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Victory and Peace...Marc Seldin

This morning, after spending several hours in one of our classrooms for a most lovely observation, I was lucky enough to open my email and find this beautifully inspiring message waiting for me from our Montessori friends at CGMS.  Written by Marc Seldin. 


Click here to read full blog post on CGMS's site. 

The four-year old girls were good friends, but now they’re angry. One said something to the other, tempers flared, and a friendship is in jeopardy. Fortunately, the children are in a Montessori classroom. Montessori schools use many techniques for harmony, but in this classroom they have a peace rose. One little girl retrieves the flower from its shelf, expresses her hurt, and passes the rose to her friend. Together they explore their feelings, and conflict is transmuted into understanding. The children have learned a process to maintain harmony.

In a time of resurging intolerance, we may turn to our classrooms for reassurance. They are gardens of peace, the fields where we sow the seeds of a better world. We may seek solace in the work we do, knowing that the beauty we nurture will in time blossom into magnificent flowers of justice, kindness and equality.

Recently I have found myself thinking again and again about victory. We know that peace is more than just an absence of war. But what is a Montessori victory? Do we conquer our enemies? No. We will not repair this world by subduing those who disagree with us.

Do we shout down the bigot? How much better for the world if the bigot abandons their bigotry? How much better if the criminal no longer commits crimes, if the sinner no longer sins? The second World War was conceived when the victors of the first war mistreated the vanquished; a third world war was averted when the conquered became allies. Force without justice is domination, not victory.

A Montessori call to arms is a call to the classroom. This is where we cultivate real victory.

True and lasting peace will arise from our schools, where we prepare the next generation of peaceful leaders. The work we do is ever more vital, and I urge you not to despair at the territory we still have to cover.

Let’s recall how far we have traveled from 1907, when Dr. Montessori opened the Casa dei Bambini in Rome. Nominated three times during her life for the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Montessori worked tirelessly to improve the rights and conditions of women and children. Justice informed her methodology, and peace infuses the very DNA of our classrooms. The strides made for liberty in the past century – the advances made for children, for women, for minorities, for gays and lesbians – do not doubt that even today we see the ripples of her work throughout all the social progress we’ve made.

That the task is not yet complete should not surprise us.

Wherever we look globally, we see the anger and the outrage of those who have felt excluded from the political process. Income inequality is at an all-time high. Far-right parties are rising across the world, fueled by bigotry, economic uncertainty and a populism born of the sense of neglect by elite powers. The political turmoil is only one of the symptoms of our broken world. We do not forget the millions of refugees fleeing war, and the victims of the terrible wars themselves.

Do not be disheartened, for as long as we teach peace there will be a light in this world.

Yes, our work begins in the classroom, but shall we stop there? What else can our school communities do?

It will not be enough for us just to stall some current agenda. When we work to defeat ISIS in the Middle East, Boko Haram in Africa, or unseat some political adversary at home, we earn but a moment’s respite. Unaddressed, hatred and violence will always return in a new form. A lasting peace requires us to heal the deeper wounds of this earth.

Dr. Montessori taught us that when children act out, it is because they have unmet needs. Is this not true of adults as well? Perhaps at no time since the second World War has the planet been so united in angst about the future. Montessori has a healing message for a broken world, and this is the time for us to recommit to telling the story, both inside and outside of our classrooms.

We can begin by speaking our healing message. Shout it from the mountaintop, whisper it in the halls of your school. Organize, promote justice, discuss difficult topics. Model peace in and out of your classrooms. Educate the children and adults in your community. Participate. Engage.

It begins and ends with our conviction that Montessori has a message of peace which will mend this world’s wounds.

Here is my attempt to formulate a Montessori statement on peace. We urge every school to create such a statement and share it. Feel free to use or modify mine as you see fit.

A Montessori Statement on Peace

  • We believe that we can change the world.
  • We believe that when you work with children, you touch the future.
  • We believe that peace is more than the absence of war. We will repair this planet by building a lasting peace.
  • We believe that anger comes from hurt and that hatred comes from fear.
  • We believe that a lasting peace comes from understanding, respect and love for all life.
  • We believe that Montessori is education for the 21st century, and the 22nd, and the 23rd – that this is the best and truest method for preparing children to become the next generation of leaders.
  • We will prepare the peace by addressing the causes of suffering, and prepare the children in our classrooms to look suffering in the eye and say “no more.”
  • We believe in the dignity of the child and of the adult. We believe that it is possible for mankind to live in peace and harmony. Moreover, we are going to make that happen.
  • We believe that all people have a place at our circles. We commit to bringing into our circles those who have been most excluded.
  • We believe that all voices should be heard. We know that when people shout, it is because they do not feel that we are listening.
  • We will always stand with the oppressed, but never fail to hold a hand out in peace to the oppressor – for we know that someday they will take it. On that day we will all be free.
  • We believe the world may be made forever safe from demagogues and dictators. As Montessorians, we know our students will laugh off the shackles of fear that tyrants use to bind the populace. Furthermore, what tyrant could ever arise from our beautiful, peaceful classrooms?
  • We believe that we may go forward so that we will never go back again.
  • We know that when we march forward from dark spaces, we will bring all of our sisters and brothers with us into the light - and leave none behind.


May we all increase our efforts to make peace.  May we all have peaceful hearts.  May we all believe in the beauty of a future full of hope, love and peace. 

With love,
Britney
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Order Spirit Gear by Nov. 11

Montessori Community School presents MCS Hoodies and Neck Gaiters. Show your Montessori School pride and support by rocking one of these items this coming season. Order cut off date is November 11, 2016 so ORDER NOW!

Hoodies come in Adult, Youth, and Toddler sizes and neck gaiters come in Youth and Adult sizes. 





Hoodies may be tried on during school hours. A clothes rack with the various sizes and colors may be found in the school lobby. 


To order, go to www.mcsslc.com/gear




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Día de los Muertos


Our school celebrated Day of the Dead, Día de los Muertos. Day of the Dead is a holiday celebrated in Mexico on November 1st and 2nd, which coincides with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1st) and All Souls Day (November 2nd). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private alters honoring the deceased. The altars are adorned with sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed. People often place the altars near graves of departed relatives.

Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an aztec festival dedicated to a goddess called Mictecacihuatl. In Brazil, Día de Finados is a public holiday that many Brazilians celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches. In Spain, there are festivals and parades, and at the end of the day, people gather at cemeteries and pray for their dead loved ones. Similar observances occur elsewhere in Europe, and similarly themed celebrations appear in many Asian and African cultures.


In the school lobby, a beautiful interactive and educational display was created was created by Lorena Gomez-Alvarez, Head of our Dual Language Program. This exhibit provided a hands-on experience related to the cultural celebration. Hand-outs were available with instructions and a brief explanation of the holiday. 


Parents, students, and staff were welcomed to begin the tour at the main altar. The alter constructed was honoring none other than Maria Montessori. There were cue cards offering explanations of the important elements of the altar and their meanings. Some of the items that could be found on the altar were sweet breads, sugar skulls, flowers, salt, and candles. Maria Montessori was honored with photos of her with students, quotes, and some of her life's work, demonstrated by a Pink Tower at the top of the altar. 

After observing the altar, there were three crafts typically made on Day on the Dead:

Sugar Skulls
Skeleton Masks
Flowers

We hope you were able to stop by and entrench yourself in this cultural tradition; perhaps, even celebrating in your own homes next week.


We would love to express our gratitude to Lorena, and all of our staff who embrace our Dual Language Program and Curriculum. Thank you for this in depth cultural experience. 



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Book Fair Season

Book Fair Season


Montessori Community School's 2nd Annual Book Fair will begin next week: Monday, October 31st and run through Friday, November 4th. You will be able to browse various shelves stocked with books and other fun items in the MCS Lobby.

This is a great opportunity to get a head start on gifts for the holiday season. The Fair offers an excellent selection with great prices. You are bound to find some fun items for your students, family, friends, and even yourself! 

MCS' Teachers have also created a Wish List of books they would love to receive as Classroom/ Teacher gifts. Those lists can be found online or hard copies can be found on site by Wednesday, November 2nd. 

You may also start shopping the Fair NOW! Scholastic Book Fairs offer the opportunity to shop the fair online as well- for added convenience, go to this link to browse and make purchases. 
 


Online Book Fair

Please note: 50 % of proceeds will go toward a Scholastic Dollars account, allowing our school to update our school libraries. This year, we are hoping to earn enough to purchase new and updated encyclopedias and other specialty researching resources. 
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Montessori Services for Small Hands Catalogs

Toddler, Early Childhood, and Lower Elementary students received a For Small Hands catalog in their Take-Home Files. If your student did not receive a catalog, there are many copies in the lobby area for you to enjoy.

Over the years, many of our families have purchased their holiday gifts from this catalog or have encouraged family members to purchase gifts from this catalog.

If you do choose to place an order, our school will receive a percentage of the sales back as a credit for merchandise. The school customer number is 120274 and can also be found on a label on the catalog. For more information, check out their website: www.forsmallhands.com.

We love to help provide you and your family further Montessori resources. Thank you for your support and work in sharing and being apart of the Montessori spirit.
 
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Fire Drill: Practice to Stay Safe and Be Prepared



Today we had an All-School Fire Drill. We are proud to announce all went smoothly and everyone made it out in a timely manner demonstrating beautiful lines and calm bodies. Even our rambunctious Toddler friends were able to make it out onto our green space with little trouble and almost no tears.
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Follow the Child...what does that really mean?

Montessori has a reputation for having its very own lingo and we are quick to assume that parents will interpret these terms with very little explanation or example giving.  Follow the child is one of the most common phrases you will hear in any Montessori circle.  I love Montessorium for so many reasons and this short video explaining what we REALLY mean when we say "follow the child" is spot on.  Enjoy!!!


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Winter Sports Season is Around the Corner!

Winter Sports Season is Around the Corner!
Dear MCS Families, 

As many of you know, Montessori Community School partners with a ski resort each year to provide our students with a region specific experience of ski and snowboard lessons. This opportunity is open to all of our Kindergarten students and up. If you are unsure as to whether your student is signed up, please contact Ashlee Haslam, in the office. Please mark your calendars, as the Winter Sports Parent Meeting will take place Wednesday, November 16th from 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm. 

This year, our Winter Sports Program will take place at Snowbird. It is recommended that you start looking into and booking rentals, if needed, for your student.
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For Parents Who Worry (Isn't That All of Us?)

"The education of our day is rich in methods, aims and social ends,
but one must still say that it takes no account of life itself."
                                                                                        —Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind






I started my adult life as a teacher and I think I eventually grew in to a very good one.  So, you can imagine my bewilderment when each of my three children were "slow to read."  (Confession - I actually don't believe in "slow" or "quick" when it comes to the learning process...but I forgot about that when it was my kids!) I did all the right things.  We read books together from the time they were infants, they saw me reading for enjoyment, and they each attended very well prepared Montessori classrooms from the time they were 2 (or less) years old.  Like any other parent, I grew frustrated and worried.  

Fast forward a few years and my youngest son just recently hit his "explosion" in to reading and let me tell you, it was glorious.  It was no less glorious for him than it was for his peers who had this same explosion at 3 and 4 years old.  His world is equally bright.  And then there's me over here remembering how brilliant these little beings are when we give them the space to grow at their own pace. Children will learn every single thing we think they need to learn AND SO MUCH MORE.  They are developing every skill they need in just the right time.  As for the skills they aren't developing (that perhaps you're wishing would come a little faster) - they are learning equally important ways to manage without and building an entire skill set that they can access throughout their entire lives. 

Believe it or not, the most important job a parent has is to have faith and trust in our little people. I am absolutely convinced that they will do far more to teach us than we will them! 

I hope this article is inspirational in reminding you, as it did me, to enjoy your opportunity to sit back and enjoy the show as these lovely little beings climb mountains to reach their highest potential. Rest easy knowing that everything is unfolding just as it should. 



For Parents Who Worry (Isn't That All of Us?) by Jane M. Jacobs, M.A., Montessori Educational Consultant at Montessori Services.

By now your children are settled in their classrooms and are being cared for and educated by your extended "village." Perhaps you're still concerned about whether your child is adjusting well and learning enough. Like all parents, you want your children to be happy and learn the skills they need for success.

As Montessori suggests in the above quote, young children naturally grow and learn from their surroundings without being directly taught. 

No Need to Be Anxious

It's hard not to be anxious, especially with your first child. You learned to do all the right things as your child grew from infancy to childhood. Now your child is more capable and independent.

Because of their absorbent minds, preschoolers do not need direct teaching in order to learn. This is the period of children's self-construction, learning from the environment in which they live.

Try not to worry about what the latest expert or neighbor says. Take time to just be with your child. Adapt your home so your toddler can explore safely. Observe his new independence and sense of self. Remember to relax and have fun, too.

Did you know that children learn best when exploring the world with hands-on activities? Research shows that children who are prematurely pushed into academic drills become less creative and enthusiastic learners, and do not retain information any better than those who learn facts later. Instead, a focus on play is key at this age, helping children to develop social and emotional skills that are important for long-term success.

Everyone Compares

It's easy to look at your friend's child and compare. However, it's important to remember, we are not all alike! No two children are on the same timetable, even if they are the same age. Keep your expectations in line with your child's abilities. Change is constant with a growing child.

Beware of the accelerated-learning industry. Baby DVD's or reading programs have proven worthless and sometimes detrimental to development. It's actually more productive to let your child scoot around the floor, play with pots and pans, or sing silly songs with you. Reading and talking to your child, and helping him learn to care for himself are better options. Your job is to expose him to the world without any pressure.

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Lockers of Warmth & Clothes for Comfort


We are accepting donations of used children’s clothing to be added to our “extras” in each of our programs. It is not uncommon for children’s clothes to become wet, soiled, outgrown or other and we like to keep a stash of extras around to ensure our student’s comfort.


You are invited to bring children’s clothes to the bins in the lobby that you think might be of use here at school, particularly winter boots, hats, gloves, coats, and underwear.  Donations for all ages infant to size 14 accepted.  Any clothing not used to enrich our own “lockers of warmth” or extra clothes bins will be donated.


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Spreading Peace

Last week our school community shared in the beautiful gift of celebrating peace as a community and as part of a world-wide event. Each member of our school, from the tiniest toddler to the tallest elementary student, joined together on the field to sing "Light a Candle for Peace."  Then, our elementary students sang "What a Wonderful World" and one of our elementary teachers, Christian, spoke to our students briefly about sharing compassion around the world.  He invited the students to imagine a mirror that allows them to look at themselves full of love and compassion, then invited them to turn that mirror and extend the same love to their friends, their family, their community, their city, their state, their country and, finally, to the entire world.  

As stewards over these each of these beautiful little humans, we take great joy and responsibility in the privilege and responsibility of teaching peace to the students of Montessori Community School. MCS teachers touch on many different aspects of peace throughout the year.  Our peace curriculum, written to create a culture of cooperation and compassion, acts much like the other subjects taught in a Montessori environment.  The following ideas are touched on year after year and at varying levels, depending on the development of the students and the make up of each classroom.

  • Creating a space for peace
  • Supporting peace
  • Acknowledging peace
  • Advocating for peace
  • Developing inner peace
  • Intentional acts of peace
  • Cultivating peace
  • Nurturing peace
  • Celebrating peace

Peace truly does begin within.  However, just like addition and history and penmanship, our children must be taught to develop and emanate peace.  We teach through lessons, we teach through experience, and we teach by example. 

May each of us be filled with intention to develop our own sense of inner peace and compassion and may we seek opportunity to spread compassion and light to our fellow man. May the love of our wonderful MCS students be given the respect and attention it deserves to grow and spread and make a sincere difference in the world.  



Two friends, one Toddler and one Early Childhood, gleefully meet on the playground and dance, providing great pre-program entertainment for the rest of us




These Aspens class students hold a sign that says "Peace" during the program. 




MCS students, toddler through elementary, gather together to sing "Light a Candle for Peace."




Younger students are paired with older student while they hold hands and walk around the campus to look at the peace flags made by their peers. 




This mother and son look at the peace flags during the peace walk.




An Upper Elementary student signs "Peace.




Upper Elementary teacher, Christian, talks to the students about self compassion and sharing compassion with the greater community.




Peace flags are decorated by MCS students and staff and then hung along the Outdoor Classroom fence. 



Peace in any language. 
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PSA Green Committee

Our Green Committee is a great way to support Green Initiatives around the school.  If you are interested in being part of our Green Committee, please contact our PSA.

E
njoy these great pictures of Uinta students who rode their bikes to school today!  Three cheers for alternative transportation!


When the weather is fine and the construction is clear…we ride!  

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Idle Free is the Way to Be!

Hello Families,

As the seasons change and the mornings grow cooler, we would like to remind everyone of Salt Lake City's Idle Free Ordinance. This ordinance prohibits unnecessary vehicle idling over 2 minutes.

Every 2 minutes of idle time equals 1 mile of driving. As Montessori Community School works hard to be and encourage our students to be environmentally conscious, we ask that this ordinance be upheld during drop-off and pick-up times. Please click here for more information on Salt Lake City's Idle Free Ordinance. 


Thank  you so much for your support and help.

"It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. you may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result." 
- Mahatma Gandhi
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"There is No Bad Weather, Only Bad Clothing."

Last night's forecast promised rain (and snow!) for the weekend.  Today, I have noticed the forecast has shifted from snow to rain and back to snow in just a few short hours.  Ahhhh, Utah! While I love the weather and all it has to offer and am particularly pleased by how Utah weather can change on a dime, I feel fiercely protective of our children and their preparation for the weather.  Nature is a beautiful gift that is best enjoyed when it is respected.  

Parents, please help your students develop a healthy respect for nature by encouraging them to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature has to offer on any given day, especially here at school!  Children should come prepared to go outside in any circumstances.  Layers, good shoes, water resistant outer clothing, and extra options are a great start. 

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

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

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Creating a Place for Peace

“Find a time and place of solitude.
Look into the distance and into the future.
Visualize the tomorrow you are going to build;
and begin to build that tomorrow, today.”
-Jonathan Lockwood Huie


As part of our Peace Curriculum that is incorporated into our monthly studies at MCS, this month each of the classes is engaged in a study of creating space for Peace as we prepare to celebrate International Peace Day on September 21st and in honor of Maria Montessori’s extensive work in the field of Peace Education. Studies show that a preventative curriculum that promotes communication, community and self-advocacy is more effective than a punishing approach to bullying in schools. Ours is a program that we expect will follow our students far beyond their structured educational experience. We hope for and assist children in the development of skills of peaceful conflict resolution, gaining respect for peers and incorporating communal advocacy, taking in to account the needs of a community and how one’s behavior affects another, and establishing a lifetime of self advocacy, self love and self respect.

Averting war is the work of politicians; establishing peace is the work of educators. ~Maria Montessori
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The Uninterrupted Work Cycle - The Basics of Success

A Montessori teacher put it this way: "Protect the three-hour work period with your life! It's one of the most important ingredients in our method."


Parents!  Exciting things are happening around here.  Already, we are beginning to see the inklings of classrooms running like well-oiled machines.  Below you will find a very meaningful article about the uninterrupted work cycle.  While this sounds like more fancy Montessori-esque language, it has great meaning in a successful Montessori environment.  This is the place where the students natural instincts to find meaningful learning experiences is most honored to prepare the child for future learning opportunities.  This is where one child's need for movement is given as much respect and space as another child's need for full concentration on a task.  This is where Montessori shines like a bright star in a sky full of educational opportunities for kiddos.  I hope you'll take just a few short minutes to read below and learn why we want so badly for your child to arrive to school on time each and every day and what great opportunities this important beginning of day time has to offer your child.

Warmly,
Britney



"When the children had completed an absorbing bit of work,
they appeared rested and deeply pleased."
—Maria Montessori (author), Paul Oswald (editor),
Basic Ideas of Montessori's Educational Theory


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The Story of the Universe - Adventures in Lower Elementary

There are a lot of things for our Lower Elementary students to get excited about this time of year!  The tall slide on the playground, the Native American flute, their upcoming trip to the Utah State Fair, and math exercises using materials that span CLEAR across the Lower Elementary hallway are just a few of them.  My personal favorite, though, are the Great Lessons that start the school year.  Great Lessons are aimed at the elementary students vivid use of imagination, one of their very best attributes -wouldn't you say,  to get them thinking about some of the big questions in life. Where did humans come from?  Why does the earth rotate?  Who made up language? 

There are a total of five Great Lessons and they are used to introduce the year's studies of history, geography, botany, zoology, science, language and math in the LE program.  Not only are they important in inspiring the child's imagination and investing them in the importance of various subjects they can look forward to studying, but they are memorable, too!  Having the opportunity to hear these stories three different times in their LE cycle allows students to consider them from various perspectives.  

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A Special Invitation to our MCS Community

MCS Families,

Our Aspens Community Builders have arranged the event below for their first Community Building event.  They have extended the invitation school-wide!

The Voice Area of the School of Music invites you to a unique outdoor experience on Presidents Circle on September 22nd at 4:10. Twenty-two of our School’s talented singers, as well as internationally acclaimed pianist Jed Moss, will present A Musical Menagerie, Animals in Song. The hour-long voice recital will include works performed in English and will feature songs about farm animals, dogs, cockroaches, frogs, snakes, worms, microbes, crows, and even warthogs. Second Chance for Homeless Pets will join us, and best of all, our outdoor space is family and animal friendly! Please join us on the lawn for a beautiful afternoon in late September celebrating and surrounded by the animals we love.


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We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.



We are looking forward to the opportunity for our Early Childhood parents to participate in the ThroughPlay study through the University of Utah.  MCS parents can expect to receive a link to the questionnaire via email shortly.  Completion of the questionnaire is a prerequisite to receiving an invitation to the presentation mentioned above.

MCS will offer child care to our families.  If you plan to attend this presentation and are interested in child care here at MCS, please email Britney at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Becoming Familiar with MCS Safety Policies and Procedures

In an effort to help you get started on the right foot we would like to remind you about some of our safety procedures here at MCS. We ask that you remain mindful of them as they play a very important role in keeping our students safe and accounted for at all times.  These policies and more can be found in our Toddler/Early Childhood Parent Handbook and our Elementary Parent Handbook


Sign-In and Pick-Up
For safety measures, all students need to be signed in and out each day. Sign-in/out sheets are located outside of each classroom. We ask that you park, enter the school, sign in/out your child and check your child’s bulletin board for special announcements. Only parents or persons with written authorization (either listed in the child’s Emergency Medical Release form or through the Alternate Pickup form) may pick up a child. 

The sign-in and out sheets not only tell us who dropped off and picked up on a given day; they also tell us which students are in the building in the case of an emergency.
If your child has an appointment during the school day and will be picked up and then returned to school, please sign her/him out and back in at the Office front desk.


Alternate Pickup Procedures
If someone other than the parent/guardian will be picking up your child, please fill out an Alternative Pickup Form for authorization. These forms are available in the Administrative Office. A staff member will ask the person you have designated to pick up your child to provide identification (i.e. driver’s license) if that person is
not recognized. The safety of your children is our highest priority.


School Closures due to Severe Weather or Emergencies
The start of school may be delayed due to a temporary loss of heating, water or electrical power or severe weather such as heavy early morning snow. School may also be canceled before the scheduled end of the school day for the same reasons. MCS follows the Salt Lake City school district’s decisions unless our needs dictate measures beyond their decision. The Head of School will decide whether we will have a late start, early closure, or school closure after consulting with Facilities. If the Head of School is not reachable, a member of Facilities and a member of Administration will make the decision. In the event of an emergency or when MCS is closed or its opening is delayed by an unusual situation, notification will be made through School Messenger. School Messenger will use one or more of the following methods for notification: email, text messaging, and/or voice mail.

Safety Procedures
While the Montessori philosophy allows for “freedom within limits,” and we want to encourage students to feel comfortable and able to explore in their environment, we keep the safety of our students foremost in mind at MCS. We have a number of procedures in place to ensure that safety:
  • Outside doors are only unlocked during arrival and dismissal times and are locked at all other times.
  • We have a sign-in and sign-out procedure for parents dropping off and picking up students. We also have a signout sheet in the office for families taking their students out for an appointment in the middle of the day with plans to return later. This procedure ensures that the correct person is picking up the student in the afternoon and also gives us a sense of which students are in the building at any given time.
  • We ask all staff to be vigilant and watch for people we do not recognize and to ask anyone we do not recognize how we can help them.
  • We have a required check-in for visitors at the front office, where they sign in and wear a badge notifying our staff of their visitor status.
  • Every classroom has an emergency evacuation plan posted. We practice emergency evacuations once a month, either in classrooms or schoolwide with an alarm.
  • We utilize a texting emergency notifications system in the event of a schoolwide emergency or unannounced school closure.
  • We have phones in every classroom by which the office can issue a schoolwide page in the event of an emergency and with which each classroom can contact the office immediately in the event of an emergency.
  • We have placed buzzers on all upstairs outside access doors that notify us when the doors are opened. Our IT department is currently in the process of designing a more sophisticated entry and exit tracking system through the doors.
  • We have various surveillance cameras placed throughout the school and school grounds.
  • Our teachers are required to be First Aid/CPR certified.
  • At the beginning of the year students receive lessons including a tour of school and general safety guidelines. These lessons will be reviewed as needed.
  • We utilize head counts at various times throughout the school day, particularly when children are in transition (i.e., when children leave the playground and once they arrive back in class).
  • Children check in to use the bathroom. If a child does not return within a reasonable time (age dependent) a teacher will check on them.
  • We often implement a buddy system (pairing younger students with older, more experienced students) for times students are in line, traveling or transitioning. We also place one teacher at the front of the line and one at the back of the line when processing. In elementary classes these precautions are taken at varying levels, depending on the ages and needs of the students.
  • Our most recent Loss Prevention evaluation was performed in July 2016.

Emergency Notifications and School Messenger

Our school has an Emergency Action Plan, which includes procedures for reporting emergencies and evacuating the facility. This document details for the staff the procedures to be followed in case of fire, earthquake, power outage, etc. Evacuation plans are posted in prominent locations in each room or area of the building. The Montessori Community School holds monthly fire drills and semi-annual disaster drills which are documented.

If there is an emergency or disaster that requires us to leave the school building, we will evacuate to the MCS field. If we are unable to access our field, our back up evacuation site will be All Saints Episcopal Church, which is located directly east of our building, or Hillside Middle School, southwest of our building. Each classroom has emergency contact information, medical releases, and an emergency backpack with a first aid kit. The teachers are trained to take those items with them during an evacuation. In the event of an evacuation, MCS will use our emergency text notification system to communicate with parents. The children will remain with and be accompanied by their classroom teachers at all times and we will maintain required ratios to the best of our ability. No child will be left alone or unsupervised. The shed on the MCS field contains stored water, snacks, emergency supplies such as blankets and diaper changing supplies (for Toddlers), and blankets.

MCS uses School Messenger as our emergency notification system. School Messenger has multiple data centers in different regions; they employ a variety of delivery methods (email, text messaging, and voicemail); they have a solid infrastructure to eliminate any single point of failure in communication. They are used to delivering millions of messages quickly, with over 4000 customers throughout the U.S., including various school districts in Salt Lake City, and a customer renewal rate of 98%.

Families will automatically be opted in to receive these notifications via email, text, and voicemail, and can opt themselves out should they choose not to receive them, though School Messenger will be our primary form of communication in the event of an emergency. We encourage families to include at least one out of state emergency contact in their list. Emergency contacts will only be included in communications concerning incidents that affect the greater community in the case that parents are unavailable to receive them themselves. In order to ensure that we have the most current contact information in School Messenger and the most effective communication, please inform the Office any time there is a change in your emergency contacts names and/or phone numbers, or when you have made a change to your own contact information in Montessori Compass.


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