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Montessori: Your Daily Dose of Resilience-Building by Melissa DeVries, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

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Montessori:  Your Daily Dose of Resilience-Building

Raising children in the twenty-first century is a most rewarding challenge. In modern society we have increased access to mass media and greater sprawl within families. Youth are increasingly influenced by sources of information beyond parental control. Thus, our task as parents is to figure out how to balance sheltering our children while still preparing them for the future.

Research has identified many key elements that predict better quality of life in adulthood; academic achievement, absence of medical and mental health problems, financial stability, and rewarding social connections with others. Yet most of us at one point or another face situations that create vulnerabilities in these areas. So this begs the question, how do we bounce back? And more importantly, how do we teach our children to demonstrate the same perseverance when faced with stressors?

Everyday I work with families who are striving to bolster the skills and abilities of their children. They seek to help them to adapt to current stressors and challenges, and to acquire characteristics likely to help them lead a successful life in the future. My method of teaching is based on building resilience.

Drs. Goldstein and Brooks, authors of Raising Resilient Children (2002) stated, “Resilient children can cope effectively with stress, pressure, and everyday challenges. They appear capable of bouncing back from disappointments, adversity or trauma. They learn to develop and set realistic goals for themselves and those in their lives. They are capable of solving problems and interacting comfortably with others. They possess self-discipline and a sense of self-respect and dignity.” Temperamental differences can play a role in how resilient children are, but this mindset can also be taught in everyday interactions.

One of the most inspiring lessons I have learned through teaching others is that there are so many consistencies between the guideposts of Resilient Parenting and the tenets of the Montessori Method. Let’s examine a few:

First, resilience-minded parents teach their children to solve problems and make decisions. This allows children to have a sense that they can control what happens to them. This mentality fosters independence and a sense of responsibility. The Montessori classroom allows children to develop self-reliance by making choices and dealing with the consequences of their choices. Children develop awareness and trust in their decision-making through the feedback loops of choices and consequences.

Second, resilience-minded parents discipline in ways that promote self-discipline and self-worth. This helps children to appreciate mistakes as opportunities for learning rather than indications of failure, furthering the child’s emerging sense of ownership and responsibility. Positive feedback, encouragement, natural and logical consequences are all powerful teaching tools. The Montessori classroom also encourages children to learn from mistakes and successes by allowing for independent decision-making. Children make choices and experiment within a well-prepared environment that promotes creativity, confidence, and a sense of purpose. It is appreciated that children need time and practice to master new skills and that unnecessary help actually hinders development. Montessori truly embraces the “help me help myself” attitude.

Numerous other similarities can be drawn out between the Montessori Method and resilient parenting practices such that I consider Montessori a model of resilient education, with well-trained teachers to serve as additional charismatic, influential adults in our children’s lives during the school day. As parents, we are in a unique position to extend these teachings. Parents can adopt a mindset of resilient parenting “to foster strength, hope and optimism in our children” everyday.

Melissa DeVries, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

Please join us on March 4th from 6:30pm - 8:00pm as Melissa DeVries, Ph.D., an MCS parent and our school psychologist, shares more about raising resilient children and how a Montessori education supports resiliency.

Aspens and Magnolias Performing Arts Showcase 2014

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Aspens and Magnolias Music and Dance Performing Arts Showcase “Commotion in the Ocean” on Tuesday was absolutely delightful!

*Please watch for an announcement of upcoming Arts Showcases to display Art Specialist Kindra Fehr's work with our Kindergarten through Middle School students later in the Spring!*

Willows & Sequoias 2014 Performing Arts Showcase

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The Willows and Sequoias Music and Dance Performing Arts Showcase “Commotion in the Ocean” on Tuesday night was a great show! The performance began with both classes singing a variety of songs and this was followed by four group dance numbers - two from each class.

As usual, we had our little extroverts who danced and sang with such enthusiasm and on the other end of the spectrum those who were more shy and reserved. It is all a learning experience and we were absolutely delighted to see them growing and celebrating together.

Many thanks to all the parents, grandparents, and family friends for coming out to support your children. They are all beautiful and talented. We are very grateful to be working with them!

By: Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan

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Winter Camp - Icy Oceans

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on Wednesday, 15 January 2014
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The theme for Winter Camp this year was “Icy Oceans - the Antarctic and Arctic Oceans." With Corey heading the camp and Kellie assisting her the children had the opportunity to be involved in many fun-filled activities.

There were science experiments where the children learned how snow turns to ice, why icebergs float, how glaciers move and how temperature and salinity affects the melting of the ice.

The children also learned more about the location of the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans and why they are so cold. They participated in exploratory activities about Giant Jelly Fish, Polar Bears, Narwhals, Emperor Penguins, Ring Seals, The Northern Lights & the conditions that create such amazing colors, plants and organisms that grow in ice and on the ocean floor, and so much more!

This was definitely a fun filled six days and all the children had a wonderful time. Our thanks to Corey, Kellie and all the teachers who participated.

by: Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan

The Kindergarten Year in Montessori by Edward Fidellow

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An MCS Kindergarten student works on the Addition Strip board discovering "Ways to Make 10"


Kindergarten is the harvest year for all the planting and intellectual tending that has gone on for the preceding years in preschool. The kindergarten child’s learning explodes into an avalanche of reading and writing and math. All of the earlier preparation (practical life, sensorial) now finds academic outlets. The kindergarten child not only gains a wider breadth of knowledge but a deeper understanding of what she has learned and now is able to use this knowledge to enhance her own intellectual pursuits.

A Montessori education is not just cumulative in its learning; it is exponential in its understanding. The learning that happens in kindergarten is not just adding another year’s knowledge but multiplying what is learned and applying it to what is to come.

It is common for Montessori kindergarten graduates to be able to read well (and write) and to understand math far beyond addition and subtraction all the way to multiplication, division and geometry.

To miss this formative year that sets successful life patterns is to miss the ultimate advantage of this unique preschool experience.Maybe even more significantly, the lifetime patterns of responsibility, goal setting, having a work ethic, working through mistakes, inquiry and curiosity are being firmly set.


The kindergarten year in a Montessori classroom is also the year of mentoring. It is the year when the five year old is able to really help her classmates. This mentoring year is significant for two reasons. First, when you teach others, you really master the subject for yourself. Second, when you are asked to teach you demonstrate your mastery of the material. It is this mastery that produces the profound feelings of self-confidence and assurance that is the hallmark of Montessori students. Real achievement and real achievement demonstrated builds real self-esteem.

Leaving the Montessori program before kindergarten often places a child into an educational setting that is not as advanced; nor one that allows for the initiative that has been carefully cultivated during the earlier preschool years. The child is often introduced to a different curriculum one that lacks the individual intellectual satisfaction that comes from exploring and discovering the wonderful world of learning found in Montessori.

The essence of successful life is to be able to make wise choices. The Montessori kindergarten student is at a major threshold of exercising that wise decision making power. To lose that opportunity is to lose a significant part of the hard won success of the preceding years.

The great gift of an education is not the accumulation of facts and statistics but the lighting of the fire of learning, discovery and joy. It is a gift that Montessori children have the privilege and pleasure of opening and using for a lifetime.

by Edward Fidellow

Check back soon for more information about our Kindergarten program here at MCS!

Upcoming Open House

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on Wednesday, 18 December 2013
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Our Annual Admissions Open House is coming up.  If you are interested in learning more about any of our programs we invite you to join us.  Call the school for more information.

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The Old Elm Tree Lives On!

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on Thursday, 12 December 2013
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As we mentioned in a previous email a few weeks ago, we had to have most of an old elm tree which was located in the Outdoor Classroom cut down as it was shading part of our photovoltaic panels. This was a great loss for some of the teachers and students.

One family decided to spearhead a fundraiser in order to hire a wood carver to change the stump into something beautiful that all the school could enjoy. They asked me what I thought of the idea and although I loved it I felt that it was not the time of year to ask families if they would like to give money to the school for this project. I suggested that we wait until the Spring and then consider it. As it turned out this family who has asked to remain anonymous was so fired up that they decided to fund the project themselves as a gift to the school.

So for the past two weeks Jim Valentine, wood carver extraordinaire, has been working on our elm and the carving is near to completion. I would invite you to check out his work on Facebook and of course to visit our beautiful carved tree.

We feel so blessed to have been given such an incredible gift and know that it is going to be such a special place for our children to gather and enjoy for many years to come. We are truly grateful to our family who made this wonderful gift possible.

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A Letter of Gratitude to the MCS Community

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Dear Montessori Community School,

As you all know we have been collecting items for Syria such as coats, warm clothes, diapers, baby formula, and shoes. Thanks to all your help and generosity we were able to ship a 40 foot container and have enough items to fill a second 40 foot container and ship it.

These items will be going to Syrian people who have been forced to flee their homes due to the ongoing war and live in refugee camps near the border of Turkey. These people have lost their homes, members of their families, income, basic requirements to support their families and most of all, their sense of security. They are living in tents, some with nothing between them and the ground but a piece of carton. They have no electricity, some have no access to clean water or even food.

My Syrian friend who is working with many Syrian humanitarian organizations found that NuDay Syria can pay, through donations, for shipping containers overseas if we can fill them. So she decided to help prepare those helpless people for winter which is quickly approaching. Her project was called Keep Syria Warm.

Thanks to all the help from the community we were able to collect thousands of coats and sweaters, winter boots, medical supplies for the injured , baby formula and basic needs.On behalf of all the Syrian refugees anxiously awaiting these supplies, and myself, thank you to all of you for helping us send that container. It wouldn't be feasible without your kindness. Also a special thanks to Robyn and Ramira who supported the project. 

Parent Education Night:Positive Discipline with Toddlers

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The Toddler Parent Education night on Positive Discipline was a great success. Thanks to Ms Meghan for co-ordinating the information and setting up the program and also to Ms Nanette, Ms Sophie and Ms Kenzee for their informative and often entertaining presentation. At various points during the evening parents asked follow up questions. The teachers always had great suggestions but reminded the parents that sometimes certain approaches will work and other times not and it is important to keep trying new tactics.  It was stressed that it is vital to always be respectful of each child and to try not to get into a power struggle as this always ends up with one winner and one loser. It was also suggested that if a child was pushing them to their limits that they try to have the child take a break to calm themselves and if possible take a break themselves.

It is always heartening to hear other parents speaking of their struggles and frustrations so that it is clear that most people are experiencing the same issues and that this is normal stage of development for each child and that there are many ways to help make the process more manageable and hopefully enjoyable. There is no doubt that Toddlers are sometimes challenging but they are also so delightful, capable, inquisitive, lovable and growing and learning at such a rapid pace. We are most fortunate to have these children in our school community and our Toddler teachers are amazing. We are constantly impressed with their knowledge, patience and loving attitudes.

MCS Holiday Giving Projects

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Dear Montessori Community School Families,

Please find below a list of the Giving Projects that our classes have chosen to support this Holiday Season. We sincerely thank all of you who have already donated. If you have not had the opportunity and would still like to help any of these adults or children who have great need of support please feel free to donate to any of the projects. You may well be drawn to one more than another and we want you to know that anything you can give to any of these projects will be so gratefully received and will make a real difference in the recipients lives.

Oquirrh: Thanks to all of our parents and families who donated to our November charity, the YWCA!

Wasatch: We will be collecting items for children and teens at the Christmas Box House through Friday, December 13th.  If you would like to help, we are looking for clothing, toys, books and athletic gear for youth and children.  Thanks to all of our families who have shown their support!

Willows and Aspens: We are happy to announce that by your generous support, we have been able to collect a full bin of books for PCMC Hospital’s “Traveling Library.”    A big Thank You goes out to parents and families who donated to this special charity.  We will continue to collect books for the library through Friday, December 20th.

Toddlers: Help a refugee family in need make a new start here in Salt Lake City.  This family is from Mynmar and has only been here only about a month.

We are still looking for items such as pajamas, underwear, sweaters and toys for the children (boy, age 3 and baby boy, age 1).  Mom and Dad are also in need of sweaters and warm clothes (Mom, size S and Dad, size M).  Please sign up outside the Suns Class to help this family in need.

Sequoias: We are collecting items of all sorts: clothing, hygiene items, educational toys, books and games for the Volunteers of America non-profit organization.  They would be so grateful for any donations. Please see the list of suggested items outside our classroom next to the donation bin.

Magnolias: The Ghalley-Sarki Family, from Bhutan (Mother is 23, with son 6 and daughter, 2)

A refugee family from Bhutan is in great need of a necessary living articles- new and gently used.

Please look through your wardrobes if you have extra warm clothing (socks, coats, sweaters) in childrens’ (6/7) and toddlers’ (2/3) sizes; and clothes for Mom (age 23)- size Small.  We are also hoping to provide children’s toys, ie: basketball or soccer ball, and other educational games/toys.  Household items: pots and pans, and hygiene items are also needed.

We thank the families who have donated, and we hope that we can collect many more items before Friday, December 20th.  Any item you are able to donate will make such a difference to this family.

To help, please sign up indicating which items you would like to donate on the list outside the Magnolias classroom!

Middle School: Our students are collecting coats, in particular adult size coats for the Road Home. These can be new or gently used. With the freezing temperatures that we are experiencing lately you can imagine how hard it would be if you did not have a coat to keep you warm.

MCS visits the "Adopt-A-Native-Elder" Rug Show, Deer Valley, Utah 2013

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“Weaving all begins with a string, and the string tells a story. For the base of the loom is the earth, and the crest of the loom is the Sky; and there is rain, sunlight, thunder, lightening and roots in between. With weaving, and with everything in our culture, there is a purpose.”

---Native Elder, Julius Chavez

 

 

Each year we have the opportunity to take a field trip to the Navajo Rug Show and visit with our Grandmother Elvira and other Native Elders.  It is our tradition to invite our 3rd year students in Early Childhood and Lower Elementary to join us on this occasion in honoring these special women and men. This is a wonderful event and tradition, hosted by the Deer Valley Resort in support of the “Adopt-A-Native-Elder” non-profit organization.

The purpose of this yearly event is to observe the traditions of our Native Elders, and to show support to our own Grandmothers as we join in the celebration of their traditional living and centuries-old skills.  Through storytelling and music, jewelry making, and of course, the extraordinary artistry that is weaving; together we can appreciate the truly remarkable traditions of our Native Elders.

As we entered the gallery, we began our journey together and found ourselves surrounded by rich colors and warm hearts.  While we took in the beauty of each hand-woven rug, we listened to the stories and legends of the Dine people and learned about their traditional way of life.  We heard songs from some of the attending Elders, and as we listened, another group of Elders showed us the steps that are taken to create a traditional rug.   It was truly an educational experience to witness first hand the life cycle of wool; as it is cut, carded and twisted into yarn, then dyed, and skillfully and artfully woven into a magnificent, authentic Navajo rug.

After the program, we went to visit with our own Grandmother Elvira.  Each year she makes the long journey from her home and family in Arizona to participate in all of the activities at the Deer Valley Rug show and a very important part of her time in Utah is the opportunity to visit with our MCS children.  Grandmother Elvira spoke to the children, and told them that they were her own Grandchildren.  She spoke to them in love, saying that she prays for each of them, that they will be healthy and grow big and be happy.  She then presented us with a gift of Cedar Beads, meant to protect us and create harmony with nature.  The children made a gift to her also, cards and drawings that we collected and presented in a large pink valentine.   She held it close to her heart, and gave her blessing to the children.  Grandmother Elvira and the other Native Elders have so much to teach us.  Through their stories, we can learn to be brave, to be passionate, to be grateful and to love.

 

 

It has been our opportunity as a school to support our Navajo Grandmothers by way of our annual food drive and proceeds from our Spring Fun-Run.  These donations go far in providing firewood throughout the winter, grocery certificates, and Walmart certificates that allow them to purchase basic necessities such as clothing and household items and even yarn for weaving beautiful rugs that are sold to provide further income.

We were so happy to visit with our Grandmother Elvira. Our students have created sent special cards and letters for our Grandmother Emma as well and they will be send to her, along with some gifts at Christmas time.

This year we have had to bid a loving farewell to our Grandmother Rosaline who died at the age of 94.  We think of her often and wish her family well.

 

 

As we return from a holiday marked by tradition and thanksgiving, we wanted to share our experience with all of our MCS families.   We are grateful for the opportunity to give, to love and appreciate, to teach our students and our children the importance of knowing the world’s people, the needs of others, and the importance of family.  In truth, we are all connected by the uniquely lived-in fibers of humanity.   We can grow as human beings, and we can cultivate the human spirit if we are able to identify with one another, share our gifts and love.

A special thanks to all of our parents, students, teachers and staff who made this field trip possible, and a great success.  In the words of Kindergartener, Carolyn Altman: “It was a hit!”

Written by: Kellie Gibson

Courage

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Courage

by Edward Fidellow

It is amazing to observe the breadth of accomplishment that a Montessori environment fosters. Courage is not traditionally thought of as an educational outcome but then again Montessori is not traditional. For children, courage is the ability to try new things even if I am afraid. And as they mature courage becomes the ability to do what is right and to do what is good.

For a child everything is new. That is the reality of childhood. The awesome task and purpose of childhood is to create the adult. Life takes courage to navigate and to become a fully functioning independent adult. And it is this kind of courage that must be nurtured and practiced for it to become a practical virtue.

We tend to identify courage with physical courage – running into a burning building, pulling people out of rivers etc. However, real life every day common courage demonstrates itself in intellectual, emotional and spiritual settings. The courage to do what is right, to do what is good for others, to use our gifts, talents and opportunities well and wisely is the kind of courage practiced and displayed in a Montessori environment.

We well understand that the opposite of courage is fear. But for a child fear doesn’t yet have a definition. It is represented by an indistinct but palpable feeling of unease. For a child fear is “defined” by the unknown, the unfamiliar. (That is why Montessori children love and are so at home in their environments because of its constant sameness and familiarity.)

For the child conscious fear starts from the unknown – the dog, the dark, strangers and then becomes attached to the inability (and frustration) of not being able to handle and control the environment – bringing it back to sameness. (Perfectionist children come to this earlier than others.) Then this fear attaches itself to the perceived rejection that comes from disapproval. The child, unconsciously thinks, that if I only do what is absolutely safe or what receives guaranteed adult approval I don’t have any reason to fear or face disapproval.

One of the hardest concepts for a new Montessori teacher to understand (and embrace) is that of not correcting children in the middle of their work. (This is particularly difficult for perfectionists and controllers.) Unless the child is damaging the material or endangering others or himself or being rude you let them continue. There are two outcomes to not correcting the child in the midst of the work. One, the child discovers his own mistake and corrects it which produces a sense of accomplishment and control. The second outcome is far more subtle. Because you are not corrected at every turn, you do not freeze up; you do not constantly look over your shoulder; you are not waiting for the next shoe to drop. You gain breathing room to make mistakes – that’s how we learn. In this way mistakes do not become the end of the universe or the world as we know it. The child is willing to try something new (which is an act of courage) without being weighed down with the fear of failure or reproof.

Not being corrected (all of the time) is the strange and unique Montessori training ground for courage. In trying something new the child gets to practice courage every day. Eventually, the child becomes use to trying new things without the overpowering fear of failure. The child learns to work his way through mistakes which becomes a normal part of life and the learning process – which is a significant part of adult life.

Life requires courage to live fully. The Montessori classroom provides daily opportunities to develop and practice courage.

Becoming a Montessori Parent by Edward Fidellow

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Becoming a Montessori Parent

by Edward Fidellow

This Montessori parent, and school administrator, joins her three Montessori children on a field trip this fall.

There are seven simple steps to becoming a Montessori parent. When we say simple we don’t mean that they are not challenging. It is a lot like the definition of bull riding. “The object is to keep the bull between you and the ground.” Simple – but challenging.

The first step to becoming a Montessori parent took place when you enrolled your child in a Montessori program. That in itself is a challenge. Most of us weren’t raised in a Montessori school. The whole concept is foreign and takes a bit of courage to step out of the norm and our comfort zone. We may have chosen the program because it wasn’t like our school experience (which is why we chose it.) Or we chose it because we saw something unique in a Montessori child we knew. Or we were just plain lucky and stumbled on to a Montessori school and were fascinated by what we saw. Even then we had to deal with the question, “If this is so great, how come the whole world isn’t lined up outside the door to enroll?” (Which is the same question Montessorians keep wondering about too!) But you made a complex and challenging decision to become a Montessori parent. And here you are. So how do you get the best out of your decision? You go to step two.

You begin to understand the core philosophy of what Montessori is all about. Fortunately, you don’t have to become a Montessori teacher to be a good Montessori parent. (You don’t have to know how to manipulate all of those materials and you don’t have to keep fifteen children from climbing the walls.) The most significant Montessori concept is to respect the child. I can almost hear the wheels turning “Of course I respect my child, I love them very much that’s why I have them in Montessori, I want the best for them.” Of course you love them – but respect is different. Respecting the child is first, to respect the nature of children. Children are not mini adults waiting to be molded. They are like tadpoles and caterpillars that have their own form and function of life waiting to become what they are intended to be. We are often impatient for them to become because we don’t realize that childhood – with its curiosity, playfulness, messiness and all – is part of the process of them transforming themselves into the adults they will become. We have to respect that process – which doesn’t mean they always get to do what they want. One of the operative words in Dr. Montessori’s writing is the word “train”. We do need to train our children but we need to train ourselves “not to destroy that which is good” in the nature of our children. The second part of respect is to respect the personality of your child. Your child is not a blank slate. They are already imbued with the unique characteristics of who they are. The artistic bent is already there. The math bent is already formed. The leader, the follower, the giver, the taker, the extrovert, the introvert are already dna’d into your child. Right or left handed, right or left brained are already formed.

So how do you cooperate with nature? You become an observer. That is the next step in becoming a Montessori parent – you train yourself to observe. What does your child gravitate to? What gives them great joy? What occupies them endlessly? These are all clues to who your child is becoming. You are fortunate that you have a trained helper in your child’s Montessori teacher. Your next parent conference should ask more than what has she done but who do you see her becoming. It is hard to cooperate with nature if you are not aware of the nature of your child.

Our third step is to become their champion. I know. I hear you say, “Of course, I’m their champion. I love them.” And so you do. But are their goals your goals? Translation: Do you have goals for them that do not take into account who they are. (There are many jock fathers who do not have jock sons.) Yes, you have many wonderful goals for them to be caring and loving, honest and faithful, upright, truthful, etc – and these are worthy, significant and meaningful goals which they should attain to. But the expression of their lives – career, vocation, work – is best met and fulfilled according to their gifts. When your five year old says, “I want to be a fireman.” He may be reflecting the latest book or television program he’s seen. However, if you continue to ask the why questions, “Why do you think that would be a good job? Why do you think that you would enjoy that?” you may discover that your child is not drawn just to the excitement but to the fact of wanting to help people or he likes the aspect of being part of a team. All are important clues to his personality. Your child needs you to champion and encourage his personality (especially, if it is different than yours.)

The fourth step is to practice what they learn at school – grace and courtesy. Please and thank you, may I, excuse me, please forgive me and a host of other considerations practiced (and modeled) at home will go a long way to giving your child every advantage in life. People respond favorably to a child with great manners.

Fifth, practice independence. Independence is the ability to be self-governing and that comes from making choices, living with the consequences and having responsibilities. As often as possible give your children choices. “What do you want for breakfast, cereal or eggs?” “Do you want two spoonfuls of carrots or one?” (Don’t offer choices where there are no choices. “Do you want carrots? They say no and you serve them anyway.) Give your children chores they can accomplish – making their beds, putting dirty clothes in the laundry, dishes in the dishwasher, etc. Chores build responsibility; responsibility builds independence; independence builds confidence.

Sixth, give them the gift of time. Give them time to accomplish their chores. Give them time to be children. Give them time to breath. Give them your time.

Seventh, practice humility. They have a lot to learn from you. What is easy for you as an adult is mystifying and beyond challenge for them. Let your words be seasoned with grace. Look for the good in what they do. Their motives are often pure; their actions imperfect. Yet, we have a lot to learn from them also. And when you are wrong (when, not if) practice the humility of saying, “Please forgive me.” It will not destroy your authority or their respect for you. It will teach them one of the great lessons of life – when you fail, whether it’s in a relationship, school, career or life – own the failure and start over again – to succeed another day.

Becoming a Montessori parent is to become the best parent you can be.

Silent Journey and Discovery 2013

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on Friday, 22 November 2013
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A warm appreciation to all who planned and attended our Silent Journey and Discovery this November.  As always, it was a delight to share this experience with many of you.  As in past years, those who are able to experience the Silent Journey and Discovery have a renewed commitment to a Montessori education for their children.  Below we have shared some comments from some of this years attendees.

Parent practice using materials in an Early Childhood classroom.

 

This 6th Year student volunteer models use of a pouring exercise in an Early Childhood classroom.

 

This parent builds words with the Movable Alphabet.

 

These SJ&D attendees receive a lesson on Checkerboard Multiplication.

 

This parent practices sentence analysis.

 

"Our little girl started this October in one of the Toddler classes. We felt and understood how this would be a good environment for our daughter--we saw a difference in her after only a week! The only thing to say after experiencing Silent Journey is we THOUGHT we understood how good of an environment this is for our daughter. The progression through the classrooms and the works is absolutely brilliant. There is no way we would want anything different for our precious little girl. The system set in place is orderly, focusing on progression, growth, and learning pertaining to independence, reading, math, social skills, morals, ethics, and problem solving. We noticed how 'hands on' and multi faceted every work is designed to engage the children on their level with their own learning abilities and processes.

We were also so impressed with the educators- the individual time, care, and attention they put into their students. They truly know and understand each individual child they work with.

We discovered how the works build. The one that stuck out to us the most was the math. Starting early with dimensions, and stacking blocks moving toward cubes and counting- and onto multiplying enormous numbers by using a mat and beads- Absolutely incredible.

Math was a subject I struggled with and I can remember the exact time (2nd grade) when I got left behind. We had to pass off times tables with the teacher in front of the whole class. I was too shy and embarrassed to perform those simple times tables in front of the class for fear of getting them wrong or not being able to have them memorized the way all the other kids seemed to be able to do. I struggled the rest of my life with the ominous subject. During Silent Journey, when I reached Lower Elementary, I got it. I actually got a little emotional watching and doing the hands on mathematics. Both my husband and I just kept saying that we wished we would have had this type of learning environment available to us as kids.

We know the school is expensive; however, we walked away from Silent Journey thinking it is worth every penny and we would pay it twice over to have our children here. In our minds, there is no other way that can hone in on every aspect of learning for each individual child and still be able to provide loving, passionate, engaging teachers to foster a child's learning and progression. Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity and for this incredible school. You  really do 'get it' here. "

Chad and Ashlee Haslam, Parents of a Toddler student

 

"I think it should be mandatory that every parent go through silent journey! Even though Aria has been here for 7 years, Azur 3 years, and I have taught art on and off during all of that time, I never really got it as I did Saturday. Suddenly, all that I had read about Montessori or observed in the classrooms made sense. It builds on itself in a beautiful way as the student moves from one phase to another. I loved seeing how things made sense in a concrete way and then transitioned towards abstraction. I'm so honored to provide my children with this opportunity."

Kindra Fehr, Parent of Early Childhood and Upper Elementary students

 

Silent Journey and Discovery

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is coming up next Saturday, November 9th from 9:00am to 1:00pm.

Sign up in the office, space is limited.

Attendance is free of charge, brunch will be served &

child care will be provided to those who sign up in advance.

 

Join us to experience our classrooms, from Toddlers through Middle School, to see for yourself how the lessons learned in our early programs set the tone and lay important foundations for later learning. This is a wonderful opportunity to gain a sense of how the Cosmic Montessori Curriculum unfolds for the child.

Read about some parents experience of the Silent Journey and Discovery from previous years:

Having not grown up in a Montessori environment, it has been difficult for me to understand what exactly a day in the life of my Montessori students is like.  I try to take in as much as I can at pick-up and drop-off, with the occasional visit and guided lesson by my children, but there is no way to fully understand without an experience like the Silent Journey and Discovery.  It was an eye-opening voyage that I would recommend for every parent, and prospective parent.  I want to do it again.

Going through a classroom from each cycle really makes the whole Montessori experience come full circle from seeing how the Toddlers get their first understanding of space and shape, to Early Childhood and their practical life lessons, to Lower Elementary and their grammar materials which encourage socialization, to the Upper Elementary complex math problems, to a Middle School student-led Socratic discussion.  We only saw the tip of the iceberg, but the hands-on learning experience helped personify the school life of our children.  I was struck by the thoughtful organization of each room; how comfortable and serene a small space can feel.

I also enjoyed the roundtable discussion following our classroom journeys.  We were able to get some insight from teachers, staff, students and other parents.  Because Montessori isn’t the “traditional” schooling for kids in our country, there are obvious concerns and hesitations with going outside the “norm”.  Many of my concerns were put to ease and I feel my children are on the correct path for them at this time.  I appreciated the book recommendations and feel they will help in understanding the Montessori Method and perhaps assist me with decisions for my family down the road.

My kids have been at MCS for three/four years now and I feel like I have finally been able to look beyond the curtain of their daily journey, something that every parent should see and experience.  Now, when my kids and I have our chats at the end of the day, I can ask even more detailed questions and have a bit more understanding as to how their day went.  That is priceless.

Thanks again to all who helped facilitate the Silent Journey and Discovery.

-Carrie Christensen, mother to Lucas and Emily

 

The Silent Journey and Discovery was a very emotional and powerful experience for me.  I did not attend a Montessori school as a child so I am only familiar with the Montessori philosophy through what I have read and observed in the last two years.  It gave me a great appreciation and understanding of the different developmental levels of the works.  I loved seeing the progression and advancement of the works through Toddler, Early Childhood and up through Middle School.  The grammar and math works were thrilling to learn and experience.  The focus on the sensorial aspects of each work creates a love of learning.  In addition to receiving an amazing education the students are also learning how to be independent, respectful and loving human beings.  I think every MCS parent should participate in the Silent Journey and Discovery to really understand and appreciate the experience and education we are giving our children.  I know that it made me realize that I will do everything in my power to continue my daughter’s Montessori education.

-Tonia Hashimoto, mother to Savvy Williams

The Outdoor Classroom - An Education in Nature

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The Outdoor Classroom is a program that has been with the school for over seven years, and was conceived and developed by Ms. Donda Hartfield.  This program is unique to our school, and gives our students a way to connect to their natural environment in a meaningful and expressive way.  Spanning around the North- East corner of the school, our Outdoor Classroom is a beautiful natural trail, with gorgeous wildflowers, Utah-native plants, trees and geological treasures.  The school also hosts a natural amphitheater, where Ms. Donda gives lessons and instructions before the children are free to explore on their own.

Through activities, lessons and especially time set aside to spend within the natural environment, our children learn about their world and it's beauty.  They come to understand the fragility of a plant, the necessity of a flower, the purpose of a bee.  Miss Donda has enjoyed many years of her students' discoveries, and she shares with us her teaching experience:

"When a student makes references such as, 'The leaves of the California poppy look like reindeer antlers' or, 'I found a see-through plant' I can celebrate that these students are taking time to observe their natural environment closely and therefore, they are learning about natural nuances and details that make our world uniquely beautiful and effective." She continues by saying: "When a student shows deep concern for a tree that has string tied to its branches for bird-feeder ornaments because 'It might be pulling down on the branches,' I know I can trust that she is learning to care for her environment."  "It is through these kinds of observations that I can smile and know that these students are appreciating and relating with their surroundings in a memorable way."

 

It was a great pleasure to attend the first Early Childhood lesson on "Land."  Miss Donda said to the children: "Look under your feet- you will see the land."  "I am standing on the land, you are standing on the land."  Her lesson reflected the great importance of the land.  The children were able to dig holes in the soil together, but were asked to then fill the hole back up.  There lies a genuine metaphor here: if you use the land, you must return it.  The children might not know at such a young age what they are cultivating by their participation, but they are becoming considerate and thoughtful citizens of our remarkable planet Earth.  Just as the Montessori Classroom places great trust in the hands-on learning process, so does the Outdoor Classroom program at MCS.  The children learn through what they are able to see, touch and smell, and through the rare feeling of human freedom that one gets from living presently in nature.

Miss Donda tells us:  "There is so much to be gained from simply engaging in our natural environment.  And by engaging, I don’t mean necessarily hiking up to the summit of a mountain.  Engaging is truly listening and looking at the landscape, the rivers, the trees and plants, the sounds of the birds and the passing of the clouds.  Engaging is attending to our own naturalness through the breeze and the movement of the leaves, as well as the rise and fall of your own breathing and the subtle, yet profound connection between the two.

Written by: Kellie Gibson, September 12, 2013

Children of Ethiopia Education Fund

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The Children of Ethiopia Education Fund, or COEEF, is a Utah-based organization that provides crucial access to materials, uniforms and an absolutely vital private education to many children in Ethiopia.  Fiercely dedicated to the protection  and instruction of young girls, COEEF provides a new kind of life in an otherwise perilous, sexist, underprivileged and poverty-driven region of the world.   We share the mission of this organization as we mark our 6th year of support to such a pivotal duty of the world’s edification.  COEEF takes its place in the school within our Service Learning Program, a program designed to give our students a channel to ignite character, build trust and connect with others through acts of true service.

 

 


COEEF was created by a local SLC couple: Norm and Ruthann Perdue, when they traveled to the country with a humanitarian mission.  During their service, they learned of the great educational disparity in the upbringing of an Ethiopian child: with classrooms crowded, unfinished and ill-prepared.  At the time, less than half of all Ethiopian citizens were able to read, and only half of all Ethiopian children had the opportunity to attend school.  The two saw an immediate need for assistance, and they began working on a plan to improve these conditions.

While in Ethiopia, they learned of a child, 12 year old Kidest, whose father had died and whose mother had abandoned her shortly after, unable to manage under the strain of raising her alone.  Kidest had been adopted by her grandmother, who managed to send her to a private school, the “Ethiopian Adventist College” with the mere wage that was paid to a hard-labor employee of the school.  When Ruthann and Norm became  aware of this situation, they connected with Kidest's grandmother and found her bereft in her struggle to finance her granddaughter's education.  In her old age, she suffered physical fatigue, and she expressed that she did not know how much longer she could go on working to support Kidest in her pursuit of higher education.

This sadness would soon turn to joy, as after hearing her story, Norm and Ruthann decided that they would share some of the burden.  They made a request to the school and discovered that for a donation of two-hundred dollars, they would be able to finance the girl’s yearly tuition, supplies and school uniform.  This act of generosity would make them the first sponsors of the Children of Ethiopia Education Fund.  When they returned to their home in Salt Lake City, they shared their story with everyone who would listen; and by 2001, they had convinced enough of their associates to become involved that they would return to Ethiopia to enroll 30 children in private education institutions.  Shortly following this exceptional milestone, COEEF appointed a board of directors and was officially incorporated as a non-profit organization.

 

 

Participation and arranged donations in support of the COEEF service program are available to all MCS parents, students and volunteers.  Our school is responsible for the education of 7 young girls and we seek to make the greatest contribution we are able to this established purpose.  By raising money during our Annual Spring FunRun, our students help us finance this commitment, and everyone is able to share in the excitement of giving an immeasurable gift.

It is said, “Educate a woman and you will educate a nation.”   We are proud to be continued sponsors of COEEF and we intend to remain loyal in our stewardship.

* At this time, COEEF is collecting school supplies materials for the children they support in Ethiopia.  If you or your child are interested in donating to this season’s care package, please drop off your donation at our front office and their delivery will be arranged to COEEF headquarters before humanitarian representatives travel to Ethiopia in early October.   If you are interested in making a personal donation to COEEF, or becoming a child’s sponsor, we recognize you and invite you to visit the COEEF website to arrange for your own stewardship.

Written by: Kellie Gibson, September 20, 2013

Upper Elementary - Introducing: "Uinta"

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The Upper Elementary program is an essential piece of the complete Montessori education design. During the Early Childhood years and Lower Elementary years, students are learning through their hands-on materials and environmental experience, but as they approach the second developmental stage, they enter a more abstract process of cognitive learning and memory.  Upper Elementary is the next step; it is a program which serves the child in his reach for a more complex intelligence.  The UE program incorporates many areas of interest, including advanced literacy, cultural and historical studies, mathematical applications, core sciences, service, and applied life skills.  The program invests in the child with regard to individual study habits, identifying personal strengths, developing and following core values and creating a sense of true community within school boundaries and beyond.

Language is a principal focus of the Upper Elementary program.  The students learn through prepared lessons on vocabulary, grammar and word study; and are able to practice with Montessori prepared materials such as the Parsing Symbols, Sentence Analysis Charts and Synonym Matching cards.  Students learn through their engagement in independent reading, journal and report writing and prepared oral speech. Group reading and literary analysis on written style, genre and technique provide students the opportunity to develop their own spoken language through impassioned discussion and group collaboration.  Practiced writing skills are put to use each year as students select and promote campaigns for school improvement; this process allows for students to exercise responsibility and social awareness within their own environment.


The science curriculum for Upper Elementary has been tremendously influenced by weekly excursions hosted by the "Great Outdoors" program.  As a core resource to our students, the programs allows students to study through field trip experiences to local ecosystems on hikes, day trips and expeditions.  This program combines classroom and field studies through observation of local biomes and water systems, and participates in environmentally conscious service projects throughout the year.  As Miss Amy tells us, the UE students have recently been studying the hydrosphere, which has included experiments that investigate the water cycle (making clouds and watching plants transpire), water as a resource (making our own mini-well and water wheels), and learning about water's physical and chemical properties (performing pH tests and learning about density).  In the Great Outdoors program, they have kicked off the year studying watersheds by exploring the high places and learning about headwaters, what defines a watershed, and learning how to map out an area.  Together, they have explored many beautiful places in rain, sun and hail, such as Bloods Lake (Guardsman Pass), Provo River Falls (Uinta Mountains), and Silver Lake (Big Cottonwood Canyon).

With a class culture geared toward service, the students participate in many programs that enhance the spirit of their home community.  In light of a school-wide study on watersheds, the "GO" program recently adopted a segment of the Jordan River, which students help maintain and keep healthy in their bi-annual visits.  Upper Elementary students are also responsible for the school's recycling campaign, for which they collect, manage and deposit all recyclable materials on a daily basis.  UE students also participate in the school's fundraising efforts and events to support our COEEF (Children of Ethiopia Education Fund) stewardship, and our Navajo Grandmothers within our Adopt A Native Elder program.

The Upper Elementary students have been collaborating for the last few weeks, and are proud to be the titleholders of a new class name. Through a collective process and much deliberation, they have selected ‘Uinta’ to be representative of their class study and culture.  Unique to Utah, The Uinta mountain range is the tallest in Utah, with Kings Peak being the highest point of our state.  Our Upper Elementary students are well paired for such a title, as they hold themselves to a high standard in academics; but also in personal integrity, responsibility and proactive service.  The Uinta class is diligent, with collaboration and dedication being key concepts in the success of the overall class.  We are looking forward to another year of excellence in Upper Elementary.\

Written by:  Kellie Gibson, September 20, 2013

Lower Elementary - The Age of Collaboration

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The Lower Elementary years are dedicated to the construction of abstract concepts through classroom exploration and individual discovery.   As our students advance from Early Childhood, they are ready to take on a more theoretical approach to learning, with the curiosity to question and the imagination to find their own answers.  Unlike the Early Childhood environment, where children are introduced to small concepts that gradually evolve into larger ideas, Lower Elementary students assume major theories, and from there they are able to explore the individual concepts that make up a larger framework.

 

 

The Lower Elementary curriculum features a classic sequence developed by Maria Montessori during her exploration of these years, titled:  “The Five Great Lessons.”  As one of the most important and unique curriculum developments of the Montessori design, the Five Great Lessons tell the story of the Universe, the Earth and life on Earth.  In succession, these lessons incorporate the following themes: The Elemental Story of the Universe, The Timeline of Life, The Story of Civilization, The Story of Language and The Story of Numbers.  As a believer in the child’s ability to progress humanity, the Five Great Lessons teach peace and tolerance.  These lessons are presented every Friday to our Lower Elementary students, and can serve as a reference for virtually all other forms of discovery and learning.

 

 

As a socially sensitive period, elementary children are looking for a place of their own within the classroom and within a group.  Through her observations, Maria Montessori discovered that as children arrive at the second plane of development, they develop a great thirst for social interaction and growth.   It is because of this innate thirst that the Lower Elementary students are often given the opportunity to work in groups.  Group work fosters communication, collaboration and the habit of contribution.   Through friendship and shared interests, children find their capacity to belong.

 

 

Lower Elementary truly is an explosive intellectual period, with great focus on human civilization, language and fundamental scientific principles; these are the subjects that guide each student through a journey of discovery.   It is a discovery of earth, and the story of our race; and it is through these years of exploration that the elementary student will gain an appreciation for diversity and human heritage, and then find joy in becoming their own person.

 

By Kellie Gibson, September 27, 2013

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The "Six Pillars" of the Middle School Program Explained

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The Middle School program offers a highly advanced preparatory experience for both High School and for the child’s emergence into adulthood.  As part of the third developmental plane, the youth of our Middle school seek to realize their place in a school society and their community at large.  Driven by challenge, the Middle School student is at an age of empowerment- he or she is looking for a platform to invest acquired knowledge and individual talents in order to improve his own condition and strengthen his community.  To meet his ambition, the Middle School student seeks out opportunities to advance his intellectual capacity and apply it to life.

The Montessori Secondary program is built on the “Six Pillars” [Paul Epstein] which are designed to serve the needs of the child in their third developmental plane.  These are: self expression, trust, cognitive growth, commitment, responsibility and gender identity.  These pillars are integrated through an intense curriculum presented to the Middle School student through themed study cycles.  This six-week cycle begins with a study period that lasts about four weeks, allowing the MS student to identify effective personal study habits and analytical processing skills.  The fifth week is meant to give the student an opportunity to self-evaluate, which provides an introduction to the practical life exercise of test-taking.  This week is meant for the MS student to examine personal performance, observe skill mastery and identify curriculum areas where further study or practice is needed.  The sixth week, or “Immersion Week,” involves the student’s ability to spread their intellectual wings.  It could be planning a trip to a National Park, attending a career-building conference, or visiting a historic site- it is the MS student’s opportunity to integrate subject material from weeks past and process it through experience.

This week, the Middle School headed to Cedar City for a visit to the renowned “Shakespearean Festival.”  During their Immersion Week, they have been attending plays, holding class workshops, and practicing performance techniques with a theater expert, Jake Johnson.  In addition, they were also able to visit a national monument, Cedar Breaks for a few pictures.  For the trip, they planned their event schedule, budgeted for every meal, and took turns cooking for each other.   Here we have a few pictures of the Middle School students during their time in Cedar City:

The program at a glance features a staggering course of study in all areas, but especially in that of Literature, Science, Practical Life and Economics.  In Literature, the Middle School student has the opportunity to study traditional language and build vocabulary; she will practice grammar and learn the organization of professional writing as well as the authenticity and resourcefulness of creative writing.  In Science, the MS student learns to identify the properties of cells, the structure of matter, the Earth’s Lithosphere and plant classification.  These principles become solidified as students engage side-by-side in natural hikes, outdoor surveillance and community gardening.  Practical Life and Economics seem to go hand in hand for the Middle School student, as with each new learning cycle, the class takes on a new “business venture” in order to raise money for a year-end Historic trip to Boston.  These ventures include the refinement of skills such as gardening or cooking which are applied to the turning of a profit.  Unique to Middle School, students participate in a weekly “Montessori Market,” for which they prepare and sell home-made items and natural goods.  For these ventures, the MS student keeps accounting records, develops marketing tactics and principles of design, and practices negotiation strategy.

Not only are students of the Middle School immersed in the academic, but they grow on a different level through their study of guitar and music, outdoor appreciation and yoga.  As the MS student is fast becoming an increasingly social being, much time is spent together through community learning and building.   This group learning allows the practice of effective communication, positive relationships and skill building.  What evolves is a respectful and diplomatic environment, with ambitious, forward-thinking leaders who seek to improve the world in their own way.

Written by: Kellie Gibson, October 10, 2013

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Maria Montessori - Her Life & Legacy

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As we are so deeply indebted to the great work and legacy of Maria Montessori, and in light of her birthday on August 31st, we would like to honor Dr. Montessori by telling her story.  Born in a small town of Italy to parents, Renilde Stoppani and Allessandro, Maria forged her own educational path, even in childhood.  Throughout her youth, she acquired a very ambitious taste for science and mathematics, which was extraordinary for a girl during the time.   After attending a tech school, Maria Montessori decided to study medicine.  Throughout an intricate and complicated series of events (including a letter of recommendation for college acceptance by the Catholic Pope himself), Maria went on to Medical School to become the very first female Doctor in Italy.

During Maria’s residency, she spent time working with children in a psychiatric hospital.  She had not been working there long, when a nurse who was watching the children in the ward said to her: ‘Look, I can’t believe that they are picking crumbs up off the floor to eat!  How horrible.’  Maria said to the nurse: ‘They aren’t eating the crumbs, they are studying them.’ In a bare, sterile psychiatric hospital, where the walls were white and there was not a single toy or object for a child to engage with, Maria Montessori discovered her first realized observation: the necessity of environment.

Dr. Montessori was stirred by this, and a miraculous turn of events then followed.  After some time, she redirected her research to completely service children.  In time, Maria’s method became world-famous.  She traveled to teach it, winning many hearts with her curriculum.  In 1913, Maria published her first book on children "The Advanced Montessori Method", selling 17,410 copies.  She even attended the 1915 World Fair in San Francisco to share her research and teaching method.  Maria continued to share her knowledge for many years in her own country, until her teachings were banned from Italy due to world conflicts with Fascism.   She was forced to leave her home, but she continued her work in Amsterdam, and later in India, where Maria would stay for over 10 years.  Even after World War II broke out, Maria stayed to complete her work of the early childhood years in her study of the “Absorbent Mind, “ and her extensive study of infancy and the development of the “Cosmic Curriculum.”

By 1946, over 1,000 people had been educated by Dr. Montessori.  Maria continued to travel through Europe, Africa and Asia, lecturing until the age of 81.  Maria Montessori has been nominated for two Nobel Peace Prizes for her contribution to education, but also for her overall effort to improve conditions for women and children around the world.

We owe so much to this extremely brave woman, who endured conflicts of career progression, family separation, gender bias and war to bring her teaching methods to light. Maria Montessori was a leader in every step she took, and her work produced amazing outcomes.  Maria sought to educate children, but she also saw a magic in them.  Within each child, she saw: the need, the power, the magic… to learn.

By Kellie Gibson, September 5, 2013

A Closer Look at our Early Childhood Program

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The Early Childhood classroom is made up of several major components which construct the foundation for a Montessori education, the first of which is the Prepared Environment.  Doctor Montessori said: "Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment. "  A prepared environment refers not only to carefully selected materials set about a well-organized classroom, but to a lively and a passionate space, dedicated to the child in love and gratitude.  Peace and order are essential to the classroom, as is respect for the success of each individual learner.  The teacher becomes the essential link in this carefully prepared framework, as she provides a crucial connection between the child and the environment which will deliver his true self.

A second component of the Early Childhood Montessori classroom environment is the mixed-age group model.  The assembly of this division is in line with Dr. Montessori’s research on what she called the four planes of development.  This becomes a great benefit to each child, and it is due to the model’s dependence on the principle of imitation.  Children learn by example, so we can attest.  What is it about the multi-aged classrooms that benefit both the younger and the older child?  It is a unique opportunity to seek out answers in an experienced and collaborative group of community learners.  The younger students learn as they go, they grow gradually more accustomed to the culture and expectations of their class society, while at the same time developing their concentration skills.  The students in their second year practice learned concepts and develop greater intellectual and social aptitude.  The older students truly become leaders, remarkably responsible and well-prepared to impart their own understanding to a younger child.  This creatively established education model allows the child and their peers another strategic avenue to take on challenge.

These components serve the great development of Maria Montessori’s discovery of “The Absorbent Mind.”  This, we know is the child’s own capacity.  It is an intellectual capacity, but it incorporates an emotional, physical and social intelligence.  In the Early Childhood years, it becomes a conscious acceptance of one’s own environment, in which the child takes in, or “absorbs” what they need, and in fact a great deal more, to survive.  The Absorbent Mind involves each child’s potential to understand the complexities and qualities of their own world.

Competency is learned, and confidence is earned.  It is the child’s choice to truly become a Montessori learner.  It is the purpose of our work to lay the foundation, where a child may develop within their own character, with reason and grace.  The children we serve are brave, intelligent and generous on their own accord; however it is by the spectacular design of our own Maria Montessori, that they make themselves independent.

By Kellie Gibson, September 5, 2013

Welcome to the Toddler Environment

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This year, our teeny Toddlers from our Suns, Moons and Stars classes are making great strides in a school-wide practice of "Grace & Courtesy."  Our Toddlers are learning some of the most important life lessons of all, and that is how to be thoughtful of our friends and those we love.  Grace and Courtesy are learned through sharing a toy, taking turns on the slide, and being patient while a friend finishes a special work.  These lessons are also incorporated during lunch and snack time when children say "Please" and "Thank you" or "No, Thank you" while practicing table manners.  There are so many opportunities to exercise the principals of Grace and Courtesy both at home and at school, and we encourage parents to practice with their children.

As we settle into a new school year, our Toddlers are learning to adapt to new environments.  Being away from Mom and Dad can be tough at their tender age, but our teachers are working with the young ones to help them become comfortable at drop-off time.  Currently, our Toddlers are learning about their school environment, in the classroom and on the playground.  They are having fun with the new materials that our teachers have set out for the new school year.  Our Toddlers are also learning friends' names this week, with songs from our wonderful teachers.

A health update on our friend Nico-  He was delayed in his intensive chemotherapy, because his blood count was too low.  As of a few days ago, Nico was back on the regime and all is going well.  His parents, Jeff and Shannon are hoping that he will have completed this series within a month from now.  We are all hoping that Nico can come back to school sometime in October.  Get well, Nico!

Written by Kellie Gibson, August 30, 2013

MCS Continues Tradition of Celebration of International Peace Day with our Silent Peace Walk

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In true Montessori form, the students of Montessori Community School celebrated the International Day of Peace today with our Silent Peace Walk.  The International Day of Peace, sometimes unofficially known as World Peace Day, is observed annually on the 21st of September. It is dedicated to world peace and specifically the absence of war and violence. The day was first celebrated in 1982, and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups, and peoples. In 2013, for the first time, the Day was dedicated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to peace education, an obvious key beginning to peace for our world's future.

To inaugurate the day, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters in New York City. The bell is cast from coins donated by children from around the world, and was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan. There is an inscription on the side of the bell that reads, "Long live absolute world peace".

Maria Montessori is well known for her advocacy of peace education and was quoted saying, "Education is the best weapon for peace." She was nominated three times (1949, 1950 and 1951) for the Nobel Peace Prize and her legacy lives in the hearts of Montessori Schools world-wide.

At Montessori Community School we relish the opportunity to begin each new school year with an emphasis on Peace. Our Peace Curriculum is a valued and dynamic piece to our authentic Montessori curriculum.  This year, in honor of International Day of Peace, our students and staff decorated prayer flags and then walked peacefully as a community around our campus and to the front of the school where the flags were hung to show the larger Utah community our continued commitment to inner, community, and world peace.

Students at Montessori Community School begin early on learning the tools for finding personal peace and the value of peaceful relationships when they are given a lesson on the use of a "peace table."  The peace table or shelf is an area in the classroom where books and pictures are found that educate the child, at the appropriate age level, about peace educators and other aspects that support their personal education.  Oftentimes, you will also find activities that allow a child to turn inside themselves and teach meditation.  Students also learn about peaceful conflict resolution.  This is taught throughout our Grace and Courtesy lessons as children learn by example, are introduced to objects that act as a "talking stick", and discussion is supported in class meetings.

We are honored to support Montessori in her desire to teach peace to children around the world and hope you will take the time to view the peace flags created by our students and staff that will remain on our campus.

"Averting war is the work of politicians; establishing peace is the work of education."Maria Montessori

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MCS Introduces Installation of Solar Panels

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In early September 2013, Montessori Community School of Salt Lake City will complete installation of one of the largest private solar energy systems in the state.  When completed, the large 52.2 kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) array, will create enough electricity to provide most of the school’s energy needs throughout the year.

To add to the energy efficiency of the system, 197 Enphase micro-inverters (one per solar panel) are used to optimize energy output by working independently to harvest each panel’s potential, thereby mitigating the affects that periodic shade, snow and other factors may have on the collectors. A monitor screen in the school will be able to track the system's performance in real time as a learning tool for students and as a special interest feature for parents and interested public.


Dr. Bob Buchanan and his wife, Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan, who own and operate the school, applied for Rocky Mountain Power’s Solar Incentive Program earlier this year. Through this annual program, Rocky Mountain Power provides a rebate of a portion of the overall costs to selected residential and commercial electricity customers who install solar collectors. The system, which was designed and installed by Intermountain Wind and Solar, one of the region’s largest solar installers, is expected to operate for maintenance-free life of more than 25 years. Using quality American-made 265 Watt SolarWorld solar modules and an innovative tilted racking system manufactured in Utah County by TRA, Montessori’s new net-metered system is a renewable energy landmark for students, teachers, and the community atop this historic school building. These photo voltaic solar panels will provide an estimated 90% of the schools power and the remaining 10% will be supplemented by Rocky Mountain Power's Blue Sky Renewable Energy.

 



The project has a three-fold purpose, to reduce energy usage for the school, provide renewable energy education for its students, and raise community awareness of renewable energy options. The installation is expected to reduce the school building’s electrical energy use by more than 95 percent each year, and demonstrates the Buchanans' efforts to promote and support renewable energy in Salt Lake City.

As always, Bob and Robyn's vision is an inspiration to the Montessori Community as we have the opportunity to be a part of this incredible process. The project not only reinforces our commitment to green education but also allows our students the opportunity to learn and observe, on a daily basis, the science behind the process.

Warm appreciations and congratulations to Bob, Robyn, Rocky Mountain Power, and all others involved in this process.

Welcome Back!

Posted by Britney Peterson
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Welcome to the 2013-2014 Academic Year!

Last week we got off to a great start.  We started classes on Wednesday and our returning students had a great day reconnecting with their teachers and friends.  Then, our new students joined class on Thursday.  It's always so much fun to see how our returning students use their well developed skills in Grace and Courtesy to embrace new children in their class.  Montessori's vision of the beauty of multi-age classrooms is apparent from the first day as the new students enter a room where older or more experienced children work busily and with purpose.  Students assist their teachers in giving lessons and serving as a role model to those who are just joining the group.

The teachers are looking forward to talking about what you can expect in your child's class this year at Back To School Night. Even if you are a returning family to MCS, we encourage you to attend so that you can learn anything that might have changed this year.  Also, its a wonderful time to rub shoulders with other parents in your child's class. Children are in a sensitive period for social development and while this varies from program to program and child to child, it can be extremely beneficial for children to nurture their friendships outside of school.  Back To School Night is a great time to get to know the other parents in your child's class and open the door to interactions outside of school.  Early Childhood Back To School Night is tomorrow, Tuesday, August 27 at 6:30 pm and Elementary Back To School Night is on Thursday, August 29 at 6:30pm.

We look forward to a wonderful year and appreciate your continued support.

With Love,

Robyn, Ramira, and Britney

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2013-2014 School Calendars

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We are so excited about the upcoming school year!  We have missed many of our friends and are happy to have had our Summer Camp friends here to keep up company.  We hope you are all having a wonderful summer.  Below are listed the calendars for the 2013-2014 Academic Year.  Also, your Welcome Packet should be arriving shortly.  We invite you to take special note of the first day of school as some students start the 21st and some the 22nd.

 

SEE YOU SOON!

 

Click here for the 2013-2014 Toddler Calendar...calendar2013_2014toddlerspdf.pdf

Click here for the 2013-2014 Early Childhood Calendar...calendar2013_2014-ec_pdf.pdf

Click here for the 2013-2014 Elementary Calendar...calendar2013_2014elementarypdf.pdf

Click here for the 2013-2014 Middle School Calendar...calendar2013_14middleschoolpdf.pdf

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Five Reasons to Stop Saying "Good Job!"

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YOUNG CHILDREN

September 2001


Five Reasons to Stop Saying "Good Job!"

By Alfie Kohn

NOTE: An abridged version of this article was published in Parents magazine in May 2000 with the title "Hooked on Praise." For a more detailed look at the issues discussed here -- as well as a comprehensive list of citations to relevant research -- please see the books Punished by Rewards and Unconditional Parenting.

Para leer este artículo en Español, haga clic aquí.

Hang out at a playground, visit a school, or show up at a child’s birthday party, and there’s one phrase you can count on hearing repeatedly: "Good job!" Even tiny infants are praised for smacking their hands together ("Good clapping!"). Many of us blurt out these judgments of our children to the point that it has become almost a verbal tic.

Plenty of books and articles advise us against relying on punishment, from spanking to forcible isolation ("time out"). Occasionally someone will even ask us to rethink the practice of bribing children with stickers or food. But you’ll have to look awfully hard to find a discouraging word about what is euphemistically called positive reinforcement.

Lest there be any misunderstanding, the point here is not to call into question the importance of supporting and encouraging children, the need to love them and hug them and help them feel good about themselves. Praise, however, is a different story entirely. Here's why.

1. Manipulating children. Suppose you offer a verbal reward to reinforce the behavior of a two-year-old who eats without spilling, or a five-year-old who cleans up her art supplies. Who benefits from this? Is it possible that telling kids they’ve done a good job may have less to do with their emotional needs than with our convenience?

Rheta DeVries, a professor of education at the University of Northern Iowa, refers to this as "sugar-coated control." Very much like tangible rewards – or, for that matter, punishments – it’s a way of doing something to children to get them to comply with our wishes. It may be effective at producing this result (at least for a while), but it’s very different from working with kids – for example, by engaging them in conversation about what makes a classroom (or family) function smoothly, or how other people are affected by what we have done -- or failed to do. The latter approach is not only more respectful but more likely to help kids become thoughtful people.

The reason praise can work in the short run is that young children are hungry for our approval. But we have a responsibility not to exploit that dependence for our own convenience. A "Good job!" to reinforce something that makes our lives a little easier can be an example of taking advantage of children’s dependence. Kids may also come to feel manipulated by this, even if they can’t quite explain why.

2. Creating praise junkies. To be sure, not every use of praise is a calculated tactic to control children’s behavior. Sometimes we compliment kids just because we’re genuinely pleased by what they’ve done. Even then, however, it’s worth looking more closely. Rather than bolstering a child’s self-esteem, praise may increase kids’ dependence on us. The more we say, "I like the way you…." or "Good ______ing," the more kids come to rely on our evaluations, our decisions about what’s good and bad, rather than learning to form their own judgments. It leads them to measure their worth in terms of what will lead us to smile and dole out some more approval.

Mary Budd Rowe, a researcher at the University of Florida, discovered that students who were praised lavishly by their teachers were more tentative in their responses, more apt to answer in a questioning tone of voice ("Um, seven?"). They tended to back off from an idea they had proposed as soon as an adult disagreed with them. And they were less likely to persist with difficult tasks or share their ideas with other students.

In short, "Good job!" doesn’t reassure children; ultimately, it makes them feel less secure. It may even create a vicious circle such that the more we slather on the praise, the more kids seem to need it, so we praise them some more. Sadly, some of these kids will grow into adults who continue to need someone else to pat them on the head and tell them whether what they did was OK. Surely this is not what we want for our daughters and sons.

3. Stealing a child’s pleasure. Apart from the issue of dependence, a child deserves to take delight in her accomplishments, to feel pride in what she’s learned how to do. She also deserves to decide when to feel that way. Every time we say, "Good job!", though, we’re telling a child how to feel.

To be sure, there are times when our evaluations are appropriate and our guidance is necessary -- especially with toddlers and preschoolers. But a constant stream of value judgments is neither necessary nor useful for children’s development. Unfortunately, we may not have realized that "Good job!" is just as much an evaluation as "Bad job!" The most notable feature of a positive judgment isn’t that it’s positive, but that it’s a judgment. And people, including kids, don’t like being judged.

I cherish the occasions when my daughter manages to do something for the first time, or does something better than she’s ever done it before. But I try to resist the knee-jerk tendency to say, "Good job!" because I don’t want to dilute her joy. I want her to share her pleasure with me, not look to me for a verdict. I want her to exclaim, "I did it!" (which she often does) instead of asking me uncertainly, "Was that good?"

4. Losing interest. "Good painting!" may get children to keep painting for as long as we keep watching and praising. But, warns Lilian Katz, one of the country’s leading authorities on early childhood education, "once attention is withdrawn, many kids won’t touch the activity again." Indeed, an impressive body of scientific research has shown that the more we reward people for doing something, the more they tend to lose interest in whatever they had to do to get the reward. Now the point isn’t to draw, to read, to think, to create – the point is to get the goody, whether it’s an ice cream, a sticker, or a "Good job!"

In a troubling study conducted by Joan Grusec at the University of Toronto, young children who were frequently praised for displays of generosity tended to be slightly less generous on an everyday basis than other children were. Every time they had heard "Good sharing!" or "I’m so proud of you for helping," they became a little less interested in sharing or helping. Those actions came to be seen not as something valuable in their own right but as something they had to do to get that reaction again from an adult. Generosity became a means to an end.

Does praise motivate kids? Sure. It motivates kids to get praise. Alas, that’s often at the expense of commitment to whatever they were doing that prompted the praise.

5. Reducing achievement. As if it weren’t bad enough that "Good job!" can undermine independence, pleasure, and interest, it can also interfere with how good a job children actually do. Researchers keep finding that kids who are praised for doing well at a creative task tend to stumble at the next task – and they don’t do as well as children who weren’t praised to begin with.

Why does this happen? Partly because the praise creates pressure to "keep up the good work" that gets in the way of doing so. Partly because their interest in what they’re doing may have declined. Partly because they become less likely to take risks – a prerequisite for creativity – once they start thinking about how to keep those positive comments coming.

More generally, "Good job!" is a remnant of an approach to psychology that reduces all of human life to behaviors that can be seen and measured. Unfortunately, this ignores the thoughts, feelings, and values that lie behind behaviors. For example, a child may share a snack with a friend as a way of attracting praise, or as a way of making sure the other child has enough to eat. Praise for sharing ignores these different motives. Worse, it actually promotes the less desirable motive by making children more likely to fish for praise in the future.

Once you start to see praise for what it is – and what it does – these constant little evaluative eruptions from adults start to produce the same effect as fingernails being dragged down a blackboard. You begin to root for a child to give his teachers or parents a taste of their own treacle by turning around to them and saying (in the same saccharine tone of voice), "Good praising!"

Still, it’s not an easy habit to break. It can seem strange, at least at first, to stop praising; it can feel as though you’re being chilly or withholding something. But that, it soon becomes clear, suggests that we praise more because we need to say it than because children need to hear it. Whenever that’s true, it’s time to rethink what we’re doing.

What kids do need is unconditional support, love with no strings attached. That’s not just different from praise – it’s the opposite of praise. "Good job!" is conditional. It means we’re offering attention and acknowledgement and approval for jumping through our hoops, for doing things that please us.

This point, you’ll notice, is very different from a criticism that some people offer to the effect that we give kids too much approval, or give it too easily. They recommend that we become more miserly with our praise and demand that kids "earn" it. But the real problem isn’t that children expect to be praised for everything they do these days. It’s that we’re tempted to take shortcuts, to manipulate kids with rewards instead of explaining and helping them to develop needed skills and good values.

So what’s the alternative? That depends on the situation, but whatever we decide to say instead has to be offered in the context of genuine affection and love for who kids are rather than for what they’ve done. When unconditional support is present, "Good job!" isn’t necessary; when it’s absent, "Good job!" won’t help.

If we’re praising positive actions as a way of discouraging misbehavior, this is unlikely to be effective for long. Even when it works, we can’t really say the child is now "behaving himself"; it would be more accurate to say the praise is behaving him. The alternative is to work with the child, to figure out the reasons he’s acting that way. We may have to reconsider our own requests rather than just looking for a way to get kids to obey. (Instead of using "Good job!" to get a four-year-old to sit quietly through a long class meeting or family dinner, perhaps we should ask whether it’s reasonable to expect a child to do so.)

We also need to bring kids in on the process of making decisions. If a child is doing something that disturbs others, then sitting down with her later and asking, "What do you think we can do to solve this problem?" will likely be more effective than bribes or threats. It also helps a child learn how to solve problems and teaches that her ideas and feelings are important. Of course, this process takes time and talent, care and courage. Tossing off a "Good job!" when the child acts in the way we deem appropriate takes none of those things, which helps to explain why "doing to" strategies are a lot more popular than "working with" strategies.

And what can we say when kids just do something impressive? Consider three possible responses:

* Say nothing. Some people insist a helpful act must be "reinforced" because, secretly or unconsciously, they believe it was a fluke. If children are basically evil, then they have to be given an artificial reason for being nice (namely, to get a verbal reward). But if that cynicism is unfounded – and a lot of research suggests that it is – then praise may not be necessary.

* Say what you saw. A simple, evaluation-free statement ("You put your shoes on by yourself" or even just "You did it") tells your child that you noticed. It also lets her take pride in what she did. In other cases, a more elaborate description may make sense. If your child draws a picture, you might provide feedback – not judgment – about what you noticed: "This mountain is huge!" "Boy, you sure used a lot of purple today!"

If a child does something caring or generous, you might gently draw his attention to the effect of his action on the other person: "Look at Abigail’s face! She seems pretty happy now that you gave her some of your snack." This is completely different from praise, where the emphasis is on how you feel about her sharing

* Talk less, ask more. Even better than descriptions are questions. Why tell him what part of his drawing impressed you when you can ask him what he likes best about it? Asking "What was the hardest part to draw?" or "How did you figure out how to make the feet the right size?" is likely to nourish his interest in drawing. Saying "Good job!", as we’ve seen, may have exactly the opposite effect.

This doesn’t mean that all compliments, all thank-you’s, all expressions of delight are harmful. We need to consider our motives for what we say (a genuine expression of enthusiasm is better than a desire to manipulate the child’s future behavior) as well as the actual effects of doing so. Are our reactions helping the child to feel a sense of control over her life -- or to constantly look to us for approval? Are they helping her to become more excited about what she’s doing in its own right – or turning it into something she just wants to get through in order to receive a pat on the head.

It’s not a matter of memorizing a new script, but of keeping in mind our long-term goals for our children and watching for the effects of what we say. The bad news is that the use of positive reinforcement really isn’t so positive. The good news is that you don’t have to evaluate in order to encourage.

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“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” Maria Montessori

Posted by Britney Peterson
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Head of our Toddler Program, Nanette Cenaruzabeitia, shares about the incredible abilites of Toddler children and their sensitive period for independence.

 

Tis the Season for Potty Training!

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If you are the parent of a Toddler the good news is the days of diapers will soon be over.  The bad news is, it won't happen overnight.

There is a huge difference between Toilet Learning and Toilet Training.  The ultimate goal of toilet use is that little ones become independent.  Training a child usually results in the child training the adult to watch for signs that indicate we better get to the bathroom NOW.  Of course, toilet learning does not happen overnight but works for the purpose of children becoming independent in their toilet use.  It empowers the child to be involved in the process.

 

 

 

What Can You Expect From Your Child Developmentally?

Around 12 months children commonly become interested in the bathroom.  Playing in the water, exploring, and watching parents or siblings is common.

Around 15 months children become interested in wearing underwear and is dressing and/or undressing themselves.

Between 13 - 15 months children may become interested in sitting on the toilet.

Around 18 months children enter a sensitive period in which they can most easily gain control of their much more developed nervous system.  Most children have both the physical ability and the interest to control their bladder and bowel.  This is an ideal time (if the child has shown previous appropriate signs) to put the child in underwear.  It can be helpful to introduce toileting before the "Terrible Two's" set in.

 

How do I know if my child is ready?

Physical signs of readiness include:

  • Can stay dry for longer periods of time (2+ hours or overnight)
  • Knows the feelings that signal they need to use the bathroom
  • Can pull pants up and down independently
  • Can get themselves to the toilet independently (walking)
  • Can get on and off the toilet independently
  • Recognizes when they are having a bowel movement
  • Briefly postpones urges when awake
Mental and Language readiness include:
  • Can follow simple directions
  • Can point to wet or soiled clothes and asks to be changed
  • Pays attention to physical signals when they are otherwise engaged (this is a challenge for most children and the common result of accidents)
  • Knows the words for using the toilet and can tell as adult
  • Has asked to wear underwear
  • Understands the purposes of the toilet
  • Prefers clean diapers and likes to be changed immediately
  • Understands key words such as potty, dry, wet and clean
  • Understands the connection between using the toilet and having dry pants
  • Able to communicate either with words or with gestures
Emotional readiness includes:
  • Seeks privacy when going in diaper
  • Shows interest in using the toilet - may want to put paper in and flush (even if they haven't been able to "go")
  • Shows curiosity at other people's toilet habits
  • Has decided he/she wants to use the toilet
  • Not afraid of the toilet
  • Wants to wear underpants and use the toilet
What is the best way to approach toilet training?
Be matter-of-fact
Avoid the power struggle
Overlook failures
Avoid pressure or punishment
Don't lecture
Avoid constant reminders
Relax
Avoid extreme excitement or anger
How do and I start and when is the right time?
Start slow at child's first interest
Allow child in the bathroom with you or siblings when you use the toilet
Start with simple things like:
Dressing/undressing
Practicing flushing
Change diapers in the bathroom
Change diapers standing up (when possible)
Are there times I should avoid Toilet Learning?
Any major changes in the child's life:
New sibling, new school, new house
Switching from crib to bed
Weaning of bottles or pacifiers
Major illnesses
Sleep deprived
Any other stressful situations
What should I do when my child has an accident?
Accidents WILL happen....but it's okay, its a learning process.
The time line will be different with all children. For some it will happen quickly and for others it will take more time.
Some children wet the bed up until 8 years old, this is normal and no cause for concern.
BE PATIENT!
BE CALM!
Allow children to change their own clothing with minimal help when they have an accident.
What are the best diapers to use during the Toilet Learning process?
Once your child has begun the process of using the toilet and has been introduced to cloth underwear it is important that you don't go back to disposable diapers except at bed time.  Pull-ups are a glorified diaper and because they look and feel to the child like a diaper they prevent a child from adjusting sensorially to underwear.


How should I reward my child when they are successful using the toilet?
If a child gets a reward for doing something that is a normal part of development, it can lead to a child expecting a reward for any accomplishment.  Sometimes, rewards put undo pressure on the child and cause anxiety.  It is beneficial for children to learn to follow their internal instincts, reach  milestones individually and at the appropriate and normal stage in their development, and learn early to appreciate the intrinsic value of accomplishments.

What if my child is afraid?
Fear is a normal reaction for children when it comes to Toilet Learning.  It is important to address fears before beginning Toilet Learning.
When you do decide its time to start the process its important to make sure that all of the child's care givers are on the same page.  The routine should be consistent for the child no matter who is caring for them.  Send your child with a lot of extra clothing when they are with a care giver.  Also, be sure that your child is dressed in clothes that they can get on and off themselves.  (Avoid belts, too many layers, etc.)
YOU CAN DO THIS!
  • BE PATIENT!
  • BE CALM!
  • FOLLOW THE CHILD!
  • ALLOW THE PROCESS!
  • RELAX!!!
Thank you to Alia Boyle Hovius for gathering and sharing this information.

How To Get Your Child To Listen....Jane Nelson

Posted by Britney Peterson
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Now that summer has arrived and you are spending more time with your children I thought this video might be of use....ENJOY!

 

Jane Nelson E.d. D., a parenting expert, shares ideas that support Montessori's respect of the child.

 

Embark on a Reading Adventure....

Posted by Britney Peterson
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For the most part, Montessorians do not hugely advocate homework.  When parents ask what their children should be doing at home we commonly respond with a list of practical life activities that can benefit the child.  Some of these might include helping with the meal menu and preparation, planning activities or outings for the family, care of self, tree climbing and art projects. However, almost any educator will stress the importance of reading on a regular basis. Reading is enormously beneficial for a number of reasons.

 

 

Books have the ability to expand a child's world in a large variety of ways. Reading is a chance for children to experience more of the world.  Conflict and resolution are introduced through a variety of themes, giving children the opportunity to learn coping skills, resiliency, cause and effect, logic, consequence of action and tolerance. Children build imagination, vocabulary and creativity along with a sense of curiosity and adventure. Exposure to different methods of illustration might engage a child artistically.  Development of grammatical skills and an understanding of appropriate use of language might spark the interest of a future writer.  The possibilities are endless....

Reading with our children creates opportunity for bonding and intimacy. Also, it increases opportunity and skills involving communication.  Reading promotes the development of an extended attention span, a huge benefit for young children preparing to enter school. And, believe it or not, reading skills (top to bottom, left to right, etc.) help develop the mathematical mind.

This being said, it can be difficult to keep our children excited about and engaged in reading throughout the summer months.  One of the most important things we can do to assist our children to continue to grow their reading skills is to provide them with literature that they enjoy and appreciate.

But, as parents we don't always know exactly what types of books are appropriate for our children at their ages.  Most children love to be read to and its quite simple finding appropriate books to read TO them.  However, choosing books that are developmentally appropriate and nurture our children's sense of self can be somewhat more difficult.  This is especially true as children are in the process of becoming independent readers.

A few excellent sources for finding the right books for your child can be found below:

Montessori By Hand

Reading Rockets

Education.com

Some fun family reading tidbits to keep in mind include:

  • When a child starts to "memorize" the words in a book, it is cause to celebrate.  Encourage children to point to the word they are reading and their ability to learn words by sight increases.
  • REPETITION IS GOOD!  There are numerous benefits to a child reading or listening to the same book over and over.  More than anything they are developing an important sense of order.  Once they've met an important need, they'll move on...until then, use it as an opportunity to ask things like, "What do you think will happen next?" and other comprehension relevant questions.
  • I've found that with my more advanced readers they still enjoy being read to.  The benefits are great as children develop comprehension and fluency skills.  To get your child reading you might take turns....ie, you read a page and then they read a page.
  • Audio books are fantastic.  It's awesome to listen to a book together.  Narrators engage children in a way that can stir up emotion or engage listeners as we feel familiar with the characters.
  • Invite your child to draw a picture of what you read.  This is a great way to build comprehension and is a wonderful conversation starter.
  • Children mimic behavior so one of the most generous gifts we can give our children is the gift of watching us read for pleasure.  Visit the library together and create a cozy space in your home where you can all read.  Even non-readers benefit from looking through books as they sit next to a group of family readers.

HAPPY READING!

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Summer Time and Screen Time!

Posted by Britney Peterson
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Summer time and the livin's easy....UNLESS your child is set to spend the majority of their summer in front of a screen of some kind. The statistics regarding children and screen time are absolutely FRIGHTENING these days.  Click here or here to read more about the ill effects of too much screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics have strongly suggested that children are over-exposed but we live in a society that thrives on ipods, ipads, iphones, video gaming, and more....

Our kids are growing up in a generation that doesn't quite know how to function without a screen right at their fingertips.  My boys and I just moved to a new house and have been without television or internet for a month.  I kept delaying the process of getting us "connected" until the other night while I sat on my porch watching my boys (ages 10, 8 and 5) play a game of "pick up" ball.  They used a plastic pipe as a bat, a tennis ball, and several other random objects as bases.  There were no gloves.  But, they laughed, chatted, and created rules for their new game in ways that my three competitive sons rarely do with one another.  It was a beautifully decisive moment for me when I considered that if we had television and/or the internet as an option one of them would most likely be inside glued to a device.  We will be officially "disconnected" this summer.

As parents, we can see the changes happening in our children physically on an almost daily basis.  My middle son literally grows out of shoes in about 3 weeks time.  (His toes are as long as my fingers.)  What we might not be as connected to is the emotional, spiritual, and philisophical growth that they are experiencing.  These aren't always as easy to spot as the physical changes but they definitely exist.  Montessori spoke very clearly about the connection between the child's hand and brain.  If our children are to develop at their fullest potential, they need to MOVE.

I urge you, with everything inside me, to get your little ones MOVING this summer.  Engage them from every angle.  Sure, a family movie night won't do harm.  And there are some excellent computer programs out there that might keep them up to par with their math and reading skills but DO NOT let yourself believe that hours upon hours of screen time is beneficial in any way. Our kids have plenty of time in their future to commit to sitting still in front of a screen. (In the coming weeks I will be sure to post even BETTER alternatives to keeping your children's math and reading up to par.)

 

 

In her article "Screen Time and Childhood" Jennifer Rogers says the following; "Children spend an average of five to seven hours every day in front of a screen. The only activity that occupies more time for children is sleeping. These same young kids are experiencing speech and language delays, and chronic attention problems. Literacy is becoming increasingly hard to achieve, creativity rare. Though there is little research to establish connections between so many young children’s failure to thrive and their over-exposure to technologies, the conclusion that screen time is corroding young minds seems ridiculously obvious to most teachers." (Link above.)

What are your plans to keep your children from spending too much of their summer in front of a screen?  Montessori was firm in her belief that children needed physical activity in order to develop fully and to their greatest potential. Below are a list of ideas that might help you engage your child.  I have learned that when summer (or, winter) sets in its important to sit down with the kids and talk about ideas.  When my kids say "I'm bored" I either refer them to the list of activities we created together. If nothing on the list looks inviting there is always the list posted on the other side of the fridge labeled "CHORES."  We often have a list of activities that can be done together, at home or away from home, as well as a list of individual activities for when mom or the siblings aren't available.  Our list might include some of the following ideas:

 

  • Dark Dancing - my kids and I love to turn out all the lights in our basement and crank the music.  Dancing in the dark encourages my boys to move in ways they might not feel totally comfortable with the lights on.  Plus, they aren't so embarrassed by how completely uncoordinated their mother is.
  • Jump Rope - this is especially fun with older children.  There are a lot of fun songs and rhythms that can accompany jump roping.  It is a wonderful team building exercise.
  • Obstacle Course - Build an obstacle course in your living room or in the back yard. As your children get used to the idea they are likely to come up with some very creative ideas.  Get the timer involved and invite children to beat their own time.  (Think: hula hoops, high jumps, assembling and disassembling a lego toy, long jumps, etc.)
  • Making and Flying Kites -  see here.
  • Build a Fort - Backyard and Living Room forts are the best.  Be prepared to let it stay in the middle of your space for as long as it keeps the kids happy.  These make a wonderful space for reading and playing board games.
  • Pen-Pals - Get your littles in touch with someone via "Snail-Mail."  There is NOTHING more exciting than checking the mailbox to find a personal letter from a far-away friend. Grandparents, cousins, old classmates....the list of possibilities are endless.
  • Make Home-Made Popsicles - combine your favorite fruits with some delicious yogurt (we prefer greek) and water or juice and freeze it in popsicle molds.  If you dont have popsicle molds, ice trays or your small cups and popsicle sticks work like a charm.
If all else fails, head to the Dollar Theater together.  Don't forget visiting your local library, family reads, books on tape, building a volcano (plus a million more at-home science projects,) cooking, gardening and puzzles.  If your children are part of coming up with the list of ideas and then gathering the materials, they are likely to find enthusiasm in carrying them out.
In teaching our children the dis-importance of extensive amounts of screen time, my very best advice is this: BE AN EXAMPLE.  Limit your own screen time and get in on that messy paper mache' project the kids are so enthusiastic about!
Happy Summer!
Please share your own summer adventures on our Facebook Page.

A Farewell from Robyn & Ramira

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A parent recently brought to our attention an article in Slate magazine about preschools. The article (read here) explores the question of whether preschools really give children an advantage in life. In an interesting reference to Montessori, the author cites Angeline Lillard’s research, which finds that “classical” Montessori programs--those that follow the mixed-age groupings, do not perform testing, and mainly present concepts with hands-on Montessori materials--do provide an advantage, more so than “supplemented” Montessori programs, which can segregate by age and mix traditional Montessori materials with activities like pretend play and direct instruction. Children in the classical Montessori program “exhibited better working memory, planning, reading, and vocabulary skills, and they displayed a better understanding of fairness and willingness to share.”

Hearing about this article now seems appropriate, as we are continually assessing ourselves in an effort to remain as authentic to Montessori’s vision as possible.  In 2012-2013 we have been excited about various projects and activities that promote this goal:


  • We sent four teachers--Lara Althouse and Evi Bybee from Early Childhood and Bonnie Bracken and Brandi Allen from Lower Elementary--to the new AMS (American Montessori Society) Montessori teaching credential  program at Westminster, which began last summer. While they already had one Montessori certification, each teacher chose to pursue further education by working towards an AMS certification. They will be doing their practicum in their classrooms in 2013-2014. Kate Savage is currently finishing her two-year training with the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. She will be doing her onsite training in Louisiana in June and is sitting her final exams later this summer. This summer Lauren Bornschein is beginning the Master’s in Montessori Education at Westminster, and two of our Toddler teachers are beginning their Infant/Toddler training with the Institute of Guided Studies out of South Carolina.  We are excited about these teachers’ training because having certified teachers is key to a “classical” Montessori program, as the teachers are the main observers and guides for the children’s progress.

  • In keeping with Maria Montessori’s emphasis on global education, and caring for the community beyond ourselves, we took Service Learning into the SLC community with Upper Elementary’s work with the Bicycle Collective and the Humane Society. Middle School students spent an entire immersion week on service projects of their choice, ranging from the Sarah Daft Home to Wasatch Community Garden and The Stable Place (for more on their immersion experience, click here. Lower Elementary students continued their service learning within the classroom and the school building, watering the school plants, cleaning their classroom and taking care of their classroom pets.

  • At the school wide level, we raised awareness about giving to others through the Fun Run.  Sadly, one of our Adopt a Native Elder grandmothers, Grandmother Roseline, died this year and after a relationship of seventeen years we will miss her greatly. The children raised over $6500 for the  Adopt a Native Elder and the Children of Ethiopia Education Fund (COEEF) organizations. We were so grateful for everyone’s efforts in supporting the seven young women who would not be able to attend school in Ethiopia without our assistance and in supporting our Navajo grandmothers, whom we have supported for seventeen years. Though the concept of raising money to give to others can be abstract,  in order for the children to feel more of a connection, we made a real effort this year to educate the students about the people the money they raised would go to. Our contributions make such a profound difference in all of their lives.

  • As an extension beyond our conscious, pre-planned efforts to involve the community in service learning, the community, particularly those involved with Toddlers, came together to support Nico in many ways.  Many people took it upon themselves to plan and carry out special events to raise funds to assist his family. Ms. Sophie, one of our Moons class teachers played a pivotal role in the fundraising efforts. This was the perfect example to our students as they observed a need and saw the community come together to fulfill the need. Another example of this was when one of our families had some crippling financial needs this year. Many families in our school supported their Facebook appeal.

  • We have appreciated everyone’s patience as we spent the year developing our new website, which we plan to launch for the 2013-2014 academic year. The new website will have an updated Parent’s Center that will combine parent education resources with classroom updates. We are also excited to be adding an alumni section, which will allow past graduates to touch base and to let us know how they are doing. We plan to gather more information in general from our alumni about how they fared in the transition from Montessori to a non-Montessori environment.

  • As a school we set the goal this year of improving our communications, among teachers and with parents. We streamlined our weekly email newsletter, and encouraged families to refer to that one centralized location for all classroom and school announcements. We added a second set of narrative evaluations at the Toddler and Early Childhood levels in order to increase feedback parents receive from teachers. We continued having two sets of parent/teacher conferences and teacher office hours, when parents can come in with their questions about their children in the classroom.

  • Aimee Brewer has surpassed all our expectations in her role as a stellar PSA President this year and we are infinitely grateful. Though she maintains an extremely busy work and family schedule she brought her innovative ideas to our annual school/family events. We wish her and her family the best in their move to the East coast this summer; we will miss them all dearly.

  • We are so fortunate and grateful that Ann Beverly is stepping forward to take over the role of PSA President next year.  Ann was instrumental as the Chair in the Green Committee’s efforts this year, with extensive help from Jaymison Peterson. The Green Committee planned events such as the MCS Clothing Swap. They also initiated a school wide glass recycling collection on Wednesdays this year. We thank and appreciate them for their efforts in keeping our school “green.”

  • We also want to thank Stephanie Thatcher for her leadership with the LegoRobotics team this year. The Virtual Vikings took 8th out of 20th overall and earned an Honorable Mention from the judges at the Lego FIRST Regional Competition in January. We want to thank Stephanie for her time and dedication in continuing the program, and we look forward to the efforts of the Upper Elementary students next year.

  • We are so appreciative of all the parents who are generous with their time and energy.  A variety of people coming together to serve one another in multiple ways as we seek to nurture the whole child is the true essence of community.  Each of your individual efforts helps make our school unique.  Many, many thanks for your continued contributions. We would not have such a warm, giving and caring community without you.


We are delighted that most of you will be continuing this educational journey with us next year, and we look forward to an exciting and fulfilling year. For those who are leaving us at this time, we are thankful for having had the chance to walk the same path while you have been here and we wish you the best.


Best wishes to all of you for a safe and happy summer,

Robyn & Ramira

 

 

 

Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan

Head of School

 

Ramira Alamilla

Associate Head of School

 



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MARK YOUR CALENDARS - IT'S TIME FOR THE MCS FAMILY CARNIVAL!

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Tickets are on sale in the office now for our Annual MCS Family Carnival!

Many thanks to those who have organized this exciting event!

"I'm so glad we are all good at different things."

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"I'm so glad we are all good at different things."

Today I was performing a task alongside a collegue of mine and I expressed how much I loved the task to which she responded with the above comment.  This struck a deep chord with me as I was preparing to write this webpost about the beauty of authenticity. All of the greatest improvements throughtout history have come from people who were able to think outside the box.  Anyone who has spent any amount of time with children knows that they are small people with BIG vision.  I applaud those parents who have embraced the uniqueness of their children and are making an effort to give them the continued gift of being unique in a society that largely embraces conformity.  As children discover their world they do so with their whole selves.  An engaged child often uses more than one sense to discover and their entire little bodies are prone to form or move in order to fully engage.

Maria Montessori described ages 0-3 as an unconscious absorbent mind.  This means that a childs brain works like a sponge-absorbing almost everything in their environment and then the information sinks deep into their psyche, developing various observations and ideas of the world that will likely remain with them into adulthood.  This theory speaks to the importance of the early years...hence; our Toddler environment.

Maria Montessori then described the ages 3-6 as those of a conscious absorbent mind.  The sponge is still in tact-the child absorbs exorbient amounts of information using multiple teqhniques and senses.  But, their consciousness now plays a role in decifering information.  These children begin to be led and guided by their personal interest and intrigue.  Children begin to gain the ability to think and reason.  Their desire to participate as part of a community develops as the find themselves repeating tasks in an effort to master their bodies and minds. The beauty of this is evident in a normalized Montessori Early Childhood environment.

The transformation to an elementary aged student, about 6 years old, is like a huge explosion into a much bigger world.  They can see and recognize a world outside themselves.  These children begin to discover that they have something to contribute to a larger community.  The elementary years find a child with big thoughts and big ideas paired with the ability to take ACTION! At 6-9 years old they find satisfaction in collaboration and their big ideas grow as they learn to combine ideas with their peers.  Big idea plus big idea equals enormous idea.

Although we see a child become slightly more "me" oriented around nine years old, we now have a child with the ability to transform their ideas into other ideas as the skill to abstract grows.  They see the change they are capable of making.  Now, we are looking face to face at these big thinkers who have, hopefully by now, experienced the satisfaction of making some signifigant contribution(s) to whatever society they feel they are a part.

One of the most disheartening things about society, to me, is its huge impact on taking away big ideas.  No matter how big the box, the truth remains, we don't all fit inside it.  Our world thrives on originality.  Our children deserve the opportunity to be empowered by the big ideas floating around inside their little bodies.  Having all this wonder and hope and excitement about the world can hardly make a change if we take away the ability to apply them.  How can we do that in a system that expects the same things from each person?  The video below supports the idea that our children deserve to have a voice and we, at Montessori Community School, are proud to have the ability to give it to them.  We are more than the private school down the street. What do our children want from their education?  Are they able to voice the importance of their needs and wants?  Are we listening when they do?

I invite you to take three minutes to hear one perspective on the subject and when you are done watching pat yourself on the back with the knowledge that just by reading this post or watching this video you are taking steps in the right direction as we strive for a better, more authentic education for our big thinkers!

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In Honor of Teacher Appreciation Week...

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The Spiritual Preparation of the Montessori Teacher


The curriculum and the philosophy of Montessori are both based on her careful observation of individuals.  As she watched the children develop and explore their environment she brought essentials in to the environment that would support their natural development.  This action clearly supports her theory that entering a classroom and guiding a child in their development as a whole person means the teacher must be well prepared.  The teachers personal preparation and commitment to the students and their paths is extremely important.  Maria Montessori was the ultimate example of careful observation, preparation and honoring the spirit of the child.  But, as anyone who has participated in a Montessori training program can attest to, that preparation is necessary of any Montessori teacher.


“The real preparation for education is a study of one’s self. The training of the teacher who is to help life is something far more than the learning of ideas. It includes the training of character, it is a preparation of the spirit.” (The Absorbent Mind)


According to Montessori, to work effectively with children, we must tear out our most deeply rooted defects, especially those that would hinder our relations with our children. In true humility we must look at ourselves to identify our strengths as well as our weaknesses.


In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I feel a great desire to share my own understanding of the deep and ongoing preparation that our teachers commit to in order to be present and attentive to our children.  First of all, this preparation requires a moral preparation as well as a spiritual preparation. In an effort to model appropriate behavior and interactions, they must be non-judgemental and able to see a situation from many angles.  A Montessori teacher is required to observe the children and attune to their needs while she acts as a natural part of their environment and presents lessons in such a way that she entices each child, each day, and in each area.  Her depth of understanding the emotional status of each child must be sharp.  Her ability to assess, during her presentations, what a child is understanding must be present at all times.  There is no space in a classroom for judgement or prejudices.


As you know, ours is a program which teaches many practical skills. Therefore, assessing the needs of the children on a daily basis is a necessity in being prepared to follow their needs. They must let go of anger and pride as they step into the classroom each day.  They learn to model peaceful conflict resolution and learn to sit on and meditate with decisions in an effort to be fair and constructive. They learn to trust the process and see even the slightest change in their students.


My experience has been, and continues to be, that these wonderful people who are drawn to the philosophy of Montessori have a special gift.  Sending love and appreciation to the amazing teachers here at Montessori Community School.  Your dedication to Montessori, our children, and your own personal growth does not go unnoticed or under-appreciated.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.



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Bringing the Montessori Method Home

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"(Parents) alone can and must save their children.  Their consciences must feel the force of the mission entrusted to them by nature for...in their hands lies positively the future of humanity, life."

Maria Montessori



The philosophy of Montessori has, at some point, called to each one of us.  Over the years I have seen parents and teachers "fall for" Montessori for a variety of reasons and with a variety of intentions or hopes for its outcome.  Whatever the reason we chose this particular journey, it has probably become as clear to you as it has to me that a Montessori education is bigger than the 8 hours a day that our children spend inside the walls of Montessori Community School.  Our children are coming home with the ability to think  with initiative and innovation.  They have the desire to extend their learning outside the classroom.  From the time they are small, children are naturally learning.  They begin life touching and tasting everything in their path in an effort to learn as much as they can about their environment.  For a child who has been in a Montessori environment, their desire for knowledge has not changed much from the time they were infants.  They seek knowledge everywhere they go!


One of the most popular questions I get from parents is "how can I support the Montessori philosophy at home?"  What are we to do?  How do we keep that flame alive so their desire for knowledge continues to grow as they learn the tools necessary to obtain knowledge? As a Montessori mother I can assure you that the items below will make your job bringing Montessori home a whole lot easier as well as making your child’s Montessori experience more rich and meaningful than if it were to stand alone as a “school” experience.


Slow down, model appropriately, and STOP hurrying our children: Our children are watching us.  And they are in an environment where they are learning appropriate social behavior.  They are learning skills necessary to recognize and communicate their needs and desires.  In our homes we can give them a voice!  The moments we spend effectively communicating with our little ones will serve them for a lifetime.  In addition to hearing their voice and giving it a fair amount of power, we need to SLOW DOWN.  Let us all make a committed effort to teach our children to stop and smell the flowers.  Lets show them that the only job worth doing is a job done well.  Effort and desire produce meaningful results.


Preparation of the environment: Preparing an environment where the child can continue their patterns of growth and discovery is essential to supporting our children’s Montessori experience.  This is because our children are in a state where everything in their environment is of essence to their experience as an individual.  Our school environment allows the child space to learn in many aspects but often our home environments are set up to suit the needs of the adults.  Montessori said, “(The child) absorbs the life going on about him and becomes one with it....The child’s impressions are so profound that a biological or psycho-chemical change takes place, by which his mind ends by resembling the environment itself.”  Providing our children with an age appropriate, enriched environment is part of the gift we can give them in support of their Montessori education.


Give our children space to explore their passions: These little ones are learning to find enthusiasm and joy in different tasks.  They are given freedom to explore topics of interest.  When we hear their voice and honor their passions, we support their love of learning.  A child who has developed an interest in plants desires nothing more than a parent who will listen and actively encourage their passion by providing them books, field trips, and conversations about plants.  A person truly masters a skill or subject when they can teach another person about it.  I urge you to give your children space to teach and share their passions with you.


Accept their contributions: Our children are being taught to be contributing members of a community.  How can you allow your child this opportunity at home?  Their ability to contribute is usually beyond what we might think they are capable.  When we maintain our space as a family community we then have the opportunity to explore, play, and learn as a community.  My experience has been that to be an effective Montessori Parent, I have no choice but to understand and fully embrace that I have three little individuals on my hands. Their ability to truly and effectively contribute to society is one that makes me feel honored and privileged.


I don’t advocate for having a house full of Montessori materials.  Our little ones spend many hours in a day working on academics.  They are most served at home when we allow them to participate in practical tasks and explore their surroundings.  When I invite you to bring Montessori home I certainly don’t want anyone getting the impression that I think our children should be home working on math.  I am saying that we can indulge their love of learning by hearing what they are interested in.  We can support their development of imagination by reading wonderful, adventurous books with them.  We can support their love of nature by hiking and camping and exploring with them.  We can teach them the beauty of the earth by walking slowly with them.  We can nurture their ability to build meaningful relationships by seeing them and hearing them and touching them.  We can teach them to be confident by looking them in the eye while they speak to us.  We can teach them to resolve conflicts peacefully by modeling peaceful conflict resolution.



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Green Committee Update by Chair, Ann Beverly

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Thank you to all the families who participated in the Children’s clothing swap last week. We had a record amount of clothes donated! I hope you all got to update your growing child’s wardrobe a little bit.

 

 

Glass recycling Wednesday is getting off on the right foot! Each week we continue to see more and more glass coming in for us to recycle. Keep it coming! I hope you find this a useful service.

 

I wanted to publicly acknowledge the Green Committee members who have made our efforts to green MCS a success this year. You are all amazing and passionate about improving the school and the environment for our children.

 

One Green Committee member needs a little extra acknowledgement, Jaymison Peterson. With out Jaymison’s efforts the clothing swap just would not have happened. She sorted and folded so many kid tee shirts I think she will be folding in her dreams for quite awhile! Throughout the entire swap Jaymison was there, straightening and organizing, in order to make it easier for all of us to find what we needed, in the right size! And the wonderful signs for Glass Wednesday, you guessed it, Jaymison made them! Most Wednesdays she is one of the members taking the glass to be recycled. She is a vital part of the Green Committee and I hope she knows how much I appreciate her efforts and commitment to our Committee and to MCS. Thank you Jaymison!

 

And, thank you to all MCS parents and students for making the Green Committee a success again this year.

 

Ann Beverly

Chair, Green Committee


 

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Donate to an MCS family in need!

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GLASS RECYCLING!

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FUN RUN!

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As you are aware our Annual Service Fundraiser –the Fun Run- will be held on Wednesday, April 17th.  Our goal for this year is to raise at least $6500 for our two special Navajo grandmothers, Emma and Elvira, as well as our seven students from Ethiopia.

As we have 220 students enrolled at this time this means that if each child could aim to raise $30 we would reach our goal. We are aware that this will be an easy target for some families and more difficult for others and want you to know that anything you can offer will be so gratefully received.

The Adopt A Native Elder program has an excellent website that we invite you to view at this link- www.anelder.org The website gives so much information about the work of the organization. We are aware that there are many other grandmothers who would really benefit from sponsorship and therefore if we meet our goal this year we hope to adopt another grandmother.  We have been sponsors for Grandmothers Emma, Roseline (who recently died), and Elivira for about seventeen years now and know how much our support has helped provide a higher quality of life.  As you know from some of our Weekly Email newsletters we hear from our grandmothers on a regular basis and having spent time with each of them on the reservation Robyn and Bob know what great an impact our commitment and support has on their lives.

Recently we received new photos and thank you letters from our sponsored students in Ethiopia. We include two of their photos here.  Along with the correspondence we received a recommendation to watch the following link -http://youtu.be/cYumqw7idQY On the video you will see that one of our students, Bethelhem Eyob, (who is one of the girls shown in the photos attached) speaks about her experience at school and her gratitude for her sponsors (in this case our school). In a recent communication from Rick Egan at COEEF he wrote, "Bethelhem Eyob is a brilliant student, and so I thought you may be interested in seeing a short video we put together from our last visit to Ethiopia. It includes a short interview with your student,  Bethelhem Eyob, talking about Mr Solomon and St Michael's School where she attends.

Once again we thank you in advance for your support.

Warm wishes,

Robyn and Ramira

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ZUMBATHON FOR NICO!

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Shakin' it for Nico!

 

 

Deacon, Drake, Meghan and Sophie volunteer their time at the Zumbathon.

 

 

A small crowd of attendees before the madness began!

 

 

Shakin' It for Nico!

 

Excited children watching their parents dance!

 

Alyana and Lauren, volunteering in Child Care, bust out a move.

 

For those who participated in the Zumbathon last Friday night, we cannot begin to thank you enough.  The energy was incredible and seeing the event come together, as a community of loving adults put their dollars AND their enthusiastic energy into this project, was a touching experience for many.  We raised well over our anticipated goal and some of our staff members are looking forward to presenting the money to Nico and his family next week.

 

This event is just one reason we are all proud to be a part of the Montessori Community School...when we bring together our talents, our good intentions, and our positive energy-we can do amazing things!

 

Special thanks to the following:

Sophie Lake -MCS teacher, event organizer, event volunteer

Cinthya Barajas - MCS teacher, Zumbathon instructor/event volunteer, event organizer

Ralynne Purdy - Zumbathon instructor/event volunteer

Jena Marston - Zumbathon instructor/event volunteer

Meghan Burrows - MCS teacher, event volunteer

Alyana Kay - MCS teacher, event volunteer

Lauren Bornschein - MCS teacher, event volunteer

MCS Facilities - event organization, set-up

Drake Jones - MCS student, event volunteer

Tanner Jones - MCS student, event volunteer

Deacon Jones - MCS student, event volunteer

And especially to all the community members (MCS Community as well as many SLC Community members) who participated in the event!

 

Many, Many Thanks!

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It's time for the 6th Annual MCS Fun Run!

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6th Annual - Montessori Community School Fun Run

Wednesday, April 17th 2013

(Please note the change in date from the school calendar.)

 

The two main service projects that our school is involved with are the Adopt A Native Elder program and also COEEF (Children of Ethiopia Fund).

 

 

For the past seventeen years our school has raised money, in various ways, for the Adopt a Native Elder program, to provide financial assistance for our three adopted Navajo grandmothers- Roseline, Emma and Elvira who have chosen to remain living on a reservation and spent their lives living in the  traditional life style as role models for their children and grandchildren.  For the past ten years our school has also raised money to pay full tuition to allow our  girls in Ethiopia to attend school. Only 25% of girls in Ethiopia are afforded the opportunity to attend school and COEEF has built schools in Ethiopia for the express purpose of providing education only for girls.

 

For the past six years the main fundraising event to support our grandmothers and young girls in Ethiopia has been our Spring Fun Run. All of our students participate in the event.  The children collect pledges from family and friends who are interested in supporting these two programs and the children run laps on the Lower Field to earn the money that has been pledged.  100% of the money earned goes directly to our grandmothers to whom we provide certificates throughout the year for them to buy food, clothing, general incidentals and firewood and for the tuition for our students in Ethiopia.

 

There is still a great need within the Adopt a Native Elder program for support of other grandmothers and we hope to be able to adopt another grandmother. That will be determined based on the funds raised at the Fun Run this year. Last year we only raised about half of what we had raised the year before so we do not want to over commit ourselves. Over the next couple weeks, the teachers will be talking to the children about service to others and in particular about our grandmothers and the students we support in Ethiopia. Our grandmothers and students will surely appreciate anything you can give.

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In Memory of our Beloved Grandmother Rosaline

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It is with extreme sadness that we advise you of the death of one of our beloved grandmothers – Grandmother Roseline Jackson.  She was 94 years old.

Approximately seventeen years ago our school began our relationship with the Adopt A Native Elder program and at that time we adopted Grandmothers Roseline, Emma and Elvira.

Approximately eighteen months ago Bob and I had the opportunity to travel to Arizona with the Adopt A Native Elder group on one of their Food Runs.  Each day we visited a different area of the Navajo reservation and our three grandmothers – Roseline, Emma and Elvira lived in two of these areas so we were able to spend several hours with each of them and get to know them on a more personal level.  It was such a pleasure to meet Grandmothers Roseline and Emma for the first time.  We really appreciated the opportunity to learn first hand so much more about the history of Navajo and the lifestyle that they have lead.

Grandmother Roseline was a wonderful warm and charming woman with a really funny sense of humor. She has had many health issues over the past two years and has been hospitalized a few times. Each time she has bounced back and has continued to have her positive attitude and sense of humor. I have kept in touch with her regularly and know how much she appreciated all the assistance we were able to provide her. Over the past few years she has felt the cold very badly and she needed to keep her wood fire going all year long so was especially grateful for all the firewood that our school provided for her. Her family also expressed their extreme gratitude for all of our assistance.

Written By: Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan

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Summer Adventures Camp 2013!

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Summer is quickly approaching and registration is officially open for our currently enrolled students.  If you are not already signed up for "Full Year" we invite you to stop  the office to pick up a registration form. Please ask Lynn or Liz if you have any questions.

 

See the flyers below for information about this years Montessori Community School Summer Adventures Camp. Students will study Tanzania and Kenya.

 

Registration will close on March 29th so don't delay.  Space is limited.

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Decades of Music, Dance, and Art - Performing Arts Showcase

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We had the wonderful opportunity to catch a glimpse of what our students have been up to this year in Music, Art, and Dance at the Performing Arts Showcase last Friday evening.  Another huge shout out to the students who worked hard and gave their best effort!  Our students are amazing.  Also, another heartfelt thank you to Kindra, Laura, and Katie for their hard work and dedication.

 

 

 

Narrators Oliver & Joshua welcome the crowd of excited families.

 

 

 

Upper Elementary students charm the audience with song.

 

 

 

Middle School students jam on their guitars with Ms. Laura.  Their rendition of "House of the Rising Sun" was incredible!  Great job, guys!

 

 

 

Lower Elementary Wasatch students dance to Diana Ross's

"You Keep Me Hangin' On." They had great form!

 

 

 

Upper Elementary grooving to Michael jackson!

 

 

 

Upper El student, O, has great moves....what a crowd pleaser!

 

 

 

Another group of Lower Elementary Wasatch students shine on stage!

 

 

 

Lower Elementary Oquirrh students groove to "Beggin."

 

 

 

Upper Elementary bringing the stage to life with the Beach Boys!

 

 

 

Lower Elementary Oquirrh students remind us that all you really need IS

love as they dance to this Beatles classic!

 

 

 

The wonderful people who made the whole show possible...thanks again to Kindra (Art), Laura (Music), and Katie (Dance).  A shout out to Margaret for taking on the role as the shows emcee.

 

Before and after the show parents had the opportunity to stroll the gym and check out the students amazing art projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adopt-A-Native Elder Navajo Rug Show

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We are so grateful to Linda Meyer and the Adopt a Native Elder program for their outreach and efforts in bringing the Children’s Rug Show to MCS on Friday, March 1st.

In addition to displaying various crafts that Navajo children made, such as handwoven small rugs, homemade cards, jewelry, and stuffed animals (with their very own names!), the presenters shared information about Navajo history and culture. At one point five children sat in a circle around a Navajo woman while she showed them how to grind corn. During the demonstration she also shared about the three crops that Native Americans introduced: squash, beans, and corn. She asked the children if they knew what those plants looked like when they were growing and explained their interdependence. Corn grows tall and provides shade for the squash, which provide the natural trellis for the bean vines to wrap themselves around.

In the center of the gym, a couple of elders invited children to learn how to weave on the loom, and for some of the elementary-age students, this activity held their attention for a long time. An elder named Roger showed children how to use a drum, and told stories at certain times.

 

 

Similar to the squash, beans, and corn, we too are interdependent on one another for support and growth. Our children learn this from day one at MCS, living in community in their multi-age classroom. Every year we host the Fun Run, our primary school fundraiser specifically for the purpose of raising money for those in the global community who depend on us for our generosity. As a school we support our grandmothers in the Adopt a Native Elder program, as well as five young women through the Children of Ethiopia Education Fund (COEFF).


 

Thank you to all the families who stopped by during the Rug Show in support of learning more about the Navajo culture and who bought crafts to support the Adopt a Native Elder program. We also want to especially thank our Facilities staff for setting up and cleaning for and after the event.

By Ramira Alamilla

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ZUMBATHON FOR NICO!

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ZUMBATHON for NICO
make every move count

Friday - March 22, 2013 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm

Montessori Community School (in the Gym) 
2416 East 1700 South 
Salt Lake City, UT 84108

Minimum Donation $5 - Please contribute more if you can.

Come join us for a fun evening for grown ups (ages 16 and up) with the MCS community coming together in support of little Nico who 2 years old. Earlier this year he was diagnosed with high risk Leukemia and your contribution could help greatly.

Tips for Parents for a Successful Parent-Teacher Conference

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Parent Teacher Conferences will be held on Friday, March 15. There will be no school that day. Sign-up sheets for the conferences are on a table in the lobby, arranged by class, from Toddlers to Middle School (please check the top of each page for the name of the class).  As we do every year, we ask that you observe the following requests:

  • · Please sign up for one meeting time per child.
  • · Please be on time for your conference.
  • · Please help the teachers to stay on time.
  • · Please arrange for childcare during Parent/Teacher conferences.

We have included some additional tips that might be useful in having a successful Parent Teacher Conference:

  • Write down questions or things you would like to discuss and email the teacher(s) with your questions/comments before the conference.
  • Ask your child if there is anything they would like you to discuss with the teacher(s).
  • Keep the conference focused on the child and the purpose of the conference-use your time carefully.
  • Be open to suggestions from the teacher.
  • Be prepared to share suggestions of your own. No one knows your child like you know him/her.
  • If you are unclear about what the teacher is telling you about your child, ask for specific examples.
  • Remember that you and the teacher(s) are a team and your main focus is meeting the needs of your child.
  • Take notes so you can share information with your child after the meeting.
  • Make sure the teachers have the best contact information for you and that you have a clear understanding of the communication protocol.
  • Keep the teacher informed.  Things happening at home often affect children’s behavior at school.
  • At the end of your conference make sure that everyone understands what was talked about and what they can/have agreed to do to follow up.
  • Follow up.  If you have concerns that need to be followed up on, set up that time in advance.

What's Happening In P.E.

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By: Aliza Jensen, MCS P.E. Teacher

Lower Elementary P.E.

In Lower Elementary P.E., students learn a variety of motor and coordination skills by participating in a variety of sports, games, and movement activities. Students also gain valuable lessons about teamwork and cooperation by playing with others in a team-building atmosphere.

A typical class begins with warm ups. Each child has the opportunity to choose a physical motion that can be performed while moving across the length of the gym or field. Skipping, leaping, and racecar driving are popular choices. The class then does the warm up across the gym or field together. The children really enjoy coming up with new and innovative ways to move their bodies! After warm ups, the children play a game.  Frequently children have the opportunity to choose a game and teach the rules to the class. Children learn how to play games such as soccer, capture the flag, and variations of tag.

 

Upper Elementary P.E.

In Upper Elementary P.E. students refine their coordination and motor skills by participating in a variety of sports, games, and exercise activities. Students also explore healthy living by learning about eating healthy, staying hydrated, and staying active.

Each day in P.E., one student is the P.E. coordinator. The P.E. coordinator is in charge of various tasks such as leading the group in warming up and stretching. The P.E. coordinator also chooses a game for the group to play that day. This role allows students to gain leadership skills and gives them an opportunity to guide their own unique experience.

Students play a variety of sports and games in P.E. such as soccer, basketball, kickball and various creative tag games. Students also have the opportunity to research obscure sports such as bobsledding, ice climbing, and surfing and present their research to the class. In upper elementary P.E., children gain life long lessons about sportsmanship and learn the enjoyment and benefits of an active lifestyle.


Silent Journey & Discovery

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We had a wonderful Silent Journey and Discovery experience this month. Fifteen parents were in attendence.  We started in the lobby where we shared the routine and schedule and then headed into the classrooms.  Upon entering each new environment, attendees spent the first few minutes of their visit to access the environment in relation to the students at that level. With some prompting they looked at the nature of the materials in the space.  Then, when the bell rang, they were invited to sit down and engage with the classroom materials.  After visiting each classroom and working with the materials, attendees participated in a student-led Socratic Dialogue.  Following a wonderful lunch, we had an open discussion about the experience as a whole and staff members answered specific questions about the materials, the curriculum, and the Montessori philosophy.  Thank you to those who attended.  We are looking forward to hosting this event again in the Fall and we hope more of our parents will have the opportunity to experience this wonderful event.

 

SJ&D participants engage with materials from the Practical Life, Math, Language and Sensorial materials in an Early Childhood environment.

 

Upper Elementary teacher, Margaret, gives these parents a lesson on the Division Board during their visit to the Lower Elementary environment.

 

Parents work independently on Checkerboard Division in the Upper Elementary environment.

 

Participants explore the Middle School environment where they read about Middle School students experiences of different learning cycles.

 

Middle School student, Maddi Schmunk, and Upper Elementary teacher, Margaret, prepare for the Socratic Dialogue.  Maddi chose the topic quote and led the discussion beautifully. The topic of discussion was quote, "It's better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life" by Sister Kenny.

 

Socratic Dialogue

Two parents who attended the Silent Journey and Discovery share their experiences below:

"The Silent Journey and Discovery was a very emotional and powerful experience for me.  I did not attend a Montessori school as a child so I am only familiar with the Montessori philosophy through what I have read and observed in the last two years.  It gave me a great appreciation and understanding of the different developmental levels of the works.  I loved seeing the progression and advancement of the works through Toddler, Early Childhood and up through Middle School.  The grammar and math works were thrilling to learn and experience.  The focus on the sensorial aspects of each work creates a love of learning.  In addition to receiving an amazing education the students are also learning how to be independent, respectful and loving human beings.  I think every MCS parent should participate in the Silent Journey and Discovery to really understand and appreciate the experience and education we are giving our children.  I know that it made me realize that I will do everything in my power to continue my daughter’s Montessori education."

Tonia Hashimoto

Mother of Savvy Williams, Blue Class

 

"Having not grown up in a Montessori environment, it has been difficult for me to understand what exactly a day in the life of my Montessori students is like.  I try to take in as much as I can at pick-up and drop-off, with the occasional visit and guided lesson by my children, but there is no way to fully understand without an experience like the Silent Journey and Discovery.  It was an eye-opening voyage that I would recommend for every parent, and prospective parent.  I want to do it again.

 

Going through a classroom from each cycle really makes the whole Montessori experience come full circle from seeing how the Toddlers get their first understanding of space and shape, to Early Childhood and their practical life lessons, to Lower Elementary and their grammar materials which encourage socialization, to the Upper Elementary complex math problems, to a Middle School student-led Socratic discussion.  We only saw the tip of the iceberg, but the hands-on learning experience helped personify the school life of our children.  I was struck by the thoughtful organization of each room; how comfortable and serene a small space can feel.

 

I also enjoyed the roundtable discussion following our classroom journeys.  We were able to get some insight from teachers, staff, students and other parents.  Because Montessori isn’t the “traditional” schooling for kids in our country, there are obvious concerns and hesitations with going outside the “norm”.  Many of my concerns were put to ease and I feel my children are on the correct path for them at this time.  I appreciated the book recommendations and feel they will help in understanding the Montessori Method and perhaps assist me with decisions for my family down the road.

 

My kids have been at MCS for three/four years now and I feel like I have finally been able to look beyond the curtain of their daily journey, something that every parent should see and experience.  Now, when my kids and I have our chats at the end of the day, I can ask even more detailed questions and have a bit more understanding as to how their day went.  That is priceless.

 

Thanks again to all who helped facilitate the Silent Journey and Discovery."

Carrie Christensen

Mother of Lucas, Oquirrh Class and Emily, Blue Class

Montessori Community School Offers Better Alternative

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In a recent interview, Head of Montessori Community School (MCS) established in 1985, Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan, and a current MCS parent, Marie Bosteels, reveal the difference between MCS and other schools in the Salt Lake Valley.

 

Montessori is an authentic curriculum which has been practiced for over 100 years to meet the developmental needs of each individual student.  “We have multi-age classrooms where students are presented lessons with hands-on materials by trained Montessori teachers.  Certified teachers observe carefully and prepare the environment to suit each student in their classroom,” says Robyn. Essentially, students have the opportunity to gain a firm understanding of a concept before moving on to the next concept.

In addition, according to Robyn, it is commonly misunderstood that Montessori is a preschool program. On the contrary, the program offers an authentic Montessori education for children aged 18 months up to 8th grade.

Current parent, Marie Bosteels, shares her thoughts about MCS. “From an early age the children are empowered by learning independently through well-adapted materials with guidance from teachers”, Marie says. “They are confident that the knowledge of the world is at their fingertips.”

Beyond Montessori’s carefully developed curriculum, MCS also offers an enrichment program where students participate in a diverse selection of activities. “Students participate in Art, Music, Dance, P.E., Yoga, Drama, Outdoor Classroom and the Great Outdoors expeditions. Children can also participate in Spanish instruction at different levels,” says Robyn.

Like many MCS parents, Marie also has her children participate in the Enrichment Program. “We are driven to give our children a rich childhood, where they can explore and experience many areas of life. Thanks to the amazing program at MCS, I always knew that enrichment for my children happened at school,” says Marie. The Outdoor Classroom and the Great Outdoor Expeditions has supported her family’s desire to have an innate knowledge of the beauty, ecology, and flora and fauna that surround us. “My youngest daughter has a passion for art and because the Montessori materials are so unique and adaptable to the individual needs of each child, the teachers guide her to art projects that integrate reading and writing skills,” Marie says.

Marie shares her thoughts on the most important skills her children have gained at MCS. “Because Montessori adapts to the individual needs of every child, MCS has been the right place for all three of my children,” Marie says. “They have developed organizational skills, a sense of order, the ability to work independently, research, think and analyze, lead meetings and debates, conflict resolution, listening skills, mindfulness, staying connected with your passions, and goal setting. At MCS, my children have been learning and integrating these skills since their Early Childhood classes.”

When asked what sets MCS’s Middle School program apart from others, Robyn responded, “Our Middle School program is designed to meet the unique needs of adolescents.  Supportive of their sensitive period for social development, our program allows children to continue to progress academically at their own level while also focusing on life skills,” says Robyn. In addition, team building exercises, appropriate communication, and rendering service are a few of the skills they develop as they explore social behaviors in a small, protected environment.

According to Marie, there are experiences her children have had at MCS that may not have been possible elsewhere. “In Upper Elementary my oldest daughter was able to successfully lead a group discussion with parents. She made sure everyone had a chance to express their opinions and kept the conversation going during silent moments,” says Marie. “She has always followed her passions and inner voice, a quality I attribute to the MCS school environment, where children always have a choice within a well- prepared environment.”

The MCS is located on the South-West corner of Foothill Blvd. and 1700 South in Salt Lake City. The school is open from 7:30am to 6:00pm Monday through Friday. The school day for Toddlers and Early Childhood students is 9:00am-3:30pm. For Elementary and Middle School students, the school day runs 8:30am-3:00pm. “We offer Extended Day programs and Summer and Holiday Camps in addition to the regular school schedule,” says Robyn.

For those interested in applying, MCS accepts applications all year with limited availability. Parents should schedule a tour now for the  2013-2014 Academic Year. Tuition rates and application forms can be found on their website, www.montessorislc.com.


 


 

 

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Tomorrow's Child

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Don't forget to take a look at the newest issue of Tomorrow's Child, which will be placed in your child's take-home file this week.  Some of the interesting articles that we recommend include:

  • The Most Shocking Thing I Learned as a Montessori Parent, by Terri Sherrill
  • Why Montessori for the Kindergarten Year, by Tim Seldin
  • Dear Cathie - Stars and Stickers, by Cathie Perolman
Along with caring for and loving our wonderful students we are always looking for ways to nurture our parent's spirits.  Merging Montessori and parenthood can be a tricky task at times.  Often parents find themselves trying to revisit the reasons they chose a Montessori education in the first place.  Our school spends a portion of our funds allocated for parent education on a Tomorrow's Child subscription for each of our families.  We invite you to nurture your spirit with the inspirations of Montessorians (parents, teachers, and administrators) across the country as they share ideas and reflections of their personal Montessori experiences.
As we consider the best use of funds in the future, we would love your feedback on the Tomorrow's Child subscription.  Please, if you are a regular reader, let us know.  What are you getting from your subscription?  Your feedback on this matter is, as always, greatly valued.
Happy Reading!
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An Update from our Middle School students from Teton Science School!

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An Update from our Middle School students from Teton Science School!

Monday, January 14, 2013
Today is the first day of our immersion trip and off to TSS (Teton
Science School) it is. We left at around 8:45 and arrived at around 3!
So, not too long of a drive. One TSS instructor named Katie, who is
super fun and nice, greeted us. We walked over to our meeting place,
inside a building with radiant heating. The floors are warm! There we
talked about our schedule and what we will be doing during the week.
When that was over we went to our dorms and got settled in. At 5:30,
we had a delicious dinner of fried rice, chicken & Mandarin salad,
tofu with broccoli and rice crispy treats. To be excused to get your
dinner you have to answer one trivia question with your table mates.
Each evening there is a program, today's was about team-building. We
played games with students from Montessori at Riverton So, good first
day!
- Elise

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The Right NOT to Bear Arms

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While reading the SL Tribune on Sunday, January 6, 2013, Robyn came across an article written by Angela Choberka, a fellow Montessori teacher in Utah, about the rights of teachers in Utah schools to carry guns in school.  Her view on the matter resonated truth for the Administration at MCS in that we believe heartily in Maria Montessori's stance on global peace.  Her curriculum is written so carefully as to include many lessons and practices that teach children to solve problems peacefully and with care and respect for their peers.  Montessori was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize and her legacy of peace in education continues to this day.  We are proud to share her philosophy at MCS.

Read Article Here

MCS Students Walk for Peace 2012

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SCHOOL EARLY CLOSURE/EXTENDED DAY CANCELLED!

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Due to the extremely dangerous road conditions and based on the forecast, which shows that the snow will continue throughout the day, we have decided to cancel Extended Day today, Friday, January 11, 2013.  We would like our students and teachers to travel safely home before it gets dark.  Please make arrangements for your child(ren) to be picked up no later than 3:30 pm.  We invite you to pick up your child(ren) even earlier than that if your schedule allows.
Also, Little Chefs has been postponed.  Ms. Sheila will contact you with the revised date.

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M.C.S. Middle School Service Learning Immersion Week

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The Middle School students recently completed their Service Learning Cycle.  Below they have shared some of their experiences from the Immersion Week.

The Humane Society

The Humane Society is an animal rescue shelter for homeless house pets. Elise and I volunteered there for our independent service project. We both wanted to help the same organization so we did two things for the same place, that’s why we also raised about seventy-five dollars and donated it to the organization. Elise and I walked four dogs and over twenty cats each, giving the pets fun and loving experiences.

- Emilia

 

The Bicycle Collective

The Bicycle Collective is a non-profit organization that takes in old and unwanted bikes then fixes them up and donates them to those in need. The M.C.S. Middle School class volunteered there for two and a half hours during our service-learning immersion. We fixed small kids bikes that will be delivered on Christmas Eve to homeless or poor children as presents. In all we fixed five and a half bikes, we also “killed” one, meaning we took it apart so they reuse pieces.

- Emilia

 

Tree Utah

One of the service projects we did as a group was with Tree Utah. Tree Utah is an organization that’s mission is to “improve Utah’s quality of life for present and future generations by enhancing the environment through tree planting, stewardship and education.” One of their main goals is to plant a million trees. What we did to help Tree Utah was paint dead tree logs to make signs so they could label the wonderful trees they planted in their eco garden. We painted ten logs and worked eight hours total as a group.

- Noah

 

Montessori Community School

What I did for my personal service project was I went around doing everyone’s school service and helping out the school. Some of the jobs I did were shoveling snow, sweeping the gym and put away dishes. We were planning to rake the field but there was a lot of snow fall and the next day it was really hot after it snowed so it was more like ice picking. Doing all this work took three hours total on my own

- Noah

 

Wasatch Community Garden

On the Tuesday of our immersion week Upper Elementary sixth years and us Middle School students went to the Wasatch Community Garden. The Wasatch Community Garden is a place where people that live in Salt Lake can have a plot where they can plant whatever plants they want. Some of the things we did to help this organization were mix compost, water plants, make green houses (that were really warm inside), feed chickens and feed worms. Our total amount of time that we donated was twenty-two hours!

-Elise

 

The Stable Place

On the Monday of our service learning immersion week we went to the Stable Place. The Stable Place is a farm that has horses, pigs, dogs, cats, a goat, and a goose that have all been rescued. Some of the things we did to volunteer were: feed and groom horses, walk dogs and played with cats, pigs and a goat. It was really fun!! Our total about of hours that we gave to this organization was twelve hours!

-Elise

 

Sarah Daft Home

For my service learning project my mom and I went to the Sarah Daft Home. The Sarah Daft Home is a home for old or disabled people who need help taking care of themselves. When we first arrived we vacuumed the halls so it would be nice and tidy for them. When we were done with that we went door to door giving the residents beverages to keep them hydrated and healthy. This experience was so fun but I think my favorite part of this experience was putting a smile on their face. I hope to visit them again soon.

- Maddi

 

Aquarium

When we first arrived at the Living Planet Aquarium we went into a working room. Our mentor, Melisa, told us we were going to do an assembly line to make goodie bags. The goal of this was to help out the workers so they wouldn’t have to do it by themselves. There were five stations; opening bags, putting toys in the cups, bagging, tie and curling ribbon. Once we filled up 3 huge plastic boxes we saw all the fun things the aquarium had to offer, such as eels, sharks, and otters.

- Maddi

 

Dixon’s Farm

For my service I decided to help out a local farm but they had changed their policy. For legal reasons I had to be sixteen to go. So instead I thought I would help my mom’s friend, Monica Dixon, we called her up and asked if she was going to be home Tuesday November, we told her it was for a school project. When we arrived at roughly 10:30 we went to say hi to Monica and the animals. She has three goats, chickens, a cat named Doodle and Daisy her horse.  The majority of her animals are rescued (Which means they were adopted from Situations were the animal was not being taken care of properly) which is why we decided to go her farm. We started by replacing the food for the animals, after that was done we changed the bedding in Daisy’s stall, changed the goats bedding, played with the goats and walked Daisy around the arena.  Over all I think we helped a lot in her day. And I really enjoyed myself.

-Bjorn

 

Camp Kostopulos

We went to camp Kostopulos, which is a place that people with mental and physical disadvantages can go to participate in ropes courses and other outdoor activities. They have a stable and the main thing we did there is cleaned the different stalls, clean out the snow in their dumpsters, bring the old hay to the dumpsters in wheel barrow, sweep the floors, muck the stalls, pick up the poop we also shoveled snow and cleared the ice. I think this was one of our greater services we got a lot done and I hope we helped in their day.

-Bjorn

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A Welcome Back Letter from PSA President, Aimee Brewer

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Happy New Year from the PSA!

I hope you all had a fun, relaxing break and are ready for a great 2013!

Since there are many new families who have joined the school this past fall, I thought it might be a good time to send along a few reminders and updates.

Feeling connected to your child’s school and teachers is something that is very important to many parents.  Below are a couple of great ways you can be involved in your child’s classroom:

 

  • From 8:30-9am each morning in the Toddler and Early Childhood classes and 8:00-8:30am in the Elementary and Middle School classes, parents are welcome to be part of your child’s class – if your schedule permits, you are invited to stay during this time and do some work with your child.  It’s a great way to feel a part of their learning experience as well as getting more familiar with the Montessori methods and “works”, and most importantly, your child will LOVE showing you a work and will be so proud when their parents stay to observe and participate.

 

  • Each class has office hours where you can check-in with the teachers. Please know this doesn’t just need to be used if you are having an issue or concern about your child, it is also  a great time to just say hi to the teachers and see what your child is working on.  If the office hours that your class has doesn’t work for your schedule, you can always call or email the teachers to set up a different time to meet.

 

  • Each class has a email address and if you have a question, concern, or idea and want to communicate with the teachers via email, please do so.  If it is an urgent issue, please call the school and ask to speak with the teacher as they usually do not have time to check email during the day.  The teacher email addresses are easy to remember and can be found below.

 

  • The teachers welcome parents who would like to come read a book to the class, do a cooking activity, share a talent or special tradition etc….if you want to do something with the whole class, just let the teachers know!

 

  • The school is always looking for new field trip ideas (or new presenters to come to the school), if you have any ideas, please let me or Ramira know!

 

Save the date:

 

  • As you may know, our school has a partnership with the Adopt-a-Native Elder program. The students communicate with our Navajo Grandmothers and the Grandmothers come to visit each year. Our youngest grandmother, Elvira, participates in the Deer Valley Rug Show each year and the children who attend have the opportunity to spend some time with her.   On March 22nd our school will be hosting a Navajo Children’s Rug Show at the school – if you didn’t attend last year you should plan to this year – not only are the rugs made by children gorgeous, but there are many activities for our children to participate in and learn so much about the Navajo culture. You can learn more about the program at www.anelder.org.

 

  • The annual Fun Run is set for April 1st – this is a really great day for the students, but also our main fundraiser for our Navajo Grandmothers and Ethiopian children. Community Service is an important part of the Montessori Education  as students learn to care and contribute to others , the value of volunteerism, and begin to recognize their connection to people all around the globe.

If you would like to be involved in the Fun Run or any other PSA events or committees, please let me know!

 

Finally, we are always looking for ideas for community building events – classroom specific events as well as school-wide events.  If you have an idea, please let me know (even better, if you want to plan a community building event and get hours towards your parent participation, that would be fabulous!).

 

Thank you for all you do to support the PSA and school at large.  There is such a great group of families that are part of the school and I look forward to the coming year!

 

Aimee Brewer

PSA President

 

Classroom Email Addresses:

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Letter from the Head of School, Robyn

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on Wednesday, 19 December 2012
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In the midst of this Holiday Season I give thanks for our precious children, dedicated and caring staff and our supportive families. This year we have had the highest enrollment since we moved to our current location and I attribute this to the fact that we have such incredible teachers and support staff and also such wonderful families who often make financial sacrifices to ensure that their children have all the opportunities that a true Montessori school has to offer them. These children will of course grow academically in our school and in addition they will grow in so many other ways. They will learn how to learn, to respect themselves, their peers, teachers and support staff and their environment, they will learn to become independent, free thinkers, learn how to be flexible and co-operative, to be innovative and to solve problems and so much more.

In our current world environment so many of these skills are just as important or more important as achieving academically. In the past many of us have chosen a career path early in life and have stayed in that field for an entire working career. Some of our current parents might end up having that  opportunity. However, with the speed of changes in technology and many other developments in our world there will be so many new and innovative opportunities in the future and people may change career paths several times during their working life. I believe that many Montessori students are likely to be some of the innovators- just as Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the CEO's of Google, who attribute their success to their Montessori education where they were encouraged to "think outside the box", are innovators.

Another aspect of Montessori education that will be so important in the influence it will play in our students lives will be the  fact that they have learned how to get along with others - to listen to each other, have their own opinions but  consider others viewpoints, be empathetic towards others, honor other people's choices, work towards peaceful outcomes and know how to communicate effectively with others.
They will also have learned to think of others and to have the desire to give to other who are less fortunate. I realize that parents have played a big part in donating to all the "Giving Projects" this holiday season and hope that you took the opportunity to include your children at the level of involvement that is age appropriate. I am grateful for the generosity of all our families who were in a position to contribute to those who have such great needs.
In closing, on behalf of all our staff I would like to say that we send our best wishes to you for a very special Holiday Season with family and friends. May your time together be all that you hope for.
Have a lovely break and we look forward to seeing you all in the New Year.
Arohanui,
Robyn

 

 

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A Wonderful Thanks To All of You...

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MCS Emergency Preparedness

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We want to extend our deepest sympathies to the Sandy Hook Elementary community and also take this opportunity to communicate our own emergency protocols to MCS parents.  In light of recent events, we are moving forward more urgently with the plans we have been developing in conjunction with a few dedicated parents who have formed our Emergency Preparedness Committee, particularly Sara Hart, who spearheads the committee. The lockdown procedure has been a priority for us since the EPC formed last spring.

  • As part of our Emergency Preparedness, various members of the EPC have taken FEMA courses online that provide advice about preparing for various emergency situations. At our November meeting, one of our parents brought back what she had learned from the Lockdown course specifically. She is preparing a presentation to faculty about the contents of the course and we will incorporate many of its recommendations.
  • Throughout the fall our facilities staff has been laying the hardware necessary for installing phone lines in all the classrooms. This would ensure that in the case of a lockdown situation we could communicate to all the classrooms at once. Phones will be used strictly for emergency purposes. We will finalize the installment of the phone lines over the winter break.
  • Every classroom now has an updated evacuation plan, thanks to parent Jodi Geroux, who was instrumental in bringing building safety to our attention last year. In her capacity as an architect she re-created emergency evacuation route maps.  We have regularly practiced fire and earthquake drills this year so students and teachers are aware of the evacuation routes. We have spoken specifically with specialty and extended day teachers about practicing these routes. We will continue these monthly drills and plan to implement a lockdown drill once phone lines have been installed. We will notify parents before our first lockdown drill. Teachers will prepare the children for the drill and we ask that parents also discuss it with their child(ren).
  • The other priority for us has been identifying potential emergency notification systems to communicate with parents in the event of a school-wide emergency. We have been researching voicemail and texting services. We will continue to use Facebook and our website as a form of communication with our parents.
  • Outside doors are only unlocked during arrival and dismissal times and are locked at all other times.
  • We ask all staff to be vigilant and watch for people we don’t recognize and to ask anyone we don’t recognize how we can help them.
  • We ask and expect every visitor to check in at office.
  • Parents are required to sign children in and out each day so we have an accurate idea of who is and isn’t in the building at any given time.

We recognize that children will have questions. Teachers will address questions simply, and invite children to discuss the events at home. We welcome any questions or concerns you have. Our Emergency Preparedness Committee includes Bob Buchanan, Jan Bosen, Ramira Alamilla, and parents Sara Hart, Jodi Geroux, Rachel Koontz, Vicki Wilkins, Christopher LeCluyse, and Deidre Becker.

We are grateful for each member of this community and it is our highest priority to ensure the safety of all of the children you entrust to our care.

Warm regards,

 

Robyn, Ramira, and MCS Administration

An update from our Dance teacher, Katie Meehan

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Enjoy this update from our Dance teacher, Katie Meehan, about what is happening is the Dance Classes this month.
Early Childhood- We looked to the Nutcracker for movement inspiration. Observing different characters (The Nutcracker prince, the sugar plum faires, flowers and snow flakes). We listened to the dynamic soundtrack of The Nutcracker as we moved like these various characters. Taped pathways on the floor added a navigational component and spatial structure to our movement.

Lower El- We explored using various props as a way to further our experience with dance composition. We worked in groups of four with each group having different props. Some props we used were scarves, hula hoops, hats, sequin fabric, etc. The students all had an opportunity to work together to find a cohesive vision and voice for their dances. The resulting dances were all very playful and enjoyable for the kids to watch as they each performed for their classmates. We have also been working with mirroring in partner format. Mirroring with partners has helped to refine our artistic eyes as movers and observers.
Upper El- We have been looking at various choreographers in the Modern dance field as well as some dance for camera work. We viewed dance pieces by Shen Wei Dance Arts, Trisha Brown, Miguel Gutierrez, DV8, Pina Bausch, etc. Not only have we been observing the choices of these artists but the varying movement qualities of each. In Dance for camera we get to look at the art of dance from a different lens. Deviating from the traditional proscemium setting of a 2D perspective, we further examine movement from different angles with a more intimate perspective.

Social Skills in the Montessori Environment

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Through the years I have commonly been asked about Montessori students and their development of social skills. Some parents, when considering a Montessori education, become concerned that because of the size of the facility, the mixed age groupings, or the limited number of classrooms that their child will somehow be "missing out" on some aspects of social development. The short answer is that although there might not be as many children on our campus, the opportunities to develop socially are unlimited in the organization of the classrooms and curriculum.

 

Montessori herself said that "Social life does not consist of a group of individuals remaining close together, side by side, nor in their advancing en masse under the command of a captain like a regiment on the march, nor like an ordinary class of school children. The social life of man is founded upon work, harmoniously organised and upon social virtues - and these are the attitudes which develop to an exceptional degree amongst our children. Constancy in their work, patience when having to wait, the power of adapting themselves to the innumerable circumstances which present themselves in their daily contact with each other, reciprocal helpfulness and so on, are all exercises which represent a real and practical social life and which we see, for the first time, being organised amongst the children in a school. In fact, whereas schools used to be equipped only so as to accommodate children, seated passively side by side, who were expected to receive from the teacher (we might almost say in a parasitic manner), our schools, on the contrary, have an equipment which is adapted to all those forms of work which are necessary in an active and independent little community. The individual work in which the child is able to isolate himself and to concentrate, serves to perfect his individuality and the nearer man gets to perfection, the better is he able to associate harmoniously with others. A strong social movement cannot exist without prepared individuals, just as the members of an orchestra cannot play together harmoniously unless each individual has been thoroughly trained by repeated exercise when alone."

As her philosophy developed, many standards were set into place which help a student develop socially. Some of those include:

 

  • Grace & Courtesy: An essential part of the Montessori curriculum is the opportunity for children to develop skills of grace and courtesy. Children learn to interact appropriately with one another through dialogue with adults, they learn to greet and host guests into their classroom, and they learn to dialogue with their peers in classroom meetings. As early as three years old students use the "peace table" as a place to they learn to recognize personal feelings and express themselves. They often share a "peace object" of some kind (ie; rock, flower...) that can be passed back and forth as they work to solve problems with their peers. As part of the Grace and Courtesy curriculum, children prepare and share snacks within the classroom. They are given lessons on appropriate meal behavior and sometimes teachers will join students at the lunch table to model appropriate meal behavior.
  • Small Group Lessons: Though many lessons are presented to students individually, at all levels students participate in small group lessons. These lessons allow students to express their thoughts and ideas in a safe environment. As they dialogue with one another regarding their thoughts about a particular subject, teachers can assess conversational skills as well as how much or little a child may be grasping an important concept. When a child is uncertain or misunderstands a concept, teachers will represent material in a different way or within a different setting rather than reprimanding or shaming a child for misunderstanding. In these group lessons, students learn to listen to and respect other children's perspective.
  • Care of Environment: At entry into a Montessori environment children are given lessons on care of the environment around them. They are taught that the space in which they learn is their space, it belongs to them. They are taught the value of community and learn their role in a community. They are also taught to respect and value the roles of their peers within the same community.
  • Freedom to solve problems: Along with lessons on how to solve problems, children are given the freedom to actually practice the skill in a safe environment with caring and observant adults nearby. Montessori believed that children like to work out their own social problems and she said, "When adults interfere in this first stage of preparation for social life, they nearly always make mistakes....Problems abound at every step and it gives the children great pleasure to face them. They feel irritated if we intervene, and find a way if left to themselves." In order to accommodate this freedom, teachers use lunch, recess, and transition times to continually model appropriate social interactions. The time for lessons does not stop once the bell to step outside the classroom rings.
  • Lack of Competition: Mixed age classrooms, individual progression, and self-correcting materials are all contributors to the ability to avoid competition among children in a Montessori environment. Students have a natural tendency to assist one another and collaborate. Oftentimes only one material of its kind will exist within a classroom, teaching children patience as well as allowing them to plan ahead, and accommodate change. Montessori said, regarding classroom materials, "The chid comes to see that he must respect the work of others, not because someone said he must, but because this is a reality he meets in his daily experience."
  • Self-Correcting Materials: Work in the environment is set up to allow the child to use the materials to check their work. As students discover mistakes for themselves, the ability to correct becomes innate and they do not lack confidence for fear of being told they are wrong. It also allows the children to have purposeful movement.
  • Celebration of Individuality: As students are allowed the opportunity to choose what to work on and how long to spend on an activity and the ability to not be rushed to understand concepts, they are able to celebrate their individuality. Some children will grasp a concept more easily than another, some students will embrace one subject at a different time than their peers and as they work with those sensitive periods they grow as individuals. Then, within their roles as an important part of the classroom community, they are able to share concepts with others.

 

In these ways and others, children in a Montessori environment are given the very best opportunities for appropriate social development.

How is Montessori designed to prepare children for the "real world?"

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on Tuesday, 04 December 2012
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Thank you to those parents who recently attended our Elementary Admissions Information Meeting.  Remember, if you have a child who is moving into 1st or 4th grade next year, this meeting is MANDATORY for both parents.  Also, if you are currently still in process of deciding whether your Kindergartner or 3rd grader will continue with us next year, we recommend you come to the next meeting where Margaret, our Elementary and Middle School Program Head, will answer your questions regarding curriculum as well as social develpment of Elementary age students.  Many of the attendees of our meeting last Friday were especially excited by the brief overview of the Montessori Math materials.

During the meeting some questions were raised about Montessori students transitioning to schools with a more traditional approach to education.  Tim Seldin wrote an article entitled "What are the real benefits of sending a child to Montessori?" which sufficiently explains the ways in which Montessori children are prepared to transition to other environments.  I recommend this article for any parent who has a child enrolled in a Montessori program or who is considering a Montessori education for their child.  Read Tim Seldins article here...

We invite any parents with questions regarding enrollment for your child next year to make an appointment with either your students teachers or a member of our Administration where we will be happy to address any questions or concerns you might have.  Also, dont forget that our next Elementary Admissions Information meeting is coming up this Friday, December 7th @ 8:30am.

 

This Upper Elementary student works on the Peg Board during work time.

 

Gift Ideas for your Montessori Child

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One question that regularly comes my way this time of year is "what should I get my child for Christmas?"  Finding developmentally appropriate gifts that will keep our children happy and entertained, but still support their growth, can be challenging.  If you are anything like me, you don't want to spend a bunch of money on toys that will end up broken, lost, or forgotten by days end.  Below we've listed some of our favorite resources for finding the perfect gift for your Montessori child....

Small Hands is a wonderful resource for choosing gifts that support the Practical Life skills your child is working on regularly in the classroom.

Daily Montessori shares information about choosing the right gift for children at the right age.

Jessica Mueller shares some wonderful gift ideas for Infants, Toddlers, and Pre-Schoolers on her blog "Our Montessori Home."

Montessori by Hand shares a great list of children's books.

Support your Upper Elementary or Middle Schoolers love of science with some of these aweseome items from Science Discovery and Fun.

 

Best of luck on your search for the perfect gift!

Why Should I Consider Montessori for My Child's Kindergarten Year?

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Why Montessori for the kindergarten year?

Written by Tim Seldin with Dr. Elizabeth Coe

 

Every year at reenrollment time, and in thousands of Montessori schools all over North America, parents of four-almost-five-year-olds are trying to decide whether or not they should keep their sons and daughters in Montessori for kindergarten or send them off to the local schools.

So here are a few answers to some of the questions parents often ask about Montessori for the kindergarten age child.

Naturally, to some degree the answer is also often connected to the question of family income as well, although we are often amazed at how often families with very modest means who place a high enough priority on their children's education will scrape together the tuition needed to keep them in Montessori.


It is a fair question and it deserves a careful answer. Obviously there is no one right answer for every child. Often the decision depends on where each family places its priorities and how strongly parents sense that one school or another more closely fits in with their hopes dreams for their children.

Read More...

Middle School Community Service Immersion Week

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on Wednesday, 14 November 2012
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The Middle School students are at the completion of another cycle.  They have spent the past five weeks talking about how to be involved in the community and how service is a way to be involved and be supportive.

During their Immersion this week the Middle School students are focusing on Community Service. They have visited Wasatch Community Garden, The Stable Place, and The Living Planet Aquarium where they have rendered different services.  They have prepared and organized independent volunteer opportunities which they will participate in tomorrow and have also planned trips to the Bicycle Collective and Camp Kostopulos.  They are expecting a visit from Tree Utah on Friday.

Check back soon for a more comprehensive report of what they've been up to, what they learned along the way, and how this process suppports adolescents in their development.

The Sensitive Periods of the Child

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on Tuesday, 13 November 2012
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The Montessori philosophy was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori through careful and thorough observation of the child.  Having studied to become a medical doctor, much of her theory was developed based on the biological growth of the child.  In developing her theory, Montessori discovered that children go through sensitive periods in their development.  What is a sensitive period?  It could be defined as a special sensitivity related to certain elements in the environment towards which the organism is directed with an irresistible impulse and a well-defined activity.  In other words, and in relation to our children, sensitive periods are periods of time in which children are directed by an inner pull towards a certain activity, impulse, or characteristic.

Montessori herself described sensitive periods stating, "Children pass through definite periods in which they reveal psychic aptitudes and possibilities which afterwards disappear. That is why, at particular epochs of their life, they reveal an intense and extraordinary interest in certain objects and exercises, which one might look for in vain at a later age. During such a period the child is endowed with a special sensibility which urges him to focus his attention on certain aspects of his environment to the exclusion of others.  Such attention is not the result of mere curiosity; it is more like a burning passion.  A keen emotion first rises from the depths of the unconscious, and sets in motion a marvelous creative activity in contact with the outside world, thus building up consciousness."  Maria Montessori, Her Life and Work, pp. 120.

This means that we have a great responsibility to provide our children with an environment in which their inner urges can be satisfied in the development of their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.  Montessori described missed sensitive periods as dropped stitches.  Once a sensitive period has passed, it will never return with the same intensity and completeness that it once existed.  In each period, the child is endowed with special powers to direct and guide the learning process to its greatest potential.  Montessori describes the child's development of language as "one of the most wonderful."  Between the ages of 0 and 6, a child is in a sensitive period to develop language.  A child learns to speak and communicate simply by being in an environment rich with language.  One of the main goals of our Toddler and Early Childhood programs here at MCS is the development of appropriate language communication.  Our Dual-Language programs are based on research indicating the importance of exposure to a second language before the age of 6 is most effective.

Of course, language is not the only sensitive period through which our children pass.  Order, small objects, refinement of senses, learning good manners are just a few others. Some sensitive periods manifest one way in one child and quite differently in another.  We might see a child developing their sense of order by building blocks or laying objects in neat rows.  Another child in the same sensitive period might insist on a specific bedtime or morning routine.  Yet, another child developing order might choose the same puzzle over and over again.

It is important to note that sensitive periods often pass as quickly as they come.  Therefore, the importance of a well prepared environment speaks volumes for the child's devel0pment.  Along with a prepared environment, we must consciously observe our children and place in their paths the appropriate opportunities for growth.  Each of our programs is built on the stages of growth that our students will experience and our specific activities placed on the shelves are a result of careful observation of the needs of our developing students.  The Montessori curriculum supports sensitive periods at each level.  For example, children aged 6-9 years old are in a sensitive period for development of social skills and appropriate communication.  Therefore, if you walk into one of our Lower Elementary classrooms you will find many students working in pairs or small groups as they collaborate on projects within their learning environment.  Of course, this is just one example of how our Montessori environment supports the sensitive periods of the students.

"There is no bad weather,only bad clothing."

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Montessori Community School has always made it a priority to integrate nature into our program. Students are offered a wide variety of opportunities to extend their learning beyond the physical classroom and, in keeping with the Montessori philosophy, students are invited to experience nature as a hands on experience.  We love the phrase "there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing."  The Portland Montessori Collaborative posted the following on their website and we are proud to say, "We couldn't agree more!"

We believe in integrating the outdoor classroom into every child’s experience at school. The outdoor environment is a place for big body play, where we value natural opportunities for children to challenge themselves physically. Children will find compelling reasons to hone large motor skills through joyful interaction with a landscape similar to that found in nature. In the outdoor classroom, open ended and collaborative play are valued, documented, and encouraged. Opportunities to practice practical life skills like woodworking and caring for plants and animals are available. A relationship with the plants and animals that live in our creek side ecosystem is developed through a process of ongoing, child-led/adult fostered investigation. There is dedicated time outside every day, rain or shine.  We believe that ‘ there is no bad weather, only bad clothing’, and children come to school well equipped to enjoy their time outside regardless of weather.

Read more from The Portland Montessori Collaborative at pdxmc.org.

Practical Life in the Montessori Classroom

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Practical Life is an essential part of the Montessori curriculum.  Students begin as early as 18 months old working on daily living skills.  The areas of a Practical Life environment include; care of self, care of environment, grace and courtesy, and control of movement.  Activities are carefully designed to not only prepare the child to LITERALLY become independent in all areas but also to develop the mathematical and language areas of the brain. This is accomplished when a teacher in the environment sets up each activity and presents it methodically, paying careful attention to every detail.  For example, a lesson on table washing would be presented to a child starting to scrub the table at the top-moving from left to right and top to bottom.  The child moves cross-body as their washing hand literally crosses from the left side of the body, past the center, and to the far right, preparing the brain for reading. This also increases cross lateral movement which not only works as a pre-reading skill but also increasing coordination.

This student chops fruit for a smoothie she will share with her classmates.

This student practices yoga as part of the Practical Life curriculum. His focus centers on building concentration and coordination, two important elements of Practical Life.

 

This boy works on transferring objects from bowl to bowl; building concentration, coordination, and order while also developing small muscle control, an essential part of writing preparation.

All of the activities in a carefully prepared Practical Life environment allow the child to build multiple skills.  For example a child working on sorting objects, stringing beads or tweezing objects is repeatedly practicing and preparing their prehensile grip. Anybody who has ever spent time with children inside the home can relate to the young child's desire to participate in household chores...dishwashing, food preparation, sweeping, mopping...the list goes on and on.  In a Montessori classroom, children have the opportunity to practice these skills along with many others in an effort to gain independence.  They might repeat activities over and over, building their ability to concentrate, as they become more efficient at each skill.

As children move on to elementary and beyond, practical life becomes more about participating in real life situations.  They work together as community members to maintain the learning environment, oftentimes extending the learning environment to areas outside the classroom.  They take the practical life skills that they so carefully and repeatedly practiced in their younger years to become contributing members of their classroom and school community.  As parents understand the skills that their children have worked so hard to acquire, they too can invite children to work as contributing members of their household.

 

Lower Elementary students work in the kitchen.

 

This Upper Elementary student cares for Murphy, the corn snake, in her classroom.

Beyond the elementary experience, children at MCS take their practical life skills to the next level as Middle Schoolers in planning, preparing, and carrying out classroom and community events. Join us in the lobby every last Thursday of the month for Montessori Market, an event organized by the Middle School students.  Students learn the steps in building and maintaining a business as they work together as a team, increasing their opportunities for appropriate and essential social interaction.

"The exercises of practical life are formative activities, a work of adaptation to the environment. Such adaptation to the environment an efficient functioning therein is the very essence of a useful education."  Maria Montessori

Check back for more information coming later in how you can organize your own home to support the Practical Life curriculum in your child's Montessori classroom.

Preparing Your Home Environment

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A huge thank you to our Toddler Teachers for presenting a wonderful Parent Education Night to the parents of our Toddler students last night.  We were pleased that so many of our parents came out to learn more about the Montessori Toddler Environment and ways they can support the curriculum in their homes.

 

 

Read the article below for more information about preparing the home environment for your little ones....

Birth To Three...Preparing the Environment

Learning comes from a natural interaction with the environment much more than from listening or watching another. For this reason the preparation of the environment is extremely important.

Read the full article

montessori.edu

Middle School Team Building

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Recently the Middle School students participated in their Team Building Immersion Week, after 5 weeks of study. The week started off with a trip to CLAS Ropes Course in Provo where they practiced many team building techniques.  The Upper Elementary students were excited to be able to join them for the Ropes Course Field Trip.  Other activities throughout the week included completing class projects, painting the “Nookery” (their mini workspace under the stairs), hiking up Mill Creek's Alexander Basin train with more team building games, and planning, shopping for, and preparing  meals for a campout on school campus.  Food from the class garden was used for their meals.  The week concluded with setting up a tent in preparation for their campout Thursday night.  At the campout they enjoyed a fire-pit and a presentation by Native American flutist and storyteller, Nino.  On Friday, following the campout, the students participated in a Guided Reflection on the completed week and who they are as a team.  They focused on challenges, celebrations, and goals.

Now, Middle School students have begun Cycle Two, where they will focus on “Changes,” change in literature, change in the world around us physically (fungi, protists, and matter) and social change (being catalysts for positive change). Cycle two’s immersion is geared around Service Learning, being the change we want to see in the world.