Toys and the Boxes They Come In

"Whatever do you think they'll do with all those boxes? Well..." —Min Flyte, Box

You're thrilled with the gift you've chosen for your toddler, and you can't wait to see her open it up. She takes forever tearing off the paper, and becomes enchanted with the ribbon and wrappings. You help navigate the opening of the box and express your excitement over the surprise inside. She explores the gift for a minute or two, and then returns to the paper, ribbons, and empty box and spends the next half hour discovering all their possibilities.

It Doesn't Take Much

A young child doesn't need much to become engaged with the world. Children can spend hours playing with the simplest items. They love empty boxes that might hold their treasures. Ribbons, paper, string, and tape are perfect for creating whatever they might imagine.I recall seeing young neighbors having a grand time with the runoff from a rain shower, along with a stick, a few rocks, and a piece of string. First, they watched the string float down the stream, and then did the same with the stick. Next, a few rocks dammed up the flow and the string floated in the pool until the water flowed over the dam. A leaf came down onto the pool which was picked up by one of the children who pierced it with the stick. It floated like a little boat down the stream until it got stuck against the rocks. I watched these budding engineers for fifteen minutes, but I'm guessing they continued to play for a long while after I left.

Consider a Box

What can you do with a box? Of course it depends on its size and thickness. Many a game or activity await, and here are a few ideas:

                Play catch. Toss a beanbag or a paper ball into the box, and continue to move further away. This can be a solitary or group game.

                Open up two ends of a long box and roll a ball through the tunnel.

                Lift a toddler inside a big corrugated box with a crayon or two in-hand, and watch time fly as she decorates each wall.

                Play a game of peek-a-boo when the box is big enough for a child to hide in or small enough to fit over someone's head.

                Several boxes can be put together to make a skyscraper or doll house.

                With a little handiwork, a box can become a car, a firetruck, an airplane - and be wearable, too!
                Cut out the bottom and top, draw or paint the sides accordingly, and then attach ribbons to go over your child's shoulders.

                Give your child a plain gift box and some crayons or markers - then discover what he creates.

                Use a sturdy gift box without its lid to hold an activity for your child, like two small pitchers, one filled with rice, to practice pouring.

                An appliance box will give children endless options for play. It might become a secret quiet place, a fort, or a garage for the scooter, wagon, and wheelbarrow.

Classic Toys Come In Boxes

Some toys are as basic as the boxes they come in. A kaleidoscope, a magnifying glass, a small wagon, or a top never go out-of-date. Children love the wooden "work bench" pounding toy. A substantial set of wooden blocks will be used by your children for years to come. When your children are older, they can use the same blocks to engineer more complex structures such as airports and towns.

Create a treasure hunt by placing a ball, yo-yo, or little book in the smallest of several graduated sized boxes. Consider pairing a doll or stuffed animal with a favorite childhood book - for example, a plush bear and Winnie the Pooh. Children like to string beads, stick stickers, play hopscotch, and paint.

More Info
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Are You Getting Ready?

Are You Getting Ready?
Hello Parents,

I am excited winter sports season is upon us! Hopefully, the snow stays fresh throughout the season. Last Thursday, December 1st, MCS emailed out our Waiver and Release. As we strive to go paperless, it has been a bit confusing with the different links that have gone out. This far, there has been a link for Snowbird's Ski School Waiver (Mandatory), a survey to determine Snowboarding interest, and MCS' Waiver and Release (Mandatory).

If you have not received or filled out both Snowbird's Waiver or MCS' Waiver, please let the office know.

I hope everyone is getting gear sorted and ready, in particular, clearly labeling each piece. Also, letting your students practice wearing their gear, putting it on and off, familiarizing themselves with each piece of their gear, and carrying it around themselves.

Thanks so much for all of your support and enthusiasm in helping your student to be prepared for such a special experience and wonderful opportunity to experience activities our beautiful Rocky Mountains allow.


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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,
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Security Upgrade for MCS Campus

The Montessori Community School received a big security upgrade today. The CCTV cameras in the parking lots were upgraded as well as the security lights. While the lights are now 4 times brighter than the previous lights, they are LED lights so they are consuming around 1/4 of the power of the previous high pressure sodium lights. Lian and Jemmyn spent the better part of the day up in the sky on a 65ft. boom lift.
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Peer Conflict - What is a parent to do?

A note from our school psychologist, Dr. Melissa DeVries, Ph.D., on how parents can effectively support peer conflict with Early Childhood aged children...Enjoy! 

Handling Peer Interaction Complaints From Your Early Childhood Student

It can be difficult to know what to do when your child voices complaints about negative experiences with classmates. Parents natural response is to be protective. Thus, many of us jump to the defense of our child, driven to find an expedient end to the problem such as asking classroom teachers to stop it from happening again. While well-meaning, this may not be the most feasible or beneficial way to handle peer problems.

In fact, situations like these represent a unique opportunity for parents to engage their child in problem solving and social skill-building. They learn these skills by (1) observing parent reaction and problem solving styles, and (2) practicing new skills on their own during future problematic encounters. The 3- to 6-year age group is a crucial time for learning social emotional skills that research shows contribute to success later on. Over and above acquisition of early academic skills, children who develop their functional communication, the ability to tolerate delayed gratification and the ability to comply with reasonable requests (i.e., follow directions) show better school performance (and overall life skills) down the road.

The next time your child comes home with a complaint about a negative peer interaction consider the following thoughtful response methods:

  • Offer Empathy and a chance to tell their story...“I am sorry that happened today, tell me more about ________________. How did you feel when _________________ happened?” If you feel inclined to react with your own emotions, do your best to take a breath and a break, followed by empathy. Remember that your reaction may encourage or discourage a variety of emotional responses from your child.

  • Consider whether you need more information from another perspective… all stories have more than one side. We can better process the event and plan our response when we have more information. After taking time to visit with your child about the event, author an inquiring email to their teachers if you still have questions. Remember to remain factual. Present what your child said (in their own words) and ask not for a solution (yet) but for more information. What have the teachers observed? What has been tried and worked or not worked for these situations? What can you (the parent) be doing to support your child?

  • Understand what your child would like to see happen instead… We may intuit that our child is bothered by the interaction because they felt the need to tell us about it. But, we should ask specifically what was it that bothered them and why? For example, what did they want or expect to happen that didn’t? How would they have preferred the interaction to go? What would like they you (the parent) to do to support them? If their response involves a reasonable goal, we can find a different way to help them achieve that goal.

  • Teach, model and offer opportunities to practice (through role play) a new way of responding… Help your child generate ideas about other ways to respond should the situation occur again. What can they do differently and what do they think the outcome might be of those new responses? Practice using role play skills. Don’t forget to anticipate both positive and negative outcomes (as these provide opportunities to practice handling disappointment and persistence, but also helps maintain hopefulness that things can get better.)

  • Email your child’s teachers again with a plan you and your child have worked out at home...make the classroom teachers aware of the plan so they can be supportive of the newly learned skills your child will be using and can continue to follow up if other skills are needed. AND, don’t forget to check back with your child about how the new plan is working!

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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

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November Elevation Lunch Menu

November's Elevation Lunch Menu for Montessori Community School
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Service Learning: Navajo Rug Show

One of our school’s Service Learning Programs is the Adopt-a-Native Elder Program. During the next two weeks we will be doing a drive for items to take with us to the Navajo Rug Show, which our two Elders, Grandmother Anita Jackson and Elvira Horseherder weave rugs and make jewelry for. The items donated will go directly toward our grandmothers, other Elders, and children in need on the reservation. Please look for the donation bins throughout the school.

We thank you for your support of this program and your continued involvement in your student's Service Learning experiences. We encourage you to talk with your students about the importance of service and helping those in need. 

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Silent Journey's Of Past...

Wondering what you might get out of attending this year's Silent Journey and Discovery?  Below are some experiences shared by attendees of the past...
We hope you can join us this year!!!

2015 Parent of Lower Elementary MCS Student (student is still in Lower El for 2016-17 year) 

"I just wanted to thank you again for the wonderful silent journey and discovery on Saturday.  When I originally chose Montessori for Luka at age 3, I read the book Understanding Montessori, but this was the first chance I've had to personally work with Montessori materials. 
Everything I saw on Saturday validated my choice for Luka's education and in particular my choice of Montessori Community School.  The environments are beautiful and so well-prepared and the teachers are well spoken advocates and role models for little people.  Bravo!"

Karna Sacchi

2014 Parents of an MCS Toddler student (student is now a third year Early Childhood student):

"Our little girl started this October in one of the Toddler classes. We felt and understood how this would be a good environment for our daughter--we saw a difference in her after only a week! The only thing to say after experiencing Silent Journey is we THOUGHT we understood how good of an environment this is for our daughter. The progression through the classrooms and the works is absolutely brilliant. There is no way we would want anything different for our precious little girl. The system set in place is orderly, focusing on progression, growth, and learning pertaining to independence, reading, math, social skills, morals, ethics, and problem solving. We noticed how 'hands on' and multi faceted every work is designed to engage the children on their level with their own learning abilities and processes.

We were also so impressed with the educators- the individual time, care, and attention they put into their students. They truly know and understand each individual child they work with.

We discovered how the works build. The one that stuck out to us the most was the math. Starting early with dimensions, and stacking blocks moving toward cubes and counting- and onto multiplying enormous numbers by using a mat and beads- Absolutely incredible.

More Info
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Silent Journey 2016 is quickly approaching. Sign up now!

Silent Journey and Discovery is an opportunity for parents to spend a morning experiencing our school through the eyes of the children. Parents and adults will spend time in each of our programs, starting in Toddlers and ending in Upper Elementary, discovering the magic and process of the Montessori materials.

This is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the Montessori Curriculum and begin your own journey to a lifetime love of learning and peace.

Brunch will be served.

There is no charge to participate, however space is limited! Please sign up in the office.

Childcare will be provided for those who sign up in advance.

November 19, 2016

9:00am - 1:00pm

More Info
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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

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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MCS Spirit Gear Coming Soon!

Montessori Community School presents MCS Spirit Gear. Zipped, hooded sweatshirts will be available to pre-order soon. Adult sizes will be $28 and youth sizes will be $25. Stay tuned for more information.
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Seeking Volunteers

MCS Halloween Carnival

Friday, October 28th 6:30-8:00pm

More Volunteers Needed!

** Great way to get your parent participation hours **

1-2 volunteers for pumpkin cleaning – 6:30-7:15pm
2 volunteers for event break down – 8:00-9:00pm
1 volunteer for ticket table – 6:45-7:30pm
1 volunteer for mini golf –7:15-8:00pm
1 volunteer for Earthwings – 7:15-8:00pm
1 volunteer for plinko – 7:15-8:00pm
2 car volunteers for Trunk or Treat 6:30-8:00pm

If you are available for anything and would like to
help, let us know and we’ll get you an assignment!

Please contact Jessica Pechmann at
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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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:

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.
More Info
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Review Us!

Please take the time to review how we are doing as a school. We consider reviews in our efforts to fine-tune the program for each student and to improve the experience of each parent. Here is an easy reference of various sites you may review us on. Please also feel free to Like Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter and LinkedIn.







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Michael, Emil’s and Anja’s dad, is looking for musicians to start a band project. I suggest one or two monthly rehearsals and perhaps the occasional gig. Seeking all instruments (and singers!). Style negotiable.

Write/call Michael at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (385) 444-8207

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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.
More Info
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