An extremely important element of a Montessori program is the service component. Our Early Childhood and Toddler classrooms have ongoing service projects with such organizations as the Road Home Homeless Shelter. Our Elementary School students have spent time with residents at local Nursing homes, raked leaves for elderly neighbors and mentored Spanish speaking children at the Guadalupe Center. Our Elementary and Middle School students have several hours each month set aside for service learning projects. These projects have included our school-wide Scholastic Book Club service, our school-wide recycling program, and local community projects such as planting trees at Jordan River Parkway, shoveling snow for our neighbors, and clean-up efforts in local parks. These are just a few examples of the many projects in which our students are involved throughout the course of an academic year.
For more than fifteen years, the Montessori Community School has sponsored three Navajo grandmothers through the “Adopt a Native Elder” program. The Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program exists to create a bridge of hope between Native Americans and other cultures. It allows us to reach out to one another, share our gifts, and mend the broken circle of our relationship with the Land and the Native Americans who hold it in sacred trust
The Program supports the traditional Elders who live in the cultural and spiritual traditions of The Diné People. Most live in remote portions of the Diné (Navajo) reservation. Some live in traditional hogans, and some raise sheep as a means of maintaining themselves. The Program provides food, simple medicines, clothing, fabric and yarns to help these Elders live on the Land in their traditional lifestyle. As they have become elderly, it has become more difficult for them to support themselves on the Land in their traditional ways.
We have three “adopted” Navajo grandmothers, Grandmother Emma Bahe, Grandmother Roseline Jackson and Grandmother Elvira Horseherder. In 2013 we bid a loving farewell to our Grandmother Roseline who died at the age of 94. We think of her often and wish her family well.
Each year our students raise money for our grandmothers through our annual "Fun Run." Children have sponsors who make donations based on the number of laps run. The money raised is used to purchase food, gift certificates, firewood, Walmart certificates (where they can buy most items they need at the least expensive prices and often at a very convenient location) and yarn that our grandmothers weave into beautiful rugs that they sell at the Deer Valley Rug Show, trading posts, etc., to provide a major source of their income. In addition, at the time of the Deer Valley Rug Show our families donate non-perishable food items and our Elementary students deliver them to Grandmother Elvira and other grandmothers who attend the show.
Our students are given the opportunity to attend special cultural events on the Thursday and Friday prior to the first public event and spend time with Grandmother Elvira. Grandmother Elvira has also visited our school to talk to all the children about her life on the reservation. She is a wonderful woman and healer with a generous spirit and the children love the interaction with her.
Bob and Robyn have had the opportunity to travel to the areas of the reservation where our grandmothers live (Teesto and Big Mountain) on a Food Run with the Adopt-a-Native-Elder group, and were able to spend time with our three wonderful grandmothers.
We sponsor seven girls from Ethiopia through the Children of the Ethiopia Education Fund (COEFF), a Utah-based organization. The sponsorship provides these girls with the opportunity to attend school. Our students raise money for the girls' sponsorships through our annual Fun Run. For more information about this wonderful program, you can go to the COEEF website at www.coeef.org.