Open House, 2014

Today we got the opportunity to leave Bug behind (with his grandpa, not in the parking lot) and visit Little Bear’s school. She goes to Montessori school which means that generally, parents are encouraged to stay out of the classroom space and let the children take ownership of school and their work. Or something like that. There hasn’t been a ton of communication home from school, either, so the entire thing has been a bit of a mystery to us. But Little Bear seems happy and engaged so we don’t have any complaints. Anyway, Papa and I were both so excited to go visit this evening. I don’t know about him, but it was on my mind all day. Does she have friends? Will she behave herself? Is she learning anything?

We got there and Little Bear introduced us by our first names to her teacher. We were given a card that the teacher had written earlier. The three things that Little Bear had apparently indicated to the teacher that she wanted to show us were painting, geometric solids, and “The Adoration of the Shepherd.”

Little Bear walked straight in and got out a mat. She unrolled it and went to get her first set of work materials. After laying them all out, she realized the story book was missing, looked for it for a bit, and then put all the materials away. She then got out a second, similar set, and set everything out in a very specific order. Papa read the story to her but obviously didn’t have to. She hid the angel until it was time for him to appear, lined all the sheep up to pay their respects, and didn’t take Jesus out of the basket until it was time. It didn’t surprise either of us because doll and pretend play is a big part of what she loves doing at home, but it was fun to see her level of concentration and the very deliberate order in which she played out the story.

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And then (and here was the coolest part for me) she folded up her blanket. The whole putting away process was a long one and, despite the adults and students crowding the carpet, everything was set back in its original spot before we moved on.

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Next we went to one of the small tables, where she pulled out a basket of flat cloth napkins. Little Bear knew she needed a stool for this activity and went to seek one out. She also grabbed chairs for papa and I and invited us to sit next to her. This activity involved folding the napkins on sewn in lines so that the resulting figures were different shapes. She only struggled with one and then, without being prompted, returned everything to its place on the shelf.

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After that, Little Bear worked on “Open and Close” and a few puzzles. Some of the activities she spent longer on, some she breezed through and put away. The puzzle was neat to watch because it was just wooden blocks that form a square shape. She didn’t piece them together right but worked through her problem until she solved it.

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Little Bear moved briefly from there to the following activity, which would have made her Boppa proud. That didn’t hold her interest long and we went briefly to the reading corner.

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Finally, she landed on magnets, where she probably spent 15 minutes building. She kept asking Papa and I to guess what her creation was. Despite our valiant efforts, we never figured it out. As she started putting everything away, I finally asked her what it was she had been making. “Something from my imagination, mama.” she said. Right. Well, I could have guessed that.

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