An Hour at Children’s House

Today I had a babysitter (the fabulous Miss Ellen) from noon until 4 —- heavenly. I got to go to lunch with Danny (just us!), do some auction work at Maria’s school, and visit Jamie and Alice’s classroom. I had wanted to spend a couple hours at Children’s House, but I got there at 2:00 — having to leave at 3:00 to get Ria.

But that’s okay, because I got to see a lot.

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Jamie and his friend were working on making objects out of tiny shapes. I had these when I was little and loved them!

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Alice chose weather work. It’s a Melissa and Doug magnetic board with different magnets to stick on to show weather and clothing choices, and stuff like that.

Hot, stormy, rainy, cool and winter?

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There were lots of other materials being used and lessons going on.

Chalkboard art.

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Play-dough
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Shapes
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I’m not sure what this is, but it looks like fun.

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Learning about pumpkins and how they grow.

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[and making a book about it at the end]

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Reading.

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Maps

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Cleaning up

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And lots and lots of happy, smiling faces.

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Miss Emma arrived to help Ms. Megan and Mr. Andrew.

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The kids clearly love her. 1/2 the class ran to her to tell her hello. Miss Emma is very fashion (look at her shoes and her tights. Want.)

And after everything was put away, it was time to sit together and listen to the special helper’s share of the day.

And try and lick our elbows?

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No. Not appropriate.

A balloon made from a clown at Zany Graze. Awesome.

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Everyone got to touch it with “one gentle finger” and they followed directions very well. This group is always impressing me.

And then Ms. Megan read from The Magic Treehouse. Jamie has been talking about this book all week, so I was happy to sit in on the exciting story. And exciting it was.

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I’m not sure how Mr. Andrew could be working on fixing a chair while the children in the story were having to hide in the cellar from a twister!

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But he was…just fixing away.

Whatev.

I found some materials on the shelf next to me and wanted to take some pictures of them so I could remember what they were in case my Montessori material obsession took hold of me soon and I had to either make or order some new stuff.

I’ll share it here because it’s so awesome. I love Montessori materials.

Sandpaper blocks — different sized sandpaper grit on each.

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Box of fabrics — I’m pretty sure there are 2 matching pieces of each fabric in the box and you have to feel them and match them up. Or maybe I just made those directions up. I’m not sure.

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Now that I’m looking at this, I’m not 100% sure I got all of these correctly. Up in the right hand corner…I”m not sure the fabric pillow and the seashell are considered “rough” but seriously, compared to that smooth stone, they totally are. I don’t know. I was distracted by Jack and Annie and their twister on a Tuesday.

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I need these.

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Here is some work that Jamie did today. I’m so proud of him! This took a LOT of patience for him. He gets pretty lazy when it comes to writing, but he really needs to practice. I’m so glad he did this, and it looks so great!

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Then it was time to go and play outside. I quickly ran to get Maria from school and we came back in time to see Alice play with her friend in the gravel sand box.

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It was hilarious. She said to him, “Can I play with you?” and he said, “No, if you want to play, you have to say please.” She looked at me like, “Is he serious??” I could tell he was as serious as a heart attack, so I just nodded and she said, “Can I please play with you?” He smiled and happily said, “Yes!” I love it.

Ms. Megan has turned her asphalt parking lot into a fenced in garden courtyard/play area. It really is amazing. There are lots of plants growing in a few different areas, with a fun kitchen spot, water play area in the summer, chalkboard, toys, benches, and lots of space to run. Lucky kids.

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[fair-worthy]

He loves it.

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I’ve said it before, but I don’t mind saying it over and over. I feel so lucky to have Jamie and Alice at CHMS. The other day, Jamie was looking at a big map and I heard him pointing at and saying the names of every single continent. Correctly. Last night, he taught us all about nouns and adjectives, told us the definition of each, and gave us examples. Like, “The smart lemon.” He thought that was hilarious. “An adjective describes something, Mom. Like ‘smart’. Lemon is the noun.” And he loved being able to tell me all of that.

Alice? I catch her singing the continent song all the time. At the end, she adds, “Don’t forget Antarctica…if you do, the penguins will ATTACK YOU, ATTACK YOU, ATTACK YOU!!!” I believe Jamie taught her that part, NOT Ms. Megan. But it’s pretty hilarious.

I feel so lucky that the kids are learning how to clean up after themselves and be careful with their things. They are expected to use real glass cups and carry them by themselves to pour a glass of milk or juice and then carry it back to their spot. They clean up their own messes with dust pans and brooms. Their teachers don’t baby them and don’t pick up after them unless they’ve tried their very hardest on their own and that’s something I really appreciate. They are able to be completely creative and do thing 100% hands on at their own pace. They don’t sit down and do worksheet after worksheet. They don’t draw lines from the word “dog” to a picture of a dog. They find the word written on a piece of paper and match it up with a dog figure that they have to find in a basket of objects. I love that. It’s hands on and completely directed by themselves.

The way Ms. Megan teaches takes so much effort on her part. It’s not the easy way to do things and it’s definitely not the fastest. But it’s the most thoughtful and fun way to do it. The classroom is quiet but busy, and that takes a lot of effort from the teachers. It’s clean and bright and so well organized. The kids are always helping each other without putting up any resistance and many times without even being asked. Watching the kids prepare and get their own snacks is pretty amazing and I never would have thought that my stinker 3 year old (Alice) could be trusted to do things like that all on her own. Sure, there was the time she ignored the sign and instead of one bowl of cereal, she ate 3. And then dumped the left overs back into the box. But overall, she’s learning how to be part of a community and share space, things, and time with other people and that’s something I’m so grateful for.

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