LIFE AT VMS: Looking Ahead
by Ann Clark, Head of School

As we are just over a week away from winter break, we ask those of you with students on campus to join us in continuing your diligence in practicing Covid protocols with your family to keep our community safe. During the existing joint county Stay at Home Order, we have paused bringing additional students on campus to ensure our cohorts remain stable.

What's Next?
When we return in January, we will re-visit our re-opening plans for bringing additional elementary students back on campus for in-person instruction. The timeline will be contingent upon decreased Covid numbers and the return to the red tier. In addition, we will look at the process needed to bring students back at the Middle School level. Guidance and protocols for Middle School and High School students are different and more complex due to the movement of students. Therefore, we are required to submit a separate re-opening plan to the county health department. Although our procedures adhere to the county guidance, we will still need to submit for final approval. We understand that many of you are eager to get your children back on campus and appreciate your patience as we wait for a stable, safe environment to resume.

Health and Sickness Reminder for On-Campus Students
If your child has any cold or flu-like symptoms - including runny/stuffy nose, fever, sore throat, fatigue, headache, body aches - please keep them home and contact your health care provider for an assessment. They will determine whether a Covid test is necessary.

  • If your doctor determines the symptoms are not related to Covid, ask for a note from the doctor indicating clearance to return to school. In addition, your child must be fever free without medication for 48 hours. According to the Alameda County Public Health Department guidance, without a doctor's note or a negative Covid test, your child must wait 10 days before returning to school.

  • If a test is recommended and it is negative, your child may return to school after communicating the results to your program director, Ana Suan or Gretchen Mancieri, or the VMS Covid Liaison, Angela Zellmer. If the Covid test is positive, please contact our Covid Liaison

In addition, if another family member is sick with any of the above mentioned symptoms, all should remain home. Thank you for your adherence and understanding of the county guidance.

Important note: Students are learning and happy!
It's important with all the recent changes related to the pandemic that we take time to recognize all the good that is happening around us every day. To gain perspective, one simply needs to walk by the toddler playground. Enjoy these photos of toddlers enjoying the season!

With Gratitude,
Teacher Appreciation
In this most unusual year, many families have asked how they can show appreciation for their teachers during the holiday season. Some Covid-safe options include:
  • Email a note or video to your teacher. Notes of appreciation from you or your child are priceless!
  • Email an e-card/gift card to your teacher.
  • Send a card/gift card by mail to the school: 1273 N Livermore Ave. Livermore, CA 94551
  • For those who have tangible gifts, drop them off in carline or in the contactless drop off basket at the front of the main building.

All items should be received by Thursday, 12/17 labeled with the teacher's name and classroom. Also, please do not include any perishable items or cash. We will be sure to get the gifts to the teachers! For a list of teachers by classroom and their email format, click here.

Thank you for showing appreciation for our amazing teachers - an act of kindness goes a long way!

With Gratitude,
Parent Volunteer Alexis Corbett and the VMS Engagement Committee

We've reached 80% Parent Participation AND crossed the $100,000 mark!

Thank you to those who have already contributed to our 2020 VMS Annual Fund! Together, we are making a huge impact in growing this important fund for our school. We need each and every family to participate as annual donations are essential for our operating budget and serve as a strong show of support for our exceptional programs.

Donations can be made online as one-time gifts or set in monthly installments through the end of the school year. VMS also accepts donations of stock which can have significant tax advantages. Contact Elizabeth Brice in the Advancement Office to utilize the option of contributing with stock or securities.

Ideally, most Annual Fund gifts will be made before our winter break giving donors the tax-break for this calendar year. Plus, it allows all of us to round out the year by celebrating the goal we achieved TOGETHER!

We truly appreciate the generosity, commitment and kindness of our VMS community! 
“Music is a manifestation of a human spirit, similar to language. It's greatest practitioners have conveyed to mankind things not possible to say in any other language. If we do not want these things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest possible number of people understand their idiom”. (Zoltan Kodaly) 

Music and singing plays an important role in our culture, especially during this time of the year. Music is like a bridge, which brings cultures together. We sing at birthdays, holidays, and many other special occasions. We teach our children to sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star as they wash their hands, and we use music to increase their ability to learn more.  

Why is music education important? 
It is beneficial for the children to develop the following skills: 
  • Language 
  • Math 
  • Social - emotional 
  • Develop auditory sense 
  • Creative thinking 
  • Teamwork 
  • Build imagination and memorization 

How can we support this at home? 
  • Sing to your child  
  • Play music in the car  
  • Share the fun of dancing, marching, and singing together   
  • Repeat your favorite songs often to help develop your child's memory. 
  • Consider playing a particular piece or song at the same time every day to indicate dinner, clean-up, or bedtime.  
  • Listen to all kinds of music. If you play a musical instrument, play it for your child. 
  • Create musical instruments such as a “rain stick” using a paper-towel tube, some rice, and tape. 
  • Match the rhythm of the music with simple musical instruments - a pan and wooden spoon as a drum or two wooden spoons as rhythm sticks. 

Sharing music will help your child to develop important skills as you play, sing, and listen together. We have enjoyed singing new songs and listening to the stories that your children are so eager to share. This week, you may drop off your crates after 12:00pm on Friday. You may also pick up your materials for next week.

Every child will have a circle time bag to keep at home and bring to circle. There will be instruments inside the bag and also a circle time song book. We thought it would be fun to have a sing-a-long on our last day of school before the winter break. You are invited to join in during our 9:00am group circle.

Have a great week!
Sheila and Mandi
12/21-1/4 Winter Break
Valley Montessori School
1273 N Livermore Ave Livermore CA 94551