Wellfleet Montessori Preschool currently offers Music, Art, Yoga, Literature, and Cultural Studies throughout the week in order to provide a rich educational experience for each child. All of these studies are interwoven within our daily curriculum as well as being offered at more intensive times within our circle time. Cultural Studies will include an emphasis on Spanish as well as exposure to other foreign languages as we study continents and world communities. Art includes hands on lessons which allow creativity as well as exposure to Art History lessons throughout the year.
Exploring Literature written by Martha Hyams
My enrichment is called “Exploring Literature”. My goal is to share my love of literature with the children and to try to spark an interest and love of stories. I choose a theme to work with so that we are able to explore one topic more deeply than we would if we just chose books randomly. We have worked with authors, and gone through such well-known authors as Maurice Sendak, Jan Brett, Dr. Seuss, Tomi DePaolo and Eric Carle. We discuss the type of story each author writes, and the style of illustrations. Children express preferences and differences. I often try to relate some of the literature to art activities.
I also use the approach of dealing with feelings and situations that children encounter as a focus, and hope that conversations and contributions from the children ensue. We are discussing fears, friendship, and peace.
Another method that I like to use is acting the stories out, getting the children comfortable with performance and trying to feel the way a character feels. Most of the children really have fun with this.
I change style and subject frequently and sometimes go back to books we’ve read before, looking for something we didn’t notice the first time. The most important thing about “exploring literature” is that the children enjoy it, look forward to it and also learn from it.
At Wellfleet Montessori Preschool we practice Yoga once a week together. Each class includes these components: Greeting, Breathing, Warm-ups, Poses, Relaxation and Goodbye. Over the course of the child’s time in our school, they will be introduced to at least thirty poses from the Hatha Yoga tradition. In addition to individual poses, we sometimes do partner yoga and group yoga poses.
If you were to observe a Yoga class at Wellfleet Montessori Preschool, you would see (and hear) a whole range of things, all the way from deep and sublime peace and stillness all the way to bursts of joy and laughter. A good example of this contrast of stillness and movement is the mountain-star sequence which I teach children in September. First we learn mountain pose, then five-pointed star. The next week we do them together slowly: mountain…..star, mountain. …star, then mountain-star! Faster and faster until we are doing “Yoga Jumping Jacks”!
Each class ends in relaxation on the floor.Through the year relaxation includes- quiet stillness, soft music, relaxation readings, and guided visualization. The benefits of Yoga are many- exercise, attention to breathing, control of their bodies, balance and flexibility and stress reduction. But most of all….it’s fun!
Art is fully integrated in a Montessori classroom. We have two specific areas for individual art: the art table and the easel. In addition to this there are opportunities in each curriculum area for children to use pencils, markers, chalk, scissors and glue while working on math, language, geography or science.
The art table is a place where the young artist can work as an individual and fully immerse in the creative process. Teachers prepare different art projects and guide the child with a presentation of technique. From there each child will find their own creative voice in the project. Through the year we do group projects together such as a mural on the bulletin board, a group weaving and holiday gifts for parents.
We have a visiting artist program each year, in which an artist will show and share their work . We ask each artist to speak about what artists influenced their work and to prepare a project for our children as an extension to the visit.