Casa West…The “brrrrr” months have settled in like the snow has. The casa is humming with wooly industry…bobbins and needles are turning and clicking with festive visions of gifts, teddy bear scarves, doll blankets, cat mats, epic garlands, fuzzy necklaces and bracelets…even a belt or two. Lots of love is spinning around the casa and the yarn is too…as the casa table legs will attest.
Casa East…Sweeping, dusting and washing-oh my! More like “oh yes!” in Casa East! Our small community has thrown themselves with unbridled enthusiasm into care of the environment. Dusting for days, washing tables for weeks, and we don’t have enough brooms to satisfy the avid sweepers. In our class, children make messes for the joy of cleaning them up and making the space ready for the next person. From washing cups to folding cloths our class is joyfully seeing and feeling that what they do matters and ultimately that they matter.
Elementary…Our Elementary students are experiencing, exploring and enjoying many aspects of the natural world, both inside and outside their classroom. Whether it be making and sampling teas from the leaves of trees from the black oak savannah in High Park, uncovering and discovering the mysteries of the universe or building the biggest snowball ever…the elementary students faces and spirits are a-glow with the light of new discovery.
A small group of five students worked with visual artist Thessa van der Kuyp to develop fantasy character sketches the first week of July. Each day, they spent three hours drawing with the help of a very accommodating live model called Glen, who braved the velvet cloak in the sweltering heat. Along the way, Thessa helped them with practical skills like gestural drawing, fabric drapes, perspective and capturing light on different surfaces. Special thanks to guests Leslie Norgate for showing them her work in theatrical costume design and Joan Moriarty for helping them with role playing. Here are some of the results.
Each year, 2000 students from all over the world go to New York to participate in Montessori Model United Nations. They spend several months preparing their position papers and county’s case dockets before traveling to New York. Once there, they embark on a two day negotiation to draft resolutions under the guidance of an administrative body made up of a group of high school students and a teacher. The final resolutions are read into being in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations. MMUN is one of a small group of organizations who have access to this incredible opportunity to hold their simulations in the UN building. Last year, we took a delegation of five who were successful in getting some of their solutions drafted into resolutions and they stood out for their sophisticated handling of negotiations. As a result, we were invited to participate on the Bureau.
Last week, Holly traveled to New York where she trained with three other teachers and 40 high school students. The role of the Bureau is to provide information, guide protocol, act as senate and interface with visiting teachers and parents. Orchard is proud to work with this esteemed organization in its efforts toward peace and international youth cooperation.
We are working on an installation that will open the Lyceum. It is informed by the experience the children have of the peace table, both as a concrete materialization and as an abstracted concept. Over the next few days, we will be posting the peace table stories and documentation. Peace Table: collage of paper, polaroid, resin
This year’s science fair was a spectacular showcase of innovation in experimental design. We had students that asked questions like “can you generate electricity from a plant?”, “are wetlands nature’s kidneys?” and “if you were to get in a bath with a hairdryer, which salt would conduct electricity the fastest?”. Quite simply, electrifying.
The Elementary class are inviting their parents to school on June 5th at 12.30 to view their botany portfolios and share a lunch they designed made up of all parts of the plant (roots, leaves, stems, flowers, fruit and seeds). Please rsvp.
Today the children who wrote submissions for the Young Voices contest co-sponsored by The West End Phoenix and Six Shooter Records presented them to Dave Bidini at the Gladstone Hotel. Dave reviewed them and gave them some writing tips. Next we met with Jalani Morgan, the Photo Editor at The Phoenix about getting the shot and creating a visually sensitive layout in collaboration with the editor, art director and graphic designer. All budding writers and their families are invited to come to the Gladstone on Monday, May 27th where the five winners will be announced.
Two of our Upper Elementary students used the cubing material to demonstrate the Fibonacci sequence to their younger classmates. As a lovely touch, they added objects from the nature museum in the classroom to describe how it is found in everything from the human ear to an ammonite fossil to floration in a sunflower head.
The cubing material is one of the last concrete materials used in Montessori. It is representative of a culmination of material that begins with the sensorial pink tower, translates through the colours of the decanomial and arrives in three dimension to explain larger concepts like the Table of Pythagoras.