Clarification Regarding Summer Program
by Ann Clark, Head of School

Dear Parents,

We have had some questions regarding our summer program and wanted to take this opportunity to provide clarification.

Who Can Register?
Although originally slated only for children of essential workers , the program has been expanded to include children from families where parents are able to return to work outside the home. If you fall in this category and would like to register, please do so. The Registration Site is open through 5pm this Friday, 5/29. Limited space available.

Questions regarding face coverings:
At this time, although children 3 and up will be asked to wear face coverings in the classroom, they will be able to remove them while social distancing, to enjoy snacks and lunch as well as during naptime for the younger children. In addition, weather permitting, we will spend a great deal of time outside where masks for students will be optional as risk is greatly reduced outdoors. We will practice physical distancing and extreme safety precautions to ensure your children stay safe while still having fun.

What if my young child refuses to wear a face covering?
As with any behavior we work to improve in a Montessori classroom, we will apply the same Montessori principles to address it in the most respectful and encouraging way possible. For some of our youngest children, we recognize this may be challenging at first, as are many new concepts at this age. In our extensive experience with children, we are continually amazed at how adaptable and resilient children are to change, much more so than adults! We also have creative and fun ways to make masks seem normal and will be providing practical tips , as in this article, to help with the transition.

Key Safety Components of Our Summer Program:
It's important to remember the two key safety components recommended for camps and schools that we will follow this summer. First, your children will spend the entire camp with the same small group of children and teachers. Second, frequent handwashing and hygiene will be part of all activities as a critical component for keeping your children safe.

Will these procedures continue into the new school year?
We look forward to learning from this summer experience so that we can adopt the best practices for our school when the doors open to a larger group of students on August 17. These plans are preliminary and as restrictions change and it is safe to do so, we will adjust. Of course, the health and safety of the children and staff will remain paramount.

We recognize this is not the summer camp we originally imagined, but are confident we will provide a fun and safe experience for your children. Feel free to reach out with any other questions.

Respectfully,
Ann
Teacher Appreciation
Many parents have asked how they can drop off end-of-year notes or gifts for their teachers. With this year being so unique and the teachers working from home, we have come up with two options:
  • Email a note to your teacher: Notes of appreciation from you or your child are valued more than anything!
  • Send a card or gift to the school: The volunteers will be sure to get it to them! Send to: 1273 N Livermore Ave. Livermore CA 94551

Thank you for joining me in showing appreciation for our amazing teachers!
Alexis Corbett
VMS Parent Volunteer
Toddler and Primary Parent Zoom Workshop
Join VMS Developmental Specialist, Mandi Lee-Han for another parenting session with practical parenting tips. RSVP to Mandi and she will send you the Zoom link. Hope you can join!
This fund was created to help members of the VMS community experiencing financial hardship due to the global pandemic.
Thank you to those who are in a position to contribute and have done so already! The fund for our families is growing!
DISTANCE LEARNING AT EVERY LEVEL!
Here is an update from our Teacher Level Liaisons reporting on recent happenings at each of the program levels:
The Toddler team has been creating choice charts and activities for parents to engage their children at home, plus having Zoom sessions daily for each child in the the class. Here are some of the fun moments, including photos from a baking lesson:
  • The Oak room led a Zoom yoga session outdoors and the children had an unexpected bonus of tree trimmers in the woods who noticed the session. The yoga lesson turned into an opportunity to watch the tree trimmers working in a cherry picker!
  • In the Maple class, their lesson on Metamorphosis culminated in the successful release of all 10 of their butterflies at the VMS school garden during a Zoom session.
  • The Cypress class had a “crazy card making” Zoom session where the children had a blast gluing items they had found in their homes to a piece of paper to give to their mothers for Mother’s Day!
  • The Eucalyptus class had some memorable Zoom circles where the children have been glued to the screen watching their teacher make colors appear in science-based experiments.
Our Primary level team has been working together, compiling lesson ideas and resources in a shared drive for all the teachers to access. They've sent out a weekly “work choice chart” that the parents have been loving. It allows the children to choose age-appropriate activities that can be done independently. One day, the team lined up by their cars in the parking lot (at a social distance, of course!) to wave to the families in carline picking up bags of materials for their children!
The Lower Elementary teachers came together to create a comprehensive, all lower el remote learning curriculum for the children. It was an incredible team effort! Working with each other’s strengths, they use a shared drive, with folders for each area of the curriculum. Video lessons with follow-up activities, guidelines and extension materials were all created and adapted for the parents and children to access as they follow a prepared weekly schedule. Morning meetings on Zoom continue the routine of a “Quote of the Day” and journal topics to inspire mindfulness and creativity. The children have demonstrated such resilience! Applying their lessons to fun and practical activities related to their lessons has been a joy to observe. Making fruit salad, creating the Time Line of Life, hunting for rocks and minerals, and researching animals close to home are just a few examples of how the children’s learning has come to life outside of the classroom.
In Upper Elementary so much is going on it is difficult to choose what to highlight. A few weeks ago, the students received a "Surprise Delivery Bag" delivered by the VMS administration and teachers. To their surprise, they found owl pellets that they were able to dissect in science. In history, the students were instructed to interview an immigrant. It was truly inspirational to hear every story. Of the 40 interviews that were conducted, about 20 different countries were represented. Wow! With this knowledge, the children were able to recognize that the immigrants of this country have helped create such diverse communities in California. We at Valley Montessori School get to be part of that diverse community and although we all come from different places, we can still live together in harmony. 
In the Middle School , we have watched with great pride as our students came to grips with remote learning. We know that adolescents are quite savvy when it comes to technology and had high hopes that they would quickly adapt, and adapt they have! It has been an amazing experience to watch these middle school students take up the challenge. They are supporting one another via Zoom meetings, FaceTime and of course texts. They have found breakout rooms to be the latest approach to small group learning and can now present, discuss and support each other virtually. This display of community has warmed our hearts and allowed the students to explore new skills so well suited to our ever-changing world. 
#VMSDistanceLearning
Have photos to share of your student learning at home? Send them to news@valleymontessorischool.com . Then follow us on Facebook to see all the latest photos from VMS!
Valley Montessori School
1273 N Livermore Ave Livermore CA 94551