From our classroom located on the first floor of the Montessori building, we are able to see trucks and dumpster vehicles pass by, heading toward the construction site with excavators and cranes. The old gymnasium having been torn down, our new Activity and Sports Center, as well as cafeteria and multi-purpose rooms, and the Couger Cafe will be completed next year in 2020. The children love looking out the windows at these big vehicles.
One day, we saw a big excavator and got so excited. It was as if we were watching a big dinosaur lumber by before our very eyes!
As major construction continues outside, we also love to build things inside. There are Legos, blocks, and … a Roman Arch! We have to be very careful, though, or it will tumble over.
At the end of January, Ms. Kathryn Claire, a singer, songwriter and musician came to visit with our Montessori and Elementary School students from the United States. She sang with us, taught us some songs, and presented each of the three Montessori classes with a copy of her CD. We have been listening to her songs in the classroom. She played her guitar, violin, and also harmonica. Thank you, Ms. Kathryn, for a fun afternoon during your music workshop.
February 3rd was Setsubun, which comes a day before the Spring, according to the Japanese lunar calendar. We’re all waiting for signs of the new season!
But then, guess what!? To our surprise, it started snowing one day in mid-February, and the children went up on the school roof to play in the falling snow.
Then came our favorite Valentine’s Day, to express our love and appreciation for our family and friends. We also celebrated Chinese New Year’s in February. A girl, who is from Singapore, went back home to celebrate this special occasion with family and relatives at home. A boy who used to live in Hong Kong told us the story of the Dragon dance and about firecrackers. He brought red envelopes for everyone with lucky chocolate coins inside and good luck charms for his classmates.
Excursion Day: Our Language Arts class, the 4-5 year olds, took the school bus to Hamagin Science Museum in Yokohama for a fun day of discovery.
The children walked through the floors of the Space Captain Room,the Laboratory Room, the Space Room, and the Play Room, where they were able to touch things like meteriorites and perform experiments. There was even a big robot. We are grateful for the two moms who volunteered to chaperone.
The teachers, as well as their students, are life-long learners. On Feb. 16-17, (Sat-Sun), Ms. Sallie, Ms.Catherine and Ms. Mimi, along with the Montessori principal, Mrs. Levy, attended a two-day workshop of Professional Development, at Seisen International School in Tokyo. The theme was “Positive Discipline in the classroom,” conducted by Ms. Cristina Varriale, a counselor at Seisen. We learned about the tools and strategies that are positive alternatives to traditional disciplinary methods, how to apply techniques that are kind yet firm, and encouraging. The teachers became involved in a lot of role playing, putting themselves in their children’s shoes, thinking about what the child may be thinking, feeling, and deciding to do. Is the child excited? Sad? Upset?
Ms. Cristina Varriale will be offering her “Positive Discipline” workshop at Yokohama International School (Loft Space) on Saturday, March 2, 2019, from 2 to 4pm. It is free and open to the general public. To register, please go to firstname.lastname@example.org The participants will be learning strategies to avoid power struggles, while also helping their children acquire greater sef-control and self-discipline.