V olume 3, Issue 4 | December 2016
Message from Matt Simberg, M.Ed.
  Dear Parents,
I hope everyone has had and is having an enjoyable winter break. First, I would like to thank everyone for a really good first half of our school year. There has been such an increase in participation and enthusiasm from the parents, and it is appreciated as much as it is enjoyed! The classrooms are buzzing, the children are learning and the guides and children are having positive experiences. I'm really looking forward to what the new year brings. With that said, I want to give share a suggestion that coincides with the new calendar year for the rest of the school year.

More recently, I have been studying resourcefulness and how it separates good leaders from great leaders. I touch more on this in my latest blog post, which should be up by January 4th, 2017. Montessori guides tend to be very resourceful out of necessity. "Leadership" and "greatness" can be very subjective. However, I think parents, teachers, administrators, etc... have definite leadership roles. Having these roles can be overwhelming at times. We can all be hard on ourselves. Furthermore, there is always room for improvement.

I want to make a suggestion about being resourceful. These are just examples of questions to ask ourselves to help us come up with more resourceful solutions to challenges we may be facing. What are one or two things that you can focus on with regards to yourself or your child(ren) to help them help themselves be more independent and successful? Can you choose one thing a month that you can identify and work on? 

In the spirit of collaboration, I want to offer this idea of resourcefulness for you to think about. What is one behavior or activity either you or your child(ren) does that you are having trouble changing about yourself or having your child(ren) change? What can you do differently? Some examples are, are you saying no or using negatives too much? Is there too much screen time? Is there a certain time at night or in the morning where you are feeling frustrated and not handling situation(s) the best? What can you do differently? How are you redirecting your children? What can you do differently? Please   click here to fill out the Resourcefulness Survey form  and let us know how you would like to apply resourcefulness in your life or your family's life so that we can encourage you. It often helps to write things like this down. If we identify answers to these questions and take action now, it makes our lives easier at school and your lives easier at home in the near future. If you would like suggestions, please ask your child's guide or myself. This is a time that most of us pause and self-reflect. So, I thought it would be a good time to give all of us some food for thought in the spirit of collaboration.

Speaking of collaboration, there are several events being planned for the month of January. We will have a collaboration night for prospective primary parents and a separate one for prospective lower elementary parents. Our lower elementary collaboration night will either be in January or the beginning of February. Look out for email updates about those. There will also of course be our monthly social event and, we have our parent conferences at the end of January so please look out for the sign-up sheet as well.

We hope you all have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!


Matthew Simberg, M.Ed.
Head of School
Property Update

We are moving forward on the one property that we have been looking at. My architect has made up drawings for a proposal for me to unofficially bring to the township. Once the meeting happens in January, if things are a go, they will go much more quickly. 

In the meantime, I looked at another property that has some real promise as well. It is actually 12 acres. There is a pool, pond, gazebo, large back patio, green space and land with an additional 9 acres for purchase possible as opposed to 7 and is quite beautiful too. I've gotten the disclosure, and survey. 

Some may think it premature to share this information with you, but I want to share as much information as possible with you so you are aware that I am still hard at work ensuring that we can make a move to a great location as soon as possible. This second property is in a really good demographic location and should not be a difficult commute from the present location. Once things are more finalized, and if this or another property looks like it will be our new home, I will share more details with everyone.

Give Back Box® provides vendor services to retailers and charities, allowing each and every cardboard box a second life to help people in need. So it is also a 'green' solution! Reuse your online shipping boxes in which you received your purchases, or any other cardboard box you may have, to donate your unwanted household items: such as gently used clothing, shoes etc., to make a major difference in the life of another person. 

MSOE does not receive any direct benefit from this activity. We simply wanted to share it and encourage families to practice and receive the joy of giving. We hope you take advantage of this service.  

Toddler Update

The toddlers have been very busy this month preparing special gifts and artwork for the Holidays!  

This month we read many books about Christmas,  Hanukkah and Kwanza. The toddlers were introduced to the world map this month when we talked about how children in Denmark, the Philippines and the Netherlands celebrate the holidays. 

The toddlers had a special surprise while on one of our daily walks when a police officer was kind enough to stop his police truck and give our class magnets to take home!  The children were so excited to meet him!

It is hard to believe that the New Year is just around the corner!  In January, we will be focusing our work on Winter weather and animals in the winter.

We wish you all Happy Holidays and a very Happy and Healthy New Year!

-Ms. Chris

Primary Update

Many thanks are due to everyone who sent in ingredients and helped with our Thanksgiving Soup. It was a great success. This December we took quite an amazing journey. We started in Germany where we learned about Christmas trees and the beautiful wooden ornaments that are traditional there. Next stop was the Netherlands where wooden shoes were placed in the window for St. Nicholas to visit. The children must have been good, because they all got bubbles and not switches. 

A stop in Switzerland included making bread people with Mrs. Strahm (Carl's mom) and learning about fondu and other Swiss traditions. Then we moved onto Russia and later Italy. We noticed how the story of Babushka and Old Befana are so similar. 

We also went to Sweden and learned about St. Lucia and the treats they have in Sweden. We learned that the oldest girl wears a white gown and a crown of lingonberry leaves and candles to serve her parents lussekatter buns very early in the morning on the 13th of December. 

I srael brought Hanukkah and latkes to our class. A huge thank you to Mrs. Perez (Idan's mom) for coming in and helping us enjoy making and eating the latkes. We also learned about dreidels and menorahs. 

We took a big detour and stopped in Australia where their traditions at Christmas include decorating trees and then going to the beach for a picnic. 

The U.S. brought us to traditions like Kwanza, an African American celebration. Of course there were also great language, math, geography, sensorial and practical life lessons throughout the month. The New Year will bring us to a Sound of the Week activity. We will start with the sounds "m," "a," "t," and "s." For the month of January we will focus on the sound each letter makes and have a variety of activities centering on that sound. 

Thank you to all the parents who attended the Winter concert. The children worked hard to learn their songs and had a great time. Have a safe and wonderful holiday and we'll see you in the New Year!

-Ms. Anne and Ms. Mary
Lower Elementary Update

Dear Lower Elementary Families,

As 2016 comes to a close and we enter into the beginning of a new year, the students and I have  a lot to be proud of and a lot to be thankful for. We have all helped each other to learn a bit more and to grow a bit more during the first half of our school year. During this month in particular, we have worked on many group projects and we have learned how to collaborate. We took a class trip to Rutgers University to hear two amazing choirs perform for us and we learned from them how to present ourselves in our own Holiday Concert. We worked very hard for a few weeks to get our songs just right and all of our hard work paid off, because we were truly appreciated by all of you who came to enjoy our music. 

We have had many new lessons this month and we have revisited and repeated important lessons. Some of us had a lesson on decimal fractions and some of us had lessons on new grammar boxes. Some of us began our explorations of the relationship between the earth and sun in a lesson about the rotation of the earth. Some of us have had lessons on the large bead frame and some of us have learned how to multiply and divide fractions by a whole number. We have enjoyed reading phonics books and have enjoyed writing our own stories. We also had a lot of fun making our own paper with Ms. Nicole! 

As usual it has a been a busy, productive and fun month. The children will be looking forward to getting back to their exciting work after a nice break of spending quality time with loved ones! I hope you enjoy it and I hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! See you in 2017!

-Mrs. Shannon

Upper Elementary Update

December has been filled with a lot of laughs, learning and fun. Preparation for the Winter Concert was a blast. Six of the children got to go to a Turkish Restaurant to experience the food of the country they are representing for the MMUN. Mac Haas, Stella's (toddler) dad, met them there to speak about his time spent in Turkey. He taught them about many things such as compassion, perspective and perception. 

We started working on understanding where the idea of tectonic plates came from, Alfred Wegener, around 1912. Also, we spoke about what was happening around the world at that time and how it took until 1960 for his theory to be confirmed. 

In language we of course worked on our writing skills and sentence analysis. Some of the children have been working on creative stories and "books." Some children have been working on timelines ranging from Alcatraz to Christmas, and Natural Disasters. 

In History, the children have really enjoyed continuing to utilize Story of the World. We finished learning about Jesus and the rise and fall of Rome. We are now moving on to Story of the World: Volume II The Middle Ages, which we will start in January. This experience of reading aloud to the children allows them to learn about the history of the civilizations of our world, to improve note taking skills and to develop comprehension skills. 

In Geometry, we worked on solidifying our understanding of shapes and their parts and functions including area, perimeter and volume. Additionally, we worked on understanding the congruence, similarity and equivalence of different shapes.  Bridge-building and visiting the Roebling Museum was one activity that stemmed from this work. The children have also enjoyed building bridges in STEM Scouts. 

In Math we worked on becoming more proficient in foundational math, analytical thinking and more advanced pre-algebra and algebra 1 work. At least one thing I plan on adding in January is some Physics work, which I know most of the children will enjoy.

I've really enjoyed and appreciated this half of the year with your children. From my perspective, they have already changed and grown noticeably: physically, emotionally, mentally. I've seen kindness, thoughtful reflection, engagement in conflict resolution and steps towards feeling like a contributing member to their community. I'll see you all next year and I look forward to what the new year brings for all of us!

-Mr. Matt

Mrs. Tiff on Yoga

Whether you have lots of yoga experience, or none at all, I encourage you to invite your  children to share a short sequence with you at home. He or she should start with a favori te breathing exercise,  then a few favorite poses, and finish up with relaxation. We usually  call this corpse pose,  but last week in our winter themed class, we called it snow angel. They can make up the poses, the names, or both. There really is no right or wrong way to practice yoga. Even a short ten or fifteen minute long session is helpful to encourage stress release and bonding between parent and child. As the New Year approaches, why not create the space for a regular yoga session with your child weekly, or even daily? It will be good for you, good for your child, and good for your relationship. I promise!

-Ms. Tiff

Holistic Health & Nutrition with Mrs. Jamie

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday festivities and are ready for 2017! With a new year comes fresh starts and new years resolutions.  This can either be an exciting time or an overwhelming time for people. My goal is to share with you some tips that you can implement to help make sure this time of year is really something to look forward to year after year. 

When making a New Years Resolution, be sure that it meets the S.M.A.R.T. goal criteria in order to set yourself up for success. The acronym for S.M.A.R.T was coined by a man named George Doran in 1981.  Doran defined S.M.A.R.T. goals as:


To elaborate on Doran's theory, I will share with you a few examples about how to implement them into your resolutions. Attempt to be as detailed as possible when planning ahead. The more description you supply, the more accurate the results will be. For example saying, "I want to start eating healthier" is not as specific as saying "I want to prepare colorful plant based dinners two times a week for myself and my family." Make a checklist or keep a journal so that you can know when the goal is achieved.  Chunk your goals down by taking baby steps. For instance, if one of your New Years resolutions are to start working out, instead of aiming for an unrealistic five days a week, start small; aim for two or even one day a week. Eventually, you will gain momentum and work your way up until you are comfortably exercising five days a week. Anchor your goal with various deadlines throughout the year so that you can have a date to motivate and congratulate yourself with. Lastly, don't get discouraged, just keep doing your best each and every day! 

Get children into the habit of setting achievable new years resolutions to share with them how satisfying the feeling of accomplishment is! 

Let's make 2017 your best year yet!

Flash Sales on Uniforms & Uniform Exchange

In celebration of the New Year, Flynn O'Hara will be running   24 hour flash sales  throughout the month of January. 

Each promotion will last  one day only, and will be announced  exclusively on  FlynnO'Hara's social media pages.

We also have a uniform exchange program at MSOE. Please send in your uniforms that no longer fit your child and are still in good condition, and we will make them available at no cost to families. We will send an email with the date when we will make the uniforms available. 

Click Here to Download the Flynn O'Hara Flyer

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. 

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.
If you would like to volunteer to be the School Coordinator for the  Box  Tops for Education Program (BTFE), please email us. 

Click Here for the Boxtops Website
Summer Program Survey

We are working on finalizing the summer program information. If you have not done so already, please fill out our summer program survey. This information is very helpful for us to make staffing and other program decisions. We are looking forward to another fun summer. 

Pease click here for the summer program survey.
Calendar Highlights

Here are some upcoming important dates. 
  • January 4 - School resumes.
  • January 16 - No school - MLK Jr. Day
  • January 25-27 - mid-year conferences (12pm dismissal - aftercare provided)
  • TBD - Collaboration Nights
  • TBD - MSOE Family Social Event

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