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“Weaving all begins with a string, and the string tells a story. For the base of the loom is the earth, and the crest of the loom is the Sky; and there is rain, sunlight, thunder, lightening and roots in between. With weaving, and with everything in our culture, there is a purpose.”

---Native Elder, Julius Chavez

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Each year we have the opportunity to take a field trip to the Navajo Rug Show and visit with our Grandmother Elvira and other Native Elders. It is our tradition to invite our 3rd year students in Early Childhood and Lower Elementary to join us on this occasion in honoring these special women and men. This is a wonderful event and tradition, hosted by the Deer Valley Resort in support of the “Adopt-A-Native-Elder” non-profit organization.

The purpose of this yearly event is to observe the traditions of our Native Elders, and to show support to our own Grandmothers as we join in the celebration of their traditional living and centuries-old skills. Through storytelling and music, jewelry making, and of course, the extraordinary artistry that is weaving; together we can appreciate the truly remarkable traditions of our Native Elders.

In preparation for this special event our school has a tradition of collecting items for our Navajo Grandmothers.  The items they most appreciate include: Coffee, Chicken Ramen, Tea, Quaker Oats, Meal, Salt, Spam, Baking Powder, Jello, Sugar, Peanut Butter, Canned Fruits, Veggies, and Soups, Graham Crackers, Spaghetti, Cornflakes, Pasta Noodles, Shortening, Household Items, Toiletries, Clothing, Tools, and VISA Gift Cards. VISA Gift cards are especially lovely, as our Grandmothers do not have a lot of space in their vehicles to bring items back to their home. They can also use the gift cards to purchase the much-needed firewood to heat their homes through the winter. 

This year they are also asking for gently used children's school supplies such as backpacks and winter clothing such as gloves, hats, coats, etc. If you would like to make a donation you may place your items in one of the bins that will be in the hallways over the next couple of weeks. 

Read this beautiful excerpt written by Kellie Gibson, an MCS teacher, about last years Rug Show: 

As we entered the gallery, we began our journey together and found ourselves surrounded by rich colors and warm hearts. While we took in the beauty of each hand-woven rug, we listened to the stories and legends of the Dine people and learned about their traditional way of life. We heard songs from some of the attending Elders, and as we listened, another group of Elders showed us the steps that are taken to create a traditional rug. It was truly an educational experience to witness first hand the life cycle of wool; as it is cut, carded and twisted into yarn, then dyed, and skillfully and artfully woven into a magnificent, authentic Navajo rug.

After the program, we went to visit with our own Grandmother Elvira. Each year she makes the long journey from her home and family in Arizona to participate in all of the activities at the Deer Valley Rug show and a very important part of her time in Utah is the opportunity to visit with our MCS children. Grandmother Elvira spoke to the children, and told them that they were her own Grandchildren. She spoke to them in love, saying that she prays for each of them, that they will be healthy and grow big and be happy. She then presented us with a gift of Cedar Beads, meant to protect us and create harmony with nature. The children made a gift to her also, cards and drawings that we collected and presented in a large pink valentine. She held it close to her heart, and gave her blessing to the children. Grandmother Elvira and the other Native Elders have so much to teach us. Through their stories, we can learn to be brave, to be passionate, to be grateful and to love.

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It has been our opportunity as a school to support our Navajo Grandmothers by way of our annual food drive and proceeds from our Spring Fun-Run. These donations go far in providing firewood throughout the winter, grocery certificates, and Walmart certificates that allow them to purchase basic necessities such as clothing and household items and even yarn for weaving beautiful rugs that are sold to provide further income.

We were so happy to visit with our Grandmother Elvira. Our students have created sent special cards and letters for our Grandmother Emma as well and they will be send to her, along with some gifts at Christmas time.

This year we have had to bid a loving farewell to our Grandmother Rosaline who died at the age of 94. We think of her often and wish her family well.

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As we return from a holiday marked by tradition and thanksgiving, we wanted to share our experience with all of our MCS families. We are grateful for the opportunity to give, to love and appreciate, to teach our students and our children the importance of knowing the world’s people, the needs of others, and the importance of family. In truth, we are all connected by the uniquely lived-in fibers of humanity. We can grow as human beings, and we can cultivate the human spirit if we are able to identify with one another, share our gifts and love.

A special thanks to all of our parents, students, teachers and staff who made this field trip possible, and a great success. In the words of Kindergartener, Carolyn Altman: “It was a hit!”

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Montessori Community School has been raising money for the COEEF and have supported several girls in the program for over 10 years.  We are currently supporting seven young girls.  It is a pleasure to share this opportunity to further support the COEEF program with our MCS community.
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Hello MCS Families,

Things are coming together nicely here at the school. We are still working out some details but are really looking forward to the students return on Monday. Again, we can not express enough our appreciation for all of the offers to assist. And, we want you to know that the teachers at the school have worked tirelessly to prepare temporary classrooms, to support one another, and to keep the energy positive and uplifting. Our teachers are amazing!

  • We are looking for an old washer and dryer that can be used to clean our mops and some carpets that were submerged in water. Please contact the office if you are getting rid of any old machines that the school could use temporarily.
  • Thank you to all who attended Parent Teacher Conference last week. We were so excited to launch our online record keeping system, Compass, which will allow you to get activity reports about your child's school experience. However, with all that has happened with the flood and the temporary displacement of classrooms and students we have decided to put a temporary hold on the activity reports. Thank you for your patience. As mentioned previously, every one of our classrooms are being effected in some way and we feel it is most important that the teachers energy be placed on providing structure and support to the students. Thank you for your understanding.
  • The Silent Journey is postponed until further notice.
  • We anticipate that the Halloween Carnival will still happen and more details about it will be available Monday.

Enjoy the remainder of your unexpected break in this most beautiful fall weather.

With deep gratitude,
MCS Administration

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Margaret and Laura trying to keep more mess out of their beloved Uinta classroom!
 
 
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Ruby has been a most wonderful photographer and documenter!
 
 
 
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Brandi feeling overjoyed about the set up of the temporary Lower El classroom at the church.
 
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Laura in the new Uinta and Arches space.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Joshi displays some of the Arches work that survived the flood.
 
 
 
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Look at the beautiful mural in the background! Bonnie has been hard at work. 
 
 
 
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An energetic and helpful MCS student cheers for the churches offer of space. 
 
 
 
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Kay and Lorena setting up the Magnolias temporary classroom in the Toddler Moons space.
 
 
 
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Kate and Cinthya hard at working helping their fellow teachers set up and clean up. 
 
 
Dear MCS Families and Interested Community Members,
 
WOW!  The outpouring of love and concern is truly incredible. A huge thank you to our enthusiastic staff who have assisted in the clean up, transport, and set up of new classroom space.  We are very excited to get back to it on Monday.  We miss the children very much.  
 
As you can see from the photos above, we are making a lot of progress here at the school.  The teachers are working harder than ever and their love of the students is evident in their care and attention to setting up the classrooms. The teachers will be sending detailed emails so that you know what to expect for Monday. Thank you for your patience as we prepare. 
 
A few recent updates:
  • The road is still not fixed at the school's entrance.  We are hopeful that it will be fixed by the weekend.
  • At this time the building has no heat. (We are grateful for the warm weather!) We hope to have a temporary boiler in place by Monday. It will be a smaller unit that will heat our upstairs.  We will have to purchase a new boiler and hope that the transition will be as unobtrusive as possible.  We have some temporary heaters to supplement the heat from this smaller unit until the new boiler is in place. 
  •  We are working on a list for volunteer opportunities.  So many of you have been so generous with your offers to help.  Up to this point we have not known areas where you can assist.  However, we anticipate that we will need assistance in the future.  Once we have created this list we will share it with you.  
With thanks,
MCS Administration
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Dear MCS Parents,
 
We wanted to share a quick update about how things are progressing here at the school.  Most of the staff have been here cleaning, taking inventory of damaged or ruined materials, and moving materials in preparation for Monday.  There is a lot of cleaning to do still before the materials can be taken to the church (our official temporary location) and the classrooms there prepared.  
 
Thank you again to all who have offered to come to the school to help.  There are already a lot of staff who are here trying to work around the cleaning staff so we do not feel we can direct many more hands.  Thank you for the kind offers. We have been informed that there are families who are still looking for child care for their children.  If you are willing to help in this capacity please let us know and we will try to get you in touch with families who are still searching for child care.  
 
The following updates might be helpful:
  • We've had another confirmation that we are not dealing with sewage or pesticide contaminants. There are no microbial issues and the water does not pose any health risk.  The water that flooded the school contained soil, dirt, bark, etc. but the word "contamination" in this sense simply means the items are dirty.  
  • We are still waiting for information about the boiler repairs. There is nothing new to report and the boiler is not currently working.
  • Our power has been restored. (YAY! Light has been very helpful.)
  • The road outside the school is torn up and is closed at both ends of the block.  We are hopeful that they will lay new asphalt on Thursday or Friday and the road should open over the weekend.
Keep checking Facebook, the website, and email for updates.  
 
Many people have asked how they can make financial contributions.  If you would like to make a donation please go to our website (www.mcsslc.com) and visit "Flood Relief Fund." 
 
 
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On the evening of October 10, 2014 a 42 inch City water main burst at the intersection of Foothill Drive and 1700 South. Water rushed down 1700 South and came into the school and flooded the entire lower level of the building. Salt Lake City has been very supportive in arranging for services to clean the building and to dispose of rugs, carpets and damaged furniture. We have been told that their insurance will cover some of the general repairs. However, many of our teaching materials and other specialty items from the classrooms that were damaged will likely have to be replaced by the school. If you would like to assist us financially, you can contribute by clicking here to help pay for items and renovations that are not covered by the city or insurance.
 
As we recieve more information about what the city will not pay to replace and how much money is raised we will post the details here so you may see how your contribution is being used. The form also allows you to contribute on behalf of a particular business or individual and you can choose whether to have that name listed on our contributors page.
 
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Dear MCS Parents,

Thank you all for your ongoing support. We are grateful for all of the offers of help and assistance. The cleaning crew is still here and they are asking that we stay out of their way while they clean, sanitize and move furniture in preparation for the building repairs. We appreciate everyone's willingness and ask for your continued patience as we determine our needs. If/when we determine that there is a way for parents to assist us we will let you know.

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At this time we have been told that it will take possibly up to 8 weeks for the Lower Level to be repaired and able to accommodate the children. We have been most fortunate to secure temporary classroom space for the Lower and Upper Elementary students and the Middle School students at the All Saints Episcopal Church with whom we share a parking lot. Staff are working to clean that space and will spend time this week creating classrooms there. The Magnolias students are being moved to several different classrooms throughout the school. (Arches, Uinta, Wasatch, Oquirrh and Magnolias parents - a more detailed email will be coming separately to outline the details of your child's temporary classroom.)

We are still unable to fully assess the damage and/or inventory all of the ruined materials and furniture. Unfortunately, this process is much more time consuming and lengthy than we had originally anticipated.

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The clean up crew is directing us to carefully sanitize all of the furniture and materials that we want to take from the Lower Level for the students to use during their temporary relocation. Currently our power is coming from a generator. We hope that we will have permanent power by this evening but are unsure. Our boiler (which provides our heat) has been partially covered with water and we are not sure the extent of its damage. Specialists have been working on it since Saturday but had to wait until the motor, etc. had dried out before conducting more extensive testing. The road right in front of our parking lot entrance is torn up and we may have to determine a plan to redirect our school traffic. There are many people working in many capacities both inside and outside the school. At this time we do not feel that it is safe for the students to return to the building. There are too many variables that are still "undetermined." We look forward to the students returning when we feel that the building is safe for them and when we have more control over who is entering and exiting the building.

SCHOOL WILL BE CLOSED FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE WEEK. We are also working on a plan to determine how we will make up the missed days.

We understand what a huge inconvenience a school closure is and are very sorry to put our families in this position. Some of our staff members who are not needed in the relocation and set up are willing to provide child care to families who are in need. Please contact the office for names and numbers as needed.

With thanks,
MCS Administration

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Students learn about Blacksmithing while watching a presentation on a chain being made.
 
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Students learn how to churn cream to butter, how cows are milked, and how to care for different farm animals. Students also got to enjoy each other during a wagon ride. Thank you to the wonderful parent volunteers!
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The Early Childhood Aspens class posing for a picture after they picked their pumpkins.
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Picking Pumpkins!
Each student was able to pick and bring home their own pumpkin. It is so fun to see the different shapes and sizes of the pumpkins each child chooses!
 
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There are many parts to a Montessori education. There certainly is the beautiful materials that add so much to the enjoyment of learning. There is the educational philosophy that goes along with the materials. There is also the part that looks at your child’s gifts and abilities but the most crucial part of  a Montessori education is the part that nurtures and helps transform your child into a successful adult. Ultimately, Montessori is a philosophy of life, of a way to approach the challenges and blessings.

If you love what Montessori does for your child at school begin to implement at home those actions that will continue the transformation. We are not talking about red rods, alphabets or math but about the core value that makes Montessori dynamic and transformational. It is all about making wise choices.

It is a simple formula – learn to make wise choices – but it is a complex process made up of multiple simple actions that combined together create this outstanding outcome for your child. Montessori succeeds because it gives children the opportunity to make choices (and deal with the consequences). If you have made a bad choice, to be able to make another choice until you come to a positive outcome.

You begin the implementation of Montessori at home by creating opportunities for choice. When my son was two we began choice making with something as simple as breakfast. We would offer him the choice of two cereals. I would ask, “Do you want this or that?” And he would make a choice. (However, since I didn’t use the proper names of the cereals, cereal became known as “dis and dat”.)

Choice making has to be real. Don’t offer a choice and then negate their choice. “Do you want carrots?” “No.” “Well, here you are anyway.” Real choice would ask, “Do you want one spoonful or two?” Other examples of empowering choice might be “Do you want to wear blue pants or black”; “Do you want to brush your teeth first or a take a bath first?” There are endless choices to make each day.

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Along with choice goes responsibility. When you make a choice you own the choice because with choice goes the responsibility of fulfilling it. However, a great lesson to learn is that not all responsibilities are our choice but once given to us it is a wise choice to fulfill them.

Chores at home become part of this process of wise choice making. How do I choose to fulfill my responsibilities? Doing my work well, finishing on time and finishing thoroughly are key ingredients of lifetime success. In life we are often faced with situations that offer no real choice – paying taxes, stopping at red lights etc. Teaching your child to make wise choices (even when there is no choice) is to teach them to choose their attitude when faced with less than desirable choices. They can learn this if you let them practice at home.

Article written by Edward Fidellow 

www.crossmountainpress.com

 

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Hello MCS Parents,

It’s that time of year again, yes, already! Giving season! We are already being solicited to make year-end donations to various nationwide and local charities, as well as to volunteer our time and various skills. Every year we are compelled to give our support to those less fortunate than us or to causes that we feel passionate about.

One of the goals of the MCS teachers is to instill in our children a sense of responsibility to give back and support causes that are meaningful to us as a group and individually. One of my goals, as PSA President, is to help us, as parents, understand where our donations through school supported organizations are going as well as to make sure we understand who and what our donations/fundraising efforts are supporting. I also want to work with you to combine our giving efforts in the hope of making a larger impact.

With that being said, the PSA is heading up the outside fundraising efforts for the school this year. I have a lot of charities in mind but could use your help. I would love to hear back from you about what compels you to give. Who do you feel is a group really making a difference? Is it the food bank, the homeless shelters, renewable energy groups, clean air groups? Do you work with or for an organization that is making an impact locally? Where or who will you support, either financially or with your time, this year? Are any of you closely involved with a charitable organization that you would like to see the MCS community rally behind? I want to hear from you! Let’s join together as a group and really make a difference, while fulfilling the education and outreach component that is essential to our children’s classrooms.

This year, the PSA and the school would like to direct support to 4 areas of interest for our MCS families: our Navajo Grandmothers, our students in Ethiopia, the local charity that the parent community chooses, and MCS’ Classroom Giving Tree.

Our schools ongoing support of the Navajo Grandmothers has created a long-standing relationship with the Adopt a Native Elder program. We sponsor two Grandmothers: Elvira Horseherder and Emma Bahe. The Navajo Rug show is coming up this November 7th – 9th at the Snow Park Lodge in Deer Valley—Park City, UT. Our Kindergarten students and our 3rd year students will be attending this event November 6th and 7th. Prior to this event, the school will be collecting items such as: Coffee, Chicken Ramen, Tea, Quaker Oats, Meal, Salt, Spam, Baking Powder, Jello, Sugar, Peanut Butter, Canned Fruits, Veggies, and Soups, Graham Crackers, Spaghetti, Cornflakes, Pasta Noodles, Shortening, Household Items, Toiletries, Clothing, Tools, and VISA Gift Cards. VISA Gift cards are especially lovely, as our Grandmothers do not have a lot of space in their vehicles to bring items back to their home. They can also use the gift cards to purchase the much-needed firewood to heat their homes through the winter. 

MCS sponsors 7 girls through the Children of Ethiopia Education Fund. This fund exists to empower young girls in Ethiopia from impoverished circumstances to have a quality, private education through generous sponsors and donors.  Around the holiday season we collect items and money that goes directly to our girls to continue our sponsorship and to heighten and brighten their holiday season. 

Classroom specific giving is a way for us to directly impact the learning and growth of our kids. This year there will be a giving tree in the lobby that contains tags for each classroom. On the tags will be items the teachers ‘wish’ to have in the classroom selected from Montessori Services, Small Hands, and other places. It could be a need that the teachers feel would enrich the class environment or a replacement for a work that has been worked and loved hard over many years.  Come the end of October, there will be a tree set up in the MCS lobby with tags color coded for each classroom and specialty class. There will also be envelopes that will allow you to anonymously donate money toward an item or a classroom.  

Please know that I understand we often feel overwhelmed by groups asking for our support. We may feel that we are being asked to often or for too much. But, these giving options are here to offer you a place to give if you feel compelled. There are no obligations or requirements to give. You can give a little, a lot, or not! We are trying to give you a heads up as to what is coming so you may make decisions on how or if you would like to proceed as far as giving and donations this year. 

I am really looking forward to hearing from you about the charities that mean something to you and your ideas about where the PSA can help direct the giving of our community.

Again, your feedback is so important. Please contact me directly about this and any other parent community issues or ideas you would like to share. After your feedback, a decision will be made as to which charity/ies our school will support this year.

Thank you,

Ann Beverly

PSA President

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Parent Education Night is coming up next Thursday, October 2nd from 6:30-8:00pm.  Toddler, Early Childhood and Elementary parents are invited.  Child care is provided, free of charge, but must be signed up for in advance in the office.
 
Scroll down for more information about each programs presentation details for the evening.
 
This is a great way to earn Parent Participation Hours AND stay in touch with your child's Montessori experience!
 
 TODDLER PARENT EDUCATION NIGHT
 
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EARLY CHILDHOOD PARENT EDUCATION NIGHT
 
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ELEMENTARY PARENT EDUCATION NIGHT
 
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Early Childhood students receive their first lesson of the 2014 - 2015 school year in the Outdoor Classroom. They had the opportunity to explore our Outdoor Classroom area, located on near the northeast corner of our school building. 
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Nature plays an important role in the development of the whole child. Works of gardening, raking, weed pulling, and other outdoor tasks assist in this development. The Outdoor Classroom is rich in science lessons, such as bird watching and naming, insect and leaf investigations, and rock classification.
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Early Childhood students explore the basic nature of land, air, water, and the creatures that inhabit those spaces.They also learn about the needs of plants and animals and creating homes for these creatures. 
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Montessori parents have often voiced concerns about creativity in a Montessori classroom. They just don’t see it. The concern is very similar to the fact that they also see few “academic” papers coming home. They don’t receive many brightly painted pictures to adorn their refrigerators. And so naturally wonder if a Montessori classroom is giving their child an opportunity to express their creative side.
 
As concrete and hands on as a Montessori classroom and a Montessori learning experience are it requires a good measure of faith to await the outcome of a Montessori experience. Every Montessori teacher (and parents too) for the last one hundred years have often held their breath waiting to see the fulfillment of this amazing process. And then they exhale with great relief and satisfaction. After a while you no longer hold your breath because you know it is going to work – and even better than you imagined – because you see your children learning and growing.
 

So how does this apply to creativity which seems to be in short supply as far as “art work” is concerned? The creative experience in Montessori is an internal experience. The great creativity is focused on the child creating their own personality. They are forging who they are to become by internalizing all of the experiences of both home and family with their experiences of discovery and exploration in the classroom, mixing these with the intangible aspects of their own DNA, their talents and gifts, inclinations and proclivities. They are taking in these seemingly random elements and creating the uniqueness of who they are.

Their great creative work is themselves.

In a traditional classroom environment children are forced into a mold; fairly standardized and compartmentalized. Doing what everyone else is doing, becoming what everyone else is becoming; rushing headlong to achieve external goals that are set without regard to their personality, character, ability or interest. And from this their only escape from this standardization is the occasional art work sent home.

In a Montessori classroom this unique creativity of their personality is an ongoing daily occurrence as they discover the world about them, as they discover the joy within them that rises as they discover the joy of all the creation about them. They are not rushed from subject to subject but get to explore and enjoy the mystery of how numbers work or the mystery of how their language is put together. They discover animals and leaves, science and art. They develop their senses. And it is those senses that create in them the wonder and the enjoyment of the learning that is all about them. They are creating within themselves reservoirs of joy and fascination, interest and passion. (They will learn the names of all the dinosaurs or rock formations or a hundred different avenues of learning because they have created a passion for it out of their daily experiences and discoveries.)

This ongoing creative experience blossoms within them as they are introduced to music and art, color and form. They become experienced (and passionate) observers of all that is around them. Their early experiences with what the Montessori classroom labels the “sensorial” materials heightens and trains their senses. Those pink cubes and the red rods, the circles and squares, the colors and sounds are laying the creative foundation within the child preparing them physically, psychologically, aesthetically and intellectually for a creative response to all of life that is around them.

The real music they learn to sing, the real art they learn to create in their life will arise out of the great work of creating their own personality. Their creativity in Montessori will not only be an escape from the drudgery of traditional learning and conditioning but will be a magnificent expression of the joy they find in learning and the world all around them. While you may not have many pictures to put on your refrigerator you will have a living portrait of a child full of joy and wonder. Now, that is a creative marvel!       

Edward Fidellow

www.crossmountainpress.com

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Montessori Children Handle Big Words and Big Ideas

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As a parent I was surprised about the words my children knew and used correctly (no, not the bad ones.) We’ve experienced them going from crying to making sounds, from sounds to their first words (mama, dada), from words to phrases (me go) to sentences – “I want candy.” It seems like a long (and sometimes frustrating) process for both children and adults to begin to communicate. We can’t wait for them to start talking and then ironically, we spend a lot of time telling them to be quiet.

The beginning formation of their language skills is “ice bergian.” Ninety percent of what they know supports the ten percent that is audible. The structure of their language has been constructed by and large with little direct input. They have been sorting out the complexity of words and phrases. They don’t yet possess all the building tools to communicate to the world they inhabit. That is why at an early age two phrases dominate their conversation – “Why?” and “What’s that?” They are continually constructing and they need solid linguistic materials to build with.

Baby talk is sweet but does not contribute to linguistic development or communications. At an early age, at least by three if not sooner, children are ready (and capable) of big words and big ideas. A Montessori education builds on this sensitive period for language and learning by introducing advanced concepts. Parents are often amazed that their child can say “equilateral triangle” let alone know what it means. But is equilateral triangle any more complex linguistically than Elizabeth Washington?

A Montessori classroom is constantly introducing new concepts and constructs and a major part of this introduction is linguistic. It does little good to point out squares or circles unless you can call them by name, define them and find them again. Montessori education is noted for its “Three Period Lesson.” First, you present the article. “This is red.” “This is blue.” Second, you ask, “Can you touch the red?” “Can you touch the blue?” (You see if they have understood the vocabulary.) Third, you ask, “What is this?” They answer “red.” “What is this?” They answer “blue.” (You see if they have mastered the vocabulary and the concept.)

Language starts with the concrete – mama, doggie, cat and proceeds to action – “me go, I jump.” And then it begins to add the color of adjectives – tall, short, biggest, smallest (all demonstrated in the classroom) until language blooms into conversation, discussion (and debate.)

When our son started Montessori at 17 months we wanted to be good Montessori parents by offering him choices he could make. Everyday for breakfast we held up two boxes of cereal and asked, “Do you want this or that?” Cereal, thereafter, became known as “dis and dat.” (In hindsight, we should have been correct and named the cereals for him – but it would have ruined a good story!)

It is important that we correctly name the words and actions of their lives. A Montessori classroom is constantly adding vocabulary to a child’s linguistic development. Studies have indicated that extensive vocabularies are a hallmark of successful adults. This process and habit of vocabulary acquisition is a foundational concept of your child’s Montessori experience.

 

While we do use body language and facial gestures, oral language is the predominant means of communication. Helping your child communicate clearly their needs, desires, frustrations, etc helps them to move on to the more complex use of language and culture – the ability to define (and embrace) intangible concepts like love, hope and faith. Ironically, (and I don’t know how it comes about) the first intangible concept they latch on to is wrapped up in the words, “It’s not fair.” But it is from there that justice, respect, duty, honor, honesty, loyalty begin to form with the child and are defined.

One of Montessori education’s great gifts to your child is the emphasis and focus on observation. Your child is given training and time to become an observer. As has been said, “You can see a lot if you just look.” The materials and exercises of the classroom are designed to aid your child during these earliest formative years to develop the habit of not only observing but of naming and defining the experience.

 

It is never just the accumulation of knowledge (or vocabulary) but the ability to use that knowledge to think, to communicate and to formulate the actions that are necessary for success. The more you talk with your child the more you develop the communication skills your child needs to succeed in the world. 

 

 

 

Edward Fidellow

www.crossmountainpress.com

 

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Montessori Community School is offering speech, language and hearing screenings on Tuesday, September 9th.  The screenings will be a brief measure of your child’s speech and language skills in order to determine if further speech and language, or hearing evaluations are needed.

The speech and language screening will take approximately 10-20 minutes to complete.  After the completion of the screening, we will identify if there are concerns regarding your child’s speech and language skills or hearing.  A note will be sent home with your child regarding the results of the screening and if further assessment is warranted.

You might consider having your child’s speech, language and hearing screened if your child shows one or more of the following:

  • Your child has a difficult time learning and using new concepts and vocabulary
  • Your child has had chronic ear infections
  • You and others have a hard time understanding your child’s speech.  Your child’s speech is less intelligible than their peers
  • Your child does not combine 2-5 words in their speech
  • You suspect your child may have a fluency disorder: stuttering
  • Your child has difficulty asking and answering “wh” questions 
  • Your child becomes easily frustrated when trying to tell you something
  • See Let's Talk! Speech and Language Therapy for more information on speech and language delay warning signs
*There is still time to sign up. Please fill out a form and turn in payment by tomorrow morning to the Montessori Community School office. 
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What’s the Big Deal about Table Washing?

Edward Fidellow

www.crossmountainpress.com

Many parents are attracted to Montessori because of its tremendous reputation for giving their children a great academic education. Parents are willing to spend impressive amounts of money to give their children this academic advantage. But as often as parents are impressed with Montessori excellence, they are a little bewildered that their children come home excited about mopping floors, doing dishes and washing tables. (This is what successful people hire others to do.) So there is a real disconnect between what you want, what you are paying for and what you think you are getting.

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How then does Montessori get this academic reputation if all you are seeing for six months or a year is table washing and practical life? Montessori success is not built on its finished academic product but on its sure foundation. So what kind of academics comes from table washing? It is the foundation of what constitutes Montessori education which is built on an enduring set of scientific principles. The first is that you always begin with the concrete before moving on to the abstract. There is nothing more concrete in the child’s life than the exercises of practical life. Second, Montessori education begins with the development of all the senses before moving on to the intellectual. Rest assured your child will arrive. Third, Montessori starts with the control of the physical abilities as a precursor to control of intellectual capacity. Fourth, it builds physical discipline – being able to follow through and complete a project before embarking on intellectual discipline. Fifth, it significantly develops focus on details as a skill set to accomplish academic goals. There is a major difference between 2 + 3 and 2 X 3 – and it is only a minor detail. Sixth, table washing (and all of practical life) is not only a physical challenge for beginner learners but becomes an emotional and psychological building block in the development of confidence and self esteem. Real confidence and self esteem is not built on words such as “You did a good job” (whether you did or not) but is built on real achievement and mastery. For a three, four or five year old the process of successfully completing table washing or any other practical life exercise begins a pattern of success. It is a success that comes from beginning a project, working it step by step for as long as it takes until you come to the successful conclusion. This pattern becomes the model for the next stages of academic competence.

What practical life achieves in your child is first a feeling of “I can take care of myself” whether it is table washing or tying shoes. I am given a sense of security that I have some control over my environment and my place in it. Second, it teaches me how to follow steps to success. Third, it builds my confidence by having mastered some challenge which prepares me to tackle even more complex challenges. Fourth, it refines my senses and muscular control so I can effectively use all of the hands on materials in the Montessori classroom to advance my intellectual development. Every sense, every motion, every action is focused to help me achieve academically. The academic success you hear about in Montessori is built on humble and less than impressive activities that are foundational to this amazing achievement that develops the whole child and prepares him or her for significant academic success.

Practical life is a portrait of the future!      

 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_thumb_scaled.mariamontessori.pngMaria 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.

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Forms can be found on the credendza by the stairs. Please fill out the forms and turn them into the office. Space can be limited for some classes, so it is to your advantage to sign up soon. Payments must be remitted prior to classes starting.
 
Click on the link below to access pdfs of each registration form.

Studio Classes have started this week. Please finalize this first session of classes as soon as possible.

Karate- Tuesdays and/ or Thursdays, 3:45 - 4:45

 

Broadway Kids- Mondays, 3:00 - 4:00 (Elementary), 3:30 - 4:30 (Early Childhood)

 

Ballet- Every other Friday, 3:30 - 4:15

 

Functional Fitness for Kids- Tuesdays, 3:45 - 4:45

 

Cooking with Kids- Fridays, 3:35 - 4:20 (Class full), 4:30 - 5:15 (Space available)

 

Zumba Kids Jr.- Wednesdays, 3:30 - 4:15

 

*Note: If your child is not in aftercare, but wants to participate in a studio class, they may go to aftercare until the class begins. You may pick your child up directly from the studio class. If your child stays in aftercare, your studio class teacher will collect your child and return your child to and from class. These classes are a great way for your child to develop interests, have outlets and experiences learning and growing with other friends in a different setting.

 
We will also be offering a Lego Robotics Club for Upper Elementary and Middle School students. Guitar classes will soon become available for elementary aged students. 
 
For more information regarding any club or Studio Class, please contact the Montessori Community School's office. 
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ATTENTION MCS PARENTS: 

Speech and Language Screening will be September 9th. The screenings will be a brief measure of your child’s speech and language skills in order to determine if further speech and language, or hearing evaluations are needed.

The speech and language screening will take approximately 10-20 minutes to complete. After the completion of the screening, we will identify if there are concerns regarding your child’s speech and language skills or hearing. A note will be sent home with your child regarding the results of the screening and if further assessment is warranted.

You might consider having your child’s speech, language and hearing screened if your child shows one or more of the following:
· Your child has a difficult time learning and using new concepts and vocabulary
· Your child has had chronic ear infections
· You and others have a hard time understanding your child’s speech. Your child’s speech is less intelligible than their peers
· Your child does not combine 2-5 words in their speech
· You suspect your child may have a fluency disorder: stuttering
· Your child has difficulty asking and answering “wh” questions
· Your child becomes easily frustrated when trying to tell you something


·See www.letstalkspeech.com for more information on speech and language delay warning signs


Speech and Language Screening is $20.00
Speech, Language, and Hearing Screening is $35.00
Checks can be made out to Let’s Talk! Speech and Language Therapy
* Please find registration forms in the lobby area.

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As you may already know from your communications with your child's teachers, MCS classrooms begin the year with a heavy emphasis on our Grace and Courtesy curriculum.  The article below, written by Edward Fidellow, will help you understand the benefits of a Grace and Courtesy curriculum and might offer some ideas how to reinforce the lessons at home!

Happy Reading!

 

Why is Grace and Courtesy a big deal in Montessori?

Edward Fidellow

 

www.crossmountainpress.com

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You cannot observe a Montessori classroom for even a short time without coming away with an impression that Montessori children are by and large very polite, orderly and impressively quiet and serene. This atmosphere is created by the lessons of “grace and courtesy”. Grace and courtesy – good manners, caring about each other, putting others first – are solid virtues that make possible the extraordinary academic gains of a Montessori classroom. Grace and courtesy is one of the non-traditional academic foundations of a successful Montessori education. It is significant even beyond the academic accomplishments that your child will achieve in Montessori.

Many lessons in Montessori (and life) are learned obliquely or indirectly as a by product of other lessons. (For example, in Montessori all of the lessons of practical life are really preparations for reading and writing.)

While the exercises of grace and courtesy are tremendously valuable all by themselves they also lead to four significant outcomes.

While the Montessori environment is a classroom of individual learners, each progressing as quickly as they can, it is also a community of learners who help, encourage and teach each other. The courtesy of using an inside voice so as not to disturb their classmates; the courtesy of walking so as not to disrupt the learning going on is just the beginning of creating a unique learning environment. Sharing the learning materials, waiting your turn patiently, preferring and helping each other transforms the classroom into an oasis of peace where concentration and learning can happen. Valuing community is a significant outcome.

Second, grace and courtesy leads to the most significant lesson in life – how to love. Love is the ability (and the desire) to put someone else’s needs in front of yours – wanting the best for them. Whether it is holding a door, letting them go first, or doing what pleases them, love is a great lesson (most often demonstrated in small actions and ways.) Grace and courtesy is the doorway to love.

The third benefit of grace and courtesy is the building of self respect. Interestingly, when we are kind and courteous to others we like ourselves better. The young child cannot articulate all the conflicting emotions that are part of growing up but the structure of grace and courtesy helps them enjoy the feelings that come from a calm and orderly environment. They are much more at peace with themselves when they are at peace with their neighbor.

The fourth benefit is that grace and courtesy contributes to the development of self control. Grace and courtesy give children an external set of markers that they internalize and practice which in turn leads them to change their own behavior. This is the first step to controlling themselves. Self control will lead to focus; focus will lead to accomplishment; accomplishment will lead to success.

Not a bad byproduct for “Please” and “Thank you”.

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