V olume 3, Issue 8 | April 2017
Message from Matt Simberg, M.Ed.
 
Dear Parents,

Although the school year is winding down, our activities are not. During the month of April, we have had about 10 scheduled tours for all of our programs, along with a few new enrollments. On Saturday, April 29th, Patty, Anne, and I spent the day at the Cherry Hill Farm Festival along with Steve Benigni, a representative from S.T.E.M. Interestingly enough, his daughter went to a Montessori school in MD and he was excited that we were there with him. He attributed his daughter's education to her being a successful adult and getting into Cornell University. She was the only student in her public high school to be accepted into an ivy league school. 

Many families were at our table throughout the time that we were there. Their children were drawn to the few materials that we had out for them to play with. Parents asked about a summer program and talked with us about their discontent with the public schools that their children were attending. Some parents had misconceptions about Montessori, so it was nice to address those as well. Some families who stopped by knew families that are attending our school and mentioned their positive experience. A few adults and older  students were excited to see materials that they had used when they were in a Montessori school. We even met someone who went to a Montessori school in Germany. It is nice to be able to generate awareness that is accurate about Montessori education.

With regards to other happenings, Ethan's Mom, Rachel Baratz, came by and spoke with the Primary children and then the Elementary children about her experiences as a veterinarian and shared interesting and useful factual information for the children. The children and teachers really enjoyed her visit.  In May, we are working on a trip to the Planetarium in Glassboro, thanks to Erika Tsuchiya, Tomo's mom. We might get to have the older Primary and Lower Elementary children participate with a trip to  Pennsbury Manor for their  sheep shearing day. 

The Upper Elementary will be doing standardized testing with the Iowa Assessment Tests the third week of May. We will be having a Mother's Day celebration on May 12th and the Father's Day celebration will be in June, date T.B.D. soon. We will also be having a social event towards the end of May at the Eclipse Brewery in Merchantville, NJ.

Our school continues to grow and our community continues to thrive thanks to your collaboration and support. The administration is really looking forward to preparing for the next school year to continue to improve and make it an even better experience for our community. Feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions with us at any time. We appreciate your input.


Sincerely,


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

I have communicated throughout the year the status of our search for a property. The search is still ongoing and active. I want to assure everyone that we will not be uprooting the school in the middle of, or during, the school year. In fact, I am doing my best to have MSOE stay in the area, in addition to finding a larger property with land, which will house a community for toddler through adolescents. 

The church is the only place in Merchantville that can hold our size, plus a little bit more. I am considering places locally that could hold up to two classrooms (possibly Primary and Toddler). We are not going to uproot and leave, nor will MSOE pull any surprises to negatively impact families. I think everyone in our community is very respectful of this process and I appreciate that. If you would like to ask me any other questions or you have any other concerns, please feel free to contact me.

Tomorrow's Child

We would like to make available the digital copy of Tomorrow's Child Magazine, which is part of The Montessori Family Alliance,  a new international network of Montessori parents, teachers, and friends of Montessori.

Tomorrow's Child  is the Montessori Foundation's independent, nonprofit magazine serving Montessori schools and families around the world. 

Published by the Montessori Foundation since 1993, each issue is filled with articles that address the questions parents most often ask about Montessori schools and Montessori in the home. 

Click Here to Read the Subscription
Toddler Update

Dear Parents,
 
April absolutely flew by!  
 
In April our focus was on Springtime.  
 
Our Practical Life Area - Fine Motor Skill work was replaced with beautiful egg and bunny works that the children used time and time again!  This month was replaced with lots of egg work.
 
With regards to language, we talked a lot about the changes that happen in nature during springtime. The snow from the winter begins to melt. The weather is warmer. Flowers begin to blossom and buds grow on the trees. Animals begin to have babies.
 
The art area was filled with bunny, egg and chick painting. They also did gluing work.  We made applesauce during our Sensorial Gustatory Activity.  The children each cut the apples, added the spices and stirred up the ingredients. They loved this activity, but the best part was eating the homemade applesauce. Yummy!
 
In the math area we are continuing to work on 1-1 correspondence using concrete works that are enticing to the toddlers.
 
I am pleased to report that we have been able to go for our walks more regularly, now that the weather is getting warmer. Soon we will be going on our Spring Nature Walk and exploring nature to see what we can find. We will be discussing how our findings are different from our findings during our Fall Nature Walk!
 
Finally, in May, we will be celebrating Mother's Day with a Mother's Day Breakfast on Friday, May 12th, at 8:45am, in our Kitchen.  The toddlers are getting very excited, as they have been planning and preparing for this special day already! You should have received an invitation. I look forward to seeing you all then!


-Ms. Chris

Primary Update

April has come and gone in a blink of an eye. Our egg hunt went well. A big thank you to Jess and Janine for organizing the event and to all the parents who came and acted as security guards. Our sounds for May will be "j" as in jet, "h" as in horse, "w" as in wet, and "g" as in gate. 

Because April came and went so quickly, the dinosaurs will have to wait until May, as well as the rest of the land and water forms. It is just amazing how fast the time is going along. Along with the dinosaurs, we will be talking about our solar system. The children have been working on a couple of songs for the Mother's Day Celebration, as well as a couple of surprises for you. You should have gotten your invitation on Friday, but in case you haven't found it in the backpack yet, we are having a Mother's Day Celebration on Friday, May 12th, at 8:45am. You can plan on meeting downstairs in the kitchen area at 8:45am.  

The extended students have been hard at work completing set tasks in a timely manner. They have been learning about the artist from Switzerland, Paul Klee, and his Golden Fish work of art and improving their reading skills. We are looking forward to seeing you all for the end of year conferences.  

Please remember, we are happy to celebrate half birthdays for those summer month birthdays. If we have not done your child's celebration, please let us know and schedule it at your convenience.   

-Ms. Anne and Ms. Mary
Lower Elementary Update

Greetings Lower Elementary Parents!

I hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable break with their children! Even though we only had about two weeks of classroom time for the month of April we still have a lot of exciting activity to share with you! Like always, we had a lot of students repeating the important work that they have had lessons on throughout the year, students getting new lessons and students starting new exciting projects together. 

We had a lot of research projects and big work happening in the classroom this month with students constructing things to go along with their research writing using cardboard. We had a couple of students build a model of the city of Philadelphia, another student build a model of the SS United States, a group of students build an aircraft, another group build a model of the Philadelphia Zoo and another student made a model of a train! We also had a few students who are still working hard on a Timeline of Human Beings and a Timeline of Life. This is what big work looks like in the Elementary classroom and it is exciting to see it fully underway! 

As we sail into May it is hard to believe that we only have about a month left of school. We are all looking forward to another month of purposeful activity and exciting work!  

-Mrs. Shannon


Upper Elementary Update
 
The Upper Elementary children are continuing to solidify what they have been learning all year. I have been working on helping them to see and hear information and questions differently to figure out the answers differently from what they are used to. I have been working on giving them activities with directions where they have to read or listen to multistep directions. This has been helping them to not be so much on auto pilot when listening or reading. Some have also done more experiments, which requires them to read and follow step by step directions.

Even though it rained all day on Tuesday, the elementary had a great time on their camping trip at Camp Ockanickon in Medford, NJ. Patty is putting together a video to share with everyone that is reflective of their experience. The children had several team and community building activities. They got to participate on both the high and low ropes course. There was a survival game, shelter building activity and fire starting demonstration. The children also enjoyed canoeing, smores, gaga, and free time. The older children, the adults and Mr. Matt had quite the memorable experience when Ms. Patty introduced the "Spoon Game." Overall, camping was quite the bonding experience, and I want to thank the parents who participated on the trip as well as all the parents for collaborating with us to help make it happen!

This school year has gone by so fast and the end of the school year is just around the corner. There is still much for us to do and learn and I am excited to get it all in. One reason why I always enjoy this time of year is because I can start to look back and see how far the children have come from the beginning of the year. 


-Mr. Matt

STEM Scouts

We are looking forward to continuing our STEM Scouts program next year and are already looking additional for volunteers for our growing program. If you are interested in helping out with STEM, please let us know. 

The Middle School Scouts enjoyed completing the Fluid Power module where the "Green Machine" team won the final competition.  The last module, Effective Cities, has just been kicked off.  Science will be focused on in each lab with a variety of hands on experiments, including:
  • Water Treatment: replicating the process of how the water we drink is recycled and reused
  • Air Quality: testing the air quality in different areas in the environment
  • Protozoans: experimenting with what helps to define a healthy aquatic or soil ecosystem within urban environments
  • Cloud Farm: making their own clouds and learning more about the role they play in stopping pollution
  • Storms Impact: experimenting with their own storm surge simulator to understand how wind and storm surges impact a coastal city

Holistic Health & Nutrition with Mrs. Jamie

 
Hello all, I hope everyone had a lovely break and is enjoying the nicer weather. 

This month's newsletter is about working to see situations from a glass half full point of view, versus half empty.  

Let's face it, it can be easy at times to see all that is not going our way, all of the things that we want and don't have, what's ailing us, who's annoying to us, etc...

Research has found that a negative outlook can contribute to everything from depression to heart disease to lowered immune system function. It can affect sleep, weight maintenance, the quality of your relationships, your social life, and more. 

Now think about what it would feel like to approach life from a place of positivity, fun, connection, health, and possibility. Sounds good, doesn't it? 

I'm going to share with you six simple tips to make a positive switch today. 
  1. Go complaint-free. Try going an hour without complaining, then a day, a week and so on. 
  2. Keep a gratitude journal. Each morning or evening, list ten or more things that you are grateful for. (Don't forget about the small stuff - a warm bed to sleep in every night, relationships, your health, etc.) 
  3. Give compliments freely. Notice the good in every person you interact with. 
  4. Find beauty everywhere in your world. Notice its gorgeousness.
  5. Share your good news. Studies show that sharing happy events brings even more happiness. 
  6. Focus on what you want, not what you don't want.
Maintaining a positive outlook takes practice, and the more you do it, the easier it gets. The payoff is a happier, healthier life which is absolutely worth the effort.

On Yoga by Ms. Tiff

This month, I wanted to share a practice that I have been wanting to incorporate into our own bedtime routine here at home. It's called "Help, Thanks, Wow" and takes its inspiration from the book of the same name by Anne Lamott. 
 
Whether your family is secular or religious, it is possible to incorporate this practice into your nightly bedtime routine. You can call it whatever you like, but some terms that work would be prayer, meditation, bedtime wishes, our hearts talking to the universe, or anything that makes you and your child feel comfortable, really. 
 
The benefits of establishing a nightly "prayer" or 'meditation" with your child(ren) are extensive. Meditation, especially "lovingkindness meditation", of which this practice relates, has proven to reduce stress, increase positive emptions, increase empathic feelings, help us to process emotions, cause us to be more helpful people, and even help us to be less critical of ourselves. 
 
Once you have gone through the normal bath, brushing teeth, reading a book routine, or whatever yours already entails, you can encourage your child to find a comfortable position in bed and then to take a few deep inhales and exhales. Once he or she is feeling settled, you can have your child repeat any or all of these phrases (or add some of your own, or even ones that your child has helped to choose):
 
May I be safe. 
May I be happy.
May I be kind. 
May I be courageous. 
 
Following this part of the exercise, have your child take another couple of deep breaths and release completely. Sometimes I have them let the breath out with a big, loud sigh. When they hear their breath that way, it encourages them to tune in to it throughout their days.
 
Moving on, you can each share "a help, a thanks, and a wow". 
 
For the help, you would ask for help with something. It can be something like asking for help controlling temper, remembering to breathe when feeling stressed, finding something that's been lost, not hitting a sibling, or asking for help with math. You get the idea!
 
For the thanks portion, you would share something that you feel grateful for. It can be a person, a thing, an event, etc... 
 
Then finally, you would share a wow. This is where we remember that life is amazing on so many levels. You can share something that amazed you each that day, or something that amazes you about each other. 
 
Getting into this routine will help you and your child to settle in at the end of a long day, but it will also help you to recognize and to honor these things throughout your days. It will become more and more natural the more you practice. 
 
I hope to work this routine into our bedtime over the next few weeks, and hope that it will become a regular part of our nightly rituals. I hope that some of you will try it, too.



Calendar Highlights

Here are some upcoming important dates. 
  • May 12th - Mother's Day Celebrations
  • May 16-19 - Standardized testing for Upper Elementary 
  • May 29th - No School; Memorial Day
  • May 31 - End of Year Conferences
Click Here for our Google Calendar.
 Montessori Seeds of Education | (609) 832-2546 | info@montessoriseeds.com | www.montessoriseeds.org
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