Academic Year 2020-21 comes to a close & we are off on our summer holidays!

In the month of June, we were able to complete the academic year 2020-21 in the classroom. Fortunately, we were able to meet face-to-face for most of the school year, except for the three days from Dec. 8 to 10, 2020, and the two weeks from Jan. 24 to Feb.5, 2021. It was a welcomed time learning at school, unlike the last academic year when we had to finish the end of the school year online.  The children were happy to wear their masks both in and out of the classroom. They cooperated with extra anti-virus measures, washing hands, observing proper physical distances even when pairing on tasks and during Circle Time. The children, as a result, could see their teachers and friends every day at school, thanks to the decisions made by the school administration.

Monday, June 7th, was the Completion Ceremony for our 22 Montessori graduates from the three Montessori classes.   We could hold the ceremony in the Fine Arts Auditorium, with each graduate limited to inviting three members of the same household—due to Covid-19 preventative measures recommended.  We had a few practices earlier in the Auditorium with the children, and then the actual day arrived. We started with a prayer thanking God for this special day.

“Father, we thank you for the night, and for the pleasant morning light.

For rest and food and loving care, and all that makes the world so fair.

Help us to do the things we should, to be to others, kind and good.

In all we do, in all we say, to grow more loving every day.  

Amen.”

Then the children performed a well-rehearsed dance to a song about a Rainbow of Different Colors, just like we are at Japan’s oldest international school, which, by the way, will be celebrating next year Saint Maur International School’s 150th Anniversary (1872). “The World is a Rainbow…”

The children received their certificates, one by one.  There were also messages delivered on stage by our principal, Mrs. Forbes-Dias, and from our Montessori Head, Ms. Sallie.  It was a lovely day to honor our graduates, completing their studies as Montessori children and ready for new adventures and discoveries as Elementary School students.

And here we are, the Montessori graduates of 2021 from Ms. Mimi and Ms. Momo’s class. And in 12 years, they will be graduating from High School!  We took our last group photo with big smiles!  (a quick five seconds of masks-off to show off our happy faces)

What did we learn over the last few weeks? Let’s see our classroom in action. A three-year-old carefully pouring beans from one jug to another, a part of Practical Life activity.  Concentration and eye-hand coordination are developed.

Learning about the parts of the frog and the stages of their life cycle. Egg, tadpole, froglet, and into adulthood.

The last week of school ended with the younger children presenting their Show & Tell.  They could now express themselves so much more as we reflect on the first time they had their Show & Tell in the summer of 2020 when they had just started school. They confidently expressed themselves and accepted questions from their curious classmates. They could respond to them.

Science experiment:  Magnetic and non-magnetic. The children first had to guess if an item was magnetic or non-magnetic, and then they experimented to see if their hypothesis was correct or not by moving the magnets closer. They took turns with a partner.

“Noah’s Ark”:  We read a story from the Bible about Noah’s ark and filling it with pairs of God’s creatures.

God instructed Noah to build an ark and gather all the animals, two by two, as there was going to be a massive flood.

We also had many stories and puzzles related to Noah’s Ark.

We know why God brought the big beautiful rainbow across the sky following the flood.  It was a symbol of peace.

We love the seven colors of the rainbow. After we colored the lines of the rainbow, we put them together to make long wiggly lines.

A 6-year-old reading a book to a younger child. He is also explaining to her about the picture of a butterfly.

Sometimes a student reads and shares a story that the child had written.

Drawing on the easel:  Not only do children write words and sometimes stories on the easel, but they also like to express their creativity.  This boy is writing about a “Cat Family”. The easel became a place where discussions started.

Geography was an ongoing project throughout the year:

Map-making, a popular activity in a Montessori classroom.  Making a continent globe, learning key facts as they pinned the outlines.

The continents of North America and South America:  The children inquired into which classmates came from what country, and from which continent.  

The continent of North America: Discovering the national flag after outlining the country with a pushpin, and pasting the parts together. The children did research along the way.

The Continent of South America: Drawing their products on the map as well.

This child is making a map of Japan, and learning the names of the nation’s regions. This is the map of Japan where we now live and go to school:  The country of Japan, the region of Kanto, the city of Yokohama.

One hot day, we got to enjoy cold popsicles in the afternoon. Yummy… they hit the spot.

I’m done already! Oh, that was good!    

When the children were eating lunch, they knew that they had to eat in silence since they took off their masks.  As a result, the children developed their own sign language to communicate with each other through the transparent hard-plastic table dividers.  How clever and fun!

This was our last month to enjoy some creative obento lunches. A child actually ate these fun boxed lunches created by her mom below. And we all enjoyed looking at the details as shown in these pictures taken during lunchtimes.

 

 

And the last obento was… a bouquet of flowers with love by mom!

 

Standing behind the gorgeous basket of flowers from all of our children’s families, the Montessori team of the 2020-21 school year would like to say “Thank you for the fun times we had together with the children and parents this academic year in the classroom on campus.”  It was a real coordinated effort, which also included school staff in the Library and PE, as well as AV / Lighting crew for the Fine Arts Auditorium. Continue to stay safe and well, and have a restful summer vacation.   We took off our masks for a quick photo to smile at the camera on the last faculty work week. Please stay cool, and wear your masks whenever outside to stay healthy during the hot summer!

A little information about our class this academic year:  We had 19 children. Their families are from 6 out of the 7 Continents (with the exception of Antarctica).  Did you know that we had children from 14 nations, able to converse in the various languages spoken at home?

We are a truly international Montessori school.  And each child is an ambassador of their family’s country, learning to work and play together at school on campus with classmates from different countries, observing a variety of foods, customs, and religions. We truly live in a global community, and we live “in peace and harmony” with each other inside and outside the classroom on campus, using the school’s official language of English for communicating and learning.

Our children here (including the two classmates who left in April and are not in this photo) hold passports from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Syria, and the United States of America,

The languages spoken at home include Arabic, English, French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Romanian, and Russian.

I hope you enjoyed this final Class Blog of the school year 2020-21.  For me, It was a pleasure to witness, especially when selecting these photos, the age-specific achievements and growth of our children academically, socially, physically, and emotionally.

I’d like to conclude this blog of Ms. Mimi and Ms. Momo’s class with a prayer entitled, “Growing up”,  by K. Faulkner:

“Look at the marks upon the door, each day I grow a little more.

We make the marks so we can see I’m taller than I used to be.

Lord, help me to grow straight and true, and grow each day closer to You.  Amen”

 

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