V olume 3, Issue 7 | March 2017
Message from Matt Simberg, M.Ed.
Dear Parents,
Most of you have probably heard of the phrase, "April showers bring May flowers." Here at MSOE, the administration is always looking for ways to improve and make the different aspects of the school better. Like in the classroom, there is a season for everything, so there is also a season with regards to assessing whole school operations. We feel a lot has been added and improved this year. This is also a part of the year where MSOE administration and staff start reflecting on what to improve and add for next school year. We want to add your thoughts and feed back to our turning wheels.  If you want to pop in, call or email, please share your thoughts with Patty and/or myself. 
Some of the areas we could use your feedback on are:
  • Ideas for Social Nights
  • Topics for Collaboration Nights
  • Ideas for Coming Ins (parent visits)
  • Seasonal Activities 
As is not much different than any other time during the year, this part of the year is full of happenings.  Some of the activities we have going on are:
  • enrollment/re-enrollment
  • camping
  • standardized testing
  • Mother's Day celebration 
  • collaboration nights 
  • social nights
  • drama performance 
  • Father's Day celebration 
  • possible science fair
  • end of the year celebration
  • preparation for breaking down and start of the summer program. 

There is more, but I don't want to overwhelm you. So, we are reviewing what worked, what may not have worked and what new things we can add. Having your input over the next couple of weeks is especially welcomed. 


After communicating with other administrators to see what other schools do with their summer programs, we have also decided to open up summer registration to outside students. We have had some interest in our summer program from families in the community, and we have not had as much of a response from our parents. Hopefully, we will still be able to run a successful summer program.


We also encourage you to fill out the re-enrollment form in Transparent Classroom for the 2017-2018 school year, if you have not done so already. That is especially helpful when making so many decisions for the coming school year. We did not put a deadline on re-enrollment, however the townships have deadlines for transportation forms. So, please at least fill out the B6T and hand it in to Patty, if your child is 5 and over and you live in a district that offers aid in lieu of transportation, so that we can get those submitted in a timely fashion. 


If anyone has any questions or reservations regarding the coming school year and would like to have a conversation before re-enrolling, please know that I am more than happy to make myself available to chat with you and have a positive dialogue about the future. We are so grateful for all the families that are a part of MSOE and we are proud of our community. Let's continue to create a mindful, collaborative and authentic experience for families together.  


Matthew Simberg, M.Ed.
Head of School

It is that time of year when private schools have already sent out re-enrolment forms. Parents are deciding whether to return to their existing school. We have mostly relied on new enrollment from word of mouth and online searches. Thus far, we have done quite well. Visiting families are often commenting on our reviews and mentioning how that was a deciding factor in them coming for a tour. Some of our parents have asked how they can contribute in supporting us. One of the best ways is to write a positive review online.

MSOE is very appreciative of the reviews we have gotten, whether it is on Facebook, our website, Greatschools, Yelp or Google. It makes a big difference when parents comment and leave reviews for prospective families. These reviews do not have to be anything spectacular; even if it is 2 or 3 sentences, it's a big help. Especially, to have more recent ones would be great. Your collaboration in this way benefits all of us and we appreciate your consideration and participation.

Drive-by Directory

Through our Social Nights, Collaboration Nights, creating a warm and friendly atmosphere, as well as creating a family directory, we at MSOE strive to help parents feel connected and to know each other. Yet, due to busy work schedules and family life we may still be falling short. 

I want to do everything we can to help every parent who wants to, to be able to at least connect names to faces and vice versa. Starting in April, with your permission, Ms. Patty will be taking a quick photo of parents as they drop off their children in the morning. You are free to bring a silly hat or prop. You don't even need to get out of your car. Just open the window and smile!

Then we will put the photos together on the parent portal so parents can get an idea of which parent belongs to who. 
Toddler Update

Dear Parents,
Spring is finally here!  The toddlers are looking forward to spending more time outside as the weather grows warmer!
March was a very busy month for the toddlers! We celebrated St. Patrick's Day all month long.  
We made many different shamrock crafts in Art, Shamrock counting in Math and learned about Ireland in Language. We celebrated on March 17th with a "Green Day Feast,"  which included all green fruits and veggies. We had green apples, green grapes, green peppers, cucumbers, chips with guacamole and Irish Soda Bread!.

Mrs. Cleff came in and made homemade Irish Soda Bread with all of the MSOE students! All of the children had a great time and loved the Irish Soda Bread!
We introduced a new work in the practical Life Area. The children were introduced to vegetable washing and the importance of it. We added a new manipulative which will enhance the toddlers' fine motor control. It is a shape linking work which the children really enjoy!  
We introduced the toddlers to a new fruit in our food tasting activity. They tasted a Canary melon and it was enjoyed by all! The Food Tasting Sensorial Activity has become one of our favorite activities in our classroom and the children really look forward to it!
In April, we will continue to learn about springtime and will be focusing our art work around springtime, bunnies and chicks!

-Ms. Chris

Primary Update

March is over...already. The year is moving along so quickly. We welcome Andrew Angelucci to our class. He is settling in and getting to know everyone. Primary had a great month. Ireland, Europe, and St. Patrick's Day were all given time. The color wheel, primary colors and secondary colors were also explored. We learned about beavers and mammals.

The extended day boys have been very busy as well. Along with the color wheel, they have learned about warm and cool colors. They discussed Wassily Kandinsky, the Russian artist and his painting "Squares Wth Concentric Rings." This also inspired a whole class art project using concentric circles to create a tree. 

April will bring new sounds, new topics and new work. The sounds for April (in order) are "f" as in fin, "e" as in egg, "l" as in log, and "o" as in octopus. We will be looking for and talking about signs of spring. We will be learning the names of the states and where they are. So, if you go somewhere that is out of New Jersey, let us know, so we can mark that state on our map. 

During April, we will be working with the land and water forms of our earth. We have beautiful models of these that we will take advantage of this month. 

The topic of dinosaurs and how they lived will also be discussed. The spring holidays will bring interesting stories and some new art projects. We will also be preparing for Mother's Day. Watch for more information about this special day. Enjoy your Spring break!

-Ms. Anne and Ms. Mary
Annual Easter Egg Hunt

You are invited to the annual Merchantville Easter Egg Hunt. It will be Saturday, April 8, 2017 promptly at 10AM at the Merchantville Community Center for children ages 11 and under. The rain date will be Saturday, April 15, 2017. 

Sponsored by the Merchantville Public Events Committee.

Lower Elementary Update

Greetings Lower Elementary Parents! 

We have had a very busy month filled with lots of work, lessons and collaboration!

We started learning about Ancient History this month and we all enjoyed hearing about the civilizations of the ancient world! We learned about the Egyptians, The Mesopotamians, The Phoenicians, The Babylonians and Assyrians, Ancient China, Ancient India, The Greeks, The Romans and more.

The classroom has been buzzing with research projects and big work! A group of students studied the Titanic and made a cardboard model of it. Another group of students studied Egyptian Pyramids. A few children are working together to make the Timeline of Life and a Timeline of Early Humans. 

Many of us have been busy working on long division using the racks and tubes and long multiplication using the chequerboard. We have learned how to identify 3 types of triangles according to their sides and we have had new grammar box lessons. We also learned about how the earth rotates around the sun and gives us our night and day. Many of us have been working hard on our multiplication and division facts and our long multiplication. Many of us have learned about personal pronouns and we learned how to conjugate verbs in the present tense. We also all learned about Simple Machines! 

On St. Patrick's Day Ms. Mary gave us a wonderful presentation on Ireland and some parents came in to bake Irish soda bread with us! It was yummy! 

We look forward to April and all of the green leaves and flowers that it brings!

-Mrs. Shannon

Upper Elementary Update
Dear Parents,
For this newsletter article, I want to share basic trends and experiences that have been happening over the past month. One of many interesting things about the upper elementary child is their need to socialize and do great work. This term "great work" does not always mean successfully accomplished work. It does however mean the propensity towards accomplishing a big work and to do it successfully. There is a component of doing things together, socializing and working.

Several children liked working on different physics experiments together that had to do with pressure. Two other children worked on the scientific method, understanding speed, velocity, and force with the popular egg drop experiment. There will be more physics experiments to come. One student has been working more consistently on becoming a better speller.  This has inspired others to want to practice their spelling and see how good they are with more challenging words. 

Two students are creating a proposal and planning a potential trip to go to Washington D.C. for three days and two nights. Even if it doesn't work out this time, they are learning how to plan and present something that they are passionate about wanting to accomplish. If it does work out, then what a great experience for them too. 

Another two students have been passionate about learning Finnish to the best of their ability and they even found another outlet to motivate them. They made a little paper box with a sign in the reading area for students to put words in English on paper that they want to learn in Finnish. Then the students practice the word, go to the student who submitted the word and teach them how to say the word. 

The new "U.S. Constitution Separation of Powers" material has been a big hit. It is a beautifully crafted work made of wood. It is a starting point to teach the students about the purpose and function of the three branches of government. Once they have the initial details about the branches, there will be some group research for them to do. We will be discussing parts and functions of government, not politics.

Group work and great work is a shifting and evolving organism throughout the year and years. I observe, guide, and experiment through giving the children lessons in different groups too. Small group work is constantly going on. Grand ideas and practical ideas are constantly happening. There is a dance of allowance versus guidance throughout the year. Conflict must be allowed for them to learn how to navigate through it. The art of conflict resolution is practiced along with communication and intrapersonal skills.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I thought it would be more interesting to share some insight in this manner than to review things that you are hopefully already seeing in Transparent Classroom. There is still value in doing the article in the way that I typically do, because every parent is not seeing the same works that are happening. Sometimes it is also good to summarize and reiterate for everyone to see. With that said, and as always, I am looking forward seeing what April brings aside from showers.

-Mr. Matt

Number the Stars

One of our Upper Elementary students is in Number the Stars (based on the Lois Lowry kid's book) which starts showing this week. Click here to go to the Haddonfield Plays and Players website to see showtimes and get tickets. It runs this week, over the weekend and through n ext Thursday . We encourage you to go and support our talented students in their exciting endeavors.  
STEM Scouts

This term in Elementary Stem we learned all about robots! First we dealt with just the actuaries by creating a flipping bot. Next we explored programming a rover robot creating guards and spies in a friendly battle. Finally we enjoyed the challenges of the Ozobot by issuing colored lines for it to take commands to get from home to the shop through a maze. 

The latest Middle School STEM module has the Scouts learning about how helpful and common hydraulic and pneumatic technologies are in modern society. The Scouts built a prototype pneumatic arm according to an engineering design, experimented with how different a hydraulic powered arm feels, and are now "hacking" their own device in a friendly competition. The Scouts have enjoyed applying a creative process (referred to as hacking) to take something and make it better. As lab leaders, we observed that the Scouts really respond to this approach as it allows them to experiment and figure things out on their own.  Forget directions! 

Holistic Health & Nutrition with Mrs. Jamie

Spring is here! Let us all welcome the beautiful weather and all of the colorful flowers that are starting to bloom. It's also the time when many of us start thinking about our gardens and what we are going to grow for the season!

If you are thinking about starting your own garden this year, there are a few things to
consider. When it comes to fertilizers for your garden, there are a number of options to choose from. However, many of these fertilizers are packed with chemicals and unnecessary ingredients. So be sure to search for an organic version if possible. 

Another important puzzle piece to having the perfect garden is composting. Composting is a natural process of recycling organic material into soil. The simplest way to distinguish between compost and fertilizer is to remember that compost feeds the soil and fertilizer feeds the plants. It is a good idea to make a habit of adding compost to the soil each planting season, because it is rich in nutrients and promotes soil microbes that aid plant growth. 

A fun thing to do is to make your own compost at home. Collect kitchen trimmings from fruits, herbs, vegetables and withered flower arrangements. You can even use leaves, eggshells and coffee grinds as compost ingredients. The Primary children are already busy collecting ingredients to make their own fertilizer for our school garden.

On Yoga by Ms. Tiff

This month in yoga we celebrated both St. Patrick's Day and the beginning of spring with a couple of themed yoga classes. For St. Patrick's Day, we went through a series of yoga postures related to an imaginary trip we took to Ireland. We explored yoga poses such as mountain, oak tree, lizard, sea turtle, and Irish hare. And as a welcome to spring, we pretended to be animals that migrate or hibernate as we welcomed them back from their slumber or their journies. We were bears, reindeer, frogs, snakes, and bats.  

We've also been trying to incorporate a lot of breath work. At home you can work with your children by reminding them to take nice, long inhales and then to try to exhale for the same length of time. I like to practice in the car. Before you know it, your children will be taking deep breaths on their own when you notice they are feeling frustrated or angry. And they may even start to remind you to do the same. 

This month, with the lower elemtary students we also created our own eye pillows for relaxation. To make them at home, you can use a clean knee sock, some flax seed, some rice, and a bit of relaxing essential oil. Mix everything up, tie a knot in the foot end of the sock, pour in your rice mixture, and tie another knot. The children can use the eye pillows at home at bed time, possibly while being read to, or even just as they drift off to sleep. (I accidentally purchased ground flax seed, which some of the children said was getting into their eyes! So if you make the pillows at home, be sure not to use the ground flax. You can also leave out the flax altogether if you like. Plain old rice works just fine!)

Boxtops 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. 

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
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. 
  • April 14 - 12pm dismissal. No aftercare. Good Friday
  • April 17-21 - no school. Spring Break
  • April 24-26 - Elementary Camping Trip
Click Here for our Google Calendar.
 Montessori Seeds of Education | (609) 832-2546 | info@montessoriseeds.com | www.montessoriseeds.org