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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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"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

No one is really taught how to parent. We do what our parents did, or the direct opposite. Some practices enter the mainstream and are implemented by parents without much thought.

How often do you use the phrase "Good job"? Do you use a "time-out" when your child is challenging your patience? Changing some of these rote responses can make a huge difference for children and parents alike. We can communicate to children in ways that help them feel more secure and independent.

Unearned and Unnecessary Praise

The "good job" comment which seems to roll off the tongues of parents, teachers, and by-standers is said with good intentions, but gives very little acknowledgement of what went into accomplishing the "job." Similar to every child getting a trophy whether the team wins or loses, this empty praise may discourage children from trying new activities at which they might fail. They also may get an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement.

The adult becomes the judge, and motivation becomes external rather than internal. This "conditional parenting" teaches children to behave in a certain way in order to be loved. It becomes another method of control, just like punishment.

It's more meaningful to have adults understand a child's feelings and communicate appreciation of the effort and natural hard work involved in learning. Practice, trial and error, and persistence in the face of failure help your child's brain develop.

Alternatives to false praise:

  • Talk about specifics: "That picture has so much red color." "You tried really hard to make that goal in soccer."
  • Solicit the child's thoughts and feelings: "What did you do when you spilled the tray of food?" "How did you feel when you missed the goal?"
  • Encourage persistence and hard work: "You sounded out that word all by yourself."

Punishment or Setting Limits

In The Discovery of the Child Maria Montessori says, "To tell a child: 'Stand still like me!' does not enlighten him." She explains that such a demand is both physically and mentally impossible for a "still growing individual." What may appear obvious and understandable for adults is not always true for a child.

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Some time ago, as a reasonable option to corporal or demeaning punishments, the "time-out" method became the discipline of choice. This prevalent form of discipline makes a child experience a feeling of rejection and learn that love will be withdrawn if she does not conform to our wishes.

Misbehaving is often a call for help or some added adult encouragement and understanding. Helping your child verbalize feelings often is enough for her to continue to problem solve. Sometimes physical holding is necessary to stop a tantrum and help a child learn to self-soothe.

Discipline is about teaching, not punishing. Rather than exclude a child, we want to encourage the development of empathy and insight. We want to set clear limits while helping empower children to understand and collaborate with us so that respect flows in both directions.

Changing Time-Out to Time-In

We want to convey love and respect, letting children know it is the behavior we want to change, not the child. "Time-in" means we know where the child is developmentally and can intervene before the child seriously misbehaves. If you stay calm and spend "time-in" with your child, both of you will feel more secure and in control.

These ideas may help:

  • Anticipate and prepare for challenging situations. Have appropriate expectations for your child's behavior based on his age and abilities. Be willing to adjust your plans accordingly.
  • Take games or quiet activities for those wiggly waiting times in the doctor's office, a restaurant, or on the airplane.
  • Support your child by explaining the reasons for requests. Make clear brief explanations appropriate to the child's age.
  • Spend 5 to 10 minutes with a young child when you notice frustration developing. Change the activity or just assist in making it easier to handle.

Look to the Child

What are reasonable expectations? Psychologist Madeline Levine reminds us that "the happiest, most successful children have parents who do not do for them what they are capable of doing." This leads to independence and a strong sense of self-esteem. We need to stand back while they figure out things on their own. We as parents can give up judging ourselves when our children don't live up to our expectations. We can instill positive values and encourage persistence while watching our children learn from the normal challenges in life.

"No one who has ever done anything really great or successful has ever done it simply because he was attracted by what we call a 'reward' or by the fear of what we call a 'punishment.'"
—Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child

 

by Jane M. Jacobs, M.A., Montessori Educational Consultant at Montessori Services. She is a trained primary Montessori directress and also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has taught children aged 2 to 7 years in Montessori schools, Headstart, and also in a preschool for children with developmental challenges. In her counseling practice, she helps individuals, couples, and families.

http://montessoriservices.addr2.com/view/350390d/702cd6/

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The holidays have come and gone and spring is just around the corner.  This might be a fine time to consider sorting through your children's possessions.  If you take a close look at the sheer volume of your child's books and toys, you may determine that just like adults he uses only a percentage of them.

Thinning the herd, so to speak, offers much to recommed it; Its a lot easier to find things if there are fewer things to find. 

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A place for everything and everything in its place is a cliche' based on sound thinking.  Our brains seek order, harmony and beauty in the world, your child's brain seeks it out too. 

Additionally, there's an essential developmental incentive to clear the clutter out of your child's life.  Providing external order for your child allows him to organize his thinking.  He's already taken in so many impressions of the world and now he is categorizing, sorting, grading and matching all these impressions.  (cognitively grasping same and different as well as one-to one correspondence are pre-math and pre-reading skills.) It's confusing, harder to make sense of everything when, right here in his room the crayons are randomly hanging out with the dolly blanket and Tonka truck wheel, if you will.

So here are some strategies you might consider:

  • Go through the books.  If he has long since cared about Pat the Bunny, it's time to remove it from his shelf. Likewise anything that is torn, tattered and colored on.  What should remain are only those that he is now reading or is about to advance into. House the books on shelves just like in the library rather than piled one on top of the other or randomly scattered among other phylum such as toys and stuffed animals.
  • The impedement to finding a toy when one wants it is the toy box.  No matter how cute, inexpensive, convenient or cherished, the large universal receptacle does not lend itself to everything having a place. Shelving is the best.  Categorize the toys by type; each toy deserves a lidded box, then shelved.
  • Discard or repair anything that is broken or missing a part. Wash the comfort-blankets and stuffed animals, otherwise discard them.
  • Four puzzles will be used more often than fifteen.  Likewise dolls, toy cars, stuffed animals, Lego sets, board games and coloring books.  You get the idea.  Young children can easily get overwhelmed with too many choices.
  • If your mom sent something that you may have determined is inappropriate, give yourself permission to remove it.  You are the final arbiter of what is appropriate for your child. 
  • If you are having a harder time than your child letting go of some of his possessions, that's ok.  You get to cry about it, but certainly not in front of your child...and pare them down anyway.
  • Create a place in the garage for your child's outdooe equipment such as balls, scooters and anything else you'd rather not have your child using indoors.

Here are a few more considerations:

Your child wants to, and for his optimal development needs to be responsible for his own possessions. Make sure that he can put every toy away where it belongs.  Don't make the tub for the blocks so heavy he can't move it into place himself. Is there a home for his trains? Bags, totes and backpacks all deserve wall hooks hung low enough for your child to hang up by himself.

You probably already have a child-size table and chairs.  A child-sized rocker and/or a reading chair might be nice.  How about an easel for chalking, painting and drawing? Generally, the younger the child, the more he wants to make large sweeping circular arm motions.  You might even consider getting some butcher-block paper for large mural creation.

Sibling fights can be minimized if each person in the family, no matter the age has personal property rights.  If your five year old doesn't want to share some of his toys with your toddler, I suggest that that is his right.  However, you might work with your five year old to go through some of his possessions and together determine which toys he might be willing to share. Further, many of his no-longer-used toys can be ceremoniously bequeathed to his younger sibling. His most prized possessions, however, should have a place in his room. 

Every activity (just like life) has a beginning, middle and end.  Teach your child how to get something out, use it in the place designated for its use and then put it away.  If he moves on to the next thing before putting the last activity away, you can say, "in this house, we always put our belongings away."

And finally, the most effective way to gain his cooperation is to model what you teach.  Maybe it's time for some spring cleaning of your own.

Written by Donohue Shortridge

Donohue, a Montessorian since 1980 speaks and writes on topics related to children and their families in the American culture. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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What do we mean when we say we want to raise “successful” children? Too often, especially around this time of year, that conversation centers on college or the kinds of academics and activities that lead to college. “Success” is hard to measure, and those external markers make for comforting milestones along the way.

Comforting, but dangerous. Because when checking off the achievement box is what defines success, it’s too easy to forget that it’s the qualities in our children that might lead to those accomplishments that matter — not the goals themselves.

Achievements, from the A on the science project to the letter of acceptance from Big U, can be the gold stars for parents. They’re the visible signs that we’re doing something right, and that makes it tempting to push our children forward, just a little (or maybe a lot) by stepping in when it looks as if they might not quite get there on their own. The working model of the water cycle was her idea; we just “helped” build it. She did the algebra homework; we just corrected it. He wrote the essay; we just added some structure to the argument.

Click here to read more....

By KJ DELL'ANTONIA
APRIL 9, 2015

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"Children will be smarter, better able to get along with others, healthier and happier when they have regular opportunities for free and unstructured play in the out-of-doors."
—American Medical Association, 2005

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Spring has arrived! I can't help but be excited by the thought of sunshine, hikes, water and fresh air! This article written by Jane M. Jacobs, M.A., a Montessori Educational Consultant at Montessori Services spoke to me in considering how outdoor time is such a powerful tool for our children. In the article, Jane offers a variety of ideas for making the best of your outside time with your little one. 

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Enjoy!

Were you told to "go out and play" when you were a child? Now, as a parent, do you give your children the same instructions? Perhaps not, but even for the urban, over-scheduled family, there are ways to give our children more opportunities to explore the outdoors.

For centuries it was common wisdom that children needed several hours of outdoor activity daily. As Dr. Benjamin Spock said, "It's good for a baby (like anyone else) to get outdoors for two or three hours a day." Some say we now suffer from "nature deficit disorder." Children spend more and more time indoors with bright toys, beeping computer games, and flashing screens. A more contemporary pediatrician, Harvey Karp, similarly tells us that "there are exhaustive studies showing that time outdoors, particularly in nature, benefit us in myriad ways... while staying inside is over-stimulating and at the same time boring for children." 

Click here to read entire article.

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Spring cleaning? It's that time again to bring in all of your children's gently used clothing that is too small, or unworn and swap it for something that fits. Please drop off your gently used items in the bins located in the MCS gymnasium. You may drop off items March 16th - March 20th. 

Then, during school hours, March 26th and March 27th, you may come browse the tables in the gym. Clothes will be separated into size and style. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities, please contact the office, as the Green Committee would love help sorting, folding, and displaying the clothes. 

 

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Your child’s education in Montessori is different – so different that it makes you shake your head in wonder and say, “Is this something my child is really learning?” As parents we want our children to excel at reading, writing and math. Yet their Montessori education leads them through strange and esoteric materials. (At least they are foreign to most adults.)

Why would a three year old need to be versed in geometry? Fine, a nice circle, a square and maybe a triangle but what purpose for an isosceles triangle, parallelogram or a rhombus? Then if that is not enough esoteric learning, your child moves on to the botany cabinet. How many three year olds need botany? They are introduced to leaf forms like spatulate, orbiculate, sagitate and reniform. Most of us adults can’t even pronounce them let alone know what they are.

If that is not enough diversity in the curriculum, Montessori education then introduces them to the whole world of art. They meet Picasso, Monet and Rembrandt. What in the world was Dr. Montessori thinking? And where is the math and reading?

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There is a unique method (no it is not madness) in this approach. Your child is absorbing a tremendous amount of learning and stimuli and beginning to gain the skills of observation and visual discrimination - which is the ability to see differences. The Montessori child is effortlessly gaining a lifetime skill – the ability to see. Yes, we are born with sight but sight is passive where all the images come to us. When we observe, we actively focus our sight. But even focusing our sight does not always let us see what is there. For example, we have all seen pictures that if you look at them long enough the image changes into something else – like the two faces and the goblet or the old woman and the young girl. Skills and even talents need to be trained and refined. A Montessori classroom provides an unending panorama of activities that train and refine the ability “to see”.

Though education is primarily reading and math based, life is about having a clear vision of what is present (and what could be). And though the introduction to geometry (rhombus), botany (reniform) and art (Rembrandt) is rudimentary, it is absolutely foundational to clear-eyed success. For your child everything is new and exciting. To be able to put a name with a form or a shape not only gives great intellectual satisfaction but is the beginning of power to organize, define and categorize the world that is seen.

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Enjoy the voyage of discovery as your child, with bright new eyes, sees the world for the first time. It is this power of visual discrimination that gives strength and focus to the power to read. It is also this power that breaks the world of math into distinguishable pieces with the ability to see patterns and processes.

Montessori truly gives your child the gift of sight!      

Edward Fidellow

www.crossmountainpress.com

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Marcus tongs plastic cubes in the Toddler Suns classroom. This work develops small motor coordination, prepares the hand for writing, and encourages control of movement and independence.

 

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Kenzee places pictures on the Timeline of Life in the Lower Elementary Oquirrh classroom.

 

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Margaret presents the Checkerboard to Rebeka and Mary.

 

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Bobbi engages with the Long Chains, used for skip counting, squaring and cubing work, in the Lower Elementary Oquirrh classroom. 

 

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Rebeka and Corey analyze a square in the Upper Elementary Uinta classroom.

 

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Mindy gives husband, Aaron, a knitting lesson.

 

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Melissa identifies and analyzes the Seven Triangles of Reality.

  

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Jeff researches Land Forms as part of the Lower Elementary Geography curriculum.

 

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Margaret shares a lovely extension of the Pink Tower, a very popular and well recognized piece of Sensorial material which refines visual discrimination, preparing the child for further reading and mathematical work while developing a sense of order, concentration, and control of movement. 

 

Dear 2015 Silent Journey and Discovery Participants,

Our staff would like to express our deep appreciation for you taking the time to learn more about the Montessori curriculum and philosophy with us on Saturday.  We hope that the experience was meaningful and that your understanding of our program was made more clear.  We invite you to ask additional questions as you see fit and to share your experiences with us via email.  This event is meant to give an overview of the entire Montessori curriculum but it would be impossible to share the entire curriculum in four short hours.  We hope that your observations in the classroom, your participation at additional MCS Parent Education events, and the conversations you have with your child about school will also shed light on the experience we are working to offer our students.

Thank you for your time and efforts.

With gratitude,

MCS Administration and Staff

Please e-mail your experiences to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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What: Admissions Information Meeting

When: Thursday, January 15th from 6:30 - 8:00pm

Where: Montessori Community School

Who: Parents interested in learning more about Montessori Community School.

Open to the public. Sorry, adults only - no childcare provided.

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The teachers and administration of Montessori Community School would like to invite you to learn more about our program. During this hour and a half long presentation we will introduce our programs, administration and staff. And, you will have the opportunity to visit each of our classrooms and meet and greet with the teachers. We look forward to sharing our approach to education and the Montessori method.

Montessori Community School serves children aged 18 months through 8th grade and we offer an extended day program, 7:30am - 6:00pm.

Montessori Community School's mission is to provide a rich, individualized educational experience, which guides and nurtures the natural unfolding of the whole individual and inspires a lifetime love of learning and peace.

 

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This year's Winter Camp has been themed around a Winter Wonderland. Students have had many creative arts and craft activities. One of the favorites was the Snowy Owl Pinecones pictured above.
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Students also got the chance to play outside with their friends. Blowing bubbles in the snow made for a great learning activity. The students loved chasing, popping, and watching the bubbles float to land on the snow- Would the bubbles freeze, or not?
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Also, learning about some of Winter's greatest wonders and works of art, the Northern Lights, students created their own beautiful art using the aurora borealis as inspiration.
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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” --Margaret Mead

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When Annie Guerrero, mother of an MCS Upper Elementary student, came to us in October and presented her idea to screen an extreme skiing movie in order to raise funds to offset the losses from the flood, we loved her suggestion but had no idea where to begin. We were busy moving the classrooms, settling them in, communicating with parents; Robyn, the Head of School, was knee deep in choosing new tiles and cabinets, carpets, and baseboards. Fortunately, without much help from us Annie took her idea and saw it through every step of the way until it was realized on Wednesday, December 3.

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Annie’s main goal was to provide MCS with a fundraiser at no cost to us. She and her husband Ryan Carlson began contacting and getting sponsors to help pay for the cost of screening the movie “Almost Ablaze,” by Teton Gravity Research. After meeting with many theatres around town, Annie finally locked in the Salt Lake Film Society’s Tower Theatre for December 3, again turning to sponsors, including her and Ryan’s business, The Wasatch Team-Windermere, to cover the costs. Once the date was set, Annie, with a small crew of dedicated parents, began a grass-roots marketing campaign, with PR blasts going out to publications from Whitney Cripe, mother of two MCS Elementary students, and the posting of professional-quality posters around the Valley and at ski resorts as well as on social media sites. Annie also began contacting potential donors for raffle items, eventually getting enough 2-for-1 ski passes from Powder Mountain to give every attendee one. Through individual, direct contacting she collected a total of 75 raffle items; among them, Skull Candy headphones, avalanche shovels, helmets, ski passes to local resorts, and a gear bag.

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Annie’s drive and determination to make this event work was truly remarkable. She also met with us weekly to set up the ticket sales system, and to give us the latest updates. Her behind the scenes work became more and more apparent as the date approached and we received more and more raffle items and sponsors. We want to thank those parents who helped Annie with all of those efforts over the past several weeks: in addition to Whitney Cripe, Jennifer Dahl Lewis, who sent a KUTV news crew to do a followup story on MCS and the restoration efforts; Corey Lewis; Marie Bosteels; Becky Taylor; Tom Binegar; and Whitney Miller, who provided many unique raffle items on the night of the event.

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The evening itself was a huge success. Through the sale of movie tickets, raffle tickets, and donations, Annie and this core group of parents raised almost $5000 for the school. More importantly, it was a memorable community event. Rob Cordova, parent of an Upper Elementary student, provided much entertainment as the Master of Ceremonies. He built up excitement surrounding the raffle and had all the winners dancing a crazy dance when they won. The students who helped deliver raffle items served as great examples of the kind of education that we provide. Five of the athletes featured in the extreme skiing movie attended the event to sign posters; that was more than the number that attended the first premiere of the movie! Again, that was due to Annie’s enthusiasm and effort; she contacted each athlete directly via Facebook.

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We want to thank the athletes who came: Tim Durtschi, John Collinson, Todd Ligare, Dash Longe, and Dylan Hood. We want to thank the companies that donated raffle items: Skull Candy/Smith, Rossignol, anon. Helmets/Hitcase, Hot Chillys, Voile, Snowbasin, Brighton, Scott, Saga, The North Face, and AceCamp. And we want to especially thank the sponsors for their generosity: Teton Gravity Research, Powder Mountain, Vintage Road Real Estate Fund, The Wasatch Team-Windermere, Guaranteed Rate, Discrete, and the Tower Theatre, for providing the venue.

Above all, we want to thank Annie Guerrero for her vision and for her perseverance and commitment in taking each step to make that vision a reality. We are so grateful for her efforts and for the contributions of all of the MCS and Greater Salt Lake communities.

Written by Ramira Alamilla

 

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Montessori Community School is celebrating Dia de los Muertos this week by creating beautiful candy skulls, key chains, and other festive artwork. We have three altars set up in our lobby to celebrate the lives of people we love and admire.
 
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Dia de los Muertos assures that the dead not be insulted by mourning or sadness. Instead, Dia de los Muertos celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties, and actifities the dead enjoyed in life. The holiday recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up to become a contributing member of the community.  On Dia de los Muertos, the dead are also a part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share in the celebrations with their families and loved ones. 
 
We give a special thank you to all those involved in our Spanish program and for the wonderful job they do in teaching, sharing, and enriching our lives with such a beautiful language and culture. 
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Montessori Community School has been raising money for the COEEF and have supported several girls in the program for over 10 years.  We are currently supporting seven young girls.  It is a pleasure to share this opportunity to further support the COEEF program with our MCS community.
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Hello MCS Families,

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

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

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

With deep gratitude,
MCS Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With thanks,
MCS Administration

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Early Childhood students receive their first lesson of the 2014 - 2015 school year in the Outdoor Classroom. They had the opportunity to explore our Outdoor Classroom area, located on near the northeast corner of our school building. 
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Nature plays an important role in the development of the whole child. Works of gardening, raking, weed pulling, and other outdoor tasks assist in this development. The Outdoor Classroom is rich in science lessons, such as bird watching and naming, insect and leaf investigations, and rock classification.
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Early Childhood students explore the basic nature of land, air, water, and the creatures that inhabit those spaces.They also learn about the needs of plants and animals and creating homes for these creatures. 
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Montessori parents have often voiced concerns about creativity in a Montessori classroom. They just don’t see it. The concern is very similar to the fact that they also see few “academic” papers coming home. They don’t receive many brightly painted pictures to adorn their refrigerators. And so naturally wonder if a Montessori classroom is giving their child an opportunity to express their creative side.
 
As concrete and hands on as a Montessori classroom and a Montessori learning experience are it requires a good measure of faith to await the outcome of a Montessori experience. Every Montessori teacher (and parents too) for the last one hundred years have often held their breath waiting to see the fulfillment of this amazing process. And then they exhale with great relief and satisfaction. After a while you no longer hold your breath because you know it is going to work – and even better than you imagined – because you see your children learning and growing.
 

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

Their great creative work is themselves.

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

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

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

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

Edward Fidellow

www.crossmountainpress.com

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

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

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

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