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Tag: Montessori Community School

Professional Development Days

Our March Professional Development days last week provided our staff with a wonderful opportunity to all come together at the same time to learn and engage with each other. We focused on bringing much needed training on policies and procedures to our staff. We had a large focus on the Health, Wellness, and Safety of all members of our community as well as the Student Support training. This policy will be available soon on our website so look for it. All staff also had the opportunity to deep clean and organize in their classrooms and prepare curriculum and end of year items for the remainder of the school year. 

Our priority task was sharing our new Risk Management Policy with the staff. We continued with Part B of our Creating A Culture of Safety: Child Abuse Prevention in-service training. Infant and Toddler staff learned more about using sign language in their classrooms. All other teaching staff had training on new Student Support observation forms. 

All of us benefited from training from Nurse Jen who switched roles with our teachers and stepped into the educator role to provide training on medical response protocols during our PD days. We started off discussing the staff and student Incident/Accident forms and how to assess for concussion symptoms and continuing to observe for new or worsening symptoms. 

We went through the classroom emergency backpacks and discussed the purpose of each of the first aid items and how to use them. Nurse Jen provided a demonstration of how to provide first aid for wounds before having everyone partner up to participate in a scenario where everyone had a chance to wrap each other’s wounds. We also discussed participation in the Stop The Bleed training as part of our CPR and First Aid training requirements. 

Nurse Jen wrapped up her training sessions with our extended day and new teachers to review Medical Action and Support Plans and provided training for how to respond to situations such as Asthma, Anaphylaxis, and Epilepsy in the school setting.

During these days we also enjoyed some service project work. Outside we started garden bed preparation, turning over the soil and planting flowers and early vegetables. We also contributed completed fleece blankets for Project Linus.

Bedtime Routines – Parenting Connection

It feels like adequate sleep is increasingly becoming more difficult to achieve. Two working parents in most homes, after school activities, more screen options, and a number of other factors can make it difficult to ensure our kids are getting enough sleep.

At school, we know that students learn better, experience more positive peer relationships, and enjoy school more when they are getting enough sleep. The APA recommendations for sleep can be found here and we also recommend listening to your child’s needs and adjusting schedules accordingly. Experts say that the specific time a child goes to bed isn’t as much a contributor to good sleep as a consistent bedtime routine. Be sure to follow those consistent and comforting bedtime routines to help your child achieve the best night’s sleep possible.

Happy Resting!

 

Revised Immunization Policy Announcement

Dear MCS Community,

We have spent the past several months gathering information on how adjustments to our policy would impact our school community from both practical and legal perspectives. The details of our new policy are outlined here and the new policy will be written and added to our Parent and Staff Handbooks for implementation with 2020-2021 Enrollment.

Our new policy will require current immunization records to be in each student’s file before they begin school. The policy will require that all students in the Toddler program and those in their first and second year of Early Childhood be fully immunized unless their parents have obtained a medical exemption. The policy will accept medical, personal and religious exemptions for elementary aged students, including kindergarten through sixth grade. We have adopted a commitment to herd immunity wherein the total number of our student body will be considered when accepting exemptions of any nature. Lastly, when a child with a personal, religious or medical exemption is enrolled in a classroom we will disclose such to parents of students in the same class without releasing identifying information about the student or their family.

A major consideration in this new policy takes into account our most vulnerable student population; the safety of our youngest students. Another important facet in determining our new policy was our grant with Utah Online Schools. UOS informed us, initially and on several occasions, that we were obliged to follow Utah’s immunization requirements for elementary aged students. This grant supplies our school with Chrome books and Rosetta Stone elementary student accounts. This is a resource we had planned to continue for as long as it is available to us. UpdateWe have since been informed that we are not required to follow the state’s policy to be eligible for this grant. Further research is being done to learn more about grants we hope to be eligible for in the future. 

Adjustments will be made to our admissions procedure to ensure families making enquiries for enrollment will be notified of this policy before they apply for attendance.  Please note that this policy will apply to all future applicants and those with current personal exemptions will not be affected by this policy.

In addition, we thank those who have volunteered to support one of our parent committees.  We will be contacting people from those committee in January with more information about how we intend to move forward.

We thank all who have been involved and have given time and resources to this process.  We are grateful for your engagement and support.

If you have questions or queries regarding our policy change, we are happy to meet with you in person. Please contact britneypeterson@mcsslc.com or brandiallen@mcsslc.com.

The Power of your Child’s Birth Story

Have you ever told your child the riveting and powerful story of their entrance into this great life? This is one of my favorite aspects of parenthood. Instilling wonder and thoughtfulness about your child’s emergence to earth is truly awe inspiring for them. Hearing the story of their own birth can calm a child’s fears, can build a child who feels down or sad and can bring great joy to any child. Understanding not only the emergence itself, but the powerful emotions tied to their anticipated arrival and their delivery give a child perspective into their powers as a human. Understanding their place in a family, their most important community of all, is hugely rewarding for a child. Children deeply appreciate learning how their own birth made a marked difference in the history of the universe.

A child will love this story at any point in their life, but the most crucial and powerful time to tell a child the story of their own birth is during the elementary years, particularly early elementary. The elementary child is finding their place in the world. Their understanding of its vastness has become more easy to comprehend and their curiosity about the interconnectedness of all living things is undeniably enthusiastic. Relationships can become deep and meaningful, particularly those outside the family. Children’s search for what matters, their social sensitivities and their developing moral judgement at this stage of development can often lead to questions like “Who am I…how do I fit in?” These are important questions and for this reason their personal birth story can be relevant pieces of the puzzle they are working on personally.

In a Montessori Lower Elementary program, the study of timelines show evolution of plants, animals, and humans. We work to instill a love and respect for our earth. A child’s place in this evolution helps them relate to their family, their social circle, and reinforces that all living things are valuable. Not to mention, humans develop a core belief about themselves at a very early age.  What could possibly make a person believe they matter, that they have the power to change the world, or the power of love more than hearing about the love that enters a parent’s
heart when they meet their child for the first time?

How was your child thought of while in utero?

What kind of preparations did you make for your child to join your family?

What kind of dreams did you have for your child and your family?

What was your child’s anticipated arrival like?

What were the feelings you had when your child’s delivery began?

What are the details about your child’s birth?

How did you spend the first moments/hours/days of your child’s life?

My own three children could recite the stories of their births themselves, and still, they ask to hear it often. We share those memories in times of sadness, in times of fear, in times of joy, in times of laughter. Every detail holds deep meaning for each of us and the parts that speak to us change as we change and evolve as individuals and as a family.
Bedtime stories have never been so much fun.

Happy story telling!

My beautiful family. My sister introduces her son to his new baby brother for the first time.
The magic of families is endless.

Sun Safety – A Year ‘Round Safety Suggestion : Parenting Connection

As a staff we are always trying to maintain a comfortable balance between sun safety and the immense need to get our children outside for play and movement.  As you well know, our children are not always easily convinced of the critical need to cover adequately. It is essential that we continue this important practice even during the cold months, when the UV rays are equally impactful.  We go to great effort to teach our children the importance of full coverage and how to apply sunscreen thoroughly (while offering assistance to children as needed).  We encourage our families to advise their children of the importance of sun safety and appreciate the following tips provided by one of our MCS parents.

 

 

Utah has the highest melanoma (the most deadly skin cancer) rates in the United States (read detailed article here). Given our altitude, a large number of sunny days, great outdoor activities, and a population with lots of fair-skinned people, we have the perfect storm of skin cancer risk factors.

It is important that our kids spend time outside but careful preparation is a must. Below are some measures that have proven effectiveness at reducing UV exposure and helping to prevent skin cancers:

1. Sunscreen reapplication: Unfortunately, sunscreen only lasts ~80 min before the protective effects diminish significantly, so be sure to reapply frequently.

2. Hats: Because the head and neck region is not covered with clothes it receives much more sun exposure than other parts of the body, leading to a higher proportional rate of skin cancers in this region. Hats are an easy method to reduce sun exposure. Be sure to send a hat to school with your child each day as well as taking one along on all your outings that include outside play.

3. Encourage sun-safe clothing, sunglasses when appropriate.

4.  Go the extra mile by being an example; wear a hat when you are outside, apply sunscreen to yourself in your child’s presence, wear sun-appropriate clothing and sunglasses, and talk to your child about sun safety on a regular basis.  Children, like the rest of us, are empowered by knowledge.

 

Committee Meeting Updates

Thank you to those who participated in our Health and Safety Committee Meetings last Friday.  Many good ideas came from those meetings, which will be communicated at our upcoming Town Hall on Tuesday, October 15th.  You can expect to learn more about a possible adjustment to our vaccination policy (of which we will be seeking parent input), the implementation of a new extraordinary measures policy in regards to preventable diseases, the  implementation of a Parent Advisory Committee upon whom we can call for guidance in best health and safety practices, and updates about our accreditation process.  Please watch for an evite with details and to RSVP for this event. Note that there will be child care available for this event and thank you for signing up in advance in the office for child care.

 

Community Emergency Preparedness Committee Meetings

Our Emergency Preparedness Committee would like to invite interested parents to join in creating action plans around the items listed below.  We would be happy to share our preliminary plans of action with you; if interested please contact Britney or Brandi. We will be hosting committee meetings during the following times:

  • September 20 @ 3:00pm: Educating the Community on Best Practices for Health & Safety Measures (contact brandiallen@mcsslc.com)

If you are unable to attend these meetings and are interested in being part of the committee or have contributions for this discussion, please contact Britney, Brandi or Margaret. A Town Hall where we will apprise the community of work to date is scheduled for Tuesday, October 15 at 6:00pm (childcare provided). More info to come.

 

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

Peace is a work rooted deeply in the approach in Montessori schools across the world and Maria Montessori was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on three different occasions as her passion for Peace Education led her to spread its good word in various countries. Her legacy lives on as she is now widely recognized as an advocate for peace and her educational philosophy is practiced throughout the world.

“Peace is a goal that can only be attained through common accord, and the means to achieve this unity for peace are twofold: first, an immediate effort to resolve conflicts without recourse to violence—in other words, to prevent war—and second, a long-term effort to establish a lasting peace among men”
(Education and Peace, Montessori, 1949, p. 27).

Read more about Maria Montessori here.

Montessori education addresses Peace in a variety of ways, encouraging children to first develop inner peace. At its most basic level the Montessori method does this by honoring the individual interests, passions and ability of each child, giving children space to develop confidence with making mistakes as they explore and the courage to fix mistakes, and inspiring them to be part of a community. Because each student is recognized as an individual, you will find children working on a variety of activities at any given time. This gives children space and encouragement to accept that differences between humans exist at varying degrees.

Inner peace gives children the foundation for supporting peace within their classroom, school, social and family communities. Communities are an important aspect of the Montessori philosophy in that there is an emphasis on the whole person and learning to function within a community is essential to the success of human endeavor. A successful community is made up of a variety of different talents, strengths, skills and goals. As our students engage in peaceful conflict resolution, modeled by the adults in the community, they learn to function as many parts making up a whole. As they assist in the management of the environment, including caring for the physical space, taking on important leadership roles within the classroom, and engaging in group discussion about how to make change for the better, students practice life long skills of considering others and building functioning communities.

Some common Montessori terms/methods that directly and indirectly support Peace Education include:

Cosmic Education is the child’s gradual discovery, throughout the whole of childhood, of the interrelatedness of all things on earth, in the past, in the present, and in the future.

-Intrinsic motivation (versus rewards or punishment) is a desire to do for the sake of doing with no expectation or even hope for an outside motivator.

 

-Multi age classrooms allow children to play varying roles throughout their cycle in a classroom, allowing investment in the environment and practice of various skills, jobs and identities.

-Follow the child means that each child is considered individually and opportunities to further develop special skills and talents is honored along with opportunity for extra, repetitive practice of more difficult tasks.

-Class meetings and agenda books allow children to bring up issues or concerns and decide, with adult guidance, how to overcome challenges as a group. It also allows a sacred place for celebrating one another’s accomplishments.

-Peace areas in each classroom provide a place for children to go when they need to find inner peace. Meditation, breathing and various other exercises are encouraged to help students look within.

-Outdoor education and care for living things (plants and animals throughout the school and in each classroom) give children the opportunity to practice care for and consideration of the needs of all living things and help them develop a love and advocacy for our earth and all it has to offer.

By honoring each individual and supporting children in becoming their most authentic, passionate, courageous and determined selves, we provide the world with a powerful force for change for the better.

May you all find inner peace and enjoy a most lovely day of celebrating the beauty and hope of mankind on this day set aside for celebrating Peace on earth.

A Note from the MCS Green Committee

In our last note, the MCS Green Committee discussed the importance of minimizing packaging in the lunches/snacks we send with our students to school. There are many alternative lunch packaging options that help reduce waste and provide a cost effective way to give kiddos an awesome meal. Many of you already use reusable lunch packaging. However, listed below are some websites for possible eco-friendly lunch packaging/meal service products. We are certainly not pushing these items, but offering ideas (they might also be great holiday gifts). Let us know your thoughts on any of these products, or if you have other great ideas. Likewise, a bulk order discount option might be possible if there is enough interest. Any parents interested in the bulk order, please email jaymisonp@mac.com.

Cheers,
MCS Green Committee

https://bentgo.com/

https://www.yumboxlunch.com/

https://www.planetbox.com/

https://www.bamboozlehome.com/tinyfootprint-products

https://avanchy.comhttps://www.shopbamboostudio.com

https://www.bambuhome.com

Speech, Language, and Hearing Screenings

Montessori Community School will be holding speech, language, and hearing screenings on Wednesday, September 18th.All Kindergarteners will have the opportunity to participate in the screenings. If your student is a Kindergartener, please check their Take-Home Files for the Kindergarten Registration Form.

If your child is in another grade and you have concerns, please fill out the bottom portion of the form found in the office-lobby area and return to the MCS office by Tuesday, September 17th.

The screenings will be a general, brief measure of your child’s speech and language skills in order to determine if further speech and language evaluations are needed. Screenings are appropriate for students of all ages. Please note that hearing screenings will be held at a different time.

The speech and language screenings will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. After the completion of the screening, Let’s Talk will identify if there are concerns regarding your child’s speech and language skills. A note will be sent home with your child regarding the results of the screening assessments and if further assessment is warranted.

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

  • Has had chronic ear infections.
  • You and others have a hard time understanding understanding your child’s speech.
  • Speech is less intelligible than their peers.
  • Does not combine 2-5 words in their speech.
  • You suspect your child may have a fluency disorder: stuttering
  • Has difficulty asking and answering “wh” questions.
  • Becomes easily frustrated when trying to tell you something.
  • Has a difficult time learning and using new concepts and vocabulary.
  • See www.letstalkspeech.com for more in depth information on speech and language delay warning signs.