V olume 4, Issue 5 | January 2018
Calendar Highlights

Here are some upcoming important dates. 
  • Feb 7 - 100th Day Of School
  • Feb. 14th - Valentine's Day
  • Feb 12-25 - Read-A-Thon
  • Feb 15 - Teacher Development - Half Day
  • Feb 16-19 Teacher Development - School Closed
  • Feb 22-23rd - Matt will be going to the MMUN conference (he was asked to go as a favor to the MMUN)
  • Feb 23 - Black History Month Presentation
Click Here for our Google Calendar.
Message from Matt Simberg, M.Ed.
With the first month of 2018 under our belts, MSOE continues its 2017-2018 school year strong. We are continuing to have tours consistently; just this past week we had four tours all with enthusiastic interest for this year and next school year for all three programs. In spite of all the sick days and snow days, each program still fit in solid work for the children. MSOE is looking forward to a more consistent schedule as February approaches. I have been reflecting on what I wanted to convey in this newsletter. In honor of resolutions during January, I wanted to offer something up for us all to focus on.

Upon visiting the different classrooms, observing my own classroom, and having discussions with parents, I think it would benefit all of us to focus on independence. I speak so much about transparency, collaboration and mindfulness. Additionally, I think it behooves us to think about independence. So I want to touch on what independence looks like for your child at their different ages and how you can support them in nurturing this quality in them.

Maria Montessori said, "While we may believe we are 'helping' the child, in fact, any time the adult offers assistance or interrupts, she becomes an impediment to the child's growth." Wow, what a powerful statement that is, especially within the context and time in which she said it. When I even think about the different cultures and how much "help" is offered to the child, it is obviously so socially acceptable and expected. The parent truly loves their child and the more they help the child, maybe the more it shows they love them! How can helping them  be anything other than love?

What if we thought of that paradigm in a different way? What if helping and loving them was taking a step back, changing our pace, letting them figure it out, letting them make you late in the name of building their confidence, showing them a little, teaching them a little and letting them achieve their own age-appropriate accomplishments and successes.  Certain behaviors need to be checked, but that is where mindfulness, collaboration and independence comes into play. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what your child is capable of when given the opportunity. 

I think it would be interesting to ask ourselves to think about how we can do something different in February. How can we be more mindful? How can we overcome our fears and offer opportunities for independence? Maybe we don't know, in which case, here are a few suggestions. Let your child struggle to put their shoes on. Invite your child to help you with dinner. Your child could help you make their lunch for the next day. Humans need to struggle in order to learn how, like something as foundational as walking. Where can you let your child struggle to walk again? I'd also like to suggest that you talk to other MSOE parents; ask someone. I think it would be prudent and fun for us to even utilize the closed parent Facebook group more. Share one thing that you might do to nurture independence in your child or share after the fact at the end of February! 

I want to suggest to choose one thing you did differently and what difference you saw at the end of February. It would be fun to include Guides in this opportunity too. What is one thing they realized they could do differently to foster independence? I'll give at least one example at the end of February, either in the Facebook group or in my next newsletter article.

I hope that this encourages at least some of you to participate in this endeavor. Maybe you can offer suggestions to challenge others. MSOE strives for a Mindful, Collaborative, and Authentic Montessori Experience for families. As a community, I want to encourage you to actively participate in the school's mission at home as well. We look forward to hearing from you!


Matthew Simberg, M.Ed.
Head of School
February Read-a-thon

We will be having our first annual read-a-thon in February. Even though we already have so many avid readers, the children will love participating in the read-a-thon. We may even have a furry friend come by and visit so the children can read to him. Stay tuned for details, which will be sent home on Monday, or you can click here to visit our website for more info. Proceeds will benefit and enhance the toddler, primary and elementary programs. 

  Click here for Read-a-thon
Summer Program 

Great news!! Our summer plans are underway!! These are the themes that we will explore for a fun-filled, great time!!

Mad Scientist
Down on the Farm
Mission To Mars
 Mysteries of the Deep
A Bug's Life
Land Down Under
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Indian Summer

Our summer program is open to children ages 18mo - 8 yrs old. Attendees are not required to be enrolled in our regular school year. Look for more information coming soon!!

-The MSOE Summer Staff


Dear Parents,

Many of you have verbally expressed an appreciation of and great satisfaction for the way our school has positively impacted your child and your family. In the hope of updating our testimonials, which are great but becoming outdated, we would like to introduce the idea of "textimonials." In our fast-paced and ever-evolving technological age, we must think outside the box and utilize the tools we have readily available to gather helpful data as conveniently and accurately as possible. 

We ask you to simply text the school phone at (609) 832-2546 something awesome about what you are appreciating or noticing in your child as a result of their experience at MSOE, for us to be able to share it with others. You may request an anonymous textimonial or include your name. 

Thank you for your assistance in helping to communicate to prospective parents and our community about our school. Conversely, we are also open to hearing about anything you would like added, altered or improved.

Toddler Update

Dear Parents,

Welcome to 2018! I hope everyone is having a great new year thus far!

January was a fun filled month for the Toddler Class!

Our class was filled with snowmen and snowflake activities in all areas of the Classroom. 

We continued our language focus on artic animals and Antarctica!

We introduced the children to the sense of smell through a new sensorial work where they rubbed a cinnamon stick on sandpaper. The children thought it smelled like a donut! Yum!

We also introduced the toddlers to the concept of size through sorting different sized objects: small, medium and large.

We added silver polishing work to the Practical Life Area. The children love to clean things. We also added a water transfer work using an eye dropper, which helps to develope eye-hand coordination and fine motor control.

Mary celebrated her 3rd birthday on January 8th, so we sent her many Happy Birthday Wishes!

We also celebrated Martin Luther King's Birthday by discussing why we had off that  Monday and why he was a special man. We talked about what peace and equality means and ways we can have peace and equality in our classroom. 

Thank you all for taking the time to come into school for Parent/Teacher conferences. It was great
getting to speak with each of you about your child's progress and accomplishments! As always, my door is always open if there is something you would like to discuss regarding your child. You can e-mail me or give me a call at the school, whichever is more convenient for you. 

We will be celebrating Valentine's Day on  February 14th with the exchange of cards. Please refer to Transparent Classroom for a list of the names of your child's classmates.

Please refrain from sending in any sweets that day. We will be making something special for snack!

Best Regards,
Ms. Chris

Primary Update

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education." -Dr. Martin Luther King

Dear Primary Parents:

First, I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you how much I truly valued connecting with each of you during conferences. It's always nice to hear about how things are going from your perspective, and to strengthen our communications so that we may do our best to support your children in the best way possible. In addition, our last Primary collaboration night was awesome! I look forward to more engaging conversations between all of you that will create bridges between the work we are doing in the classroom and your homes.  

It's an amazing feeling to witness how far we have come during these past six months, and also, to observe the potential of where each of your children can go. During the course of the month, we dug deep into the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King. The children sang songs about him, we read stories, and we talked about the powerful message of love and respect that Dr. Martin Luther King conveyed to the world. Subsequently, we discussed as a classroom the power of a positive idea, and how an idea can make an impact.

To honor Dr. King and the concept of great ideas, we have begun an Idea Jar in our classroom. The children periodically, throughout the morning, write down ideas on small slips of paper and place it in the jar or share their idea with an older friend or teacher and have them write their ideas down for them. This has had a wonderful impact on the culture of our classroom. The ideas that the children come up with are both hilarious and heartwarming. For example, some of them include: bridges made of ice, helping other people, different kinds of hot dogs, silly stories about ants with hats, solar eclipses, flying people in the sky, and water that evaporates into the sky.

In conclusion, I want to hear your ideas. I want to know how things are going, and any feedback you may have on expanding communication to you more efficiently. Also, I want to extend an invitation for you to share any talents or experiences you might like infused into our classroom community. Whether it be dancing with the children and talking about your experience as a Broadway performer, or showing photos about a trip to Guinea West Africa, or bringing in a Middle Eastern drum and engaging them in music from a different part of the world, or sharing other interests and talents, we welcome you with open arms!

We look forward to continuing the conversation, and another month of vibrant growth!

Warm Regards,
Mr. Carl and Ms. Anne
Friendly Reminders   
  • Please continue to LABEL all things coming in so that we can make sure to keep track of your children's items accordingly.
  • If you have not had a chance, please sign up for the Museum Activity. Let us know if you need the sign-up link again. It is a wonderful work that all your children will love to participate in.
Things to look forward to
  • February 7th - 100th day of school
  • Read-a-thon - February 12-25

Elementary Update
Dear Parents,
There is so much that I want to share with you, but I am going to do my best to be concise. There are two main things that I will share. One is elaborating on a few things that I learned from the 21 conferences I have had so far. Also, I will share some general topics that I have covered with your children that may not have been fully grasped or seen in Transparent Classroom.

Here are some thoughts I had after conferences. Parents may be trying to see a pattern or rhyme or reason as to lessons given or what their child(ren) are learning. I can see how this might be hard to figure out. Essentially, there are some interrelationships between materials, within subjects and/or between subjects. I might see that your child knows something and they ask for a lesson that is unrelated to what the next logical step is for them to learn. However, I may know they have knowledge or are able to skip a step or two. To satisfy their need or desire, I am able to give a lesson that supports them. Then I have a plan to give them a lesson in an unrelated subject, but is the next step based on what they have already learned. So, within that framework, from the outside observer, someone might be rightfully confused. Also, if I give a lesson on say migration, to everyone, some children have had that lesson before and some have not. 

Thanks to my training and the way the lesson is presented, I am able to capture the attention of all ages. Then the expectation of what the take-away is will be different for each child. These types of lessons are given each year. Taking it a step further, I might speak about the Roman Empire and say some group came in and overthrew the Roman Empire. It seemingly goes over everyone's head, until an older child asks, "who overthrew the Roman Empire?" To which my response is, "That is a great thing for you to research and share with me." Usually that child or another child finds out that Odoacer overthrew the Roman Empire, and since they never heard of him, that leads to more research. Then others see someone else is doing it and that sparks more great work! Meanwhile, younger children are engaged in great stories and might just want to copy a chart and think about what I said. Others might take away the knowledge of the slash and burn method. Then, when they hear it again, knowledge builds on that from their interest or they realize they get something more from hearing the story a second time.

I am also reading a great book to the children called "How We Got to Now." This is about six innovations that made the modern world. Some parts are a little over the head of a six year old, but I'll ask questions to engage them and I think it ends up being a good experience for all of them. Right now we are finishing up about the history of glass. Maybe you would want to pick up a copy, read it in your free time, and possibly discuss some things with your children.

There is truly so much going on in the classroom every single day. So many subjects are covered, and by subjects I also consider implementing socialization, conflict resolution, and grace and courtesy as subjects. It is so difficult to communicate everything or most things that are happening with your children everyday. I feel like Transparent Classroom is a great tool that we utilize to help give you a window into your child's day. I also understand that some parents might not look at my tags that often and/or have no idea what certain things are or what they do for your child. I also try to communicate a little snippet about that in practically every tag. 

You may have also noticed that I try to share what the typical grade level or age is that a child would be doing a work that your child is doing. Everyone has a different opinion about the way in which this should be done and I do my best to consider every factor and weigh every good and bad consequence that occurs from making a decision regarding this, doing something different or more or not. I hope you all know by now that I advocate for transparency and I want you all to feel as connected as reasonably possible! It is my hope that all parents are consistently satisfied and have a semblance of where their child is academically or socially. Also, I hope that after our conference you now feel reassured. 

What I want to say is please communicate with me, good or bad, sooner rather than later. If and when you make suggestions, please consider other points of view too. Or, ask me what my thoughts about it are too. This year is off to a great start socially and academically for all of your children. I am very much looking forward to the rest of the year, all that we have planned and all that is not planned yet. Thank you for all the experiences thus far with you and your children!

Yoga with Mrs. Tiff

Throughout the month of January, I have been working with the children on practicing yoga simply as yoga. For the first part of the school year, typically our classes revolved around themes, but by now the children seem to understand that the point of yoga is more about actually practicing the postures than about playing. 

Play, of course, is important and always necessary in a yoga practice for children, and while classes look (and sound) different than a typical adult yoga session, the basics are the same. So in order to give you an idea of the flow of an average session here at MSOE, I figured that at this point, I would share with you the breakdown of a children's yoga practice. 

We always begin with a breathing exercise. Hopefully by now, your child has shared at least one of the exercises with you at home. Then we move into our Sun Salutations, which I call the Sun Dance with the children. From there, we normally get through a sequence of about five postures, incorporating standing, balancing, forward folding, back bending, and often inversions. All the while we are working on a most important skill: worry only about yourself. In a yoga practice it matters not what your friends can do. It matters only what is happening on your own mat. This is a challenge for almost all of the children to grasp, but it is an important life skill. 

As I remind them often, what we learn on our mats should travel with us throughout our days and lives. Each class finishes with relaxation (Corpse Pose) and for the children who enjoy them, I offer foot rubs with lavender lotion. And when there is time, we complete the practice with a mindfulness game or activity. A favorite at MSOE is "Capture the Keys," which helps them practice their noticing skills. It's really been beautiful watching their yoga practice grow this year. It is my hope that your children are enjoying it as much as I am. 
-Ms. Tiff

STEM Scouts Update

Elementary STEM

In Elementary STEM we finished the Light and Color Module with a "friendly" competition using what we learned. The scouts were challenged to shoot a laser to hit various targets...through an obstacle course! This challenged the students to use optical devises (mirrors and prisms) to change the direction of the laser to get it to go around the obstacles. The final challenge was to hit more than one target at a time by splitting the laser beam with the prism. All three teams scored high points using multiple optical devices and sometimes even hitting the target! One team actually got the bullseye! I'm happy to say that by the end of the day all the children had a great time learning and experimenting with their STEM friends. We are now starting our next module, "What's the Matter!?" It's all about what everything is made of...

Holistic Health & Nutrition with Mrs. Jamie

I want to thank all the parents who have contributed to the Primary Snack Program this month. It's always so much fun making healthy recipes with your children! I love seeing how engaged and open they are to trying new foods month after month! 

Valentine's Day is coming up in only a couple weeks! I know stores all over will be filled with all the pink and red themed candy, decorated chocolates and overpriced heart-shaped plush toys. Avoid the temptation of all the sugar-packed candy and overpriced gifts by making something at home instead! Red heart shaped homemade gummies are perfect for this occasion! Kids love this treat and are surprisingly simple, inexpensive and so healthy! You can make a whole afternoon out of it and call it a "Mommy & Me" or "Daddy & Me" Valentine's date! It will be a memorable day for you and your little one! See below for the Healthy Strawberry Gummy Bear Recipe. 

  • ⅔ cup pureed strawberries (make sure they're thawed to room temp if using frozen)
  • ⅓ cup filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey (use local honey, or raw honey)
  • 3 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • gummy bear silicone mold

  1. Combine all ingredients except gelatin in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir with a whisk.
  2. Gradually whisk gelatin into the mixture, stirring constantly. (Avoid dumping gelatin into pan all at once, which will cause big globs of gelatin to remain in finished product.)
  3. Continue heating over medium-low heat until all ingredients are well combined and gelatin is completely melted. (The mixture will change from a grainy, jelly-like consistency to a more glassy, smooth consistency when gelatin is all melted.)
  4. Place gummy bear mold on a cookie sheet (which makes it easier to move without spilling once filled). Pour mixture into silicone mold and place in freezer for about 20-30 minutes.
  5. Pop gummy bears out of mold and store in an airtight container. They will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

Ms. Jamie
 Montessori Seeds of Education | (609) 832-2546 | info@montessoriseeds.com | www.montessoriseeds.org