After our Full Day students are dismissed our Extended Day program begins. Students gather for a substantial snack, which they eat together “family style”, followed by Montessori inspired Open Studios. The activities in the Open Studios are aligned with both Montessori philosophy and the National Core Arts Standards, preparing the students with the skills they are expected to have in the arts when entering Kindergarten or 1st grade. Studio activities are integrated with classroom learning and allow the students to apply skills they are working on in an artistic way. The materials are process based, open ended, and promote independence as well as creative thinking skills.
We step right out into our own Clementine garden to sew seeds, rake, scatter, and tend to our plants. Research shows it is good for us to spend time outdoors in nature. We have the opportunity to touch the earth and watch our garden grow throughout the year. Watching things grow teaches us about life and what living things need. Our children feel so proud of their garden, which truly feels like it is theirs.
Children learn to create and take pride in their own work during their weekly art studio time. We take a close look at the elements of art, such as line, perspective, shape, and color, and tie it all together with a wide variety of media–like clay, painting, and textile. This exploration is self-directed by the children and develops practical, artistic, and sensory skills. They practice sharing their work and appreciating the work of others, by notable artists as well as their peers! Making art can be deeply creative, calming, and in the process we can find ourselves feeling more centered and in touch with our human tendency for generosity.
Theatre artists will explore emotional expression, sound, lighting, costume, set and prop design as a means of defining storytelling in both practical and fantastical realms. Exposure to international folk tales fosters a broader understanding of the world and the child’s place within it as a storyteller and a citizen. Broadening our emotional awareness by understanding that every feeling has its place increases our capacity for empathy, not only with ourselves but with our community. Children will make their imaginative lives concrete by learning skills that bring those dreams to life.
STEM opens a child’s mind to the world around them by drawing on experiences in nature and city life to construct, ask questions, make predictions and connect patterns. We explore plants, animal, machines, buildings, sound/music and weather through open studio activities and whole-group experiments with the goal of building a sense of curiosity and awe of the world.
Music and Movement
Movement is a key tenet of Montessori philosophy–our brains grow best when our bodies can move! We play games together and learn how to work together as a group, as we practice following directions, performing in front of others, and having fun in a safe way. Everyone has a chance to contribute a piece of the whole. We play game with parachutes, bubble rap, bean bags, obstacle courses, and sometimes just our bodies and brains.
We kick off the year preparing food from around the world as we gear up for our school-wide celebration of International Children’s Day. We enjoy using our sense of taste to try different or unusual foods and talk about our preferences. Our dishes are inspired by seasonal flavors, foods from our garden, and holiday celebrations to reinforce awareness of the passing of time. Grace and courtesy is routinely practiced by serving each other, working together to make a communal meal, and enjoying our delicious creation family-style
In community engagement we focus on a rather big topic: citizenship. In addition to talking about what it means to be a citizen, we put our role into action by getting to know more people and places in our local community. Focusing on our immediate neighborhood, we partner with various organizations and learn more about them. By engaging with the community in this way, we hope to apply many of the principles we learn at school to the wider world such as being helpers, sharing space, and making friends!