Today we had an All-School Fire Drill. We are proud to announce all went smoothly and everyone made it out in a timely manner demonstrating beautiful lines and calm bodies. Even our rambunctious Toddler friends were able to make it out onto our green space with little trouble and almost no tears.
Today we had an All-School Fire Drill. We are proud to announce all went smoothly and everyone made it out in a timely manner demonstrating beautiful lines and calm bodies. Even our rambunctious Toddler friends were able to make it out onto our green space with little trouble and almost no tears.
As many of you know, Montessori Community School partners with a ski resort each year to provide our students with a region specific experience of ski and snowboard lessons. This opportunity is open to all of our Kindergarten students and up. If you are unsure as to whether your student is signed up, please contact Ashlee Haslam, in the office. Please mark your calendars, as the Winter Sports Parent Meeting will take place Wednesday, November 16th from 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm.
This year, our Winter Sports Program will take place at Snowbird. It is recommended that you start looking into and booking rentals, if needed, for your student.
but one must still say that it takes no account of life itself."
I started my adult life as a teacher and I think I eventually grew in to a very good one. So, you can imagine my bewilderment when each of my three children were "slow to read." (Confession - I actually don't believe in "slow" or "quick" when it comes to the learning process...but I forgot about that when it was my kids!) I did all the right things. We read books together from the time they were infants, they saw me reading for enjoyment, and they each attended very well prepared Montessori classrooms from the time they were 2 (or less) years old. Like any other parent, I grew frustrated and worried.
Fast forward a few years and my youngest son just recently hit his "explosion" in to reading and let me tell you, it was glorious. It was no less glorious for him than it was for his peers who had this same explosion at 3 and 4 years old. His world is equally bright. And then there's me over here remembering how brilliant these little beings are when we give them the space to grow at their own pace. Children will learn every single thing we think they need to learn AND SO MUCH MORE. They are developing every skill they need in just the right time. As for the skills they aren't developing (that perhaps you're wishing would come a little faster) - they are learning equally important ways to manage without and building an entire skill set that they can access throughout their entire lives.
Believe it or not, the most important job a parent has is to have faith and trust in our little people. I am absolutely convinced that they will do far more to teach us than we will them!
I hope this article is inspirational in reminding you, as it did me, to enjoy your opportunity to sit back and enjoy the show as these lovely little beings climb mountains to reach their highest potential. Rest easy knowing that everything is unfolding just as it should.
For Parents Who Worry (Isn't That All of Us?) by Jane M. Jacobs, M.A., Montessori Educational Consultant at Montessori Services.
By now your children are settled in their classrooms and are being cared for and educated by your extended "village." Perhaps you're still concerned about whether your child is adjusting well and learning enough. Like all parents, you want your children to be happy and learn the skills they need for success.
As Montessori suggests in the above quote, young children naturally grow and learn from their surroundings without being directly taught.
No Need to Be Anxious
It's hard not to be anxious, especially with your first child. You learned to do all the right things as your child grew from infancy to childhood. Now your child is more capable and independent.
Because of their absorbent minds, preschoolers do not need direct teaching in order to learn. This is the period of children's self-construction, learning from the environment in which they live.
Try not to worry about what the latest expert or neighbor says. Take time to just be with your child. Adapt your home so your toddler can explore safely. Observe his new independence and sense of self. Remember to relax and have fun, too.
Did you know that children learn best when exploring the world with hands-on activities? Research shows that children who are prematurely pushed into academic drills become less creative and enthusiastic learners, and do not retain information any better than those who learn facts later. Instead, a focus on play is key at this age, helping children to develop social and emotional skills that are important for long-term success.
It's easy to look at your friend's child and compare. However, it's important to remember, we are not all alike! No two children are on the same timetable, even if they are the same age. Keep your expectations in line with your child's abilities. Change is constant with a growing child.
Beware of the accelerated-learning industry. Baby DVD's or reading programs have proven worthless and sometimes detrimental to development. It's actually more productive to let your child scoot around the floor, play with pots and pans, or sing silly songs with you. Reading and talking to your child, and helping him learn to care for himself are better options. Your job is to expose him to the world without any pressure.
We are accepting donations of used children’s clothing to be added to our “extras” in each of our programs. It is not uncommon for children’s clothes to become wet, soiled, outgrown or other and we like to keep a stash of extras around to ensure our student’s comfort.
You are invited to bring children’s clothes to the bins in the lobby that you think might be of use here at school, particularly winter boots, hats, gloves, coats, and underwear. Donations for all ages infant to size 14 accepted. Any clothing not used to enrich our own “lockers of warmth” or extra clothes bins will be donated.
As stewards over these each of these beautiful little humans, we take great joy and responsibility in the privilege and responsibility of teaching peace to the students of Montessori Community School. MCS teachers touch on many different aspects of peace throughout the year. Our peace curriculum, written to create a culture of cooperation and compassion, acts much like the other subjects taught in a Montessori environment. The following ideas are touched on year after year and at varying levels, depending on the development of the students and the make up of each classroom.
- Creating a space for peace
- Supporting peace
- Acknowledging peace
- Advocating for peace
- Developing inner peace
- Intentional acts of peace
- Cultivating peace
- Nurturing peace
- Celebrating peace
Peace truly does begin within. However, just like addition and history and penmanship, our children must be taught to develop and emanate peace. We teach through lessons, we teach through experience, and we teach by example.
May each of us be filled with intention to develop our own sense of inner peace and compassion and may we seek opportunity to spread compassion and light to our fellow man. May the love of our wonderful MCS students be given the respect and attention it deserves to grow and spread and make a sincere difference in the world.
These Aspens class students hold a sign that says "Peace" during the program.
MCS students, toddler through elementary, gather together to sing "Light a Candle for Peace."
Younger students are paired with older student while they hold hands and walk around the campus to look at the peace flags made by their peers.
This mother and son look at the peace flags during the peace walk.
An Upper Elementary student signs "Peace.
Upper Elementary teacher, Christian, talks to the students about self compassion and sharing compassion with the greater community.
Peace flags are decorated by MCS students and staff and then hung along the Outdoor Classroom fence.
Enjoy these great pictures of Uinta students who rode their bikes to school today! Three cheers for alternative transportation!
When the weather is fine and the construction is clear…we ride!
As the seasons change and the mornings grow cooler, we would like to remind everyone of Salt Lake City's Idle Free Ordinance. This ordinance prohibits unnecessary vehicle idling over 2 minutes.
Every 2 minutes of idle time equals 1 mile of driving. As Montessori Community School works hard to be and encourage our students to be environmentally conscious, we ask that this ordinance be upheld during drop-off and pick-up times. Please click here for more information on Salt Lake City's Idle Free Ordinance.
Thank you so much for your support and help.
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.
As part of our Peace Curriculum that is incorporated into our monthly studies at MCS, this month each of the classes is engaged in a study of creating space for Peace as we prepare to celebrate International Peace Day on September 21st and in honor of Maria Montessori’s extensive work in the field of Peace Education. Studies show that a preventative curriculum that promotes communication, community and self-advocacy is more effective than a punishing approach to bullying in schools. Ours is a program that we expect will follow our students far beyond their structured educational experience. We hope for and assist children in the development of skills of peaceful conflict resolution, gaining respect for peers and incorporating communal advocacy, taking in to account the needs of a community and how one’s behavior affects another, and establishing a lifetime of self advocacy, self love and self respect.
Averting war is the work of politicians; establishing peace is the work of educators. ~Maria Montessori
Parents! Exciting things are happening around here. Already, we are beginning to see the inklings of classrooms running like well-oiled machines. Below you will find a very meaningful article about the uninterrupted work cycle. While this sounds like more fancy Montessori-esque language, it has great meaning in a successful Montessori environment. This is the place where the students natural instincts to find meaningful learning experiences is most honored to prepare the child for future learning opportunities. This is where one child's need for movement is given as much respect and space as another child's need for full concentration on a task. This is where Montessori shines like a bright star in a sky full of educational opportunities for kiddos. I hope you'll take just a few short minutes to read below and learn why we want so badly for your child to arrive to school on time each and every day and what great opportunities this important beginning of day time has to offer your child.
"When the children had completed an absorbing bit of work,
they appeared rested and deeply pleased."
—Maria Montessori (author), Paul Oswald (editor),
Basic Ideas of Montessori's Educational Theory
There are a total of five Great Lessons and they are used to introduce the year's studies of history, geography, botany, zoology, science, language and math in the LE program. Not only are they important in inspiring the child's imagination and investing them in the importance of various subjects they can look forward to studying, but they are memorable, too! Having the opportunity to hear these stories three different times in their LE cycle allows students to consider them from various perspectives.
Our Aspens Community Builders have arranged the event below for their first Community Building event. They have extended the invitation school-wide!
The Voice Area of the School of Music invites you to a unique outdoor experience on Presidents Circle on September 22nd at 4:10. Twenty-two of our School’s talented singers, as well as internationally acclaimed pianist Jed Moss, will present A Musical Menagerie, Animals in Song. The hour-long voice recital will include works performed in English and will feature songs about farm animals, dogs, cockroaches, frogs, snakes, worms, microbes, crows, and even warthogs. Second Chance for Homeless Pets will join us, and best of all, our outdoor space is family and animal friendly! Please join us on the lawn for a beautiful afternoon in late September celebrating and surrounded by the animals we love.
We are looking forward to the opportunity for our Early Childhood parents to participate in the ThroughPlay study through the University of Utah. MCS parents can expect to receive a link to the questionnaire via email shortly. Completion of the questionnaire is a prerequisite to receiving an invitation to the presentation mentioned above.
Sign-In and Pick-Up
For safety measures, all students need to be signed in and out each day. Sign-in/out sheets are located outside of each classroom. We ask that you park, enter the school, sign in/out your child and check your child’s bulletin board for special announcements. Only parents or persons with written authorization (either listed in the child’s Emergency Medical Release form or through the Alternate Pickup form) may pick up a child.
The sign-in and out sheets not only tell us who dropped off and picked up on a given day; they also tell us which students are in the building in the case of an emergency.
If your child has an appointment during the school day and will be picked up and then returned to school, please sign her/him out and back in at the Office front desk.
Alternate Pickup Procedures
If someone other than the parent/guardian will be picking up your child, please fill out an Alternative Pickup Form for authorization. These forms are available in the Administrative Office. A staff member will ask the person you have designated to pick up your child to provide identification (i.e. driver’s license) if that person is
not recognized. The safety of your children is our highest priority.
School Closures due to Severe Weather or Emergencies
The start of school may be delayed due to a temporary loss of heating, water or electrical power or severe weather such as heavy early morning snow. School may also be canceled before the scheduled end of the school day for the same reasons. MCS follows the Salt Lake City school district’s decisions unless our needs dictate measures beyond their decision. The Head of School will decide whether we will have a late start, early closure, or school closure after consulting with Facilities. If the Head of School is not reachable, a member of Facilities and a member of Administration will make the decision. In the event of an emergency or when MCS is closed or its opening is delayed by an unusual situation, notification will be made through School Messenger. School Messenger will use one or more of the following methods for notification: email, text messaging, and/or voice mail.
While the Montessori philosophy allows for “freedom within limits,” and we want to encourage students to feel comfortable and able to explore in their environment, we keep the safety of our students foremost in mind at MCS. We have a number of procedures in place to ensure that safety:
- Outside doors are only unlocked during arrival and dismissal times and are locked at all other times.
- We have a sign-in and sign-out procedure for parents dropping off and picking up students. We also have a signout sheet in the office for families taking their students out for an appointment in the middle of the day with plans to return later. This procedure ensures that the correct person is picking up the student in the afternoon and also gives us a sense of which students are in the building at any given time.
- We ask all staff to be vigilant and watch for people we do not recognize and to ask anyone we do not recognize how we can help them.
- We have a required check-in for visitors at the front office, where they sign in and wear a badge notifying our staff of their visitor status.
- Every classroom has an emergency evacuation plan posted. We practice emergency evacuations once a month, either in classrooms or schoolwide with an alarm.
- We utilize a texting emergency notifications system in the event of a schoolwide emergency or unannounced school closure.
- We have phones in every classroom by which the office can issue a schoolwide page in the event of an emergency and with which each classroom can contact the office immediately in the event of an emergency.
- We have placed buzzers on all upstairs outside access doors that notify us when the doors are opened. Our IT department is currently in the process of designing a more sophisticated entry and exit tracking system through the doors.
- We have various surveillance cameras placed throughout the school and school grounds.
- Our teachers are required to be First Aid/CPR certified.
- At the beginning of the year students receive lessons including a tour of school and general safety guidelines. These lessons will be reviewed as needed.
- We utilize head counts at various times throughout the school day, particularly when children are in transition (i.e., when children leave the playground and once they arrive back in class).
- Children check in to use the bathroom. If a child does not return within a reasonable time (age dependent) a teacher will check on them.
- We often implement a buddy system (pairing younger students with older, more experienced students) for times students are in line, traveling or transitioning. We also place one teacher at the front of the line and one at the back of the line when processing. In elementary classes these precautions are taken at varying levels, depending on the ages and needs of the students.
- Our most recent Loss Prevention evaluation was performed in July 2016.
Emergency Notifications and School Messenger
Our school has an Emergency Action Plan, which includes procedures for reporting emergencies and evacuating the facility. This document details for the staff the procedures to be followed in case of fire, earthquake, power outage, etc. Evacuation plans are posted in prominent locations in each room or area of the building. The Montessori Community School holds monthly fire drills and semi-annual disaster drills which are documented.
If there is an emergency or disaster that requires us to leave the school building, we will evacuate to the MCS field. If we are unable to access our field, our back up evacuation site will be All Saints Episcopal Church, which is located directly east of our building, or Hillside Middle School, southwest of our building. Each classroom has emergency contact information, medical releases, and an emergency backpack with a first aid kit. The teachers are trained to take those items with them during an evacuation. In the event of an evacuation, MCS will use our emergency text notification system to communicate with parents. The children will remain with and be accompanied by their classroom teachers at all times and we will maintain required ratios to the best of our ability. No child will be left alone or unsupervised. The shed on the MCS field contains stored water, snacks, emergency supplies such as blankets and diaper changing supplies (for Toddlers), and blankets.
MCS uses School Messenger as our emergency notification system. School Messenger has multiple data centers in different regions; they employ a variety of delivery methods (email, text messaging, and voicemail); they have a solid infrastructure to eliminate any single point of failure in communication. They are used to delivering millions of messages quickly, with over 4000 customers throughout the U.S., including various school districts in Salt Lake City, and a customer renewal rate of 98%.
Families will automatically be opted in to receive these notifications via email, text, and voicemail, and can opt themselves out should they choose not to receive them, though School Messenger will be our primary form of communication in the event of an emergency. We encourage families to include at least one out of state emergency contact in their list. Emergency contacts will only be included in communications concerning incidents that affect the greater community in the case that parents are unavailable to receive them themselves. In order to ensure that we have the most current contact information in School Messenger and the most effective communication, please inform the Office any time there is a change in your emergency contacts names and/or phone numbers, or when you have made a change to your own contact information in Montessori Compass.
Today, August 31st marks the 146th birthday of Maria Montessori. Today, our students recognized her and the great work she accomplished.
We are so grateful to have such a beautiful school, founded with Maria Montessori's love toward and focus on children and their natural development within a prepared environment.
Please learn more about Maria Montessori and her life here or check out our small display this week in the MCS lobby. It is bound to inspire, enlighten, and teach you more about love, peace, and accomplishing goals you believe in.
Maria Montessori, we raise our hats to you. Cheers!
We will do our part here at school to try to minimize the spread of illness by encouraging lots of hand washing and nose blowing (and then more hand washing) and by sending children and staff home when they are ill. We ask that you each support us by following the illness policy set forth in our parent handbooks and as listed below so that we might minimize the spread of illness to our students and our staff. It is so important that our staff remain healthy so that they can be here to help the children settle in and create effective classroom communities.
Should children become ill at school we will do our best to make them comfortable but please keep in mind that we are not staffed to care for ill children in our classrooms or in the office. We thank you, in advance, for allowing your child to stay home and rest when they are ill.
Colds, flu and other contagious diseases are a serious issue in a school environment because they can spread so rapidly. Parents are asked to keep children home when they show symptoms of illness. If the child is ill, please call the school before 9:00am to report the absence. If your child exhibits any active symptoms of illness, he/she will not be admitted to the school, both for the child’s own comfort and to minimize the spread of illness to other children in the school. In the event of an outbreak of an infectious disease, such as measles, MCS will follow the guidelines set forth for schools by the Utah Department of Health.
The following tips are to help you decide if your child should be kept home from school:
- How does your child feel? Variations from normal behavior are the best indicators of illness. You know your child best; trust your instincts.
- Fever. If your child has a fever at night, he/she must not attend school the next morning. Temperatures are lower in the morning and a fever may occur again in the afternoon. You are required to wait 24 hours after the fever breaks before sending your child back to school.
- Upset stomach. If your child vomits during the night, do not send him/her to school the next day. You are required to wait 24 hours after a child vomits before sending your child back to school.
- Diarrhea. Loose and frequent stools have many causes. Do not send a child to school until bowel movements are normal.
- Cold. Be sure a child knows how to handle tissues for coughing, sneezing and nose blowing, and practice good hand washing techniques. Your child may go to school as long as he or she does not have a fever or discomfort. If symptoms are severe (e.g., persistent cough or severe runny nose with thick mucous that will consistently interrupt their work or rest time), please keep your child at home so he/she may rest and recover.
- Earache. Never ignore an earache. Contact your physician and keep your child at home.
- Strep Throat. A strep infection requires a doctor’s visit and medication. Strep can lead to a more serious illness if not properly treated. The child must be on medication at least 24 hours before returning to school.
- Contagious Condition. Head lice (see below), scabies, impetigo, chicken pox, strep throat, measles, rubella, mumps, whooping cough, meningitis and some forms of conjunctivitis (pink eye) are contagious and must be properly treated and no longer contagious before your child may attend school. Please notify the school if your child has a contagious condition so that other parents can be alerted.
- Head lice. Due to the arrangement of student work spaces in the Montessori classroom and the number of collaborative work spaces and projects, if we find signs of lice (nits/eggs), in order to contain the spread we may ask parents to pick up their student early to begin treatment. If parents detect lice at home, please let the Office know immediately so that we can check the rest of the students in the class. Prior to the student’s return to school, we will need to know the specific treatment that s/he will be undergoing and the date that the treatment began, so that we can follow up regarding the second application of the treatment (which typically needs to be applied 7-10 days after the first application). Upon returning to school, before the child enters the classroom, please bring her/him to the Office where he/she will be discreetly checked for nits, and where we can record treatment dates and methods. Students will be allowed to return to class when they are nit-free. Nit removal can take several comb throughs and we ask that parents check the child each day during their treatment. Thorough combing with an egg removal comb each day during the 10-day period following the first treatment is an essential part of eliminating the lice and helping to prevent a lice recurrence. We will follow up, checking students and classes as needed to ensure that all active lice and eggs have been removed.
- If your child has been out of school due to illness, we ask that you consider whether he or she is well enough to be outdoors before you send him or her back to school. The outdoors is part of our program and we do not have the staff to supervise students indoors and outdoors simultaneously.
Illness or Injury at School
If a child becomes ill at school, he or she will be taken to the office sick area. A parent/guardian will be contacted and will be expected to pick up the child as soon as possible. If a child is injured at school, first aid will be administered if the injury is minor. An accident report will be filed for injuries which require medical attention, including first aid. Parents will be asked to sign the accident report when they pick up their child and will be notified immediately if there are any questions concerning the severity of the injury. The student’s emergency contacts and physicians will be called if the parents are unavailable. All classroom teachers are CPR/First Aid certified. Paramedics will be called when necessary.
Montessori elementary classrooms are fundamentally different from traditional elementary school rooms. In fact, they are so different that it can be hard to understand how they work, and why they are so great at helping children thrive.
While it would be easy to write volumes about this topic (and some have: read Paula Polk Lillard’s book,Montessori Today, if you want a detailed description of the Montessori elementary classroom), here are five key differences, and how they matter to your child’s success.
Teachers are guides, not lecturers. They individualize instruction to keep each child optimally challenged. In traditional elementary education, much instruction happens at an all-class level; students generally move through the same curriculum at the same pace. This is more true now then ever, as mandatory standardized testing forces teachers to ensure that all students meet common minimum standards. This approach by definition fails to optimally challenge most of the students, most of the time: a child who is advanced in a subject will be bored; one who is behind will quickly become anxious and concerned about his shortcomings. Montessori is different. Most instruction happens in small groups: teachers observe students and bring together children who are ready for a particular lesson. After a lesson, each child has time to practice a skill or further explore an area, either alone or with freely chosen partners. Writes Lillard: “Because the children are in a period when they have immense energy and curiosity, the secret to maintaining their interest is to keep them challenged.”In a Montessori classroom, an advanced student will be challenged to perform at his best: it’s not unusual for a 3rd grade Montessori student to tackle what would typically be considered 5th grade math, for example. At the same time, a child who struggles can get the extra support he needs, without suffering the negative effect on his self-esteem that comes from needing remedial work in a traditional elementary school setting....
13 kids books to spark conversations about empathy
Lately, it seems like every other day, we turn on the news or open up our social media to find that another tragedy has occurred. Each time we’re faced with these events, we may be overcome with sadness, frustration, and hopelessness. But in these times, it’s important to have conversations with the children around us about inclusion and empathy.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It’s what helps us connect to other humans, and what makes us better humans. You may be surprised to learn that empathy isn’t an inborn trait, but rather one that must be learned – preferably during early childhood.
Image from Last Stop on Market Street