Vol. 5, Issue 6: February 2019
Message from Matt Simberg, M.Ed.
I want to thank everyone for your support thus far, between the amazing fundraising committee for the Gala to staff and parents who have come in and are coming in to contribute to the children’s education. This is part of what MSOE is all about. I would like to ask for parents to share the Gala event on our facebook page anywhere they can, especially on your Facebook feed. You have been so instrumental in our growth by word of mouth from day one.

That being said, February was a rich opportunity to encourage reading through our read-a-thon and review history for what can be remembered and celebrated regarding Black History Month and the President’s Birthdays. Activities were done and people were talked about in all the classrooms. February is almost like a transition time for us at MSOE as we are coming into the Spring and the end of a school year. Families are thinking about enrollment, what the school year has been like and what the rest of the school year will entail. Most of us are also thinking about the exciting opportunity of being in Moorestown next school year.

I want to invite you to think of ways and share what you are willing to and/or what you can contribute to the school and the children’s education. It can be anything from driving, to sharing something with a class, or maybe an invite for families to meet at an event together. It is very easy at this point in the school year to get caught up in our own lives and rhythms. Before we know it the school year is over and we think to ourselves, “Oh yea, I was going to do that or suggest that.” So, I want to offer this reminder as an opportunity to pause and reflect.

Also, I’d like to offer for you to think about communication and all its facets. What do you appreciate with regards to communication and what do you feel like is missing? What other avenues would make it easier for you to look at and/or receive communications? Communication is so important for so many reasons. A case in point is verifying communications. All too often parents automatically believe or assume that what their children are telling them is accurate. Then, all too often, I experience having to put out a fire that should not have even been there. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got when I was 23 from a parent was, “I won’t believe everything my child says happens at school if you don’t believe everything that my child says happens at home.” Society as a whole is guilty of this too. As a school such as ours, we should be part of the solution.

For example, many of you may know about the “NEWEST MOMO CHALLENGE.” Most of you do not know that it is a hoax and not a new one at that. Click here for the article.

A few parents said something about it to Patty and myself. Even Kim Kardashian was fooled and added to the stir. Someone who is a part of so much truth and untruth, you would think that she would more carefully check things like this is my point. We have to inquire, check, and be mindful before we react. Reacting has become so easy and second nature as a society with information so readily at our fingertips. Let us remember to take a breathe before we pull the trigger. One of the many things I have learned over the past five years is, it takes a lot less effort and energy to pause and ask reflective questions, do a little research first and then interact rather than react and have to potentially apologize or deal with bad feelings later.

I am looking forward to March, some warm Spring weather and a great rest of the school year. Keep a look out for enrollment forms coming very soon. Please answer questions as soon as possible and take note that there is some additional information. A lot is the same. I look forward to the rest of the school year and continuing the journey with you!
Property Update
Dear Parents,

At this point, we are applying for construction permits and getting final quotes from professionals for the work that needs to get done to be ready to move in by our earliest target date (end of June) or latest (end of August). We are expecting to start construction after our Gala on April 6th at 7:00 pm. We cannot know for sure at this point if we will be in in time for the summer program. If enough parents will reach out to us to let us know what they are thinking or leaning towards and needing an answer to base their decision off of, then I can make a definite decision to have the summer program in Merchantville, because there is more certainty with that decision. I know of two parents who have asked recently. If there are parents who can let us know one way or another, that would be really helpful. I would like to make a final decision based on this communication by next Friday, March 8th.

Related to a property update, I want to mention something about enrollment. We have been fortunate enough to be very laid back in the past with regard to who was or might be enrolling when. This year, it is super helpful and really important for MSOE if parents would fill out this survey . We have every intention of enrolling our child(ren) at MSOE in Moorestown or we won’t be returning. If there are parents who are on the fence, please have a conversation with me sooner rather than later.

When we give information to the bank it will be helpful to MSOE and to our benefit to share with them most updated information.
Seeds of Spring Gala
We are now just shy of a month from the Seeds of Spring Gala! Please join us for an evening of live music, artisan cocktails, gourmet bites, an incredible silent auction and a bourbon bar with fire pit. Buy your tickets  here . If you are interested in volunteering or wish to contribute to the event, please contact Emily Copeman: emily.copeman@gmail.com
Seussology
A fun, lively, and interactive program run by a very funny and silly cat who loves all kinds of mischief. It explores the background of Dr. Seuss and his beloved works. Come join us on this incredible journey! 
 
Riletta L. Cream Ferry Avenue Branch
Wednesday, March 6, 2019 4 pm

Toddler
Dear Parents,

February was a very busy month in the Toddler Classroom! We celebrated Valentine’s Day by exchanging Valentine’s Day Cards and President’s Day by reading a book about our first President George Washington! 

Happy 2nd Birthday to Ricci who celebrated his birthday on February 28th!

Love was in the air in our classroom! The Art Area was filled with hearts, painting, gluing and stamping hearts! We also learned how to paint a Polar Bear in the Art Area! Pink was the color of the month. We continued to learn about arctic animals with a card to object matching work in our Language Area! The new work for this month included candy heart color sorting, as well a heart nesting work in our Sensorial Area. We counted hearts in the Math Area. The children were introduced to giant dice and they learned to count dice. We added table washing and apple slicing to the Practical Life Area.

We had a special surprise visit from the baby goats from our farm! Our toddlers loved playing with the little kids!!!

A special Thank you goes out to Ryan and Kate Jenkins who purchased River Rocks for our classroom. The toddlers love this new gross motor activity!

Next month’s focus will be on St. Patrick's Day and Springtime!
Primary
Dear Primary Parents,

I would like to start off by saying thank you for everything you do. The month of February was a fantastic month! The children had many wonderful experiences, as well as outlets of activities that brought about meaningful developments. This is largely due to the ongoing partnership between you and the primary classroom. Whether it be folding the school laundry with your child, picking out a beautiful arrangement of flowers for flower arranging work, bringing in snack, or finding a hundred objects to bring to school for the hundredth day of school, all of you are contributing in a variety of ways that support your child and the school community at large!

We began the month celebrating the hundredth day of school. All the children brought in one hundred objects and we took a moment to observe what one hundred quantities looked like in a myriad of ways. We also shared thoughts about the one hundred days that our classroom has shared together. Georgia’s mom, Katelyn Allen, stopped by later in the afternoon to do a printing craft illustrating the typography of a hundred!

The children also began preparations for the Valentine’s Day Tea Party. Mrs. Mary guided the children to sew mail carrying bags for the valentines. Mrs. Jamie worked with all the children to prepare tea sandwiches. Emma Jenkins and Lena’s moms, Kate Jenkins and Julie Gervasi, prepared and organized the décor of the tea party, also sharing a succulent gardening craft activity on the day of the party. Truly, it was an elegant and beautiful occasion. The children practiced grace and courtesy and enjoyed pleasant conversations during afternoon tea. 

Throughout the month we have shared many stories about African Americans who have contributed to our country in profound ways. We began the month talking about the painter, Jacob Lawrence, and discussed his experiences in Harlem and what life was like during that time period. We placed his paintings around the classroom and the children shared their observations with one another on his works. Additionally, Mrs. Mary told the courageous story of Harriet Tubman as well as the importance of the underground railroad. We read stories about Rosa Parks and learned a song about her as well. Additionally, the children learned about instrumental inventors such as George Washington Carver and Garrett Morgan through true stories followed by art projects.

All in all, it has been quite a full month of rich learning experiences. It’s inspiring to witness the connections that each of your children are making to deepen their relationship to understanding the world around them. We look forward to another exciting month!
 
Best Regard,
 
Mr. Carl and Mrs. Mary
 
Things to look forward to!

  • Preparations for an art project for the auction!
  • Saint Patrick's day activities March 17th
  • International Earth Day March 20th (anticipate lots of opportunities for vocabulary about botany and planting activities)

 

Elementary
I find all periods of development of the human being to be very interesting. It is a curious thing to think about the people who came before us and observed the behavior of human beings to notice similarities amongst different age groups of people. The theme of the AMI Refresher Course in New Orleans was “The Child’s Place in Time.” What a curious title to reflect on in conjunction with the actual experiences during the conference and in the classroom.

The place of the child in time is different all of the time. Their characteristics and tendencies stay the same throughout time. However, as adults we are constantly needing to be on our toes and think about how to best interact with our children. I think the biggest threat to the success of our child’s development is the lack of understanding of Executive Functioning.

There are skills that rely on three types of brain functioning. These types include working memory, flexibility and self-control. Each stage of development is important to be of a help to the child for their executive functioning skills. What do we do in the elementary classroom to aid in the improvement of Executive Functioning?

We consider and understand what is normal for your child’s level of development. There are plenty of resources out there and MSOE can provide resources too if you are interested. We do not try to demand or command the child. In the classroom, we have to figure out what framework to alter, what interaction to alter, so the change becomes your child’s change. Children work hard to control their own lives. We have to offer small steps for self-mastery sometimes, give choices to provide a sense of control and use healthy negotiation rather than authority. We work on making a task easier at first, provide a skill set and then offer considerations for the child to challenge him or herself, and then work independently successfully. Sometimes we have to provide steps for a child to follow and give many opportunities to repeat. Very importantly, as adults, we have to remember to offer as little assistance as actually necessary. It is very hard for adults to not step in, especially for those we love. However, we have to keep in mind that the help is often more hurtful in the long run. There should be a conscious awareness of the child that support is available and supervision is happening.

Little by little, this should be less and less. Using materials is an important component for the child to be independent and more successful more quickly. Gradually cut back support, more often than not, do not pull away at once and too soon. Especially, this day in age, this place in time of the child, their attention span is much shorter than when we were children. Since adults are more busy and more in a rush, we are more inclined to do things more quickly for them. Believe me, it hurts us significantly more in the long run and the short term. We just don’t always realize it.

I figured all of the elementary guardians that read this article really get a good picture of what their children are doing almost on a daily basis. So, I wanted to write something that gave some food for thought that would aid in the collaboration of the success and fulfillment of your children. What can you do at home or are you doing at home? Can you share it with me? It might even be fun to start an elementary group for open dialogue opening more opportunities for collaboration between home and MSOE. I look forward to hearing from you.

Adolescent
February was full of fun and fulfilling activities. It started off with a handwriting experiment where a few students got inspired to research the psychology behind people´s handwriting and what different styles of handwriting reflects about an individual´s personality. They enjoyed asking all the staff to write out the pangram, ¨The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog¨ which is a holoalphabetic sentence. Then they analyzed the handwriting, reported the results to the staff and measured the accuracy of their conclusions. Interestingly enough, they found that the majority of their analysis was correct, and they also got to know more about the staff.

In honor of Black History month, the students spent time throughout the whole month learning about the lives of various influential black people in history such as Nelson Mandela on the anniversary of his release from prison and Whitney Houston on the anniversary of her death. They also read about how Ted Roosevelt discussed America’s race problem in 1905 as well as Booker T Washington’s involvement, and they reflected on Malcolm X on the anniversary of his assassination. The students imagined what it would have been like to watch Muhammad Ali knock out Sonny Liston after his famous quote that he would “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
The Read-a-Thon this month was a great opportunity for the goats from Knowhere Farm to come visit the children and be read to. It was also awesome having Mr. Lamar Dixon, author of “Let Fear Go,” come visit and talk about his experience as an Air Force veteran and how he overcame his fears and accomplished his goal of getting a degree and the job he wanted. He encouraged the students to follow their dreams and reminded them that they are capable of accomplishing whatever they set out to do. After reading his book aloud during our Read-a-Thon, they put together some great questions for him and are now looking forward to reading his next book. One of our students even put some of the strategies she learned in his book to the test, overcame her fears during a competitive volleyball game and scored the winning point for her team.

The adolescents were excited to finally submit their position papers for the Montessori Model United Nations Conference and are now busy preparing their display board and flag. The students have also been enjoying some great self-expression projects including woodworking, learning piano and guitar, and learning graphic design applications including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. They are currently working on designing the program for the gala and excited about being oriented to the new property so that they can begin giving tours and caring for our new home. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of our program we often find that even some of our chemistry experiments and presentations overlap with self-expression as well. The adolescents really enjoy enhancing their vocabulary and learning about the structure of language as they communicate and express themselves both visually and orally. They have been exploring various web conferencing apps and enjoy doing webinars amongst themselves.

Adolescents are very interested in learning about why people do the things they do and love to engage in discussions about morality. Some of their intriguing topics of discussion this month include the idea of selling the state of Montana to Canada in order to reduce the national debt. The idea that a state is expendable as a member of the “United States” seems ironic to them. They were also intrigued by the idea of cannibalism as they studied the fate of the Donner expedition, which happened during the time of the Mexican American War. The first relief party arrived in February of 1847. They are also perplexed by the whole idea of Snapchat dysmorphia and why anyone would be so desperate as to alter themselves to look like an imaginary figure. It is so important for adolescents to be grounded in reality and have a positive self-identity so that they can overcome these insecurities.

The students have very important goals and are aware of the hard work that is required to accomplish those goals, so much so that when they are absent, they often voluntarily email or even phone conference in so that they do not miss the lessons for the day, including math. It is a very productive environment, yet it is a peaceful environment, especially since the students are now becoming well-versed in the art of hygge and practice self-care on a regular basis. If they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation they step back and analyze, reassess and change either their perception or their procedure in order to return to a peaceful flow.

In math, the adolescent students have either been delving into Algebra or Geometry. Algebra explorations include quadratic functions and equations, transforming functions, and working with radicals and radical equations. Some of the material was at the Algebra 2 / Precalculus level and was an extension of regular Algebra 1 material, but not saved for later in their high school studies, as is more commonly done in a mainstream curriculum.

Geometry explorations began with familiarization with basic concepts and standard terminology. Students then used concrete materials, including 2D nets and 3D volumetric solids to derive formulas for area, volume, and surface area. For example, students used the method of Archimedes to reason the formula for the area of a circle and Montessori unit cubes to begin their study of volume.

We are waiting for better weather for students to tackle a presentation-level hands-on project determining the area and perimeter of the MSOE complex (building). The students are also brainstorming about their microeconomy. If you have any ideas about what the students can produce and exchange, we would be happy to hear about them.
Elementary STEM Scouts
This week in Elementary STEM we continued with the Fluid Air Dynamics Module by making a hot air balloon. The scouts (along with the instructors) found it a bit challenging to create the balloon out of tissue paper. It's a skill that engages both the hand and the mind! We will complete (or rebuild) some of the balloons next week. Then, using a hair dryer, we will fill them with hot air to see how that will enable our balloons to float up, up and away!
Mindfulness
We have been learning about perspective, acceptance, and loving ourselves. We've started talking about how we can expand our mindfulness practice outside class, setting intentions and learning new strategies such as progressive muscle relaxation, and most of all, we keep breathing :)
Yoga
In yoga class, students have been practicing Sun Salutations as  students move in a flow concentrating on connecting their breath to each movement. Have your child show you the sequence. 

Our theme this month is love, therefore our focus is on incorporating heart opening poses like camel.  We even did a partner heart opening pose!    

Here are some ways to incorporate what we learned at home.

Mindful Breathing - LOVE Breath 
Close eyes, visualize someone you love, inhale and feel the love they give you. Exhale, send them love. Feel the love. Know that you are loved. 
 
Positive Affirmations:
I am compassionate.
I am kind.
I give love. I receive love.
I am love, love, love.  

Question to Ask:
When did you receive or give love today?
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