HIGHLIGHTS OF NOVEMBER- DECEMBER 2017 – PRIMARY
Halloween House Visits- November 1st
Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve is a festival celebrated in many countries on the 31st October to remember the saints and departed. It is now celebrated in a secular and commercial manner all over the world. Children traditionally dress up in costumes and visit the neighboring houses for ‘trick-or-treating. House visits are part of the Montessori Program. A child tries to follow the culture of those around him and feels delight in being treated as a guest. The child who is the host learns to guide his friends and teachers around his home and plans out what activities can be done with the help of his parents. Combining the Halloween Festival tradition and the house visits is now a fun tradition at Sprouts too.
The children were excited to be in their costumes and they rode the bus with their friends and teachers (aunties) to the home of one of their friends whose family had been previously informed of the visit. The children had a great time playing with the toys there, eating snacks, playing a few Halloween games and even dancing. Wearing costumes of their favourite/ spooky characters seemed to help the children let go of their fears of such beings. The bond between the host child, his teacher and his friends was also strengthened by the visit.
About the Topic of the week
At Sprouts, every topic that is discussed during the week is first introduced, then absorbed by the child and finally consolidated using various media- like classified pictures, stories, songs, worksheets, scrap book activities, craft, group activities, collective craft model or an audio visual presentation. In November the topics discussed were- Costumes of the World, Dances of the World, Sports, Fabrics, Scientists and Inventions. In December, we had siblings and parents of the children who volunteered to play different Musical Instruments as part of the topic of the week. We thank them all for the lovely music! The Primary Planner has further details on future topics.
Children’s day celebrations- November 14th
The children came smartly dressed up in white, looking like the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru himself. It was a day to remember the man who loved children, and a day to celebrate childhood. The children enjoyed the magic and puppet show that was arranged for them. They also played a few games inside their environments and sang some songs.
Observation week- Parents’ Feedback
The second parent’s observation week for the year went off beautifully. It was a chance to address issues, ask and answer queries and silently observe the daily routine of the child. Parents were encouraged to give their feedback after the observation session.
We would also like to encourage parents to send in their feedback via email to email@example.com. This feedback will help strengthen the relations between the parent teacher communities and also benefit the child and the school. We also request parents to send in any articles related to children/ teaching/ Montessori/ Sprouts Montessori for the new blog on the school’s website. Please have a look and share your thoughts with us! The link is given below. (http://sproutsmontessori.in/sprouts-montessoris-blog/ )
Christmas Carnival- 17th December
The Sprouts Christmas Carnival turned out to be quite a success with parents and children coming and enjoying the day. The cyclone Vardah had caused destruction, but Chennaiites and Sprouts know that it is only by fighting to return back to normalcy can we put back such events behind us and start afresh.
The Carnival had stalls selling pop corn and candy floss, games stalls, a tattoo painting booth, small Ferris wheels and merry go rounds! It was a day where all the children came dressed up for the Fancy dress show based on a given topic. They let go of their stage fear as they spoke a few words about their outfit! Everyone had fun singing Christmas carols together and the children were pleasantly surprised to find Santa Claus with a bag full of gifts! Each child had bought a book for a friend, and donated another book for the needy. A Christmas full of giving, singing and happiness is always beautiful and that is what happened at Sprouts!
The second term at Sprouts was short and sweet with children working hard every day. We look forward to a good third term, full of happiness, health and positivity. The Annual Day will be on February 4th, 2017 and we’d love you to mark your calendars right now!
The entire team of Sprouts Montessori House of Children would like to wish you a happy, prosperous and safe New Year 2017. Let us all hope for a beautiful learning experience this new year for your child!
Happy New Year! Plant More Trees!
- Sprouts Montessori House of Children
HIGHLIGHTS OF SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER 2016 – PRIMARY
Visit to the Marine Aquarium- 1st September
The children of the Primary environment were quite starry eyed as they got a glimpse of Little Mermaid’s world- Under the sea. A trip to the Zoological Survey of India’s Marine Biology Regional Centre at Santhome had them all gazing fascinated at sea horses, jellyfishes in jars, eels, starfishes, water snakes and even the jaw of a blue whale! Having seen pictures of these underwater creatures and meeting a few friendly goldfishes at school, it was quite an experience for the children to look at specimens of these creatures, (both dead and alive) at the Marine Aquarium. They even spotted one of Nemo’s cousins – a clownfish! Surely, the adults too were in awe of a whole new world that existed in our oceans. It was a quick but enriching trip!
Teacher’s Day Celebrations! – 2nd September
Sprouts was witness to an anomaly that happened on its premises on the 2nd of September. We found the Montessori adults (teachers) not planning out their day and sitting along with the children to learn something new, while the parents were seen practicing, rehearsing and getting materials sorted out for taking on their role as teachers! We had parents enacting out stories, using props, singing songs, putting on costumes to teach good manners and in general inspiring us all to bring enthusiasm and excitement into this wonderful profession. The teachers too felt appreciated when parents and children wished them and it was a day to celebrate the bond that a child has with his teachers especially in a Montessori environment.
Ganesh Chathurthi celebrations
The elephant-headed god was given due respects and celebration on his birthday with the children even singing happy birthday to an idol that was decorated for puja. There was a craft activity where children recycled old CDs into eco-friendly wall hangings of Lord Ganesha. Stories and sweets were shared and the children had come in traditional wear to celebrate the occasion.
Grandparents’ Day – 10th September
One of the cutest celebrations at Sprouts is Grandparents’ Day when proud grandpas and grandmas sit back and watch their apple of their eyes sing, dance and entertain them on stage. This year, the Primary children sang prayers and several songs celebrating the lovely relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. Mrs. Uma Shanker, director of the Indian Montessori Training Centre and a grandmother herself, was the chief guest. The elementary children put on a skit, and had a fun Q& A session with their grandparents. Every grandparent left the Raagasudha hall with a smile on their face and gleaming badge on their chest!
Onam celebrations- 14th September
The primary children were in a good mood thanks to the heady scent of different kinds of flowers bought in by each child carefully to celebrate the beautiful festival of Kerala- Onam. The flowers were sorted by colour and size and carefully arranged by the children with the help of their aunties in a pookolam (Flower Rangoli) that was unique in every environment. Children, dressed in traditional Onam dresses in white and off white couldn’t help smiling and enjoying the different flowers. It was truly a lovely way to end the Flowers themed week, which had the children learning how to arrange flowers in vases and urulis (deep bowls with water).
This week also helped the children understand that flowers need soil, water, sunlight and air to grow, which helped them move on to the next topic of the week- Elements of Nature- Earth, Water and Air. Models of windmills, volcanoes, and the water cycle were shown and children were in awe of the different land and water forms.
Navratri Celebrations- 29th September
The festival of 9 nights celebrating the Mother Goddess was celebrated at Sprouts too. It was a day for the mothers to let off some steam and enjoy the traditional festival. The event started off with some cute garbha moves by the younger primary children and some synchronized dandiya by the older primary children. The children looked splendid in their traditional clothes and danced joyfully. They were as cute as the traditional golu set up at the entrance with dolls given by the children from their homes. Following the dances, the talented young mothers and some grandmothers sang some lovely carnatic songs which had the children listening calmly and even joining in. Then it was time for everyone to stand up and grab a pair of dandiya sticks and dance along with the children and the teachers at Sprouts. When everyone was happy, energetic and quite sweaty from all that dancing, it was time to sit down and make a lovely traditional thoranam (string of mango leaves) to decorate their entrances at their homes. The families then left home to enjoy their vacation after what had been an eventful and lovely 1st term.
One to one sessions with the Parents
At Sprouts we believe in being in constant touch with the Parents’ community, trying to understand their concerns and checking in on what happens after the children leave the school. The report cards were given to the parents and a one to one session with the principal, teacher and parents was organised to discuss about the child’s report card which is a formative assessment of the child’s personality not merely focusing on academics, but also the child’s emotional, physical, social and cognitive skills and abilities.
Vijayadasami pooja- 11th October
The new term at Sprouts started off in a beautiful traditional style as children wrote in rice to signify the start of another year of reaping the rich benefits of education on the 10th day of Navratri- Vijayadasami. A puja was conducted at Sprouts which had some new children joining the Toddler environments too. It was an auspicious start to the second term and a day marking the beginning of some little one’s education.
Parents’ Workshop -22nd October
Several parents turned up on a Saturday morning to listen to the Primary environment teachers as they put up a presentation on what actually happens in a Montessori environment. This workshop mainly focussed on the Sensorial materials, explaining the importance and significance of why a child works with these materials. It was a informative and interactive session with an enthusiastic audience who were ready with their questions and feedback. The teachers too had a chance to present their work to the parents, some for the first time and it was a learning experience for all.
Diwali was celebrated in a quiet but beautiful way at Sprouts as Diyas were painted, sweets were made and mixture (a salt snack) was shared by all the children. More importantly the children brought old clothes from home to donate to the poor. It was lovely and simple celebration as children came in traditional clothes and their smiles lit up our classrooms.
The Annual day practices have started in full swing and effort has been taken to ensure that these practices do not disturb the routine of the children. More information about this later!
Happy Diwali and Happy Halloween!
HIGHLIGHTS of AUGUST, 2016
Sports Day & Independence Day Celebrations – 13th August, 2016
On a bright and sunny Saturday morning, the hockey ground at YMCA Nandanam was full of young Sproutians. They were geared up with bandanas and new white shoes to beat the heat with their cool moves and cheerful team spirit. The Primary children marched around the ground to the chants of ‘Left, Right, Left’, holding their banners high and swinging their arms like little soldiers.
The Independence Day celebrations started off with a speech from Smita ma’am, the unfurling of our National Flag and the pledge. The Primary children then sang three lovely songs, full of wonderful lyrics about responsibility, interdependence and teamwork. As a nation, we must come together and respect these values. Every person is unique!
This was followed up by some unique drills by them. Each drill focused on one of our National Symbols- the National Flower-Lotus; the National Animal- tiger; the National Bird- Peacock. This was followed by a patriotic performance by the younger children of Primary who sang old favourites like ‘Hum Honge Kaamyaab’ and ‘Nanna Munna Rahi Hoon’ and sang and danced holding the colours of our National Flag.
The Elementary children too put on some wonderful performances. This was followed by a surprising performance by the Sprouts teachers, who sang together to Shri Rabindranath Tagore’s famous poem- ‘Where the mind is without fear.’
The Independence day celebrations were followed by the Sports’ Day activities. Children and adult representatives from each environment passed on the torch and lit the fire to signify the beginning of the Sports day and symbolised sportsmanship. Each environment had the children working together on some group activities and collective activities, which were not only fun but also ensured physical and mental development. Every child had fun participating and everyone was truly a winner for braving the heat and putting on a lovely show. Their sportsmanship and never-say-die spirit earned them a shiny medal, which they were quite proud of! It was a long, fun day with rich experiences that the child took home that day.
Raksha bandhan- 18th August
Sometimes the quaint little events at Sprouts truly leave us with a smile on our face. On Raksha bandhan, a day symbolising the bond between siblings, our Primary children tied rakhis (decorated bands made by them) on each other’s hands and put a little tilak on the other’s forehead. An arthi plate was circled around them as a nod to tradition, and they gave each other a little sweet. In the House of children, the mixed age group throws to light so many different shades of the children. How the younger ones look up to the older ones, are inspired and sometimes instructed by them and how the older children take on the roles of big brother and sister and make sure the younger ones feel alright. We live in a society as a community and this inherent nature of brotherhood inside us, defines humanity.
Janmashtami- 24th August
Lord Krishna may be a religious icon and a God to many, but at the end of the day, his mischievous smile has stolen not only the Gopikas’ hearts (and butter!) but also ours as we listened wide eyed to stories of the little hero with his peacock feather and lilting flute. The children came dressed up in traditional clothes, and some even came as Krishna himself, and the others as Radha, complete with her pot and flowing dupatta.
Our little Krishnas and Radhas went home with a sweet and a little swing made by them. On the swing sat little Krishna, swaying happily in the child’s hands.
What’s going on?
Three months have sped by with a plethora of activities and experiences. But this is the season of festivals and fun and we have more coming up in September. Grandparents’ Day, Vinayaka Chaturthi, Teacher’s Day and Navrathri are some days to look out for.
We also wish you all Happy Montessori Day!
Dr. Maria Montessori was born in Italy on August 31st, 1870.
Thank you for choosing Sprouts as a place for your child to discover himself using the Montessori Method.
Children teach themselves. This simple but profound truth inspired Maria Montessori’s lifelong pursuit of educational methodology, Child Psychology, Teacher’s training, all based on her dedication to furthering the self-creating process of the child. Every material in a Montessori classroom supports an aspect of child development, creating a match between the child’s natural interests and the available activities.
Children can learn through their own experience and at their own pace. They can respond at any moment to the natural curiosities that exist in all humans and build a solid foundation for life-long learning. She discovered that experiential learning in this type of classroom led to a deeper understanding of language, mathematics, science, music, social interactions and much more.
Today, Montessori training centres and schools exist on all continents. There are Montessori parenting classes, infant communities, “children’s houses” (for age 3-6), and classes for children up to age eighteen in public and private schools. Montessori assists in the work with gifted and talented children. It also helps in programmes for children with developmental disabilities of all kinds. Many parents use Dr. Montessori’s discoveries to raise/educate their children at home.
Main thoughts of Montessori education
- Children are to be respected as different from adults but as individuals. They are all not exact replicas but individually different.
- The children possess an unusual sensitivity and intellectual ability to absorb and learn from their environment. The child’s Will has to be different in order to achieve this. Their powers are unlike those of the adult both in quality and capacity.
- The most important years of a child’s growth are the first six years of life when unconscious learning is gradually brought to the conscious level.
- The child has a deep love and need for purposeful work. He works, however, not as an adult for completion of a job, but the sake of performing the activity itself. It is this activity which enables him to accomplish his most important goal: the development of himself – his mental, physical, and psychological powers.
- Montessori philosophy is finally being used as originally intended, as a method of seeing children as they really are and of creating environments which foster the fulfillment of their highest potential – spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual – as members of a family, the world community and the Cosmos.
JULY HIGHLIGHTS- PRIMARY
It’s quite a jungle in here at Sprouts this month as we take children through the animal kingdom – be it birds that soar in the sky, domestic animals, large wild animals and even small insects. Indeed, many parents wonder, why do we offer Zoology in a Montessori House of Children to children as young as 2.5- 6 years. Yes, Morphology , i.e. study of animals structure is offered to these children. You might find your child even pointing out a fish’s ‘dorsal fin’ or a horse’s ‘mane’ in pictures. Is this overburdening the child?
On the contrary, the child is in a sensitive period for language and names. This is the age where children want to know ‘what is this?’ and not ‘why or how’. Therefore, we offer the names (the proper names) he wants to know and he is capable of retaining these words. Indeed, does it not surprise us when we see a small child expand his vocabulary so quickly? It would take years for us to gain such mastery over a new language. But why Zoology?
The interest in nature is a natural thing in every human being since the beginning of time. Early man observed animals and learnt so much about himself and learnt how to adapt to the world. The child is constructing himself into a Man who can learn to be part of our society, and to understand the world, he must know who he shares it with.
Encountering something new in nature sparks the child’s curiosity and leads to a spontaneous lesson as the child asks ‘what is this? What is it called? How does it feel/smell/taste/sound? And naturally you will find hands moving out to touch these creatures, and this is evidence of the child’s stage of development. Dr. Maria Montessori recognised the young child’s need to observe and absorb information about the world around them. She believed that experience with real objects should always precede the learning of names or looking at pictures of things.
Pet day- July 6th and 7th
That brings us to the ‘Pets day’ held on two days which saw several fishes, two dogs, many kittens, and even an enthusiastic
Turtle! The children asked questions about these pets, learnt how important it was to take care of a pet properly and even got to pet the loving dogs! They squealed in delight at the tiny soft kittens, were quite interested in knowing what the fish ate and were mesmerised by the turtle and its hard shell. The animals sure put on an impressive show!
In a country where each day is a festival, it was natural that Sprouts too would celebrate the Eid- Ul- Fitr, signifying the end of the holy month of Ramzan along with our Muslim brothers and sisters. The children celebrated in a peaceful and happy way as they learnt about what happens during the festival, how people pray at mosques, and even got to see the Holy Quran- full of values. Children were in awe when they heard about the fasting and were only too eager to hug each other and say ‘Eid Mubarak!’ They watched a slideshow about the festival and had some yummy kheer. They took home dates and were dressed traditionally.
Trip to Vandalur zoo
Continuing our Sensorial experiences with animals was the long, happy and exciting journey to Vandalur zoo! With water bottles and excited faces, the children boarded the bus that would take them to the zoological park where roamed the large beasts that they had heard about from their aunties. The adults had snacks and juice ready for what was definitely going to be a long, happy, yet hot day. Thankfully, the cool shade of the trees at the zoo and the smooth ride on the tram made sure that there was no dip in the excitement to see the animals!
The lions were a bit shy, but several tigers strutted about proudly! A few yards away, their prey – the deer were seen in all shapes and sizes. Tall giraffes, playful bears, brooding chimpanzees, hungry zebras and chattering monkeys gave the children any reason to break into songs about them and ogle silently through the bars.
The cool snake park and the large aviary really had the children speechless at times and yet they were so sweet as they traipsed on and off the tram, enjoying the ride in itself. After eating their snacks, they boarded the bus back to school, most of them happily tired but full of stories about these majestic creatures.
Parent’s Observation Day- July 23rd
It seems like only yesterday we had the children walking in on the first day of school, but already we’re near the end of the second month for this academic year at Sprouts! Naturally, most parents would have been curious to know what their child does at school. Rather than the mysterious responses from the child (ranging from ‘i made juice’, ‘aunty made me stick paper’ to ‘i did nothing’) which don’t exactly reveal much, we thought the best way for you to know is to observe your child as he/she shows you what they’ve been up to!
It was a lovely Saturday with curious parents and excited children walking in. The children immediately bounded about showing the parents how they would work on their mats, eager to give as many presentations and demonstrations with all the materials. Time slots seemed quite unnecessary, as the children moved on from one material to the next for hours together. The parents had bright smiles, and were so happy to see their little ones growing up and working so hard. They too were full of questions and queries to the Montessori adults about the materials, the child’s routine and this day too proved as a wonderful interactive session between parents and teachers. It was a good and satisfying experience for all the children, parents and teachers.
What are we upto?
The practice sessions for Sprouts’ Independence day and Sports Day are on in full swing, with children dancing, singing, marching and playing group games with a whole lot of enthusiasm. Fingers crossed for a bright day and a good show next month!
Sprouts was also home to a woodpecker’s, a sparrow’s and a crow’s nest in the middle of July. However they were lovingly made not by birds, but by the Primary adults. The children loved these nests too!
SCHOOL REOPENS- JUNE 6TH
All the Primary environments geared up for a new academic year at Sprouts, as the children came in excited, nervous and some quite anxious about the sudden change in their morning routine. But after a few hours with their new and old aunties, the children seemed quite interested in discovering new things and new people at this school, where everyone seemed like a big family.
The elder children were found taking on the roles of big brothers and sisters as they cajoled the younger ones who were crying. Indeed this helped them to settle down tremendously. After rounds of introductions by the children and adults, and a quick tour of the class, the children worked with some material, played outside and sang some lovely songs that brightened them up instantly. These buzzing bees were off and about and quite happy with their day as they left home after making new friends.
FATHERS’ DAY AT SPROUTS- 17TH JUNE
On June 17th, a bright Friday morning, the doting fathers who had taken time off work to be here at Sprouts for their kids had bashful but proud looks on their faces as the children welcomed them with trays laden with badges for the occasion. Their greetings of ‘Namaste’ and ‘Happy Father’s day’ were met with enthusiastic smiles as the fathers pinned the badges on.
The children sang songs for their fathers along with their aunties and were all smiles. One child’s father had the whole crowd applauding soundly as he spoke about how adoption brings together a family, and how it changes both the child’s and the parents’ lives. One child Zayd also spoke about how he missed his father who was in Australia and several fathers were touched. Some fathers who were working hard, were represented on this day by the loving mothers.
After that, all the daddies went back to their childhood days as they made little paper boats for their child. Their children watched eagerly and the boats were prized possessions that day. The children added a little bit of colour to the boats as they stuck stickers on the top. Following that we had a dancing game where we literally had the parents and children come closer to each other as they danced on newspapers which had to be folded every time the music stopped.
The children were found dancing on their daddies’ feet, and then being lifted by them as the newspaper shrank to a tiny little rectangle. Everyone participated and were so enthusiastic despite the sweltering June heat. The fathers then received key chains as gifts which were strung by the children with the help of the aunties, had refreshments and left happy and satisfied. The parents congratulated the staff at the unique celebration and were really happy.
DENTAL & GENERAL HEALTH CHECK UP
As part of health and hygiene week Sprouts organised a dental and general health check up for our children from 22nd June to 24th June. We had dentists – Dr Priyadarshini (Kavin Prabhakaran’s mother) and her team and Dr Nithya (Ashwin V’s mother) who came and checked the children on dental hygiene and showed a presentation on oral hygiene. The children were quite satisfied when they heard the dentist say that their smiles looked quite fine! They also promised to brush twice a day to keep those germs away!
Apart from the dental check up, we had Dr Prahlad (Vidur Prahlad’s Father), Consultant Pediatrician & Pediatric Nephorologist from Kauvery Hospital with his team come and do a regular check up for the children. The children were quite intrigued by the doctor’s stethoscope and knew they were growing taller and stronger as they checked their height and weight.
PARENTS TEACHER MEET
After a few weeks of getting used to the new school routines and finding out which bag and bottle would be right for their child, the parents were quite keen to find out how their wards are doing at school. The adults in the environment (teachers) were also interested in knowing what happens after the child leaves the school and were excited to explain their observations to the parents. Indeed, a healthy relationship and good communication between parents and the teachers is a must, as these are the adults with whom the child interacts on a daily basis.
TRIP TO THE FRUITS & VEGETABLES MARKET- JUNE 30th
The first Field trip for the term was a trip to the local Abhiramapuram vegetable market. This was an opportunity for children to look at, feel and talk about fruits and vegetables and even help their aunties purchase some for the class salad. This trip was indeed a consolidation of the fruits and vegetables week, and children were excited at the different textures and colours at the market.
“Could you tell me a story?”
We often remind parents to speak in their native language at home. However, parents are welcome to read and narrate stories to their children in English. Why not tell a story about your day at the store, or what you saw on the road? Or maybe that funny thing that happened to you when you were at school? Children love hearing real stories about their world now and would like to know more about you. Fantasies, horror stories and stories that have sad endings or twisted morals may confuse or scar them. They are discovering their part in this big world, and telling them simple, happy, real stories will not only enrich their vocabulary but also bring them closer to you at home!
What do your children do at Sprouts?
The Primary children who walk into Sprouts, seem to always have something planned out in their mind as they keep their bags on the shelf, pull out chowkis and mats and start with their work. After a good two hours of individual activities, interspersed with carefully chosen presentations for each child, the aunties gently guide them to writing and group activities. After the group activities, the children have lunch and visit the playground (timings differ for each environment). They come back up for circle time, where they learn songs and a bit about culture. The Hindi teacher and Tamil teacher come in through the day at a fixed time. The younger children then leave at 1:30 pm, and the older children work for a little more. The child on a good day, does activities in all the following areas- Language, Exercises of Practical Life, Sensorial, Arithmetic, Culture, Hindi and Tamil. Dance sessions are held once a week, and so is Yoga.