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Lockers of Warmth & Clothes for Comfort


We are accepting donations of used children’s clothing to be added to our “extras” in each of our programs. It is not uncommon for children’s clothes to become wet, soiled, outgrown or other and we like to keep a stash of extras around to ensure our student’s comfort.


You are invited to bring children’s clothes to the bins in the lobby that you think might be of use here at school, particularly winter boots, hats, gloves, coats, and underwear.  Donations for all ages infant to size 14 accepted.  Any clothing not used to enrich our own “lockers of warmth” or extra clothes bins will be donated.


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Spreading Peace

Last week our school community shared in the beautiful gift of celebrating peace as a community and as part of a world-wide event. Each member of our school, from the tiniest toddler to the tallest elementary student, joined together on the field to sing "Light a Candle for Peace."  Then, our elementary students sang "What a Wonderful World" and one of our elementary teachers, Christian, spoke to our students briefly about sharing compassion around the world.  He invited the students to imagine a mirror that allows them to look at themselves full of love and compassion, then invited them to turn that mirror and extend the same love to their friends, their family, their community, their city, their state, their country and, finally, to the entire world.  

As stewards over these each of these beautiful little humans, we take great joy and responsibility in the privilege and responsibility of teaching peace to the students of Montessori Community School. MCS teachers touch on many different aspects of peace throughout the year.  Our peace curriculum, written to create a culture of cooperation and compassion, acts much like the other subjects taught in a Montessori environment.  The following ideas are touched on year after year and at varying levels, depending on the development of the students and the make up of each classroom.

  • Creating a space for peace
  • Supporting peace
  • Acknowledging peace
  • Advocating for peace
  • Developing inner peace
  • Intentional acts of peace
  • Cultivating peace
  • Nurturing peace
  • Celebrating peace

Peace truly does begin within.  However, just like addition and history and penmanship, our children must be taught to develop and emanate peace.  We teach through lessons, we teach through experience, and we teach by example. 

May each of us be filled with intention to develop our own sense of inner peace and compassion and may we seek opportunity to spread compassion and light to our fellow man. May the love of our wonderful MCS students be given the respect and attention it deserves to grow and spread and make a sincere difference in the world.  



Two friends, one Toddler and one Early Childhood, gleefully meet on the playground and dance, providing great pre-program entertainment for the rest of us




These Aspens class students hold a sign that says "Peace" during the program. 




MCS students, toddler through elementary, gather together to sing "Light a Candle for Peace."




Younger students are paired with older student while they hold hands and walk around the campus to look at the peace flags made by their peers. 




This mother and son look at the peace flags during the peace walk.




An Upper Elementary student signs "Peace.




Upper Elementary teacher, Christian, talks to the students about self compassion and sharing compassion with the greater community.




Peace flags are decorated by MCS students and staff and then hung along the Outdoor Classroom fence. 



Peace in any language. 
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PSA Green Committee

Our Green Committee is a great way to support Green Initiatives around the school.  If you are interested in being part of our Green Committee, please contact our PSA.

E
njoy these great pictures of Uinta students who rode their bikes to school today!  Three cheers for alternative transportation!


When the weather is fine and the construction is clear…we ride!  

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Idle Free is the Way to Be!

Hello Families,

As the seasons change and the mornings grow cooler, we would like to remind everyone of Salt Lake City's Idle Free Ordinance. This ordinance prohibits unnecessary vehicle idling over 2 minutes.

Every 2 minutes of idle time equals 1 mile of driving. As Montessori Community School works hard to be and encourage our students to be environmentally conscious, we ask that this ordinance be upheld during drop-off and pick-up times. Please click here for more information on Salt Lake City's Idle Free Ordinance. 


Thank  you so much for your support and help.

"It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. you may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result." 
- Mahatma Gandhi
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"There is No Bad Weather, Only Bad Clothing."

Last night's forecast promised rain (and snow!) for the weekend.  Today, I have noticed the forecast has shifted from snow to rain and back to snow in just a few short hours.  Ahhhh, Utah! While I love the weather and all it has to offer and am particularly pleased by how Utah weather can change on a dime, I feel fiercely protective of our children and their preparation for the weather.  Nature is a beautiful gift that is best enjoyed when it is respected.  

Parents, please help your students develop a healthy respect for nature by encouraging them to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature has to offer on any given day, especially here at school!  Children should come prepared to go outside in any circumstances.  Layers, good shoes, water resistant outer clothing, and extra options are a great start. 

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Montessori Community School has always made it a priority to integrate nature into our program. Students are offered a wide variety of opportunities to extend their learning beyond the physical classroom and, in keeping with the Montessori philosophy, students are invited to experience nature as a hands on experience.  We love the phrase "there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing."  The Portland Montessori Collaborative posted the following on their website and we are proud to say, "We couldn't agree more!"

We believe in integrating the outdoor classroom into every child’s experience at school. The outdoor environment is a place for big body play, where we value natural opportunities for children to challenge themselves physically. Children will find compelling reasons to hone large motor skills through joyful interaction with a landscape similar to that found in nature. In the outdoor classroom, open ended and collaborative play are valued, documented, and encouraged. Opportunities to practice practical life skills like woodworking and caring for plants and animals are available. A relationship with the plants and animals that live in our creek side ecosystem is developed through a process of ongoing, child-led/adult fostered investigation. There is dedicated time outside every day, rain or shine.  We believe that ‘ there is no bad weather, only bad clothing’, and children come to school well equipped to enjoy their time outside regardless of weather.

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Creating a Place for Peace

“Find a time and place of solitude.
Look into the distance and into the future.
Visualize the tomorrow you are going to build;
and begin to build that tomorrow, today.”
-Jonathan Lockwood Huie


As part of our Peace Curriculum that is incorporated into our monthly studies at MCS, this month each of the classes is engaged in a study of creating space for Peace as we prepare to celebrate International Peace Day on September 21st and in honor of Maria Montessori’s extensive work in the field of Peace Education. Studies show that a preventative curriculum that promotes communication, community and self-advocacy is more effective than a punishing approach to bullying in schools. Ours is a program that we expect will follow our students far beyond their structured educational experience. We hope for and assist children in the development of skills of peaceful conflict resolution, gaining respect for peers and incorporating communal advocacy, taking in to account the needs of a community and how one’s behavior affects another, and establishing a lifetime of self advocacy, self love and self respect.

Averting war is the work of politicians; establishing peace is the work of educators. ~Maria Montessori
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The Uninterrupted Work Cycle - The Basics of Success

A Montessori teacher put it this way: "Protect the three-hour work period with your life! It's one of the most important ingredients in our method."


Parents!  Exciting things are happening around here.  Already, we are beginning to see the inklings of classrooms running like well-oiled machines.  Below you will find a very meaningful article about the uninterrupted work cycle.  While this sounds like more fancy Montessori-esque language, it has great meaning in a successful Montessori environment.  This is the place where the students natural instincts to find meaningful learning experiences is most honored to prepare the child for future learning opportunities.  This is where one child's need for movement is given as much respect and space as another child's need for full concentration on a task.  This is where Montessori shines like a bright star in a sky full of educational opportunities for kiddos.  I hope you'll take just a few short minutes to read below and learn why we want so badly for your child to arrive to school on time each and every day and what great opportunities this important beginning of day time has to offer your child.

Warmly,
Britney



"When the children had completed an absorbing bit of work,
they appeared rested and deeply pleased."
—Maria Montessori (author), Paul Oswald (editor),
Basic Ideas of Montessori's Educational Theory


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The Story of the Universe - Adventures in Lower Elementary

There are a lot of things for our Lower Elementary students to get excited about this time of year!  The tall slide on the playground, the Native American flute, their upcoming trip to the Utah State Fair, and math exercises using materials that span CLEAR across the Lower Elementary hallway are just a few of them.  My personal favorite, though, are the Great Lessons that start the school year.  Great Lessons are aimed at the elementary students vivid use of imagination, one of their very best attributes -wouldn't you say,  to get them thinking about some of the big questions in life. Where did humans come from?  Why does the earth rotate?  Who made up language? 

There are a total of five Great Lessons and they are used to introduce the year's studies of history, geography, botany, zoology, science, language and math in the LE program.  Not only are they important in inspiring the child's imagination and investing them in the importance of various subjects they can look forward to studying, but they are memorable, too!  Having the opportunity to hear these stories three different times in their LE cycle allows students to consider them from various perspectives.  

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A Special Invitation to our MCS Community

MCS Families,

Our Aspens Community Builders have arranged the event below for their first Community Building event.  They have extended the invitation school-wide!

The Voice Area of the School of Music invites you to a unique outdoor experience on Presidents Circle on September 22nd at 4:10. Twenty-two of our School’s talented singers, as well as internationally acclaimed pianist Jed Moss, will present A Musical Menagerie, Animals in Song. The hour-long voice recital will include works performed in English and will feature songs about farm animals, dogs, cockroaches, frogs, snakes, worms, microbes, crows, and even warthogs. Second Chance for Homeless Pets will join us, and best of all, our outdoor space is family and animal friendly! Please join us on the lawn for a beautiful afternoon in late September celebrating and surrounded by the animals we love.


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We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.



We are looking forward to the opportunity for our Early Childhood parents to participate in the ThroughPlay study through the University of Utah.  MCS parents can expect to receive a link to the questionnaire via email shortly.  Completion of the questionnaire is a prerequisite to receiving an invitation to the presentation mentioned above.

MCS will offer child care to our families.  If you plan to attend this presentation and are interested in child care here at MCS, please email Britney at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Maria Montessori's Birthday!

Maria Montessori's Birthday!

Today, August 31st marks the 146th birthday of Maria Montessori. Today, our students recognized her and the great work she accomplished.

We are so grateful to have such a beautiful school, founded with Maria Montessori's love toward and focus on children and their natural development within a prepared environment. 

Please learn more about Maria Montessori and her life here or check out our small display this week in the MCS lobby. It is bound to inspire, enlighten, and teach you more about love, peace, and accomplishing goals you believe in. 
An Early Childhood student mixes up a cake batter for Maria Montessori's birthday.

Maria Montessori, we raise our hats to you. Cheers!

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Illness Policy - Tis the season....

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

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

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

Warmly,
MCS Administration

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

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

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




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Montessori for Elementary: Why Our Students Thrive



Trevor Eissler

Montessori Madness


Montessori elementary classrooms are fundamentally different from traditional elementary school rooms. In fact, they are so different that it can be hard to understand how they work, and why they are so great at helping children thrive.

While it would be easy to write volumes about this topic (and some have: read Paula Polk Lillard’s book,Montessori Today, if you want a detailed description of the Montessori elementary classroom), here are five key differences, and how they matter to your child’s success.

Teachers are guides, not lecturers. They individualize instruction to keep each child optimally challenged. In traditional elementary education, much instruction happens at an all-class level; students generally move through the same curriculum at the same pace. This is more true now then ever, as mandatory standardized testing forces teachers to ensure that all students meet common minimum standards. This approach by definition fails to optimally challenge most of the students, most of the time: a child who is advanced in a subject will be bored; one who is behind will quickly become anxious and concerned about his shortcomings. Montessori is different. Most instruction happens in small groups: teachers observe students and bring together children who are ready for a particular lesson. After a lesson, each child has time to practice a skill or further explore an area, either alone or with freely chosen partners. Writes Lillard: “Because the children are in a period when they have immense energy and curiosity, the secret to maintaining their interest is to keep them challenged.”In a Montessori classroom, an advanced student will be challenged to perform at his best: it’s not unusual for a 3rd grade Montessori student to tackle what would typically be considered 5th grade math, for example. At the same time, a child who struggles can get the extra support he needs, without suffering the negative effect on his self-esteem that comes from needing remedial work in a traditional elementary school setting.

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Great Summer Reading....Teaching Kids Empathy

I happened upon this lovely little post from Tinybop this morning that shares the most wonderful list of children's books that teach empathy.  These are hard times and an important time to teach our kids how to handle the world's turmoil in a healthy way.  What a great summer read!  

13 kids books to spark conversations about empathy

Lately, it seems like every other day, we turn on the news or open up our social media to find that another tragedy has occurred. Each time we’re faced with these events, we may be overcome with sadness, frustration, and hopelessness. But in these times, it’s important to have conversations with the children around us about inclusion and empathy. 

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It’s what helps us connect to other humans, and what makes us better humans. You may be surprised to learn that empathy isn’t an inborn trait, but rather one that must be learned – preferably during early childhood.

Keep reading...



Image from Last Stop on Market Street


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Stay Cool!



Our Summer Camp students know how to stay cool! This last month, despite the heat, we have been able to enjoy various field trips and activities that have allowed us to have fun and cool off!

We hope everyone is enjoying their summer and finding their own creative ways to stay cool and spend fun time together. It is hard to believe the new school year will be starting soon!
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Montessori Madness - Trevor Eissler


Montessori education is unique, untraditional, and gaining popularity across not only the state of Utah but the entire country.  During parent interviews we often ask parents "What are your hopes and dreams for your child?" and the following is among the list of heartfelt responses that we often receive:

  • To develop leadership skills
  • To develop self-discipline
  • To develop a sense of personal responsibility
  • To develop independence
  • To develop initiative
  • To discover their passions
  • To develop a lifetime love of learing
  • To build a strong academic foundation

Classrooms at Montessori Community School offer all that and more as we strive to follow each individual child, carefully prepare an environment that supports each of these goals, and work as a community in the best interest of each individual.  

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Parents, Stop Feeling That Everything You Do Is Wrong

“You should look down at the rocks and make sure they never crash against them, and prepare them to ride the waves.”
Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg


Let's be honest, this parenting gig doesn't come with a description of roles and responsibilities that make it completely clear what is expected at all times.  Giving our absolute dedication and best effort just doesn't look the same from day to day (or moment to moment!)  Throw your hands up (or hide in shame) if you have ever ended the day thinking "I am an awful person...my child probably went to bed thinking how awful I am and they don't feel safe and they don't feel happy and I've ruined everything."  Just me?  Didn't think so.

This article really spoke to me in terms of how we can (and should) give ourselves a break.  News flash - we are raising our kiddos to be humans.  Giving them human experience, whether we feel good about it at the end of the day or not, is essential to their success and existence.  I have decided that I have three main goals, call them standards if you wish, for parenting:
  1. Do I honor my child for the person that they are every moment?  (You can't imagine the number of parents I've met who wish their child was different...if you are talking poorly about your child any time you might be doing it wrong.  Not just parenting - but life.) Am I willing to see them change at their own pace and will I fight for their authenticity? Yes - to the death!
  2. Have they heard me say "I'm sorry" and have they watched me make effort at being better? EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  Admitting we are wrong shows our kids that it's okay to make mistakes and that doing so in our care is a safe place to do it.  We accept mistakes as opportunities to do better.
  3. Do I follow my own guiding set of principles and give myself a break for being imperfect?  Hmmm...principles, yes.  Giving myself a break...work in progress.

I am the first to admit that I am imperfect and I question myself constantly when it comes to parenting.  But at the end of the day, I really do think that there is more than one right way. My wish for you is that each day ends with perfect love, even when everything else seems to have gone awry. 

Best wishes for a fun-filled weekend,
Britney

My props to Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg and his Lighthouse Parenting strategy, a true delight and inspiration.  His methods are discussed at length in Raising Kids to Thrive: Balancing Love With Expectations and Protection With Trust.  (MCS parents - don't forget to log in to your Compass account to place your Amazon order.)
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Preparing Our Kids for Jobs That Don’t Exist Yet

Childhood passions that seem like fads, sometimes even totally unproductive, could be mediums for experiencing the virtuous cycle of curiosity: discovering, trying, failing and growing.


A Montessori education is designed to provide a love of learning and to give children the means to find the information they need.  We hope to instill a passion for knowledge and the confidence to seek understanding. We provide avenues for curiosity about this big, beautiful world and all it takes to make it tick.  Our objective is to give children the tools they need to follow any dream they may have.  The reality is, they probably won't choose a career and spend an entire lifetime at it....thats just not how the world is turning anymore.  

This really fun article shows one perspective on preparing our kids for what (might be) to come!
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United as Parents

We, unfortunately, missed the opportunity on June 1 to honor all parents around the globe for the "Global Day of Parents."  I found this short blog post on Montessorium very sweet as the things that unite us as parents and that we likely all have in common included:

1. A sense of wonder at bringing a new life into the world.
2. Joy in the small, daily accomplishments of a child.
3. Trepidation about the responsibility parenthood brings.
4. Hope for their child’s future.
5. A desire to see their family grow in health and happiness.

And so, just a few weeks late but with extra attention due to the heartache and disunion going on around the world, I feel inclined to stand as a global citizen and honor my fellow parents throughout the world.  

Keep shining,
Britney





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"Establishing lasting peace is the work of education..."

"Everyone talks about peace but no one educates for peace. In this world, they educate for competition, and competition is the beginning of any war. When we educate to cooperate and be in solidarity with one another, that day we will be educating for peace.”
María Montessori
 
Each year MCS staff and students decorate peace flags, share a peace walk through our campus, and hang a peace dove in our gardens as a way to support, honor, and celebrate peace on earth. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times, Dr. Montessori was a strong advocate for peace. She firmly believed that the education of children was the key to future peace. Her vision was the reconstruction of society and formation of world peace through education.




A teacher walks with Toddler students past our Outdoor Classroom where the student's peace flags have been hung. 




Upper Elementary students prepare to carry the Peace Dove to the Outdoor Classroom, where it will be visible to the Salt Lake Community.




An Early Childhood student decorates a peace flag with images that remind her of peace.  Her flag will be hung outside with the intent of spreading love and peace. 




Another peace flag. 




Elementary students help their younger peers locate their flags in the Outdoor Classroom, where the breeze blows the students wishes for peace.




Siblings share a moment. 




Friendship is honored and celebrated. 

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