What is the Capstone Year and why does my child deserve to have one?

Capstone Year in Lower Elementary- students have freedom to work in the school library.

We often refer to the 3rd year a child is in a Montessori program as the Capstone Year. But what is it that really makes the year so special and important? We invite parents of our current 2nd year students in Early Childhood and Lower Elementary and 4th year students in Upper Elementary to consider the following reaso...

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Gearing Up For Winter Sports


Thanks so much for all of your support in helping your student to be prepared for this wonderful opportunity to experience the "Greatest Snow on Earth." Remember to clearly label each piece! Your student must have the following items each week: Skis (& poles if appropriate) or boardSki bag containing the following items:Ski/board boot...

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The Montessori Transition


A common concern for Montessori parents is how their child will transition out of Montessori into a traditional setting. The question is valid but the concern may be overblown. Yes, there will be transition challenges. Those are an integral part of life – preschool to elementary, elementary to Jr. and Sr. High, to college, to a job, to marriage, to...

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Parent Teacher Partnerships


The parent teacher partnership is different from any other professional relationship you enter. You call the electrician to your house. You tell him what you think the problem is. He then uses his expertise and experience to diagnose and fix the problem. He doesn't need your help (nor does he want you to get shocked in the process). When he is fini...

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Offering Encouragement not Empty Praise

Create an environment where your child feels encouraged to become aware of his own actions

Parents sometimes use far too much praise in a well-intentioned attempt to build their child's self-esteem: 'You're an awesome climber, you're a great artist, you're great at sitting quietly.' However, often these remarks are not really sincere and they teach children to depend on praise for motivation to do something. When we praise children for d...

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Encouragment & Obstacles

The achievement belongs to the child.

The Encouragement of Eliminating Obstacles by Edward Fidellow The best encouragement you give is often the kind that is not seen – eliminating obstacles. This action is a hallmark of a Montessori education. Eliminating obstacles is not obvious – because you have removed them but it is essential for the amazing accomplishments that ch...

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Social Distancing v Social Isolation


Although social distancing is being highly encouraged to help contain the spread and impact of COVID-19 within our community, we remind everyone to consider the effect that this may be having on those most affected by social isolation. It’s in times like these that we need to step up and help one another. Here are a few items to consider: Many of you may have seen the impromptu balcony concerts from Italy or the national round of applause for health care workers in Spain; could we not do something similar in our own neighborhoods to help bring cheer and distraction from worry? Create WhatsApp groups with neighbours, family or friends. Share how you’re getting on and ask other people how they are.You may have neighbours, such as the elderly, that rely heavily on community services to meet their daily needs. Reach out to see how you can help.We encourage people to call...

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Welcome to 2017-2018 from MCS Admin


Dear Montessori Community  School Families, Each year as we welcome back our returning students and families and welcome our new students and their families to our school community we feel such a sense of anticipation for all the experiences we will enjoy together during the academic year.  By the time that the children  arrive the teachers have worked tirelessly for 7 days to prepare their  beautiful environments for the arrival of their students. There is such a buzz of anticipation that is infectious. Everyone is so excited about all the possibilities of the new school year. And finally the children are here and the year begins. It is always such a special time for all of us. As we move forward this year we want you all to know that we are grateful to all families who have entrusted their beautiful children into our care. We are dedicated to "following each child" to  best...

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How can failure be a gift?


When I started teaching 20 years ago, childhood was altogether a different experience.  Raising children looked different than it does now and, since I'm now in the midst of raising my own three children, I believe this more than ever before.  The single most important thing I think we may be missing with this generation of parenting is the realization that growth comes from failure!  Scary concept, right?  But honestly, when everything goes according to plan, there are no hiccups in the way, or any process is simple, precise and easy we learn very different lessons than when we have to struggle and stretch.  I think it would be fair to say that your own failures (or struggles, at the very least) provided clear opportunities for learning and growth. I recently watched a really wonderful TedTalk called "The power of believing that you can improve" by Carol Dweck in which she uses the word...

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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 GinsburgLet'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,...

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Teaching Children "Soft Skills"


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

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Parenting Young Children through Fear


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

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Parent Education Night - Preparing for Adolescence


MCS Parents,Please join us for Parent Education Night next Tuesday, March 8th, from 6:30-8pm. Child care will be available but must be signed up for in advance. There is a sign up sheet in the office.Melissa DeVries, Ph.D, MCS School Psychologist and parent will be talking about adolescence...because its never too early to prepare. Below is an excerpt from Melissa about her upcoming presentation.“We should be like lighthouses for our children—beacons of light on a stable shoreline from which they can safely navigate the world. We must make certain they don’t crash against the rocks, but trust they have the capacity to learn to ride the waves on their own.” –-Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MS Ed, FAAP Adolescence is a uniquely challenging, yet rewarding period of development for both parents and teens. Teens are trying to find the answer to “who am I?” by striving for more independence, seeking new experiences....

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7 Ways to Raise Kind Children


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

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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.
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A Closer Look at Montessori Math


The Montessori math curriculum is quite unlike the traditional approach that each of us experienced.  It is based on developing a strong foundation through concrete experience and manipulation until the time a child reaches the age of abstraction, typically around nine years old. As they engage in the Cosmic Curriculum, children are given a basis for the interconnectedness of all things and encouraged to engage in the wonder and magic of mathematical concepts.  Various activities and materials develop the mathematical mind, preparing the child for their inevitable explosion in to abstraction and connection to the power of relationships. The following was written by Lower Elementary Spanish teacher, Diana Haro Reynolds.Mathematics is the study of quantity, form, and magnitude. We live among it. It is in the position of the sun and in the shell of a snail. We carry math in our pockets, in our devices. It is what makes our communication...

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Spring Cleaning as Brain Food by P. Donohue Shortridge

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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.  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...

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"Go Outside and Play"

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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 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.  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...

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Rhombus, Reniform and Rembrandt

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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...

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Discipline as Guidance by P. Donohue Shortridge

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Your child wants to do what is right, even at the youngest age.  First of all, she wants to because she loves you and wants to be just like you.  She also has a powerful inner drive to adapt to the world around her, the world of your home, and to do so she needs to know what the rules for life are.  She looks to you to show her.  As parents, if you can keep that in mind, you can create an approach to discipline that is positive, less stressful on everyone and it will assist your child in developing into a competent, civilized, compassionate and joyful person. So, what are some strategies that you might employ? First of all, model the correct behavior for your child. For example, if you do not want your child to leave the dinner table in the middle of the meal, then don't you...

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