September Recap: In September, we learned about ourselves. We practiced learning about our body parts, the infants had fun hearing songs such as “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” and “My Body.” We encouraged the older infants to play peekaboo by covering their face or eyes with their hands. Our peekaboo game caused many laughs. It’s a simple game that every infant enjoyed playing. With our younger infants, we practiced reaching for our toes and discovering our hands. They were fascinated by their feet and even wanted to taste them. We also learned about our feelings, we have a great book with babies making different expressions. The infants loved looking at surprised, happy, sad, and many other faces. They found it silly when we made different face expressions to them after we had read our “Feelings” book. Our Montessori lesson for this month focused on sharing and soft touches. As our infants get older they interact more with each other. Although sharing is a concept they will understand when they are older, we try to encourage it in our classroom. We have been working on redirecting infants who don’t want to share. We do this by giving them another toy and explaining that we must wait our turn. Many of our infants are becoming mobile and want to play and touch their friends. We kindly remind them to use gentle touches and show them by holding their hand and practicing gentle touches on their friends or on us. It’s so fun to see when the infants grasp a concept and use gentle touches when they want to comfort a friend. Throughout September, we have also been celebrating the start of fall. We’ve displayed our fall art work throughout the classroom. We hope you enjoy seeing the art the infants have worked on. They love getting messy when they paint with their hands. We still have some sensory activities we will continue to work on. Some of the activities we will work on are painting with sand and mud. We will also get to use our hands to play with cotton balls and play with squishy sensory fall bags.
October Recap: Throughout October we learned number 1-1 correspondence and we got some awesome number books to read to our infants. We practiced counting to 10. The infants had a blast as we read about Mr. Snail making his way through the numbers. We also learned how to turn pages in a book. The infants love looking at the pictures and getting to turn pages on their own. We learned about our bodies by showing the infants where their eyes, ears, head, nose, arms, hands, mouth, and legs are. It was fun to see that they can grab their head when we asked where their head was. We made some slimy sensory bags and added some glitter and googly eyes! We taped the sensory bags on the floor and walls, so the infants could explore them. They were all very interested in the consistency of the sensory bags and played all day with them.
One of our Montessori lessons this month was learning how to clean up. We showed the children how to put toys in the baskets. They all did a great job with this activity, although they had a lot more fun taking the toys out the baskets. The infants worked on their fine motor skills when picking up objects and placing them in the baskets.
Our special project this month was our pumpkin. We brought in a big pumpkin for the children to experiment with. Many of our kids loved this activity. They enjoyed digging their tiny hands into it and feeling the inside. We had a big piece cut out, so the children could feel the slimy inside and the dry of the outside skin. We also created sensory bags with the seeds and pulp. The children loved hugging the pumpkin and tried to taste it. It was so much fun to see how excited they were and how their curiosity leads them to want to explore new things.
This month was a big month for growth, 6 out of our 8 infants are now mobile! It has been fun to see them interact more with each other and wanting to explore their environment both inside and outside. We’ve been practicing walking with our soon-to-be 1 year old children, and practiced sitting with our 5-6 month babies.
November Recap: In November, we learned about being kind. We practiced gentle touches with our friends. Many of them understood the concept and are now able to show gentle touches when we ask them to. We encourage our infants to avoid hitting and remind them to use gentle touches instead. We also learned about vegetables. The infants explored the texture of a potato, carrot, bell pepper, Italian squash, and tomato. We learned about the different colors such as brown, orange, yellow, green, and red. Some of them didn’t like the texture of the potato while others found the tomato interesting due to its color. After we were done exploring the vegetables, we cut a couple in half and created some veggie prints. The infants learned the difference between smooth and rough. We felt the rough side of the sponge and the soft side of the sponge. We had them feel the difference between the smooth apple and the rough skin of a potato. We had rough burlap fabric and soft felt. We liked seeing their reaction and how they preferred to feel soft/smooth materials over the rough ones. Our Montessori lesson entailed object permanence. The infants worked on putting wooden “coins” or a ball into a box. We would then open the box and show the infant that the “coin” or ball was inside. They learned that although they could not see the object they had put inside, it was still there. This is an important lesson to teach infants because they sometimes experience separation anxiety as they get older. It’s important for them to understand that although they may not see their parent for a few hours, they will always come back. Our special project this month was our turkey. We had the infants create the feathers on a turkey with their hands. We continue to practice our colors, such as red, yellow, orange, and brown. We also worked on sponge art. This was a little more hand-on and messy since we allowed the infants to hold mini sponges dipped in paint and create different patterns for their turkey feathers. In November, we also had three of our infants turn one. We are so grateful to their parents for trusting our school with their care. We can’t wait to see them continue to grow and prepare them for their transition to the Walkers classroom.
December Recap: In December, we learned about sorting. We sorted items such as pine cones, balls, blocks, and soft materials. We placed four baskets with the materials inside, and we had each child work with two baskets. We showed them how the items had different colors and different textures. We also worked on teaching some of our verbal infants more words. Some of our one-year-olds are picking up on words very fast. We just covered some basic words such as please, thank you, more, all done, sleep, bed, bottle, up, and down. We read some holiday books and sang holiday songs to introduce more language. They really liked when we sang “Jingle Bells.” We had each child hold bells and shake them. We worked on standing without support. We’ve noticed that many of our babies are showing interest in walking. It brings us joy when we see them stand on their own and how happy and proud they feel when they do it all by themselves. It’s bittersweet seeing them accomplish milestones especially when they are preparing to walk. Our Montessori lessons entailed taking objects in and out of containers. We set up different sized containers and placed 2-3 objects in each. We had the infants take the objects out and then showed them how to put them back in. The concept of taking the objects out was easy for the infants to understand it. When it came to putting the objects back in, it became a bit of a challenge. Many of the infants preferred taking the objects out and throwing them. This activity also showed the infants how to clean up by putting the objects in the containers. Our special project this month was our Holiday Ornament. Ms. Ashley and I had fun working with each infant on their ornament. We hope you like them as much as we do. We wanted to make something special that the parents could look back on and remember when their child was little. December went by quickly and so did 2018. We welcomed a new infant into our classroom. We love to see our class grow and are excited to see what the new year brings. We had a special visit from Santa, our infants were not impressed at all. They turned out to be not the biggest fan of Santa. We spend lots of time indoors this month since we had some rainy days. We played some fun holiday music and the infants had a mini dance party. They also enjoyed watching the rain through the door that leads to the outside play area. They were so excited to see and hear the rain. It’s refreshing to see how intrigued by the smallest things and how much happiness it can bring them. In January, we will be learning about the continent of Antarctica and our lessons will be about winter and ice. I want to thank all our parents for choosing Montessori School of San Clemente. We are so grateful that you are trusting us with your child’s care. Ms. Ashley and I have formed a bond with all of the infants in our classroom. We enjoy watching them thrive and watching them reach all their milestones. We take pride in our work and like to see how happy all the infants are when they come into our classroom. We hope you enjoy your holidays and we will welcome you back on January 2, 2019.
January Recap: In January, we learned about washing our hands. We practiced hand washing various times throughout the day. We wash hands after diaper changes, feedings, and after spending time outside. We show our infants by putting a small amount of soap in their hands, rubbing their palms and the tops of their hands. They enjoy washing their hands since most of them like playing with water. We practiced cleaning up and sang the “Clean Up” song. Although our older infants know how to put toys into baskets, they always enjoy dumping the toys out. We also learned about colors, we read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear.” The infants were very engaged by the book and loved looking at the bright colors and the animals. We practiced some animal noises, which caused the infants to laugh. Our Montessori lesson entailed pouring. We used cotton balls for our activity. We placed some cotton balls in a container, and we provided small cups for the infants to use. This was a bit of a hard activity for the infants to participate in. Most of them just wanted to dump the container with the cotton balls. We helped each infant by guiding their hands, as they held the cup, we showed them how to scoop the cotton balls and pour them into another container. When we finished the lesson, we allowed the infants to play with the cotton balls. Some of them weren’t too excited with the texture of the cotton balls. Our special project for this month was making snowflakes. We had each child make a snowflake with their handprint. We liked working on this project because every single snowflake was different. Each of our infants are unique in their own way just like little snowflakes. We also worked on a sensory project that the infants enjoyed. We had the infants explore ice. They were surprised when they held it in their hand, since it felt cold. They also noticed it was slippery and they would try to catch the ice. Lastly, they tasted the ice too. January has been a very exciting month in Room 1. After winter break we had many of our infants come back walking. This has been both exciting and sad, as we know they will be moving up. We practiced the toddler schedule with the infants that will be moving up soon. We want to help them as much as we can by preparing them and easing their transition into Walkers. We also welcomed two new friends to our classroom. We are happy that our classroom continues to grow and that our families have chosen our school for the care of their child.
February Recap: In February, we learned about self-help skills and how it helps develop independent skills. Starting with feeding skills is important to learn the normal developmental stages of self-feeding. This will encourage the child to practice feeding themselves from infancy on. We begin by offering older infants finger foods; this encourages practicing fine motor skills (such as pincer grip and being able to place food into their own mouths). As they become more comfortable in feeding themselves, we can introduce a spoon and fork and give the children plenty of time to practice. This lets the children be as independent as possible during mealtimes. We encourage children to try for themselves but provide help and encouragement when needed so they don’t get frustrated. In February, we learned about sharing and parallel play. Some infants don’t actually play with other babies at this age. Instead, they are content to sit alongside a potential pal, seemingly ignore them, while they both sort shapes or chew whatever they can get their hands on. This is called parallel play and it is part of the developmental course for babies and toddlers. They are still busy figuring out so much about the world and don’t yet realize that people their own size are indeed people too. They are too young to make ‘friends’ but side-by-side play is a good start. If they frequently spend time with the same group of babies, they may even seek out a special few babies to sit alongside more frequently. Parallel play can also be a learning experience as they are observing each other and taking notes on what each other is doing. Eventually, over the coming year, they’ll begin to imitate what they see their friends doing. And for now, this “peer pressure” is a good thing; it opens your baby’s mind to new possibilities for play and may eventually help him learn new words too. Playing peek-a-boo is one of babies’ favorite games! Playing Peek-A-Boo helps babies to develop Object Permanence which is a fundamental part of early life learning. Object permanence means that the baby begins to understand that objects continue to exist, even when they cannot directly be seen, heard, or touched. The majority of babies develop this concept between 6 months to a year old. During the Peek-A-Boo game process, babies develop brain cell connections (synapses) due to visual stimulation. Repeating the same action over and over contributes to strengthen these newly formed synapses: it is the learning process of a baby. Bear in mind that repetition is an important part of learning for a baby, therefore, be ready to play Peek-A-Boo more than just once! Our Montessori lessons entail learning about pincer grasping blocks. The pincer grasp develops around 8 to 9 months. Around this age, children are interested working to grasp objects with their thumb and forefinger. Children love to practice this grasp, and the pincer grasping block is perfect for helping them perfect it. The children learn that the cylinder should be placed back into the base, he/she uses the palmar grasp to grab onto it and pull it out, then they can attempt to place it back into the hole. The repetition of this builds concentration and fine motor skills. Our special project for March is learning about crinkling pink paper. This is a great way for them to learn how paper feels in their hands. They were encouraged to use their hands and look through the sensory bin and touched all the different textures paper can have. Many of them enjoyed the different textures paper can have and the different shapes that were in the bins (circles, hearts, triangle, etc.). Enrichment for February was learning to mix different colors to make a brand new color. We love finger painting here in the class and the feeling of paint in our hands. The children enjoyed moving the white and red paint together to make the color pink.
March Recap: This month, we learned about different numbers. We sang a lot of different songs that focused on different animals in the African Savannah. We sang “10 in the Bed,” “5 Little Speckled Frogs,” and “5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.” These songs are wonderful and gave us a chance to count up to 5 and then up to 10. Counting numbers with infants is a great way to integrate education into their play time. May it be singing a song with numbers in it or just counting their toes and fingers. This is a great bonding experience for them as well as you! This month we learned the song “Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes.” My teachers pointed to each part of our bodies that corresponded to the song. It is important for infants to see and touch what they are hearing. This helps the babies to practice their hand and eye coordination. The babies are working on reaching and grasping for objects. We are helping them practice holding items and passing them from hand to hand. With our older infants, we practice rolling a ball back and forth. The babies found this so funny. We love hearing all those happy giggles. During Montessori time, we practiced skills such as scooping and pouring objects. Infants begin to dump toys (or cereal, a cup of water, a bin of diapers…) as soon as they discover that they can. It’s a developmentally appropriate skill that happens as mobility develops. When little ones pick up a bowl or cup and turn out the contents on the floor, it may be frustrating to anyone (teachers and parents included) that just picked up all of the toys for the third time, but it is such a great function that is the occupation of play. Pouring and dumping is discovery and exploration of gravity, weight, muscle control, cause and effect, and self-awareness. Infants are discovering what they can do by pouring, they are learning about their environment while working on so many skills.
April Recap: In April, we learned about lines and circles. The infants did a tummy time activity using shiny gold straws and colorful pompoms taped to the floor. This activity helped practice finger reaching and helped the babies to recognize lines, circles, and colors as well as practice rolling over. They also used plastic spoon rattles made out of Easter eggs filled with rice. The babies enjoyed hearing the rice shake and exploring with their mouths feeling the texture of the spoon. We sang “5 Little Ducks”, “Wheels on the Bus” and “A, B, C”. The books we read this month were “Day and Night,” which talked about how the sun helps the flowers grow. We and “I love Pete the Kitty.” This was a great book for Earth Day, because Pete loves his environment and going to school to learn. The infants loved going outside. April brought us warmer weather and we were so happy to explore our outdoor environment. One of the infant’s favorite outdoor activities is to sit in the cool, green grass and listen to stories. The babies also love when we blow bubbles and sing to them. We use our outdoor time as an extension of the classroom and to introduce new language. We look up in the sky and look for airplanes and birds. We watch the leaves move in the trees and feel the cool breeze on our faces.
May Recap: In May, we learned about the great migration of whales. Our babies learned how whales migrate together to keep their calves safe. Baby whales are capable of whispering to their mothers for communication. We made whale footprints and taught the children how to recognize the color black. Since we had so many May showers, we thought it would be a great time to explore the sound of rain using sensory bottles. We created the bottles with sticks and rice inside plastic bottles. When the babies shook and turned the bottles, the rice would drop down through the collection of sticks, emulating a rain-like noise. All of the infants enjoyed hearing the fun sound it made when it rattled. This was a great way to make music! We played the sensory rain bottles to the rhythm of Itsy-Bitsy Spider and Row, Row, Row, Your Boat. We even introduced our new song, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes!. The special project we made was beautiful butterflies made out of footprints. The infants learned about the lifecycle of a butterfly and how caterpillars form into a chrysalis before spreading their wings as a butterfly!
June Recap: June was filled with great excitement! We learned about our great state of California and studied community helpers. We learned about climates and discussed hot and cold temperatures. The infants enjoyed exploring paint color mixing and used their hands to hands to finger paint. We used ice cubes to do a `paint activity using popsicle sticks. The babies enjoyed this activity and it helped them to practice a fine motor skill, grasping. It was fun to see the colors mix together on the paper. The special project we did this month was making Father’s Day gifts. Our class made a black hand print on a baseball. The babies were so interested in feeling the texture of the ball. Our Montessori lesson entailed learning with knob blocks, being able to visually discriminate if a cylinder fits in its correct location. We helped the infants practice 3 finger pincer grasps. For our younger infants, we are working on sitting up, rolling over and learning to hold our own bottles!
Summer News: In July and August, we have a fun filled summer program planned! We will be changing themes every two weeks and will explore farm animals, outer space, and even get some water play! We will be learning about farm animals and will be making animals using paper plate art. We will introduce the animals that live on a farm, and have fun making silly animal noises. For fine motor practice, the babies get the chance to practice holding a paintbrush, while working on hand-eye coordination. The babies will also be learning about t outer space and the different types of planets that orbit around the sun. We will make our own rocket ship art and learn how astronauts use them to get up in space for transportation. We will work with the infants on doing exercises to practice crawling to become more mobile and independent. Summer is here and our program will be filled with fun activities. With hot weather, they will get the chance to splash and play in water outside. We ask that you bring in a bathing suit and swim diaper for water play days. Be sure to look at the calendar for all the fun and excitement that will be happening! We are looking forward to growing and playing with you!