Featured

2014 Performing Arts Showcase

The Willows and Sequoias Music and Dance Performing Arts Showcase “Commotion in the Ocean” on Tuesday night was a great show! The performance began with both classes singing a variety of songs and this was followed by four group dance numbers - two from each class.

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As usual, we had our little extroverts who danced and sang with such enthusiasm and on the other end of the spectrum those who were more shy and reserved. It is all a learning experience and we were absolutely delighted to see them growing and celebrating together.

Many thanks to all the parents, grandparents, and family friends for coming out to support your children. They are all beautiful and talented. We are very grateful to be working with them!

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Winter Camp - Icy Oceans

The theme for Winter Camp this year was “Icy Oceans - the Antarctic and Arctic Oceans." With Corey heading the camp and Kellie assisting her the children had the opportunity to be involved in many fun-filled activities.

There were science experiments where the children learned how snow turns to ice, why icebergs float, how glaciers move and how temperature and salinity affects the melting of the ice.

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The children also learned more about the location of the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans and why they are so cold. They participated in exploratory activities about Giant Jelly Fish, Polar Bears, Narwhals, Emperor Penguins, Ring Seals, The Northern Lights & the conditions that create such amazing colors, plants and organisms that grow in ice and on the ocean floor, and so much more!

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Featured

The Kindergarten Year in Montessori

An MCS Kindergarten student works on the Addition Strip board discovering "Ways to Make 10"

Kindergarten is the harvest year for all the planting and intellectual tending that has gone on for the preceding years in preschool. The kindergarten child’s learning explodes into an avalanche of reading and writing and math. All of the earlier preparation (practical life, sensorial) now finds academic outlets. The kindergarten child not only gains a wider breadth of knowledge but a deeper understanding of what she has learned and now is able to use this knowledge to enhance her own intellectual pursuits.

A Montessori education is not just cumulative in its learning; it is exponential in its understanding. The learning that happens in kindergarten is not just adding another year’s knowledge but multiplying what is learned and applying it to what is to come.

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Featured

Open House for 2014-2015

Our Annual Admissions Open House is coming up.  If you are interested in learning more about any of our programs we invite you to join us.  Call the school for more information.

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The Old Elm Tree Lives On

b2ap3_thumbnail_jim_valentine.jpgAs we mentioned in a previous email a few weeks ago, we had to have most of an old elm tree which was located in the Outdoor Classroom cut down as it was shading part of our photovoltaic panels. This was a great loss for some of the teachers and students.

One family decided to spearhead a fundraiser in order to hire a wood carver to change the stump into something beautiful that all the school could enjoy. They asked me what I thought of the idea and although I loved it I felt that it was not the time of year to ask families if they would like to give money to the school for this project. I suggested that we wait until the Spring and then consider it. As it turned out this family who has asked to remain anonymous was so fired up that they decided to fund the project themselves as a gift to the school.

So for the past two weeks Jim Valentine, wood carver extraordinaire, has been working on our elm and the carving is near to completion. I would invite you to check out his work on Facebook and of course to visit our beautiful carved tree.

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A Letter of Gratitude from Syrian refugees

b2ap3_thumbnail_nudaysyria2.jpgDear Montessori Community School,

As you all know we have been collecting items for Syria such as coats, warm clothes, diapers, baby formula, and shoes. Thanks to all your help and generosity we were able to ship a 40 foot container and have enough items to fill a second 40 foot container and ship it.

These items will be going to Syrian people who have been forced to flee their homes due to the ongoing war and live in refugee camps near the border of Turkey. These people have lost their homes, members of their families, income, basic requirements to support their families and most of all, their sense of security. They are living in tents, some with nothing between them and the ground but a piece of carton. They have no electricity, some have no access to clean water or even food.

My Syrian friend who is working with many Syrian humanitarian organizations found that NuDay Syria can pay, through donations, for shipping containers overseas if we can fill them. So she decided to help prepare those helpless people for winter which is quickly approaching. Her project was called Keep Syria Warm.

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Parent Education Night: Positive Discipline with Toddlers

The Toddler Parent Education night on Positive Discipline was a great success. Thanks to Ms Meghan for co-ordinating the information and setting up the program and also to Ms Nanette, Ms Sophie and Ms Kenzee for their informative and often entertaining presentation. At various points during the evening parents asked follow up questions. The teachers always had great suggestions but reminded the parents that sometimes certain approaches will work and other times not and it is important to keep trying new tactics. It was stressed that it is vital to always be respectful of each child and to try not to get into a power struggle as this always ends up with one winner and one loser. It was also suggested that if a child was pushing them to their limits that they try to have the child take a break to calm themselves and if possible take a break themselves.

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It is always heartening to hear other parents speaking of their struggles and frustrations so that it is clear that most people are experiencing the same issues and that this is normal stage of development for each child and that there are many ways to help make the process more manageable and hopefully enjoyable. There is no doubt that Toddlers are sometimes challenging but they are also so delightful, capable, inquisitive, lovable and growing and learning at such a rapid pace. We are most fortunate to have these children in our school community and our Toddler teachers are amazing. We are constantly impressed with their knowledge, patience and loving attitudes.

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MCS Holiday Giving Projects

Dear Montessori Community School Families,

Please find below a list of the Giving Projects that our classes have chosen to support this Holiday Season. We sincerely thank all of you who have already donated. If you have not had the opportunity and would still like to help any of these adults or children who have great need of support please feel free to donate to any of the projects. You may well be drawn to one more than another and we want you to know that anything you can give to any of these projects will be so gratefully received and will make a real difference in the recipients lives.

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Courage

by Edward Fidellow

It is amazing to observe the breadth of accomplishment that a Montessori environment fosters. Courage is not traditionally thought of as an educational outcome but then again Montessori is not traditional. For children, courage is the ability to try new things even if I am afraid. And as they mature courage becomes the ability to do what is right and to do what is good.

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For a child everything is new. That is the reality of childhood. The awesome task and purpose of childhood is to create the adult. Life takes courage to navigate and to become a fully functioning independent adult. And it is this kind of courage that must be nurtured and practiced for it to become a practical virtue.

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Becoming a Montessori Parent by Edward Fidellow

Becoming a Montessori Parent

by Edward Fidellow

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Silent Journey and Discovery 2013 - Huge Success

A warm appreciation to all who planned and attended our Silent Journey and Discovery this November. As always, it was a delight to share this experience with many of you. As in past years, those who are able to experience the Silent Journey and Discovery have a renewed commitment to a Montessori education for their children. Below we have shared some comments from some of this years attendees.

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Parent practice using materials in an Early Childhood classroom.

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Silent Journey and Discovery

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is coming up next Saturday, November 9th from 9:00am to 1:00pm.
Sign up in the office, space is limited.
Attendance is free of charge, brunch will be served &
child care will be provided to those who sign up in advance. 

Join us to experience our classrooms, from Toddlers through Middle School, to see for yourself how the lessons learned in our early programs set the tone and lay important foundations for later learning. This is a wonderful opportunity to gain a sense of how the Cosmic Montessori Curriculum unfolds for the child.

Read about some parents experience of the Silent Journey and Discovery from previous years:

Having not grown up in a Montessori environment, it has been difficult for me to understand what exactly a day in the life of my Montessori students is like. I try to take in as much as I can at pick-up and drop-off, with the occasional visit and guided lesson by my children, but there is no way to fully understand without an experience like the Silent Journey and Discovery. It was an eye-opening voyage that I would recommend for every parent, and prospective parent. I want to do it again.

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The Outdoor Classroom - An Education in Nature

The Outdoor Classroom is a program that has been with the school for over seven years, and was conceived and developed by Ms. Donda Hartfield. This program is unique to our school, and gives our students a way to connect to their natural environment in a meaningful and expressive way. Spanning around the North- East corner of the school, our Outdoor Classroom is a beautiful natural trail, with gorgeous wildflowers, Utah-native plants, trees and geological treasures. The school also hosts a natural amphitheater, where Ms. Donda gives lessons and instructions before the children are free to explore on their own.

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Through activities, lessons and especially time set aside to spend within the natural environment, our children learn about their world and it's beauty. They come to understand the fragility of a plant, the necessity of a flower, the purpose of a bee. Miss Donda has enjoyed many years of her students' discoveries, and she shares with us her teaching experience:

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Children of Ethiopia Education Fund

The Children of Ethiopia Education Fund, or COEEF, is a Utah-based organization that provides crucial access to materials, uniforms and an absolutely vital private education to many children in Ethiopia. Fiercely dedicated to the protection and instruction of young girls, COEEF provides a new kind of life in an otherwise perilous, sexist, underprivileged and poverty-driven region of the world. We share the mission of this organization as we mark our 6th year of support to such a pivotal duty of the world’s edification. COEEF takes its place in the school within our Service Learning Program, a program designed to give our students a channel to ignite character, build trust and connect with others through acts of true service.

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COEEF was created by a local SLC couple: Norm and Ruthann Perdue, when they traveled to the country with a humanitarian mission. During their service, they learned of the great educational disparity in the upbringing of an Ethiopian child: with classrooms crowded, unfinished and ill-prepared. At the time, less than half of all Ethiopian citizens were able to read, and only half of all Ethiopian children had the opportunity to attend school. The two saw an immediate need for assistance, and they began working on a plan to improve these conditions.

While in Ethiopia, they learned of a child, 12 year old Kidest, whose father had died and whose mother had abandoned her shortly after, unable to manage under the strain of raising her alone. Kidest had been adopted by her grandmother, who managed to send her to a private school, the “Ethiopian Adventist College” with the mere wage that was paid to a hard-labor employee of the school. When Ruthann and Norm became aware of this situation, they connected with Kidest's grandmother and found her bereft in her struggle to finance her granddaughter's education. In her old age, she suffered physical fatigue, and she expressed that she did not know how much longer she could go on working to support Kidest in her pursuit of higher education.

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Upper Elementary - Introducing: "Uinta"

The Upper Elementary program is an essential piece of the complete Montessori education design. During the Early Childhood years and Lower Elementary years, students are learning through their hands-on materials and environmental experience, but as they approach the second developmental stage, they enter a more abstract process of cognitive learning and memory. Upper Elementary is the next step; it is a program which serves the child in his reach for a more complex intelligence. The UE program incorporates many areas of interest, including advanced literacy, cultural and historical studies, mathematical applications, core sciences, service, and applied life skills. The program invests in the child with regard to individual study habits, identifying personal strengths, developing and following core values and creating a sense of true community within school boundaries and beyond.

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Language is a principal focus of the Upper Elementary program. The students learn through prepared lessons on vocabulary, grammar and word study; and are able to practice with Montessori prepared materials such as the Parsing Symbols, Sentence Analysis Charts and Synonym Matching cards. Students learn through their engagement in independent reading, journal and report writing and prepared oral speech. Group reading and literary analysis on written style, genre and technique provide students the opportunity to develop their own spoken language through impassioned discussion and group collaboration. Practiced writing skills are put to use each year as students select and promote campaigns for school improvement; this process allows for students to exercise responsibility and social awareness within their own environment.

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Lower Elementary - The Age of Collaboration

The Lower Elementary years are dedicated to the construction of abstract concepts through classroom exploration and individual discovery. As our students advance from Early Childhood, they are ready to take on a more theoretical approach to learning, with the curiosity to question and the imagination to find their own answers. Unlike the Early Childhood environment, where children are introduced to small concepts that gradually evolve into larger ideas, Lower Elementary students assume major theories, and from there they are able to explore the individual concepts that make up a larger framework.

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The Lower Elementary curriculum features a classic sequence developed by Maria Montessori during her exploration of these years, titled: “The Five Great Lessons.” As one of the most important and unique curriculum developments of the Montessori design, the Five Great Lessons tell the story of the Universe, the Earth and life on Earth. In succession, these lessons incorporate the following themes: The Elemental Story of the Universe, The Timeline of Life, The Story of Civilization, The Story of Language and The Story of Numbers. As a believer in the child’s ability to progress humanity, the Five Great Lessons teach peace and tolerance. These lessons are presented every Friday to our Lower Elementary students, and can serve as a reference for virtually all other forms of discovery and learning.

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As a socially sensitive period, elementary children are looking for a place of their own within the classroom and within a group. Through her observations, Maria Montessori discovered that as children arrive at the second plane of development, they develop a great thirst for social interaction and growth. It is because of this innate thirst that the Lower Elementary students are often given the opportunity to work in groups. Group work fosters communication, collaboration and the habit of contribution. Through friendship and shared interests, children find their capacity to belong.

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The "Six Pillars" of the Middle School Program Explained

The Middle School program offers a highly advanced preparatory experience for both High School and for the child’s emergence into adulthood. As part of the third developmental plane, the youth of our Middle school seek to realize their place in a school society and their community at large. Driven by challenge, the Middle School student is at an age of empowerment- he or she is looking for a platform to invest acquired knowledge and individual talents in order to improve his own condition and strengthen his community. To meet his ambition, the Middle School student seeks out opportunities to advance his intellectual capacity and apply it to life.

The Montessori Secondary program is built on the “Six Pillars” [Paul Epstein] which are designed to serve the needs of the child in their third developmental plane. These are: self expression, trust, cognitive growth, commitment, responsibility and gender identity. These pillars are integrated through an intense curriculum presented to the Middle School student through themed study cycles. This six-week cycle begins with a study period that lasts about four weeks, allowing the MS student to identify effective personal study habits and analytical processing skills. The fifth week is meant to give the student an opportunity to self-evaluate, which provides an introduction to the practical life exercise of test-taking. This week is meant for the MS student to examine personal performance, observe skill mastery and identify curriculum areas where further study or practice is needed. The sixth week, or “Immersion Week,” involves the student’s ability to spread their intellectual wings. It could be planning a trip to a National Park, attending a career-building conference, or visiting a historic site- it is the MS student’s opportunity to integrate subject material from weeks past and process it through experience.

This week, the Middle School headed to Cedar City for a visit to the renowned “Shakespearean Festival.” During their Immersion Week, they have been attending plays, holding class workshops, and practicing performance techniques with a theater expert, Jake Johnson. In addition, they were also able to visit a national monument, Cedar Breaks for a few pictures. For the trip, they planned their event schedule, budgeted for every meal, and took turns cooking for each other. Here we have a few pictures of the Middle School students during their time in Cedar City:

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A Closer Look at our Early Childhood Program

b2ap3_thumbnail_images.jpgThe Early Childhood classroom is made up of several major components which construct the foundation for a Montessori education, the first of which is the Prepared Environment.  Doctor Montessori said: "Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment. "  A prepared environment refers not only to carefully selected materials set about a well-organized classroom, but to a lively and a passionate space, dedicated to the child in love and gratitude.  Peace and order are essential to the classroom, as is respect for the success of each individual learner.  The teacher becomes the essential link in this carefully prepared framework, as she provides a crucial connection between the child and the environment which will deliver his true self.

A second component of the Early Childhood Montessori classroom environment is the mixed-age group model.  The assembly of this division is in line with Dr. Montessori’s research on what she called the four planes of development.  This becomes a great benefit to each child, and it is due to the model’s dependence on the principle of imitation.  Children learn by example, so we can attest.  What is it about the multi-aged classrooms that benefit both the younger and the older child?  It is a unique opportunity to seek out answers in an experienced and collaborative group of community learners.  The younger students learn as they go, they grow gradually more accustomed to the culture and expectations of their class society, while at the same time developing their concentration skills.  The students in their second year practice learned concepts and develop greater intellectual and social aptitude.  The older students truly become leaders, remarkably responsible and well-prepared to impart their own understanding to a younger child.  This creatively established education model allows the child and their peers another strategic avenue to take on challenge.

These components serve the great development of Maria Montessori’s discovery of “The Absorbent Mind.”  This, we know is the child’s own capacity.  It is an intellectual capacity, but it incorporates an emotional, physical and social intelligence.  In the Early Childhood years, it becomes a conscious acceptance of one’s own environment, in which the child takes in, or “absorbs” what they need, and in fact a great deal more, to survive.  The Absorbent Mind involves each child’s potential to understand the complexities and qualities of their own world.

Competency is learned, and confidence is earned.  It is the child’s choice to truly become a Montessori learner.  It is the purpose of our work to lay the foundation, where a child may develop within their own character, with reason and grace.  The children we serve are brave, intelligent and generous on their own accord; however it is by the spectacular design of our own Maria Montessori, that they make themselves independent.

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Welcome to the Toddler Environment

This year, our teeny Toddlers from our Suns, Moons and Stars classes are making great strides in a school-wide practice of "Grace & Courtesy."  Our Toddlers are learning some of the most important life lessons of all, and that is how to be thoughtful of our friends and those we love.  Grace and Courtesy are learned through sharing a toy, taking turns on the slide, and being patient while a friend finishes a special work.  These lessons are also incorporated during lunch and snack time when children say "Please" and "Thank you" or "No, Thank you" while practicing table manners.  There are so many opportunities to exercise the principals of Grace and Courtesy both at home and at school, and we encourage parents to practice with their children.

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As we settle into a new school year, our Toddlers are learning to adapt to new environments.  Being away from Mom and Dad can be tough at their tender age, but our teachers are working with the young ones to help them become comfortable at drop-off time.  Currently, our Toddlers are learning about their school environment, in the classroom and on the playground.  They are having fun with the new materials that our teachers have set out for the new school year.  Our Toddlers are also learning friends' names this week, with songs from our wonderful teachers.

A health update on our friend Nico-  He was delayed in his intensive chemotherapy, because his blood count was too low.  As of a few days ago, Nico was back on the regime and all is going well.  His parents, Jeff and Shannon are hoping that he will have completed this series within a month from now.  We are all hoping that Nico can come back to school sometime in October.  Get well, Nico!

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MCS Continues Tradition of Celebration of International Peace Day with our Silent Peace Walk

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In true Montessori form, the students of Montessori Community School celebrated the International Day of Peace today with our Silent Peace Walk.  The International Day of Peace, sometimes unofficially known as World Peace Day, is observed annually on the 21st of September. It is dedicated to world peace and specifically the absence of war and violence. The day was first celebrated in 1982, and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups, and peoples. In 2013, for the first time, the Day was dedicated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to peace education, an obvious key beginning to peace for our world's future.

To inaugurate the day, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters in New York City. The bell is cast from coins donated by children from around the world, and was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan. There is an inscription on the side of the bell that reads, "Long live absolute world peace".

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