By Ilene Costelo, Upper Elementary Teacher, Aristotle Classroom
It all started with one student.
Montessori philosophy teaches us to follow the child and guide them to explore their own interests. Two years ago, a 4th grade student expressed a strong passion for writing; she had been writing stories and experimenting with her craft for many years. Her teacher wanted to provide an opportunity for this student to follow her passion, and she knew that there were parents and members of our school with many interesting gifts and talents. The desire to help students explore their interests, along with the diverse interests of parents, led to the creation of Wondrous Wednesday. The purpose of Wondrous Wednesday is to allow students to expand their knowledge and further their interests while making connections with parents and other students.
Throughout the year, there are several Wondrous Wednesday sessions. Each session begins with brainstorming, as students share topics that they are interested in. Then this list is shared with parents and groups are formed as matches are made between student and parent interests. The sessions last for three weeks, with each group meeting for three hours total. All the students look forward to each session, as it provides a time for them to grow and learn academically and socially. Group topics have included bonsai, sign language, ocean conservation, art/sewing, math games, STEM bags, yoga, and coding.
When asked to describe Wondrous Wednesday, the students were able to eloquently express their thoughts and feelings.
“Wondrous Wednesday is a time for laughter, a time for joy. A time for creativity, a time to toy.
All the students work today, making, creating the Montessori way.
The parents join in on all the fun too, teaching the skills of life to you.
On Tuesday, I fill with glee, because for tomorrow, you see,
We will laugh, love, and all of the above, but my favorite part to call,
Is the kindness share from one to all.” – Piper Lee, 6th grade
“Wondrous Wednesday is when you have an hour to explore what you want, whether it’s strategy games, saving the planet, or something else. I like that it gives us the freedom to chose what we want, and we get to be creative.” -Manny Santiago, 6th grade
“I like Wondrous Wednesday because you make new friends, use teamwork, and you learn.” -Nicholas Burden, 4th grade
“Wondrous Wednesday is awesome because I get to learn something cool every Wednesday. The other cool thing is that you have so many groups to choose from like art/sewing, bonsai, and lots of others. Every Wondrous Wednesday is really, really fun.” -Cameron Chase, 5th grade
“Wondrous Wednesday is a time to learn about specific interests. The lessons are taught with objects and interactive activities. You may explore field of knowledge you never thought about before.” – Laurel Johnson, 6th grade
“My favorite part about Wondrous Wednesday is making a craft or presentation to take home. I was in the bonsai group, we learned to care for and cut small trees. After our first lesson, we got to make our own bonsai to take home. I know that the research group makes power points and anatomy/physiology create models of different parts of the body. The hardest part of Wondrous Wednesday is choosing a group.” – Olivia Rodgers, 6th grade
The opportunities for Wondrous Wednesday are endless. We are very excited to continue this unique space for exploration of interests and passions and we are excited to see where it will go in the future. Please reach out to your child’s teacher if you are interested in sharing your gifts and talents with our Upper Elementary students.