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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_thumb_scaled.mariamontessori.pngAs 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.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_images.jpgThe 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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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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on Monday, 16 September 2013 in School News

The Montessori Community School has just completed installation of one of Salt Lake City's largest private solar energy systems. The 52.2 kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) array will create enough energy to provide most of the school's electrical needs throughout the year. The system is expected to operate for a maintenance-free life of more than 25 years.

The project has a multiple objectives: To reduce dependence on outside electricity supply for the school, provide renewable energy education for students, lower demands on regional fossil fuel generators thus improving air quality, and raise community awareness about renewable energy options. A monitor screen in the school will track the system's performance in real time as a learning tool for students and the community.

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Using conventional financing, the project is being funded by lowering electrical energy costs at the school, a grant from Rocky Mountain Power, and State and Federal TAX credits. It is expected to have a payback period of about 8 years.

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See the featured article on Fox13Now.com

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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on Monday, 26 August 2013 in School News

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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on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 in School News

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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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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on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 in Parent Education

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

 

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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.

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on Thursday, 20 June 2013 in Parent Education

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.

 

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on Wednesday, 12 June 2013 in School News

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.

 

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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 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.)

 

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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!

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on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 in School News

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   image

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on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 in School News

 

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

Many thanks to those who have organized this exciting event!

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