Hello Spruce Families!
A wise person once said that nothing moves faster than the first four months of school and boy were they right! The Spruce classroom has been busy with new lessons (flower arranging, salt crushing, and the light board have been big hits!), creating lovely bead bracelets and lanterns, exploring new friendships, and learning more about birds during our schoolwide Fall Study. Our music teacher Katie brought in a child’s violin and all of the children reverently plucked it so carefully. We’ve also had four birthdays in November and the children were excited to celebrate their friends’ journeys around the sun (always shining, even if we can’t see it!). The Kindergartners are diving deeper into the language curriculum (digraphs, sight words, grammar analysis), practicing skip counting (times tables), and thoroughly (read: messily!) enjoyed dissecting a pumpkin and making pear/applesauce. We even had our first campfire at Battle Point Park during one of our Outdoor Education afternoons! One of the Kinders was overheard saying it was the best Outdoor Ed they’ve ever had. 🙂
As I mentioned before, the children are exploring new friendships and part of that exploration is practicing communicating effectively with one another. Some of the children are practicing using their words instead of their bodies, not necessarily when they’re upset but also when they’re happy and excited to play with someone. Some children are working on using positive phrasing when talking to a friend or making a request of them. You might be familiar with the concept of positive phrasing as telling your child what /to/ do instead of what /not/ to do (eg. “Walk!” instead of “Don’t run!”). Positive phrasing is a very handy tool to use as it gives the doer a very clear, concise message about what you need from them – with very little wiggle room! In our classroom the children are practicing positive phrasing through messages like, “Please keep your hands to yourself.” (rather than, “Stop touching my work.”) or “Let’s play a different game.” (in place of, “Stop chasing me.”). Instead of focusing on the one thing that they don’t want someone to do, they are challenged to come up with a solution on how they can work together or move forward in a different way.
At home, you can practice positive phrasing by thinking of what you actually want from your child in the moment: “You can jump on the floor.” instead of, “Don’t jump on the couch.”; “Clear your plate and load it in the dishwasher.” rather than, “Stop throwing peas at your sister.”; “Go brush your teeth and get ready for bed.” in place of, “Turn off the iPad now.” For extra credit, you can challenge yourself to limit the amount of times you say, “No.” in a day! This might look like, “Yes, we can go to the park tomorrow after school!” in place of, “No, we can’t go to the park today.”; “Let’s have ice cream after dinner tonight!” instead of, “No, we can’t have ice cream for breakfast.”; “You can have a friend over for a playdate on Sunday.” rather than, “We can’t have a friend come over today.” Practicing and modeling a growth mindset will encourage your children to think outside the box and become problem solvers!
December is a short month for school days but we will make the most of it with finishing up our schoolwide Fall Study, observing the daylight getting shorter and shorter, and then celebrating the shortest day of the year and daytime starting to get longer again! As we head into the end of autumn and the beginning of winter, just a reminder that “there’s no bad weather, only bad clothes for the weather”! If you’d like some resources for great clothing to layer in cold weather, please let me know!
“Within the child lies the fate of the future.” – Maria Montessori