Blog

September ’16 at Emerson School

Written by Christina Trujillo

The 16-17 school year is in full swing at Emerson School. Below is our monthly newsletter from director, Linda Paz.

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Welcome to the new 2016-2017 school year! We are incredibly excited to begin another year here at Emerson! This promises to be a year filled with golden opportunities for all of our students as we strive to find ways that we can be even better than we have before. We embark on this journey with a pledge to have this be a year full of engaging, meaningful and rigorous work in our classrooms, combined with special events, field trips and a plethora of activities certain to encourage our students to be involved and stay connected!

We look forward to a very positive and productive year together. We extend a special, yearlong invitation to our families to join us at school activities and events whenever possible. We want . . . we need . . . and we value your involvement and support in your child’s education! Your active participation is key to the success of your young student during his/her early school years.

Please know that we highly value home/school communication here at Emerson. It is vital and plays an integral role in each student’s success. We encourage you to contact us if/when the need arises, and to stay in the know about your child’s studies, assignments, assessments, and school activities, as well as other events and happenings. That being said, please allow your student time to adjust to new routines and relationships as this new school year begins. Just as it takes time for adults to adjust to new situations, jobs, and environments, it also takes time for our children to do the same. Rest assured that if any of our staff members notice anything out of the ordinary with your child, we will contact you and keep you informed of any unusual concerns.

Again, we welcome you to Emerson and to our wonderful learning community. Here’s to an AWESOME new school year as we work together to make our school a great place to work and learn each day!

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Lower Elementary News

MATH

1st graders will be introduced to the decimal layout, numbers to 9999 and basic concepts in geometry. 2nd graders continue to plug away in their Math curriculum. There will be a strong emphasis on good procedural and critical thinking habits with our students with their math work.

LANGUAGE

Reading and Spelling group evaluations will happen the first week and the students will start their spelling program the following week. For literature the students will be start with the elements of a good story and by end of September will be reading biographies, which is a precursor to their historic Halloween writing project in October. 1st graders will be introduced to Nouns, Compounds & Capitalization. The older students continue with their work in vocabulary, mechanics and grammar.

MUSIC

Lower elementary students will begin their explorations of music by examining the spoken work to the steady beat. The beat is the fundamental, which starts all rhythmic learning. Rhythm is the most important element of music. The youngest lower elementary children will need experience with beat. These explorations will take place with our voices, our bodies, and instruments. As always, songs will be sung, games will be played and (hopefully) joy will be shared by all.

CULTURAL

“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”

-Maria Montessori

We begin the new school year with Great Lessons from Montessori. Starting with the Story of Creation of the Earth wrapping up the Story of Coming to Life. The children will also be working on understanding the concept of time in History. In geography the 1st and 2nd graders will begin learning with the basic land and water formations and geography terms.

SCIENCE

This year, our students will begin a year of study of Earth Sciences. We will begin with the story of “The Creation of the Universe” to give vision of the whole. Then we will move to more detailed studies of Earth and its place in the universe, which leads our students to an intellectual framework for all their studies. Maria Montessori called her course of studies for elementary children “cosmic education.” There are two principles involved in this concept. First, we always begin with a study of “the whole”, which gives the children a unique vision and a holistic foundation for their education. Second, we emphasize that each part of the cosmos is related and contributes to the whole. As children study sciences and other subjects, they become interested not merely in the world and how it functions, but in their individual roles and what part they might play in the continuing story of humanity.
For the month of September, our students will begin a unit of study on the formation of the universe and the formation of earth. We will spend time learning about stars, moons, and individual planets in our solar system.

Upper Elementary News

HISTORY

This year’s History lessons will be focused on Ancient civilizations. We will begin with Early Man and continue through Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Asia, Latin America, and finish with Medieval times. Ancient civilizations are fascinating because it allows so much room for the imagination to “fill in the blanks.”

GEOGRAPHY

All grades will learn about Pangea and the formation of our current continents. It will tie in to our History lessons as well as with the different Empiric Eras. 3rd Graders will study states and basic U.S. Geography while all Upper El will work to memorize U.S. Capitals and state locations.

SCIENCE

This year, our students will begin a year of study of Earth Sciences. We will begin with the story of “The Creation of the Universe” to give vision of the whole. Then we will move to more detailed studies of Earth and its place in the universe, which leads our students to an intellectual framework for all their studies. Maria Montessori called her course of studies for elementary children “cosmic education.” There are two principles involved in this concept. First, we always begin with a study of “the whole”, which gives the children a unique vision and a holistic foundation for their education. Second, we emphasize that each part of the cosmos is related and contributes to the whole. As children study sciences and other subjects, they become interested not merely in the world and how it functions, but in their individual roles and what part they might play in the continuing story of humanity.

For the month of September, our students will begin a unit of study on the formation of the universe and the formation of earth. We will spend time learning about stars, moons, and individual planets in our solar system.

LANGUAGE ARTS

We have a new reading nook for the students to enjoy their silent reading time. We’ve provided award winning children’s books, books specific to the eras they are learning in history, and some of our teachers’ favorites!

We are excited to announce that we have the opportunity to move to computer based Wordly Wise. This has worked well at other locations, but please keep in mind, this is on a trial period. We will also begin spelling with level appropriate words as well as some fun historically significant words (ex: Neanderthal.)

We are also introducing memorization and presentation to help with public speaking and confidence. These will be easy memorization pieces such as poems, parts of speeches, or stories.

MATHEMATICS

To begin our year, all of our Upper Elementary students will begin their mathematical studies by reviewing key concepts in geometry, fractions and general mathematics. Review lessons will consist of the geometric cabinets (polygons, seven triangles of reality), geometric solids, fraction inset materials, and the decanomial (sensorial and geometric). In addition to our small group math-based lessons, each of our students will continue to work on individual operational activities (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), memorization of math facts (Beat the Clock), critical thinking (Mind Benders, Think Book, Patterning), and also on skills contained in assigned Primary Math workbooks.

ART

In September, Art classes will study the prehistoric art dated from 30,000 B.C to 2500 B.C. Students will practice cave painting and sculpting Fertility Goddesses.

Specialty Classes

LANGUAGE IMMERSION

Emerson students are eligible to sign-up for either Spanish or Chinese Immersion class. The immersion program is an optional program, in addition to the required Spanish and Chinese instruction lessons. Immersion program lessons take place during our normal, early afternoon work periods and require a two-hour per week commitment from students. Due to the nature that immersion classes take place during regular work periods, the immersion option is subject to a child’s ability to keep up with regular course work in other areas of curricula.

PE

We will begin training for our Presidential Fitness Program! We’re very excited to run and jump and get more active.

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Upcoming Events

Dinner and Movie Night

It’s almost time for Emerson students to join in an evening of fun and bonding. On Friday, September 23, students in grades 1-6 are invited to spend an evening together (6:00- 10:00pm). We plan to take a short walk at the park, have dinner together and also watch a movie (tbd). More information about this event will be sent out soon!

In addition to Dinner and Movie Night, students in Upper Elementary (grades 3-6) are also invited to extend the evening and spend the night at Emerson School. Important information regarding this event, including list of items your child will need and permission slips will be sent out soon. The overnight experience at Emerson School is a requirement for those students in grades 4-6 planning to attend the camping trip to Del Valle at the end of the month. The overnighter at school is a test-run for being away from home. We hope that all of our students will be able to participate in these bonding activities.

Camping Trip – Del Valle 2016

Students in grades 4-6 are scheduled to go on a camping trip from September 28-30. We will join students from Hacienda, our sister school in Pleasanton, for this special time. The focus for this trip is to allow our students to bond, as well as to promote independence. Students will be encouraged to tend to set up (and take down) tents, execute meal preparations (and clean-up), brush teeth, comb hair, etc. without adult assistance or interference.

Christina Trujillo

Christina is a Senior Administrator at Early Learning Institute, a Palo Alto-based organization that operates child care centers and private schools in the Bay Area—including the HeadsUp! Child Development Centers in Palo Alto, North San Jose, and Pleasanton, Emerson School in Palo Alto and Hacienda School in Pleasanton—and offers writing programs for school-age children.

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