V olume 3, Issue 1 | September 2016
Message from Matt Simberg, M.Ed.
Dear Parents,
It feels like we have been at school now for about three months. Of course everyone is not aware of the happenings of each other's families and the staff, but we have already experienced so much together as a community. There have been tough times, and also unfortunate and saddening losses. We have shared laughs, heartwarming collaborations and gratitude.

It is exciting to see us growing together as well as seeing what is on the horizon. Thank you for an overall great first month at MSOE. The picnic was a heartwarming success and Collaboration Night (Back to School Night) went really well too. Patty has finished putting together a video of Collaboration Night for those who missed it and for those who want to see it again. You can see it on the Parent Portal by clicking here.

There are already several things planned for our community in October. We have the Collingswood Book Festival on Saturday October 1st. Toddler parents have the opportunity to collaborate with Ms. Chris on Wednesday, October 5th at 6:00 p.m. On October 14th, the Anderson's have opened their home to us for our first Social Event. We have parent teacher conferences available on October 27th and 28th for all toddler parents, primary parents and lower elementary parents. Aftercare will still be provided on those days. The elementary children are participating in a Historical Presentation on Halloween. Plus, some parents are working on bringing us together on Halloween to do some trick or treating in Merchantville after school!

Additionally, I want to share one more thing with all of you. We are officially in the preliminary stages of purchasing our first property and it is within a short distance of our present location. I have met with the sellers three times, my architects once, am working on retaining a civil engineer and have a wonderful land use attorney.  We are going into phase one of the process. 

Phase one will take 45 to 60 days. If we get through this process, I will share more. It is important to me to keep you posted on what I am working on because I know all of you are eagerly anticipating, as am I. While I know you can understand that I do not want to give you false hope, I also want you to know there is hope to have. 

The only definitive timeline is the one I gave you. Unfortunately, it could turn up that after phase one we learn that this property is not going to work. However, I am hopeful and know now, more than ever, that if this does not work out, there is something that is going to come into fruition in the near future. We have come too far and I have made too many great contacts for it not to. 

Please continue to send your good thoughts, prayers, and support our way. I am very excited for our future together and the future of families yet to join us.
School Photos
Our first professional picture day was this past Tuesday and all the pictures came out wonderfully. Our parents were able to take home proofs the same day and order prints through the order form and online. Order forms are due Tuesday, October 4th. Families have up to 6 months to order online. 

Photos will also be submitted to the SmileSafe National Safety Program and families will receive 2 complimentary SmileSafe Photo ID cards. 

Thank you to Lifetouch for providing a great service and a skilled photographer.

Toddler Update

The Toddler Class has had a great start to the school year. They are enjoying exploring the classroom and are very excited about learning lots of new things!  In September we have been very busy working on practical life skills, communication, grace and courtesy, painting and working with the materials. We have even taught about about the fall and apples. In October we will learn about the Harvest and doing many activities with pumpkins, including baking pumpkin seeds!  Practical life, fine and gross motor skill reinforcement is a big part of the first few months of your toddler's school year. Also, I am really looking forward to seeing and working with you at our Collaboration Night.

Primary Update

Wow... what a great start to the school year. Meeting so many new classmates has been so exciting. We are all settling into the classroom and new class routines. We have been busy practicing practical life skills by rolling up work mats, pushing in our chairs, walking around the room and keeping our voices low. We have transitioned into individual or two person snack and it is working well. All of you should have received the communication about contributing to the class snack. Our discussions about the oceans have provided lots of new and interesting information. The starfish, puffer fish and sea glass that Ms. Mary brought in were absolutely fascinating.  

Additionally, it is not necessary, but we would like to suggest an activity for birthdays. They can be celebrated in a very special way. On your child's birthday or as close as possible we invite the family to come in at 8:45 am with your child. We ask that you bring in a picture of each year of your child's life, (ie. if your child is turning 4... bring in between 0 and 1, 1, 2, 3 yr old pictures.) There will be a special celebration using these photos. Let us know a few days in advance so we can avoid any conflicts. 

Additionally, we have been working on learning our sounds using our new sound books, which are used to record the sounds that have been presented and learned. And some wonderful new sound boxes have been used to reinforce these sounds. 

Thank you for sharing your children with us. It is a privilege getting to know them more and more each day. 

Lower Elementary Update

It has been a really good first month at MSOE.  I have really appreciated getting to know you and your children.  So much activity has taken place. There is a nice buzz in the classroom as they are becoming more and more engaged and their characteristics and tendencies are getting nurtured. As you have seen in Transparent Classroom, such a wide variety of work has been getting done and lessons have been given.  

Some examples of different works in language are prefixes with the movable alphabet, sentence analysis, and sentence construction. The children also take turns reading to me aloud several times a week. In math, they have been working on strengthening their math facts, understanding categories of numbers, and reading larger numbers. 

For history, I have given lessons that introduce and reinforce the knowledge of the Earth, periods of time, creatures that have existed, and depictions of how little time humans have spent on Earth compared to the beginning of its time. Also, the children have received lessons on telling time. We have also worked on understanding the fundamental needs of human beings. Some geography lessons included God Who has No Hands, which gives a framework for all of Geography, the states of matter and their laws, and the function and layers of the Earth. 

So much more has been done, but I wanted to be able to show you, in a small framework, the variety. I am really looking forward to October and the coming months with you and your children. We will be working on our Historical Presentations more vigorously soon.

Upper Elementary Update

Every year with MSOE has been different and wonderful for me as an elementary teacher.  First, I had twelve children. Then I had about twenty-three. Now, I am responsible for eleven of the upper elementary children, while as you all know Ms. Shannon is working with the ten lower elementary children. I am happy to say, it is working out well. Ms. Shannon has been doing a wonderful job with the lower elementary children. Ms. Aubrey has been wonderful too, plugging in where we need support and utilizing her training to give lessons and support the 6th years.

This first month has been awesome for me. We settled right in to the swing of things. Many lessons and laughs have been given and had. We have our first "going out" to a micro roast, the first Tuesday in October. So, I am well on my way to accomplishing my goal of having more going outs and coming ins. We contacted the Medford Wildlife Refuge Center and the Butterfly Garden in Camden. Mrs. Matos has also given me information to contact someone who sets up a museum-like atmosphere based on African American Heritage. We are working on creating menus of food for the represented countries of the MMUN. Also, there are several holidays coming up, whether it is Diwali or Rosh Hashanah which I would love for parents or children to give a presentation about, maybe even participating in bringing in some food or having us help cook!

We have had several unique projects occur or that are occurring. Several of the boys are working on a Natural Disaster Timeline, which they hope to make bigger than 56 feet. Everyone knows about the skit that two of our boys worked on and performed at Collaboration Night. Dioramas have been made to compliment follow-up work from our reading aloud of Story of the World. Children worked on and created their family trees. We have worked on conflict resolution, active listening, compassion, and communication. Oh yes, and of course lots of math, language, science, geography, geometry and history work.

I'm looking forward to what October brings for all of us. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions please feel free to contact me always!  Let's make this our best year yet!

Adolescent Preview Activities
This month the 6th years observed the current state of our garden and now they are investigating several things: what plants we can grow over winter, how to keep our plants warm over winter so we can have a full winter growing season, how to naturally attract pollinators and deter pests, and how we can best water our garden. 

The other thing we did was learn about nutrition labels and how to read them as well as making healthy eating choices. 

We also learned about the origins of coffee and the coffee production process. As an introduction before going to Rich' Micro Roast as a Going Out Activity.
Security Update

Ms. Patty has met with Detective Steve Marrone, regarding security compliance this week. It was evident to Detective Marrone that we take security seriously at MSOE. He made a few suggestions which we are currently working on and will be implementing them within the next two weeks. 

We had our first fire drill on Thursday and the children did very well. Little by little we hope to make the process even more fluid and efficient. We will be collaborating with local schools such as Merchantville elementary and St Peter's in order to have alternate locations in case of an emergency such as a gas leak or something that would require evacuating the building. 

We will also be getting speed bumps soon and have recently had new signage with reflectors installed in the parking lot. 

We will continue to keep parents updated as additional safety measures are put in place.
Calendar Highlights

Here are some upcoming important dates. 
  • October 1st - Collingswood Book Festival
  • October 5th - Toddler Collaboration Night
  • October 14th - Social Event at the Anderson's Home
  • October 27th & 28th- Parent Conferences
  • October 31st - Historical Presentations & Trick or Treating Event

Click Her for our Google Calendar.
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