Jan. 16
School Closed 
Extended Day Available

Jan. 17
HS Math Team to SCISA State Math Competition
9th & 10th grade to Clemson DNA Learning Center 

Jan. 22
Open House

Jan. 23-27
Book Fair

Jan. 23
Visit-Up Day

Jan. 24-29
HS Model UN trip to Boston

Jan. 24-27
HS College Tours

Jan. 31
Information Night

  Mark Your Calendars 
for our 35th Annual Spring Benefit
Saturday, March 25, 2017! 
From the Head of School

Perhaps the biggest difference between a Montessori education and a traditional education lies in the fact that Child Development drives our approach with students. As an educator with experience in both of these worlds, I can tell you with all certainty that Montessorians don’t just pay lip service to child development when it comes to our practices and methods. While traditional educators must also take courses in Human Growth and Development, little effort is paid to match pedagogical approaches to those principles and standards. In her observations and work with children, Dr. Montessori theorized that development occurs in distinct phases – each embodying specific characteristics and sensitivities for the developmental period in which the child resides. The First Plane encompasses children from birth to six years; the Second encompasses children from 6 – 12 years; and the Third encompasses children from 12 to 18 years.

Last week in our Staff Development session, the faculty and I worked together reviewing Dr. Montessori’s “Planes of Child Development,” relating them to common Principles and Outcomes of Montessori education. We addressed the overall essential question, “What is the connection between the planes of development and effective learning in the Montessori classroom?”. The three-hour session was an excellent reminder to go back and consider our “roots” that guide these extraordinary moments with our students. At the conclusion of our time together, teachers came to a consensus about their renewed dedication to structure their Prepared Environments in order to maximize both educational and personal potential for their students. Those are the moments that make me come alive – seeking ways to get colleagues talking about this important work – and hearing of their successful implementation of their ideas.

The work of Dr. Angeline Lillard, Child Developmental Psychologist at the University of Virginia, is important. Her book, Montessori: The Science behind the Genius , is referenced in Montessori training programs throughout the world. Dr. Lillard distills common Principles of a Montessori education – all of which are derived from Montessori’s ideas on childhood development. As parents and caregivers who are choosing to invest in a quality Montessori education for your child, I wanted to include those principles in this edition of Montessori Matters.   

Eight Principles of Montessori Education –
1.      Movement and Cognition are entwined and can enhance                learning and thinking.
2.      Learning and Well Being are improved when children have a          sense of control over their lives.
3.      Children learn better when they are interested in what they            are learning.
4.      Tying extrinsic rewards to an activity like money for reading            or high grades or tests – negatively impacts motivation to              engage in that activity when the motivation is withdrawn.
5.      Collaborative Arrangements are conducive to learning.
6.      Learning situated in meaningful contexts is often deeper and          richer than learning in abstract contexts (the Montessori                materials help to elucidate this concept).
7.      Particular forms of adult interaction are associated with                  optimal learning outcomes (Role of the Adult).
8.      Order in the environment is extremely beneficial to students.

Montessori’s work continues to astound me in its depth and completeness. Perhaps this accounts for why there is such a wide proliferation of Montessori schools nationwide – both in the public and private sectors. And I am honored to be a part of a team of colleagues working to help your children achieve at their very best.
  Yours in Montessori Education,
Community Service Corner

December was a busy month for community service projects and activities at MSA. Students across our campus had the opportunity to think about others and to give back to the community. Take a look at what they did.

Students in each primary class donated gently used books from home to Books for Buddies. These books were donated to the children at DCEC.
Lower El students put their sewing skills to work. They made hats and scarves for the Share the Warmth tree.

Older students donated gently used belts and running shoes to the clients of Clean Start, an agency that serves the homeless.

U pper El and Middle School students went Christmas caroling at AnMed Rehabilitation Hospital and NHC (nursing home). They played handbells and spread holiday cheer to the patients and staff. Click the image below to see a video from UEL and MS Christmas Caroling. 

Learning to be Lifelong Learners

Recently, some members of the MSA upper school faculty were discussing an issue currently in the news (CRISPR gene editing). Afterwards, we discussed how much we want our students at MSA to excel when it comes to thinking deeply about a subject, effectively communicating their opinions, and engaging in non-argumentative discourse. We realized that one way to teach this is to model these discussions ourselves, while including them in the process. To this end, we have decided to offer a monthly coffee chat to our 11th and 12th grade students as a way of including them in our discussions and allowing them to see that lifelong learners truly enjoy learning from one another, even as busy adults. The first of these informal discussions took place on January 6th at 2:15 pm in the private room at Tuckers. Students were not required to attend, but their presence was welcomed along with Mr. Jenkins, Ms. Holt, Ms. Presgraves, Mr. Ramey, Mrs. Ramey, Ms. Johnson, and other interested faculty.
Scholastic Book Fair

Book Fair is coming January 23rd - January 27th.  Look for further details as you prepare your reading list!