Dear Upper Elementary Class,

I have just returned from my summer classes and wanted to tell a little about the things I did and some of the things I learned. I had a fantastic time! I met other teachers from all over the country. Some have taught in places like India, Korea and Thailand, as well as China and South America. Others teach here in the United States, and came from as far away as Wyoming (and Little Rock!) Our course was given in Charleston, South Carolina, a beautiful city on the eastern coast of our country. Because we were so close to the ocean, there was always a strong breeze blowing in the palm trees, which were everywhere!

Many tidal rivers and marshes surround Charleston, so there are bridges joining the many land areas together. I stayed out on James Island, near Folly Beach, which has some great surfing, though not like California! There is a long bridge across the Cooper River, called the Arthur C. Ravenel Bridge, which I drove across every day to get to school. Many people walk or run across the bridge for exercise, as it’s a little over 4 miles long. Here’s a picture:

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A friend and I walked across the bridge and back one beautiful afternoon. I was really tired afterward!

I was thinking about what you might like to know about next year, and realized that there has not yet been an Upper Elementary Class at Urban Garden Montessori. You are the inaugural Upper El class! At this point, you have no idea what it will be like. So, I thought I’d write about some of the things I’ve been planning for us to look into this year.

In the Upper El, we will ask A LOT of questions and then find the answers and share them. We’ll do a lot of that! For instance: have you ever wondered how it is that you got to where you are? No, I don’t mean how you got from your bedroom to where you are sitting now, eating a muffin while playing Minecraft and reading a blog post. Well, actually, I sort of DO mean that. How is it that all of those things that make up you: cells, tissues, organs, systems—how did that happen?? When did it start? How long did it take? What things had to occur before you could be?

To figure that out, we’ll have to recall when and how it was that life started on earth. How long did the earth exist before life began? What did early life look like? We will look at life on the cellular level, observing different kinds of cells and what types of life have what kinds of cells.

We will learn about early humans, too, so that we can sort out when and how it was that humans had advanced enough to be called modern humans. Also, when was it, where was it, and what was it, that made humans want to live in groups, in civilizations, and what makes up a civilization? 

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When did the ancient civilizations exist and do we have anything in common with the inhabitants of those civilizations> We will take time to look into where these people lived, what the land around them was like, and what plants and animals were there. What did they eat? How did they get their food? Did they have any kind of technology? What did those ancient people do for entertainment> Did they have music, poetry, dance, or drama? (Was there an ancient equivalent of Lady Gaga?) Are you getting the picture? There are innumerable questions to ask! These are just a very few!

Our classroom will be an active community of learners, makers and doers. (Don’t worry, we’ll still have spelling, reading and math, too!) As you can see, we have quite a bit of learning ahead of us, and each of you has her or his own questions and passions to share! I am looking forward to learning more about each one of you and the wonderful ways that you will impact our classroom, our school and the world around you. So, when you come to school, come with your curious mind, a friendly smile, willing hands and an open heart, and you will be met with the same. We will each use all of those gifts to create our community to inspire the best in ourselves, each other and those around us. I know we are going to have an exciting year, full of learning, fun and friendship. I can’t wait to see you in August!

Enthusiastically,

Ms. Loerch

 P.S. Send me a note about what you’ve been doing, if you like, or if you have any questions. I’d love to hear from you! You can email me at sloerch@ugmontessori.com, or send me a letter or postcard to this address:

Suzanne Loerch
c/o Urban Garden Montessori
610 Main Street
Little Rock AR 72201