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  "....doing the right thing for the right reason is an amazing accomplishment all its own."

One of the reasons that a Montessori education has been such a great fit for my own children is that they are given space to make mistakes.  I can honestly say that the greatest opportunities for learning in my own life have been the result of a mistake.  Of course, some were big, some were small.  Some I could identify immediately as a mistake and others revealed themselves as mistakes long past the time I could do anything about them.  Some I can look back on and laugh while others bring a sense of pity and regret.  All that said, the humility that comes with making mistakes and the courage required to step up and try again have been my best parenting (and LIFE) tools so far.  Below is an interesting read from Edward Fidellow about how a Montessori environment builds self-esteem and the beauty in making mistakes. 




Montessori and the real building of self-esteem

Montessori education has been building self-esteem for over a hundred years long before it became a
popular buzzword and a psychological “distortion” of reality. All the trappings of the modern self-
esteem movement – participation trophies, not letting children fail, everyone’s outcome is equal – have
no place in Montessori or the reality of the world.

Practical life in Montessori is the foundation of all this reality that is to come. Every practical life exercise
has a beginning, a process and an ending – just like successful life. But there is something in this process
that is so simple yet dynamic – the child builds and feels a sense of power, control, and accomplishment.
It is these early experiences, these early real successes that become the foundation for all the success
that is to come. This self-esteem is internalized and does not come from outside, from what people tell
you but it wells up from within. It comes with the beginning of concentration and self-control (which is
the biggest challenge of life – and a great giver of self-esteem.)

True self-esteem is an approval that comes from within. It is not about pleasing people or being
validated from outside. That is why grades, awards, punishments are not motivating factors in a
Montessori environment. Ironically, self-esteem built in Montessori is not self-centered. The lack of
outward competition (for grades and prizes) creates an attitude of family and community where we help
each other to succeed which also affects how we feel about ourselves.

The real self-esteem of Montessori comes from the continuing sense of accomplishment and of mastery
as the student faces greater challenges and complexity in life. Since making mistakes is part of the
Montessori learning process making mistakes does not undermine a child’s sense of self-esteem nor
does the child crater when faced with “failure”. Montessori children learn to pick up the pieces and get
back in the game. The game of life does not have four quarters, nine innings, eighteen holes or two
halves. It is a continually evolving game as you learn new strategies, techniques, gain new information,
practice new skills and begin to recognize the patterns of life that lead to success. Montessori children
learn first-hand that actions have consequences, that success is spelled w-o- r-k, and that some of the
biggest rewards of life are just personal and do not require anyone else’s acknowledgment or
affirmation. And that doing the right thing for the right reason is an amazing accomplishment all its own
- an amazing adult lesson learned very young.



Self-esteem is “practiced” every day in a Montessori environment. Try – and try again until you reach
your goal. Montessori children don’t wait for an adult’s approval because they learn early that it is their
effort that achieves success. And every goal that they achieve – on their own - builds that unique
amazing sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.

Edward Fidellow


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PSA and Building Community





This year, our PSA Committee reinstated Coffee Tuesday. The first Tuesday of every month from 8:15 - 9:30 am Coffee, Tea, and a light snack were provided along with MCS' PSA members.

What a wonderful opportunity these gatherings were to get to know our families and create a greater sense of unity.
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Competition in Montessori

As the mother of 3 very healthy sons, competition is a large part of the parenting challenges that I face on a regular basis.  How do I teach my children to be healthy competitors (always striving to be their best selves) and still celebrate the accomplishments of others?  Montessori is a great environment for children to learn a nice balance of respecting and appreciating their peer group while knowing what it takes to push themselves.  Enjoy this article by Edward Fidellow on Competition in the Montessori environment. 

Competition in Montessori? Well, No! Which is it? Is there competition in the Montessori classroom or not? Well – yes and no! Let’s examine the “No” first. There is no formal institutionalized competition in the Montessori philosophy because Montessori is about your child not about your child in competition with others. Your child is not competing with any one else. Nor is your child competing for stars or popsicles or even attention. Your child is not being compared to anyone else in the environment nor is your child being set up to win or lose. Competition is not part of the curriculum or the philosophy and yet there is competition in the classroom. So where does it come from? It walks in the door with your child. Competition is part of human nature. Some of us are more competitive than others. Some of us lean more to cooperation but all of us have some of the competitive gene. What Montessori education can achieve is to help a child recognize and manage this human characteristic. Traditional education often uses the negative aspect of competition (“I’m better than you.”) to motivate learning and behavior. Children are unfairly forced into competition with others who may be more talented or gifted in certain areas while their own personality strengths (determination, aesthetic, creativity, compassion etc) are not recognized or valued because they do not fit the educational matrix that is being graded. Yet, it is these other strengths that in the end determine the satisfaction of a life well lived. Here, competition can be destructive to the developing self-image of the child. How many brothers and sisters grow up competing with each other – wasting years of energy – only to realize that they are in different races, have different personalities, different talents and different goals?

Learning to manage the positive aspects of competition has great value. In the Montessori classroom children get to choose the arena of their competition. It is never the slowest child who accepts the challenge of a race with the class sprinter but yet there are always takers. There are those who enjoy the demonstration of their abilities and those who want to stretch their own limits – which is only done against good competition. Montessori children (and mature adults) realize that there are venues in which they cannot compete and realistically assess their own goals and abilities. Montessori children can grow up into adults who have no need to compete with Hollywood looks, Wall Street money or professional athletic prowess because they are secure in knowing who they are and what their gifts and talents are. So, where do we find and how do we judge healthy competition in the Montessori classroom? We find its most excellent use in the Montessori concept of mastery. Mastery brings out and into focus the child’s most significant competitor – himself or herself. Mastery says “I’m not working for a grade, I am not working to get by or to do the least I can do. I am working for excellence. And I am my own competition.” And that is the mind set that produces success in life. Choosing your goals wisely (learning to choose wisely is another Montessori quality) according to your abilities, passions and goals brings the kind of success that is meaningful. Many people have found that unless you know who your real competitor is you often run races in life that give you no pleasure and bring you no closer to your goals. Montessori children are afforded the opportunity to compete with the best – themselves.
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9th Annual Fun Run Fundraiser: Service Learning



On Monday, May 16th, our students will be participating in our 9th annual Montessori Community School Fun Run! And this year, the run will be enhanced by a bouncy obstacle course!
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Teaching Children "Soft Skills"

While the ultimate goal of parenting is to prepare these little humans to be successful, happy, and fulfilled adults it seems that more and more, parents are taking the opportunity away for their children to develop the skills necessary to accomplish goals of lifelong success, happiness and fulfillment.  The terms "helicopter parenting" and "overprotective" become more and more frequent and, as an educator I have seen the negative impact of this shift on my students over the years.  As a mom, though, I am mostly unsure how to avoid it.  I want to give my kiddos every opportunity and worry that the things they miss will have a great impact.  This article by Peter Davidson (Mariamontessori.com) is really wonderful in reminding us that "soft skills" are the things our kiddos really need in their tool box to successfully and confidently pursue lives of happiness and fulfillment (let alone be successful college students!)

Happy Reading,
Britney  


I had an interesting conversation with a prospective parent recently who teaches at a local college. She shared that she and her colleagues are constantly discussing “how underprepared kids are for college in terms of ‘soft skills.’” By soft skills she meant skills other than the purely academic — the personal qualities, habits and attitudes that make someone a successful college student and, by extension, a good boss or employee later in life. She had just come from an observation in toddlers and primary and was surprised to have seen that in Montessori, “starting in toddlers students develop the self-motivation, independence, and follow-through that many college students lack!” In other words, beginning at these very young ages, Montessori children are already developing the soft skills that will benefit them so greatly later in life.

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Parenting Young Children through Fear

The things we hope to teach our children seem to be countless and I have discovered that just when I think I have overcome one parenting hurdle, immediately following that nice pat on the back, I find another hurdle standing in my way.  Fortunately, we live in a day and age where accessing helpful information can be so easy.  While it can be hard to rifle through all the information that is available and decipher the good information from the bad information, as long as we stick to our guiding set of principles, we can find some truth and some support in a variety of wonderful places.  I always like to share some of my favorites...especially from the list of things that we never even realize we will face as parents.

Children's fears are ongoing.  How do we teach our children self-soothing, positive self-talk, how to recognize their true feelings, and, most importantly what to do with their fears to become better and more resilient humans? My 13 year old son's fears have shifted...gone are the days of monsters under the bed.  I am discovering that helping him develop his own set of guiding principles becomes increasingly important with each passing day.  The Fred Rogers article below gives some helpful insight to helping young children through their fears.

Enjoy,
Britney

Parents want their children to be afraid of some things, because fears can keep children from doing dangerous things. But we don't want our children to develop irrational fears that hold them back from doing healthy things, sleeping well, and making friends.

Part of our "job" as parents is to help our children feel safe and secure. Sometimes it can be very frustrating to try to explain to a frightened child that a monster or witch or some other imaginary thing isn't real. We adults have already learned that, read more here.

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Our Girls We Sponsor Through COEEF: Celebrate Education for Women





"We will continue our journey to our destination of peace and education. No one can stop us. We will speak up for our rights and we will bring change to our voice. We believe in the power and the strength of our words.
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MCS and Friends for Sight Review


Last week, Friends for Sight came to our school and gave free eye exams to all of the Early Childhood students, 1st graders, 3rd graders, and 5th graders. Please see the letter below and respond if you have any questions, concerns, or feedback for Friends for Sight.
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Annual Kids Clothing & Gear Swap


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Parent Education Night - Preparing for Adolescence

MCS Parents,

Please join us for Parent Education Night next Tuesday, March 8th, from 6:30-8pm. Child care will be available but must be signed up for in advance. There is a sign up sheet in the office.

Melissa DeVries, Ph.D, MCS School Psychologist and parent will be talking about adolescence...because its never too early to prepare. Below is an excerpt from Melissa about her upcoming presentation.

“We should be like lighthouses for our children—beacons of light on a stable shoreline from which they can safely navigate the world. We must make certain they don’t crash against the rocks, but trust they have the capacity to learn to ride the waves on their own.” –-Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MS Ed, FAAP

Adolescence is a uniquely challenging, yet rewarding period of development for both parents and teens. Teens are trying to find the answer to “who am I?” by striving for more independence, seeking new experiences. Meanwhile, parents are realizing their time and direct influence is decreasing and they may fear “how will I ever be able to let them go?” or “are they ready?”

No matter your child’s age, it is never too early, or too late, to start thinking about adolescence. Not just getting through the here and now, but preparing your children to survive and thrive far into the future. Join us for an informative evening of education and discussion about parenting during the adolescent years presented by MCS School Psychologist, Melissa DeVries, PhD. Information presented will include an overview of research on adolescent brain development, and parenting strategies from a leading expert in adolescent medicine with an emphasis on how these strategies fit with a Montessori perspective.


Melissa DeVries, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist who provides contracted psychological services to the Montessori Community School and Valley Behavioral Health. She holds a Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Arizona. Dr. DeVries has co-edited textbooks and numerous book chapters on various topics within child and adolescent mental health and developmental disorders. Dr. DeVries provides psychotherapy and behavioral consultation for children and adolescents, parenting education and classroom consultation. She also possesses extensive background and experience in comprehensive evaluation for learning, behavioral, and emotional disorders across the lifespan. In her free time, Dr. DeVries enjoys playing recreational soccer, skiing, running and rock climbing.
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Studio Classes Foster More Learning and Discovery



Of course we know our students are amazing, bright, and beautiful; however, this Winter Session Performance from our studio classes, Broadway Kids and Pitched Perfect, was a reminder as to how radiant our students shine. Read more to learn about the benefits extracurricular activities have in your child's life.
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The Basics of Montessori Learning




As Montessori teachers and parents…

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Blue Lemon: New Menu Items for March!

Blue Lemon: New Menu Items for March!

New menu items like...

Tomato Bisque
BLT
Flatbread Chicken Pesto
           
And much more!
Get the March Form at the bottom of this page.
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Early Childhood's Music and Dance Performance



Our Early Childhood students have been working hard all year to be able to put on a beautiful performance themed after the four seasons. This is an MCS event you do not want to miss! 



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First Day of Winter Sports 2015 - 2016


Congratulations to all our Winter Sports participants making it through the first day! We were so impressed with the order, care, and helpfulness from all involved. Everyone did so great that we made record time getting everyone ready, gear loaded, and on the busses. 

As far as first days go, we did awesome! Snowbird will be sorting out, refining, and arranging groups now as they have seen the kids and identified where they should be. Please be aware that your student's group may change next week for what they were in this week.  






We look forward to another successful Winter Sports year and are excited about next week's lesson. Stay tuned for updates.

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7 Ways to Raise Kind Children

Am I the only one who finds themselves getting tripped up with this parenting gig sometimes? I believe firmly in the "village" approach because, quite frankly, I can't possibly teach my children every lesson I would like them to learn and my own example sometimes (okay, maybe often is a better word) falters in its ability to send the right message.  This article on AltHealth Works by Yelena Sukhoterina spoke to me and I hope that it will have a similar affect on you. As adults we know that the attributes listed in the article below can be really hard to achieve but I think that childhood is the perfect time to start learning them, while our children have a soft spot to land, and the people who love them most to catch them, should they make a mistake.  
Enjoy,
Britney

Many of us were hoping that our high-tech lives would make parenting easier – apps for tablets and smart phones are able to give children knowledge on any subject, entertain them with a movie or a game, and keep them occupied while we go through our hectic days.

But the downfalls of this technology are huge; there is a bigger disconnect than ever between children and parents. The parents of the Information Age are having a harder time building loving relationships with their children, which in turn leaves some kids unable to create healthy friendships, to understand how to be caring and helpful to others, to feel and express gratitude, to think for themselves, and to understand and control feelings and emotions in a healthy way.

As a part of the making Caring Common Project, Harvard University compiled the following seven main tips from their most recent research about raising kids that are kind, caring, respectful, helpful, grateful, and ethical. [The main funding sources are summarized from the study along with the writer’s own interpretations and thoughts on the subject].

Keep Reading...



References: 

althealthworks.com
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Substitute Teaching Position



Substitute Teaching Position
Substitute Position at Montessori School
2416 E 1700 S
Salt Lake City, UT 84108

A well-established Montessori school in the Salt Lake City area is looking to hire substitute teachers for our Toddler, Early Childhood and Elementary classrooms. Experience working with children is necessary and familiarity with Montessori philosophy is a plus. You should be flexible and able to adapt to each classrooms’ expectations, and be able to process information and directions quickly. General safety knowledge, courtesy, and ethics are required.

It would be ideal that you have a flexible schedule to be on call. You will often be called first thing in the morning and asked to substitute that day. School hours are 7:30 am - 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

First Aid and CPR Certification is required or must be acquired within 60 days after hire.

...
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All School Science Assembly - SCIENCE IS COOL!

Wow, what a great morning here at MCS! First thing this morning, our entire staff and student body came together for a wonderful assembly.  We began by singing one of our favorite peace songs, Light A Candle for Peace, and then two MCS parents gave a wonderfully exciting science presentation.  It was so lovely to see all of our students, from our young Toddlers to our big Upper Elementary students, show excitement and interest in the experiments.  

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What's The Big Deal About Kindergarten?

This is the time of year when many parents, particularly those of children with second year Early Childhood students, are faced with deciding where their child will attend school for the coming year(s). Kindergarten can seem like a natural transition to a local public school or an elementary program you may have had your eye on for some time.  However, the third year in an Early Childhood program is a very magical experience that we hate to see our students missing out on.  Below is an article written by Tim Seldin and Dr. Elizabeth Coe, experienced Montessori teachers, parents, trainers and advocates, about the benefits of kindergarten in a Montessori environment.  

Why Montessori for the Kindergarten year?
By Tim Seldin with Dr. Elizabeth Coe


Magnolias Third Year student works on a botany project.
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Chaperoning During Winter Sports


Chaperoning during Winter Sports is a great way to get your Parent Volunteer Hours in. It is also challenging, rewarding, and a lot of fun; however, there are certain guidelines and expectations to adhere by. 

Firstly, as a Winter Sports Program Chaperone you will have multiple duties. These duties include helping to keep the peace and monitor the students for safety issues and concerns. Some safety issues to keep in mind while chaperoning are:

  • Head Counts: Please keep a sharp eye on the students coming and going from the school to the bus, bus to the Cottonwood Room, Cottonwood Room to the restrooms, etc. 
  • Please ensure all students are wearing their helmets and goggles. If a student has forgotten one of those items, please let the two Winter Sports Program representatives know and they, in turn, will get that item from an instructor. 
  • If following a Ski School Group on the mountain, please ensure the youngest children wearing yellow aprons are riding the lifts with an adult.
  • Have a clear understanding of which children you are in charge of carries and/or uses an Epi-Pen and/or Inhaler. (Each week prior to leaving the school, you will be briefed on this information).
  • Help the students to listen and be respectful, by being the example- please no jabbing on the phone if you are to be watching the students.

Other expectations as a Winter Sports Parent Chaperone are as follows:
  • Please let the students do as much as possible by themselves: this includes loading and unloading their gear.
  • Please do not purchase hot chocolate or any item for the students while away.
  • Please allow the students time to socialize with each other on the bus and not with your personal electronic devices.
  • Follow all directions from the ski instructors and not interrupt or critique the instructors or the lesson. If you have concerns with an instructor or the lesson, please let one of our two representatives know upon your return to the school.
  • Help the students to support their peers and use teamwork.
  • Talk with the students about the lesson and emphasis the importance of skills-refining. Try to steer conversations away from a "leveled system". 

As the program draws near, each Parent Chaperone will be contacted with more specific details and a timeline. If you have questions about chaperoning, please contact the MCS Office.
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