Sunday, July 27, 2008

Open Heart, I mean, house.

Oh what a fun day we had yesterday at the Open House. So many friends and families graced our school with positive comments and encouraging words. We ate, drank (juice), and were merry.

Best of all was to see the tiny ones, the future students, walk right into the environment and begin to work. They took out puzzles and cylinder blocks to tables and worked with them, explored some of the shelves, wrote comments in our guestbook (Thank you Cristina!). We had many experienced Montessori students of mine from prior years teaching on the island that helped and guided the new ones in putting things away after they finished and I even spied one of them (Esha!) giving a lesson to her younger sister. After months of preparing the environment, the result on this first unofficial day of school was endearing.

The school looked fantastic thanks to the help of so many friends. Sayenne has done so much I can't really enumerate. Just thank profusely. Tamara claims she just likes to hang out "at that place"- it must be so, she's appeared countelss times to do basically anything that we are needing assistance with. Even covering up a window my old bedsheet, with nothing but a very heavy hammer and really untrustworthy thumbtacks. Joost made our gorgeous sign. Ronald built our sandbox and children's fence. Ken (the international liason), David, Debbie, Jennifer, Amy, Susan, Mena, thank you and thank you to the construction dudes who initially got the place into working shape.

And last but not least, the Lichtenstein family that has been a rock of unshakeable support throughout this project from its very conception.

Thank you thank you thank you. My heart is full of gratitude.

The school entrance. (The plastic chairs are for the big giant adults to sit in yesterday.)

The language area.

Our new kitchen cabinet and shelves!

Herb garden beginnings- we have mint, basil, thyme and oregano.

Our lunch area set up for yesterday. Children automatically came into the room, sat at the picnic tables and served themselves food. It was great!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

North coast with my dog.

I went on a north coast expedition with my dog in search of flat stones and other viable playground materials. We had close encounters with Aruban savage wildlife.

I think it's the first time Max has seen donkeys. I wonder if to her they were just very strange looking large dogs.

Further on there was the tribe of goats that sent my dog into an out of control barking frenzy in the back seat. So much so that she managed somehow to tangle herself up in the seatbelt, straight-jacket style.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Open House

Join us on Saturday, July 26 for our first Open House/ Information Day. Meet friends and teachers, gather information, and have some yummy snacks. The school will be open from 2 pm to 5 pm.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More classroom views.

Door and furniture varnishing was the topic of concentration of this week. Who would have known varnish was such a fussy substance. Thank you Sayenne and Tamara for the help this week! Together we varnished one million tables and chairs and eight doors.

I managed to put together this nice little metal insets cabinet and it makes the language area irresistible. Who could refuse sitting at this well lit table and chair to trace with sharp bright color pencils?

I couldn't help labeling things with the lovely cursive sandpaper letters. I hadn't yet had the privilege of having a set of these puppies and they are so elegant and curvy. I love them.

The bathroom fixtures are up and functioning now which makes the place much more convenient and useful.

Next in line for beautification: the lunch area.

More classroom views.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Things finding their places.

Objects and pictures that had been stored for years are finding their place where they belong in the classroom.

The blue cat from Memphis:

The Maria Montessori from Amsterdam:

The butterflies from Panama:

The tiny crystal hummingbird from Colorado:

And behold our first harvest of shimarukus! The parakeets outside are going nuts over these cherries!

Thank you Debbie and Tamara for helping with the furniture!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Minor setback, plowing on.

A mean little stomach virus managed to whoop me and keep me out of comission these past two days and away from the thrill of furniture building and classroom organizing. I believe the ordeal is over now though and I can resume my joyful task.

We are cataloging each piece of equipment that came in the shipment and arranging things in their general areas. When the school year begins, the shelves will be sparse with materials. As the children advance through the materials, more and more of them will populate the shelves.

Rugs, tables and chairs- Finally we have places to sit!

There have been some major works going on in the garden thanks to parent/friend Ronald who built our beautiful sandbox, fence, and climbing stumps.

Beach sand coming soon!

This little fence separates the "orchard" from the front garden of the school.

The rock paths were completed.
And the tire swing hung.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Unpacking, building, Ikea is like a puzzle.

Unpacking and putting together furniture all day long takes it's toll (but the school is looking nicer each day- pictures will come soon I promise!). At the end of the day, to go for a walk with my dog is like a zen prize. Today, this exploded in front of me: (a soft granade!)