As we leave 2018 behind and eagerly take on the new year, we are very excited to carefully guide and facilitate the growth & development of your little ones. In this coming term, we will be reinforcing already acquired skills while also taking on new & unique learning activities! As we proceed on ahead, it is also our utmost pleasure to keep you informed of your child’s journey of growth via these monthly newsletters. With that being said, this year has been off to a great start!

In terms of world geography & culture, following up on the end of last year’s lessons on the Americas, we have started studying the oceanic region, with a specific focus on the Australian continent & country. The children have learned about the map of Australia, animals that are native to the region (kangaroos & koalas), native people of the land (aborigines) via various informational and coloring activities. In addition to the geographical structure and the various states/territories within Australia, the children have also specifically learned that the Australian capital city of Canberra is located in the state of New South Wales. We have also studied about some of the popular landscapes of Australia, such as the Great Barrier Reef and the desert lands known as the Outback. 

In terms of practical life skills, the children took on lessons in scrubbing, grating & whisking. During the lessons on scrubbing, the children were presented with a table and were taught to scrub & wash it using soap. The direct purpose of this lesson was to enable the child to independently wash a table and further develop the skills necessary to take care of the environment. Via the repeated motions of scrubbing, the children exercised & controlled muscular actions of the hand.

During the lessons on grating, we grated a bar of soap and placed the collected soap shavings into a jar for later use. The children were able to smell and feel the pieces of fine soap shavings. We went on to teach the children that a grater can be used for grating cheese, carrots etc. This activity served as a great practical life lesson where they developed the movements needed for manipulating a grater. Indirectly, this activity also served the purpose of strengthening the hand in preparation for writing.

Furthermore, the collected soap shavings from the grating lesson were then used for a soap whisking lesson. The children took one scoop of soap shavings and placed it into a bowl of water before starting to whisk away. The sounds of whisks gently hitting the side of the metal bowl were heard across the classroom as the children intently focused on whisking soap bubbles into a bubble frenzy. After a sufficient amount of bubbles were created, the child carefully took the bowl of water over to a bucket, emptied the water slowly, and returned to the table where they neatly dried the bowl with a towel. Similar to the grating activity, the fine motor muscles that were exercised by this activity plays a role in developing the skills necessary for handwriting.

Overall, remembering the order and sequence of particular actions relating to carrying out the motions of scrubbing, grating & whisking served as a way of developing concentration & focus. Ultimately, these activities will prepare the young mind for completing challenging academic work in the future.        

In Language, we have added the message center. The message center offers stationary and envelopes as an invitation to communicate messages and develop writing skills. The children’s names are displayed on a board so that they may be able to identify their name and the names of their classmates. Recently, the children expressed interest in writing to Ms. Morie, the former SMS music teacher. Her address is now part of our message center and we are excited to send her letters. We intend to expand on the message center throughout the year. If you have any old stationary or envelopes, we will gladly welcome them!

We are experimenting with a new area of our classroom. The art shelf is evolving into a makerspace. A makerspace offers a variety of authentic materials for the children to be inspired, express themselves and construct meaningful creations. We have added a plethora of natural materials as well as recyclable ones. In connection with our study of Australia and the Koalas, we discovered they live in eucalyptus trees and eat the leaves. Naturally, we wanted to introduce the children to eucalyptus and incorporate it into our makerspace. It has a fresh smell and beautiful rounded green leaves. The children have been using the leaves of the eucalyptus as a loose material to work with in their creations. Magnolia leaves are another natural resource that has been recently added. These leaves are thick and glossy and are perfect for hole punching. It takes great strength in the hands to hole punch these leaves!

With the addition of natural and dimensional recyclable materials, the makerspace has brought our attention to architecture. Naturally, we began to think about 3D structures. At morning circle we discussed how architects develop an idea. First, we need to create a blueprint or plan. Second, we gather materials. Third, we are able to construct. Interestingly enough, many of the children’s blueprints became part of their structures. Some of the children have enjoyed sharing their creations at our afternoon circle. We all learn so much from our successes as well as failures in attempting to build from the blueprints. The children share a great sense of pride in their completed projects! In an effort to keep our art shelf and maker space stocked and thriving, we welcome donations of natural or recyclable materials. Examples of natural and recyclable materials include: pinecones, leaves, petals, small pebbles, feathers, caps, small containers, paper towel rolls, corks, egg cartons, baby food jars, etc.

Thank you for considering donations of stationary and materials as we design, create and learn together in our classroom community.

Ms. Kumudini & Ms. Parham