Primary “A” Happenings
Ms. Assunta’s Class

April-May 2015 Happenings

It is time to be outdoors! With every opportunity we can find, we go out to see the beautiful flowers, listen to the birds and enjoy the spring! The time has arrived for the student’s favorite work of planting, cutting flowers and in class, flower-arranging activities. Any parents who wish to support these activities may send in flowers cut from your garden and small plants to be planted in our courtyard.

This time of year, the children also enjoy the special art projects they are working on for Mother’s Day, as well as the other simple art work they do on a daily basis.

We are learning and singing many Spring songs: “There’s a Golden Daffodil”, “I wandered Lonely as a Cloud”, “Mocking Bird Hill”, “All the Birds Sing Up On the Trees” and “It’s Spring Time.” Perhaps you have heard your child singing at home or in the car! Click here for the words.

The afternoon children are practicing songs and dances in preparation for the upcoming End of Year Festivities which will be held on Friday, June 12th. This year, our theme is “Islands in the Sun”, and we have chosen to represent Hawaii and Sri Lanka in our class. The children will be singing a Sir Lankan song in the native Sinhalese language and will be performing two Hawaiian dances. Thank you to C.J. and her parents, Mr. & Mrs. Shafer, who have volunteered to donate “grass skirts” for our presentation. To make it festive and fun for the children, we ask that students arrive for the festivities appropriately dressed in short puffed-sleeve blouses for girls and Hawaiian or similar shirts for boys.

We had three special visitors to our class to offer special presentations. Ms. Louise Pascale, Keaton’s grandmother, gave a science presentation to the class on Tuesday and Mr. & Mrs. Tuvell, Tristan’s parents, gave a presentation yesterday for Japanese Children’s Day. We thank all of our families for the support and interest they have shown to make our students’ learning fun and memorable at MANJ this year!

~ Happy Mother’s Day from Ms. Assunta, Ms. Amber and the students in Primary Class A.

Classroom Photos: 

The photos below show some of the work the students are doing each day.  Click on a photo to begin the slideshow.

March 2015 Happenings

March has been a busy month, anticipating Spring’s arrival while watching snow falling outside! We look forward to warm weather and sunny skies that will enable us to spend more time outdoors and to garden and plant! Our class is pleased to welcome a new student this month, Elena Tyler, who recently moved up from the Toddler class.

This month the students have been making Easter baskets to take home and this week we will be coloring hard-boiled eggs to fill our baskets!

We had many visitors to our class this month to present information on faraway places. In previous Weekly Bulletins, we reported that Dr. Nikki Ariarathnam, (Vikram), who presented on their recent trip to California and Hawaii and Carl’s mom, Sonja Strahm, who shared photos, flags and chocolates from Switzerland, where she and Carl had visited for a skiing trip earlier this year.

In addition, Ian’s grandfather, Fred Stagg, visited our class last week to show the children the scale model airplanes that he builds and flies. He talked about the process of building to scale and showed them photos of his planes. The students had a chance to pass around the remote control that operates just like the cockpit of the plane. Mr. Stagg left a partially constructed airplane for our class to keep!

Allegra McGinniss brought in a special “ambassador” from a recent trip to Puerto Rico, along with a book for our class to read and keep that explains about the plants and animal life in Puerto Rico. “Coqui”, (pronounced CO-KEY), the singing tree frog, is a special and much beloved mascot of Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican coqui is a very tiny, tree frog that comes in many colors ranging from green to brown to yellowish and has a high pitched sound. Their song can be heard from far, far away.

We thank the parents and extended families for their time, interest and efforts in sharing their knowledge, hobbies and travel experiences with our class! Their sharing enriches the students’ education experience tremendously.

We wish you an enjoyable Spring Break and a wonderful Spring Season! ~ Ms. Assunta, Ms. Amber and the students of Primary Class A

February 2015 Happenings

The Month of February seems to drag on with cold winter weather, yet Valentine’s Day comes to brighten our days and warm our hearts! The children in Primary Class A enjoy the Valentine’s hearts we are making as a February art project. We will exchange cards on Friday, February 13th. Please have your child sign his/her name but do not write the name of the recipient. This way, it is easy for even the youngest students, who may not know how to read yet, to distribute their own cards. If all the children bring cards with each child’s name written on them, it will be a very long time to distribute them all! Remember, we are exchanging 26 times 26 cards that day, in a short period of time! Thank you for your cooperation in simplifying our card exchange!

We have begun reading about Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and will continue reading into the months ahead until we have finished. The afternoon students will be more involved in working with the President’s game and other art projects related to Presidents Day.

We are looking for very simple cookie recipes to continue our Valentine’s themed baking projects for the month of February. If you would like to share a recipe, please sent it in with your child and we will incorporate that into our practical life exercises.

This month we are learning and singing many songs about Friendship and Valentine’s Day. Click the titles below for the words of these songs that you many sing along with your child at home!

February Friendship Songs
A Year-Round Valentine
Love is the Answer

Thank you for all of your support and cooperation and we wish you a heart-warming Valentine’s Day!
~Ms. Assunta, Ms. Amber & the students of Classroom A!

January 2015 Happenings

With the start of the New Year, our class is pleased to welcome three new students: Allegra, Finley and Tristan.

With the beginning of cold winter weather, we now direct our focus on learning about the change in the weather and animal hibernation by reading books and singing songs on these subjects. Some of the songs we are singing include: “Weather, Weather, All Kinds of Weather”, “Snow Flakes are Frozen Water Drops”, “Build a Little Snowman” and “Ice Skating.” Our January art projects include making snowflakes and snowmen. We are also now reading about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as we prepare to observe the holiday remembering his work.

Many thanks to Vikram’s parents for presenting to our class about their recent trip to Denver, Colorado. The children were very interested to see the pictures of a gold mine and of Vikram and his sister panning for gold!

We also thank Louise Pascale, Keaton’s grandmother, and Keaton’s mother, Renita Brady, for visiting our classroom to make pizzelles, a traditional Italian wafer cookie served at Christmastime. The presentation included finding the location of Italy on the map and learning all of the ingredients that go into the making of the wafers. The students enjoyed a pizzelle snack and each received a bag to take home!

Our older morning and afternoon children enjoyed completing sewing projects for the holidays, which they brought home before the holidays. We are planning on doing a few more sewing projects during the cold months ahead.

We wish you a Blessed and Peaceful New Year! ~ Ms. Assunta, Ms. Amber and the children of Class A!

December 2014 Happenings

Ms. Assunta’s class was visited on Tuesday, December 16th, by Keaton’s mother and grandmother, who gave a demonstration on making Pizzelles, a traditional Italian cookie served at Christmastime. “Pizzelle” is an “old world” traditional cookie. This Italian waffle cookie gets its name “pizzelle”, which is actually the plural of “pizzella”, from the Italian word, “pizze”, meaning round and flat. It is believed to have first been developed in central Italy to honor annual celebrations in ancient times. They have remained an important part of celebrations throughout Italy and even in the United States. The two holidays which the pizzelle is commonly used are Christmas and Easter. The students of Primary Class A thank Ms. Renita Brady, (Keaton’s mom), and Ms. Louise Pascale, (Keaton’s grandmom), for visiting their class and sharing this delicious Christmas tradition!

November 2014 Happenings

Thanksgiving is around the corner and the students of Class A are working on “Thanksgiving” and “Autumn” themed projects. In addition to our other favorite Fall songs, we are also learning special Thanksgiving songs: “Over the River and Through the Woods”, “On the First Thanksgiving Day”, “Harvest Time is Here”, and “Pilgrims Came on the Mayflower”. We will be reading the story of the “First Thanksgiving” in preparation for our upcoming fall feast.

Each year, at this time, the full day Primary students in our class prepare a simple meal and share it with one another. This year we will hold our “Thanksgiving Feast” on Tuesday, November 25th. On this day, afternoon children need not bring lunch. Look for notices to come home with the children in their lunch boxes explaining their contribution for the Thanksgiving luncheon.

We were very glad to welcome Ms. Amber back to our class on Monday, November 10th. As communicated to parents via the Weekly Bulletin and Special News Alert, Ms. Amber’s mother passed away on Saturday, November 1st. We did not discuss the reason for Ms. Amber’s absence with the children as the children might be saddened by the news. However, the students missed her while she was away and many of the older children made flowers and cards to give to her upon her return. On behalf of the children, staff and families, we send our condolences to Ms. Amber and her family along with our love, thoughts and prayers.

~ Wishing everyone a blessed Thanksgiving from Ms. Assunta, Ms. Amber and the students of Primary Class A!

Full-Day Primary Field Trip

On Tuesday, October 28th, the full day Primary students visited the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton. Every part of this trip was an experience for the young students—for many of whom this was their first field trip. They enjoyed the bus ride, the planetarium and exploring the many exhibits the museum has to offer!

The Planetarium experience with the movie on the “Earth, Moon and Sun” was particularly interesting. Students learned about the planets in our solar system, the distance of the Sun and Moon from Earth, and the size of Earth and Moon compared to that of the Sun. They also learned the constellations that we may see in winter sky.

Students observed the fascinating selection of butterflies, beetles and eggs. Some students attended a presentation on Dinosaurs. They learned that paleontologists are the scientists who study dinosaurs and they marveled at the animal and dinosaur skeletons on exhibit at the museum. Other students also enjoyed attending the presentation on the Native Americans of the Delaware Valley. There are many, many artifacts in the museum’s exhibits of the local Native Americans.

Thank you goes out to Sarah Mantz, (Torin/ADM & Aidan/Elementary), for all of her work organizing this fun and interesting trip. Thank you also goes out to the parents who chaperoned along with Ms. Mantz, Kim Fitch (Benjamin/ADM) and Cristina Shafer (C.J./Assunta’s).

October 2014 Happenings

The children in our class are settled in and making smooth progress! We warmly welcome the new addition to our class, David Venturo, the son of our Ms. Veronica! He too is adjusting well to class routines.

With the chill in the air and Halloween around the corner, the students are learning about the many changes taking place and observing the awesome beauty of the season! Through Reading, Art projects and Song, they are learning the wonders of Autumn! The children are continuing leaf painting and doing other simple Halloween projects as the focus for this month. They have been decorating pumpkins, purchased by the MANJ PA, thanks to the parents’ Activity Fee Dollars!

Thank you goes out to Keaton’s mom, Renita, for the Pumpkin decorating ideas, which we are using for the project, and for sending in Silver items for the students to polish. They are handling them with care and having a great time polishing them. It is nice to see the pride and joy in their faces when they start to see the piece they are polishing begin to shine! The end result of their work and effort was great. If other parents have tarnished silver items that could use some polishing, please send them in a bag with your name labeled. The children will polish them and return them to you, as soon as the job is done.

Our afternoon students are beginning readers and are developing their writing skills. I encourage the parents to drop a “surprise” written message in their child’s lunch box. Their child can respond to your message in writing and bring home to you as an ongoing communication. This could be a fun and positive experience and could enhance their reading and writing skills. Of course, the child does not need to know your motive! You can let him know that you put in a surprise note, in the lunch box; it should not be presented as a chore. He might at times, need my assistance, in writing the response. You might want to do this periodically. It is acceptable for children at this level, to write phonetically, so please accept whatever they write back in response.

We have been reading about “Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the new land” during this month and will learn the locations of countries related to the story. We are also learning the following songs this month: “Full Moon Over Head”, “Autumn Leaves are Turning”, “Jack-O-Lantern”, “This is My School”; as well as the songs they learned last month.

Since we have been reading the biographies of Wolfgang Mozart, Johannes Brahms, Peter Tchaikovsky, and Robert Schumann, the children are also familiarized by listening to the music written by these composers. We listen to: 1. Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Nutcracker – by Peter Tchaikovsky; 2. Minuet from Don Juan, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star – by Wolfgang Mozart; 3. Lullaby and Waltz – by Johannes Brahms; 4. Happy Farmer – by Robert Schumann.

Children will also be familiarized by listening to the music mentioned below in the coming weeks and months: 1. Emperor Waltz – by Johann Strauss; 2. William Tell – by Rossini; 3. Twelve Grey Dwarfs-Andante Symphony in G by Franz Joseph Haydn; 4. Danube Waves – Waltz- by Jan Ivanovici; 5. Bacarolle -by J. Offenbach; 6. Minuet in G – by Ludwig Beethoven; 7. Ave Maria – by Franz Schubert.

If you have any of the music mentioned above and able to copy short versions and send us a CD, we will be very appreciative! Please remember to number and label the titles as recorded. Thanks to Isabella’s parents, Maria and Jose, for the music CD of Peter Tchaikovsky! In time, we will be using it more frequently. Thanks to Isabella’s parents, Maria and Jose, for the music CD of Peter Tchaikovsky! In time, we will be using it more frequently!

Until Next time, have a happy and safe Halloween!

~ Ms. Assunta, Ms. Amber and the students of Classroom A!

September 2014 Happenings

We warmly welcome all New and Returning Students to an Enjoyable and Exciting school year!

We are delighted that the following students have joined our class this year: Connor, Joy, Gabe, Milo, Sharad, Gurtej, Aiden, Carl, Julian, Maya, Brooke, Olivia, Jasmine and Gavin. All students are making gradual progress, adjusting to the class routines and activities!

We send our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the parents who responded to our wish list! Thank you CJ.’s Mom, Cristina Shafer, for the fabric squares; Karen Escalante and Jose Gonzalez, parents of Eli in the Elementary class, for the beautiful Chrysanthemums–we have been busy planting and watering them! Hopefully, the children will enjoy the flowers and use the clippings for flower arranging until the frost arrives! We also send our thanks to Aiden’s parents, Catie and Joe Som, for sending apples for the apple cutting activity; Keaton’s parents, Scott and Renita Brady, for sending fish for our fish tank and Ian’s parents, Kristen and John McIlwraith for the flowers they sent in, for flower arranging exercise!

In the month of September, we finished reading the biography of Amadeus Mozart and started reading about Johanes Brahms last week. We are hoping to continue reading the biographies of other famous musicians and artists, in the months ahead. The children have started off the year singing: “Five green and speckled Frogs”, “Down by the Station”, “Head and Shoulders Knees and Toes”, and “Skidarmarink”. They will be learning other fall songs and read about the occasions we celebrate during the fall season.

We thank the MANJ Parent Association, for supplying pumpkins for children to decorate in class during the month of October. If you have a simple pumpkin decorating idea that would require minimal adult assistance and be suitable for our age group of children, we would appreciate if you would write down the directions and send it in with your child to school. We might be able to use your idea for our project. As they finish, children will be bringing the decorated pumpkins, to enjoy them at home! The children are working on other fall art projects as well, as we did in the other years.

We would appreciate if parents could send in flowers periodically, as flower arranging is their all-time favorite work in class! You might want to ask your local florist if he would be willing to donate cut flowers that are older or that they would otherwise throw away. They would still be pretty and suitable for the children’s flower arranging lesson in class. Since they are discarded flowers, they might give them for free!
If you have a tarnished silver item that needs polishing, send it with your child to school. Your child will gladly polish it and bring it home!

Thank you for all of your support, interest and involvement and for helping us to stimulate and nurture your child’s love of learning, which is, of course, the Essence of Montessori Education!
Until we meet in our next newsletter . . . enjoy the cool Autumn weather!

~ Ms. Assunta, Ms. Amber and Children of Class A.