In Part 1 of this article, I explained some of the challenges faced when new students join the Montessori preschool classroom mid-year; students who have not yet been in a Montessori environment. One activity that we chose to reinforce respect for community is the Friendship Salad.
Welcoming New Students Mid-year: Part 2
Joining the Montessori Community and Making a Friendship Salad
Each child arrived at the door for the day with a piece of fruit in their hand. They told me what type of fruit they brought, and I thanked them very much for bringing a piece of fruit to share. The items were placed into a basket and the basket was placed in the middle of the circle. During circle time, we talked about the types of fruit, and the fact that everyone is going to work together to make the most delicious salad.
After circle, I excused the children one by one and asked two to go and wash their hands so that they could begin preparing the fruit salad. There was a washing station set up, a cutting station– and of course– a clean-up station. Throughout the morning the children were busy washing their hands, washing the fruit, cutting the fruit, placing the fruit in bowls (one bowl for each type), and then cleaning their cutting board and cutting tools. Once everyone had a turn at each station, it was time to enjoy the salad together and everyone was so excited.
We had bowls of different types of berries, pieces of pineapple, and many pieces of apple, orange, kiwi, mango, watermelon, banana … even dragon fruit! It was an amazing spread and definitely symbolic of how well the children worked together. At circle time, one child was invited to pass out a bowl to each of their classmates, and another child was invited to pass out the spoons and the napkins. Once everyone had all three items, I chose four children at a time to go and scoop into their bowl the types of fruit they would like to try. I couldn't believe how popular the dragon fruit was!
Once everyone had a bowl full of yummy fruit, we folded our hands in our laps and said the following poem:
We fold our hands and quietly say
Thank you for our Friendship Salad today.
Now we may eat.
While we enjoyed our Friendship Salad, I played one of my favorite songs, “Light a Candle for Peace” by Shelley Murley, and we reflected on all of the virtues we had talked about throughout the week … it was a very powerful moment, and I must say, it has had a very positive impact on the children and their tolerance for one another. I have especially noticed a change in our two new Montessori students and I couldn't be happier. The activity seemed to create a real sense of togetherness in our little Montessori community … what more could any Montessori teacher ask for?
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, March 8, 2011.