Upcoming COEEF Event Featured
Hello MCS Families,
Things are coming together nicely here at the school. We are still working out some details but are really looking forward to the students return on Monday. Again, we can not express enough our appreciation for all of the offers to assist. And, we want you to know that the teachers at the school have worked tirelessly to prepare temporary classrooms, to support one another, and to keep the energy positive and uplifting. Our teachers are amazing!
- We are looking for an old washer and dryer that can be used to clean our mops and some carpets that were submerged in water. Please contact the office if you are getting rid of any old machines that the school could use temporarily.
- Thank you to all who attended Parent Teacher Conference last week. We were so excited to launch our online record keeping system, Compass, which will allow you to get activity reports about your child's school experience. However, with all that has happened with the flood and the temporary displacement of classrooms and students we have decided to put a temporary hold on the activity reports. Thank you for your patience. As mentioned previously, every one of our classrooms are being effected in some way and we feel it is most important that the teachers energy be placed on providing structure and support to the students. Thank you for your understanding.
- The Silent Journey is postponed until further notice.
- We anticipate that the Halloween Carnival will still happen and more details about it will be available Monday.
Enjoy the remainder of your unexpected break in this most beautiful fall weather.
With deep gratitude,
- The road is still not fixed at the school's entrance. We are hopeful that it will be fixed by the weekend.
- At this time the building has no heat. (We are grateful for the warm weather!) We hope to have a temporary boiler in place by Monday. It will be a smaller unit that will heat our upstairs. We will have to purchase a new boiler and hope that the transition will be as unobtrusive as possible. We have some temporary heaters to supplement the heat from this smaller unit until the new boiler is in place.
- We are working on a list for volunteer opportunities. So many of you have been so generous with your offers to help. Up to this point we have not known areas where you can assist. However, we anticipate that we will need assistance in the future. Once we have created this list we will share it with you.
FLOOD/SCHOOL CLOSURE UPDATE Featured
- We've had another confirmation that we are not dealing with sewage or pesticide contaminants. There are no microbial issues and the water does not pose any health risk. The water that flooded the school contained soil, dirt, bark, etc. but the word "contamination" in this sense simply means the items are dirty.
- We are still waiting for information about the boiler repairs. There is nothing new to report and the boiler is not currently working.
- Our power has been restored. (YAY! Light has been very helpful.)
- The road outside the school is torn up and is closed at both ends of the block. We are hopeful that they will lay new asphalt on Thursday or Friday and the road should open over the weekend.
MCS SCHOOL CLOSURE Featured
Dear MCS Parents,
Thank you all for your ongoing support. We are grateful for all of the offers of help and assistance. The cleaning crew is still here and they are asking that we stay out of their way while they clean, sanitize and move furniture in preparation for the building repairs. We appreciate everyone's willingness and ask for your continued patience as we determine our needs. If/when we determine that there is a way for parents to assist us we will let you know.
At this time we have been told that it will take possibly up to 8 weeks for the Lower Level to be repaired and able to accommodate the children. We have been most fortunate to secure temporary classroom space for the Lower and Upper Elementary students and the Middle School students at the All Saints Episcopal Church with whom we share a parking lot. Staff are working to clean that space and will spend time this week creating classrooms there. The Magnolias students are being moved to several different classrooms throughout the school. (Arches, Uinta, Wasatch, Oquirrh and Magnolias parents - a more detailed email will be coming separately to outline the details of your child's temporary classroom.)
We are still unable to fully assess the damage and/or inventory all of the ruined materials and furniture. Unfortunately, this process is much more time consuming and lengthy than we had originally anticipated.
The clean up crew is directing us to carefully sanitize all of the furniture and materials that we want to take from the Lower Level for the students to use during their temporary relocation. Currently our power is coming from a generator. We hope that we will have permanent power by this evening but are unsure. Our boiler (which provides our heat) has been partially covered with water and we are not sure the extent of its damage. Specialists have been working on it since Saturday but had to wait until the motor, etc. had dried out before conducting more extensive testing. The road right in front of our parking lot entrance is torn up and we may have to determine a plan to redirect our school traffic. There are many people working in many capacities both inside and outside the school. At this time we do not feel that it is safe for the students to return to the building. There are too many variables that are still "undetermined." We look forward to the students returning when we feel that the building is safe for them and when we have more control over who is entering and exiting the building.
SCHOOL WILL BE CLOSED FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE WEEK. We are also working on a plan to determine how we will make up the missed days.
We understand what a huge inconvenience a school closure is and are very sorry to put our families in this position. Some of our staff members who are not needed in the relocation and set up are willing to provide child care to families who are in need. Please contact the office for names and numbers as needed.
Early Childhood Field Trip Featured
Home – The Montessori Frontier Featured
There are many parts to a Montessori education. There certainly is the beautiful materials that add so much to the enjoyment of learning. There is the educational philosophy that goes along with the materials. There is also the part that looks at your child’s gifts and abilities but the most crucial part of a Montessori education is the part that nurtures and helps transform your child into a successful adult. Ultimately, Montessori is a philosophy of life, of a way to approach the challenges and blessings.
If you love what Montessori does for your child at school begin to implement at home those actions that will continue the transformation. We are not talking about red rods, alphabets or math but about the core value that makes Montessori dynamic and transformational. It is all about making wise choices.
It is a simple formula – learn to make wise choices – but it is a complex process made up of multiple simple actions that combined together create this outstanding outcome for your child. Montessori succeeds because it gives children the opportunity to make choices (and deal with the consequences). If you have made a bad choice, to be able to make another choice until you come to a positive outcome.
You begin the implementation of Montessori at home by creating opportunities for choice. When my son was two we began choice making with something as simple as breakfast. We would offer him the choice of two cereals. I would ask, “Do you want this or that?” And he would make a choice. (However, since I didn’t use the proper names of the cereals, cereal became known as “dis and dat”.)
Choice making has to be real. Don’t offer a choice and then negate their choice. “Do you want carrots?” “No.” “Well, here you are anyway.” Real choice would ask, “Do you want one spoonful or two?” Other examples of empowering choice might be “Do you want to wear blue pants or black”; “Do you want to brush your teeth first or a take a bath first?” There are endless choices to make each day.
Along with choice goes responsibility. When you make a choice you own the choice because with choice goes the responsibility of fulfilling it. However, a great lesson to learn is that not all responsibilities are our choice but once given to us it is a wise choice to fulfill them.
Chores at home become part of this process of wise choice making. How do I choose to fulfill my responsibilities? Doing my work well, finishing on time and finishing thoroughly are key ingredients of lifetime success. In life we are often faced with situations that offer no real choice – paying taxes, stopping at red lights etc. Teaching your child to make wise choices (even when there is no choice) is to teach them to choose their attitude when faced with less than desirable choices. They can learn this if you let them practice at home.
Article written by Edward Fidellow
Upcoming Parent Education Night Featured
Creativity in Montessori Featured
So how does this apply to creativity which seems to be in short supply as far as “art work” is concerned? The creative experience in Montessori is an internal experience. The great creativity is focused on the child creating their own personality. They are forging who they are to become by internalizing all of the experiences of both home and family with their experiences of discovery and exploration in the classroom, mixing these with the intangible aspects of their own DNA, their talents and gifts, inclinations and proclivities. They are taking in these seemingly random elements and creating the uniqueness of who they are.
Their great creative work is themselves.
In a traditional classroom environment children are forced into a mold; fairly standardized and compartmentalized. Doing what everyone else is doing, becoming what everyone else is becoming; rushing headlong to achieve external goals that are set without regard to their personality, character, ability or interest. And from this their only escape from this standardization is the occasional art work sent home.
In a Montessori classroom this unique creativity of their personality is an ongoing daily occurrence as they discover the world about them, as they discover the joy within them that rises as they discover the joy of all the creation about them. They are not rushed from subject to subject but get to explore and enjoy the mystery of how numbers work or the mystery of how their language is put together. They discover animals and leaves, science and art. They develop their senses. And it is those senses that create in them the wonder and the enjoyment of the learning that is all about them. They are creating within themselves reservoirs of joy and fascination, interest and passion. (They will learn the names of all the dinosaurs or rock formations or a hundred different avenues of learning because they have created a passion for it out of their daily experiences and discoveries.)
This ongoing creative experience blossoms within them as they are introduced to music and art, color and form. They become experienced (and passionate) observers of all that is around them. Their early experiences with what the Montessori classroom labels the “sensorial” materials heightens and trains their senses. Those pink cubes and the red rods, the circles and squares, the colors and sounds are laying the creative foundation within the child preparing them physically, psychologically, aesthetically and intellectually for a creative response to all of life that is around them.
The real music they learn to sing, the real art they learn to create in their life will arise out of the great work of creating their own personality. Their creativity in Montessori will not only be an escape from the drudgery of traditional learning and conditioning but will be a magnificent expression of the joy they find in learning and the world all around them. While you may not have many pictures to put on your refrigerator you will have a living portrait of a child full of joy and wonder. Now, that is a creative marvel!
Lost and Found Featured
Learning the Language of Life Featured
Montessori Children Handle Big Words and Big Ideas
As a parent I was surprised about the words my children knew and used correctly (no, not the bad ones.) We’ve experienced them going from crying to making sounds, from sounds to their first words (mama, dada), from words to phrases (me go) to sentences – “I want candy.” It seems like a long (and sometimes frustrating) process for both children and adults to begin to communicate. We can’t wait for them to start talking and then ironically, we spend a lot of time telling them to be quiet.
The beginning formation of their language skills is “ice bergian.” Ninety percent of what they know supports the ten percent that is audible. The structure of their language has been constructed by and large with little direct input. They have been sorting out the complexity of words and phrases. They don’t yet possess all the building tools to communicate to the world they inhabit. That is why at an early age two phrases dominate their conversation – “Why?” and “What’s that?” They are continually constructing and they need solid linguistic materials to build with.
Baby talk is sweet but does not contribute to linguistic development or communications. At an early age, at least by three if not sooner, children are ready (and capable) of big words and big ideas. A Montessori education builds on this sensitive period for language and learning by introducing advanced concepts. Parents are often amazed that their child can say “equilateral triangle” let alone know what it means. But is equilateral triangle any more complex linguistically than Elizabeth Washington?
A Montessori classroom is constantly introducing new concepts and constructs and a major part of this introduction is linguistic. It does little good to point out squares or circles unless you can call them by name, define them and find them again. Montessori education is noted for its “Three Period Lesson.” First, you present the article. “This is red.” “This is blue.” Second, you ask, “Can you touch the red?” “Can you touch the blue?” (You see if they have understood the vocabulary.) Third, you ask, “What is this?” They answer “red.” “What is this?” They answer “blue.” (You see if they have mastered the vocabulary and the concept.)
Language starts with the concrete – mama, doggie, cat and proceeds to action – “me go, I jump.” And then it begins to add the color of adjectives – tall, short, biggest, smallest (all demonstrated in the classroom) until language blooms into conversation, discussion (and debate.)
When our son started Montessori at 17 months we wanted to be good Montessori parents by offering him choices he could make. Everyday for breakfast we held up two boxes of cereal and asked, “Do you want this or that?” Cereal, thereafter, became known as “dis and dat.” (In hindsight, we should have been correct and named the cereals for him – but it would have ruined a good story!)
It is important that we correctly name the words and actions of their lives. A Montessori classroom is constantly adding vocabulary to a child’s linguistic development. Studies have indicated that extensive vocabularies are a hallmark of successful adults. This process and habit of vocabulary acquisition is a foundational concept of your child’s Montessori experience.
While we do use body language and facial gestures, oral language is the predominant means of communication. Helping your child communicate clearly their needs, desires, frustrations, etc helps them to move on to the more complex use of language and culture – the ability to define (and embrace) intangible concepts like love, hope and faith. Ironically, (and I don’t know how it comes about) the first intangible concept they latch on to is wrapped up in the words, “It’s not fair.” But it is from there that justice, respect, duty, honor, honesty, loyalty begin to form with the child and are defined.
One of Montessori education’s great gifts to your child is the emphasis and focus on observation. Your child is given training and time to become an observer. As has been said, “You can see a lot if you just look.” The materials and exercises of the classroom are designed to aid your child during these earliest formative years to develop the habit of not only observing but of naming and defining the experience.
It is never just the accumulation of knowledge (or vocabulary) but the ability to use that knowledge to think, to communicate and to formulate the actions that are necessary for success. The more you talk with your child the more you develop the communication skills your child needs to succeed in the world.
Montessori Community School is offering speech, language and hearing screenings on Tuesday, September 9th. The screenings will be a brief measure of your child’s speech and language skills in order to determine if further speech and language, or hearing evaluations are needed.
The speech and language screening will take approximately 10-20 minutes to complete. After the completion of the screening, we will identify if there are concerns regarding your child’s speech and language skills or hearing. A note will be sent home with your child regarding the results of the screening and if further assessment is warranted.
You might consider having your child’s speech, language and hearing screened if your child shows one or more of the following:
- Your child has a difficult time learning and using new concepts and vocabulary
- Your child has had chronic ear infections
- You and others have a hard time understanding your child’s speech. Your child’s speech is less intelligible than their peers
- Your child does not combine 2-5 words in their speech
- You suspect your child may have a fluency disorder: stuttering
- Your child has difficulty asking and answering “wh” questions
- Your child becomes easily frustrated when trying to tell you something
- See Let's Talk! Speech and Language Therapy for more information on speech and language delay warning signs
What’s the Big Deal about Table Washing?
Many parents are attracted to Montessori because of its tremendous reputation for giving their children a great academic education. Parents are willing to spend impressive amounts of money to give their children this academic advantage. But as often as parents are impressed with Montessori excellence, they are a little bewildered that their children come home excited about mopping floors, doing dishes and washing tables. (This is what successful people hire others to do.) So there is a real disconnect between what you want, what you are paying for and what you think you are getting.
How then does Montessori get this academic reputation if all you are seeing for six months or a year is table washing and practical life? Montessori success is not built on its finished academic product but on its sure foundation. So what kind of academics comes from table washing? It is the foundation of what constitutes Montessori education which is built on an enduring set of scientific principles. The first is that you always begin with the concrete before moving on to the abstract. There is nothing more concrete in the child’s life than the exercises of practical life. Second, Montessori education begins with the development of all the senses before moving on to the intellectual. Rest assured your child will arrive. Third, Montessori starts with the control of the physical abilities as a precursor to control of intellectual capacity. Fourth, it builds physical discipline – being able to follow through and complete a project before embarking on intellectual discipline. Fifth, it significantly develops focus on details as a skill set to accomplish academic goals. There is a major difference between 2 + 3 and 2 X 3 – and it is only a minor detail. Sixth, table washing (and all of practical life) is not only a physical challenge for beginner learners but becomes an emotional and psychological building block in the development of confidence and self esteem. Real confidence and self esteem is not built on words such as “You did a good job” (whether you did or not) but is built on real achievement and mastery. For a three, four or five year old the process of successfully completing table washing or any other practical life exercise begins a pattern of success. It is a success that comes from beginning a project, working it step by step for as long as it takes until you come to the successful conclusion. This pattern becomes the model for the next stages of academic competence.
What practical life achieves in your child is first a feeling of “I can take care of myself” whether it is table washing or tying shoes. I am given a sense of security that I have some control over my environment and my place in it. Second, it teaches me how to follow steps to success. Third, it builds my confidence by having mastered some challenge which prepares me to tackle even more complex challenges. Fourth, it refines my senses and muscular control so I can effectively use all of the hands on materials in the Montessori classroom to advance my intellectual development. Every sense, every motion, every action is focused to help me achieve academically. The academic success you hear about in Montessori is built on humble and less than impressive activities that are foundational to this amazing achievement that develops the whole child and prepares him or her for significant academic success.
Practical life is a portrait of the future!
Happy Birthday Maria Montessori! Featured
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.
MCS Studio Classes Featured
Studio Classes have started this week. Please finalize this first session of classes as soon as possible.
Karate- Tuesdays and/ or Thursdays, 3:45 - 4:45
Broadway Kids- Mondays, 3:00 - 4:00 (Elementary), 3:30 - 4:30 (Early Childhood)
Ballet- Every other Friday, 3:30 - 4:15
Functional Fitness for Kids- Tuesdays, 3:45 - 4:45
Cooking with Kids- Fridays, 3:35 - 4:20 (Class full), 4:30 - 5:15 (Space available)
Zumba Kids Jr.- Wednesdays, 3:30 - 4:15
*Note: If your child is not in aftercare, but wants to participate in a studio class, they may go to aftercare until the class begins. You may pick your child up directly from the studio class. If your child stays in aftercare, your studio class teacher will collect your child and return your child to and from class. These classes are a great way for your child to develop interests, have outlets and experiences learning and growing with other friends in a different setting.
As you may already know from your communications with your child's teachers, MCS classrooms begin the year with a heavy emphasis on our Grace and Courtesy curriculum. The article below, written by Edward Fidellow, will help you understand the benefits of a Grace and Courtesy curriculum and might offer some ideas how to reinforce the lessons at home!
Why is Grace and Courtesy a big deal in Montessori?
You cannot observe a Montessori classroom for even a short time without coming away with an impression that Montessori children are by and large very polite, orderly and impressively quiet and serene. This atmosphere is created by the lessons of “grace and courtesy”. Grace and courtesy – good manners, caring about each other, putting others first – are solid virtues that make possible the extraordinary academic gains of a Montessori classroom. Grace and courtesy is one of the non-traditional academic foundations of a successful Montessori education. It is significant even beyond the academic accomplishments that your child will achieve in Montessori.
Many lessons in Montessori (and life) are learned obliquely or indirectly as a by product of other lessons. (For example, in Montessori all of the lessons of practical life are really preparations for reading and writing.)
While the exercises of grace and courtesy are tremendously valuable all by themselves they also lead to four significant outcomes.
While the Montessori environment is a classroom of individual learners, each progressing as quickly as they can, it is also a community of learners who help, encourage and teach each other. The courtesy of using an inside voice so as not to disturb their classmates; the courtesy of walking so as not to disrupt the learning going on is just the beginning of creating a unique learning environment. Sharing the learning materials, waiting your turn patiently, preferring and helping each other transforms the classroom into an oasis of peace where concentration and learning can happen. Valuing community is a significant outcome.
Second, grace and courtesy leads to the most significant lesson in life – how to love. Love is the ability (and the desire) to put someone else’s needs in front of yours – wanting the best for them. Whether it is holding a door, letting them go first, or doing what pleases them, love is a great lesson (most often demonstrated in small actions and ways.) Grace and courtesy is the doorway to love.
The third benefit of grace and courtesy is the building of self respect. Interestingly, when we are kind and courteous to others we like ourselves better. The young child cannot articulate all the conflicting emotions that are part of growing up but the structure of grace and courtesy helps them enjoy the feelings that come from a calm and orderly environment. They are much more at peace with themselves when they are at peace with their neighbor.
The fourth benefit is that grace and courtesy contributes to the development of self control. Grace and courtesy give children an external set of markers that they internalize and practice which in turn leads them to change their own behavior. This is the first step to controlling themselves. Self control will lead to focus; focus will lead to accomplishment; accomplishment will lead to success.
Not a bad byproduct for “Please” and “Thank you”.
- Prepare your child. Be sure to help them understand what they can expect. Talk about how the routine will go... "We will walk to your cubby first and put your things away. Then, I will remind you where to find the bathroom and then I'll take you to the door of your classroom. Your teacher will meet us there and we will give one hug, one kiss and one high five and then I will leave."
- Don't be surprised if your child is having a difficult time even if they are returning to the same classroom, with the same teachers, and the same peers.
- Stick to your routine! A change in routine can make separation anxiety even more intense for a child. If you say you are going to give one hug, one kiss and one high five, DO IT! Drawing out the goodbye not only makes it hard but also hinders your child's ability to develop confidence that you are both really expected to do what you say.
- Refrain from entering the classroom. We try to give our students the first 6 weeks to make the environment "theirs" and develop a routine before inviting parents inside. If you have questions about how or what your child is doing be sure to ask their teacher at the end of the day. Or, feel free to call our office and we will check in on your child. But, trust your child that they can develop the skills to make it through their school day.
- Stay calm and let your child know you trust them. Although you might be concerned that your child is going to have a hard transition, be sure to express your confidence in them. If you aren't comfortable leaving campus until you know they are doing okay, you are welcome to hang out in our lobby and our staff will check on your child. Or, give us a call on the phone and we will be happy to check.
- Keep it short. Avoid lingering...this can cause further distress. Rest assured that if your child is unable to settle or remains distraught, we will call you. It is important to us that your child feels this is a safe and peaceful place. If they need a shorter day here in order to build that confidence, we will support them.
- Give it time. It can take up to 6 weeks for children to "normalize." If you have concerns that it is taking your child too long to adjust, be sure to speak with the teachers. They might have some good ideas to help you both.
- Return on time. It can be difficult for children to build trust if their parent and/or teacher tell them that mommy or daddy will "be here soon" and you are not. If you are going to be late, give us a call so we can prepare your child. Unexpected events occur and we are happy to support you and your child so call our office if you are running late.
- Show your child that you trust the teachers. If they feel that you lack confidence in the teachers or the school, they will also lack confidence. Again, if you have concerns about your child's care, please speak with the teachers or administration.
- Ask your child about their day. Let them express frustrations but also ask specific questions that might lead them to remember the good parts of their day. "Did you play in the sandbox today?" "Did your teacher read any stories today? What was the story about?"
- Most importantly - be consistent!