“The education of even a small child does not aim at preparing them for school but for life.”
Dr. Maria Montessori
As Montessori guides in a school community dedicated to what Maria Montessori called “education for life,” it is our honor and privilege to invite the children to experience the core values that inspire our goals at Woodland. Our mission statement emphasizes a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and environmental stewardship. The teachers at Woodland are currently enjoying collaborating on creative ways to transform these important concepts into age-appropriate, hands-on, engaging classroom activities for the children.
The toddlers are loving a new work shared with us by Lisa Berry, Woodland’s Diversity and Equity Coordinator. Lisa made us a collection of laminated cut-out hands representing the many different skin tones of our global family. We pass the hands around the circle; each child can touch them, look at them, compare them with their own hands and tell the group which hand they think resembles their own skin tone. We also take a few moments to observe how we all have various colors of hair, different lengths and textures of hair, and many varieties of eye color. We read the book Happy in Our Skin by Fran Manushkin and Lauren Tobia.
The Diversity and Equity Committee also coordinated our participation in The Big Read on January 17th, inviting members of the community to visit Woodland classrooms and share their love of reading with students. A lovely lady named Vicky read three books in T1 and marveled at the toddlers’ sustained interest. Listening to books is one of their favorite works, frequently requested throughout the day, so we were grateful for this opportunity to “follow the child.”
We have also enjoyed reading the book It’s a Colorful World by CeCe Winans, Keith Thomas, Alvin Love III and Melodee Strong, a story of young children discovering self-expression and friendship in a world where everyone has different physical abilities, personality traits and learning styles. This book is a favorite because it is accompanied by a CD with a chorus we can really rock out to! The toddlers are also very excited about the illustrations of children around the world doing fun things they can relate to like yoga, soccer and painting at the easel.
In a few days our window-view bird feeder will arrive, making us caretakers of the hungry winter birds we often hear singing and tweeting in our outdoor environment. We will be able to see them from our classroom all day long and appreciate their beauty, and maybe even learn the names of some of our feathered friends.
Don’t get dressed on Friday, February 14th. It’s Friendship Day and Pajama and Pancake Breakfast at Woodland, Toddler One included. Come to school in your favorite PJ’s!
Becky Jones, Carolina Diaz and Tia Tao