We welcomed two new children, Jeanne and Charles from France, to our class after the spring break. The city of Yokohama turned pink with the blossoms of sakura everywhere. It’s, indeed, a beautiful time of year in Japan. For some of our families, it may be their first time to see Japan’s national tree in bloom. On a sunny April 6th, the children had snacks in their backpacks as they headed to a nearby park.
As we were having our snacks, the wind blew and petals started falling. A child found a bunch of sakura blossoms on the ground. It might have been a crow picking the flowers and dropping the petals below. We took some back to the classroom and placed them in a water container on the snack table. The children could examine the blossoms close up, and discovered that they all have five petals.
One day last month in March, one of Ms. Mimi’s students from 1996 — yes, two decades ago — paid a surprise visit to the classroom after school. It was Francis and his mom. They were happy to visit Francis’ old school. Looking at the Montessori materials, Francis still remembered the classroom. He is now 24 years old, having graduated from Harvard University, and is now ready to go on to Med school from this autumn. Francis said, “Ms. Mimi, I remember you teaching me how to tie my shoe laces right there!” It’s a pleasure to know that Francis learned to love learning and discovering, and decided to pursue the field of medicine to help people. Good luck in your bright future, Francis.
On Tuesday, March 14th , we had an author, Ian Whybrow, visit us from England. He invited the whole Montessori children to come to the library, and he read us some of his books. One of our students had brought two books that he had gotten in England. The children could tell that their classmate loved the two books; each looked like it was read again and again. Mr. Whybrow was happy to meet a boy from the same country, and autographed the two books for his new little friend.
On March 17th, Saint Patrick’s Day, we all wore something green. The children discovered that just the word “green” meant many different shades of green. Some wore light green, others wore dark green, while some wore pastel green. Other popular shades worn were yellowish green and bluish green.
Then we took out the Montessori sensorial material, the Color Tablets III, to grade the shades of green — from the darkest to the lightest. Once the children came to understand that there were so many shades of the same color, they began to appreciate the subtle differences in other colors around them.
The children enjoyed making a St. Patrick’s hanging Shamrock craft with cherry blossoms. “Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!”