winter. Please remember hats and mittens, and when there is snow on the ground, snowpants and boots. Names on the clothing helps us to identify misplaced items.
Best wishes to all for a wonderful holiday-vacation-New Year.

CHILDREN'S HOUSE SOUTH with Angelika, Rosemary and Gerri
Our class is beginning to feel like a community. The children have become well acquainted with each other. It is thrilling to see them treat each with respect and caring.
Everyone seemed to love the Sharing Day we celebrated just before Thanksgiving. I hope that your children told you about their experiences during this special day.
The elementary students visited the three Children's Houses and worked with the pre-school children. Our students were delighted and very proud to show the "big kids" the many things they can do.
In preparation for Thanksgiving we also enjoyed stories of the Pilgrims' arduous voyage to North America, the first year of living in Plymouth and their first Thanksgiving with their new Native American friends. We then shared with one another what we were each thankful for.
Recently we have been enjoying a group game that involves describing and naming many of the world's animals and the continents they live on. The children love this activity! They have a natural affinity for and curiosity about animals. In January we will learn about living and non-living things. We will also distinguish the subcategories of vertebrates such as mammals, fish, birds, amphibians and reptiles.
Naptime begins each day with Gerri reading a chapter of The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
With great delight the children have been watching the first snowflakes come down and anticipating outdoor recess time with their friends. With that in mind, in addition to a warm coat, snow pants and boots, please send your child with a hat and mittens daily. Mittens are preferred unless your child can don gloves independently. Mittens are simply much easier to put on than gloves. consider the idea of 180 individual fingers needing help. Yikes! If your child wears boots to and from school, please send a pair of indoor slip-on shoes that we can keep at school during the winter months. The indoor shoes need to have rubber soles, so that they can be worn outside in the event of an emergency. Putting your child's name on all items is incredibly helpful to Rosemary, Gerry and I. We thank you so much. We are working hard to build independent young people. So, please allow the children to take some responsibility to bring their garments to school.
We wish you happy and peaceful holidays with your family and loved ones.

CHILDREN'S HOUSE NORTH with Andrea, Sara and Debbi
Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed a time of peace with family over the long weekend last month. Before we know it, 2014 will be upon us. Welcome to our new student, Nivriti. She was a student in the Toddler Room, and the children are helping her learn the routines and schedule of our classroom. As part of the Montessori Philosophy, the children are encouraged to welcome others by helping them become part of the classroom family.
These past few weeks the children have been busy working on special projects and a few new work activities. Sara has been working hard with the children on special art activities that will be sent home shortly (I know you will enjoy). Here are a few of the new activities that the children have been working on: Push pin "Continent Maps", number rolls, knobless cylinders with grading, matching and sequencing cards, the geometric cabinet, and the beloved dish washing (there are many plates, small bowls, and glasses that require a "pre wash" before the dishwasher and many children have taken this on as a daily work).
As a continuation of our Grace and Courtesy activities, we have been focusing on emotions and feelings. During our Group Time, we have read and discussed a book written by Jamie Lee Curtis, "Today I Feel Silly and other Moods that Make My Day". This book wonderfully incorporated the different moods and emotions that children experience daily and explained that it's normal to have these feelings. We also shared a matching card activity showing various faces of different moods and their corresponding names. Each child had the opportunity to either match a picture or read and match (as appropriate to child).
Regarding the weather and outdoor clothing, please remember to send you child to school with appropriate outdoor items (1. jacket, 2. snow pants/suit, 3. boots, 4. hats, and 5. mittens/ gloves if appropriate). We recited these 5 items in class and hopefully they will be able to recite them back at home. Without these items, the children are unable to enjoy recess outdoors. Also, please label all these outdoor items as it may be difficult for some children (and teachers) to remember all their items. Thank you for your cooperation!
With Peace!

On Mondays, I usually read story to the class and then have them draw a picture along the same theme and write the words for it. Some recent books included HAZEL'S AMAZING MOTHER, TODAY I'M GOING FISHING WITH MY DAD, and FLOSS. Stories the children wrote were about their moms, dads (or other important man in their lives), and animals. The children's writing is mostly what we call "invented spelling." The child says the word then writes the letter for the sound he hears. All the children also have a personal word book. If the child wants to use standard spelling, the teacher either helps her find the word in her book (for frequently used words) or writes the word in her book. At the end of the afternoon, each child reads his or her story to the class.
One Monday, we did a shared writing. I put up a picture of two cows swimming. One cow was looking at the other with her mouth open, obviously talking. I encouraged the class to give me their ideas about the picture, and they also created dialogue for the cows. Then I wrote their words on a large sheet of paper. You can see this story on our classroom wall.
Fridays are usually our days for "Author's Chair." Each week, two different children have a turn to sit in the author's chair, next to the tripod with a large pad of paper. They tell their stories (a personal narrative), and I write the words. When the child is finished, I read the story aloud to the class, pointing to each word in sequence. Then the author takes a turn pointing to the words, and the whole class reads. While the author is talking, the rest of the class practices looking at the speaker and listening quietly. The author practices speaking loudly enough for the group to hear. The children look forward to their turn to sit in the author's chair.

TODDLERS with Maryann and Janice, Cynthia and Jean
During November we read several stories about fall and how things in nature prepare for the coming of winter. We did our own winter preparation by repotting our herb plants so they can continue to grow and removing the soil from our outdoor pots. The children had the opportunity to prepare and taste some of the squash that has been wheeled around in the cart over the past several weeks. Only a few brave souls gave it a try and one child actually liked the taste. Our art enthusiasts created countless turkey pictures. They will always remember a turkey as the symbol of Thanksgiving.
December is a time for several holidays and traditions. We hope to introduce each one in the short time we have before our December break. If our schedule allows, cooking will be offered in our practical life area. Our sensorial area will have activities where the children can experience some of the aromas of holiday foods. If your child has a favorite holiday story they can bring it to share at story time.
The December break can seem like a long time for toddlers. During this time it is helpful to mention returning to school in January. When school reopens it is not uncommon for separation sadness to resurface. This usually only lasts for a short time until the routine is reestablished.
We wish everyone a healthy and peaceful holiday season.

LOWER ELEMENTARY with Sue, Lucy and Lisa
Mom's night was well attended and seemed to be a busy time for all. The children were excited to share their classroom work, a snack and some of their favorite activities. I noticed that several moms had an opportunity to meet their child's classmates as well as their moms, friends etc. This provided the faces to go with the children talked about at home. There were many examples of grace and courtesy witnessed by Lucy and myself.
This year our Pie Day tradition was again enjoyed by all. Lower and Upper El students wrote their delegated pie partner an invitation which they then presented to their partner/partners. This was a chance to practice introducing themselves etc. Then the Upper level children came to get their partners and they took them through the kitchen to pick up a slice of pie! Lastly, the whole school gathered in the multi-purpose room to enjoy the pie, whipped cream and one another's company. Such an amazing sight. The partners then left and were off for break.
Sharing Day was a wonderful time for all the elementary students and they were enthusiastic about being helpful and attentive role models. As you passed from room to room, you observed such peace and happiness. The teachers watched as the partnered children engaged in different work/activities. The rooms all showed the special bond between the older and younger students a rare spectacle to behold. The children were engaged and didn't need the teachers to run the show!
I'd like to express my appreciation to all the parents who attended conferences or other school functions, when everyone is so busy.
Hope your winter break brings joy and a time to be with family and friends!

UPPER ELEMENTARY with Mary Os and Yer Lo
On the morning of November 6 we joined the Lower El for a field trip to Winslow Farm, an animal sanctuary in northern Massachusetts for injured and/or abandoned animals. The children were able to interact freely with most of the animals and took the opportunity to get up close and personal. Apparently we were adopted by one particular goat with a wicked swirly cowlick and mottled, floppy, gray- speckled ears, alternately nicknamed Hilda, Buddy, and/or David Ortiz by class members. Also popular were the horses, a three legged cat with 87 friends, and some stately lamas.
There was barely time to wash up after the field trip before it was time for Moms' Night. We presented our moms with compositions showing how special they are to us, and presented a readers' theater skit as a wrap up to our gold mining unit. Students were impressed by how well the moms did in the Battle of the Generations.
In the curriculum areas:
Science: We are moving into the study of the human body starting with the skeletal system. Students are dissecting and analyzing the undigested contents of regurgitated barn owl pellets. Students gather and analyze bones, identify analogous bones in the human body, and try to reconstruct the skeleton of a small mammal usually a vole.
English Language Arts and History: We have moved into the late 1600s and are currently focusing on the Puritans and the witch trials through the novel The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Students write journal entries from the perspective of different characters in each chapter. Characters develop a point of view depending on their needs, wants, past experiences, age, gender, political and religious beliefs, relationships to other characters, intellect, and personality. Students use evidence from the text to explain why characters feel as they feel, do what they do, and say what they say.

Math: Fractions are getting a thorough treatment regardless of where the student is on the continuum to mastery. Numeration is first emphasized followed by calculation skills. Application expertise is the ultimate goal. There is a great deal of spiraling back through the skills and nothing facilitates ease and success as much as knowing math facts and recognizing multiples and factors quickly. Please encourage your student to practice his/her facts.
Geometry: We have moved from one quadrant to four on the coordinate grid. Working these graphs requires more concentration and focus. The X and Y axes provide a departure point for the study of integers.
Three or four times a week we work on reading comprehension passages, sometimes as the P.O.D., sometimes as a separate piece with a response to literature component. Sustained silent reading happens daily, and we are just getting to the part in our read aloud where the traitor's identity is revealed. ( Or is it????)

Secret Snowflake begins on Monday, December 16, craft day on Wednesday, December 18. No homework over vacation.
Have a great vacation!

ELEMENTARY ART with Christie Hester-Moore
Greetings everyone! In Art there has been a whirlwind of activity of late. With little time before the students adjourn for winter break we are busy completing the final details on several projects. As I stated in the last newsletter, everyone was working on stencils to use for monoprinting with their Gelli printing plates. Students then had the opportunity to experiment with their custom stencils and print in their art journals. We decided to take a break from the mono printing so that the students could work on some seasonal projects. At this time of the year I like to give the children a chance to work on a project that they can give as a gift or just keep for themselves. This year we are working on mini dioramas that house a seasonal scene. We are using recycled materials to create these mini art pieces such as tin cans (the tops of which were removed using a special can opener so there are no sharp edges.), paper scraps, and acrylic felt. Some students have created greeting cards and book marks using the Gelli printing plates. There is a lot of great work coming your way so be on the lookout.
I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season and restful vacation break.


with Paula, noviembre y diciembre,2013
Students from Children's Houses all the way up to Grade 6 have been practicing school vocabulary, prepositions, and family vocabulary as well as the cultural traditions of "El Dia de los Muertos" , "El Dia de Accion de Gracias (Thanksgiving), and "La Navidad". It's been a busy but productive time for all. I hope you have a peaceful holiday season.

TODDLER-The children are now accustomed to my presence in the classroom. It's all smiles when they hear me sing "Buenos Dias" as I enter. I enjoy sitting with them during storytime and doing a little translating. Lunch is always fun, as I name the various foods the children bring. They have impressive appetites! They are beginning to repeat simple words such as "Hola" and "Adios."

CHILDREN'S HOUSES-We continued to practice school vocabulary during line time. The children located the target words while singing a little song. We studied shapes and duplicated patterns using the shapes. The children enjoyed playing "Hot Potato" with the bean bag shapes as well. We reviewed numbers by counting toys in small pumpkins. We reviewed colors with our turkey project. We sorted family vocabulary pictures, played a coin toss game, and a matching game to practice family vocabulary. For our cultural studies, the children heard a story about "Posadas", a Christmas tradition from Mexico. We did an angel project in conjunction with the story.

KINDERGARTEN-The children enjoyed the story "Diez Fantasmitas Timidos" (Ten Shy Ghosts) and reviewing numbers with the story. They did some number work for their Spanish folders as well. We also practiced color words and did a little reading of the color words. They made a color turkey to further practice colors. Family vocabulary was introduced and the children did a snowflake project to tell about their families. Cutting out the snowflakes was half the fun!

LOWER ELEMENTARY-Our presentations of Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos poetry went very well. The Kindergarteners also enjoyed the presentation! We finished up the school vocabulary and began prepositions and family vocabulary. For cultural studies we learned about "El Dia de Los Muertos", "El Dia de Accion de Gracias" (Thanksgiving) and also "La Navidad". Each level did various projects for each topic. The children continue to make progress in organization (their notebooks) and responsibility (their assignments) .

LEVEL ONE- We are learning the poem "Pito,Pito, Colorito" and are looking forward to presenting it to LE . We studied prepositions through movement and in conjunction with school vocabulary words. The children filled in the missing letters for the family vocabulary and busily created family trees. They presented their trees to the Spanish class. We reviewed color vocab with turkeys for "El Dia de Accion de Gracias" In diciembre we heard a Mexican Christmas story and made a poinsetta in conjunction with the story.

LEVEL TWO-The children quickly learned the poem "Las Hojas", about falling leaves. They created wonderful projects to illustrate the poem. For "El Dia de Los Muertos" the children heard a short story and created skull masks. They paraded into LE wearing the masks! We studied prepositions with school vocabulary as well as family vocabulary. The children practiced through movement and in writing as well. We also created a family vocabulary page for our notebooks and a family tree as well. In noviembre we did a short story about Thanksgiving and how we celebrate it. The children enjoyed illustrating and telling about their traditions. In diciembre we heard and read the Mexican lullaby "Nana, Nanita" and made the colorful bird in the almond tree to illustrate the poem.

LEVEL THREE-To finish up our study of school vocabulary, the children created a story called "Un Arco Iris de Colores" (A Rainbow of Colors). Each had to choose a masculine or feminine school word which agreed with the color on each given page. Their reading and illustrating were excellent! They created a skull mobile for "El Dia de Los Muertos" and read a story about the celebrations as well. We have been practicing prepositions vocabulary with our school and family vocabulary. The children have been busily working on a wreath as a kind of family tree. For cultural studies in diciembre, the children took turns reading a page from a story about "Las Posadas" a Christmas tradition of Mexico. As the celebration takes place at night, the children created paper lanterns.

UPPER ELEMENTARY-The children have been working on the crucial skills of organization and taking responsibility, especially in regard to assignments and becoming familiar with their notebooks. November and December seemed to fly by; but, we have accomplished a lot!

LEVEL FOUR-The students have been writing in "diary" pages as a warm-up for each Spanish class. They are asked to write about grammar topics which we have studied in class as a means of practice. They have been busy learning school vocabulary and prepositions. We have also been practicing the verb "estar" which is used for location. The students took a school vocab and preposition quiz and did very well! We also studied family vocabulary and created a family tree for each student. Culturally, we learned about "El Dia de Los Muertos" by symbolizing a paragraph about the holiday and creating a wonderful skeleton project. In noviembre we also read a Thanksgiving story and translated it. For cultural studies in diciembre, we symbolized a paragraph about poinsettas (la flor de La Nochbuena) and made a poinsetta pinwheel.

LEVEL FIVE-The children breathed a sigh of relief when they finally finished "Jorgito", our Halloween story. If they could read and translate that story, the rest of the year should be a piece of cake!! We are now learning about "Las Ballenas" (Whales) through reading and translating. Grammar and vocabulary have focused on school vocabulary, school subjects, telling time, creating schedules, and prepositions. The children enjoyed translating a Spanish cartoon for our study of school. Our family studies will focus on family words in conjunction with the creation of a town. We will use prepositions once more as well as the verbs "ir" (to go) and "estar" (for location). November and December are busy culturally as well. The children created marshmallow ghosts to share with UE and heard a story about "Dia de Los Muertos". For La Navidad, the children read the poem "La Rama" and created decorated branches as their project.

LEVEL SIX-grammar, grammar, grammar- the students have been hard at work learning grammar in conjunction with their reading. We have discussed, translated, and paraphrased pages 1 through 4 of our story. We have covered weather, clothes, and season vocabulary. Some grammar points are direct object pronouns and creating the present participle en espanol! For cultural, we read and translated a paragraph about "El Dia de Los Muertos" . The children enjoyed decorating skull cookies to share with their amigos in UE. In diciembre, they will review the poem "La Rama" and create paper cones to contain "aguinaldos" or Christmas goodies to share with their friends as well.


FIRST YEARS have been hard at work with the story "The Mouse and the Wizard". We have learned some vocabulary words and heard the story twice. We have written some advice for the timid mouse. We have created a wizard's charm as well as a cover for our work. Lastly we have discussed the story. For fun in December, the children heard the Christmas classic "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and created their own little grinches.

SECOND YEARS have read the story "The Happy Lion." They were able to find two reasons in the story why the townspeople were either friends or not friends of the lion. They wrote the sentences and we talked about their responses. Reading for meaning is a very important skill and the children did excellent work. They wrote about an adventure that they would like to take. They created a happy lion cover for all of their work and discussed the story. For fun in December, the children heard the poem "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and created their own red-nosed reindeers as well!

THIRD YEARS have been busy with the well-known folktale "Nail Soup". We spent a lot of time interpreting words in the story and telling how the traits described by the words helped the main character get what he wanted. This was especially challenging for the students! They created their own recipe for stone soup and we discussed the story. In December, the children read the poem "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" and filled in the rhyming words at the ends of the stanzas.

December 10- 5:30 pm - PTO meeting (childcare and pizza provided)
December 19- January 1 School closed for winter break
January Calendar correction- We inadvertently entered two Curriculum Days on the January calendar- the correct date is January 17 (not the 24th).
This year PVMS will participate in Valley Gives Day, an opportunity for local non-profits to raise funds from the local communities. As this is a social-media based program, we need to boost our social media presence, and hope you will help us do that by "liking" our Facebook page and sharing our posts with your friends so they can "like" us too!

Food Pantry
We will continue our non-perishable food collection on Fridays for the Emergency Food Pantry throughout the year. We appreciate the parents who have been delivering the food to the pantry, and welcome volunteers for that task.

The HUGS Collection
We will also begin our annual HUGS collection - Hats, Underwear, Gloves (or mittens) and Socks or Scarves. We are asking for NEW clothing for this collection, to donate to the Jefferson Street Shelter for women and children. This collection will go on through December 18.

Pie Day and Sharing Day
On the Friday before Thanksgiving break, the Elementary and Children's House classes joined together for Pie Day. Preparation began the week before, with the Elementary students making invitations for their Pie Partners in the Children's House, delivering those invitations, and introducing themselves. Margaret O'Shaughnessy and the Elementary After School Program made the pies (lots of planning and work went into that!), and then on Friday we started our day with Morning Meeting (held every Friday at 8:45 am for all Elementary and Children's House students) in the Multi-Purpose Room. We start with our food collection, followed by birthday announcements, and our Grace and Courtesy thought for the week. For that week we talked about how to accept or refuse food graciously, and not saying things like "Oh,no! Do I have to eat that? I hate that food!" and to ask maybe to try just a taste, or to say "no, thank you". We talked about understanding that it might be someone else's favorite food, and also about the effort that someone has put into making that food. Then we sang with Miss Leticia.
Later in the morning the Elementary children went to the Children's House classrooms to gather their Pie Partners and ask them what kind of pie they preferred, apple or pumpkin. When they arrived in the kitchen they informed the adult serving the pies how many pieces they needed for their partners and themselves. They helped their partners into the multi purpose room and sat on the floor, all together, to enjoy their slice of pie!
It was a fun event, and set the stage for Sharing Day, on Tuesday. The Elementary children joined the Children's House classrooms and did work with the younger children. This is always a fun opportunity for the older children to revisit the work they did themselves when they were in Children's House, and also another chance to share time with the younger children. The younger children love having the attention of the older students.

NAEYC- The National Association for the Education of Young Children is one of the several accreditations that PVMS holds, and the five-year renewal process is happening now. This accreditation covers the Children's House and Toddler programs, not Elementary. On Tuesday, December 3 we were visited by the assessor for the day. She spent time in the classrooms, on the playground and looking through the many portfolios created by Andrea with help from the teachers. Although we were not given a definitive report at the end of the day, it seems that all went well. We should get the final report in the next few months (it can take up to 90 days).

Winter break: For many, this is the Holiday Season. There is so much that happens with children at this time of year that it can be stressful for them, and for parents. Expectations are high, evening routines are off schedule with shopping, babysitters and parties. Enjoy the fun of it, with family and friends, and take time to breathe.
Margaret Bagge

Classroom News:
The classroom teachers will have a newsletter for you next week, to combine November and the first part of December.


As March begins, I know I am not alone in looking forward to the "out like a lamb" part of the month. I enjoy winter, but with these extraordinarily prolonged cold periods I am looking forward to complaining about the heat! I know the children are anxious to get out more, and the end is hopefully in sight. Tulips and daffodils are available in the grocery stores. The recent snowstorm predicted for this past Sunday into Monday was fortunately predicted far enough in advance so that I was able to redirect it to not affect us (Oh, if that were only possible!). Looking forward to Spring.

Coming up..
March 7, half day of classes-ending at 11:30 for Children's House,
12:00 for Elementary and Toddler
Followed by scheduled parent conferences. It is not necessary to schedule a conference, but you may do so if you wish to meet with your child's teacher. Also, if your child's teacher would like the opportunity to talk with you, she will talk to you about scheduling one. The conferences will start at 12:20, and the last one will be at 4:40 pm. Child care is available during your conference.

March 20- Science Fair (Elementary Classes) All are welcome to come
see the wonderful projects and ideas that the Elementary students have researched and worked on for this amazing event. Families are welcome on Thursday evening from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Expect to be impressed!

March 28- Professional Day no classes
On this day some of us will be attending the American Montessori Annual Conference, this year being held in Dallas. Those not going to Dallas will be observing in other Montessori Schools, an important opportunity for our teachers to refresh their approaches and glean new and different ideas.

April 12 (Saturday) The PVMS PTO will host a Bring-and-Take Day for
our parents to share children's clothing in good and reusable condition, and also children's gear of all kinds and sporting equipment, but not toys.
This is not a fundraiser; parents are welcome to bring and take whatever they would like without charge. Remaining items at the end of the day will be donated to a local shelter. This is a good chance to move up in size, outfit grandparents' homes, and pass on good items to others. Children pass so quickly through sizes that having an opportunity for someone else in our community to use something in good condition is very helpful. I know that some parents have been doing this informally already. Further info will follow regarding drop off times, and the hours that the Bring and Take will operate on that day.

CHILDREN'S HOUSE EAST with Susan and Donna

We continue our study of the ocean with a look at the coast. First, we learned about the sandy beach. Some birds we might see there are pelicans, willets, sandpipers, and ospreys. Because of our resident stuffed birds, we were able to hear what some of these birds sound like. Some children made booklets of different creatures that might be found on the beach. We spent a little time learning about the horseshoe crab (not really a crab) listening to a story, learning about the habits and parts of this animal, and making a paper horseshoe crab to take home.

We are now learning about the rocky coast and tide pools. Children can make booklets about tide pool creatures. As a class, we made a model tide pool, with shells, barnacles, and sea stars. Our focus animal for this area is the sea star.

Besides the usual paper Valentine hearts and cards, we also made Valentines for the birds. With the help of Matthew's mother, Julie, the children mixed birdseed with water and unflavored gelatin, and pressed the mixture into a heart-shaped cookie cutter. After they dried, the children took them home to feed to the birds. Thank you to Julie for her help.

Mid-year updates and conferences are coming up soon. Please call the office if you would like to make an appointment on Friday, March 7.

With hope for an early spring.


For the past few weeks, our Monday writing sessions have been dedicated to stories and writing about food and food preparation. First, we read Pancakes, Pancakes, by Eric Carle. In this story, the character has to cut the wheat, gather the eggs, milk the cow, and churn the butter before his mother could make his pancakes. The writing assignment was to do a picture/story about their favorite part of the story, or about their own pancake experience. The next week, we supplied words for Tomie DePaola's Pancakes for Breakfast, which has a similar theme. Then we made our own butter (which we tasted on crackers) by shaking cream in a jar. It took us a half-hour! For our final story in the series, we read the folk tale, Stone Soup. The children then wrote about their favorite food and how they think it is prepared. We all enjoyed this series of books and the activities that went with them.

The cold and wet weather has been keeping us inside in the elementary side of afterschool. The most interesting project has come about from all of this indoor time. The children have stumbled upon extreme dot-to-dot. The premise is the same as in a regular dot-to-dot, start at number one and connect the dots and at the end you have a picture. The only difference is that these dot-to-dots have up to 5,305 dots. Every day I am amazed at how quiet the children become immediately upon starting in on their large poster sized projects. We have flying squirrels, hippocampus, jaguar, snake, monkey, fox, Chinese dragon and many more. Even though this has been a fun development, I hope we will be going outside soon.
For the month ofFebruary the after school children did many creative art projects. They made Valentine people out ofhearts, and cut red strips of paper for arms and legs. We hung them up in our classroom for everyone to enjoy.
There was assorted valentine-colored shredded paper in the "water" table, and the children loved the feel of the crinkled paper. We hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day!

CHILDREN'S HOUSE SOUTH with Angelika, Rosemary and Gerri
The month of February seems to have come and gone in a flash. I am glad to be back in the classroom, thankfully much sooner than anticipated. Thank you very much for all of your well wishes! Thank you Vanessa Luman for filling in and helping Rosemary Gossman and Gerri Haynes.
The winter doldrums have arrived and after morning work time the children and teachers want nothing more than to play in the snow on a beautiful sunny day, but oh how cold it has been. We are going a bit squirrely!
Winter seems to be a great time of year to remind parents of the importance of spending reading time together. Reading to your children is a nurturing activity that brings you closer together. It increases your child's vocabulary but also, according to the latest research, develops your child's ability to process information. Books have the power to benefit preschoolers in a myriad of ways. As a parent, reading to our child is one of the most important things we can do to prepare him or her with a foundation for academic excellence. We all know how much preschoolers love picture books but we often underestimate their ability to listen to early chapter books. So, please grab your favorite blanket, cuddle up and read some great stories together.
As always, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. Many families are beginning to look ahead to next year, and I would like to help in any way I can. Also, parent conferences are coming up and your child's Mid-year Updates will be sent home.

LOWER ELEMENTARY with Sue and Lucy
Welcome back from Winter Break!
The children unfortunately had little opportunity to go outside due to cold weather these past few weeks so everyone needed this opportunity for some down time!
We did attend the performance at UMass, "The Great Mountain" and it was well done. There were only three actors who portrayed all of the many characters' parts (and they were talented). The whole auditorium was filled with attentive, enthusiastic children. There was a question and answer period after the performance as well.
We have been working on:
Language: dictionary work, analogies, paragraph structure (topic sentence etc.), research on planets
Math: graphs, telling time, money, story problems
Cultural: animal tracks, planets, creation stories, experiments (evaporation, condensation), volcano work
Coming up:
Science Fair
Loaves and Fishes
Mid Year Reports
Grandparents' day

Sue & Lucy

TODDLER NEWS with Mary Ann, Janice, Cynthia and Jean
Welcome back to all. It was good to see everyone after our extended break courtesy of Mother Nature. The first day back is difficult but after a few days we were all back in the swing of things.

Last month the children had fun making paper groundhogs that popped up. Our ground hogs didn't see their shadow, only two more weeks of winter for us! Valentines Day was put on hold until after our week off. The children passed out their valentines when we returned. Many of the children were interested in baby care. Some brought babies from home. They diapered, bathed, read to them and walked them in the push cart.

This month we will celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday by reading some of his well known stories. If your child has a favorite Dr. Seuss story they may bring it in to share at story time. The class will celebrate St. Patrick's Day by making Irish soda bread, painting shamrocks and reading stories. Melon cutting and grain grinding will be offered in our practical life area. In keeping with our grace and courtesy theme the children will be playing games which will help us move around carefully and courteously. I'm happy to say it is almost time to introduce the season of spring. Hopefully the winter weather will not extend into April.

Please keep sending all your child's outdoor winter clothing.

UPPER ELEMENTARY with Mary Os and Yer Lo

Greetings from the Upper Elementary! This newsletter covers a very short and snowy period, somewhat reminiscent of my own elementary years growing up in the Berkshires.
We have finished reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond and have extended its central theme of tolerance to a consideration of the rights of students with severe, perhaps lethal, communicable diseases juxtaposed to the needs and rights of healthy children.
Our new literature books are The Fighting Grounds by Avi and My Brother Sam is Dead by James and Christopher Collier. Both historical novels set during the American Revolutionary period feature adolescent boys who have to struggle with hard decisions while recognizing the true nature of war. Our new read aloud, the classic Johnny Tremaine also takes place during the Revolution. All students have researched a well-known figure from the Revolutionary period and written and presented their biographies to the class. Next everyone will select a particular event such as the Boston Massacre to research and present to the class.
Students have been revisiting decimals, working with Order of Operations, and delving into signed numbers.
Perhaps the most exciting news is that we have introduced a nesting box into Charlie and Athena's cage. Happily we do have a possible breeding pair and both are healthy and mature enough to produce a first and hopefully small clutch. We are observing and recording all activity. The nesting box was attached around 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday, February 25, and by 11:00 o'clock both birds had done some investigating. Best case scenario, we may get eggs in two to three weeks. If nothing else, this is a lesson in patience. We will keep you posted!

Mary, Pam, and Yer

ELEMENTARY ART with Christie Hester-Moore
Hello! I hope everyone had a lovely vacation. In Art we have recently finished up our lesson on artist George Rodrigue. Lower Elementary students have just about finished their mini note book art pieces (described in last month's newsletter) that are inspired by his art work.

The Upper Elementary students, having already completed their note books, are currently working in their art journals. If you recall from my previous newsletters, each student is keeping an art journal that they will be working on throughout the school year. We try to devote at least one day a month to working on them and students are welcome to continue working in them at their leisure as long as they have completed any in-class assignments.

February's art journal assignment was to create a window, door, or portal that would transition from one page to the next. The students used scissors and ceramic craft knives to make the opening in their pages. They then proceeded to visually tell a story of where this portal leads.

It is always interesting to see how each student will interpret an assignment. One student created a barn door that leads to a horse stall on the other side, while another designed a log cabin with a door that leads to the inside of that small cabin.

Once the Lower Elementary Students finish their notebooks we will take a day for them to work in their art journals as well (our goal is for everyone to have a completed art journal by the end of the school year!). Have a wonderful month.

Spanish with Paula, febrero, 2014
Febrero is such a short month; but we were able to study parts of the body vocabulary and continue on with our reading and poetry. I had hoped to do some cultural projects for "el dia de san valentine", but' Mother Nature had other plans!.

TODDLER SPANISH-As I was leaving the Toddler room the other day almost all of the toddlers waived and said, "Adios!" after I sand my "Adios Amigos" song. It is amazing how these young students learn and grow from week to week!

CHILDREN'S HOUSES SPANISH-We began our practice of parts of the body vocabulary with a Valentine project. We used hearts in different sizes and colors to make a Valentine dog face. We practiced the Spanish words for parts of the face: la cabeza, los ojos, la nariz la boca and las orejas." We also sang "Cabeza, Hombros" (Head, Shoulders) en espanol and "La tia Monica" to practice parts of the body vocab. As a color review we "dressed" little button snowmen in different colored scarves and hats.
KINDERGARTEN SPANISH-We are continuing to work on our "Miton/Mitten" story in English and Spanish. We hopefully will get to finish decorating the miton and practicing the names of the animals in February so that we can actually read the story at the beginning of March!
LOWER ELEMENTARY SPANISH-The children have been finishing up with emotion vocabulary (Level 3) and practicing parts of the body vocabulary. I had every intention of doing Valentine projects! They will have to wait until next year !.
Level One-We are learning the poem "Pin Pon". We have been practicing parts of the body vocabulary and completed a project which they presented to the Spanish class. Our grammar sentences told about the body: Es (la/el)_____________. We played body bingo and created a face and a whole body using material from around the Spanish classroom. I have a magnetic face activity that the children enjoyed as well.
Level Two-The students have begun to memorize the poem "El Reloj" which practices how to tell time en espanol. While they also have been studying parts of the body vocab, their grammar has been expanded to include the plural. They really enjoyed creating a person and labeling it. They presented their projects to the Spanish class. Games and art projects helped the children to practice the parts of the body vocabulary,
Level Three-We have completed our study of emotion words and the children have practiced the "Yo, Tu, El and Ella" forms of the verb "estar" to tell about emotions in complete sentences. They must draw on their knowledge of the English language to make sense of this, so it is a good activity for both languages. They have begun to study parts of the body vocabulary . Project work began after the February break. They successfully completed their "Cumpleanos Feliz" short story and answered questions about the story en espanol. We then began "Jugando en la Nieve" which introduces and clothing vocabulary and tells about getting ready to play in the snow! How appropriate!!

UPPER ELEMENTARY SPANISH-All levels of Upper El are off doing their own thing as far as vocabulary is concerned! I continue to stress organization, time management, and the familiarity of their notebooks to aid in their study of Spanish.
Level Four-We continue to write in our diary pages at the beginning of ech class. We have covered such topics as classroom pets, emotion words, snowman description, and how we spent our winter break. We practiced emotion words and the complete conjugation of the verb"estar". The children really enjoyed their parts of the body project, labeling, and presentation. For "El dia de San Valentin", the students were going to do a word search and create a Valentine "gato". Winter had other ideas!
Level Five-The study of emotion words continued with two verbs, "estar" and "tener". In order to practice sentences, we had a rather elaborate sentence game. It was very interesting to see how the children organized their words and pictures so that we could practice! They would have symbolized a short story en espanol about Valentine's Day. Alas; it was not to be! Parts of the body words began with the sentences "Me duele and Me duelen" to tell what part of the body is hurting. Other subject pronouns will be introduced as we continue to use the verb "dolerse". The students finished up their short story about whales (Las Ballenas) and are now on to cats (Los Gatos).
Level Six-Each class continues to begin with a review of sentence structures and grammar. It forces the students to use their notebooks and to know where information in located! We have been reading and translating at a quicker pace and have covered pages 6 through 11 in our story about Mexico. The students are very capable, if they are willing to work!! Last class of the day is often difficult!!


Yellow Group began a winter story set in Russia, "Zlateh the Goat". The children enjoyed saying their word to share which was, "Maaa". The other Lower El students got a chuckle hearing this goat sound while I read the story twice! We imagined how it was to be lost in a blizzard. We created blizzard pictures. We drew two pictures of the goat: one as an animal and the other as how they would imagine Zlateh if she /he were a human!
Blue Group-continued on with "Arap Sang and the Cranes". We had to go back and correct some assignment in class. The work is becoming a bit more abstract and the children need help at first in using facts from the story to back up their opinions. One sentence usually does not fully answer the question; so, we try to delve more into why they wrote what they did, using material from the story. After the winter break we began one of my favorites "The Blue Moose." I hope the children enjoy it!

Red Group has continued on with "The Jackal and the Partridge". They are getting quite a work-out with writing these days. We are practicing how to write concisely and to the point. They are learning how to separate fluff from important facts which will back up their opinions. Proofreading is a burden right now; but, so necessary! We continue to do lots of the work together in class. After the winter break the students began the French tale,"The Red Balloon."

CHILDREN'S HOUSE NORTH with Andrea, Sara and Debbi

As you may know, our school wide theme this year is Grace and Courtesy, and Maria Montessori placed a great deal of importance on this. Her grace and courtesy activities and lessons emphasize the natural interactions in life. They teach children how to interact with people in a respectful way, such as learning how to politely greet others, interrupt respectfully, open and close a door quietly, sit and stand up properly, and tuck in a chair.
We started the school year with lessons on greeting the teacher, shaking hands, making eye contact, walking around each other's work without disturbing it, and politely waiting for a turn. These activities give children practical tools they can use throughout their daily lives (at school, home, and public) to interact respectfully with the children and adults with whom they share the world.
It is important to recognize the importance of Grace and Courtesy skills and extend them at home. There are many ways to reinforce and extend these skills at home with a little patience and time. Here are some suggestions to help support your child at home.
 Reinforce skills listed above
 Table setting
 Table manners
 Gift giving and receiving
 Thank you cards/notes (holidays, birthdays, play dates)
 Introduction to Sportsmanship teaching cooperation and learning how to play competitive games to promote collaborative skills (as appropriate to age and developmental readiness)
As the school year progresses we will continue to explore and master these skills. Consistency and repetition between home and school reinforces these skills and builds confidence as well.

Here are a few quotes from Maria Montessori on Grace and Courtesy

"What is social life if not the solving of social problems, behaving properly and pursuing aims acceptable to all? [It is not] sitting side by side and hearing someone else talk."
Dr. Maria Montessori, page 225, The Absorbent Mind

It is interesting to see how little by little,these[children] become aware of forming a community which behaves as such.Once they have reached this level, the children no longer act thoughtlessly, but put the group first and try to succeed for its benefit.
-Dr. Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, pg. 232

"...we must begin our work by preparing the child for the forms of social life, and we must attract his attention to these forms."
-Dr. Maria Montessori, page 121, The Montessori Method

PVMS November 2013 Newsletter
Pioneer Valley Montessori School November 2013 News

The weather is changing after a long wonderfully warm and sunny fall, and our attention now is on preparation for the weather to come; winter can show itself at any point now. Children will need hats and mittens (gloves can be difficult for young children to put on by themselves) and when there is snow they will need snow pants. All the children, in all classes, will go outside each day unless it is raining or extremely cold, so appropriate outdoor clothing is necessary. Please label clothing, as children don't always recognize their own. I recall a teacher holding up a pair of unclaimed mittens and asking a particular child if they were hers, and the child replied that no, they were not, because hers were lost! So labels are very helpful!

Snow Days are another phenomenon of the winter months, and finding out about them is important for parents. Calling a snow day is sometimes an obvious decision, but often it is not. We take the information available to us and make the best decision possible. In addition to the danger of traveling on snow-covered roads is that Parker Street is continuously plowed, blocking access to our driveway. So we factor the weather predictions and the decisions of area school systems in our decision. We will announce closures on tv channels 22, 40 and 3. You can access them at,, and or watch on television. I will also plan to send an email after I have notified the above television stations. You should know by 6:30 am.

Facebook: A few years ago a parent started a Pioneer Valley Montessori School Facebook page. We have not been very diligent about posting on it, but by parents' requests, we are trying to be more active in using it. We have posted some Dad's Night pictures and some great ones from the Halloween Party, and an inside peek at Curriculum Day here at school. Please "like" us on Facebook so you will see when new items show up.

Thank you's:
Many thanks to our wonderful families for all the thoughtful things you do, and particularly to:
Jennifer, Andrew's mom, for delivering our collection to the food pantry
Luis's Dad, Derek, for donating pencils and page protectors
Quinn's family for diapers
All the chaperones for the field trip
Terri, Adrianna's and Arielle's mom, for help on picture day
Sophia's and Diego's mom, Ana, for the Atlas and map

What a wonderful group of families we have here at PVMS!
Margaret Bagge~

November events:
November 6 Mom's Night 6 pm -7:30 pm
6 Elementary Field Trip
8 Parent Conferences (No classes),
(child care available during your conference)
11 Veterans' Day, school closed
12 PTO Meeting 5:30 pm
13 5:30 6:30 pm Nutrition Night Event (info to follow)
22 Pie Day and sharing day between Children's House and
Elementary Classes
27 29 Closed for Thanksgiving Break


TODDLERS with Mary Ann and Janice, and Cynthia and Jean

November brings several topics to explore. This month we will talk about how things in nature and people prepare for winter and our American Thanksgiving holiday. Our group singing will include songs about the falling leaves, cold weather and being thankful. We will be reading "Time to sleep", "The Hat "and" Thanks is for Giving ". In our practical life area the children will prepare and taste the vegetables they scrubbed and carried all of October. During outdoor time we will continue to observe the changes in temperature, plant and wild life. The children can participate in repotting some herbs to bring indoors before winter. As Thanksgiving approaches, our class will create a large turkey together. The children can make as many individual turkeys as they like to bring home. In the spirit of Thanksgiving the school children participate in Sharing Day. The elementary students visit our classroom and work one to one with the toddlers. Everyone enjoys the time together.
Our school theme of Grace and Courtesy is demonstrated by your wonderful children daily. Throughout the day we hear them greeting people, saying please and thank you, sharing and caring for each other.
As the weather becomes colder keep in mind we go outside to play daily and the children will need increasing amounts of outer wear. You may want to have extra hats and mittens as they are easily misplaced. You may choose to leave snow pants and boots at school when snowy weather starts to appear. Please remember to label all items in order to help us keep track of your child's belongings.
Toddler Spanish with Paula-I am amazed at how much a toddler can eat for lunch! Part of my time on Wednesday is spent getting ready to eat. The children are hearing simple Spanish directions-Lava las manos (wash your hands) and Coje tu plato (Get your plate). I also tell them what they are having for lunch. They sure have healthy appetites!


CHILDREN'S HOUSE SOUTH with Angelika and Rosemary

What a busy month it has been!
We had a wonderful field trip to Pell Farm. Thank you to all the parents who were able to join us for the morning and helped chaperone the event.
Our Dad's night was equally exciting. The children did a fantastic job of showing their dads what activities they engage in at school. They made great choices and seemed to really enjoy themselves. I must say I felt very proud of your children.

The classroom has been buzzing with lots of activity. The Practical Life area with our food preparation area is particularly busy these days. We have so many young cooks chopping cucumbers, bananas, carrots, juicing oranges and coring apples! Our many plants are getting watered and are thriving, tables are being scrubbed and dishes washed. I often feel as though I am in a hive surrounded by worker bees!

At group time we have been learning the names of our geometric solids from our Sensorial Montessori materials by passing them to one another. We also observed and noted the different bases of each of the solids and found the same shapes in our classroom environment.

This week we started the study of Geography by learning about earth's lands and waters. We have had presentations using our colored globe and are now learning the vocabulary and locations of the different continents and oceans. We will talk about the rotation of earth and the different seasons. Shortly we will label our classroom with the four directions of north, south, east and west, which will help us when using our large world and continent puzzle maps.

At lunchtime Rosemary and Gerri have been working hard to reinforce proper etiquette. We encourage: waiting for everyone to start eating, taking small bites, only speaking with an empty mouth, passing items at the table, appropriate lunch conversations and using our napkins. The children are doing a great job!

We would like to remind our parents that cold weather makes dressing for recess with 18 children very time consuming. We ask for your help in making sure that your child brings a hat and mittens to school every day. Please avoid sending gloves as they are not as warm and more difficult to put on for young children.

If you have any concerns about your child's school experience please let me know right away. I can be reached at school before 8:00 and between 12:30 and 1:40. Otherwise, you can leave a message with Charmaine from the office to have me call you at home- please let her know what time is best.

Your children bring me great joy and I appreciate that you have entrusted them to me.

CHILDREN'S HOUSE EAST with Susan and Donna

Apples and pumpkins, trees and leaves. Autumn provides many opportunities for activities that help us learn about nature.
Our apple activities included reading books, scrubbing and cutting apples for the snack table, an apple tree counting game, and a poem about the star hiding inside each apple. Our apple scrubbing turned to pumpkin scrubbing, as these members of the squash family turned orange. We read books about pumpkins and made our own booklets about how pumpkins grow. In conjunction with our field trip to Pell Farm, we made a pumpkin patch art project, and we learned two poems about pumpkins.
Books and discussions helped us understand why trees are so important to us, and some of the children made booklets showing the parts of a tree. Outside, leaves are on the ground all around us. In the classroom, we read a book about why leaves change color, we did leaf rubbings, and we made leaf shape books.
The highlight of our autumn activities was our trip to Pell Farm. The children enjoyed feeding the farm animals, going on the hay ride, going through the hay maze, and, of course, getting a pumpkin to take home. Thanks to our chaperones for taking the time to make our trip go so smoothly.
Thank you also to Julie, Matthew's mom, for coming in to help us with our art project.
Amazingly, our garden has continued to produce well into October. We had lots of zinnias, and the children enjoyed our flower arranging activity with fresh flowers. We got a few tomatoes, some of which we cut up for the snack table. Our pumpkin vines were incredibly long, making it difficult for our yard people to mow the lawn over there. Altogether, we got four pumpkins, one of which we used for pumpkin scrubbing.
We enjoyed sharing our classroom on Dad's Night with all the dads and grandfathers who came to see what their children really do in school. Children and their guests participated in a wide variety of activities, from color mixing to playdough to decimal layout and movable alphabet to puzzle maps (who knew there were so many countries in Europe?). Next on the agenda is Mom's Night, and that should be an enjoyable, activity-filled evening, as well.
I look forward to meeting with each of you on parent conference day. If you are unable to schedule for that day (Nov. 8), contact me, and I will try to find a time that works for both of us.
These are some materials we need for upcoming activities:
Pine 1"x4" or 2"x4" lumber scraps, 8"-12" long
12 oz 16 oz. plastic water bottles (empty)

CHILDREN'S HOUSE NORTH with Andrea and Sara

Our class continues to work on our Grace and Courtesy skills throughout the classroom. Grace and Courtesy teaches the child to be kind, polite, thoughtful, considerate, and respectful of the environment and of others. When these behaviors are consistently modeled by all for young children, they are quick to imitate and internalize them. A strong background in this area is a good foundation to build upon and will help a child to be aware of, and to get along with, others in society.
There are many activities and exercises involved for fostering the growth of Grace and Courtesy in the classroom and a few of these exercises we have practiced during Group Time. One example is the Bell Game (a child walks around the rug area, holding a bell, trying to not make a sound while walking along the edge of the rug, then places the bell in front of another child, repeat until all children have had a turn). Also, we continue to work on our Group Greeting with one another (each child shakes each other's hand and says "Good Morning ..".) We will also be working on walking across the balance beam, carrying pom-poms on each palm, and/or balancing a bean bag or basket on our heads.
Along with the Grace and Courtesy exercises, Maria Montessori discussed the importance of Elementary Movements. Elementary Movements are the simple, yet crucial movements a child performs within the classroom. For instance, rolling and unrolling work mats, how to hold and carry rolled mats, carrying a chair, opening and closing doors, drawers, windows, tray carrying, cleaning and putting work away. These exercises help build balance, awareness, and ability as the child develops.
This past month we enjoyed reading Aline Wolfe's book, "The Peaceful Classroom". This story highlights the importance of taking care of our classroom materials and the environment. We also discussed how to share and make peace even when it is difficult. The book helped remind the children that everyone is important and we all can make a difference in the world, one kind act at a time. To help support acts of kindness and peace in the classroom, we will be starting "The Acts of Kindness Basket". I will be observing and writing down random acts of kindness that occur naturally in the classroom (and of course unknowingly to the children) and putting them in the "Acts of Kindness Basket". Every few days I will bring the basket to Group Time to share out loud to the class and for the children to bring home.
Our classroom could use a few donations if possible as our supply has dwindled: socks, underwear, and mittens. If anyone happens to have any of these items they could spare or purchase, please send in anytime!


We began October with a practice of numbers 1 to 10. We matched vocabulary cards and used a small pool table to practice Spanish number names. The children had to roll a marble into the pool pocket which had the target number. They had a ball!! We went on to practice school vocabulary. We sang our "color" song but with school words. The volunteers had to find the target vocab in the classroom. We put together a Velcro classroom, practicing the school words. Recently we practiced the prepositions "encima de" (on top of) and "debajo de" (under). We used mini tables and chairs and small toys to practice. October came to an end practicing shape words in conjunctions with a jack-o-lantern.


Every Wednesday we have PE. In the first few classes we got to know each other and did some activities to help me learn everyone's name and what kind of physical activities the children like to participate in. We have lots of fun learning new physical activities in this class and have played a couple variations of tag to include blob tag, soccer, basketball skills, relay, and even an obstacle course. They are a really great class to work with and are eager to learn new games and activities.


ELEMENTARY ART with Christie Hester-Moore
I have just completed the fifth session of Art with the Upper and Lower Elementary School students. I am happy to report that everyone has transitioned into a fairly smooth routine. As I explained in my first newsletter, we started the school year with a lesson on Artist challenge coins (see October's newsletter for details). We have started an ongoing project entitled Art journaling. Each student is keeping a journal that they will be working on throughout the entire school year. I have set aside one day each month for us to work on these journals and at the end of the school year they will bring their completed books home. Students will have journal assignments that they will work on as well as time to explore creative ways that they like to express themselves within their journals.
We are currently in the middle of a lesson on monoprinting. Monoprinting is a type of printmaking that creates imprints, lines or designs that can only be made once. There are many different techniques that can be described as monoprints, from potato printing to screen printing. The word does not describe the process but rather the amount of impressions that can be made. For our lesson we are using Gelli Arts gel plates which are a special 6'x6' printing surface made out of a gelatin-like material. Using brayers, students apply a smooth layer of acrylic paint. We then use different tools and techniques to create designs on the smooth paint surface and then print them on to paper.
This has been a very popular lesson so far and the kids are crazy about the Gelli printing plates. Imagine (if you dare!) a class filled with students and each one having a 6'X6' gelatin like square, acrylic paint and brayer. Needless to say they could hardly contain themselves in the beginning and great emphasis and reminders had to be placed on handling their printing plates correctly. I'm pleased to say that the plates have held up quite well and the students have created some wonderful prints.
In the coming weeks students will be designing their own stencils and will do some printing in their journals; I will go into more detail on this in my next newsletter. Before closing I'd like to thank Asia and her father for bringing in his service coins to show the Upper and Lower elementary students. As I mentioned in my last news letter the idea of artist challenge coins originated from service coins.
Enjoy the rest of this lovely fall weather and all the best until next month.


I believe we have had a great time learning new PE games\activities and I am looking forward to the classes to come. It's starting to get cold outside now, so soon I'm sure we will have to move our classes inside, but I have some wonderful ideas to pass these cold winter months along. I really try to focus our classes on team building activities and group work but even if we are doing a more individualized activity I try to emphasis to the children the importance of good sportsmanship and showing support for one another. I also want to thank parents for making sure your children are wearing the appropriate attire on Wednesdays for PE.
In Lower Elementary we have been learning many different games and activities to include, but not limited to: relays, soccer, basketball skills, different variations of tag, and even a little circuit training. There is a version of tag that I initially played with the Kindergarten class called Blob Tag and since then I've had children from Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary ask to play it, so it seems the children really enjoy it.
In Upper Elementary, even with the small size of this class, we have had the opportunity to learn lots of different games and activities including: kickball, basketball skills, relay, circuit training, and also some variations of tag. This class is a wonderful group and they really keep me on my toes.
I hope everyone has a great November and Happy Thanksgiving!


October has been a time of wonderful weather which the children have enjoyed. It's providing us an opportunity to meet and greet each other most mornings out on the playground as children come into school. The backpacks are put away and I say good morning to each student. They join Lucy and anyone who has arrived between 8:15 and 8:35 on the playground. I learned of this idea at our last Montessori Workshop. It affords the children a time to talk to others and socialize before coming in to morning meeting. Please share with us any feedback you or your child has. It seems to be a great beginning to our day.
During morning meeting we practice different greetings, and the appropriate social graces which are involved. As "Grace and Courtesy" is our school-wide theme this year, it seemed appropriate to use this time to discuss and practice the many socially appropriate ways in which to respond to various situations, such as introducing oneself, welcoming another student to the room, how to shake hands, etc.
In our newsletters, I hope to impart to you some Montessori philosophy and provide you with an insight into what is taking place in the classroom.
Our cultural studies are moving from ocean studies to botany. We will be exploring leaf parts, leaf research, tree functions and types of leaves. We do have trees with beautifully colored leaves outside our classroom, little trees.
We have begun math Mad Minutes. You should be seeing a sheet of math problems come home weekly showing your child's progress in the memorization of math facts. They see their own progress and it's fun! Please feel free to practice those not finished with them since this is one of the areas where repetition is key. This page is done in one minute, in order to then go on sequentially to the next page. Page 1 starts with 1 and 2 addition, then 2 and 3 and so forth.
In the language area we have been working in creative writing and paragraph writing, 3rd years with Susan Hershey, dictionary work, and have had a spelling test each Friday. Please study the words that come home on Monday for the test. Saying, spelling and writing the words is helpful.
This year Dad's night was as well attended as always and all seemed to be enjoying the special time with one another. Lucy and I like to sit back and watch the happy time. It's always so interesting to see what the children choose to do and show their visitors. Thanks to all who were able to come to such a fun night.
All of our special classes have started. This includes Art, Spanish, Junior Great Books, Music and Physical Education. Susan Hershey joins us on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Wednesday is Writer's Notebook time and Thursday is Writer's Workshop time. The third years have just completed their first stories and shared them with their classmates.
We also have a new third year student who has joined us. Her name is Inaya.
Conferences are just around the corner and it is a time for us to share some insight into your child's academic and social development. I enjoy having the opportunity to hear from parents about their children as well.
Thank you to Erik, Julia's Dad, for sharing with the classroom his experience on Norway's version of the show "Survivor" when he was younger and lived in Norway. The children were interested in hearing about what that was like.
Special thanks to Derek, Luis's dad, for providing us with pencils and page protectors.

UPCOMING: 11/6:Mom's Night, 11/6:Trip to Winslow Farm

Lower Elementary Spanish with Paula

The days are passing quickly in Spanish! We have been busy with our notebooks, poems, and activities.
Lower El students have settled in nicely to the Spanish classes. We have been busy finishing up our notebook basics as well as creating books or posters about ourselves. I hope that the dads got to see the creations on Dad's Night! Moms-we kept the projects at school for you to see on your special night!
The children memorized poems for Halloween. The next step was to create props for the poems and present them to Lower Elementary. Level One students have been practicing "Cinco Calabasas". Level Two students have learned "Tumbas". Level Three has practiced "Tres Fantasmas." It always amazes me how the children remember the poetry from year to year! After the class is done with the presentation, I invite any students who remember the poem from past years to recite it as well. If time permits, the children enjoy presenting the poems to the Kindergarten students as well. The pride and satisfaction they experience is priceless!
We have been studying school vocabulary in October. We have learned about definite articles, how to form the plural, and the use of "color" words with nouns. We have begun to practice school vocab with prepositions.

Junior Great Books- Lower Elementary- with Paula

First Year class has been listening to and discussing "The Black Hen's Egg". We matched vocabulary with the correct definition, recited "words to share" during one of the readings, created art work to interpret the story, and even did a little writing! Our final art work cover drew the story to an end. Look for the work to come home soon!
Second Years have heard the story "Buya Marries Tortoise." It is a humorous story which the children enjoyed. They interpreted the story through art. We created a celebration song for the marriage of Buya and Nkuvu (Tortoise). Cover art is the tortoise! Next these students will go on to reading the stories as opposed to hearing them.
Third Year students read the rather long but funny story "The Blue Moose". They did some artwork and some writing in conjunction with this story. They created postcards which the Blue Moose sent to this special friend, Mr. Breton. Friendship was a central theme of this story.


First let me welcome Yer Lo as a part time assistant to Upper Elementary. Yer already knows some of the children, and her efficient, cheerful presence has proven a benefit to all of us already.
We continue to have awesome snacks every day thanks to Olivia's and Jacob's families. Also, many thanks to the parents who have offered to help make materials, send in classroom supplies, or who simply express support. Charlie and Athena have also been the recipients of a number of gifts for their cage!
Even as the upper elementary students strive for more independence, they will feel more secure and will be more productive knowing the home/school connection is solid. Anyone watching the students take pains to prepare for Dads' Night which was very well attended - could not help but see the excitement and desire on the students' part to share their work and show off a little learning in the Battle of the Generations! Comments the next day included: "I didn't know my dad was so smart!" and, "Gee, they almost beat us. How can they remember this stuff from sooooo long ago?"
Every Friday morning the " Upper Elves" set up the all-purpose room for music and the all school meeting. UE is asked to present something every week in support of this year's grace and courtesy theme. During October, Asia, Kayla R., and Lydia presented a skit on how to politely borrow something from a fellow classmate. Emily, Kayla A., and Olivia wrote and presented a vignette on what to do if you see a friend has dropped some papers. Though simple in concept, these presentations have the younger children riveted, and remind the UE students that they are role models for the rest of the student body.
Please send in a nonperishable food donation on Friday if possible.
Reading is a part of every day in the UE and students continue to have literature groups, short stories, narratives from their Wordly-Wise, and short passage excerpts to read and respond to. In functions of words we have moved to the adverb, and continue to have compound words and analogies as choice work.
In science we continue studying the periodic chart, the elements, and now compounds and their formulas. Soon we will be constructing models of compounds in addition to building atoms on the Bohr board. Of course, panning for gold has been a highlight, and in addition to the excitement of the finding collectible pieces, the activity fosters patience, focus, and fine motor skills. Lydia and Kayla A. have volunteered to mentor those needing a little extra help with technique while Emily has an eagle eye for even the smallest fleck of the valuable element.
Everyone has been working on fraction addition (from adding like denominators through adding mixed numbers depending on the student's need), first by straight calculation, and now through word problems. In geometry Des Cartes and his coordinate grid (either one quadrant or four, depending on the student) is making his debut.
North America is our focus in geography with each student studying a separate country. (Thanks to Diego's family for sending in a map and an atlas and to Paula Wicks for donating an updated edition of the Encyclopedia of Britannica).
Upcoming events: Field trip to Winslow Farm on Wednesday, Nov. 6 followed by Moms' Night. Conference Day on November 8. Please call the office for a convenient appointment time. No school Monday, Nov. 11, and then Thanksgiving!

Upper Elementary Spanish with Paula

The students have finished filling their notebooks with the basics, i.e. numbers, colors, calendar, weather. Now we are learning how to use the notebooks as a resource. I bet the children are already sick of me saying, "Don't guess! Look in your notebook!"
Level Four students began writing and illustrating a Halloween story entitled "La Noche de Brujas". I hope to have them read their stories to the Kindergarteners soon. We answered a questionnaire about ourselves en espanol. I chose four clues and we pasted them in conversation balloons around a face. The students read the clues and had to vote as to who the mystery face was! They know each other pretty well! We have been hard at work with school vocabulary and definite articles, singular /plural,the position of color words with nouns. We read a story in Spanglish about the classroom.
Level Fives have been wading through the translation of the Halloween classic "Georgie" or as we say en espanol, "Jorgito". They are given a set number of words to find in the dictionary and must use their wits to translate the page! They are getting used to using clues from the pictures to help in translation as well. Each page has something missing from the picture which they must discover from the translation. We have practiced the two "to be" verbs SER and ESTAR. We are using "ser" with colors and "estar" location and weather. School vocabulary is our focus right now. We are studying verbs, singular/plural, color words and nouns, names of subjects, and telling time in conjunction with this vocabulary.
Level Six is quite enjoying their book "Un Viaje a Mexico" and are aleady becoming good at translating! Their oral reading is very good as well. We study grammar with each chapter. The first chapter introduced an idiom, ir +a+infinitive. I am happy to report that with much practice, the children seem to have mastered this ! They look forward to finding vocabulary in the story, looking up unfamiliar words, reading, and translating. Their goal is to get past the "half way" point of the book this year. I think that this can be done with hard work!
PVMS October Newsletter 2013
Welcome to all new and returning families to the 2013-2014 school year!

It has been an inspiring start for the new school year. Visiting the classrooms and seeing the children peacefully at work is wonderful, as was having the opportunity to visit each classroom the night of the Parent Orientation/Annual Meeting. Hearing how the head teachers explain what happens in their classroom and answer questions about the materials and the individualized education confirms their dedication to the education of your children, and their love for their role here. They are available to talk with you whenever you would like to communicate with them, either by calling the school and leaving a message, or sending in a note, and they will call you. I am also happy to meet with you or talk with you regarding any questions or concerns you may have. You can call the school, or email me at

Peace Day this year was on Saturday, September 21st. We celebrated it here at school on Friday with our Friday Morning Meeting at our Peace Pole outside singing "Light a Candle for Peace".
Our theme this year is Grace and Courtesy, which is an integral part of Montessori education. That theme was introduced by presentations from the Upper Elementary classroom. Each week at Friday Morning Meeting more topics under that theme will be introduced and talked about, such as making introductions, shaking hands, greeting one another, etc.

Some school traditions that we want our parents to be aware of on a day-to-day or monthly basis:
We have a communication clip board that we send around to the classrooms at 9:00 am and 2:00 pm to let teachers know about absences, changes in pickup and afterschool. Please try to call by 8:50 or 1:50 if you have an absence or any changes to let us know about.
Food Pantry donations: Each Friday children may bring packaged, non-perishable food which we collect at the school and then ask a volunteer to deliver to the local food pantry for people in need. If you would be willing to make a delivery, please let us know.
Friday Morning Meeting: Every Friday at 8:50 am all the children (except Toddlers) gather in the multi-purpose room to share a song or two, acknowledge birthdays for the week, bring donations for the local food pantry, and talk about our theme, Grace and Courtesy. Please try to have your child here by 8:35, on Fridays especially, so your child can participate.
I am enjoying my new role, and am looking forward to a wonderful year here at PVMS.
Warm regards,
Margaret Bagge

Upcoming events:
October 8, Tuesday: PTO Meeting, 5:30 pm with child care and pizza. Please join us!
October 9, Wednesday- Picture Day**
October 10, Thursday: Dad's Night **
October 14- Columbus Day- School closed
October 16- Children's House Field Trip to Pell Farm **
October 25- PTO Halloween Party at Camp Massasoit **
October 25- Curriculum Day- no classes (teacher work day)
** For these items notices will be sent home with details


It's only late September and yet our class feels "normalized" already! We have blended the former routines with some new ideas and the result is a more student-centered classroom where the children assume a fair amount of responsibility for the day to day management of the classroom. One new addition to our chore chart will be "Pet Care" as we have acquired two as yet unnamed parakeets. It is our hope to breed them in the spring; time will tell on that one.
The class has decided on two forms of homework. Spelling words taken from the Wordly-Wise Vocabulary series go home on Mondays. Also, when needed, a reading log goes home on Monday to be turned in on Friday. There will be no homework on weekends or vacations, but reading is encouraged any time.

Every day we have an enrichment class in the afternoon: Monday/art, Tuesday and Thursday/Spanish, Wednesday/physical education, and Friday/music.
Our days have been very busy with everyone reviewing math facts, employing divisibility rules, discerning prime and composite numbers, exploring multiples and factors, finding Greatest Common Factors, and Least Common Multiples, all of which will be leading us into fractions within a week or two.
This year we will be looking at American history and are currently investigating Jamestown. Some students will be reading either Blood on the River, or The Corn Raid, both historical fiction set in Jamestown. Fourth years will be beginning a second novel by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock entitled The Night the Bells Rang, the central theme of which is bullying. All students have finished one novel in Literature Circle. As a read-aloud we are finishing Fire Girl, a novel that encourages students to think about tolerance and compassion, and the true meaning of friendship.
In science we are studying the parts of an atom and will be taking a close look at the structure of elements and "constructing" some on a Bohr board model. Concomitantly we will be looking at the life cycle of a star and seeing under which circumstances and where elements are created.
We are honing research skills through individual research of an animal. While everyone is writing a myth, some students have incorporated new knowledge of their subject animal in the development of their stories.
Thanks to Emily and Kayla R. and companies for our wonderful snacks so far. Everyone is benefiting from the morning pick-me-up.
We are looking forward to Dad's night and hope every student will get a chance to show off how hard they are working!

Welcome! Fall is upon us and we've been in session almost one month! So many changes schedules, rules, expectations, new classmates, new work, etc. and yet the children have been adjusting well!
A new school year brings with it great anticipation as well as some apprehension. Who is in my class? What do I do for show and tell? Can I bring in my cat? What is spelling? This time of transition is an important period for all. Third year students are our new role models and seniors of the class while our first years are the youngest. Such is the plan in Montessori education. This grouping of students enables our class to become a "normalized", or smoothly running class of three year age groups of children. As Maria Montessori intended, the older help the younger and all learn from one another in many various ways. In this way, social values, problem solving, rules of socialization, and empathy for others is part of the learning environment and occurs naturally. In this way we will become a close-knit, caring class of children who feel good about themselves and their relationship with others.
These past few weeks have provided an opportunity to evaluate the children's academic skills, and provide a time to review and to "get the cobwebs out".
We have been studying about the ocean and sea life as this is a topic about which many know, or have visited over the summer. Children have been identifying sea shells, learning about parts of a clam, completing ocean puzzles and reading ocean animal stories.
Lucy and I are fortunate to have Susan Hershey again joining our class for two afternoons each week. During these times, she will work with students, present cultural lessons, read one on one and bring us into the world of Writer's Workshop on Thursday and Notebook News every Wednesday. It is such a sight to see the children busily writing and sharing ideas with others! More about this to come in next month's newsletter.
This newsletter is one method of keeping parents better informed about what is happening in their very important child's day. It is a way in which to communicate with you about some Montessori philosophy and educational practices as well. If you have any questions or concerns, you may call school or drop a note. Don't hesitate or think that a question is not important.
Lastly, due to the loss of our beloved classroom pets Luna, Stormy and Ollie we have adopted a dwarf hamster named Orbit and a newt tank. A schedule of all classes for Art, Spanish, Junior Great Books, Music, and PE to follow.
Thanks Sue & Lucy

Greetings everyone and welcome back. It was wonderful seeing so many of you and becoming better acquainted with new and returning parents at the orientation meeting. As of the writing of this newsletter I have only had two classes with the Upper and Lower Elementary students as enhanced curriculum classes started on September 16. Although we have only had two classes so far it's been great catching up with all my returning students as well as getting to know the students who are new to the Art program.
In Art this year we have some exciting lessons ahead of us. In keeping with the school wide theme of Grace and Courtesy we have started a lesson on Artist Challenge Coins. Artist Challenge Coins are based on the idea of Achievement Coins which originated in the service as a way of recognizing special achievements. In our version students will use a small wooden disc that they will make a design on one side and write a special message on the other side. These "coins" will then be exchanged with fellow members of our school community as a way to support and encourage one another. I have been deeply touched by the enthusiasm of our students for this lesson. More than one student has taken me aside and asked if they could make a special "coin" for someone that they know outside of school who they would like to encourage.
This is the part of my first news letter where I like to give a brief overview of the goal of the Art program.
 Provide comprehensive hands on exploration of fine art materials and techniques.
 Familiarize students with basic art vocabulary and terminology.
 Introduce some of the artists who have made significant contributions to the art world.
 Incorporate school wide themes whenever possible and appropriate.
 Explore global art and craft traditions.
 Encourage the use of recycled materials.
 Harbor an atmosphere of peace, non-judgment, acceptance and support.

Art classes for Upper and Lower Elementary meet every Monday and students need to dress in attire that is appropriate and conducive to creating art. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.

Spanish classes began on Monday, September 16, and Tuesday, September 17, for all levels. Angelika's class meets on Monday from 8:45 to 10:00. Andrea's class meets on Wednesday from 8:45 to 10:00. Susan's class is on Wednesday from 10:05 to 11:05. Children's House classes typically meet "on the line" to move, sing, and practice. We then break up into smaller groups of between 2-5 students for more practice. An activity paper goes home just about every week . This is a good opportunity to practice Spanish at home with your child!
Kindergarteners practice in their Children's House classes and then again on Wednesday afternoons. The Kindergarten class is divided into two groups which meet for approximately 20 minutes each. We begin with a meeting on the line where we practice or discuss what will be happening during the class. These students begin to practice Spanish reading (initial and final sounds), and listening to and following directions en espanol. Each child has a folder in which to put vocabulary work. We hear short stories, practice vocabulary, recite short poems, play games, do art projects, sing songs-in general, further practice with the Spanish presented in Children's Houses classes.

Toddlers get their "dose" of Spanish on Wednesdays from 11:10 to 11:30. Mainly, I want them to hear Spanish being spoken. They are invited to repeat Spanish words and to follow simple directions in Spanish as well. Sometimes I meet with them on the playground or during storytime or playtime. The meetings are informal in nature; mostly play! I like to help out with lunch. This is a good opportunity to hear Spanish words for food!

Lower and Upper Elementary classes meet for about 45 minutes twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Lower El has morning classes and Upper El meets during the afternoon.Children meet in small groups according to level and have an opportunity to practice calendar and weather, counting, and review of vocabulary and grammar to begin each session. Older students also review by written practice at this time. We then go on to oral and written practice, games, or art projects to study the concept or topic of the day. Children are responsible for keeping a neat and orderly notebook. The notebook is used for each class as a resource; and, does not go home until the end of the year. Assignments to practice concepts are completed in the Upper and Lower Elementary classes on a weekly basis. Usually this work is assigned on a Thursday and collected the following Thursday. Older students may have a bit extra-sometimes assigned on Tuesday and collected on Thursday of the same week.

I am looking forward to working with new and returning students in Spanish this year. If you have questions , please write me a note or call me during lunch (11:30) on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.


Junior Great Books meets in the Lower Elementary classroom on Mondays. Level One and Level Two meet in the morning. Level Three meets in the afternoon. The classes meet for 45 minutes. Level One is a Read-A-Loud format. Children listen to a story twice and discuss important concepts about the story. We write, draw, and do a final art project for each story. Levels Two and Three have reading books. These students listen to and follow along in their books for the first reading. For session two, they read to me. Children are required to write more at these levels; but, I try to work in art work as a final project.

The literature for the JGB program is drawn from folktales, poetry, and short stories from around the world. The program aims to teach children interpretative thinking. Each story is covered slowly over the course of several weeks in order for the children to gain a thorough understanding of the story. The children are introduced to using ideas from each story to answer questions. The questions are not always facts! Sometimes they need to "interpret." They use ideas from the story to support their opinion. Each child has a folder in which to keep his story work. Written or interpretive art work is assigned on a weekly basis, to be completed in the Lower El classroom. When a story is completed, the children create a cover for the work, gather their papers together, and the work is sent home. Please look over the papers! Discuss the stories! Enjoy spending time learning what your child has discovered in Junior Great Books.

CHILDREN'S HOUSE NORTH with Andrea Thibert and Sara Liptak

The children have settled nicely into the routines and expectations of the classroom and are becoming more comfortable within the environment. Our morning group time begins with the children greeting one another with a handshake and a "Good Morning" (with emphasis on making eye contact). We then sing the months of the year and the days of the week. Each day, one child is chosen to tell the group what the day of the week is and to put the date on the calendar. Next, while I take attendance, a child assists by locating each classmate as I read off their first and last names and another child then counts the total number of children present. We then count the days of the school year together (using 3 containers labeled 100's, 10's, and 1's with popsicle sticks for counters.) Finally, the end of the group time consists of presenting any newly added work activities or presentations of particular Montessori materials that can be done with the entire group.

Over the past few weeks of September, we have learned about our classroom and what Montessori means. First during group time, we read a book about Maria Montessori and learned that she was the first woman doctor in Italy and that she opened the first "Casa de Bambini" (which means Children's House). We also discovered that Maria loved to help children learn and that she created many of the materials we use today in our classroom such as; the pink tower, the brown stairs, color tablets and the globes! The book also helped remind us of how to respect one another and the materials in the classroom by caring and being gentle.

As part of Montessori's "Grace and Courtesy" lessons, the children have been learning about caring for our classroom and one another with a special focus on how to unroll and roll up a rug, how to tuck in our chairs when done sitting, and how to get an adult's attention (by placing their hand on the teacher's shoulder/arm). These important tasks are just the beginning of the "Grace and Courtesy" section in Montessori's Practical Life area. Next, we will be focusing on table scrubbing, plant watering, and more ongoing animal care.

For geography, we have been learning about the Land, Air, and Water work and the Continents of the World Puzzle Map. First, we learned about the difference between land, air, and water by matching the pictures to the land, air, and water bottles during a group presentation. Then, we each had the opportunity to point to some land, air, and water using the colored globe. Also, we learned about the seven continents of the world. First, we learned the Continent song by singing together, "North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, don't forget Australia, don't forget Antarctica . all of the continents of the Earth" (to the tune of "One little, two little, three little fingers"). We then learned how to build the Continent Map onto the control chart and took turns finding the continents.

I will be sending home the communication journals at the beginning of October and hope you will all find them beneficial. My goal is to help keep you updated with what your child is doing in the classroom and who they are working with. This will be sent home on Fridays (every other week) and you can then respond over the weekend, if needed and let me know any important news and events as well.

Please call me with any questions or concerns you may have as I know the first weeks of school can be difficult and busy. I can be reached at school on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays between 12:30-4:45 and any day between 3:00-4:45p.m. If needed, I can make special arrangements to speak with you when convenient for you (please place a note on your child's tote bag when to best contact you).

I would like to send out both a special hello and thank you to Kate our intern from Mt. Holyoke College! Kate is in our classroom on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 8:00-11:30 am for one semester. She has settled in quite nicely and the children really seem to enjoy having her in the classroom. As part of her internship, Kate will be helping take some necessary photographs for our upcoming NAEYC accreditation and will be focusing primarily on the materials as opposed to the students.

Our afternoons are spent largely on helping the students develop literacy reading, listening, and writing. Mondays, Susan reads a picture book to the class, usually with a theme, and afterwards, the children write their own stories, often based on the theme of the book. The stories consist of a picture with the child's works underneath. Some of the children are beginning to write their own words, while others are dictating the words to the teacher. At the end of class, we share our stories with each other. Each child has a folder where they keep their stories from week-to-week throughout the year, rather than bringing them home. Thus, at the end of the year they have a portfolio that shows how their skills have progressed over the course of the whole year. You are welcome , of course, to look at your child's work any time you are in the school. When the children have finished their writing for the day, they choose a math activity before going on to make free choices until end-of-the day playground time. Next month's newsletter will provide details on the other literacy days with Susan (Tuesdays and Fridays).

Wednesday and Thursday afternoons are spent with Andrea. Wednesdays start with Spanish class with Paula. All the children begin "on- line" (this means finding their Spanish name card and sitting at group with Paula) also they sing a song. The class is then split up into two groups. One group heads downstairs into Paula's space for the Spanish lesson while the other group remains in the classroom with Andrea. After the groups rotate for Spanish, they prepare for Physical Ed. Class. All the children meet back together to join Kristen for the P.E. class. Primarily outside, the children have been learning about warm-ups and stretching. She also taught us new games like "glob tag" and obstacle course activities.
On Thursday afternoons the children are working on activities from the curriculum areas, primarily from the math and language areas. Once they have completed their work and they have shown a teacher, they are able to make free choices from all the areas of the classroom.

A special thank you to Donna, our assistant teacher, for helping us out with the afternoon class!

CHILDREN'S HOUSE SOUTH with Angelika Deaton and Rosemary Gossman
September has been very exciting in Children's House South. We have spent much time getting to know one another. The children are settling into the routines and expectations of the classroom and becoming more comfortable with the environment. Each morning begins as we greet one another with a handshake and "Good Morning" extending courtesy and showing respect for each other. There is nothing more gratifying than to see your child enter the classroom with a wonderful smile. As each child begins their work the classroom becomes filled with purposeful activity and it appears as though we are all working furiously. Suddenly, almost before we know, it is time to gather into a group.
Together we sing our " Days of the Week Song", one child tells the group what day of the week it is and puts the date on our calendar. We identify the weather, sing other fun songs, and dance the Hokey Pokey, all activities that encourage listening and following directions. We take the time to reinforce activities such as: how we roll our rugs and how we walk around our rugs. We make presentations on how to wash hands after toileting, after blowing noses and before eating. We encourage behavior that avoids disturbing others while they work. We of course enjoy outdoor recess daily. The almost summerlike weather has been a blessing for our very busy and energetic class.
Because children's self-confidence is increased by their growing ability to be independent, please keep in mind when choosing your child's clothing. Pants that pull up, rather then snap or button, sweatshirts that zip, rather than fit snuggly over the head, sleeves that can be pushed up for hand-washing, and Velcro-closing shoes are all examples of clothing that can give even the youngest child the opportunity to say " I did it myself "!
I hope that you find the communication journals helpful. My goal is to send them home every other week. Please make comments, add questions or helpful information that pertains to your child. I would be appreciative if you would initial my entry after reading. Important October dates to remember:
Dad's Night: October 10th Fieldtrip to Pell Farm: October 16th
CHILDREN'S HOUSE EAST with Susan Hershey and Donna Wegge
It has been a busy few weeks, with the returning children getting back into the routine, and the new children getting used to our schedules and procedures, learning how to use the classroom materials, and making new friends.
We have a short group meeting as soon as all the children arrive. This is when we start our morning with a few moments of calm and peacefulness, breathing deeply, and giving our peace greeting to each other. After that, we take attendance, with one child acknowledging the presence of each child who is in class that day. A discussion of the date and weather follow. Children take turns putting the date and weather picture on the calendar. If I am putting a new activity in the class that all the children can do, this is when I show them how to use it. At the end of this group session, the children go back to their individual work.
During the next 1 ½ hours, children are free to do the work they choose, work one-on-one with Donna or me, and have snack when they are hungry. Younger children and those who are new to the class will spend a lot of time using the practical life activities, developing the skills they will need to do more academic work later. These skills include fine motor control, eye-hand coordination, concentration, and following a sequence of steps to complete a task. Older children can be seen pursuing a variety of activities, such as reading, spelling with the movable alphabet, working on their teen numbers, or doing addition and subtraction, as well as sensorial activities, practical life, and art.
Our second circle time includes a story, as well as music and movement activities. Often there is a lesson, such as geography where on earth is there land and where is water; science differences between plants and animals; art primary and secondary colors. On Wednesdays, Paula comes to our class for Spanish, and on Fridays, Miss Leticia comes in for music.
Our first field trip is scheduled for Wednesday, October 16 to Pell Farm for a hay ride, mazes, and pumpkin picking. We need chaperones for this event, as we will for our trip in the spring. If you are able and interested, please let Donna or me know, and come in to get the form for a CORI check.
I will try to keep in touch with you as often as I can, either a brief chat when I see you, or a written note I send home. If you have any questions about your child, please do not hesitate to call me at school. The best times to reach me are between 11:40 and 12:20 or after 3:00. I am usually in school until at least 3:30. You can also call and leave a message, and I will return your call as soon as I can.
I look forward to sharing the school year with you and your children.

TODDLER PROGRAM with Mary Ann Ross, Janice Merrill, Cynthia and Jean

The Toddler class would like to welcome Jean our new classroom assistant, and our newest classmate Dexter and his family, to our Montessori community. Congratulations to Gabrielle who became a big sister last month.

It's hard to believe that we have already completed the first month of school. The children have become comfortable and confident at school. Everyone is pouring their own drinks, serving themselves a snack and cleaning up after eating. Toddlers are very impressive people.

I'm sure you noticed that getting to school and work can be challenging with an independent toddler. When possible, allowing extra time can make it easier. Along with this need for independence comes rapid growth and development bringing changes that can be seen sometimes daily. Please let us know if you have concerns or if we can be of help in any way.

Our focus for the school year is on the development of independence, language, social skills, and fine and large motor co-ordination. Each child will acquire these skills according to their last own needs and interests, with the assistance of teachers and activities. In addition to our daily activities we are fortunate to have visits on Wednesdays from our Spanish teacher Paula and on Friday visits from Miss Leticia, our music teacher. Each year our school chooses a theme to work on. This year we have chosen Grace and Courtesy.

Last month we spent time getting to know each other, working on self help skills, learning new songs and celebrating the International day of Peace. The children made the peace sign on the door. We hope it will be a peaceful year.

During October we will learn about the beautiful season of Fall through observation, stories, art and cooking. The outdoor portion of our day will give us a chance to do some leaf peeping and talk about the changes we see.

Pioneer Valley Montessori School, 1524 Parker Street, Springfield, MA 01129 • 413-782-3108

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