V olume 2, Issue 6 | March 2016
Message from Matt Simberg, M.Ed.
I truly believe that our community is very strong, supportive, and nurturing toward each other. I've gotten great feedback from other community members who have seen online posts, and people have even commented that they would like to work at our school because of what they have read online. With that said, I would like to share something that I came across recently. I   periodically visit Great Schools and I saw that someone had given us 3 out of 5 stars and posted on March 1st the following:

 "It's great how much time the students have for exploratory learning and play. I am disappointed, however, in the apparent lack of civic mindedness, i.e. in February, no African American leaders were taught. I worry about student's long term critical thinking skills and being able to apply them to become socially mindful citizens." 

As the founder of this school and someone who has a very passionate vision, it took me by surprise that someone from our community would feel this way, and that they would voice that opinion in such a public forum without reaching out to our staff or me regarding their concerns.  When we opened MSOE, one of the founding commitments we made to parents is to be as transparent as possible, and allow unobstructed communication between families, teachers and staff. The relationships we build with your families are critical to your child(ren)'s success at MSOE, as well as the growth of our community. Our hope is that you reach out to us if the need arises, so we can address any and all concerns in an honest, straight-forward, and respectful way. 
That being said, I would like to assure parents that the fundamentals of an authentic AMI Montessori are built on a vast, diverse understanding of the world around them: every living being, the cycle of life, the natural earth, and the science behind it all.  Sharing and celebrating our differences, be it cultures, traditions, or religions, is a daily practice in our world, not just during one particular month. We encourage our students and staff, parents/grandparents/caregivers to do the same, as several have done during the course of this school year. As we grow, our plan is to put in place a Parent Association, which would include a Community Service Committee. This would allow us to further engage the diversity of our local neighborhoods.  
Furthermore, critical thinking is a core component of our entire curriculum. From the earliest years on through middle school, students are taught to identify their voice in the world, using it to question what does not make sense, seek answers, collaborate with their classmates, and ultimately decide for themselves what is true and right. When they reach age 9, students are given the opportunity to participate in the Montessori Model United Nations Conference (MMUN). This experience incorporates many interpersonal skills including critical thinking, public speaking, negotiation, alliance building, problem solving, and respect for their fellow human. This remarkable experience culminates in a four day conference attended by 2000+ children from various socioeconomic backgrounds, of every race, religion, and practically every ethnicity from all but one continent around the world.
During Black History Month, the students engaged in various lessons regarding prominent African American leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his role in the Civil Rights Movement. We discussed the significance of President Barack Obama's election to office. The Primary and Toddler students learned about famous jazz musicians, and were able to enjoy jazz music throughout their days. Mr. Moore also reintroduced a student favorite song, "Dr. King" during music class.
Moving forward, MSOE will continue to celebrate our different ethnicities,   cultures and religions whenever possible throughout the year. We encourage you to join the conversation, engage your children in dialogue, and share your unique differences. We look forward to our future with joy, hope, excitement and gratitude. 

Planting Season

We would like to thank those parents who have already provided seeds and flowers to plant in our garden at the park in Merchantville. The children have begun weeding, and soon it will be ready to put seeds in the ground. We welcome seeds and bulbs. Please click on the link below to see the Merchantville Planting Calendar. 

  Click Here for a Merchantville Planting Calendar
Box Tops for Education

MSOE is enrolled in the Box Tops for Education™ program. To get started, just sign up at   www.BTFE.com  to become a member and support our school. 

Monthly updates of our progress will be posted in The Elementary Seedling. We can begin earning $$$ in the following ways:
  • Check list of Participating Products. Every time you purchase something that is on the list, simply clip the Box Top and send it to school!
  • Participate in the Bonus Box Top Promotions, which offer sweepstakes, giveaways and other chances for us to earn extra cash for MSOE
  • Receive coupon offers from local stores (Hint: All of the products are on the Participating Product List!). Printable Coupons and Store Card Linked Offers are available weekly at www.boxtops4education.com/coupons
  • Sign up for the free newsletter to keep updated on the latest offers and promotions. 
Remember to invite your friends and family to participate as well. For your convenience, you can also access the BTFE website by clicking the  Box  Tops logo in the For Parents section of the Elementary Seedling, in the left column. 
Please contact the School Coordinator for the  Box  Tops for Education Program (BTFE), Wendy Amato at  wamato@montessoriseeds.com.

Toddler/Primary Update

This month we learned about Henri Rousseau and about his life, how he was 40 years old when he started painting and how he was friends with Pablo Picasso. We also read a math story called One Grain of Rice, which is about how you keep doubling the amount you had the day before, eventually, it will grow enough to feed a country. We learned about the Indian culture and did decorative elephants. For St. Patrick's Day we read two stories about heart playing and being kind to one another and helping people out. Then we cut out and made shamrocks. We made shamrocks highlighting green with light green. Three Elementary girls came in and did a St. Patrick's Day presentation. We made rainbows and Carl came back from Switzerland and Carl's mom, Sonja, came in and discussed the Swiss flag and the Swedish culture and how St. Bernards help rescue people. We did a lot of cloth washing and fruit washing with apples, bananas and grapes. Patrick's mom, Tricia, came in and baked Irish Soda Bread with the Primary children. The toddlers have been enjoying some "Bring me Games" where they have to identify and "bring me" an object. The older children played "bring me" with different types of triangles. While Ms. Patty was away at MMUN, we did wall murals outside, which came out beautifully. Next month, we will be studying parts of the flower and Georgia O'keeffe.

Chess Club

Elementary/Adolescent Update

The Month of March has flown by. The weather has been getting nicer and some more lessons were given on seeds, roots and plants in preparation for our upcoming work with the garden and spring season. There is another charge of excitement in the air, with all of the good work done in the classroom, the MMUN Trip, and that one less hour because of Daylight savings time.

Children are working on so many different things.  Some are working on different skits. Others are honing their foundational skills in Math, Geometry and Language. Some have recently been excited to work with the Geography command cards to understand the laws of the states of matter, how to combine, separate and mix. Older children are preparing for standardized testing by practicing their work in a different format. The older children created a Marble Run, and all of the children participated in making Irish Soda Bread with Patricia Cleff and Shepards Pie with Ms. Mary to help celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  Ms. Mary also spoke with the children about St. Patrick and she was pleasantly surprised to find that some of the children knew a fair amount about him. 

The upper elementary and Adolescents had a great time in NYC for the Montessori Model United Nations Trip. There was a constant buzz of excitement leading up to the trip. All of the children are working on essays to share their personal experience utilizing an essay format. It was a great experience for them and they had fun around some of Manhattan at night. I look forward to the parents getting to read the essays of their children.

If that wasn't enough to pack into a month, they also got to learn more about solstices and equinoxes, since it was the Spring Equinox on March 20th. Students were given lessons as to why we have unequal days and nights, 24 hours of days and nights at the North and South Pole, as well as the length of seasons and why that happens.

I t's been exciting since the last newsletter, but it really always is. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be a part of teaching your children so many different things and being a part of their daily experiences. It is my hope to have more going outs before the end of the school year.  Maybe some of the children who have been studying space can go to a planetarium. There is no limit to the options we can help your children to pursue.

MSOE Easter Tree

This week, Ms. Mary worked with the elementary students to create one of a kind blown easter eggs. The children learned how to carefully pierce the eggshell and blow out the contents using a tiny straw. Once the eggs were beautifully decorated, the students threaded the eggs with ribbon and beads to create decorative ornaments. We displayed those ornaments on forsythia branches to create a beautiful arrangement. Thank you Ms. Mary for the time, energy, creativity and effort you put into everything you do here at MSOE.
Soda Bread and Shepherd's Pie
Thank you to Patricia Cleff (Patrick's mom) for coming in and baking Irish soda bread with the Primary children. Ms. Mary and Ms. Wendy also baked a delicious Shepherd's Pie with the Elementary students for St. Patrick's Day. 
Steiner Sports

During the MMUN conference, a member of our staff attended a fundraising workshop hosted by Steiner Sports. This fundraising program is unlike any other for several reasons: 
  • There is a long-time personal relationship between Ed Schauder, Licensing & General Counsel of Steiner Sports and Michael Jacobson, Board Chair of MMUN, which fuels the desire to give back to Montessori Schools across the country.
  • Steiner Sports is offering 25% of the proceeds to registered Montessori Schools. 
  • Through Steiner Sports we have access to exclusive memorabilia and even access to the athletes themselves who are willing to participate in certain functions or activities, such as clinics and hosting events.
  • We can customize our own catalogue of products, which range from the lowest to the highest price points and includes hundreds of athletes from various sports.
  • Steiner Sports is very flexible in the way that it handles payments, and all products are on consignment to our school. 
  • We are working very closely with their staff to develop their affiliate program in order to make this fundraiser more readily available and easily accessible to other Montessori schools throughout the country.
  • This fundraiser is available year round.

We are in the process of acquiring our vendor registration number and setting up our online store so that anyone can benefit from these products and also help the students at MSOE in a convenient manner. We will be providing more information in the weeks to come. Email Patty if you have any questions at pherrera@montessoriseeds.com



Calendar Highlights

Here are some upcoming important dates. 
  • Mar 28-Apr 1: Spring Break. School resumes April 4th.

Click Her for our Google Calendar.
 Montessori Seeds of Education | (609) 832-2546 | info@montessoriseeds.com | www.montessoriseeds.com