Last term we based our project work on music but this term we decided to focus on books and stories. We enjoyed comparing different versions of the traditional tale of the Gingerbread Man and making gingerbread people using a Swedish recipe given us by one of the parents. We also created our own scenery and props for the story. Later we read some of the very popular Elmer* stories and the children soon began to discuss some of the features and characteristics of real elephants.
Leading on from elephants many of the children were showing a keen interest in dinosaurs, so this was a cue to learn some more about these fascinating creatures. A school visit to Petersfield library was clearly necessary. As well as familiarisation with the world of books and other materials available on loan, the children were able to pick up some dinosaur books, which we used for our research. The children quickly learned how to recognise and name various species of dinosaurs, including Diplodocus, Tyrannosaurus, Iguanodon, Stegosaurus, Triceratops and Troodons. They learned how big or small the dinosaurs were and whether they were carnivores, herbivores or omnivores. We made dinosaurs from junk and a huge dinosaur picture which the children enjoyed painting with their fingers; we let parents do one too! Many of the children brought in more dinosaur books from home and some went with their parents to see dinosaur fossils in the Natural History Museum. The children were fascinated as we demonstrated how fossils are formed (and discovered) using bones which we made from plasticine and rock from plaster of paris! It was an extremely interesting and educative project for us all.
One of the highlights of the term was a visit from Michael O’Leary – Storyteller and talented musician. We were all enchanted by Mike’s wonderful tales, storytelling techniques and his music. At the end of the hour (how does he manage it?) Mike led us in some games with a parachute he had brought with him. If you can remember what is was like as a child to run under a sheet held and shaken by adults you will have some idea of the sheer joy and pleasure we all had from this.
This term we held our first evening session for adults. The event was well attended and judging from the response, a huge success. Many of our current parents and some new ones came to learn a little about Montessori Education, to see just what goes on in our Montessori School and to explore some of the materials. Our guests were able to experience a typical Nursery School session and appreciate the care that is taken in the preparation of a Montessori environment. We plan a similar session soon so that parents may learn a little more about the Montessori philosophy and how we try to make our School so special for their children.
We supported World Book Day with the children dressed as characters from their favourite books and the parents came into school to read. The children each received a £1 voucher to spend on a book for themselves. On Red Nose Day the children wore their red noses, painted their faces and coloured their hair red. Thanks to the generosity of parents and relatives, we also raised over £50 for Comic Relief.