Writing With a Purpose
When parents decide to send their child(ren) to a Montessori school, they understand that their child will receive a holistic approach to education, encompassing the child as a whole. Language is just one of the many components in a Montessori classroom that enriches the child’s development. In the primary classes we spend time directing the children to materials to enhance their language and literacy development.
The Village School is privileged to have Jayashree who is currently interning in the Green Primary class. During her studies, she discovered the necessity of language in the classroom, through exploring poetry that describes the mental process of learning reflecting on the child’s process of the materials rather than the product. Another poem that stood out is “Writing”. This poem explains the different ways that children learn how to write in the classroom such as scribbling and doodling. Through the use of different materials in the classroom, the student develops a proper pencil grip and through experimenting with lightness or firmness of touch children are continuously learning and developing their writing and language skills. Both poems emphasis how children learn through exploration and hands-on activities such as those found in the Montessori classroom. Thank you to Jayashree for sharing a new way of understanding how our children learn.
Karen’s gardening class has continuously “bloomed”. Each class is presented with different material as it relates to gardening and health. During this semester Karen has been discussing an array of plants for the students to study and understand. The students have begun learning about Terrariums, Orchids, Cactus, and Tilanzia. The students learned how different plants require different care in different environments and asked questions such as, “What is the difference between soil and dirt? What is soil? Why is soil good for plants? What is dirt used for? Are dirt and soil living?” Karen mentioned that there are different types of soil, however different plants require different soil which is the base of health for the plant where the plant receives its nutrients. To follow in Maria Montessori’s Philosophy, the students are demonstrating their understanding of nature by using hands-on experiences such as working in the Primary garden to plant the specific soil needed o help grow potatoes, strawberries, chymes, and basil.
Village School Students Learn About Managing Finances
Here at The Village School, our curriculum is based on the Montessori practice, but we are also continuously striving to connect that 100 year old philosophy with the most up to date knowledge in regards to education. This was recently reflected in a new law that was outlined in an article passed by the state of New Jersey which now requires all middle school age students to learn how to manage their finances. For the past several years we have been teaching Middle School Age children about finances as we see it being a great importance to their development one of the ways in which we do this is through the The Junior Achievement Program. This program is open to various levels between Kindergarten and Middle School and is meant to teach the students about learning financial responsibilities.The students learn how to generate income and applying Practical Life skills such as those learned in the classroom like managing their finances in preparation for future careers. We invite you to read this article which underscores the importance of this information.
Middle School Writing Program
November is National Novel Writing Month – known more fondly by our middle school students as NaNoWriMo. The writing program implements many fundamental values associated with the Montessori Philosophy. The students are brought into this dynamic world with the idea that they are able to write about what impacts them without any limits or hesitations. The aim is for the students to set their own goals and to outline any information that they may find useful for their writing piece.
During October, 8th years planned their novels by creating interesting characters, designing conflict, establishing setting, and plotted key scenes. Before they began writing, students establish a word count goal and develop a topic they would like to write about. Once they’ve established their topic they began writing without editing. Each student chose their own goals for their writing sample and through the process began to understand and learn time management skills. Students planned novels in diverse genres including horror, historical fiction, realistic fiction, and fantasy. They put away their inner editor and just write. When I asked a student why they chose a specific topic she stated, “I wanted to include some elements of my family, specifically my grandmother’s side, and I believe this piece that I wrote is historical fiction. My writing is more of a series of letters, much like a collection of books compiled. This story came easy to me since I had already planned it in my head.”
During December, students edited and revised their novels, created title pages with cover art, and published their work. This period also allows the chance to review their peers work. The student also stated, “I enjoyed reading about my friend’s novel. We had briefly discussed what our topics were, however it was a different experience to read my friend’s work first hand.” When I asked about her writing process and if it was hard to stay on track with her routine she said, “Some days were harder for me to write than others since it was during the holiday season. But I have my planner and set time aside to keep track for my writing in order to help achieve my word count goal.” Finally, her advice to future authors was,”plan ahead, write how much you want to accomplish each day or hour, write in short amounts and do no overthink.” By using this program, students learned about the process of creating different types of work. Once the students had completed their novels and designed their covers with a title, they are to pick a portion of their story for their teacher to review, comment, and grade through google docs.