From Cindy's Desk

"If you honestly desire peace and joy, align it with your thoughts and deeds.  Live each moment doing and allowing within - only things that bring peace and joy." 

Live gently and peacefully - these last days of 2017.  Joyously usher in the new days of 2018.  Thank you for your very being and the spirit of your family at TCU/MESA.

With deep love,
Taylor Campus

Toddler 2

Dear Toddler 2 Parents, 

We have been reading "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats and "One Snowy Night" by M. Christina Butler. The teachers introduced new letter sounds for the month: n and h and reviewed the previous letter sounds a, m, s, t, c, f, p, with the students. Children continue to improve their learning skills in Spanish through repetition activities to include, counting numbers, learning the alphabet and greeting friends in Spanish daily.

The students love doing the new Sensorial works, like the rainbow puzzle, matching rubber band work, and color stamping work. They also enjoyed working with the new scents (ginger and peppermint) introduced in the scent bottles. They continue to improve their skills using the knobbed cylinders, red, green, yellow, and blue cylinders, binomial cube, and color box 1 and 2. We also continued extension work with the brown stairs and pink cube lessons.

The students are expanding their recognition or numbers 0-20, counting in sequence and increasing their understanding of which quantity matches which numeral. They are also improving their number tracing skills.

We had great fun with art and they showed their creativity making Snowy Paw Prints, Snow Slime and Penguins in a Bag. The children also enjoy working with the following Pratical Life materials this month: taking care of baby, folding clothes, and washing out their own cups. We continue lessons in Grace and Courtesy, zipper frame, button frame, and lacing frame.

This month we studied the continent of Antarctica. Children had some wonderful discussions on the Chinstrap, King, and Galapagos penguins, as well as seals, polar bears and krill. We talked about the food that they eat and their habitat.

Thank you to the Long family for donating glue, laminating sheets and crayons. And thank you to all of the parents who helped washed our linen.

We are still in need of items for our classroom. If you can donate please go to the following website to purchase items:

Lakeshore: Regular dot art painters 6 color set
Language object starter set (code L850)
-        World people card collection (code C788)
-        Animal of the seven continents (code SC296)
-        Living/non living classification (SC727)
-        Four tray seed sprouter (code SC461)
-        All botany parts of the flower (codeSC636)
-        Weather  three part card photo cards (code L340)
-        Carpet sweeper (code Q40).

Please remember that our sharing days are Tuesday and Friday. We encourage your child to bring a sharing item in relation to the sound of week. Please leave all other toys or items home if it's not a sharing day. 

Thank you, 
Porshia, Johanny, Carolina and Jazmin

Pre-Primary 2

Dear Pre-Primary 2 Parents,
Wishing you all a lovely New Year and holiday. December was a fun and busy time for all. Thank you for attending Winterfest. The children did a wonderful job performing. All of their hard work paid off. We would like to give another thank you to the parents who made the costumes. They looked magnificent. 

The class had fun celebrating the Antarctica cultural unit. We made penguins, polar bears, and snow!!!  We also learned the song, "Did You Ever See a Penguin?"  To close out our study of Antarctica, we learned the parts of the penguin, animals of Antarctica, and how to make vanilla ice cream from scratch.  In January we will begin studying the continent of Asia.  If you can bring in cultural items to share or do a presentation for Asia, please let us know.

Our study of a reptile concluded with having the turtle from elementary in our classroom. The children reviewed the parts of the turtle, as well as the characteristics of a reptile.  

We are working on Practical Life activities, like sweeping, hammering, and how to put on a coat.  Individual snack has not been successful, so we are back to enjoying a group snack. We will represent individual snack again after the Winter Recess.  

All of the students are improving their math and language skills and understanding this month at their own pace. Different letter sounds and mathematical symbols are being mastered at lightning speeds.  

For the month of January, please bring a sharing item that represents your child's favorite 
Jan 3rd:  animal
Jan 10th:  color
Jan 17th:  book
Jan 24th:  shape
Jan 31st:  sound

Remember to label each item.  Sharing is every  Wednesday and  Friday.  

Tiffani & Danilo

Primary 3
Dear Primary 3 Families,

Winter is around the corner and the weather is quickly changing. We are practicing how to properly cover when we sneeze, and how to blow our noses and wash our hands afterwards. We are also learning how to put on and take off our jackets independently by doing the technique, "hands in holes, over your head".

We are still talking about Grace & Courtesy everyday. We have a new vision board that shows the expectations in Primary 3 class so that the children can be reminded about the classroom rules.

We are continuing to work and give lessons with the teen board, the ten board, and the addition strip board. We are doing more addition works using the dice and animal counters. Some children are learning skip counting using the colored beads. Our older children are starting to work with the decimal system using the decimal number cards and golden beads.

We have new works on our Sensorial shelves like the color box 3 and baric tablets. The children are exploring different patterns and extensions using the red rods and number rods, pink cubes and brown prisms, and geometric trays.

This month, we are focusing on the letter sounds, e/f/d/n. The children match the objects in pictures with the correct beginning letter sound.

During the month of December we studied the continent of Antarctica. Your child may have spoken to you about the incredible musk oxen, that travel in herds and circle around their young when they feel threatened, or the adorable lemmings or the wolverines with their sharp claws. We continue to play animal charades in the afternoon with a new set of animals (arctic blue, arctic hare, tundra swan, snowy owl, wolverine, to name a few). The students also made tiny booklets where the children trace and color the animal and its name.

We put out an observation tub with animal figurines, an eskimo, an igloo, and other objects found in an Antarctic environment. The children love playing with this activity! The children also learned about the polar lights (Aurora Polaris) and drew their own night sky with chalk and crayons, smudging it with cotton balls on black paper.

We would like to remind all the parents to check the posted notes on the Primary 3 door and please label ALL children's belongings.

To begin the new year, we will be studying the continent of Asia. If you have any photographs, memorabilia, cultural artifacts, or even food dishes (nut-free), please feel free to contact us so your child and family can share with the classroom.

The Winterfest Performance was outstanding! All of the children did such a great job! Thank you for all your help at home. We hope you enjoyed seeing the class perform the song and dances. Thank you for all that you do.

Nina, Nicole and Dawn
Elementary - MESA

Season's Greetings MESA parents,

The holiday season has been keeping everyone in the elementary classroom very busy. Earlier this month, the students had the opportunity to watch the great musical, "Annie" at the Berkeley Playhouse They enjoyed every second of it. We followed this up with creative writing in the classroom. Prior to the event, they attended a workshop with Berkeley Playhouse team who visited our class with their props and costumes. The students had the chance to recreate their own version of "Annie." It was so much fun and a great learning opportunity.

Our upcoming February trip to Pigeon Point has inspired the students to brainstorm about fundraising to support our trip. The students decided to work on soap making, bracelets, necklaces and some heat bags. We worked with Ms. Laurie, who helped the students learn to use a sewing machine, and to price out items, create a sign for the table display, set up the table, and finally how to complete cash transactions. We also had fun working with Yessica creating Coco Packs and and Snow Balls. Thank you Yessica!

The Winterfest Performance was a great success. The children worked actively with Steve to learn, "The Best Day of My Life"  singing and playing the ukulele at the same time. They did all of this while improving their academic work on understanding various  land and water forms.

Marion Soloway (who's responsible for Roots & Shoots great science and community program) visited the class and met with our students. She will be back in January to lead our team and guide them through creating community activities.  As a thank you and a sign of appreciation for all the effort from the elementary students in the last few weeks, we arranged a final field trip with Marian and to see the movie "Coco!"  We'll follow that up with some creative writing in the class.    

A "Special Thanks!" goes out to:
  • All MESA and Taylor parents who supported our students and purchased their handmade products.
  •  Marian Ross for her constant efforts and work with parents and our class and for providing the food for the fish tank over the holidays.
  • Ms. Laurie (our talented art teacher) for leading and supporting the students through their first fundraising experience.
  • Rocio for taking care of the tortoise over the holidays.
  • Esmeralda Arrizon for working on our Montessori material list.
We still  need your support to obtain some Montessori material and class supplies.  Please connect with Esmeralda, Marian or me to coordinate and get those essential supplies and material.

Thank you,
Fatma, Kwang and Frantz

Pacific Campus

Toddler 1
Dear Toddler 1 Parents,

This month was very busy as students have been improving skills and learning new works in the classroom. They really enjoy working with the various Practical Life  shapes, put and take works, frames, hammering, pegs clipping, spooning, pouring, sweeping and cleaning the tables. They also like cleaning the windows, rolling the mats, dusting the tables, taking the works from the shelves and putting them away gracefully when finished.

We have introduced new Sensorial jobs as well, such as the knobbed cylinders, colored tablets, pink cubes and brown stairs. We also enjoy the various textures works and leaf shapes.

Language skills are improving while using puzzles, picture cards and the paper letter alphabet. We have been working on the letter sound 'a' for Antarctica! There was an introduction to different animals where the children put them into the categories of wild and domesticated. Teachers introduced the names of different flowers, as we read many books providing information about the natural world.

Grace and Courtesy lessons are practiced daily, where children learn to use words like "Please, thank you," and "Sorry" at the appropriate times. We also practice waiting patiently for our turn to work with the materials, and beautiful walking in the classroom. During circle time, we all sit quietly and listen to what our friends and the adult is saying without interrupting.

Students love watering the plants in the garden on the front porch,naming the plants and flowers, and cleaning the leaves. We also spent some time talking about the American flag and spent so much time  practicing the many different songs we learned for the Winterfest Performance. They did such as wonderful job! Thank you for attending and spending some quality time with us and encouraging your children!

Here is just a short list of some of the songs the children like to sing: "O pen and Shut," "M olly Dolly," "W here is Thumbkin," "O ld McDonald," "I W ent to Visit a Farm," "One  little, Two little," "D own by the Bay" and the most popular: " Slippery Fish."
Thank you,
Monaz, Nubia, and Zoe

Pre-Primary 1

Welcome to December!

It was wonderful to see everyone at the Harvest Meal and Winterfest Performance! Thank you so much to all of the parents who were able to help out with ingredients for our tasty Harvest Meal Soup. December was a short, yet busy month for us. We would like you to join us in welcoming our newest students; Revelle, Yannis and Maxwell. Welcome!

The children had a great time practicing their songs for the Winterfest Performance. It really sounded great in the end! We have been learning new things every day in the classroom. Almost every day, half of the class spends time in the kitchen to work on Practical Life materials that involve the use of water. They are having such fun! 

Working on improving pre-language skills, we have introduced parquetry, bead stringing and letter sounds to those who are ready for it.

The red rods, spindle box and numerals & counters have been introduced to assist the children who are ready to begin using them to understand mathematical concepts. 

Teachers did presentations on the following Sensorial materials this month: the triangle box and the large hexagon box. We continue to explore size and dimension of the pink cubes, brown prisms and the cylinders.

Classroom Needs:
Small used blankets, washable throw-pillows, and a foam pad with a cover to make our 'Take A Break' area more comfy and inviting for children who need a moment to themselves.

We wish you a fantastic Winter Recess!

Thank you,
Steph and Cherefah
Encinal Campus

Primary 1

Dear Primary 1 Families,

We hope that you enjoyed Winterfest! The children had such a great time rehearsing and preparing for their wonderful performance. We were all so proud of each other that we had a special celebration treat in class where we were able to relax and watch a few episodes of Curious George. 

The children have been working on their French language skills everyday with Ms. Emma. They learn to recite the days of the week in French (and English) and on learning to say their numbers 1-12 in French. 

Students are enjoying Practical Life materials such as the punching work with some winter shapes of a snowflake and a star. The are now sewing and cutting these winter shapes! Some children have made beautiful snowflakes using pipe cleaner and beads. During a lesson on snowflakes, they learned that most snowflakes have 6 sides, but some can have just 4 sides. Each shares the same angle, but vary in design. Each snowflake is unique and holds secrets to it's unique journey to earth. The humidity, wind, and temperature affects the growth of each snowflake.

We continue to work on our handwriting on the chalkboard and with paper. Students also develop and strengthen their pencil grasp through ringing, tweeting,lacing, and spooning.

The children are improving their mathematical understanding of  concepts such as addition and number recognition.  Some children are working  with he teen board and the tens board where they match the actual number of beads (quantity) to the matching symbol.

This month, we are working on letter sounds daily. The children that know all of their sounds have begun to put three letter words together with the moveable alphabet. We are working on sound recognition with beginning, middle, and ending letter sound work. A few children are working on their first set of sight words.

A special "Thank you!" goes out to the parents who brought in food and toys for our school drives. Thank you to Abigail Gardner for helping make our bird masks for Winterfest and to Alli Nova for making play dough for our classroom. We hope that all of you have a wonderful Winter Recess! See you in 2018!!!

Thank you,
Mari and Emma

Primary 2

Dear Primary 2 Parents,
"We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being." -Maria Montessori

Just a few more months and we will be half way through the school year! By now we have learned how to respect each other's spaces, how to appreciate each and other's unique qualities, and above all, how to be safe. Students are working both together and individually to benefit our environment.  During the Antarctica cultural unit, new works were introduced such as ice preparation, ice scooping and making snowflakes collage. The students loved them! The class favorite was winter Sensorial bin which was created with contributions from all of the children in the classroom. They love to feel the texture of the "snow."

The letter sounds this month were: c, m, a, t, b, o, f, g, I, p, r, and s. The children hunted for objects beginning with the letter sounds in their environment. We also introduced a sorting between winter and summer clothes work. The children learned to trace their names in Japanese, to classify colors in Japanese,and object (blocks) to picture matching in Japanese (animals). Students were also introduced to several Japanese words used during mealtime.

The children continue working on numbers by using counting the snowflakes work. We are also working on skip counting by 2's. The older children are working on addition and subtraction up to quantities in the thousands with help of the small bead frame. Students are writing those combinations on paper to assist them in memorizing those combinations.

Science is a favorite subject. This month, we learned about the five senses and played a game in circle time to increase understanding.  During circle, the children explored the sounds (c, m, a, t, b, o, f, g, I, p, r, s) in various words. We talked about the season and the months and discussed characteristics of the region of Antarctica, sharing information and pictures. 

Students love to sing songs like "Herman the Worm" and "I am a Pizza." We did free dancing too!
We would like to particularly thank all of the parents for attending Winterfest. The children performed so wonderfully. What a great talent these little ones possess!!

Happy Holidays!!
Thank You,
Hurma and Katsuko

The Cultural Room

This month, the students enjoyed an introduction to light, building a flash light, experimenting with light to make art, using light to look at animal bones, X-Rays, making snow, understanding temperatures in making ice and malting ice and parts of the LED light.

They also learned about the parts of the penguin and creating a penguin habitat, making the flag of Antarctica, reading "Antarctica" and listening to a presentation of Antarctica in relation to the globe, as part of the Antarctica cultural unit.

They had a presentation of the leaf shape chart and learned all about the land and water forms: Bay and Cape and types of clouds, like Cirrus and Cumulus.

We had great fun with artistic endevors in Shadow Theater: writing, directing, and creating your own play, reading about "What is a Shadow," making stained glass window art. They also read "Why do Leaves Change Color" as part of a leaf observation and drawing half of the leaf.

Thank you.
Joseph and Laurie

With Steve Slater

The MESA students did a wonderful job at the Winterfest Performance!!! They worked so hard to learn the lyrics, chords, bass line and song structure. The hard work paid off and they were able to perform the song, as a group, without any teachers guidance on stage. I am very proud of the effort they all made, both individually and as a group, to make the performance a success. After Winter Recess, we will continue to build new skills i performance as well as reading and writing music. Please make sure that your children bring their ukuleles home over the break as they have been given some new exercises to work on.

The preschool music classes are more fun each week. As the students get to know the songs they are using their voices to sing along with us on a regular basis. Every week we repeat songs from previous weeks and introduce new ones. This will continue when we return from the Winter Recess. If you are interested in hearing some of the original songs that we wrote, they are available on our website at: We also play plenty of other songs by well known children's artists, like Laurie Berkner.
Thank you,


Library Wish List
We are hoping to grow the libraries at all 3 Child Unique campuses to include more diverse and inclusive books for students of all backgrounds. 

Please click on this link to see our library wish list. You can purchase books directly through this Amazon link and they will get shipped right to the Taylor campus if you select "The Child Unique Montessori School's Gift Registry Address." The donations will be divided up among all 3 sites (unless you specify you'd like a book to go to a specific campus's library). I have also included several books requested by the art teacher.

And remember - all donations are tax-deductible.
Here's the link again, just in case:

If there is a book you'd like to donate that isn't on the list, please feel free to purchase and send/drop off. We are happy for anyone to contribute whatever they can and are able to.

Thanks so much,
Hannah Thompson
Parent Library Committee

Upoming Events

TCU Parents Tour at Encinal Campus 1/9, 10am
Unless there are special circumstances, Pacific students who will be 3 years in August of 2018 will be transferring to the Primary classrooms at the Encinal Campus for the 2018-19 school year. Therefore, we are inviting you to attend a tour of the Encinal campus on:
Tuesday,  January 9th 2018 at 10 am, at the Encinal Campus ( 2226 Encinal Ave.)
Cindy will answer all of your questions before your In-House Registration Day for the Fall 2018-19 school year, which is on Monday, February 5th, 2018

Annual TCU Sleepover! 1/12-1/13
Friday, January 12th, 2018; 6pm until Saturday, January 13th at 10am
Campus: TBD
Cost: $80 per Child (16 hours for just $5/hour)
Payment: Please bring payment by  January 9th Make separate  check payable to The Child Unique (put "sleepover" in the memo section)
Who can come: Any enrolled child AND siblings who are at least 2 years old and  will separate easily from their parents.
What happens: Play games, eat dinner, have a (supervised) pillow fight, tell stories, sleep in sleeping bags, wake up, eat breakfast, go home.....HAVE FUN!!!!
What we'll eat: Pizza or pasta for dinner and either oatmeal or pancakes for breakfast
Who will supervise: TCU staff members
What if my child won't sleep over? They can participate in dinner and games and leave early (cost is the same).

Donation Request 
  • 4 light colored adult-sized wooden chairs for the Encinal Library. 
  • A donation of an almost new computer for the Encinal Office.
Committee News:
If you are interested in being our chair for this wonderful committee, please write the office at  [email protected]

Raise Money for the School with Labels!
We would love to reduce our Lost and Found items! Order labels through Mabel's Labels and it will raise money for the school. 

Thank you's
Thank you so much to all of the parents who gave their time and donations for the Winterfest Performance, the School Drives and all our classroom activities!  You are TCU and MESA and we would be nothing without our community. Happy Holidays!