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Illness Policy

The beginning of a new school year can bring many wonderful new things; new friends, new classroom works and new routines are just a few of my favorites.  Unfortunately, new illnesses tend to make an exuberant appearance as well.  While we understand that illness at home can impact schedules and routines (for both parents and children) we want to urge each of you to read up on and abide by our illness policy here at MCS. 

We will do our part here at school to try to minimize the spread of illness by encouraging lots of hand washing and nose blowing (and then more hand washing) and by sending children and staff home when they are ill.  We ask that you each support us by following the illness policy set forth in our parent handbooks and as listed below so that we might minimize the spread of illness to our students and our staff.  It is so important that our staff remain healthy so that they can be here to help the children settle in and create effective classroom communities.  

Should children become ill at school we will do our best to make them comfortable but please keep in mind that we are not staffed to care for ill children in our classrooms or in the office.  We thank you, in advance, for allowing your child to stay home and rest when they are ill.

Warmly,
MCS Administration

Illness 
Colds, flu and other contagious diseases are a serious issue in a school environment because they can spread so rapidly. Parents are asked to keep children home when they show symptoms of illness. If the child is ill, please call the school before 9:00am to report the absence. If your child exhibits any active symptoms of illness, he/she will not be admitted to the school, both for the child’s own comfort and to minimize the spread of illness to other children in the school. In the event of an outbreak of an infectious disease, such as measles, MCS will follow the guidelines set forth for schools by the Utah Department of Health.

The following tips are to help you decide if your child should be kept home from school: 
  • How does your child feel? Variations from normal behavior are the best indicators of illness. You know your child best; trust your instincts.
  • Fever. If your child has a fever at night, he/she must not attend school the next morning. Temperatures are lower in the morning and a fever may occur again in the afternoon. You are required to wait 24 hours after the fever breaks before sending your child back to school.
  • Upset stomach. If your child vomits during the night, do not send him/her to school the next day. You are required to wait 24 hours after a child vomits before sending your child back to school.
  • Diarrhea. Loose and frequent stools have many causes. Do not send a child to school until bowel movements are normal.
  • Cold. Be sure a child knows how to handle tissues for coughing, sneezing and nose blowing, and practice good hand washing techniques. Your child may go to school as long as he or she does not have a fever or discomfort. If symptoms are severe (e.g., persistent cough or severe runny nose with thick mucous that will consistently interrupt their work or rest time), please keep your child at home so he/she may rest and recover.
  • Earache. Never ignore an earache. Contact your physician and keep your child at home.
  • Strep Throat. A strep infection requires a doctor’s visit and medication. Strep can lead to a more serious illness if not properly treated. The child must be on medication at least 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Contagious Condition. Head lice (see below), scabies, impetigo, chicken pox, strep throat, measles, rubella, mumps, whooping cough, meningitis and some forms of conjunctivitis (pink eye) are contagious and must be properly treated and no longer contagious before your child may attend school. Please notify the school if your child has a contagious condition so that other parents can be alerted.
  • Head lice. Due to the arrangement of student work spaces in the Montessori classroom and the number of collaborative work spaces and projects, if we find signs of lice (nits/eggs), in order to contain the spread we may ask parents to pick up their student early to begin treatment. If parents detect lice at home, please let the Office know immediately so that we can check the rest of the students in the class. Prior to the student’s return to school, we will need to know the specific treatment that s/he will be undergoing and the date that the treatment began, so that we can follow up regarding the second application of the treatment (which typically needs to be applied 7-10 days after the first application). Upon returning to school, before the child enters the classroom, please bring her/him to the Office where he/she will be discreetly checked for nits, and where we can record treatment dates and methods. Students will be allowed to return to class when they are nit-free. Nit removal can take several comb throughs and we ask that parents check the child each day during their treatment. Thorough combing with an egg removal comb each day during the 10-day period following the first treatment is an essential part of eliminating the lice and helping to prevent a lice recurrence. We will follow up, checking students and classes as needed to ensure that all active lice and eggs have been removed.
  • If your child has been out of school due to illness, we ask that you consider whether he or she is well enough to be outdoors before you send him or her back to school. The outdoors is part of our program and we do not have the staff to supervise students indoors and outdoors simultaneously.

Illness or Injury at School 
If a child becomes ill at school, he or she will be taken to the office sick area. A parent/guardian will be contacted and will be expected to pick up the child as soon as possible. If a child is injured at school, first aid will be administered if the injury is minor. An accident report will be filed for injuries which require medical attention, including first aid. Parents will be asked to sign the accident report when they pick up their child and will be notified immediately if there are any questions concerning the severity of the injury. The student’s emergency contacts and physicians will be called if the parents are unavailable. All classroom teachers are CPR/First Aid certified. Paramedics will be called when necessary.
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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

Peace is a work rooted deeply in the approach in Montessori schools across the world and Maria Montessori was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on three different occasions as her passion for Peace Education led her to spread its good word in various countries. Her legacy lives on as she is now widely recognized as an advocate for peace and her educational philosophy is practiced throughout the world.

“Peace is a goal that can only be attained through common accord, and the means to achieve this unity for peace are twofold: first, an immediate effort to resolve conflicts without recourse to violence—in other words, to prevent war—and second, a long-term effort to establish a lasting peace among men”
(Education and Peace, Montessori, 1949, p. 27).

Read more about Maria Montessori here.

Montessori education addresses Peace in a variety of ways, encouraging children to first develop inner peace. At its most basic level the Montessori method does this by honoring the individual interests, passions and ability of each child, giving children space to develop confidence with making mistakes as they explore and the courage to fix mistakes, and inspiring them to be part of a community. Because each student is recognized as an individual, you will find children working on a variety of activities at any given time. This gives children space and encouragement to accept that differences between humans exist at varying degrees.

Inner peace gives children the foundation for supporting peace within their classroom, school, social and family communities. Communities are an important aspect of the Montessori philosophy in that there is an emphasis on the whole person and learning to function within a community is essential to the success of human endeavor. A successful community is made up of a variety of different talents, strengths, skills and goals. As our students engage in peaceful conflict resolution, modeled by the adults in the community, they learn to function as many parts making up a whole. As they assist in the management of the environment, including caring for the physical space, taking on important leadership roles within the classroom, and engaging in group discussion about how to make change for the better, students practice life long skills of considering others and building functioning communities.

Some common Montessori terms/methods that directly and indirectly support Peace Education include:

-Cosmic Education is the child’s gradual discovery, throughout the whole of childhood, of the interrelatedness of all things on earth, in the past, in the present, and in the future.

-Intrinsic motivation (versus rewards or punishment) is a desire to do for the sake of doing with no expectation or even hope for an outside motivator.

-Multi age classrooms allow children to play varying roles throughout their cycle in a classroom, allowing investment in the environment and practice of various skills, jobs and identities.

-Follow the child means that each child is considered individually and opportunities to further develop special skills and talents is honored along with opportunity for extra, repetitive practice of more difficult tasks.

-Class meetings and agenda books allow children to bring up issues or concerns and decide, with adult guidance, how to overcome challenges as a group. It also allows a sacred place for celebrating one another’s accomplishments.

-Peace areas in each classroom provide a place for children to go when they need to find inner peace. Meditation, breathing and various other exercises are encouraged to help students look within.

-Outdoor education and care for living things (plants and animals throughout the school and in each classroom) give children the opportunity to practice care for and consideration of the needs of all living things and help them develop a love and advocacy for our earth and all it has to offer.


By honoring each individual and supporting children in becoming their most authentic, passionate, courageous and determined selves, we provide the world with a powerful force for change for the better.

May you all find inner peace and enjoy a most lovely day of celebrating the beauty and hope of mankind on this day set aside for celebrating Peace on earth.

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PSA Raises Funds for an AED for MCS!

Montessori Community School has recently been approved for a grant that will pay the majority of the cost for MCS to receive an AED. Our PSA have since been diligently working to raise the remainder of the funds necessary for the school to acquire the AED.  To date, we have raised just over $300
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MCS' 11th Annual Fun Run: Thursday, September 28th


“If salvation and help are to come, it is from the child, for the child is the constructor of man and so of society. The child is endowed with an inner power which can guide us to a more enlightened future.”

– Maria Montessori

Each year our students have the opportunity to raise pledges for our two Service Learning Projects:

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Speech, Language, and Hearing Screenings


Montessori​ ​Community​ ​School​ ​will​ ​be​ ​holding​ ​speech,​ ​language,​ ​and​ ​hearing​ ​screenings​ ​on​ ​​Wednesday,​ ​September​ ​27th beginning around 9:15 am.​ ​

All Kindergarteners can participate in the screening for free if you turn in a form, attached below. If your student is not a Kindergartener and you would like your student to participate, please turn in a form and submit payment.

The​ ​screenings​ ​will​ ​be​ ​a​ ​general,​ ​brief​ ​measure​ ​of​ ​your​ ​child’s​ ​speech,​ ​language,​ ​and​ ​hearing skills​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to determine​ ​if​ ​further​ ​speech​ ​and​ ​language​ ​evaluations​ ​are​ ​needed.​ ​​ ​Speech​ ​and​ ​Language​ ​screenings​ ​are​ ​appropriate for​ ​students​ ​of​ ​all​ ​ages​ ​while​ ​hearing​ ​screenings​ ​should​ ​be​ ​for​ ​students​ ​3​ ​1⁄2​ ​years​ ​or​ ​older.

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Educate a Girl, Empower a Nation: A COEEF Event

Montessori Community School sponsors 4 girls through the Children of Ethiopia Education Fund, COEEF. We wanted to share an event you might be interested in! This is another way that we  can lend our support to the organization that supports the education of many girls who would otherwise not have the opportunity to attend school. 

Friday, September 22, 2017, COEEF will  be holding an event including Ethiopian food, memorabilia, music, and a huge silent auction.

This event will take place at the Holladay City Hall Pavilion from 6 - 9 pm. 

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2017 - 2018 MCS Parent School Alliance

Montessori Community School Parent School Alliance 
(PSA)




L-R: Gaea Rindflesh, Teresa Nelson, Jordan Stein, Jeannette Shaffer,
Dave Quisenberry, Jaymison Peterson and (below) Jen Zivkovic



The MCS Administration is delighted to introduce you to our 2017 - 2018 Parent Student Alliance (PSA). We are pleased to have a larger number of PSA representatives than ever before. We appreciate Jeannette, Dave, Jaymison and Jen for joining us again this year as our veteran PSA and we thank Gaea, Teresa, and Jordan for joining the team!

The PSA is already looking forward to and has a jumpstart on planning many PSA sponsored activities this year. We anticiapte seeing many of you at the upcoming Welcome Picnics where you can meet members of the PSA and will be introduced to the Community Builders from your child(ren)s class.  

We are also looking forward to our first Coffee Thursday, this coming week September 7th, from 8:30am-9:30am in the lobby. Don't forget to bring your cash because the Uinta (Upper Elementary) Class will be hosting their first Montessori Market of the year. Montessori Market is a quaint student-hosted event where hand made items are sold for reasonable prices. Baked goods are among the items you can expect to see at each market. All proceeds from the market go towards the Uinta class Adventure (read about last year's adventure here.) 

Along with your delicious baked goods, be sure to enjoy a complementary cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate while enjoying the company of fellow MCS parents. Coffee provided by Hub and Spoke Diner 1291 1100 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84105. 

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Birthday Wishes in Honor of Maria Montessori

 Maria Montessori - Her Life & Legacy



As we are so deeply indebted to the great work and legacy of Maria Montessori, and in light of her birthday on August 31st, we would like to honor Dr. Montessori by telling her story. Born in a small town of Italy to parents, Renilde Stoppani and Allessandro, Maria forged her own educational path, even in childhood. Throughout her youth, she acquired a very ambitious taste for science and mathematics, which was extraordinary for a girl during the time. After attending a tech school, Maria Montessori decided to study medicine. Throughout an intricate and complicated series of events (including a letter of recommendation for college acceptance by the Catholic Pope himself), Maria went on to Medical School to become the very first female Doctor in Italy.

During Maria’s residency, she spent time working with children in a psychiatric hospital. She had not been working there long, when a nurse who was watching the children in the ward said to her: ‘Look, I can’t believe that they are picking crumbs up off the floor to eat! How horrible.’ Maria said to the nurse: ‘They aren’t eating the crumbs, they are studying them.’ In a bare, sterile psychiatric hospital, where the walls were white and there was not a single toy or object for a child to engage with, Maria Montessori discovered her first realized observation: the necessity of environment.

Dr. Montessori was stirred by this, and a miraculous turn of events then followed. After some time, she redirected her research to completely service children. In time, Maria’s method became world-famous. She traveled to teach it, winning many hearts with her curriculum. In 1913, Maria published her first book on children "The Advanced Montessori Method", selling 17,410 copies. She even attended the 1915 World Fair in San Francisco to share her research and teaching method. Maria continued to share her knowledge for many years in her own country, until her teachings were banned from Italy due to world conflicts with Fascism. She was forced to leave her home, but she continued her work in Amsterdam, and later in India, where Maria would stay for over 10 years. Even after World War II broke out, Maria stayed to complete her work of the early childhood years in her study of the “Absorbent Mind, “ and her extensive study of infancy and the development of the “Cosmic Curriculum.”

By 1946, over 1,000 people had been educated by Dr. Montessori. Maria continued to travel through Europe, Africa and Asia, lecturing until the age of 81. Maria Montessori has been nominated for two Nobel Peace Prizes for her contribution to education, but also for her overall effort to improve conditions for women and children around the world.

We owe so much to this extremely brave woman, who endured conflicts of career progression, family separation, gender bias and war to bring her teaching methods to light. Maria Montessori was a leader in every step she took, and her work produced amazing outcomes. Maria sought to educate children, but she also saw a magic in them. Within each child, she saw: the need, the power, the magic… to learn.

And so we, Montessori Community School, so inspired by Dr. Montessori send great wishes of peace, kindness and joy in her honor. May we each find a moment today to spread her message with a peaceful action to benefit our whole of mankind.






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Welcome to 2017-2018 from MCS Admin

Dear Montessori Community  School Families,
 
Each year as we welcome back our returning students and families and welcome our new students and their families to our school community we feel such a sense of anticipation for all the experiences we will enjoy together during the academic year. 
 
By the time that the children  arrive the teachers have worked tirelessly for 7 days to prepare their  beautiful environments for the arrival of their students. There is such a buzz of anticipation that is infectious. Everyone is so excited about all the possibilities of the new school year. And finally the children are here and the year begins. It is always such a special time for all of us.
 
As we move forward this year we want you all to know that we are grateful to all families who have entrusted their beautiful children into our care. We are dedicated to "following each child" to  best support their optimum growth emotionally, socially and academically. We look forward to building partnerships with each of you so as to afford your child/ren the best possible experience.
 
Please know that we will always make ourselves available to answer questions or respond to comments. Our doors are usually open and we invite you to stop in. We appreciate the opportunities to further develop our relationships.
 
Thanks to those of you who were able to join us for the New Student Orientation on Tuesday morning and the Back To School Night for Toddlers and Early Childhood families that evening.  We look forward to getting to know you better at such events as our Welcome Picnics and ongoing community events.
 
We are grateful for our dedicated and caring teachers and all of our families and look forward to an incredible year. 
 
Best wishes,
 
Robyn, Ramira and Britney


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Elevation Catering at MCS



MCS will continue to partner with Elevation Catering to provide lunches to our students, Monday through Thursday. Elevation Catering has been serving private schools in Utah since 2007. Elevation has made ordering as convenient as possible by providing an online ordering system. You may order as many lunches as you would like, as long as you meet their $8.70 order minimum. You may also add, change, or cancel your lunch orders easily through their website, elevationcatering.com. Elevation Catering also has "emergency" lunches available. If you forget your child's lunch you may call and place a last minute order for $5. Please keep in mind when ordering an emergency lunch that they do have limited option, the order must be called in before 10 AM, and the cost is $5 per meal that must be paid when the order is placed. 

Please note that families are responsible for ordering and managing their own accounts. MCS is not able to make any changes on your behalf. 

Please see here for this August and September's menu.



Please see here for Terms and Conditions.


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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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2017 Uinta Adventure

Last week our Upper Elementary students, the Uinta class, set adrift for an amazing Adventure to Split Mountain, Vernal. They enjoyed three days of fun, learning, and life experiences. Despite the inclement weather they adventured to the max and had a blast. They are made of stern stuff!   Students, teachers and parent chaperones did a service learning project at Josie's Cabin, rafted the Green River (in the snow!), enjoyed a beautiful hike in the area and visited the Dinosaur Quarry. 

Students spent the year earning funds for their adventure through the Montessori Market and preparing for their rafting trip with their in-depth GO studies of the water shed. This adventure was a culmination of many important Upper Elementary lessons; from planning and executing a trip to in-depth follow up to their outdoor studies and many things in between. 

Thank you to everyone who shopped the Market and supported their other business ventures for making this possible.   Below find some fun quotes from parent chaperones and a handful of photos documenting this amazing adventure!




The children were in full on camping mode. The cold rain and snow did not deter, or steer them off course from their planned itinerary. It was obvious that they worked hard to prepare before the trip, as many duties fell into place.
They braved the big, cold waters of the Green River, in winter conditions. They hiked the trails of Dinosaur Nation Park. They explored the quarry and represented The Montessori Community School at its best. Well done children!

Aaron Rashaw 


The Ultimate Adventure!

With Jude graduating from the sixth grade, this will be my last opportunity to chaperone at MCS. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience! I’ve never been to Dinosaur National Monument; so to go with nineteen of the most adventurous ten to twelve year olds ever, made the outing that much more enjoyable. Believe me: they braved the elements that only a Utah spring can muster; and they did so with respect of nature and stoic resolve. There was nothing that could have dampened their enthusiasm. I know the students learned a great deal about the hydrologic system of the Green River, but I seemed to be their student as they embraced the desert and embraced life!

Thanks again for the wonderful opportunity!
Gregg Wood








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Graduating Alumni- Class of 2017

Within the past few weeks we have received High School Graduation notices from some of our amazing Alumni. We send our love, best wishes and congratulations to Elise Vandamme, Camilla Uphill, Amelia Lewis, and Allyson Jones. Best wishes to all of you as you begin university in the fall. You have such exciting adventures ahead. Savour all of them. And please keep in touch. 

With Love,

Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan
Head of School





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How can failure be a gift?

When I started teaching 20 years ago, childhood was altogether a different experience.  Raising children looked different than it does now and, since I'm now in the midst of raising my own three children, I believe this more than ever before.  The single most important thing I think we may be missing with this generation of parenting is the realization that growth comes from failure!  Scary concept, right?  But honestly, when everything goes according to plan, there are no hiccups in the way, or any process is simple, precise and easy we learn very different lessons than when we have to struggle and stretch.  I think it would be fair to say that your own failures (or struggles, at the very least) provided clear opportunities for learning and growth. I recently watched a really wonderful TedTalk called "The power of believing that you can improve" by Carol Dweck in which she uses the word "yet" with great meaning and power.  (Watch here.) 


Believe it or not, when our kids become afraid of failure, they become disinterested in learning.  Life gets scary. Autonomy and the ability to bounce back helps kids feel confident and connected.  

What happens if we tell our kids they are the best (at anything!) and they discover that they are not (at some things)? The feeling of failure, of letting us down, of believing they are less than they really are is just the kind of feeling that keeps them from trying again and from experiencing new things.  The realization that they still have space to grow, on the other hand, and the belief that they are surrounded by loving people who will give them space for that to happen? POWERFUL! Our generation of children are learning that there is a lot of immediate gratification in the world.  But let's be real, parents - life includes a lot of waiting, trying again, picking ourselves up off the ground, and re-thinking how things "should" be.  

How do we really step back and let our kiddos stretch?  It's hard, right?  And honestly...it can be totally inconvenient.  Not only is childhood different but so is adulthood.  If I count the number of hours I really get to spend with my own children in a week, it seems far less than ideal.  We are a busy family.  Life is beautiful and lots of fun, but it is REALLY BUSY! So how can I adapt my "helicopter parenting" approach (which is in some ways for my own convenience) to one that gives my kids the best chance at being resilient? 

  • Praise wisely: Point out the effort, the process and the strategies that your child used whether they succeed or fail at something.  Outcomes are typically less than we imagined and so the process is an important one to celebrate, think about and understand!
  • Plan ahead: Ask questions to get your kiddo thinking about outcomes without giving up the best answers.  The more we tell them the answers, the more children lack the opportunity to think of them themselves.  And believe it or not, some day they WILL have to make decisions without you. The small ones they are making now, under our care, are the safe ones to practice on.  
  • Step back: As much as you want to step in and tell them "I already tried that, it didn't work" or "But what if.." DON'T DO IT. Little failures are great opportunities to learn.  And, when we are there rooting for them despite their failures not only do they learn to try differently, but they learn that we are there no matter what. (How comforting.) The other beautiful thing about stepping back is that when they do step in at the face of real danger (I'm talking serious circumstances here) and we step in, they'll know they face real danger.
  • Listen: Guess what?  Our job as parents is not to be problem solvers.  I know, weird right? I have a hard time with this one too. But really, sometimes children just need someone to listen.  They are people and, like us, can oftentimes talk themselves into the best answers.


What I'm presenting here is not an easy feat.  There is no expectation for any of us to get it right every time.  As a matter of fact, the same concepts apply to parenting...we will make mistakes.  And we will learn from them.  And when we are better next time, our kids will learn that being better is the most important part.  I have never apologized more to anyone on this earth than I have to my oldest son. And I believe that my humility and admittance of my failures goes a long way in teaching him that humaning is a process....er, at least I hope it does! If nothing else, he has seen me mess up and get back on that horse!  I will not give up and he knows that. 

In her book The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey talks about autonomy supportive parenting. Clear expectations and clear consequences make people feel safe.  From traffic laws to moral obligation, this is true on every front. I can't tell you enough how lovely a concept this is! 


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MCS' 10th Annual Fun Run Fundraiser


On Monday, May 22nd, MCS students will be participating in our 10th annual Montessori Community School Fun Run! Last year, the kids had so much fun with the great big bouncy obstacle course that we decided to do it again.


Each year our students have the opportunity to raise pledges for our two Service Learning Projects:

1) The Children of Ethiopia Education Fund (COEEF)
Specifically, the COEEF program will give vital financial support so the six girls our MCS students sponsor can attend school in Ethiopia. The Children of Ethiopia who are living in impoverished circumstances to have a quality, private education through generous sponsors and donors. Without this assistance many of these girls would not have the opportunity to attend any school. We feel that supporting girls in this way will have such a far reaching effect: "To educate a girl is to educate a village (nation)."

Check out this video from Bethlehem Eyob, one of our girls we sponsor: https://youtu.be/mTlrKk-4u2E

2) For more than 20 years our school has been involved in 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.


We originally adopted three grandmothers- Grandmother Roseline Jackson who died two years ago. Grandmother Emma Bahe who died this year, and Grandmother Elvira Horseherder to whom we are still committed. Recently we chose to adopt another grandmother whose name is Grandmother Anita Jackson, a relative of Grandmother Roseline. We are delighted to have this opportunity to become part of the life of Grandmother Anita. We anticipate having regular communication with her as we do with Grandmother Elvira.

The money raised by our students will be used to support our girls in Ethiopia and to provide our adopted Navajo Grandmothers with much-needed items, such as food, firewood, clothing, and gardening tools as well as yarn to weave the beautiful rugs they sell to earn a living.

Service Learning is an important component of our Montessori program. It teaches students about the joy and value of contributing to their community, society, and world. We encourage you to join with us in supporting your child in service learning. You can do this by:

  • Helping your child to set a goal to raise a certain amount.
  • Helping your child talk to family and friends about the Fun Run. You would be surprised how many friends, neighbors, and grandparents are eager to support such a worthwhile event.
  • Attending the event and join with them as they run their laps or cheer them on from the sidelines.
  • Volunteering to help at the event. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.

Please make your pledge via YouCaring by going to www.MCSFunRun.org and share this link with family and friends. You may also turn in cash or check made out to Montessori Education Foundation (MEF) to the MCS front office.

Our goal this year is to raise at least $7,000.00 total, with 80% family participation.


We look forward to this exciting Service Learning experience and hope all of our families will participate with enthusiasm.

Sincerely,

MCS Parent School Alliance
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Interim Camp: June 5th - 9th








Interim Camp will take place Monday, June 5th and run through Friday, June 9th.
Camp hours are 8:00 am - 5:30 pm.





The registration forms can be found here, or you may pick one up from the office.
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Join the MCS PSA!

MCS-Parent School Alliance T.E.A.M.
Together Everyone Achieves More! 

Before I became involved in the PSA, I noticed for years that most of the burden fell on one or two people, and I thought that was just too much; especially when you are juggling kids, work and life. So when I was asked by the MCS Administration to get involved, I suggested a restructuring of the PSA to become a “Team” representing all the age groups but with an emphasis on the Toddler and Early Childhood groups since they are our meat and potatoes.  This PSA Team concept is now completing its second year with, I believe, great success on many levels.  First, the obvious, the 6 reps share the roles, no one person is working alone; second, we have more of a presence on campus as a team; and third, we actually enjoy each other and collectively want to generate excitement and enthusiasm within our community. Who doesn’t want to be involved in that? 

Since my son is graduating this year from MCS, this is my last year with the MCS PSA and I want to encourage those interested to consider joining the PSA Team next school year.  We have such a unique, wonderful and supportive community of children, parents, teachers and staff that it makes it so much easier to be a part of the team.

If you are interested please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you for your support,

Annie Guerrero
Uinta Parent





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Sun Safety

As a staff we are always trying to maintain a comfortable balance between sun safety and the immense need to get our children outside for play and movement.  As you well know, our children are not always easily convinced of the critical need to cover adequately.  We go to great effort to teach our children the importance of full coverage and how to apply sunscreen thoroughly (while offering assistance to children as needed).  We encourage our families to advise their children of the importance of sun safety and appreciate the following tips provided by one of our MCS parents.  



Utah has the highest melanoma (the most deadly skin cancer) rates in the United States (read detailed article here). Given our altitude, a large number of sunny days, great outdoor activities, and a population with lots of fair-skinned people, we have the perfect storm of skin cancer risk factors.

It is important that our kids spend time outside but careful preparation is a must. Below are some measures that have proven effectiveness at reducing UV exposure and helping to prevent skin cancers:

1. Sunscreen reapplication: Unfortunately, sunscreen only lasts ~80 min before the protective effects diminish significantly, so be sure to reapply frequently.  

2. Hats: Because the head and neck region is not covered with clothes it receives much more sun exposure than other parts of the body, leading to a higher proportional rate of skin cancers in this region. Hats are an easy method to reduce sun exposure. Be sure to send a hat to school with your child each day as well as taking one along on all your outings that include outside play

3. Encourage sun-safe clothing, sunglasses when appropriate.

4.  Go the extra mile by being an example; wear a hat when you are outside, apply sunscreen to yourself in your child's presence, wear sun-appropriate clothing and sunglasses, and talk to your child about sun safety on a regular basis.  Children, like the rest of us, are empowered by knowledge.

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The Power of your Child's Birth Story

Have you ever told your child the riveting and powerful story of their entrance into this great life? This is one of my favorite aspects of parenthood. Instilling wonder and thoughtfulness about your child’s emergence to earth is truly awe inspiring for them. Hearing the story of their own birth can calm a child’s fears, can build a child who feels down or sad and can bring great joy to any child. Understanding not only the emergence itself, but the powerful emotions tied to their anticipated arrival and their delivery give a child perspective into their powers as a human. Understanding their place in a family, their most important community of all, is hugely rewarding for a child. Children deeply appreciate learning how their own birth made a marked difference in the history of the universe. 




A child will love this story at any point in their life, but the most crucial and powerful time to tell a child the story of their own birth is during the elementary years, particularly early elementary. The elementary child is finding their place in the world. Their understanding of its vastness has become more easy to comprehend and their curiosity about the interconnectedness of all living things is undeniably enthusiastic. Relationships can become deep and meaningful, particularly those outside the family. Children’s search for what matters, their social sensitivities and their developing moral judgement at this stage of development can often lead to questions like “Who am I...how do I fit in?” These are important questions and for this reason their personal birth story can be relevant pieces of the puzzle they are working on personally.

In a Montessori Lower Elementary program, the study of timelines show evolution of plants, animals, and humans. We work to instill a love and respect for our earth. A child’s place in this evolution helps them relate to their family, their social circle, and reinforces that all living things are valuable. Not to mention, humans develop a core belief about themselves at a very early age.  What could possibly make a person believe they matter, that they have the power to change the world, or the power of love more than hearing about the love that enters a parent's
heart when they meet their child for the first time? 



How was your child thought of while in utero?

What kind of preparations did you make for your child to join your family?

What kind of dreams did you have for your child and your family?

What was your child’s anticipated arrival like?

What were the feelings you had when your child’s delivery began?

What are the details about your child’s birth?

How did you spend the first moments/hours/days of your child’s life?


My own three children could recite the stories of their births themselves, and still, they ask to hear it often. We share those memories in times of sadness, in times of fear, in times of joy, in times of laughter. Every detail holds deep meaning for each of us and the parts that speak to us change as we change and evolve as individuals and as a family.
Bedtime stories have never been so much fun. 

Happy story telling! 




My beautiful family. My sister introduces her son to his new baby brother for the first time.
The magic of families is endless. 











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The Value of the Three Year Cycle - A Parent's Perspective

The Capstone Year

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the third year of the Early Childhood three year cycle. We made the decision to keep our oldest daughter in the Magnolias Class to complete the cycle (known as the Capstone Year).

Last year, an article in The Atlantic called “The New Preschool is Crushing Kids” (read here) helped support our decision. In the mainstream setting, Kindergarten has become the new first grade, and Common Core standards have laid out academic guidelines for what should be completed in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten. Research corroborates that kindergarteners spend more time doing seat work and less time doing art and music.  The net result is 2nd graders who perform worse on tests measuring literacy, language, and math skills. The cause, it is thought, is direct instruction that is repetitive and uninspired which leads to children losing their enthusiasm for learning.




How do we maintain that joy for learning and school that can inspire ongoing discovery? The Montessori curriculum inspires life-long inquiry with a heavy emphasis on social interaction, outdoor experiences, art and music. Communication and dynamic interactions with peers and teachers allow children to be self-reflective critical thinkers.

The groundwork for reading and literacy is language, and the Montessori classroom capitalizes on our children’s sensitive period for language.  Imagine my surprise when my four year old came home recently asking to read a book to me. I indulged her request knowing that she has not quite mastered all the letter sounds, and yet she comfortably read the book.  “Where did you learn to read?” I asked.  “I just know.” she said.  The Montessori curriculum has laid the groundwork so that our children can put it all together in their own time. We only need to give them the freedom and opportunity to do so.

This is exactly why the capstone year is so important. Our children become leaders in the classroom during the third year. They consolidate all the learning that has taken place in the first two years of the cycle. They grow confidence, they enjoy themselves, and they learn new things in a low pressure environment in which they feel very comfortable.

I loved seeing my oldest daughter thrive in her third year. You could see an extra bounce in her step and she loved going to school each day. Her reading and math skills blossomed and her social skills became more nuanced. In short, she thrived.

I was also a little nervous that she would enter her new school behind the other kids who had been in the academic “seat-work” environment for two years already… and I’ll admit that in the first quarter, her reading wasn’t as fluent as some of the other children’s and her performance on timed math assessments was lacking a bit of luster. (Then again, if you know her, you know that anything timed is not of interest to her!)  Interestingly, as the year has progressed, she’s blossomed. It’s as if you can see the cumulative effect of the critical thinking skills and self-directed learning all come together. She’s asking questions about the relationships between different concepts and she’s reading books that really interest her.  I’m not sure she’ll love the timed math tests, but as she says, “that’s just my way”.  The credit for her progress goes to the Montessori Capstone Year.

I’m so glad that we’ve been able to give her the gift of an extra year of play, joy, and mastery. The data and our family’s personal experience support what Maria Montessori knew long ago… The third year of the cycle is a crucial element of the Montessori Early Childhood education.  

You are welcome to contact me if you want to discuss the third year in further detail!

Vicki Wilkins - MCS Toddler and Early Childhood parent

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