Raising your Montessori Child


As Montessori parents, we are giving our children a great gift that does not just start at 8:30am and end at 3pm.  This gift should be nurtured, honored and recognized at all times, particularly in the home. Donna Bryant Goertz wrote one of my favorite Montessori books about classroom management in the Lower Elementary classroom, 'Children Who are Not Yet Peaceful'. This book highlights the value of community and truly honoring and trusting each child to develop in their time, in their way, and in absolute authenticity.  It is powerful and inspiring for educators and parents and I highly recommend it to those of you who are raising Lower Elementary age children or who will be doing so in the near future. However, its values are appropriate for children, parents, and educators of all ages. 

In her book, Donna presents some wonderful tips for how to best support children in the home.  Family life for the [early elementary] child should include as many of the following elements as possible:
  • A slow-paced lifestyle with long hours of sleep on a regular schedule, a nutritious diet high in protein and fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of exercise, and a generous amount of time in nature.
  • Someone to behold the child's face with joy, hold her, hug her, and treasure her for herself alone.
  • Someone to read chapter books aloud for twenty to thirty minutes every day, at a level three years beyond the child's reading level.
  • Someone to recite poetry every day, a new poem each week.
  • Someone to sing every day, a new song each week.
  • Someone to tell delightful stories of the child's own life. 
  • An atmosphere of open curiosity and inquiry, in which everyone in the family treasures learning.
  • Responsibility for caring for himself and his own things as well as contributing to meal preparation and the care of the house, garden and pets.
  • A two hour weekly limit on all screen media - movies, videos, TV, and computer games combined. 
  • Freedom from being dragged around on errands.
  • Freedom from the cynicism and sarcasm appropriate to later years.
  • Parents who say no cheerfully and mean it.
  • Parents who wait until their children are in bed to listen to music, watch movies, play computer games, and watch TV programs, even the news, that are not appropriate to the children's ages or that would give the children more media hours that is best for the development.
  • Parents who establish and uphold a family child-rearing culture that is appropriate to the child's age and who support age-appropriate independent thought and action and an age-appropriate role in decision making in as many areas and as often as possible. 

  1. Prepare every room of your home so your child can participate fully in family life. Example: Solicite your child's help in creating a menu, stock the pantry and fridge with food they are allowed to eat, give your child a lesson on how to serve themselves from start to end, including the clean up process, set them up for success.
  2. Differentiate carefully between age-appropriate and age-inappropriate participation in family life. Example: Be clear about the movies, games, etc. they are allowed to view and why those are appropriate.  Stand your ground.
  3. Include the child in plans if you don't want a bored child on your hands. Example: Before you make a new purchase, such as a new dishwasher, show her the features you are looking for, the price range, etc. and allow her to help you while at the store.  Consider giving her a clipboard for note taking, listen to her opinions and explain when, why and how you are making your purchase decision.
  4. Organize family life to fit the needs of your child's age and personality. Example: Organize a bedtime ritual that is appropriate for your child's personality and respect that routine regularly. Avoid variations of schedules and consider individual needs. 
  5. Welcome all feelings and help your child to express strong emotion with clarity and respect. Example: Give your child appropriate language.  "I can see you are angry and I understand how being excluded from your brothers play date can be frustrating. You wish they would include you.  Have you thought of a way you can express your desire in a way that might make your brother want to include you?" 
  6. Explain carefully what's going on in the family, while staying on an age-appropriate level in keeping with your child's understanding and interest. Example: Mommy and daddy are speaking in private often because we are concerned about your brothers school work.  We want to talk about ways we can help him and although we are all upset, we love each other no matter what."
  7. Maintain cycles of activity in balance with basic needs for nutrition, sleep, exercise, quiet concentration, solitude, and companionship that fit your child's temperament. Example: If your child fights with a particular friend during a play date, together make a carefully organized plan for the play date.  Consider how they will spend their time, what they will do if they have conflict, etc.
  8. Participate three times a day with your child straightening his room and bath and putting away his toys, materials and games. Example: Keep only one-tenth of your child's possessions neatly stored and handsomely displayed on shelves. Store the others away and rotate the possessions about once a month, with your child's help, allowing them to choose what is unpacked. 
  9. Treat your child's behavior as "in process" and developmental, never simply as good or bad. Example: Avoid praise and stick to acknowledgement. " I noticed you were so mad and Sandy and you yelled instead of hitting, that shows great impulse control." "I see you threw your socks in the laundry, that is very responsible. Soon you will place all of your clothes in the laundry."
  10. Balance firmness and consistency with a generous measure of hopefulness, good cheer, and joy. Laugh a lot. Tell wonderful little stories of your child's life, often. Example: Calmly and quietly put away your child's bike and make it unavailable to him when he leaves it out in the rain again. Make a date for buying wax and showing him how to repair it before he uses it again. Have fun together repairing the bike and laugh and take pictures of one another, don't focus on the mistake. Remind your child, "Next week when you put your bike away every day, we will ride to the park together." 


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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GO Nature Card Sale!



Based on our ecosystem outings this year, the GO (Great Outdoors) students have spent a lot of time researching different ecosystems of their choice. These nature cards are the result of their hard work, time, knowledge, and talents.

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Praise and Punishment

"Eventually we gave up either punishing or rewarding the children."
—Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood

It's a new year and many of us make resolutions. As parents, in spite of our best intentions, we sometimes get stuck in patterns that are no longer working or may not be the most beneficial for our children. What are some new ways to deal with the normal day-to-day challenges of being a parent?

Re-Thinking Some Common Practices

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MCS Art on the University of Utah Campus

MCS Lower Elementary students, 1st - 3rd Grade, created art pieces for the University of Utah's Eccles Institute of Human Genetics Building. The showing is on the 3rd floor atrium of the building. This building houses the Department of Human Genetics, Molecular Medicine, USTAR,  [2007 Nobel prize winner Dr. Mario Capecchi], and many other researchers.  
Amy Fought, our Lower Elementary Art Teacher explains, "At Montessori Community School we have enjoyed exploring paint and color with our creative art installations of 'Shapes and Silhouettes.'  Working in groups of two or three, students got together to practice the style of Wassily Kandinsky, famous for his abstract art. "
"We spent time emulating a few of Kandinsky’s famous pieces that focused on repetitions of circles. Although art often focuses on the foreground, or “positive space,” we chose to bring to life our background, or “negative space,” by choosing bright and colorful shapes to paint, as Kandinsky did."
"The students were given only the primary colors (magenta, yellow, and blue) to begin with, and they created their own beautiful variations of colors to create layers upon layers of their shapes.  They then overlaid their work with a tree silhouette of their choosing, drawing and cutting a simple picture that would not detract from the beauty of their background.  The result was a beautiful set of pieces that shows the ingenuity and creativity of young minds."

Easy Transitions...Saying Goodbye to your Child

Welcome Back!  School is officially in session. We are looking forward to our new students joining us tomorrow.  But, saying goodbye can be hard.  As excited as we all might be about school it can be difficult to say goodbye.  Separation anxiety is a normal part of the routine and we would like to offer some tips that might be helpful...
  1. Prepare  your child.  Be sure to help them understand what they can expect.  Talk about how the routine will go... "We will walk to your cubby first and put your things away.  Then, I will remind you where to find the bathroom and then I'll take you to the door of your classroom.  Your teacher will meet us there and we will give one hug, one kiss and one high five and then I will leave."
  2. Don't be surprised if your child is having a difficult time even if they are returning to the same classroom, with the same teachers, and the same peers.  
  3. Stick to your routine!  A change in routine can make separation anxiety even more intense for a child.  If you say you are going to give one hug, one kiss and one high five, DO IT!  Drawing out the goodbye not only makes it hard but also hinders your child's ability to develop confidence that you are both really expected to do what you say.
  4. Refrain from entering the classroom.  We try to give our students the first 6 weeks to make the environment "theirs" and develop a routine before inviting parents inside.  If you have questions about how or what your child is doing be sure to ask their teacher at the end of the day.  Or, feel free to call our office and we will check in on your child.  But, trust your child that they can develop the skills to make it through their school day.
  5. Stay calm and let your child know you trust them.  Although you might be concerned that your child is going to have a hard transition, be sure to express your confidence in them.  If you aren't comfortable leaving campus until you know they are doing okay, you are welcome to hang out in our lobby and our staff will check on your child.  Or, give us a call on the phone and we will be happy to check.  
  6. Keep it short. Avoid lingering...this can cause further distress. Rest assured that if your child is unable to settle or remains distraught, we will call you.  It is important to us that your child feels this is a safe and peaceful place.  If they need a shorter day here in order to build that confidence, we will support them.
  7. Give it time.  It can take up to 6 weeks for children to "normalize."  If you have concerns that it is taking your child too long to adjust, be sure to speak with the teachers. They might have some good ideas to help you both.  
  8. Return on time.  It can be difficult for children to build trust if their parent and/or teacher tell them that mommy or daddy will "be here soon" and you are not.  If you are going to be late, give us a call so we can prepare your child.  Unexpected events occur and we are happy to support you and your child so call our office if you are running late. 
  9. Show your child that you trust the teachers.  If they feel that you lack confidence in the teachers or the school, they will also lack confidence.  Again, if you have concerns about your child's care, please speak with the teachers or administration.  
  10. Ask your child about their day. Let them express frustrations but also ask specific questions that might lead them to remember the good parts of their day.  "Did you play in the sandbox today?"  "Did your teacher read any stories today?  What was the story about?" 
  11. Most importantly - be consistent!
We are so happy that you have entrusted us with your precious children.  We look forward to a wonderful year and invite you to let us know in person, over the phone, or via email if you have any questions or concerns about your child's transitions.  

Tips for a New Montessori Parent

A happy welcome to the new families entering Montessori Community School.  Parents, you will soon discover that being a part of a Montessori community is encompassing and the efforts you make towards supporting the Montessori approach will determine the success your child has in this environment. Below is an article by Edward Fidellow which will give you several tips to embracing your new role as a "Montessori Parent."

And so begins your journey......

Becoming a Montessori Parent by Edward Fidellow

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MCS Monthly Energy Production Report

Montessori Community School is making a difference in our community by offsetting carbon by 6.81 tons (about 175 trees). 

Some Summer Fun for Elementary Students at MCS

Summer Fun Pictures: Classic Fun Center, Water Slides, Roller Skating, Hiking, Great Outdoors, Waterfalls, Trail Blazing, Experience of a Lifetime


MCS Elementary Explores Millcreek Canyon

MCS Elementary Students Exploring Millcreek Canyon During a Summer Field Trip

Elementary Didgeridoo Presentation



Montessori Community School's Elementary students have been loving learning about Australia during our Summer Adventures Camp. Leraine Horstmanshoff plays, presents, and teaches our students different elements and techniques pertaining to the Didgeridoo and Australian culture. 

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Elementary Fishing Field Trip

Our Elementary Summer Adventures Camp Class explores bait fishing at Teapot Lake with much success! Thank you to Brad Fuller for guiding this activity.

MCS Elementary Summer Camp

The Elementary students are having a blast at Summer Camp this year. We are looking forward to the next two sessions and a lot more fun times. Our new Elementary students are fitting in well and having an excellent time.  

Busy Times at MCS

With the end of the school year drawing near, the energy of our student body is increasing. However, our teachers have Montessori Community School buzzing with activities, field trips, and End of Year Ceremonies.
This week, MCS has been celebrating our teachers through Teacher Appreciation Week. Truly, we can not express enough gratitude and thanks for our teachers here at MCS. Their dedication, love, support, and passion toward each child is awe-inspiring. We feel so blessed and grateful for their devotion to each student and Montessori Community School. How our teachers can keep the energy up, continue to plan such wonderful, educational activities, and coordinate so many beautiful ceremonies is a wonder. 
To our fabulous teachers, we say, Thank you, thank you, thank you.   


MCS’s Collaborative Murals

“The human hand, so delicate and so complicated, not only allows the mind to reveal itself but it enable the whole being to enter into special relationships with its environment…man ‘takes possession of his environment with his hands.’ His hands, under the guidance of his intellect transform this environment and this enable him to fulfill his mission in the world.”
-       Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child

Thank you to MCS’s Art Instructor, Kindra Fehr for organizing and implementing the painting of two murals on our school grounds.
Mural 1
A garden theme designed and executed by our Middle School class. Oquirrh, a Lower Elementary (1st – 3rd grade) class and two Early Childhood classes, Sequoias and Willows (ages 3 – 5), contributed to the design by adding various bugs, butterflies, and flowers.
Mural 2
Mural 2 is being painted on MCS’s new traversing wall. Designed by our Upper Elementary (4th – 6th grade) class, the wall features a desert theme. Wasatch, a Lower Elementary (1st – 3rd grade) class and two Early Childhood classes, Aspens and Magnolias (ages 3 – 5), will contribute to the design by adding various desert creatures and plants.
Art is one of the many ways children express themselves. Art is a way for children to communicate their feeling. It is through art that children develop their fine motor skills. In the Montessori environment, we provide open-ended art activities that help children explore and use their creativity.
When it comes to art, it is the process not the product that is important to the child. As adults, our goal is to produce a product. The child interacts with the world differently. The child works to develop self. The focus is on the process, not the product. Once a child creates something, he does not feel the need to keep the product. It is the process that gives satisfaction and inner joy. (Personette, 2011).
It has been a pleasure to witness the processes our students have gone through to prepare, plan, and employ as a school community to make these murals happen. It indeed, has been beautiful to see the cohesiveness and tight-knit relationships between our students, no matter the age or grade.  
Personette, Pamela. (April 2014). Art in the Montessori Environment. Montessori Services: A Resource for Preparing a Child’s Environment. Retrieved from http://www.montessoriservices.com/ideas-insights/art-in-the-montessori-environment

MCS Cultural Fair

Montessori Cultural curriculum includes learning about Geography, Science, Music, Art, and Yoga. Throughout these studies, our students have become familiar with continents, oceans, and countries including but not limited to specific flora, fauna, flags, and folks.  Montessori cultural education helps students to adapt to their own culture, inspires a love of learning, and offers a new perspective of the world. Within this spectrum, our students get the opportunity to do an in depth study of a particular culture, focusing on specific countries of our world and their uniqueness.

Thursday, April 24th our Elementary and Middle School students will be presenting their cultural studies for MCS’s Annual Cultural Fair from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm in the MCS gymnasium.  Our students’ presentations will remain set up throughout Friday, April 25th until late morning for all those wanting to swing by, view, support, and share in the success and hard work of our students.

"Brains Presentation"


Our deepest gratitude to parent, Richard Dorsky, for visiting our Magnolias,  
Oquirrh, Wasatch and Uinta classrooms to share his presentation on the brain.  
(yes, folks, those are real brains the students are studying!)

Developing Concentration

"As soon as children find something that interests them they lose their instability and learn to concentrate."
-Maria Montessori


8 Ways to Help Your Child Deal With Mean Kids

Elementary age children are in a socially sensitive period and are developing their moral judgement. Their world is opening and building relationships with peers holds more value than ever before.  In this article entitled "8 Ways to Help Your Child Deal With Mean Kids" Patty Shade talks about what parents can do to validate their children without making them feel like victims of cruelty.  Managing those emotions and sifting through others children's behavior can be a difficult task for our children as they begin to explore new and different relationships and try to maintain and manage ongoing relationships. 

8 Ways to Help Your Child Deal With Mean Kids by Patty Shade

“Ben is being mean to me!!”

“I don’t like Allie. She’s SO mean!”

Surprisingly, complaints like this are common in my Lower Elementary Montessori classroom. And, I’m guessing that, at one time or another, you have heard something similar from your own child. [Read More]


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Elementary Curriculum - Language

The elementary reading curriculum is designed to incorporate phonics, whole word and phonetic exceptions. Lower elementary students progress through a leveled reading program using the Pink, Blue and Green Montessori reading exercises while additional materials and experiences allow them to perfect their reading skills, develop their fluency and comprehension. The Grammar and Vocabulary materials allow the students to assimilate an understanding of the structural rules that govern the English language. Literary elements are explored during Group Literature. Lower and upper elementary students practice writing on a daily basis in classroom journals that cover a variety of writing forms. In lower elementary, Writer’s Workshops are held throughout the year to target specific writing skills. In upper elementary the different varieties of writing and writing skills are integrated into their cultural, science and literature studies. Our goal is to help the students become comfortable using writing as a communication skill. Students learn to think clearly, to research, and to express themselves with confidence and clarity in writing and speech.

  Lower Elementary Upper Elementary
Reading Reading readiness, phonic skills, guided reading, sight words, contextual clues, S.S.R. (Silent Sustained Reading), vocabulary Shared reading, dictionary skills, fluency, expression
Comprehension Responding to questions regarding Story-time book (sequencing events, recapping & summarizing, identification of character, plot & setting) context clues & main ideas Continued study of main ideas, sequencing & context clues, assumptions/inferences, following written directions & instructions
Penmanship Metal inset exercises, D’Nelian print & cursive, spacing, left justification, neatness Mastery of cursive
Spelling Unconventional to conventional, leveled spelling works Conventional spelling lists, spelling demons, vocabulary, spelling rules
Mechanics Ending punctuation, capitalization, commas Apostrophes, commas, quotation marks
Composition Complete sentences, journaling, picture prompted stories, modeled writing, editing Journaling, character & plot development, proofreading, revising, publishing
Study Skills Categorizing, table of contents, index, beginning reports Outlining, note taking, organizing information, skimming, advanced reports, paraphrasing
Grammar Parts of speech, parsing Sentence analysis, verb tenses
Speaking Poetry presentations, in-class reports, drama, story-telling Poetry presentations, in-class reports, drama,   story-telling