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Classroom Matters

Teachers and students from each class have provided the content below, please enjoy!

Physical Education

PE with Laurie & Tracy

We have kicked off this year out on the Field of Dreams, getting to know each other’s names and favorite activities! Tracy and I are working together to create a positive atmosphere for play where students feel free to participate to their best abilities.


All levels have established expectations for PE for their class:


Respect (each other, themselves, and the environment around them)

Be kind

Try your best

Have fun!


Extended Day


We are learning each other’s names and working on understanding boundaries on the field ( corners, running around cones). We are working on personal space while moving and fundamental movement patterns (running, jumping, skipping, and galloping) through games.


Junior Level / Upper Level


Junior level has been warming up with cross-field movements and tag games. We are reviewing the boundaries of the field and exploring cooperative games and problem-solving activities. The students are working on building teamwork and playing games with an attitude of kindness in this first month of PE.


Middle School


Group work and team building has been a significant focus for middle school this first month. Through game playing, we are practicing respect, cooperation, and fairness. This month all middle school students had the opportunity to learn various lawn games such as can jam, spike ball, corn hole, and pickleball. At this level, we invite students to share game ideas with us, teach the game to their peers and direct the game playing.

Primary Level

Leah & Virginia

Wow! What a fantastic start to an unprecedented year! After two and a half years of “more space, more space!!!”, we are all truly touched (haha) to be so near one another again and to be sharing hugs, holding hands, offering back rubs during rest time, and sitting beside one another during group lessons and conversations. It is clear how much each of these things were missed and how all of the little pieces of physical touch add up to a lot of love amongst this youngest group; indeed, a truth for all ages! 


We have all been working hard to establish routines and embody what it means to be a community member.  As was shared by Dawn during one of our Wednesday all-school assemblies, each one of us has the power to create joy and peace that will ripple out to each member of this community and then further and further out in various concentric circles, ever-expanding – worldwide!  With those words, we constantly strive to keep our scope of focus close as a way of staying on task, as well as broad, to remember that everything we do impacts the world around us.  Truly beautiful to start this practice as soon as possible in life.  Here, we do it at the age of 3!


We’ve covered many lessons and information in the classroom, and the children love it all.  We explored the life cycle and parts of the monarch butterfly.  This is one of our most beloved ways to begin the year.  Maybe you heard bits and pieces of this song at home: 


Little egg, little egg

Resting on a milkweed

Little egg, little egg

Hatch, hatch, hatch

Caterpillar, caterpillar

Crawling on a milkweed

Caterpillar, caterpillar

Munch, munch, munch

Chrysalis, Chrysalis

Hanging on a milkweed

Chrysalis, Chrysalis

Sleep, sleep, sleep

(while whispering… 

Metamorphosis, metamorphosis)

Butterfly, butterfly

Flying from a milkweed

Butterfly, butterfly

Fly, fly away


Ya gotta go, ya gotta go, ya gotta go 



We’ve also covered parts of the apple and held a simple dissection and exploration of and… for the first time in years, a tasting of a beautiful, locally grown apple!  We all agreed it was quite delicious and truly beautiful in all of its extraordinary parts.  


And with apples, you may have heard another song: 


Way up high in the apple tree

There were 5 little apples smiling down at me

So I shook that tree as hard as I could

Down came the apples, mmmmm were they good!

(continue the count down)…


Another thing we explored together was fire safety, which was topped off with our first all-school fire drill and will be revisited when a fire engine visits later this month.  Our class was well prepared after days of conversations, books, and practice.  Everyone followed our school’s protocol perfectly, leaving the room quickly yet calmly, staying close together, lining up on the patio, and waiting for attendance to be taken.  Each child’s voice was confident as they called loudly, “Here,” knowing they knew just what to do in a fire emergency. Practice is our best way to learn.  


And now, with the changing season, we witness the trees turn their fiery colors and lose their leaves as they prepare for hibernation.  More information on our autumn endeavors in next month’s newsletter!  Till then, take care and practice creating ripples of goodness so that together – we can make a difference! 

Donyan & Linda

“This is my school, my place to work and play.

My friends and I are living out each day.

Washing a table, polishing a cup 

Every day I’m growing up!

This is my school, my place to work and play.”


Spooning, pouring, basting, tweezing, tonging, sorting,  cutting, squeezing sponges, sweeping floors, washing a table after lunch, moping spills, washing hands, blowing noses, zipping a jacket, putting on shoes, asking for help, saying thank you, raising a hand, waiting for a turn, sharing a shovel, working together, rolling a rug, walking around a rug, carrying a tray, making the work ready for the next person, making space for others at the circle, careful walking, quietly talking, loudly sharing feelings, noticing others, offering help, hugging, caring, using the potty, flushing the toilet, even wiping the seat, dressing oneself after a toileting accident, closing a door, opening a door, carrying ones personal things to the cubby, packing a backpack, refilling water bottles, evacuation drills,  remembering all the steps and so so much more……..THIS IS “Practically life,” “practical life,” “practically full of life,” “fully life,” PRACTICAL LIFE!


Whatever your child calls this area of our classroom, Practical Life lessons are the most poignant lessons for the primary child. Whether learning how to use the toilet, work through a conflict, zip a zipper, or close a lunch container Practical Life and its many lessons are embodied in the whole classroom and within the child’s daily experiences. 


During the first 6-8 weeks of school, our youngest community members are learning to navigate a whole new world AND a new level of independence. While at school, children are responsible for themselves, their peers, and their environment. It’s often a surprise the first time a child realizes that they are so capable of doing so many things by themselves. Joyful cheers of “I did it!” are often heard through the hum of a busy classroom. Celebratory songs and dances are shared after successes in the bathroom or putting on one’s shoes. Hugs of gratitude are shared when help is given. Hugs of apologies are offered when mistakes are made. 


All the while, a secret learning is happening. Some Montessori teachers refer to this joyful learning as OCCI (Order, Concentration, Coordination, Independence)


Order: Children are constantly learning routines and processes. Developing their sense of ORDER.


Concentration: Children must focus when developing any skill. Watching, listening, doing, and developing their sense of CONCENTRATION.


Coordination: Practical Life fine motor lessons are set to develop COORDINATION. Moving left to right, refining motor skills, and beginning to recognize that the whole body must work together to complete a task.


Independence: Children are taking care of themselves. Choosing work that interests them. Preparing their own lunch spaces. Dressing themselves. Independently recognizing when they need help and when they don’t. Independently noticing when others need help. Truly, magically, each child unfolds their independence at their own pace, with encouragement when required and an acute sense of inner pride when INDEPENDENCE is realized.


This independence is available for you to see at home as well. Encouraging your child to help set the table, clean up toys, water plants, care for pets, put on their own shoes, dress themselves, etc. grows the missing C of OCCI…CONFIDENCE!) 


By the way, we’ve also been building towers, learning the moths of the year, days of the week, seasons, weather, air, land, water, parts of the body, parts of the apple, parts of a cube, parts of a turtle, practicing letter sounds, counting as high as one can count, making records, noticing shapes, learning life cycles, naming continents, noticing nature, noticing each other, noticing sounds, and so so much more! This is called SENSORIAL, MATH, LANGUAGE, GEOGRAPHY, and SCIENCE. Everything, everything, everything begins and ends with PRACTICAL LIFE.


Thank you all for a beautiful start to the school year.

Extended Day

Meridith & Becca

The Extended Day children have begun their new school experience with enthusiasm and curiosity. We are beginning to build our community together by learning the routines, rules, and expectations that create a respectful classroom environment. The children are getting lessons in the Practical Life area that help them develop the concentration, coordination, independence, and order that lay the groundwork for a joyful and productive learning environment. These are new skills for many of our students and the work is a yearlong process every bit as important as the work they do in the academic and specialty areas. 


Additionally, we are having conversations about how to be respectful and kind to one another, how to identify and share emotions, and the importance of listening to each other. The children speak from their hearts and engage in these conversations with thoughtfulness and love. As they are taking all of this in, they are connecting and forming solid friendships. They engage socially in their work, play, and outdoor lunches. It is a delight to see their smiling faces and hear them giggle together during these times.


We are also building community with the rest of the school as we’ve had the opportunity to gather for assemblies on the field of dreams. At our Welcome Assembly, the children were introduced to all the adults at the school and all the new students. We also joined as a school to celebrate the International Day of Peace. We sang and took time to reflect on inner peace and how that can transform into peace in the world. Then as our first Extended Day writing assignment, the children wrote a sentence about what peace means to them.


Here are a few examples of what they wrote:  


“Peace is eating at my house.”

“Peace is playing with my brother.”

“Peace is me and my Aunt.”

“Peace is taking care of my dog.”

“Peace is drinking a cup of lime juice.”


And here are some pictures of some of their work:  

Junior Level

Melani & Cindy

It is a wonder-filled feeling to be once again in a classroom with the three levels of children. Our year began with reuniting in our multi-level community. Many of our first days were about community building and setting up new systems. Learning to be in community, move respectfully and quietly in the classroom, and manage independent work cycles are ongoing lessons. Montessori children learn to make choices and be independent in an environment prepared specifically for their age and development. With this in mind, the children can move through work times – doing the work of learning – collaborating while Cindy and I teach lessons. They are learning to ask each other for help and rely on themselves without always coming to a teacher. There are times when Cindy and I can stand back and just observe! As the weeks have rolled along, we have begun lessons in all of the curriculum areas, and with the addition of specials – Gym, Music, Art, and Spanish, our weeks are in full swing! 

In Language, all but our youngest students are already working on the Spelling Book. Others work from the early reading shelves and practice word-building and reading skills. Reading buddies were established and our older children support the younger ones to read through the early reading sets. This work offers new relationships to develop and builds leadership in older children. 

Math lessons are in full swing. Our oldest students have reviewed and are practicing addition and subtraction and multiplication facts and process, while simultaneously learning new concepts in fractions and decimals.  Reviewing dynamic addition, subtraction, and facts is an ongoing daily practice for second-year students. A few are beginning work on the Checkerboard and multiplication. Our youngest students are delving deeper into the hierarchy of numbers and working with the concept of exchanging and borrowing in addition and subtraction. 

Our first History Lessons have included The coming of the Universe, Galaxies and we are now beginning the study of Planets. The lessons introducing the TimeLine of life are approaching quickly. Work in Biology reviewing the Five Kingdoms, External Parts of animals and plants, and Body Functions and Classification will support the studies of Eons on the Timeline.  All the children have reviewed the geographical parts of our globe and some of the study of flags. Lessons in Biomes and the people that live around the world are beginning. We have conversations about people who have come to the land we live on and displaced the indigenous people. We have discussed indigenous, colonizer, enslaved, immigrant, refugee, and migrant concepts in preparation for Indigenous Peoples and United Nations Day. We look forward to the Perry Ground visit and hearing more stories from the Haudenosaunee people. 

We had our first in-class movement lesson last week. We set up the classroom like a yoga studio and practiced asanas and some meditation. Movement lessons in the classroom also include Plate Pushing, Spot Scotch, and Fundamental Locomotor movements! 

Recess is enjoyable with all of the Junior level children playing together. 

PLEASE, look at the weather report every morning and be sure your child has the outdoor wear appropriate for recess. It may not feel like it yet, but your child needs a coat, hat, and light hand coverings at school. We do go out in the light rain – a raincoat at school is necessary. 

LABEL EVERYTHING – that way, we can support your child to keep their belongings organized and out of the Lost and Found. 

Thank you for all of your support! It is a joy to be with your children.

Deb & Karlem

We are so excited to welcome Lions, Tigers, and Bears back into our 3-year classroom model! Our classroom is beautifully coming together and children are thrilled to reconnect with old friends and excited to get to know new friends. 


Our classroom responsibilities are really starting to take off – children are loving to find purpose and ways to contribute to the classroom by watering the plants, feeding our hedgehog “Nibbles,” reorganizing the shelves at the end of the day, leading the front or the back of the line, doing the weather in Spanish as the “Meteorólogo,” or the word of the week as the “Lexicographer.” Through all these responsibilities, the children are getting to know the classroom and making it their own. 


Language: Bears have been learning the basic concepts of speech (noun, article, verb) as they practice their writing skills, while the older children have been exploring compound words and expanding their knowledge of proper and common nouns.


Math: we have started the year by reviewing all concepts, and children are receiving math lessons at their level. Whether using the golden bead material or the stamp game to practice addition and subtraction, being introduced to two-digit multiplication with the checkerboard, or using the famed test tubes to practice division, all children are engaged with their hands and their minds in exploring math concepts. 


Geography: we have started the year reviewing the cardinal directions and thinking about maps. We discussed the concept of political boundaries of countries and started looking at flags as symbols for a group of people. The children are now using a variety of books to research one or two countries that they find interesting, whether from personal affiliation or simple curiosity! Please ask your children about their country’s research and see what exciting conversations can emerge.


Science: We are starting out this year reintroducing our format for science experiments. The first few experiments are on the shelf, and children are reflecting on the nature of gasses, liquids, and solids to start the year. 


Geometry: Our first lesson, “how geometry came to be,” introduced the kids to the origins of this critical field. Bears will use all those essential sensory and observation skills they learned in primary to learn new geometry concepts. At the same time, the tigers and lions will review the areas they are already familiar with before diving into new content. 


History: We started the year by exploring worldwide creation stories from different cultures. These stories prepared the children for the “Coming of the Universe Story,” one of the big Montessori lessons about how things came to be. This fundamental Montessori lesson introduces the children to basic scientific concepts demonstrating them at the moment with science experiments. It’s a magical moment for the new children and an old favorite worth revisiting for the older kids. 


The year is off to a great start! It is so wonderful to build our community in this new space with a group of dedicated and eager students!

Becky & Sophia

This year is off to a great start.  The transition from “covid/pod” learning to a more traditional Montessori environment went smoothly and the children are happy, engaged, and busy. It is lovely being back in a classroom with three levels again.  The younger children are inspired by the older children and the oldest children are role models and leaders.  We are lucky to have eight strong, kind, mature lions in our class this year.

We started the year by establishing ground rules and emphasizing the importance of the three Rs: respecting the environment, others, and yourself. We got to know each other and welcomed our newest member Jack Saracco, into our EAC community.  These first days are crucial for creating an environment where everyone feels safe, heard, and appreciated.  

Academically, we’ve been reviewing lessons the children had near the end of last year.  “Oh, I did that last year, but I don’t remember how to do it.” this is a common refrain.  I call it ‘knocking off the cobwebs’ formed during the summer.  We are beginning to start new lessons in math and language.   

Children in Junior level tend to ask big questions.  Where are we from?  How big is the Sun?   In history, we try to feed that curiosity by reimagining Creation Stories,  taking a  scientific look at the creation of our Universe, 以及了解星系和太阳. 

In Biology, we discussed parts of a seed and how seeds disperse.  Then we jumped into classification and an introduction to the five kingdoms.  

In Geography, we talked about the rotation of the Earth around the Sun and the effect that has on our seasons. On the morning of the fall equinox, we took pictures of our shadows.  Our goal is to do that at the same time for all four equinoxes and compare the length and direction of our shadows 

It was nice seeing and meeting so many of you at our parent information night meeting.  Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule and family time to meet with us.

Finally, a reminder that we are committed to going out for recess every day.  Please make sure your child has appropriate clothing.  The temperature on East King tends to be significantly colder than in other parts of Ithaca.  A warm sweater and an extra set of clothes to be kept at school would also be helpful.  We support the windows cracked, for extra circulation, all year.  

Thank you for a beautiful start to the new school year.

Upper Level

Terry & Andrea

The beginning of a new school year holds so much promise and excitement.  One of the great delights has been returning to our multi-age classroom and the bustle created by our busy bees buzzing around our part of the building.

The first weeks have been about re-establishing connections, creating new friendships, and finding routines and expectations supporting a safe and stimulating learning environment.  We shared our gifts and challenges, set personal goals for the school year, and even thought about our Snurtches that block achieving those goals or developing relationships.

By the middle of the month, Montessori lessons were in full swing.  In Human Biology, we have been introduced to the essential body functions and will start our study of cells in the following weeks.  A study of New York State is this semester’s focus in Geography.  We began with learning the physical features of the State.  For History, we are reviewing fundamental human needs and the big questions we return to over and over as we examine the ancient cultures of West Africa, China, Aztec, Inca, and Maya.  

With our three-year age span, we have pressed our elders into leadership as teams were presented with two STEAM challenges.  We have also experimented with using a series of straight lines to create curved designs.

Our Math groups are moving forward as some are reviewing multiplication and moving into division while others are working on factors and multiples leading into fraction work.  A third group is exploring ratio and proportion.   We have been stretching our math thinking with challenging word problems, math perplexors, and math centers as a class.

Each level has been crafting the first writing assignments of the year by writing paragraphs and essays.  Our Language Arts/Writer’s Workshop lessons allow us to bring together levels from each of the three Upper Level classes.  All the first years meet with Lizzie and Cassy and have begun their first novel, “My Side of the Mountain.” Second years gather with Terry and Badsha and have been looking at World War II and the Holocaust as we will launch into “Number the Stars.”   Marianne and Andrea are working with the threes and will soon start “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”.  

It is incredible to look back on this short month and realize how far we have come – creating a new community, diving into academics in various areas, and settling into the routines and expectations we have all established.   Though it has been exhausting at times, it is also comforting to return to our new norm.

Parents can support these new routines by reviewing events in an upcoming week so students can plan their work times.  Help your student find their at-home routines for charging Chromebooks each night, packing their homework in their accordion folder, and checking the weather, so they are prepared for our outdoor times.

We are already planning many new experiences and adventures in the months ahead!

Ms. Badsha & Ms. Cassy

Congratulations to families on a great return to school life at EAC! Students are eager, enthusiastic, and buzzing with excitement. One of the many joys is watching students navigate newly made friendships and getting to know their class “family.”


Much emphasis has been placed on creating a safe and inclusive environment. Since the start of the school year, we have had thoughtful conversations about the importance of equity and equality in our community. Students have engaged in very reflective discussions, which will no doubt continue throughout the rest of the year. The creation and expansion of our work together are set to evolve and students have demonstrated their understanding of what it takes to create a healthy community as part of their class charter. This is patient, extensive, and ongoing work.

We look forward to sharing what students come up with in a later post.


Over the past few weeks, we have been incrementally adding more curriculum subjects to our schedule to help students build their focus and stamina throughout the day. We have begun working on our Personal Journals, which is an excellent space for students to become more aware of their own social-emotional development. Additionally, as part of our Practical Life Curriculum, students are working to strengthen their organizational skills by taking ownership over the care of their classroom materials, their planner, and their Chromebooks. 


Students have been steadily crafting a foundation for all their academic pursuits by strengthening their work habits. We have been easing into our Math curriculum by completing a mini-review of basic operations with whole numbers, decimals, and fractions to ascertain student readiness for different areas of math work. Students have also been sharpening their multiplication facts. Most impressively, students have been working well together as older students have been mentoring their younger peers and helping them to build confidence. Students have also begun learning about New York State and will continue learning about the fundamental needs of human existence as part of an upcoming unit. This is a beautiful direct connection to all the lessons we did at the beginning of the year that emphasize the importance of coexistence. 


As always, thank you for all your patience and support as we continue this journey together. We look forward to connecting with you over the coming weeks to share more of our daily adventures!

Marianne & Elizabeth

Across our EACMSI campus, classes strive to build community and normalize students to our return to multi-age classes.  The Canandaigua Room has excelled in these areas by enjoying get-to-know-you activities, games, group projects, and exploring personal gifts and social inclusion topics.  Students have brainstormed, evaluated, refined, and consolidated their class values into a charter that has been signed and posted.  Recess has been as important as classroom activities in allowing students to reconnect with a larger group of peers and explore the full range of activities our outdoor campus offers daily.  

Academically, students have been representing the fundamental needs of humans through creative projects and had the chance to display and share their creations this week. We enjoyed detailed models, collages, stories, and even a puppet show! We have begun our exploration of Human Biology with a lesson on vital functions. Follow-up collage work has been creative and eagerly embraced.  

In Geography, we’ve begun our study of New York State by identifying the physical features of our beautiful state.  While the lesson’s goal is to learn about the range of natural resources in New York, mapping skills such as latitude and longitude, compass rose, and keys are also being introduced.  

In Math, we have formed groups by topic. Students have been using materials that allow them to explore concepts concretely as they move toward abstraction. Students have embraced a growth mindset in math and understand that regular practice, along with lessons and opportunities to work with others will help them grow as mathematicians this year. Many students have enjoyed jumping into complex problem-solving work in our math strategy lessons as well!

In Language Arts and Writers’ Workshop, students at all levels have been working on crafting a book review from their summer reading. First years are exploring informative and descriptive writing in a paragraph structure, while the second and third-year students are writing multi-paragraph essays. Students will soon begin reading their first whole-class novel of the year, bringing engaging discussions at each level. Many students are excited to start their independent vocabulary work and look forward to beginning grammar lessons soon too!

Students were excited to attend their first Spanish and Art lessons, and we look forward to adding Latin lessons in October!  Our new Spanish teacher, Venissa, mentioned that the students have been delightful to work with! We feel the same way and are thrilled with how our classroom community is coming together.

We look forward to all the fantastic conversations, ah-a moments, and joy this year will bring!

Middle School


Middle School

We’re having a great time getting to know and reconnecting with your wonderful kids! We’ve already engaged in many fun activities and are forging a dynamic, creative, and connected Middle School community. We’re three weeks into our full schedule and have already gone on three off-campus trips. We’re humming along!

Students have met with Allie for Latin and Kathrin for Spanish multiple times. They’ve had numerous Math and Science lessons on campus, one off-campus field experience (Mundy Wildflower Garden) with Jim, and the full range of their Humanities program with Stephen. Students are reading their first novel of the year, “The Distance Between Us”, and we’ve kicked off our hands-on Occupations curriculum on Wednesdays to do some woodworking and baking. In Art, Tiana has connected with students multiple times, including during our field trip to Mundy as they started their first art project, which is integrated with their first Science project. Ryan has plugged in on Fridays for several musical jam and singing sessions, and students have joined Laurie for PE for many weeks at this point. 

The Middle School prides itself on experiential learning; we lost no time in getting off campus this year. We begin each year with an Odyssey Trip experience during the first full week of school. It is a time of team building and exploration of the individual in the community context and has always emphasized outdoor, nature-based learning. During the week, we wove a variety of group activities into our work, meant to highlight group dynamics, aspects of leadership, and healthy and effective communication. The culmination of our Odyssey Week was two days of off-campus trips. Thursday, September 15, we journeyed to Stewart Park to engage in a Cornell Outdoor Education Tree Climbing program led by COE’s co-director Mark Holton. Laurie Cuomo, our EAC PE teacher and part-time COE staff member, assisted. Students had the opportunity to climb two large trees, rigged with five separate climbing setups, reaching heights of 30 to 80 feet. They quite literally faced some of their physical and mental limits. Following our week of team-building activities and the debriefs that followed, students were primed to provide encouragement and support to one another as they took on these high-element challenges. As we were just beginning a science project studying our area’s trees and native wild plants, this opportunity to get up close and personal with some of Stewart Park’s beautiful trees provided students with fantastic inspiration for our studies. 

Our Odyssey Week concluded Friday, September 16, with a day-long hike of the entirety of Buttermilk Falls from the EAC campus to the base of the gorge and back. The trip offered the opportunity to study topographical maps ahead of the hike to appreciate the steepness of the terrain we’d be hiking, a facet of the hike that we felt quite viscerally on our trudge back up the gorge! The hike allowed us to observe some interesting features of the forest around the gorge and to identify various leaf types and leaf and stem arrangements. Students especially enjoyed having a picnic lunch at the lower park and having recess on the playground.

Our travels continued the following week, Friday the 23rd, when we ventured by school bus to Mundy Wildflower Garden as we immersed ourselves in our first science project–a study of wild native plants. Tiana met us there and led students in observing closely and carefully doing their best to render a chosen wildflower. Chrissy Boys, garden manager, led us in small groups through the various features of the garden and its mission to propagate and preserve native plants of our area.

We’re looking forward to an active and productive October as we continue to follow this spirit of adventure through more rich experiential learning!