In Children's House East, we usually sing as a group right before sitting down to lunch. Once I (Taylor) observe most have prepared to eat, I call out, "Please raise your hand if you have a song to sing or a song to suggest!", listen for everyone to settle down, and watch for little hands to shoot up all around me.
One very popular choice so far this Summer Session has been our "Sun Version of Grace":
The Sun is good to me
And so I thank the Sun
For giving me the things I need
The light, the bright, and the energy
The Sun is good to me!
[Sung to the tune of "The Lord Is Good to Me" from Disney's The Legend of Johnny Appleseed.]
This little expression of thanks for the sun and for the long days of summer has become something of our theme at CMC as we've adapted to the coming and going of many children, families, and staff over the first half of our busy Summer Session together!
The Week of June 6th
Our first week back together was centered on the excitement of welcoming our new youngest community member, Jiraiya, to CMC. It's hard to believe he has been with us for just five weeks!
From top left: Taylor reads a page from our celebrations and festivals reference book during "Pick-a-page" after lunch; Julian constructs the Decanomial Square using all the squares and rectangles; Jiraiya tries a pair of small tongs for the first time; Wally and Carsten collaborate on building the Decanomial Square while "excluding the colors that would be tacky in context" (there's no accounting for the tastes of preschoolers but excluding just some colors proved a challenging little spacial reasoning problem for the boys); Lou leans down to offer Jiraiya some advice while changing shoes; Jiraiya takes a break in The Peace Cube; Yaz and Jiraiya goof off for the camera during lunch; Jiraiya gives a garden tool a try; Jiraiya stamps leaves and bugs; Calvin looks on and offers direction as Wally and Carsten work on his world ("hemispheres") map.
Jiraiya on the green plasma car for the first time; the plasma cars have become his clear favorite outdoors!
Rita and Calvin take on the significant challenge of collaborating in creating a shopping list for Calvin's family on Friday afternoon. What I loved most about watching and documenting their progress was hearing Calvin admit that, despite his superior reading skills, he needed Rita's superior knowledge of our snack inventory and needs as a community to get the job done (teamwork makes the dream work once again at CMC).
The Week of June 13th
Our second week of Summer Session was centered on welcoming another new child, three-year-old Isla, to CMC. Like Jiraiya, Isla has moved through her transition to CMC with confidence. They are both established members of our community at this point.
From top left: Isla spoons beans for the first time; Wally and Roshan discuss making labels for their "jungle" (e.g., pond, field, lookout, family, path); Calvin, Mia, Lou, Rita, Carsten, Carver, Julian, and Oliver experiment with a rainbow of modeling clay one afternoon; Rita and Julian match pictures of tools and fruits to sandpaper letters (e.g., 'a' for apple and ax, 'or' for orange); Isla uses a sponge and bucket to clean a spill on the floor; TJ focuses on wrapping a rubber band around a plastic bag full of beans; Jiraiya focuses on Rita cutting carrots; a still from the 1980 film Fame.
Above: Calvin counts to the cube of five, marking each five bar with a number arrow and each square of five with a literal square of five beads. Below: Calvin beams over his completed work.
The Week of June 20th
Our third week of Summer Session saw our Summer Solstice Picnic Potluck, the installation of slack lines between our oak trees, and a whole lot of beautiful work and play in our outdoor environment!
Roshi shares his artistic vision!
Jiraiya helps prepare snack for the first time!
From top left: Roshan modifies a T-rex design to "dragon" (after realizing he did not have the pieces needed for the dino); Wally shows off his new structure while Roshan and Mia reinforce their knowledge of letter shapes and sounds; Jiraiya "chills" in the reading area; Roshan looks up from his first official reading work; some older children cut magic erasers into eighths, preparing a fresh supply of our much loved "magic eraser cubies"; Wally makes Marina tea (after being a real "butt" to her one afternoon); Roshan tests the water before submerging some daisy stems for cutting at our flower arranging station; Jiraiya and Isla give folding laundry a go for the first time with Marina.
The Week of June 27th
Week four of our Summer Session saw the departure of two bigger personalities in our community with Wally at IDEAS camp and Yaz headed to Turkey! All of us that remained at CMC made the most of our newfound space. . .
From top left: Jiraiya watches an older child place a "watering stick" in a plant he's just watered to mark that he's watered it (thanks for setting such a great example before your departure, Yaz!); Rita, Mia, and Asa deep in fantasy land; Lou, Oliver, Julian, and Rita collaborate in the carrying of our little trampoline (from the thrift store); Julian and Lou share a chuckle over Julian's shopping list (which may have included the line "1 TJ"?!?!); Isla gives folding laundry another try while Roshan watches patiently; Roshan helps Jiraiya wrangle a larger rag; Jiraiya uses one of our "table sweepers" to clean crumbs from his chair; Oliver practices writing seven on a chalkboard (both with chalk and in relief using his fingers in the chalk dust).
Jiraiya pours water back and forth between two pitchers.
Carsten finds the space he needed to explore and experiment with one of Wally's favorite Montessori materials: The Roman Arch!
Isla shows off her cutting skills!
And last but certainly not least, a very creative and stinky game of "jump off the table." (This video happens to be all boys, however, I can assure you that the girls of CMC this summer enjoy both jumping and bathroom humor every bit as much as the boys!)
The Week of July 5th
Last week was busy! We welcomed both a new Children's House Assistant in Mary and a new three-year-old child in Zane (Hannah's younger brother)! We also braved holiday weekend hangovers, sleep disruption from the t-storms and flooding, and (understandably) inconsistent attendance and arrival/departure times! Despite all the instability and change, all these beautiful things still unfolded over our four days together:
Zane pours "all the kidney beans" from one pitcher to another during his Orientation Visit!
From top left: Asa uses tongs while Rita completes a Metal Inset; Jiraiya shakes the spiral sand dish to remove the marks his fingers have left; Wally studies the movements of multi-colored sand in a chamber with water and air bubbles; Oliver, Rita, and Calvin all help TJ complete a map of Europe; Carver tries our new folding clothes while Jiraiya takes a break from our screws and screwdriver; Zane tries both stamping and tonging for the first time (in Children's House East, at least); Mia and Rita explore the Trinomial Cube and Binomial Cube, respectively; Wally tries out a new textured plastic mat under egg shell grinding (we use the egg shell powder we produce as plant food).
Both Isla and Jiraiya now clean up after nap in a blur of activity!
Carver supports two of our youngest community members by securing some gentle bouncing time on the slack line.
From left to right: Zane takes a break from his digging/planting to observe Roshan's brick of wonder; Roshan uses a brick to isolate and observe natural specimens; Mary discusses another arrangement of natural specimens; Carsten, Julian, and Lou give the slack line their all.
We are looking forward to spending time with many of you this summer and into the fall! Thank you for all your trust and commitment to our little community!