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  • Becky Jones

Toddler 1 - March 2020


No doubt everyone’s attention has lately been focused on wellness, and our toddler community

is no exception. We have recently added the book “Germs Are Not for Sharing” by Elizabeth

Verdick and Marieka Heinlen to our reading corner. It is amazing how many wellness practices

currently being emphasized by health officials are the same as we learn in Toddler House: wash

your hands frequently while singing ABC two times. Catch your cough and sneeze in your

elbow. Throw your tissue in the trash. Excellent advice. Rest assured as teachers we are also

keeping vigilant to stay on top of disinfecting practices in our classroom. Thank you so much to

our parents for so graciously following our school guidelines for dealing with illness; we are

grateful for everyone’s cooperation and looking forward to all our friends being present and

healthy!

In keeping with that, we are making a few adjustments to our classroom activities to maintain

healthy practices. We have swapped out our water table and baby washing for other activities,

and will not be offering mouth works, to minimize the chance of sharing of germs. We would

like to ask for your help by keeping toys, dolls and stuffed animals (except the one your child

uses at nap) at home or in the car, again to minimize the number of objects that may be passed

around.

Happily, there are still many things we can share together as a group, especially since the

toddlers’ favorite thing is to be together. At this age, toddlers naturally gravitate toward group

activities. They are in a sensitive period for learning to interact socially. They are naturally

curious about their peers and look to adults as models for how to navigate their feelings and

needs as social beings in a classroom community. At group time we engage in a number of

activities that act as guides for introducing such lessons in grace and courtesy, interpersonal

relationships and cooperative play. Many group activities have quickly become favorites:

passing the tambourine to a friend and singing “Buenos Dias” to each person, taking turns

holding the rain stick while listening to the song “Earth, Wind and Water”, making silence

together as part of the song “Ram Sam Sam.” We have many opportunities to practice taking

turns; for example, offering the red stool to sit on while waiting for a turn to wash hands.

Occasionally a child will test the boundaries by running off with a friend’s work; the interesting

thing is their cooperative response to consistent guidance toward resolving conflict. As

Montessorians we honor the child’s choice to work alone. But sometimes, when an altercation

arises, the teacher might say, “Would you like to do this work together?” Sometimes, it is as if

just hearing how much we value cooperation and collaboration in our little community is

enough to satisfy their learning experiment (for sometimes what adults label misbehavior is

actually an attempt to learn), and they will engage with each other or go off inspired to choose

work of their own.

“What is social life if not the solving of social problems, behaving properly and pursuing aims

acceptable to all?” Dr. Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

Thank you to Aaron Mitchell for coming over to affix our new bird feeder in just the right spot,

and to Ambra for the continuous supply of bird seed. One day as we all sat on the rug for music

with Corey, we looked over and saw the cutest little chickadee perched on the feeder having its

morning snack.

The next time this newsletter comes out, our dear Tia will be on her maternity leave! We are so

excited for Tia and her family, and can’t wait for the arrival of their newest member. Acadia

Prestidge, currently the morning assistant in T2, will be stepping in as late day lead. Acadia is

already beloved of the T2 children, and we are delighted to welcome her to our team.

Warm regards,

Becky Jones, Carolina Diaz and Tia Thao


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Email: info@woodland-montessori.org

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1124 Colby Street

Madison, WI 53715

Photos by Kelly McKenna Patterson