Vol. 5, Issue 7: March 2019
Message from Matt Simberg, M.Ed.
Spring has Sprung and so is enrollment as well as that overall refreshing feeling that you notice people start to have as the weather is getting so much nicer. It continues to be an exciting and busy time for all of us here at MSOE. Last weekend, myself, three other parents and 6 students returned from our NYC trip for the Montessori Model United Nations Conference! You can see some of the pictures on the MSOE Closed Parent Facebook Group. This trip was definitely a success. We had a lot of first timers, both students and chaperones. They pulled things together throughout each day and made sure the children were both safe and had a good time!

Things are looking promising for the Gala, which is 8 days away. A handful of the parents have dedicated so much of their time and energy into making this a success thus far! Their efforts for the preparation and those parents who have come to help on the property have been very much appreciated. It is also touching to see people coming together for their children and the mission of MSOE. Please keep in mind, we can use help tomorrow too. I hope it is a time that you can come and socialize with other parents as we collaborate. Children are welcome, we just need you to be responsible for them.

Additionally, for your information, you may see a third article that was just written about myself and MSOE yesterday, in the Burlington County Times. There are some details and quotes that are not quite accurate, but the essence of it is definitely appreciated! It is also awesome that they have written three articles about us in the past 6 months. I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to speak with me. There are a few parents I still have to catch up with, which I am hoping to do next week. We have already made appointments to do that, which is great!

As a side note, please especially check out my article link for age appropriate executive skill building activities in the Elementary article below. All of these activities are grouped into age appropriate opportunities for your children.

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
Dear Parents,

Welcome to Springtime!!! Springtime has finally arrived and the Toddler Class is looking forward to spending more time outside enjoying nature and the warmer weather!

We have added many new work to the classroom this month! The children love the two new water works that were introduced in our Practical Life Area which were potato scrubbing and babydoll washing.  

Shamrocks were everywhere! In honor of St. Patrick’s Day we used miniature shamrocks for spooning work in the Practical Life Area. We stamp painted shamrocks and used cookie cutters to paint shamrocks as well as making Green Collages in the Art Area!  In the Math Area we counted shamrocks as well as used shamrocks for 1-1 Correlation.

We now have a xylophone in our Sensorial Area that the children love to use to make music!

A special thank you goes out to Mrs. Cleff who came in to school for St. Patrick’s Day and made Irish Soda Bread with all of our MSOE students. The toddlers loved mixing the ingredients and getting messy! They especially loved eating it when it came out of the oven!

We celebrated three birthdays this month, Graham and Ingrid turned three years old on March 18th and Max turned three years old on March 22nd!

We have had the pleasure of having several Primary Students come into our classroom this month and read to the toddlers! It was a wonderful experience for the toddlers and the Primary readers were very proud of themselves.

Next month our curriculum will be centered on Springtime and Nature.

I thank you for your continued support of our program!

I would like to remind you about our Seeds Of Spring Gala that will be on April 6, 2019. I look forward to chatting with you all and enjoying a night out with our entire MSOE Family!!! See you then!!!
Happy Spring to all Primary Parents!
The month of March was filled with fun and green activities that foreshadow the growth and beautiful weather that awaits us. Germination has occurred rapidly among all your children. The children have made many discoveries during the year. As a result of this, they are beginning to put the pieces together and use this information as a stepping stone on their next climb through the first plane of development.

We began the month with true stories about the Artist Georgia O’Keeffe. We discussed her life and the inspiration behind her work. A reoccurring subject throughout her work was her beautiful paintings of flowers. This was a great opportunity for us to explore the parts of a flower, as well as examine the different types of flowers that she painted. A wonderful activity we did this month, that you are more than welcome to share at home, was to collect a beautiful flower, dissect, and name each part, drawing attention to the pistil, stamen, corolla, and calyx parts of a flower. This is a great way to not only reinforce the vocabulary, but also join in on the fun. 

Additionally, this month we highlighted the country of Ireland! The children explored different animals that live in Ireland and looked at pictures of the lush green landscapes. We read books about cultural events that happen in Ireland such as Saint Patrick’s Day. Mrs. Mary talked to the children about growing up in Ireland and some of the fun things she did as a child during Saint Patrick’s Day. Lastly, Charlie’s mom Tricia Cleff and Johnathan’s mom Kirsten DiFlavis stopped in to make Irish soda bread with all the children. The children had a blast, and the bread was delicious!

Preparations for the Gala
The children have been busy bees preparing amazing items for the school fundraiser! They have prepared a beautiful painting inspired by Vincent Van Gogh. Also, the children have been working on a cookbook of their favorite recipes with Jamie Zwier. The children’s hands are literally all over these wonderful creations. We look forward to sharing these Items with you in the very near future! 

Things to look forward to
  •  April 6th - Seeds of Spring Gala (I can’t wait to see all of you there, it’s going to be a wonderful occasion!)
  •  Lots of different poems to commemorate national poetry month.
  •  Many opportunities for planting and trips to the school garden. 

As always, Mrs. Mary and I look forward to seeing what discoveries will unfold in the next coming month! Many thanks for your continued support, and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any feedback, or would simply like to join in on the fun and stop by for a visit.  

Warm Regards,

Mr. Carl and Mrs. Mary

Dear Parents,

As a follow-up to last month’s newsletter, I want to share some practical activities that you can do with your children at home regarding strengthening Executive Functioning Skills. Please click here . When you scroll down you will see free age appropriate activities. You may even do some of these things already, but I think it would be great for you to see the benefits of doing those activities.

I also want to share some of the themes of work that have been going on in addition to some of the activities you have seen on Transparent Classroom. There have been more lessons and work done with science relating to newer experiments, and now Plant Classification. It is a very involved and big work to understand how to classify plants. There has been a lot more writing and work with understanding parts of writing. The Adolescents have been giving a presentation every Monday to the Upper Elementary.

In March, they started learning about different significant wars, such as the War of 1812, World War I and World War II. Ms. Anne has been reading aloud to the children, asking them questions, which most of them enjoy and it is definitely a good experience for them to have. I have shared some of those books via Transparent Classroom. We definitely accept suggestions. One parent recently recommended a book and Ms. Anne already got two of them. “Zen Shorts” is one of them.

I’d like to take a moment to highlight the need for going outs with a few children more regularly, especially since the weather is nicer, it should be easier. I could really use a few parent volunteers who might know certain days and times that they can be available to drive. It would be great to see children taking advantage of going to certain places that have a purpose for them, such as Longwood Gardens, a museum in Philadelphia, someone’s job, a small business, Gary’s Gem Garden, a Planetarium, etc... If someone can help with this or I can at least find out sooner rather than later who can drive when etc, that would be great! I even have guidelines and helpful hints about how to be of most help as a chaperone. I look forward to hearing from you and hope that we can accomplish more of this during this last part of the school year!

March was another amazing month for the adolescents. They have been the most industrious group of young people doing and learning some great things that will prepare them to be successful in life. One of our students finished her minicourse on hygge after which we had a great hygge party. The best part is that the essence of hygge has remained in the classroom.

The students enjoy finding relevance in their activities. For example, one student read her position paper on women in development that she had written for the Model UN conference on International Women’s day. For self-expression, they have each been exploring different talents. One student has been learning graphic design, another has been learning wood burning, another has been practicing guitar, piano and yukelele.

They all agreed that the whale should be the adolescent mascot. When they researched the symbolism of the "whale they learned that whales are associated with compassion and solitude, and knowledge of both life and death. They are also associated with unbridled creativity. The exhalation through the blowhole symbolizes the freeing of one's own creative energies." They agreed it was quote apropos for the adolescent program. They thoroughly enjoy and appreciate deep discussions about life and death.

The students are almost ready for their Model UN conference in Chicago in May. Please click here to contribute to the Gofundme. They have been doing fundraising for that and other projects. Soon they will also start doing hatching presentations and setting up incubators at other schools as an additional fundraiser.

In math, the adolescent students have been working on a wide variety of topics, with each student progressing through different parts of the adolescent curriculum. Topics and topic clusters included probability/permutations/combinations, scientific notation, functions/function notation, angles/geometric construction, scale drawings/models, statistics/data displays/measures of center/variance, percents/fractions/decimals/real world percent problems, equation art, and right triangle trigonometry (including using trig as a third method to determine the height of the MSOE flagpole).

Students were encouraged to perform hands-on explorations and projects for these topics, including indirect length measurements, school-wide surveys, various probability experiments, using a graphing app to design equation art, manipulating classic geometry construction instruments, constructing a clinometer and testing it against an iPhone app, calculating real world dimensions from a model stagecoach, self-study of online statistics videos, and pricing a virtual shopping trip and restaurant meal with associated taxes, fees, penalties, tips, discounts, markups and other percent-based realities. They also read about Albert Einstein on his birthday, which happened to be on Pi day, so they did some fun Pi activities.

The adolescents have been doing a mini course for the Upper Elementary students on the history of prominent wars in the US. One student has also been doing a mini-course on magnets. The students are learning about electromagnetic currents and they had fun making their own ferrofluid. They also had fun helping the younger children make Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick's Day. We are very grateful to Tricia Cleff (Patrick and Charlie's mom) and Kirsten DiFlavis (Jonathan's mom) for coming in to bake with all the students.

A few of the major highlights of the month have been two new horses which were added and two baby goats which were born on the farm. The students also visited the new property in Moorestown as a class. Another highlight was to go on a field tip to iFly, which was a gift for the class to celebrate two of their birthdays as well as to symbolize that there is no limit to what they can accomplish if they put their mind to it. Thank you to Mr. Lamar Dixon, Air Force veteran and author of "Let Fear Go," for making this trip possible.

Elementary STEM Scouts
Elementary STEM has moved on to our new module that's all about slime! We are learning about matter and how many forms it takes. We are making various kinds of slime to demonstrate how different quantities of ingredients mixed together make different kinds of slime. We can see and feel the differences in viscosity, texture and color. We even discovered that temperature can effect all of the above too. But mostly we are having fun getting up to our elbows in gooshy, squishy slime!
Building on last month’s learning, we have continued to practice progressive muscle relaxation and the setting of intentions. The most popular intention at this point is “doing good work,” and we will continue to discuss how mindfulness adds to that quality. We are learning how to apply mindfulness tools during times we are experiencing strong feelings, the first being deep breathing, followed by letting go of thoughts and being present in our bodies, tuning in to our senses and calming our emotions. We also have practiced maintaining personal space, respecting others, and using our words to communicate our needs. Team building with hula hoops, games of mindfulness and focus, an angry octopus and of course, bubble blowing, have been our means of practice this month!
Higher Minds Yoga

Our theme this month is courage. Students have been practicing various warrior poses  as well partner yoga. The students’ favorite has been double boat!    

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

Mindful Breathing – Snake Breath
Place hands together to form an imaginary snake, take a deep inhale and exhale making a ‘sss’ sound while slithering your hands upward like a snake. Repeat 3 times.

Yoga Poses –  Warrior 3 and Double Boat (see photos)

Positive Affirmations
I am courageous.
I am powerful.
I am brave.

Question to Ask
Can you remember a time when you were courageous?

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