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Social Development in the Montessori Classroom


Through the years I have often been asked about Montessori students and their development of social skills. Some parents, when considering a Montessori education, become concerned that because of the size of the facility, the mixed age groupings, or the limited number of classrooms that their child will somehow be "missing out" on some aspects of social development. The short answer is that although there might not be as many children on our campus, the opportunities to develop socially are unlimited in the organization of the classrooms and curriculum.   "Social life does not consist of a group of individuals remaining close together, side by side, nor in their advancing en masse under the command of a captain like a regiment on the march, nor like an ordinary class of school children. The social life of man is founded upon work, harmoniously organised and upon social virtues - and these are...
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2017 - 2018 MCS Parent School Alliance


Montessori Community School Parent School Alliance  (PSA) L-R: Gaea Rindflesh, Teresa Nelson, Jordan Stein, Jeannette Shaffer, Dave Quisenberry, Jaymison Peterson and (below) Jen Zivkovic The MCS Administration is delighted to introduce you to our 2017 - 2018 Parent Student Alliance (PSA). We are pleased to have a larger number of PSA representatives than ever before. We appreciate Jeannette, Dave, Jaymison and Jen for joining us again this year as our veteran PSA and we thank Gaea, Teresa, and Jordan for joining the team! The PSA is already looking forward to and has a jumpstart on planning many PSA sponsored activities this year. We anticiapte seeing many of you at the upcoming Welcome Picnics where you can meet members of the PSA and will be introduced to the Community Builders from your child(ren)s class.   We are also looking forward to our first Coffee Thursday, this coming week September 7th, from 8:30am-9:30am in...
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Birthday Wishes in Honor of Maria Montessori


 Maria Montessori - Her Life & Legacy As we are so deeply indebted to the great work and legacy of Maria Montessori, and in light of her birthday on August 31st, we would like to honor Dr. Montessori by telling her story. Born in a small town of Italy to parents, Renilde Stoppani and Allessandro, Maria forged her own educational path, even in childhood. Throughout her youth, she acquired a very ambitious taste for science and mathematics, which was extraordinary for a girl during the time. After attending a tech school, Maria Montessori decided to study medicine. Throughout an intricate and complicated series of events (including a letter of recommendation for college acceptance by the Catholic Pope himself), Maria went on to Medical School to become the very first female Doctor in Italy. During Maria’s residency, she spent time working with children in a psychiatric hospital. She had not been...
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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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The Value of the Three Year Cycle - A Parent's Perspective



The Capstone Year I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the third year of the Early Childhood three year cycle. We made the decision to keep our oldest daughter in the Magnolias Class to complete the cycle (known as the Capstone Year). Last year, an article in The Atlantic  called “The New Preschool is Crushing Kids” (read here) helped support our decision. In the mainstream setting, Kindergarten has become the new first grade, and Common Core standards have laid out academic guidelines for what should be completed in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten. Research corroborates that kindergarteners spend more time doing seat work and less time doing art and music.  The net result is 2 nd graders who perform worse on tests measuring literacy, language, and math skills. The cause, it is thought, is direct instruction that is repetitive and uninspired which leads to children losing their enthusiasm for learning. How do...
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The Gift of Adult Learning


Today I was graced with the most lovely opportunity to observe a teacher intern in one of our classrooms.  MCS has the ongoing opportunity to support and host adult interns seeking Montessori certification at all levels.  The process of a teacher receiving Montessori training is as well developed a system as the Montessori method itself.  Following an intense period of study of Montessori theory, history, methodology, didactic training and classroom management, an intern spends 1-2 years engaged in a teaching practicum (internship).  During this initial experience as a teacher, with a wealth of newfound understanding and insight to the child and its environment, the teacher goes through the magical process of implementation under the direction of a master teacher.  Maria Montessori said "The teacher, when she begins to work in our schools, must have a kind of faith that the child will reveal himself through the work. She must free herself from...
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The Capstone Year...what every Montessori parent should know!




What is the Capstone Year and why does my child deserve to have one? We often refer to the 3 rd Year a child is in a Montessori program as the Capstone Year. But, what is it really that makes that year so special/important? While the reasons to leave can be compelling and are worth every consideration, we believe the reasons to stay are worth your careful and thoughtful consideration. Below is a list of 24 reasons we recommend keeping your child in Montessori for the Capstone Year: Does your child look forward to attending school? If so, consider yourself lucky. Why tinker with a winning situation when so many other families are frustrated or disappointed with their child’s school experience. Your child has waited for two years to be a leaders in their class. The third year students are looked up to as role models for the younger students,...
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What Makes MCS Unique?











Montessori Community School offers an authentic Montessori education while supporting a charming and safe community for our students and their families. Choosing the right school can be a difficult task as increasing numbers in research show the impact of early education on the growing brain. So, beyond why a parent might choose a Montessori education for their child, I would like to answer some common questions about what sets Montessori Community School apart and how you will know if it is the right fit for your family. Tour, Admissions Meetings and Observation:  Inquiring parents are required to visit our facility prior to acceptance of their child. This allows parents to “get a feel” for our campus and to learn specifics about each program from a knowledgeable member of our staff. Following attendance at a tour or an admissions meeting, parents are invited to observe in one of our classrooms. While...
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Follow the Child...what does that really mean?


Montessori has a reputation for having its very own lingo and we are quick to assume that parents will interpret these terms with very little explanation or example giving.  Follow the child is one of the most common phrases you will hear in any Montessori circle.  I love Montessorium  for so many reasons and this short video  explaining what we REALLY mean when we say "follow the child" is spot on.  Enjoy!!!
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For Parents Who Worry (Isn't That All of Us?)


"The education of our day is rich in methods, aims and social ends, but one must still say that it takes no account of life itself."                                                                                         —Maria Montessori , The Absorbent Mind I started my adult life as a teacher and I think I eventually grew in to a very good one.  So, you can imagine my bewilderment when each of my three children were "slow to read."  (Confession - I actually don't believe in "slow" or "quick" when it comes to the learning process...but I forgot about that when it was my kids!) I did all the right things.  We read books together from the time...
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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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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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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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Competition in Montessori


As the mother of 3 very healthy sons, competition is a large part of the parenting challenges that I face on a regular basis.  How do I teach my children to be healthy competitors (always striving to be their best selves) and still celebrate the accomplishments of others?  Montessori is a great environment for children to learn a nice balance of respecting and appreciating their peer group while knowing what it takes to push themselves.  Enjoy this article by Edward Fidellow on Competition in the Montessori environment.  Competition in Montessori? Well, No! Which is it? Is there competition in the Montessori classroom or not? Well – yes and no! Let’s examine the “No” first. There is no formal institutionalized competition in the Montessori philosophy because Montessori is about your child not about your child in competition with others. Your child is not competing with any one else. Nor is your child competing for...
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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!)...
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The Basics of Montessori Learning




As Montessori teachers and parents…

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What's The Big Deal About Kindergarten?

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

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


Magnolias Third Year student works on a botany project.
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Montessori Equals Innovation, Creativity, Wonder, and so much more...


“…Most highly creative achievers don’t begin with brilliant ideas, they discover them.” Peter Sims, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, April 2011 Enjoy this wonderful video on the beauty and benefits of a Montessori education.  Click here.
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Teaching Gratitude to Children


One time when one of my boys was about four years old I found myself in a common battle trying to get him to clean take care of his belongings and clean up the toys that were scattered about his play room. I felt good about our system and knew that I was not asking him to complete a task that was outside his ability to complete.  We had cleaned the room successfully on a number of occasions. Finally, out of frustration, I told my son that if he did not clean up the toys I was going to gather them up, put them in a garbage bag, and give them to children who didn't have any toys.  I left the room and, to bolster my threat, returned seconds later with a large trash bag.  My son approached me with an armful of toys and dropped them passionately in to the open bag.  Baffled, I asked "what are you doing?"  and tearfully he replied "I didn't know there were kids without any toys."
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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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