End of Term 1: 2017
Dear parents and caregivers,
Term 1, 2017... who would have thought that this would be my last with the delightful community at RMCH.
It has been a wonderful journey for me. I have met so many interesting people (adults and children) and have learnt so much. Thank you to everyone for this experience.
This will be my last newsletter article after thirteen years at RMCH and twenty seven years in the Montessori community in New Zealand!
It is has been a privilege to be involved with all the wonderful families and your children. Over the years I have observed growth and positive changes in the children. Most of these children have ‘blossomed’ into amazing men and women; the oldest of the groups now being thirty two years of age! For me personally, it has been a gift to have played such an important part in your child’s development and learning.
To know that I will leave Rangimarie Montessori Children’s House in the capable hands of Rachel, Steph, Tracey and Katherine (not forgetting Jo, when she returns) makes me happy. The team will continue to give your children the extraordinary early learning experiences that they have been exposed to, here in our Montessori environment. Thank you Rachel, Steph, Tracey, Katherine & Jo for your invaluable contribution to the good reputation of RMCH.
As parents and extended family of our Montessori community, you have played a major role in the success of RMCH. I have had the privilege of meeting so many remarkable people!
To a special group of people who have worked tirelessly ‘behind the scenes’ to help RMCH run smoothly these past eleven years, I say, “I couldn’t have done it without you”.
Thank you to the parents and extended families who were able to join us for the Shared Lunch today. I am happy that we could meet up one last time, with me being part of RMCH. I look forward to visiting in the near future.
In the meantime, I am sure that I will meet up with some of you, while out in the community.
All the best for the future,
This term the Sunflower Class have been learning about the sea.
We have learned the names of the oceans and then every week learned about different aspects of the sea. Before she left, Jo helped us create Van Gogh’s seascape, and we have learned about the fish, mammals, birds, jellyfish, and crustaceans that live there.
Jo went on maternity leave and we were able to throw her a baby shower just three days before baby Addison was born! Katherine has stepped into the role very quickly, and it is lovely to see how the children and parents are interacting with her. It has been a seamless transition as we all knew her already.
Next term RMCH will have new owners, but the routines will still stay the same. We have no children leaving, but will have some new children start. It is always exciting to meet new class members.
I want to finish up to say thanks for all the good wishes from parents for my new role as Principal. I am a bit nervous about it, there are some ‘big shoes to fill’ but I hope to keep up with everyone’s expectations.
Have a good break everyone. The staff will attend the annual Montessori Conference during the weekend after Easter. This time the conference is being held in Wellington – at Te Papa. As always, we will come back to work reminded about Dr Montessori’s teaching and learning philosophy, ready to start a new term.
Rachel and Katherine
The greatest development is achieved during the first years of life, and therefore it is then that the greatest care should be taken. If this is done, then the child does not become a burden; he will reveal himself as the greatest marvel of nature.
This term has been busy once again. There have been many changes happening to the routines that we have implemented from day one.
Firstly, we changed how we start the day. We found by starting outside it gave all the children a chance to arrive and start the day together. This gave all the children equal opportunity for activities in the food preparation area. It also gives the children a chance to socialise before the work cycle begins and they become focused on their work.
We also changed the end of the day by combining with the Sunflower children upstairs to have fruit, stories and songs. Again, this gave the children a chance to end the day together and to assert their independence of gathering their belongings, ready to leave. This allows our philosophy to continue a little bit beyond the gates.
We added baking to our activities this term. Many of our children are competent ‘food preparers’ so we wanted to extend and challenge them. We made picture recipes of scones, biscuits, muffins, cupcakes and gingerbread. Initially this was very challenging for the children but they enjoyed the challenge and it enabled us to share some of our food with the community and during special occasions.
We have been learning about deafness and sign language this term as it is one of our official languages. We have been learning signs, songs and about why some people are deaf. This had led to conversation about how you know someone is deaf and how signs are created. We even created a few new ones ourselves.
We celebrated Waitangi Day by learning a bit about the Treaty, we hope to continue this a bit more next term. We celebrated the Lantern Festival to signal the end of Chinese New Year. The children were able to make lanterns and dragons which they found very exciting and a chance to show off their creative skills.
We have extended the classroom to the outdoor area - at the back. This has given the children the opportunity to work in the sun or shade and enjoy all that nature has to offer. This continues to be ongoing and ever changing at the moment. We hope to continue this in term two, so please make sure the children have appropriate clothing and footwear so they can continue to enjoy the outdoors. We hope to have shelves with specific outdoor activities so the children learn there is more to the classroom than the materials.
We have welcomed two new children and their families, Sanjay and Jane and said farewell Humza, Hadia earlier in the term and to Kamini on the last day of this term.
Thank you for everything Kamini. We will miss you very much.
We finished the term with an Easter egg hunt and a shared lunch that is always full of excitement. The children love to see everyone’s families and share time together.
Have a lovely Easter and holiday and we will see you on the 1st of May.
Stephanie and Tracey
End of Term 4: 2016
Dear parents and caregivers,
We have come to the end of another exciting year at RMCH.
Who would have thought that twelve months could race along so quickly… or so it seemed. 2017 will mark 20 years since RMCH began!
Reading the news from each class, it is rewarding to know that the children have had great experiences in many avenues of education. Not just in the classroom indoors, we are also fortunate to have native birds inhabit the trees at Montessori. There are Fantails, Tui and the occasional Kereru (NZ wood pigeon) up in the branches. With the recent arrival of the hive with Leaf Cutter bees, our outdoor area is a very special place for the children to learn and discover some of the wonders of nature.
Thanks once again to parents, for your generous donations of gifts for the children of families helped by Women’s Refuge. We ended up with forty three gifts! Every year, the families of RMCH help bring a little bit of happiness to families that are assisted by various organisations.
In term 1, 2017, we plan to trial a new way of the children being dropped off and picked up, after their sessions – from their classrooms. The reason being that we would like these times to be made seamless, without disruption to the classes at 9am & 1pm or 3pm. I will outline the plan in the first week. The teachers will explain it as well, on the first day back.
Thank you to our wonderful group of teachers. Tracey, Jo, Steph and Rachel are passionate, enthusiastic and reflective educators and their time at Montessori each day is filled with vibrant interaction with the children and with each other. It has been a pleasure to have Tracey at RMCH for a whole year. Her contribution as well as those of the rest of the team has been invaluable.
When Jo goes on parental leave early in March next year, we will have a familiar face back in the Sunflower room. Once I have it confirmed, I will let you know as soon as possible.
I cannot say this often enough... we have a wonderful Montessori community! Our parents and their extended families are helpful and supportive in all that we do to help your children reach their full potential. Your enthusiasm is much appreciated. Thank you!
Have a safe and relaxing Christmas and summer holiday. We look forward to seeing you back on Thursday 26 January 2017.
All the best,
Dr Montessori said “Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”
It was in keeping with her words that this term’s learning was planned. We’ve had a fabulous term learning about houses, looking at different houses in different countries and building our own Three Little Pig’s houses out of grass, sticks and bricks. We learned about animal houses, studying closely 3 bird’s nests. The magpie nest was a fascinating collection of horse hair and sheep wool, sticks and mud. Our trip to the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary was a great natural link as we explored the area and found homes for different types of insects and birds too. When our Leaf Cutter bees arrived at RMCH we enjoyed learning about how their homes are made from cut-up leaves, as they hibernate over the winter. We are looking forward to seeing them hatched when we come back next year.
This term we have welcomed Sophia and Alexander to our whanau, and we say goodbye to some of our classmates as they head off to new schools. Riyaan and Nikolas are heading off to primary school, and Sophia is also going to another preschool to be closer to her brother. We wish them the very best and look forward to seeing them next year when they pop back to visit us.
Jo has her final Montessori Exam in mid-January, and we will have her for 6 weeks before she goes on maternity leave. Rachel is going to spend time with her daughter as she gives birth mid-January. It will also be a celebration for Rachel as she celebrates 20 years of working at RMCH. She commenced here on the 26th January 1997 as a teacher in the Rainbow Room, progressing to the Directress, and then moving to the Sunflower Room in 2000.
So from the Sunflower teachers, we wish you all a safe and relaxing summer break. See you all next year, refreshed and ready for a new term of learning and excitement.
Rachel and Jo
“The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say,
"The children are now working as if I did not exist.”
This term has been so very busy! The children came back from holidays, ready to learn and question again.
We immediately started learning about the different life cycles of various insects; as a result of some exciting new equipment on the shelves. We have planted sunflower seeds, grown wheat and planted a vegetable garden to allow us to see the life cycles in action. The children have enjoyed watering the gardens and checking for signs of growth all term.
The children have been soaking up the new knowledge and asking some very perceptive questions about the life cycles. Such as why some stages have the same name across the different insects and some have different names.
We celebrated Diwali at the end of October. We spent a few weeks reading about the festival before we spent a morning making rangoli mosaics, clay divals, salt coloured rangoli patterns and colouring in pictures of the main characters in the story.
We celebrated Story Book Day by dressing up as our favourite characters. It was amazing seeing all the different costumes and reading everyone’s favourite stories. We read a lot of new stories which in turn prompted some interesting discussions.
We went on a trip to Zelandia - Karori Wildlife Centre. It was amazing to see so many parents accompany us. The children really enjoyed being able to share this experience with you. We saw many native animals and learnt about their habitats and what they liked to eat. It was a beautiful day to be out in the fresh air.
Finally, we celebrated Christmas as a way to end the term. We put up a Christmas tree and the children made decorations to hang on it. We decorated the classroom and spent time making festive creations and singing Christmas songs.
Thank you to all the parents who sent in photos for our timelines. We have enjoyed using them in our birthday walks. It has been fun looking at how everyone has grown.
Finally, we say goodbye to Liam, Mike and Muhammad. Liam and Mike are going on to Montessori Primary. We wish them all the best for their schooling.
Thank you very much Tracey for all your hard work this year. We hope that your first year with us has been fun.
Have a merry and safe Christmas. We will see you back in 2017!
Stephanie and Tracey
End of Term 3: 2016
Dear parents and caregivers,
Nine weeks has raced by and we are heading towards the last term for 2016!
In this short term a lot has been fitted in. As you will read in the teachers’ articles, the children and the teachers have been very involved with the Olympics. It morphed into a whole-school project. Many areas of the curriculum were integrated, with Geography, art and history to name a few. Because of the extra busy term, the school trip had to be postponed. We will definitely be venturing out somewhere interesting in term 4.
The winter months went slowly... hail storms, freezing temperatures and the occasional snow flurry too... together with welcome bursts of winter sunshine.
Spring is here... & with it the usual uncertainty of weather forecasts.
In term 4, the sun hats will be out again. Please make sure that you apply sunscreen on your child before they arrive at school each morning. Because of the fluctuation of temperatures, the layering of clothes will be a good idea for your child. It is a great idea to continue to allow the children to make decisions about what they would like to wear each day. However, to make it practical, please give them a choice of two outfits, with layers... both of them dependent on the weather/temperature forecast for that day. This way, the child will be able to add or remove layers, to remain comfortable throughout the day.
With the school holiday period coming up, it may help to have a look at this link (montessori.org.nz/take-montessori-home). The articles may also help you deal with situations in the home.
There are many other interesting articles on NZ websites... to help make the holiday period an interesting and rewarding time for children and parents.
There is ‘baby’ news to be read about in the Sunflower news. There was a flurry of excitement when the children first heard.
Have a restful and relaxing time with your children. The team & I look forward to another exciting term. See you back on Monday 10 October.
All the best,
‘The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one’s self. Adults work to finish a task, but the child works in order to grow, and is working to create the adult, the person that is to be. Such experience is not just play... it is work he must do in order to grow up’. (Montessori)
We’ve had an Olympic filled term with lots of games and sports to play. The children have re-visited the events they have partaken in and continue to take their ‘horses’ (made by the children) out for rides both in the classroom and outdoors. We have also had two student teachers this term. Taylor was here for the first six weeks, and Meg was here for the last four. We value the opportunity of having students, as they offer a different perspective on things for us, and we (in return) are able to offer them the experience of a great alternative teaching philosophy.
On 31 August we had a wonderful celebration of Dr Maria Montessori’s birth anniversary; although many children were quite surprised that she didn’t appear in our classroom the following day. They were a little confused that she could still have so much influence, when she died many decades ago.
We finished the term with Pirate Day and the children loved the games and activities we had that were pirate-based. We had lots of songs, fun and laughs.
Finally, we have some baby news. Rachel is going to be a grandmother for the first time in January. Her daughter Ayla, together with her partner Tim, are expecting a baby girl. Even more relevant, Jo is also pregnant with her first child. Jo together with her husband Adam are expecting their baby in early April. Jo has been quite unwell with the pregnancy, but we are hoping as the first trimester passes that she will soon begin to feel her old self again. The children are very excited about Jo’s news and ask her everyday if the baby is getting bigger?
Thank you for attending the Parent & Teacher conferences. It’s nice to have time to have a chat about the wonderful progress your children are making.
See you all on the 10th of October. Don’t forget to apply sunblock before your child comes to RMCH. It will be ‘sunhat term’ too but as usual, we will provide the full brimmed hats for your child.
Rachel and Jo
It has been a very short but incredibly busy term. We said farewell to Leon (who went overseas) and Robert (the family moved away from the area) and welcomed Melinda and Diya into our class.
This term we have been focusing on the Olympics. Every week we have learnt about a different sport or group of sports. We started by learning about the history of the Olympics and the opening ceremony. We then followed with shot putt, long jump, weight lifting, basketball, swimming, cross country and ended with the closing ceremony.
We held our own Olympic games once a week when the children competed in each of the events. (Each child chose to represent a different country). After each event we awarded medals and played the national anthems of the winners. This has given us an appreciation of the practice athletes put into their training, a better understanding of the way the Olympics work, how to win and lose gracefully and the hear a range of country anthems. It has been a good way to keep moving, even though the weather was cold and also to learn about new sports and to try them out in a fun and safe way.
The Olympic project has been complied into a book. The children enjoy looking at the book and talking about their favourite events. We also put together a video of all the photos taken at pre-school; as a way to see the Olympics in action.
The whole school celebrated Maria Montessori’s birthday in August with cupcakes made by the children and later took part in fun games. This was the first time we had celebrated Montessori’s birthday... and look forward to doing it again next year.
Next term we head back into summer! The children will need to have sunblock applied before school; as hopefully it will be warm and sunny most days. We will be spending more time outside and will have water activities available so a few changes of clothes would also be appreciated.
Have a lovely break and we will see you on the 10th of October.
Stephanie and Tracey
End of Term 2: 2016
Dear parents and caregivers,
Once again, it is the end of another great term!
The children have worked diligently and absorbed a huge volume of knowledge. The topics that they have covered have been of interest to all. Most of the children might need a little rest... and the teachers will too.
The teachers have given you most of the news of the exciting learning that has gone on. There will be more interesting bits that the children will remember to tell you!
This term, it was good to have the children and their families get together here for the Fish ‘N Chips evening. Hopefully we will be able to do this again in the near future.
Recently we have had to think of helping parents, by offering After-school Care at RMCH. At this stage the after-school care service will be for a small group only. Together with RMCH being open during the school holidays (Holiday Programme), we hope that this will give parents more flexibility when planning their own work schedules.
Thank you to Rachel, Steph, Jo & Tracey for their untiring efforts to make the Montessori programme at RMCH a unique and excellent experience for all the children.
Thank you to all parents for the constant support and enthusiasm that you give the team. It helps make the difference to us (as a team) when you have faith in the work that we do with your children. From time to time we meet with ex-students of RMCH. Seeing how they have progressed in primary and secondary school... and also into trades and university and most importantly, as a citizen of the world, reiterates the conviction in the work that we do.
I do hope that you will be able to spend some time during this holiday period, exploring the wonderful places that are all around us, especially in our neighbourhood.
All the best,
At the beginning of this term we welcomed Jay and Caleb, followed by Aaron and Saanvi. At the end of the term we said goodbye to Madhav and Olivia, who are both heading off to school. We wish them all the best for their future schooling.
Our whole class learning for this term has revolved around famous New Zealanders. We have learned about the author Lynley Dodd and her stories about Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack. We even had our very own Zachary Quack yellow duckling come for a few days. We have learned about Jen Batten the pilot, Sir Edmund Hilary and his climb of Mount Everest, Margaret Mahy and her stories about the Great White Man Eating Shark and The Witch in the Cherry Tree, along with singers “The Flight of the Concords” and their song about brown paper white paper. We have learned about Maui and the sun, celebrated Matariki and the winter solstice with Pyjama Day, and finished off the term learning about Lydia Ko and how to play golf.
After finishing a Massey Paper on assessment, Rachel has done a lot of reflection about the way we report to parents. We have always assessed the progress of each child constantly, by seeing how they react to lessons we give them, whether they can do the exercises independently, and whether they can then teach someone else how to complete the work. This term we have written up the assessments weekly so there is a diary record of this learning in your child’s profile book. The children then assessed their own ‘term learning’ by drawing a picture of their favourite lesson and then wrote down their thoughts (or we have written them down for them). This has proved quite challenging, so we may need to review how we go about this next term. Learning is a three-way partnership between the child, the teacher and the family. The profile books contain mostly the observations from the teacher’s point of view, with very little or no reflections from the child or the family. We need to change this, so encourage you to add photos, or comments about your child’s learning at home. We are also wanting to document your child’s thoughts about learning, and life in general. Perhaps you and your child would like to add something to their book about their upcoming holidays.
During the school holidays Jo is going to Christchurch for a 4 day intensive Montessori Practical Workshop. Rachel is starting some major garage renovations. Then next term, along with the Rainbow Room, we will be learning about the Olympic Games, and we will be having our own weekly focuses.
We look forward to seeing what next term brings in way of excitement and inspiration in our classroom.
Rachel and Jo
Another term has flown by. A few weeks ago, the weather started to change and become much colder. This lead to a change in the activities pursued outdoors.
We said farewell to Cayden, Zayden and Tiffany at the end of term 1. Isabelle and Olivia leave RMCH at the end of this term. We welcomed Spencer, Humza and Hadia. Spencer’s older sister used to attend Rangimarie in the Sunflower class while Humza and Hadia have transferred from a Montessori in Timaru.
The Rainbow class has spent lots of time learning about the formation of stars, constellations in the night sky and some of the stories behind the star formations. The children have been able to share their knowledge and draw their own constellations.
The yoga/pilates classes continued with Kamini. We have noticed a huge difference in the flexibility of the children, their ability to choose their own poses and the ability to cross the midline with ease.
Earlier in the term, we celebrated New Zealand Sign Language week and learnt some basic signs such as ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘book’ and ‘wash hands’. Signs were displayed on the board, for the children to refer to. We hope to add more new signs next term.
Matariki was celebrated with making vegetable soup for lunch and a family Fish ‘N Chip night. It was good to see so many families come together.
It was exciting to have the Barking Dog theatre company come to pre-school, to perform, ‘The Little Kowhai Tree’ for the children. It was nice (for a change) to have someone come into school instead of us going out into the community. The children got very involved in the story and were able to participate when asked.
We celebrated Pyjama Day which the children looked forward to and thoroughly enjoyed. It is such a novelty to come to school in pyjamas!
It has been a very busy ten weeks! Hopefully everyone has a relaxing holiday and comes back refreshed next term.
Stephanie and Tracey
End of Term 1: 2016
Dear parents and caregivers,
It is the end of the first term in 2016. This has been an extra-long term and but even so, the children are soaking up the atmosphere, enjoying their lessons and time spent with each other.
The glorious weather all the way into mid-April has given us the opportunity to make use of the outdoor areas well into autumn. One of the highlights has been the return of the Emperor Gum moth caterpillars on the large old Eucalyptus tree, in the next door back garden. These caterpillars are camouflaged well by the leaves at the top of the tree. Depending on weather conditions, once they have spun their dark brown silken cocoons, Emperor Gum moth caterpillars can remain in the cocoon from anywhere between two and five years!
The annual photo shoot will be held on Tuesday 10 May. In case of inclement weather, it will be postponed to the following Tuesday.
Tracey has completed one term at RMCH. The children enjoy the interesting outdoor activities that she involves them in. One such activity was Tent Making, using branches from the trees trimmed at the school and the hessian bags that the cocoa husks for the garden came in.
There will be many interesting activities and learning for your children in the coming term. Also, instead of travelling out on a school trip, we will have a theatre company bring their performance to us! I will have more information on this, at the beginning of next term.
The holiday programme (for the next two weeks) will focus more on group activities, including short walks, discoveries in nature and art & craft.
Thank you to parents for your contributions in various ways and your enthusiasm for all that goes on in our Montessori community! It helps make a difference. Thanks to the Team for making RMCH the best place for your children!
For the next fortnight, I hope that you will be able to have a restful time with your family… and hopefully, a more relaxed start to the day.
All the best,
This term we said farewell to Ethan, (as he and his family shifted to Hong Kong) and we have welcomed Victoria. We wish Ethan well, and are delighted that Victoria, together with her parents, have chosen Montessori as we travel our path towards self-sufficiency, resilience and a love of learning.
We’ve had a great term, and have noticed quite a difference in temperature in our classroom as we have had window tinting put on the windows. The summer sun can be very strong and having the coloured film that decreases UV rays has really made a difference. We are very grateful to Kamini for this. It has enabled us to concentrate on the fascinating topic of Leonardo Da Vinci. Each week we have learned something new about this man, and then we have tried to recreate his work. We learned he was a painter, and the Sunflower children recreated his portrait of the Mona Lisa, each colouring a square.
We learned he was a designer, and we re-created a bridge he made out of straws and cellotape. We learned he was a gardener and Italian, so we had Pizza with the same herbs he used to grow. Da Vinci painted ‘Fresco’ on the wall outside his house, we too made fresco from Plaster of Paris and paint. We made a diorama of the last supper using an egg carton and used the same colours as Da Vinci used. We listened to music played on the Viola Organista he designed, we cut with scissors he invented, and flew paper aeroplanes as he designed them as well. We had such fun.
Thank you for all coming to the parent interviews. It was a great reminder for us to help our children do things for themselves. Every time we do something for a child, we tell them ‘we are better than them’. Empowering them to take responsibility for themselves, carrying their own bags and doing chores around the house, we tell them that they are an important part of the family, we love and respect them, and we need them. It is so much harder as parents to teach the skills they need to be independent, it is quicker to do it ourselves. But setting aside a part of each day to give the children specific lessons on how to be a responsible member of our families is so important. We love seeing each child carry their own bag up to the classroom, walk on their own feet up the driveway. I wonder how many children now have their own potato peeler so they can help prepare the evening meal?
Next term it will be cold. Please remember appropriate clothing for the weather. Gumboots are great for outside, but we do not wear them in the classroom. Slippers are best for this. Coats will be hung on the coat hangers (you may need to remind your children over the holiday break with a lesson on how to use a coat hanger).
Have a good rest all, and we look forward to a new term learning all about history within New Zealand, interspersed with drama, games, visiting performers, and celebrations. See you then.
Rachel and Jo
2016 got off to a busy start. We said good bye to Grace as she began her new journey in primary school. We also unexpectedly said goodbye to Katina. Katina was offered the opportunity to continue her research at Massey University. As a result, Tracey joined us in the Rainbow Room from the beginning of the term.
This term we have been focusing on Families. The children brought in family photographs that we have displayed on the wall in the class. These photos have become a talking point in the classroom. The children have enjoyed pointing out their family photos and talking about when and where it was taken. We have read many stories about different types of families. A few children have brought in photos to share with the class which have added more understanding of what everyone does, with their families.
We celebrated Chinese New Year and Waitangi day. The children read stories and made lanterns in the lead up to our shared morning tea. We continue to celebrate festivals and events that are important in New Zealand and also celebrations that are important to the varied cultures at our school.
Earlier this term, Tracey planted a ‘herb and vegetable garden’ with some of the children. This has given the children the opportunity to see where some of our food and herbs come from. We took a trip to the Botanical Gardens where the group had opportunities to use all their senses and extend their knowledge about herbs. It was awesome that many parents were able to join us for lunch in the Begonia Room!
We have been making the most of our lovely weather by taking our work outdoors most days. This allows the children to flow freely between the indoor and outdoor work activities. The children have been able to self-regulate their work and been able to support each other while learning new materials.
It has been very exciting to watch the children take responsibility for helping each other and caring more for our environment. We have been recycling our paper and plastic and feeding the worms (in the worm farm) with our food scraps. This has led to conversations about how and why it is important to do so.
With autumn truly here, the weather is becoming colder and everyone will need to have warm jackets and hats; we intend to go outside every day and we do not want anyone getting sick!
Have a lovely holiday and see you next term.
Stephanie and Tracey
"The child of this age sets out to do a certain task, perhaps an absurd one to adult reasoning, but this matters not at all; he must carry out the activity to its conclusion. There is a vital urge to completeness of action, and if the cycle of this urge is broken, it shows in deviations from normality and lack of purpose. Much importance attaches now to this cycle of activity, which is an indirect preparation for future life. All through life men (and women) prepare for the future indirectly, and it is remarked of those who have done something great that there has been a previous period of something worked for, not necessarily on the same line as the final work, but along some line there has been an intense effort which has given the necessary preparation of the spirit, and such effort must be fully expanded - the cycle must be completed. Adults therefore should not interfere to stop any childish activity however absurd, so long as it is not too dangerous to life and limb! The child must carry out his cycle of activity."
Dr. Maria Montessori
End of Term 4: 2015
Dear parents and caregivers,
It is the end of another school year! Once again a time to say ‘goodbye’ to some and ‘see you next year’ to most children and their families. The months seem to go quicker every year!
As always, it was a pleasure to meet so many of you at the shared lunch on Friday. The good weather did not arrive in time as we had hoped. However, the children were happy enjoying the delicious food while the adults mixed and mingled.
Reading the news from the Sunflower and the Rainbow classes, you will get a glimpse of what your children have experienced over the past term. I recently read through the old newsletters, starting from Term 4, 2014. They give us a very interesting perspective of what goes on here at RMCH over a period of time. You can read them too, below this newsletter.
Thank you very much for filling the two baskets with presents for the ‘Shoebox Christmas’ project. Rachel has delivered them to the organiser. As a result of your kindness and generosity, there will be many more happy children this Christmas season. Children who (if not for your big-heartedness) would have had just another ordinary day.
Congratulations to Stephanie for having recently completed her International Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy 3-6 year olds. After many hours of study, completing assignments and going through the whole exam process (with great results), her certificate has finally arrived in the post, from London.
Jo has been very busy too with her study and assignments towards a Montessori Diploma.
Thank you to Rachel, Katina, Stephanie and Jo for the passion and commitment that they bring to their days at Montessori. They are not just educators - they love working with the children and inspire them to be the best that they can be. We are extremely fortunate to have such a dedicated team. Most important of all, it is the people at RMCH that make it a fun place to be part of.
Last but not least, thank you to all parents and extended family members for your enthusiasm and support. We could not have done all this without your help.
I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and all the best for 2016.
Have a safe and relaxing time with family and friends. We look forward to seeing you back at school on Monday 01 February 2016.
All the best,
Term 4 2015 is now over and we have some wonderful memories, lessons and experiences to reflect on.
We said goodbye to Tony and David as they head off to primary schools in the New Year and we have welcomed Ethan and Elsa into our midst.
We have had a term filled with plants and animals, learning about growth and development. You will note in your child’s learning portfolios that I have included the term’s plan, and the activities and adventures we have had every week. The children have loved getting out and about – exploring the forest and meadows at the foot of Mount KauKau, and then there was our trip to the zoo; to learn about the difference between wild and domestic animals.
The term finished with the children singing “Light a candle for peace”, very appropriate in current times of unrest on the other side of the world, and then “We wish you a merry Xmas”. We are very much a house of peace (Rangimarie means peace in the Maori language) and as the underlying Montessori philosophy is about learning in a meaningful and peaceful way, it was a good song for us to share and finish on.
On a side note, I see that Montessori Education is the choice for the Royal family too. Kensington Palace announced that Prince George will also be attending a Montessori Preschool in London. See the link here.
Anyway, have a good rest and enjoy the summer break (once the warmer weather actually arrives). Enjoy your time together as a family, and we will see you refreshed and ready for a new year on February 1st 2016.
Rachel and Jo
Kia ora and Season’s Greetings,
We have come full circle again and have completed the term and the school year. The children counted the days to our shared lunch and got more excited by the day. It has been an interesting year and it’s been a pleasure to observe the children’s confidence and interests grow and now everybody is ready to go to the beach and chill out...
Our topic “Stories from around the world” offered many interesting ways of learning about the people of our planet. Beginning with reading stories, it took us across continents and we talked about travelling to countries and the languages people spoke there. We shared stories about our own holidays and the places we, or people we know had been to, and used all our geography materials to great effect. The children found the wide range of stories quite interesting, and we read fables and fairy tales from New Zealand, Indonesia, China, and India and more countries and then, tried to speak different languages, too. Some children can count to 10 in English, Te reo, German, Chinese, and Greek and had much fun singing “Brother John” in French. When we have our morning ‘group time’ everybody tries to think of a different language to say ‘good morning’ in and we represent as many nationalities as we can.
Aside from countries, languages, and stories, we also talked about the human skeleton and learnt the names of bones and the difference between vertebrates and invertebrates. When we went to the zoo, some children did remember about mammals and reptiles but mostly we went there to have fun. As far as the children are concerned, the best things were the bus ride and the slides!
We wish you a very festive season and a wonderful summer holiday and look forward to welcome you and your children back to school next year.
Ka kite ano and all the best for the New Year
Katina and Stephanie
End of Term 3: 2015
Dear parents and caregivers,
We have arrived at the last week of term 3, 2015.
There are exactly ninety seven days to the end of this year! Where does time go, we may ask? Is it that our lives have become busier as a result of being able to complete a task quicker, or is it because of better brain development or, is technology the reason? The answers to this could be complex and a good platform for debate or just plain simple. I have yet to figure it out!
The children have had the most amazing ten weeks! They have discovered, absorbed, questioned, studied and most times, they have come to a conclusion on the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of all they have immersed themselves in with such vigour. Their sense of concentration is incredible, when taking into consideration their age. This is indeed what Montessori Education is all about… and it begins in Early Childhood. To be able to give a child the opportunity to absorb and learn and find out for themselves’ with help from an adult when needed. This is the aspiration of the team at RMCH.
Constant observation is the key to successful planning for children: both individual and as a group. Here at RMCH we are extremely fortunate to have the most conscientious team. Rachel, Katina, Stephanie and Jo are passionate about what they do. It is not just a job to them. They ‘live and breathe’ Montessori!
Next term will be considered a Summer Term. Hence, appropriate clothing will be needed. Once again, please remember that a light jacket is compulsory, as the weather is ever-changing.
Thank you to parents for attending the biannual parent and teacher conferences. The children’s Profile Books will give you some idea of progress. Meeting with the teacher complements the information in the books.
RMCH will remain open during the two week holiday period. If you have not already booked in a space however decide to send your child on a particular day, please call the school or send me an e-mail the day before. The teachers will then be able to make appropriate plans for the day.
I look forward to meeting those of you who can attend the Shared Lunch tomorrow.
Term 4, 2015 starts on Monday 12 October.
All the best,
Dr Montessori said “The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.”.
It is with this in mind that we decide on the term’s topic, and then plan for the weekly lessons. The children have loved the opportunities we have given them to explore outer space, focusing on a different planet each week, and working on art and musical experiences to support this.
We’ve welcomed Lucy in the beginning of the term, and Elizabeth in the final two weeks. Dan leaves us to head off to school at the end of the term, and we have also said farewell to Sarayu a few weeks into this current term as she has gone to India with her family for the rest of this year. It seems to be the time to travel as we have quite a few classmates going overseas next term, for extended breaks. They’re very lucky to have the experience and we look forward to their return either part way through the term, or next year. This gives us the opportunity for a couple of vacancies for children aged 2.5 – 3.5 years, so if you know of anyone then let them know. This term has also been one with a lot of illness or injury. As always, our children have been able to cope and even grow with the relieving staff. We are most fortunate to have the same regular teachers that the children know and trust.
Term 4 always goes fast. It will be Christmas before we know it. Please make sure your child arrives with sunblock already on, we will reapply it at lunchtime. Please remember to keep diary food cold with either a frozen block, or place it (named) in our fridge. Over the holidays you could also practice with your child how to open their lunchboxes, yoghurt pottles, and small packets. Dr Montessori said “The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one’s self” and our role as adults is to teach our children how to live fulfilled & independent lives. They will ALWAYS need their parents and their family, but being able to rely on themselves for basic skills and comfort is the gift we can give them that will have the most value.
See you next term!
Rachel and Jo
Kia ora, everyone,
As I write this, it is blowing a gale outside, so it must be spring! The children don’t mind, if it were up to them we would be outside all day every day. We do try and get outside at least once every day, no matter what the weather, and the children are very practised in putting on jackets and doing up zips and buttons. We are particularly proud of the children who have mastered how to do up shoelaces this term, we know just how much time and effort it took. All these self-management skills are invaluable once they go to primary school, as is the pride and confidence the children gain when they achieve something that is difficult.
Our topic, the ‘solar system’ was a great success, particularly the trip to the planetarium. We were most impressed by the planet show, which saw us accompany Pluto throughout the solar system back to his own moons. There were many interesting things to look at but most children agreed that playing around in the space module was great. In class we had talked about gravity and how objects float around in space so it made perfect sense to the children that items were stuck to the ceiling inside the module. The topic sparked off a great passion in some children, and assembling our own solar system in the classroom made the topic easier to understand. We enacted how planets and moons orbit and spin and some of the older children even understood how day and night occurs. We talked about the moon and astronauts, built spaceships and satellites and read many books. It has been so much fun to see our children’s interest and knowledge grow and once again we could observe that the younger the children are, the more fascinated they are about science and the world they live in. It is very satisfying for teachers to receive a lecture by 4 year olds about Saturn, the moon, or how gravity works!
We welcomed our newest child, Summer to our class last week. We are looking forward to our traditional shared lunch on the last day and hope you get a little break over the school holidays. If you are stuck for something to do on a rainy day - we can recommend a visit to the planetarium!
Ka kite ano
Katina and Stephanie
End of Term 2: 2015
Dear parents and caregivers,
It is the end of another term and into the second half of the year already!
Your children have been extremely busy. The Profile Books that they have taken home recently will give you a glimpse of some of the exciting learning that they immerse themselves in, when at Montessori. The children love learning… and they absorb every moment.
Thank you to all parents who were able to attend the Shared Lunch. Having the lunch in the upstairs class and the children sitting at the tables made a big difference. It was orderly and organised and this may well be the routine from now on.
If you have not already booked your child into the Holiday Programme (that begins on Monday 06 July), it is not too late to do so.
Congratulations to Stephanie and Rachel. They have both received very good results for their recent exams. Jo and Katina are in the process of working though assignments. The team is very busy, both during and after school!
At last the confirmed report regarding RMCH from the Education Review Office is available online. You will be able to view it here.
Your support and enthusiasm for all that we do to empower your children is a great incentive to carry on the good work here at RMCH.
During this holiday period, I hope that you will be able enjoy some great family time together.
We look forward to seeing you all back on Monday 20 July.
All the best,
Dr Montessori said “Only through freedom and environmental experience is it practically possible for human development to occur.”
We have held this quote close to our hearts this term as we have provided experiences for the children to extend their geographical knowledge of the continents of the world.
Our focus this term has been on ‘Islands’ and the children have had the freedom to choose the weekly activities provided that help them to learn about Greenland, Madagascar, Great Britain, the Galapagos archipelago, the Indonesian archipelago, and Samoa. They have learned about the people, their songs and food, their houses and transport, native animals and trees within the region, their capital cities and population numbers, their flags and where they are located on the globe. It has been an exciting term with art experiences supporting this knowledge, and a new song learned “Light a candle for peace”.
The term has come to an end now, and we say goodbye to Benny as he heads off to school. As he stayed with us after the age of 5, he had the privilege of having lessons on the ukulele, much to the other children’s fascination.
As always, we thank you for allowing us to share in your children’s lives. We love seeing their development as they work together with their friends and on their own, practicing the new skills they have learned.
See you all back nice and fresh on the 20th July 2015.
Rachel and Jo
FAMOUS MONTESSORI STUDENTS
JEFF BEZOS – Amazon founder
JULIA CHILD – Celebrity chef & author
ANNE FRANK – Memoirist & author
FRIEDENSREICH HUNDERTWASSER – Viennese artist & architect
HELEN KELLER – Political activist, author, lecturer
JACQUELINE KENNEDY ONASSIS – Former first lady
TAYLOR SWIFT – Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter
Kia ora, everyone,
We are past the shortest day of the year and are looking forward to longer and warmer days. Still, we can’t complain, so far we have managed to spend a reasonable amount of time outside, and we seem to have warded off most nasty winter bugs so far.
Pyjama Day has been great fun, as always, as was our outing to Te Papa. Each term the team endeavours to create a balance between familiar activities and new experiences. As is the case with materials and lessons in the classroom, it enables the older children to lead and show how to go about things and the younger children learn naturally by observing their peers. It is also a pleasure to observe just how sensible and organised our children behave on school trips.
This term we said farewell to Defne Sue, and Ece and Defne, who moved to Auckland, and Grace MacIver went on to primary school, and said welcome to Yoshi, Yasha’s brother, and Kristen, Grace’s sister.
We enjoyed our music sessions with the music teacher, Jo, and extended what we learnt from her with our own topic ‘Creative Arts’, where we focussed on imagination, presentation, dance, and music instruments. Everybody found something of interest and something that was completely new or familiar. We found that most children like to sing and dance, and even if it is not their ‘cup of tea’ they still love to move and listen to a beat.
Congratulations to Stephanie, who has just completed her written exams for her Montessori studies. I myself have completed the paper requirements for my Masters in Sociology and am now working on my thesis, which is inspired by my experience of assisting children with English as a second language in the classroom. Both of us are working hard to stay one step ahead of the children!
Thank you for coming to our traditional end of term shared lunch, the kids are always so excited when parents and grandparents come to visit. Hopefully we will have mild weather during the school holidays and everybody is able to recharge their batteries. We recommend long sleep-ins and long walks!
Thank you for your support throughout the term, see you back in a fortnight.
Ka kite ano
Katina and Stephanie
End of Term 1: 2015
We have come to the end of a magnificent term.
The children have been healthy for most of the time and they have absorbed a huge amount of knowledge! Next term will be longer... eleven weeks. There are many exciting activities planned.
As usual, it was good to see so many parents and extended family join us for a Shared Lunch on the last day of the term.
It was disappointing that the weather was not conducive for us to meet at Grasslees reserve as planned. However, another get-together will be organised as soon as possible.
The visit from ERO went well. Their unconfirmed document should arrive any day now. It usually takes a few weeks from then before the confirmed report is sent to RMCH, and then available on the ERO website. I will let you know as soon as I hear from ERO.
I recently read an article by Sarah Moudry, who lives in Houston, Texas. Sarah is a Parent Educator and Early Childhood Specialist with nearly 20 years working in education and design. Combining the principles of Montessori Education and Design she works alongside parents to optimize their home environments for everyone in the family, especially the youngest. You can read this article here. It reminds us all the importance of why parents should not ask their child ‘how their day was’, when picking them up from pre-school.
In the middle weekend of this holiday period, Rachel, Stephanie and Jo will attend the annual MANZ conference in Tauranga. The keynote speakers and the workshops always inspire us to higher aspirations… which result in great benefit for your children. These conferences are also a time for renewing old friendships, meeting new people and gaining a new perspective on current issues.
At the end of May, I look forward to attending the annual Early Childhood Council Conference in Queenstown. This year, the focus is on owners and managers of early childhood centres. The ‘new’ knowledge gained at these conferences is enlightening.
The holiday programme at RMCH will be in session as planned. It is always reassuring for children to know that they will spend the time in a familiar and joyous environment. I may meet up with some of you during this time.
Have a Happy Easter and a safe and relaxing holiday time. We look forward to seeing you all on Monday 20 April.
All the best,
What a wonderful settled term we have had.
We have welcomed Isolde, Harvey and Nikolas into our whanau and they have already developed friendships and feel comfortable exploring their surroundings. We have also got a student from Whiterea Polytechnic. Jessica Masters is in her final year of her Bachelors of Education and after discovering the joys of the Montessori philosophy, is going on to do her Montessori training next year. We feel most proud to have ‘shown her the light’.
This term we have been learning about transport. We have focussed on a different way of getting places every week, and we have had a great time drawing them, using them, moving like them, singing about them, and learning how they work. The children have all helped to complete a beautiful large canvas painting of all of us (including chickens which the teachers are so passionate about). We have had so much fun and laughter, the end of the term has come upon us quite quickly. Thank you for attending the parent teacher interviews. I know we can have a quick catch up at the end of sessions, but it is nice to be able to sit down for a formal catch up.
The ERO visit was good and although we haven’t had the written report back yet, they did give us a verbal report. They said the quality of teaching and learning was exemplary. The environment was welcoming, and there are obviously strong relationships between teachers and children. We know this, but it is affirming to see outside professionals see it too.
I am doing a Massey paper this year on Motivation. Not just valid for the children I teach, but for all ages. The biggest thing, the most important thing if you like, is that to be motivated for learning you have to have strong self-efficacy. This means you need to feel good about yourself. You have to be determined in your approach, but you need to have prior experience of achievement and knowing that you can succeed to be motivated to do anything. Montessori encourages independence. By us allowing our children to achieve things for themselves, we are teaching them to be motivated. As a teacher and parent, our role is to prepare our child for life. We are not preparing them by carrying their bags, hanging them on their hooks, feeding them, completing their work, and tidying up after them. If a child is capable of these things, then we must let them do it for themselves. We must remove any obstacles in the path of the child so they can teach themselves. When a child learns to walk, we move the tables. When a child is learning to hang their bag or put their clothes on, we must remove ourselves from their path. As soon as your child can do things independently, you can offer them more and more achievable lessons. We cannot teach your child to read and do maths independently for example if they don’t have those independent life skills to remember, and so encourage their further motivation. Dr Maria Montessori was a very wise woman indeed.
Have a good break with your family. We will see you all back for our next term, focussing on Islands. Keep an eye out for the parent help request for our next school trip to Somes Island in the middle of the Wellington Harbour on April 28th. It’s going to be a trip not to be missed!
Rachel and Jo
Kia ora, everyone,
By the time you read this, I will have arrived in Germany. Time goes by so fast, by the time I have adjusted to spring weather, it will be time to come back to the NZ autumn. We had a really fabulous summer and spent as much time as possible outside this term. Because children learn all the time, no matter where they are and what they do, we grown ups simply adjusted and tried to be as flexible as them. In endeavouring to cover all Montessori learning areas we discussed many topics, used cognitive, language, social, and physical skills in different ways according to developmental age and ability. Above all, we tried to ask many questions and encourage children to consider the “how” and “what” and “why” of things. Curiosity is a wonderful thing – and adults very quickly find out where their limitations are and need to quickly “google”!
We said ‘welcome’ to Ethan and Defne Sue and bid ‘goodbye’ to Grace M and Joshua: who have gone on to primary school. We have seen a number of new friendship circles form as children move from playing alongside to playing with each other and learn how to negotiate and invent activities. It is very satisfying to observe how our class community is so very comfortable with and helpful towards each other, as the social cohesion amongst the children is a very important part of the programme.
Thank you for your support throughout the term and your commitment to us, it was great to see you all at the conferences. We hope you have a little break over the school holidays and look forward to seeing you all back in Term 2.
Ka kite ano
Katina and Stephanie
“Scientific observation then has established
that education is not what the teacher gives;
education is a natural process spontaneously
carried out by the human individual,
and is acquired not by listening to words
but by experiences upon the environment.”
End of Term 4: 2014
It is the end of another school year.
SINGING CHRISTMAS SONGS
For the teachers, it is the time to put away the equipment and program planning and all that is used and done during the busy year. The individual Profile Books are proof of how well the children learn and discover over time. When you return in the New Year, please bring back your child’s Profile Book, as this is a work in progress.
Thank you to all parents who joined us to watch the children perform and then partake of a delicious lunch together last Friday. I do enjoy this time to catch up with you all.
As you are already aware, the Independent Herald community newspaper (that will be in your home letterboxes just before Christmas) will have a feature on the children of RMCH and their donation of gifts to the Salvation Army. You will also be able to read this newspaper online at: www.independentherald.co.nz
Towards the end of term 1, 2015 RMCH will have the routine Education Review. The last review was in 2011. I will have more information for you when we start the new school year.
Thank you to the teachers at RMCH for their dedication and enthusiasm at all times. Their total commitment while in the classrooms (and beyond), and also to their on-going learning and professional development means that your children will always have the best possible education during their time at RMCH.
A big thank you to all parents and your extended families. Your commitment to the Montessori philosophy helps the teachers achieve Maria Montessori’s method of education in the best way possible. This is very much appreciated.
WITH LESLEY NICOLSON FROM THE SALVATION ARMY
I wish you all the best during this Christmas Season and a safe and Happy New Year... with many opportunities to get together with family and friends over the summer break.
The team and I look forward to seeing you all back on Tuesday 27 January 2015.
All the best,
This term we have welcomed Olivia, Shane and Riyaan into our classroom and we have said farewell to Gabriel, Avika and Cassie as they head off to their primary schools.
We wish them well in their future schooling.
This term we have been learning about weather. We have learned all about precipitation (rain) and the weather cycle. We have learned about cloud patterns, wind disturbances, and what we should wear during the different seasons. We’ve been able to put all of that knowledge into practice over the past week – summer so far has been mostly cold!
Our axolotls have continued to have eggs and the children have seen the babies hatch and grow, our plants have grown up strong – especially the Tamarillo trees grown from seed in the corner of the classroom. Jo and I shuffled the classroom furniture around in the beginning of the term which has led to a resurgence of learning in the language area and our children love discovering the new activities we have been putting out for them to practice their English pronunciation and grammar.
Music sessions with Jo the music teacher have been enjoyed by all, and as a follow on, it has been great to see the ukulele progress made by our 5 year olds; all of which get lessons from myself or Jo our classroom teacher. Quite confusing having 2 teachers with the same name!
Next year we hope to see more of the summer we have been promised. Please remember to apply sunblock on your child before they come to school. Perhaps make it a routine after breakfast and teeth cleaning. And regarding school lunches, please remember that our classroom gets very warm over summer and bacteria in milk products such as cheese and yoghurts, and cold meats, breed prolifically. Either put these into a thermos or against a freezer pack, or named into the fridge. I know it will be difficult to remember with a 6 week break, but we will pop a note into your bag if you forget.
Have a fabulous Xmas and a restful new year.
See you all in 2015.
Rachel and Jo
Merry Christmas, everyone!
The end of the year is approaching fast, the festive days are around the corner and over the last two weeks of term we had very excited children working tirelessly on Christmas decorations. All term we have been talking and learning about different festivities and celebrations people have all over the world. Personal celebrations such as birthdays ranked very high for the children, but they are very aware of festivities such as Diwali, Christmas, Chinese New Year, Halloween, etc. To add to it we included World Book Day and had the best day dressed up as Book Characters. We were so pleased how children picked up on the theme and were able to tell us about the books they brought in for the day. It was such a success that we decided to include that in our annual ‘things to do’ calendar.
We said goodbye to Justin on Friday as he will be starting primary school next term. We also said goodbye to Samhitha. Her parents hope to return to India for a short period.
Thank you to all the parents, grandparents, and caregivers for their support over the year. We were delighted to see so many parents at our shared lunch on Friday... and now it is the school holidays!
Enjoy the summer with your families.
We look forward to seeing you back next year.
Ka kite ano and Happy Holidays,
Katina and Stephanie
“Education is a natural process carried
out by the child and is not acquired by
listening to words but by experiences
in the environment.”
End of Term 3: 2014
Where do the months go? Soon we will be talking about Christmas!
I missed meeting up with you all on the last day, at the shared lunch. I hope that you were able to take this opportunity to ‘mix and mingle’ with the other parents, from both the classes.
Thank you to all the parents who attended the Parent/Teacher meetings at the end of this term. This is valuable time well spent. A time when you can talk about your child’s progress and also ask any questions that you may have.
With warmer days around the corner, we have just got new sunhats for the children. These hats are to be left at the pre-school. Even though it is only spring time, some days can be very hot and sunny. On these days, please make sure that you apply sunscreen on your child, before they come to pre-school in the morning.
While I am away, please talk to your child’s class teacher, if you have any questions.
I will be back at RMCH on Monday 10 November and look forward to seeing you all again.
All the best,
This term has been much more settled as we have had no new children and only say goodbye to Athena as she heads off to primary school at the end of this week.
We have been learning about our bodies. We have learned the English and Maori terms for our major body parts, and the older children have learned about their muscles, skeleton and internal organs. We have all learned about the importance of healthy food and exercise, and loved our trip on the bus to the gym.
We have learned about life cycles, which animals lay eggs, and which eggs we eat. The children love collecting the eggs each day from the chickens. They are learning which chicken lays which egg, and that chickens with white ear lobes lay white eggs and chickens with brown ear lobes lay brown eggs. (I hope you all enjoyed the photos of your children and the chickens in your child’s profile books).
We have collected some large wooden crates off a mushroom farm that closed down in Paraparaumu, and the children have made good use of them this term in their play. They have been boats, planes, buses and trucks with balancing and jumping on and off them occurring. The children have gained great confidence with walking the plank.
Next term we are going to use these mushroom boxes as planter boxes, with children growing food for themselves and the chickens. The sunflower classroom serves as a wonderful nursery for seedlings as it is so warm and sunny, so we are going to have an array of seeds starting.
Please can I remind parents about healthy lunches. There has been a great deal in the media lately about sugar and how it is added to foods unnecessarily. Water is the healthiest drink for children so please
do not send the flavoured milks into school. Fruit, a sandwich, and possibly a yoghurt is all that is required. Please ensure your yoghurt stays cool (either by freezing it or placing a cold pack next to it). We have a fridge if you need it (write your child’s name on the pottle). The classroom gets very warm and bacteria can multiply in food. And please don’t forget a spoon. Sometimes we have a picnic lunch outside and we don’t have enough spoons for everyone.
Enjoy the holidays, hopefully the break will give everyone a rest so the winter bugs will go away.
See you next term
Rachel and Jo
Kia ora, everyone,
Spring has sprung and we are galloping towards the end of the year.
The class has filled up again with a new cohort and we welcome Robert, Leon, Isabelle, SingHoi, YinHoi, and Muhammad to our class community. Life is busy as always, and we acknowledge the tireless efforts of parents and grandparents to drop off and pick up, look for lost jackets and socks, retrieve lunch boxes and news items day after day. Thank you for assisting us on our school trips and taking an interest in why we do the things we do in our Montessori way.
We are such an interesting and mixed bunch in class right now that it serves naturally to discuss the fascinating diversity of our planet. Last term we concentrated on where we live and the continent of Australasia and this term we continued the theme and explored Antarctica and Asia. Because so many of us have connections to other countries the topic becomes relevant even to young children and they can make links to abstract concepts such as continents and countries. We try to introduce the world they live in to them and find that our audience of 3 to 6 year olds is hugely interested in information about the Great Wall of China, the Golden Temple of Amritsar or krill swimming in the depths of the Southern Ocean. It is our challenge as teachers to provide resources and scientific facts because of the many questions we get from our task masters. We spend a lot of time in the library and on Google...
We all greatly enjoyed our shared lunch on Friday – it was great to see so many parents there. Enjoy the spring sunshine over the holidays. See you next term.
Ka kite ano.
Katina and Stephanie
“The first essential for the child’s
development is concentration.
The child who concentrates
is immensely happy.”
End of Term 2: 2014
Last term was a short one... however, filled with many exciting activities and opportunities for the children.
RMCH has been open during the past two weeks... for the Holiday Programme. In the first week, Stephanie and Jo had a programme filled with lots of exciting activities for the children. The weather was better too, so the children and the teachers were able to get out and about during the day. In the second week, Rachel and Sarah did very well, considering the cold and wet weather!
I was extremely disappointed, that due to ill health, I could not attend the Annual Montessori Conference
in New Plymouth. Rachel and Stephanie did attend and have brought back a wealth of information and knowledge for us to share... as a team and also with parents.
The days have raced on... and it almost time for the start of term 3. In the coming term, we will welcome five new children to the Rainbow class. The new entrants to the Sunflower class will start a bit later into the term.
It is still a winter term. This means that every child must have a warm coat or jacket (preferably shower proof, indoor slippers (to be left at the pre-school) and also gumboots for wet weather.
A reminder that the Annual Photo Day at RMCH will now be held on Monday 4 July – week three of the new term.
Thanks you all for your enthusiasm and the commitment you have to a Montessori education for your children.
I look forward to seeing you all on Monday 21 July.
All the best,
We have finished Term 2 and said goodbye to Charlotte and Jarason as they head off to the Tawa Montessori Primary School.
These two children have spent 3 years with us and are ready to move into the class of 6-12 year olds. We wish them well. We also said goodbye to our teacher Angela, and welcomed our new teacher – Jo McCallum. Jo brings with her a wealth of creativity, optimism and enthusiasm for being part of the Sunflower team, the wider RMCH school, and the Montessori community. We welcome her with open arms.
I’ve just got back from an exhausting but inspiring conference. Stephanie and I attended the 3 day conference in New Plymouth with the topic “The reflective practitioner”. We had some fabulous international speakers and have written screeds of notes reminding us to be the best we can be for the children and families in our centre. We were reminded of the importance of observation “Without observation we do not know what a child needs. We need to support development, not offer a curriculum. We must observe and not just teach so we can tick a box”. We were firmly reminded that “often the best thing we can do for the child is to get out of their way. Every unnecessary offer of help becomes an obstacle to development. We are not there to smother the child, rather to offer them the key to unlock their own learning”.
Stephanie and I have a few ideas for us to reflect on, as a Team and are looking forward to starting the term with new inspiration and passion for doing what we love. “The fundamental needs of the child have not changed. They are the same now as they were 500 years ago, and will be the same in 500 years from now. It is the child’s job to create the man and he will do it regardless as to what we do. It is the environment that has changed and we create ourselves based on our environment. If we provide the optimum environment with the right tools, we will support the child’s needs for living and learning”.
So a final quote for parents asking what they can do for their child. “Do not fix things. This is the child’s work, not our work. The child is formulating himself. We do not want to suffocate the child, to become an obstacle in their learning. Let the child make his own mistakes. From mistakes, he will learn”.
We look forward to seeing you all on Monday 21 July.
Rachel and Angela
Kia ora everyone,
Winter solstice has been and gone, and we are all ready for longer days and more sunshine.
As usual, pyjama day was the highlight of term 2, with some children keeping their pyjamas on throughout the day. We welcomed Ece and Defne to the Rainbow class and we said farewell to Alek and Eva at the end of this term.
The New Zealand environment featured much, as we began our study of nature and biodiversity this term. We learnt about native species, vertebrates and invertebrates and how everything is interconnected. The children were enthusiastic about their contributions to the insect hotel and we also planted several feijoa trees. The project will continue with further planting and judging by the children’s enthusiasm, it will be very worthwhile. They showed an intense interest in the topic of pollution and are very serious about recycling our rubbish every day. We collect paper and cardboard, food scraps from our food preparation and lunches, as well as plastic. The children compare their lunch boxes and comment on who has plastic wrapping or containers that can be re-used. It is very satisfying to hear them discuss topics amongst themselves and realize they understand so much more than we often give them credit for.
Thank you for assisting your children in bringing in topical items we can discuss, they are very helpful in making discussions personally relevant. It is also good to see that children are now very experienced in putting on jackets and gumboots/slippers independently. Most of them can manage zips and buttons now and take care of their own things when we go outside. We will continue to make the most of the outdoors and brave the Wellington climate most days, the children don’t take notice of the temperature anyway!
Hope you have had a good break. I will be back from Germany this weekend... in time for the start of Term 3.
Ka kite ano.
Katina and Stephanie
End of Term 1: 2014
It is already week two of the holiday period. I hope that the two long weekends would have given you the opportunity to have family time... in whatever way you found relaxing.
Thank you to all parents who attended the recent Parent & Teacher conferences, with your child’s class teacher. This is the best opportunity to talk about your child’s progress, interests at Montessori and plans for the next few months.
The teachers articles will give you information on the exciting plans for the coming term.
Over this holiday period, we have a few children who attend pre-school daily, a few on specific days and others, when they want to. If the weather is fine, the children have the opportunity to go for a walk and
visit the playground at Kipling Street... a much looked forward to outing.
If you need to drop your child off at RMCH this week, you are welcome. Having RMCH open during the
‘two week’ holiday periods is a great option for parents who work or who do not have family in Wellington.
The coming term will be cold and even wetter. Please make sure that your child always has suitable footwear and a warm coat and on rainy days, a waterproof jacket. There is always a chance that the children will be outdoors for a short while, even in rainy weather.
This holiday fortnight, Stephanie is away in the Wairarapa: attending a full time Montessori workshop. She will sit an exam at the end of this week. Stephanie is studying towards a Montessori diploma and besides this workshop, she is also doing assignments throughout the school terms. Having attended Montessori pre-school and primary school, all that Stephanie learns will have a familiar ring to it.
The RMCH T-shirts and sweatshirts are becoming popular. If you would like to purchase these for your children (to wear to pre-school and especially for the field trip in term 2) a few items in sizes 4 and 6 are now available at the pre-school.
Please take a few moments to re-read the Parent Handbook 2014. It will remind you of some of the routines. Most importantly, a reminder about the drop off and pick up times for your children. It is important that the teachers have the time to set up the ‘Prepared Environment’ perfectly, for your children. At the end of the day, they have meetings to attend.
If you have any questions at any time, you are welcome to talk to your child’s teacher or myself.
Thank you to the staff of RMCH. They are a committed group of professionals, who are determined to give
their best... in developing a life long love of learning in your children.
Thank you for your commitment towards a Montessori education for your child and for your continued enthusiasm in helping RMCH be the best place for young children.
All the best,
We have come to the end of 12 weeks!
Most have been hot and sunny with just the last couple being full of the autumn weather of rain and fog. We have been learning about the people in our community and what people do. The Sunflower children loved learning about dairies and supermarkets, and all the shopping lists and grocery purchasing (and selling) caused a buzz with the children as they added up what they bought, and worked out if they had made enough money to purchase the items. The visit of bottle feeding kittens was exciting, and the follow through of going to visit the SPCA was wonderful. The Montessori children were so well behaved on the trip that the SPCA education officer gave them lessons usually reserved for primary school children. We are all now experts on how to approach dogs, and handle cats and kittens.
We say goodbye to Toby and Myilee Butcher as they move on, and we will welcome several more classmates next term. They have been coming for visits with the 2 year old programme we have run this term on a Wednesday morning. We hope they settle in well. As usual, our music programme on a Tuesday afternoon has been a roaring success. The children have got so good at pitch and rhythm, and keeping in time. We have also had a Tawa College student here for the term on a Wednesday morning, for her childcare papers. Sarah Dawson is an ex RMCH student so remembers the routines and equipment well. She finished with us at the end of the term too, but will be back in the holidays for the holiday programme.
Have a good break everyone. Don’t forget to bring gumboots and raincoats for our outside play next term, and slippers for inside. We will see you all on May 5 2014 for Term 2.
Rachel and Angela
Kia ora everyone,
What a long term this has been!
It did give us plenty of time to cover many aspects of our term’s topic and we explored what people
do in the community, what we know about the tools people use in their occupations, and talked at length about the children’s ideas of what they wanted to do as grown-ups. There were many debates amongst the children as to what princesses do for a job and how vets had stethoscopes just like doctors. The trip to the SPCA was very topical and the children were very serious about their donations of pet food. A big thank you to the parents for these donations and for their support on the trip.
Out of general interest we also covered road signs, which may explain why your children draw your attention to each sign you pass while driving – we are sure they will do very well when they sit their learner’s driving test!
Next term we will be embarking on a larger project that will continue until the end of the year at least. We call it “backyard biodiversity” and will involve learning about native plants and animals, managing a worm farm, and how to support local wildlife. Much of our work in the classroom is about explaining the world and how it works to the children and satisfy their curiosity about many different things. This topic will cover so many areas, from geology to botany, science, and biology and how all life is interconnected. As always, we appreciate all input and interest you may bring to what the children learn about. Pictures, feathers, maps, fossils, everything is useful and will find a home on our shelves!
Have a good break with your children over the holidays and we’ll see you back in May!
Ka kite ano.