V olume 4, Issue 8 | April 2018
Calendar Highlights

Here are some upcoming important dates. 
  • May 11 - Mother's Day Celebration
  • May 23-25 - Elementary Camping Trip
  • May 28 - Memorial Day - No School
  • May 30 - June 1 - End of Year Conferences
Click Here for our Google Calendar.
Message from Matt Simberg, M.Ed.
 
Dear Parents,

The year is obviously coming to an end and part of our hope at MSOE is that you see your children are one step closer to singing like birds sing. Furthermore, to complement Maya Angelou's quote, they do not sing because they have answers, but because they have songs. Your children have their own songs and they are created in their own way and in their own time to complement and positively affect those around them. They are the gift that you share with MSOE to participate in their formation through our pedagogy, philosophy, and supportive emotional and mental attitudes.

Maria Montessori was 33 years old when  the Wright Brothers took to the air and she was very inspired by the notion that even the sky was no longer a limitation for humanity. To her, flight defined a new era, "a new world to conquer." She fought to promote "an education capable of saving humanity," one which involves the enhancement of a person's value as an individual, and the preparation to understand the times in which they live. She describes her work by saying, 

We see children totally change as they acquire a love for things and as their sense of order, discipline, and self-control develops within them as a manifestation of their total freedom. We have seen them labor steadily, drawing on their own energies and developing them as they work. The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind. 

Just as Maria Montessori made these observations years ago, so do the Guides  see the same results today in our classrooms. I want to encourage you to take some time to reflect on what your child has experienced this past year. How did you see them at the beginning of the year? What have you experienced through their growth up to this point? What songs are your children singing now? What heights are they aspiring to? How are your observations different compared to the beginning of the year?

Several of you have shared with us your appreciation for the journey your child has taken with us. We also appreciate you and glad that our paths have converged to continue on together. Even those who have moved on are still remembered because there will never be an individual exactly like them. Our students are all so unique and we work diligently to continue to provide an education and an environment in which they can actively participate and bring to it a value and a purpose. Our goal is to finish the school year well and do it even better in the year to come as we continue  to provide a mindful, collaborative and authentic Montessori experience for families.


Sincerely,


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

Dear Parents,

We had three new additions to our class in April! I am happy to announce that we have a new Toddler teacher! I am overjoyed to have Ms. Julie join Ms. Xiomara and myself, she has been a great addition to our classroom! I'm sure your little ones have told you all about her! You may have also heard your children talk about two new students in our class, twin siblings Graham and Ingrid!  Please welcome their family to our school!

I hope that you all are enjoying the warmer weather as much as your toddlers! We have been able to spend much more time outside enjoying the sunshine and have been able to go on our walks on a more regular basis!

April brought many Springtime Activities! Our Spring Curriculum included continuing to discuss the Spring season and all the changes that are happening outside, especially the warmer weather. Our Art Area had plenty of bunny and chick gluing and painting works. Our Practical Life Area's new work focused on self care, as we introduced the toddlers to jacket zippering for the older toddlers and velcro for the younger toddlers.  They are getting quite good at these skills, as they have the opportunity to practice with the work over and over again! Our Language Area's focus this month was on the household. We had puzzles and items that increased our vocabulary for the names of utensils, furniture and appliances. The children were introduced to a bunny color matching work in the Sensorial Area, which was a favorite work in our class this month. I introduced the children to a work in the Math Area that emulates the Short Bead Stair which the children will eventually be using in the Primary Classroom. This is a great stepping stone work!  

We celebrated Earth Day all week long with several fun activities that taught the children more about their environment. The Toddlers have been recycling all year, but on Earth Day we read our recycling book that tells us how recycling helps our environment. The toddlers planted snapdragon seeds and are feeding them and giving them sunlight, and they can't wait to watch them grow! We were so excited to join the Primary class outside to dig worms out of the soil to put into our school garden.  We read a book in our classroom about worms and Mr. Carl gave us a lesson on how earthworms help grow our garden. We have five baby caterpillars that we are watching grow bigger and bigger everyday! We are waiting for them to turn into chrysalis! Stay tuned! 

The toddlers had a great surprise visit from two of our Elementary students, Brady and Joss, who  brought a special guest with them! They brought in a baby turtle that Brady found in a lake in North Jersey with his cousins, and they gave the toddlers a presentation. The toddlers learned that the turtle will grow up to a foot long and that turtles have been on the earth for about 50 million years!

Please check your child's backpack for an invitation that was sent home for our Mother's Day Celebration. Please let me know if you are able to join us on Friday, May 11th at 8:45am. The toddlers have been working very hard getting ready for this very special day, and I look forward to seeing you all then!


Best Regards,
Ms. Chris


Primary Update

Dear Primary Parents,

The month of April has been a month of growth. Your children have grown so much throughout the course of the year! It's been extraordinary to see how the children have become a full-fledged community. The younger children are rooted into the material, and the older children are active leaders in the classroom. Interestingly enough, the transition of spring brought about many discoveries and glimpses into their own cycle of development.
  
The month began with lots of poetry! The children learned finger poems about animals, planting, and outdoor activities. We also read many books about the spring and the purposes of flowers. Subsequently, the children collectively planted a potato plant in the classroom.  The children cut the potatoes, measured the dirt into the pot, and then carefully set the potato pieces into the dirt. 

Lastly, the children celebrated earth day! The children throughout the month read many books about the earth and the importance of taking care of our planet.  As a group we talked about what it means to recycle and why it is important. Next, the children had a fun packed day of earth day festivities. In the morning the primary and toddler classes met together in the parking lot and sorted worms! That afternoon we took the children to the garden and they weeded and prepared the earth. We ended the day with releasing the worms into the garden.

The month of April has truly been a month of germination for our classroom; whether it be discovering one's identity in the classroom, preparation into another phase of development with the students going on to elementary, or the toddlers being welcomed and transitioned into the primary classroom. We have all come to some exciting progress on the journey of learning, and as a new teacher it has been extraordinary to observe and be a part of this process. 

We look forward to many more discoveries and possibilities for learning! Many thanks for all your continued support.
 
Best Regards,
Mr. Carl and Ms. Anne




Elementary Update
     
Dear Parents,

Maria Montessori states, " We cannot create observers by saying 'observe', but by giving them the power and the means for this observation and these means are procured through education of the senses." This is a powerful statement that I have been thinking about and working towards more while being a Guide in the Elementary classroom. Ms. Mary gives the children opportunities to experience education through the senses with practical crafts that most children do not get to experience anymore. They get to observe others working. The children also get to care for plants and use materials to help aid them on their journey of being educated through their experiences in the Elementary classroom.

Our children's world is even more fast paced than it was five years ago and so are the lives of their parents. It is more challenging to find opportunities to observe or take the time to figure out answers for themselves. They are more reliant on outside sources such as google. Instant gratification is becoming the norm more each year. Our classrooms give the opportunity to take a break from this instant gratification and the children go through a stage of feeling baffled, because they are not used to it. Parents and teachers alike are caught up in this instant gratification, instant answers and acquiescing to appease for a semblance of peace that is no much needed. But, at what cost are we foregoing a no, or how can I help you come to a conclusion yourself, by doing the work?

In this fast paced world, as adults, we have to fight against what has become the norm. We have to be more patient, steadfast in our stance, and firm in our role to help our children not lose what is becoming lost. Some schools are even ridding their classrooms of analogue clocks because  it is too difficult for children to tell time unless it is digital. Technology and fast paced lifestyles are here to stay, I know that. However, the tools to pause, think independently, and be mindful must not be cultivated.

I felt it pertinent to communicate this in this newsletter, because summer is right around the corner. I have experienced and witnessed so much with your children. What I am noticing is what I have mentioned above. There is a need for children to experience process, independence, critical thinking, and other types of thinking, which I have mentioned in more detail in my blog. While externally, they communicate wanting more TV, video games, screen time, instant gratification and "yes" to what they want. Internally, there is this drive in them that becomes satisfied in the Montessori environment. They cannot get too much of this at home and at school. 

We have come a long way in almost a year. There were several children in the elementary classroom this year who were new or fairly new to the Montessori environment and it takes time to acclimate to the classroom. Even in April we welcomed Isabelle, a new 6th year and a great addition to our class. This is completely okay and the children that I have are great and truly an honor to experience. Since this is an environment and a school that focuses on collaboration, I just wanted to communicate something more than the standard stream of elementary experiences over the course of the month. I wanted to challenge our efforts in collaboration, invite you to be observant with me, ask questions, and bring your child the gift of time to observe more. It is my hope that this challenges all of us in a positive way to bring our children the gifts of observation and consistent hands on experiences to foster independence and learning through the senses in the world around us.



- Mr. Matt 


Yoga with Mrs. Tiff

Yoga was lots of fun this month. One of our sessions focused on mindful walking. We began the session in mountain pose, standing strong, tall, and grounded. We spent some time here noticing the sensations in our bodies, noticing our breath, and noticing the connection we have to the earth. We then began to sway side to side and back and forth. We were practicing being mindful of the feelings in our bodies and of our breath. Then, we began mindful walking. We noticed that sometimes the walk took on the rhythm of the breath. We practiced noticing only our selves, even when others were walking near us. We then took our practice outside and walked in the grass and on the sidewalk to notice how different that experience was compared to walking inside on a carpet. Mindfulness has been the focus of much of our yoga practice this year. I encourage you to try bringing more mindfulness into your homes on a daily basis. We can practice being mindful while doing every day tasks such as vacuuming, brushing teeth, cooking, etc. Or try it while family bike riding, playing on swings at the park, or even during sports. 

Here is a link that explains why mindfulness is so important for all of us. I hope that it encourages you and your family to explore more mindfulness practices together. 
 
 
-Ms. Tiff

STEM Scouts Update

Elementary STEM

Elementary STEM has finished "Rock On!" by analyzing how long artifacts from our time (our trash) exists in nature before decaying. It certainly is an eye opener to find out that the styrofoam cups you use for a minute to get a drink will last in the environment somewhere between 500 and a million years! We have now embarked on the MakieMakie module which everyone loves because we get to program and play with the Ozobots! STEM Scouts get to create a course for the little robots to follow that have color coded areas which act as coding to let the robot know to change its behavior (like to go to turbo speed!).




















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