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Celebrating our Bar Mitzvah Year
May 30th, 2014


In This Issue  

1.    Exemplary Professional Development

2.     Maximum Effort - At School and At Home    

3.     An Owner's Manual for a Child

4.     How We Protect a Child's Concentration and Maximum Effort

5.     How Important is it to Have Dinner Together?

6.     Ask Your Child ...

7.     Track and Field Day

8.     3 Words You Should Say to Your Children

9.     Caf� Theatre in Words and Pictures

10.   The tradition of the Bar Mitzvah with the Shinshinim

11.    Maya Angelou: A Montessori Advocate

12.   Calendar Reminders


Exemplary Profesional Development



On Friday, May 16th, MJDS teachers had an incredibly valuable Professional Development day, and we would like share with you what we learned.


The Judaic Studies teachers spent the day at MJDS, brainstorming for ideas and new ways to present our Hebrew lessons in ordinance with the Montessori philosophy. We started the day by reading a portion of Pirkei Avot, the Ethics of the Fathers, then created new materials, and made changes to current ones, in order to implement these new ideas. It was a productive day, a valuable opportunity to reflect upon this year and to plan for an even better one next year. 


Many of our teachers attended the 4th annual workshop organized by the CCMA (Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators), entitled "Supporting the Child."


Donna Bryant Goertz, parent, educator and  author of Children Who Are Not Yet Peaceful (available in our parent library) gave us incredible tools for helping children develop independence, concentration and joyful participation in the community.


A key message was the importance of the connection and continuity between home and school.  One idea we offer for a unified approach:  the way we slow down for the child and support the natural drive for independence -  for example, have a cart with dinner set up that your child can be responsible for (dishes, cutlery, placemats, cups, salt and pepper, etc.).   



Maximum Effort  - At School and At Home 

Children playing chess together


Donna Bryant Goertz said all the best things in life involve "maximum effort."  She gave us cause to think that MJDS is a wonderful school because....


We see maximum effort put forth by our children who are truly engaged in their work. They work to satisfy themselves, it is all-absorbing and goal oriented. Children who are given real responsibilities respond with maximum effort in the classroom.

  • If children organize a lunch for the whole class - the cost is calculated carefully, the recipes researched and the utmost care is put into the cooking and presentation.
  • When the children choose their own project and care about its presentation - it might be mistaken for a published book on The Aztecs when it is finished.
  • When they organize their own going-out trips - every detail is mapped out and no part is forgotten.
  • When they decide to write the longest nine-proof problem ever - it is the length of the class and the length of the school year. This is the work that drives, sustains and fulfills the child.

This is the work that we seek to provide for the children. This is the work they seek for themselves. Donna shared many photographs from her school in Austin Texas and also photos from the children exerting maximum effort at home. The faces of the children gardening, woodworking, cooking, and cleaning with their parents all had that deep concentration, peace and satisfaction. The brain is engaged in what helps it develop best.


Perhaps it is time we did say there is Home Work at MJDS! 



An Owner's Manual for a Child


As a Montessori parent, wouldn't you love to have a manual?  This would help you with your Home Work .  Well, you can start here, conference speaker Donna Bryan Goetz wrote: An Owner's Manual for a Child

How We Protect a Child's Concentration and Maximum Effort


The Casa and Lower Elementary classes discussed a few of the important points we, as teachers learned on the PD Day and have begun to implement with our students and each other:


To be respectful of someone's concentration we need to:


-             Remain a few steps away from their work area

-             Say " the person's name"

-             Wait (this is one of the hardest parts!) until they                      have made eye contact with you

-            The person responds "Yes (your name)"

-            Then ask in a polite way "May I ..."


We invite you to try this at home too!

Enjoy these pictures featuring concentration and maximum effort.




Ask Your Child

Kita Zohar children enjoy circle time where they practice taking turns listening and speaking, follow directions, sing songs, and enjoy story time. Ask your child to sing with you. 


Ask your child in Kita Mazal about planting in the Sensorial garden (hint: beets, sweet peas, mild salad mix, pumpkins)


Ask your child in Kita Gefen about the "real" story of the Three Little Pigs.


Ask your child in Magen David:


-              What are the four names for Shavuot?

-              Ask your third year to name one of the periods on the time line of life, and what creatures or                 plants existed during that period.

-              Ask your second year about the seasonal changes in temperature, and about the sun.

-              Practice telling time with your first year.


Now - something else that takes maximum effort - shot put: Please ask your Shalhevet child at which ancient war is there mention of a rock-throwing contest? Which King of England was known for his prowess in hammer throwing?



More news about Kita Rimon next week, when they are back from their wonderful trip to Niagara on the Lake.  


Have a look at the delicious, healthy dinner they prepared and enjoyed on one of their evenings away.



Track and Field Day

Winners of the 1st prizes


This Thursday, Lower Elementary students participated enthusiastically in track and field events, along with other Montessori students. The weather was lovely, and we enjoyed a day of outdoor exercise and fun. In addition, it was a wonderful way to meet and cooperate with children from the Montessori community. 


All students had the opportunity to try out standing long jump, running long jump, and at least two running events. Some of our students also took part in relay racing for their very first time. 


 3 Words You Should Say to Your Children


Of all the things you say to your children, there are 3 words that should never be left out......


 Caf� Theatre in Words and Pictures


What makes Caf� Theatre so marvelous? In words and pictures! Merci Madame.


I do not think I can find in English, or any other language the vocabulary of words to express a teachers' feelings at the end of a school year.  The month of May at the Lower Elementary Caf� Theatre, for me as a French teacher is the time to see the result of the children's and my work for the whole year.  It does not matter how many years of experience I have the feelings are the same.


First Year Lower Elementary Students performing at the Cafe Theatre Performance 2014


I was so proud and happy to see all the students surpassing all my expectations - even as my expectations are high for vocabulary, accent, acting, singing, dancing. But this is only half of my pride. The other half, of the same importance, was the way they worked, their excitement, pride and happiness to show their family what they learned and , in turn how proud they made their families - and me - feel!  I was so happy to see and to feel the children's love for French.



-              Madame Marie Elena



Click on the LINK to see the whole album 

The Tradition of the Bar Mitzvah with the Shinshinim


Over the past two weeks we've put our attention on MJDS's Bar Mitzvah year, comparing the Bar Mitzvah celebration between Canada and Israel. 


Also, we found it interesting how almost every culture holds within itself a ritual of some kind for the transformation between childhood and adulthood and we talked specifically about the Amazon tribe and their ritual. This comparison was very interesting both for us and for the kids, and as usual we learned from them as much, if not more, than what they learned from us.


We concluded with creating a time capsule, foreseeing our, and MJDS's future up until we reach the age of Bar Mitzvah! Please, ask your child about it!


Always enjoying our Montessori work days,

The Shins



Maya Angelou: A Montessori Advocate

Maya Angelou


"It takes courage to speak honestly. It takes courage to advocate for peace. It takes courage to rear open-minded, curious children in uncertain times." Maya Angelou Writer & world-renowned humanitarian at the AMS 2007 Annual Conference at Madison Square Gardens



A lifelong self-directed learner, Maya Angelou was a poet, educator, journalist, historian, dancer, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil rights activist, producer, and director who tirelessly encouraged others to develop the best that is in them. It isn't surprising that she became a Montessori parent.


Calendar Reminders 


June 3rd- Erev  Shavuot-  2pm Dismissal (please wear white today)

June 4th and 5th - School is Closed for Shavuot

June 11th - 2:30 pm - Caf� Theatre and End of Casa Celebration - Kita Gefen

June 12th - 2:30 pm - Caf� Theatre and End of Casa Celebration - Kita Mazal

June 19th - 6:00 pm - An Evening of Celebration - Elementary and Middle School

June 20th - Last Day of School - Noon Dismissal



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