We are so incredibly blessed!!! My oldest dd was accepted into a Montessori charter school that is less than a mile from our home. Last week was her first week of kindergarten (she spent almost 2 years in a private Montessori Children's House) and I am in total awe of what I have seen so far. There are 2 teachers/guides and the lead teacher is blowing my mind! I love her so much (lets just hope I'm still saying that mid-year!
) On the first day, she pulled up a little kid size chair outside of her classroom, rang the little brass bell, and asked the children to gather. One by one she shook their hands, made eye contact, and warmly welcomed them to her classroom. I thought this was a first day thing, but what I have discovered is that this is how she starts class every morning! WOW!
: One of her first lessons was about "love lights" (or heart lights) and the children were each given a paper with the outline of a person and were asked to draw what their "love light" looks like. They were given the option of doing it in class or taking it home. I thought this was SO amazing!! This morning her teacher told me it's an actual curriculum they are using, so I poked around on the school website and found out more about it. Has anybody ever heard of Sonnie McFarland and this curriculum called "Honoring The Light Of The Child"? http://www.shiningmountainspress.com/index.html
It looks as if the lessons are divided up into 7 weeks. Lesson 1 is: “See My Love”
Focus: Self Awareness
The essence of this lesson is the following: “Every person is special, unique and different.Every person has a love light within. When we feel happy and loved, our love lights shine brightly.When we feel sad, mad or afraid, our love lights are dim. We can breathe slowly and deeply to make our love lights shine brightly again.”The children learn that when they are happy or feeling loving or proud of an accomplishment, their love light shines brightly. When they are sad or angry, it dims.
There is a home extension exercise: Discuss yours and your child’s love light and when it glows brightly.
Lesson 2 will be:
“Awareness of the Love Light Through Silence”
Focus: Self AwarenessThis lesson introduces a Peace Candle as a “symbol of the love within everyone”and also helps children “learn to calm themselves through the practice of Silence.”
Home extension exercise: Talk about the use of silence to get calm when upset, or createa space for a Peace Candle at home.
Lesson 3 is: “Everyone Has a Love Light”
Focus: Self and Community Awareness
This lesson gives the children a concrete symbol of their love light—yellow felt circles that can be worn around the neck whenever a child feels moved to do so.
Home extension exercise: Create a symbol of love light at home
Lesson 4: “Black Elk’s Medicine Wheel Vision of Peace”Focus: Self, Community, Cultural and Environmental Awareness
“Black Elk’s Medicine Vision of Peace Revisited”Focus: Self, Community, Cultural and Environmental Awareness
Lesson 6: “Good Kind Deeds Tree”
Focus: Self, Community, Cultural and Environmental Awareness
This lesson helps children focus on being kind and thoughtful. Good and kind deeds are shown to make children’s love lights shine brightly. A connection is made(also from Black Elk’s vision) to a flowering tree as well. When people take care ofthemselves and each other, their love lights glow and sacred tree flowers. A live plant is introduced into the classroom, to represent the sacred tree, and is called the Good Kind Deeds Tree. Whenever children or teachers see others engaging in kind deeds, they can place a silk flower onto the tree. At the end of the day, they can see how their tree “flowered.”
Home extension exercise: Discuss good and kind deeds with your child. Consider using a house plant for a good kind deeds tree at home. Point out when you see your child or others in the community are doing good kind deeds.
Lesson 7: “Making Peaceful Choices”
Focus: Self and Community Awareness
This lesson helps children understand the difference between the Road of Difficulties and the Road of Peace and how they feel when they are on each of the roads by having them role play different situations in the classroom and make choices about their actions.
Home extension exercise: Discuss hypothetical situations or past situations that have occurred with you child and ask him or her to help you determine the peaceful choice to make in each situation. This is a great activity to do when your child has made some choices that have resulted in negative consequences, especially behavior issues that occur at school.
How AWESOME is this? Oh, this school is so amazing. :::sigh:::