V olume 3, Issue 6 | February 2017
Message from Matt Simberg, M.Ed.
Dear Parents,
February was another good month, for myself and the school as a whole. Our two new toddler students have acclimated very well bringing us up to eight in the classroom. We have had a handful more tours, applications, and requests for enrollment for all programs. The summer program enrollments are kicking off and families who are planning on attending in September are interested in signing up for the summer program. It is also interesting to note how big of a positive difference closing at 6:00 pm is making for families.

The upper elementary and I are going to time square March 8th - 11th with a few of our parents to participate in the Montessori Model United Nations Conference. The students are hard at work on their display boards and projects in preparation for this experience. One of our 6th grade students from last year, Sarah Esmail, is joining us from her new middle school. She was so emphatic about wanting to come that she took initiative to ask me to speak with the CEO of the MMUN and see if she could still join our students. Her perseverance and passion for the experience allowed her to participate, voluntarily, writing two position papers without a partner, because she wanted to take on the challenge.

In other news, we have a visitor this week, Alissa, in the elementary classroom. She is getting her certification from the Hartford training center, which is also where Carl is getting his primary certification. It is such a small world. She had observed me around 2013 and she works at a school in central jersey that I observed in and student taught when I was getting my certification. It is always special when asked to have a student come and observe our classrooms because of a good reputation. Additionally, it's so confirming when someone from outside our community reaffirms what we all see here at MSOE! If you see her, please welcome her and say hello. She will be with us through Friday.

I also want to share with you that I really had some awesome professional experiences in Austin, Texas, at the AMI Conference. There has not been time for me to really process everything. However, I will share some of these experiences either in the next newsletter or earlier. Thank you for your continued support and communications with us all!


Matthew Simberg, M.Ed.
Head of School
Our Condolences to Ms. Mary

Over the President's Day weekend Ms. Mary visited her family in Ireland. After returning to NJ she had a family emergency. Unfortunately, in the midst of that her mother passed away and she had to return to Ireland to attend her mother's funeral. She tried to get back home from Ireland, but her flight was cancelled due to a storm, after sitting in the airport for over 5 hours. Ms. Mary is back now and happy to return. Needless to say, Ms. Mary has had a difficult week and our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.

In the meantime, Ms. Jamie, who assists in the afternoons, has been helping in the Primary classroom in Ms. Mary's absence. Mary apologizes profusely for not being able to be here, but we are amazed at her fortitude as she endures such hardships. We appreciate her concern for being with the children of MSOE in the midst of her trials. The children do not know why Ms. Mary has been out and since they are already use to Ms. Jamie being in the classroom, it has not been disruptive at all. Fortunately, things have been peaceful and productive in the Primary classroom. 

Toddler Update

Dear Parents,
The toddlers have had a very busy month! We celebrated Valentine's Day with a little feast that included a special treat and red pomegranate juice! I hope you enjoyed the special gift your child made for you! They were all so excited and couldn't wait to give you their gift!
We have been talking about what it means to have a good heart. We talked a lot this month about how we show love to our friends and family and how important it is to be respectful and kind to others. One of the ways to be kind to our friends is by helping them when they need our help. The toddlers have been going out of their way to help each other. Some examples are helping a friend clean up their work, getting a work mat for their younger toddler friends and helping their younger toddler friends with practical life activities, such as hanging up their back pack or taking off their shoes!
Our Art Area was filled with painting and gluing hearts and making hearts out of play dough. We made our own pink play dough which was very messy, but so much fun. The toddlers can't wait to do it again!
We read many books about our first president, George Washington, colored the dollar bill with his picture on it and used a coin counting work in the math area to celebrate President's day!
In the Language Area of the classroom we are learning the sounds of the letters of the alphabet.  We continued to learn about Arctic Animals and Antarctica. The toddlers were introduced to different matching works.
During our Sensorial Food Tasting Activity we made freshly squeezed orange juice that the children could not get enough of! This is such a fun and easy activity you can do at home with your toddler.  
We have been working on 0-10 number recognition and the heart counting work this month was a big hit with your toddlers.  
We have learned more color words in Spanish and are learning to count to twenty in Spanish!
In March we will be having a little St. Patrick's Day Celebration and Mrs. Cleff will be coming in to make Irish Soda Bread with all of our students at MSOE! The work in all of the areas of our classroom will include shamrocks! We are looking forward to another great month.

-Ms. Chris

Primary Update

I can't believe it's the end of February. Valentine's Day was fun and enjoyed by all. We learned all about Chinese New Year customs. We talked about each child's animal yer and made roosters in honor of Chinese New Year. We also learned about President's Day and about Lincoln and Washington. The next sounds will be "d," "i," "b," and "n."   

The extended day children have been working hard on their writing skills and math skills. Each one now has a writing book and right now we are focusing on pencil control and individual letters. They have also made a map of Asia and some of the countries. We continue to work on grace and courtesy and manners. 

In March, we will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day. We will be enjoying baking Irish Soda Bread with Mrs. Cleff. We are looking forward to learning about Ireland and looking for signs of spring. We will be celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday on March 2nd and learning about the real man Dr. Seuss. 

Sahar, Ghulam-Abbas' mom, has offered to come in once a week and do yoga with the children. She is a certified yoga instructor and is looking forward to teaching the children some fun yoga poses.

Independence is an important, essential part of the Montessori setting. Most of the exercises are self-correcting by design, so once there is a presentation or lesson to the child, they no longer need the guide. The children are also encouraged to be independent with clothing, shoes, lunches, and bathroom needs. This is something to keep in mind when you send your child to school.

-Ms. Anne and Ms. Mary
Lower Elementary Update

Greetings from the Lower Elementary!

February has been a busy month in our classroom. We continued to do work with money and some of us did word problems with money! Many of us have enjoyed doing some very long multiplication problems using the Chequerboard and super  long division problems using the Racks and Tubes! We have enjoyed working together to find the answers to our math problems using these materials! 

With Language, we have explored Singular and Plural Nouns and Personal Pronouns. We even helped each other to read and to spell. Additionally, we have worked together to form research groups for topics we are interested in and we have lots of big work happening in the classroom! A group of us researched The Beatles and presented our work to the primary classroom. We have worked together to write stories and brainstorm creative ideas for our writing. Through all of our collaborative work we are learning about teamwork, exploring our boundaries and learning how to communicate when conflicts arise. 

The whole class is now learning about ancient history during read aloud. So far, Mrs. Shannon has shared stories about The Fertile Crescent, Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, The Early Jewish People and Ancient Babylon. We have also learned about our way of counting time through exploring the BC/BCE-AD/CE Timeline. We especially enjoyed hearing about the Egyptian Pyramids and hopefully some independent research projects will come out of our History lessons!

Thank you for reading! Here's to a lovely March!

-Mrs. Shannon

Time to Plant the Veggies
We have a 10x20' garden plot at the Merchantville Community Park. Our garden has had a nice break for winter and now it is time to till the soil, add some fertilizer and plant some more vegetables and flowers. If any of you are available and would like to spend some time in the garden with the children, please let us know. The upper elementary children have begun planning what to plant and where, according to the season. 

The children enjoy planting and harvesting the fruits and vegetables in our garden. Typically the elementary children work in the garden, but if we have parent volunteers from the primary class, perhaps a group of primary children can spend some time in the garden as well. We are looking forward to another great harvest.

Upper Elementary Update
With February coming to a close and spring right around the corner, the upper elementary students continue to buzz around eagerly waiting for spring, doing new work and continuing familiar work. Thinking back to just the fall, these children have been developing and growing so much. Socially, we have been reviewing things like active listening, the importance of and science behind handshakes, common grace & courtesy, eye contact and presenting ourselves with regards to appearance and posture. For some we have visited the structure of our government and a little bit of its history. We have been including more science, particularly physics, and the scientific method with experiments. Most recently, some children started working on the egg drop experiment. 

Children are improving their math skills and knowledge of geometry with more lessons and follow-up lessons. Different language lessons have been more intertwined with Story of the World where we are now up to Samurais and Knights. I have started to be more creative with the children aside from note taking and summarizing. One example was from this past Monday. From two sections of the book, children were to write down at least 15 pertinent words. Then they had to scramble them. After giving it to a partner, that person had to unscramble the words. From there, they had to make at least two paragraphs using the words to make sense and relate them to the information that they comprehended.

Working with your children brings such an inner joy. They are all so different, but they also share similar characteristics. It is never boring coming to school; I am always on my toes. It's an honor to have the experience of supporting them to learn new things academically and about themselves. There is something so special about getting to witness a child get their "ah hah" moments and participate in bringing those "ah hah" moments to their peers. I'm looking forward to seeing where the next season brings us socially and academically.

-Mr. Matt

Math Tournament at Rowan

Our 3-6th grade students were invited to participate in the Perennial Math NJ math tournament  April 22  at Rowan College. We are excited about having a team from MSOE participate. We will send more details in the coming weeks.

Click Here for More Info
STEM Scouts

The STEM scouts have been hard at work exploring all things bubble! Exactly what is a bubble? What makes the best bubble solution? Why are bubbles round?  Can you make a longer lasting bubble? Just who is Lawrence Welk? The answers to these questions and much more at the next STEM Lab!!!

The middle school STEM program run by parents Melanie Curtis assisted by Frank Burkhauser here at MSOE every Monday evening has been a blast. Together we have explored "Things That Go" including a land yacht, constant velocity cars, solar powered vehicles and aerodynamics with old fashioned paper airplanes. Scouts have been challenged in teamwork, perseverance, and STEM principles including Newton's Law of Motion. Next week starts a new module in which we will experiment with fluid power systems delving into both pneumatics and hydraulics.

Uniform Exchange

We will be putting out a table with gently used uniforms for the taking on Friday, March 17th after school. Please feel free to park and pick up or drop off uniforms as needed. We accept used uniform shirts, pants and sweaters throughout the school year. 

Holistic Health & Nutrition with Mrs. Jamie

Conquer Your To-Do List
How to turn your To-Do list into your To-Do(ne) List 

Hey there!  Are you a fan of writing to-do lists, but not the best at executing the tasks on that list? Do you ever feel like you write the same things down that you need to complete over and over and over again? Does it seem as if that list grows and grows with little ever getting checked off?  If this strikes a cord for you, you're not alone. With our jam packed, double-booked lifestyles this is not uncommon. Studies show that having unfinished tasks can be harmful to your health in that it creates additional stress, anxiety and worry. I know that feeling first hand and I know it is not a good one! That is why I wanted to share some tips to help you overcome the habit of "hopeless to-do writing" and gain that wonderful feeling of accomplishment!

  1. Make sure the tasks are reasonable. Take the time to consider if the task you're writing down is achievable in the amount of time that you are allotting yourself, this will save you a lot of time in the long run. If your to-do list is more like a brain dump than an actual achievable list of things that you want to complete in a day, then you might want to consider having two separate lists. One list being an ongoing list of things that you have looming in your head that need to eventually get done and another being your specific daily to-do list. 
  2. Be specific. Have a clear understanding of exactly what needs to get done so that when the time comes to work on the task at hand, you can get down to work. This will set you up for success. For example, instead of writing, "clean the house" you can write "mop kitchen floor and vacuum living room."
  3. Break it down. If you're somebody who struggles with getting two or three things crossed off that list, then adding fifteen things to your daily to-do list is most likely not the best idea. Instead, write down the three most important things that need to get done that day and work towards three tasks. If three items sounds overwhelming then start with two or even one! This allows you to experience a confidence boost as well as creates positive momentum. Be sure to prioritize and write down things on your list in order of importance. In most occasions, this means put time sensitive items at the top of the list. 
  4. Work on one task at a time. I know multi-tasking sounds like a great idea, but many times multi-tasking can backfire if you're not super careful. To avoid the headache, focus on one task at a time. This improves focus, attention to detail and memory, thus allowing you to give a single task all of your attention, and you get the task done quicker. 
  5. Be kind to yourself. We're all human and all have good days and not so good days. It's important to remember that there is always tomorrow and that you are doing the best you can! 

On Yoga by Ms. Tiff

The practice of yoga is about so much more than the poses. One of the most important parts of a yoga practice is the breath. With young people, we practice breathing in lots of fun ways. Most notably, we work on belly breathing. Try to take a deep breath right now. Notice where the breath lands. For many adults, the breath is often shallow and doesn't move beyond the lungs. Now try again. Try to get the breath to move into your belly. Notice what happens to your belly. Does it expand or does it suck in towards your backbone? If you've ever watched a baby breathe, that baby will fill his belly with air...when he breathes in, his belly will rise and fill. But for most of us, somewhere along the line, we begin to reverse that process and when we take a deep breath, we tend to suck in somehow. With the children, I ask them to imagine a balloon inside of their belly. As we breathe in, the balloon fills with air. When we breathe out, the balloon deflates. Try to use this imagery in your own breathing. Practice when you are stuck at red lights. Practice when your children are pushing every one of your buttons. They will begin to notice. Remind them to practice. Then they will begin to remind you. It really is such a simple way to incorporate yoga into your life and into the lives of everyone in your family. 

Here is a link with five fun yoga breathing exercises you may want to try with your children. 

Sustainable Cherry Hill Earth Festival

On Saturday, April 29, 2017 MSOE will be participating in the Sustainable Cherry Hill Earth Festival. We encourage parents to come by our table and support our school. We will also have a STEM Scouts display with fun experiments to try. If any of you are interested in helping at the festival, they are in need of volunteers, especially for parking direction and assistance. Please click here to volunteer at the Sustainable Cherry Hill Earth Festival.

Calendar Highlights

Here are some upcoming important dates. 
  • March 8-11 - Mr. Matt and Upper Elementary will be at the MMUN Conference
  • March 17 - St. Patrick's Day and Uniform Exchange

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