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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...
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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 Ginsburg Let's be honest, this parenting gig doesn't come with a description of roles and responsibilities that make it completely clear what is expected at all times.  Giving our absolute dedication and best effort just doesn't look the same from day to day (or moment to moment!)  Throw your hands up (or hide in shame) if you have ever ended the day thinking "I am an awful person...my child probably went to bed thinking how awful I am and they don't feel safe and they don't feel happy and I've ruined everything."  Just me?  Didn't think so. This article really spoke to me in terms of how we can (and should) give ourselves a break.  News flash - we are raising our kiddos to be humans.  Giving...
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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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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,...
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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, Britney Many of us were hoping that our high-tech lives would make parenting easier –...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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Silent Journey and Discovery 2015

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  The Silent Journey and Discovery is coming up on February 7th from 9:00am - 1:00pm. Sign up in the office, space is limited. Attendance is free of charge, brunch will be served & child care will be provided to those who sign up in advance. The MCS Silent Journey and Discovery is an event dedicated to parents to provide the meaningful experience of visiting each of our programs, from Toddlers through Middle School, to experience for yourself the magic of the Montessori materials and discover how the lessons learned in our early programs set the tone and lay important foundations for later learning. This is a wonderful opportunity to gain a sense of how the Montessori Curriculum unfolds through the eyes of a child to guide and nurture the natural unfolding of the whole child to inspire a lifetime love of learning and peace. Click on the following link...
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Help me do it myself! The drive for independence.

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The biggest challenge parents face is their children’s drive for independence. A toddler or a preschooler’s drive for independence is even fiercer than a teenager’s. While a teenager may be looking to undo parental control your preschooler is looking to share control. They are trying to become part of your world by taking responsibility for their own actions. This drive for independence is slow and messy. Learning to walk – the first great independence is full of falls and scares (more for Mom than for baby). And it is a slow and unsteady success. Even when they accomplish vertical independence their rate of locomotion impels us to pick them up and carry them if we want to get anywhere now. Learning to feed oneself is a second (and very messy) independence. Graduating from hands to utensils is a major success of coordination and development. Again, if we want to finish...
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Upcoming Parent Education Night

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Parent Education Night is coming up next Thursday, October 2nd from 6:30-8:00pm.  Toddler, Early Childhood and Elementary parents are invited.  Child care is provided, free of charge, but must be signed up for in advance in the office.   Scroll down for more information about each programs presentation details for the evening.   This is a great way to earn Parent Participation Hours AND stay in touch with your child's Montessori experience!    TODDLER PARENT EDUCATION NIGHT           EARLY CHILDHOOD PARENT EDUCATION NIGHT           ELEMENTARY PARENT EDUCATION NIGHT  
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MCS Parent Testimonial

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When asked "In what ways has your child thrived in the MCS environment?" this was one Montessori Community School parent's response: Every one of my children is different. Because Montessori adapts to the individual needs of every child, the Montessori Community School has been the right place for each of them. Many of the skills that are essential to function as happy, passionate, and contributing members of our society, do not come naturally and take years to master. Entire books have been written and read by adults on how to acquire the skills to be effective members of the society. I think about, organizational skills, a sense of order, the capability to work independently, research, thinking and analyzing, leading meetings & debates, conflict resolution, listening skills, mindfulness, staying connected with your passions, goal setting. At MCS, my children have been learning and integrating these skills starting in early childhood. The...
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What Are Your Summer Plans? Becoming Media Savvy Families

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MCS School Psychologist Melissa DeVries, Ph.D.   With the end of the school year fast approaching we are all likely finalizing plans for how our children will spend their summer days, whether it be a day camp, travel or time at home with a parent or other caregiver. Whatever your family’s summer plans may be, it seems that the majority of us loosen up a bit during these summer months. The rush of the typical school morning is long forgotten, bed times creep later into the evening and a sense of relaxation sets in. With our children having more free time, it can be easy to reduce the amount of time spent in organized activity in lieu of more free-choice. Oftentimes, however, free choice can result in increased access to technology. Youth may spend more time watching TV, YouTube and movies, playing on game apps, browsing the Internet and social...
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What Are Your Summer Plans? Becoming Media Savvy Families

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What Are Your Summer Plans?   Becoming Media Savvy Families Melissa DeVries, Ph.D. With the end of the school year fast approaching we are all likely finalizing plans for how our children will spend their summer days, whether it be a day camp, travel or time at home with a parent or other caregiver. Whatever your family’s summer plans may be, it seems that the majority of us loosen up a bit during these summer months. The rush of the typical school morning is long forgotten, bed times creep later into the evening and a sense of relaxation sets in. With our children having more free time, it can be easy to reduce the amount of time spent in organized activity in lieu of more free-choice. Oftentimes, however, free choice can result in increased access to technology. Youth may spend more time watching TV, YouTube and movies, playing on game...
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Montessori Community School is in Full Bloom

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Montessori Community School is in full bloom as we move into our last month this 2013 - 2014 school year. The end of a school year can be stressful time. The weather is warmer, summer break is in sight, and both students and teachers are reflecting on the work accomplished, materials learned, and planning for the summer and the next school year. We are so proud of our students, teachers, and families for the dedication, involvement, and passion thus far demonstrated within our school community. We are so grateful to have such a great environment in which to educate, grow, and explore with each other.  This year, we have watched our students blossom. As we make this last push through the remainder of the school year, we hope there will be time for reflection and appreciation toward our incredible student body. 
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