Vol. 5, Issue 9: May 2019
Message from Matt Simberg, M.Ed.
Every month I reflect on what inclusive theme parents might find beneficial for the given month. I put a good amount of thought into sharing some things that will hopefully be helpful for parents. Sometimes it is more practical information and sometimes it is food for thought. In contemplating about the past year, as we are coming to a close, I think about all of the children, teachers, and parents and their choice to be a part of MSOE. The theme that seems most prevalent and that I appreciate about all of you is patience.

For you to choose to be a part of MSOE, you have chosen patience over immediate and potentially superficial results. You hoped and are hopefully understanding now through experience what I mean. Adults have different expectations for their children. Some want them to read by age four, some don’t care about when their child begins to read for example. As much as we might want to sometimes, we cannot hammer another human being into doing what we want, that becomes detrimentally destructive for both parties. We have to be patient to nurture and guide the younger and smaller human being and let them come out of their metaphoric eggs on their own. It is just like what happens to a cocooned caterpillar if you help them before they are ready to break out and be a butterfly. You can imagine your child has a cocoon for certain emotions, characteristics and tendencies. They need to break out of these things in their own time with the free will that they have. Rules and parameters have to be set and we have to be consistent as adults, but that is not what this is about. I appreciate that, to a certain extent, all of you understand we have to be patient and the Montessori Pedagogy and three year cycle is based off of the need of the human being to have this time to break out of their cocoons or egg shells if you will. This patience that we have for our children and their education also has to start with adults.

If you are not patient with yourself regarding your child or student, then you cannot foster a healthy atmosphere or provide adequate patience that the child needs. So, think for a minute please, are you being patient enough with yourself as a parent or teacher for the sake of the child or your child. Let your eggs and your child or student’s egg hatch without smashing it to “help them.” The child will be a chicken or a butterfly someday, whether you are patient or not. However, by being more patient, how much of a better chicken or butterfly (human being) could your child be?

Property Update
Dear Parents,

I know it has been a little while since I have shared an update of the property! My team and I have been working diligently and I can share where we are at now. I chose a General Contractor. It was tough because two of them seemed really great. At this point, I would recommend either of them if you need one for any of your projects. All of the paperwork has been submitted to get approval to do the work that we agreed to do in order to get our Certificate of Occupancy for September. The elevator has been ordered. The subcontractors have met to plan on what they are doing when. We are expected to be able to get started on the work by the first week in June. Furthermore, as far as the General Contractor goes, he is guaranteeing, the best he can from his end, that the work will be done before the first week in September. He will be doing this by working nights and weekends if he has too. Once he finishes, we have to get inspected and get our CO. The Township is aware of our deadline and says they will do everything they can to get us open on time from their end. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Summer Program
If you have not already registered for the summer program, please do so asap so that we can adequately plan for the various activities and crafts. If you need access to the registration form through Transparent Classroom, please contact Ms. Patty.
Dear Parents,

The Toddler classroom was buzzing with excitement for a large part of the month of May in anticipation of the arrival of the monarch butterflies. The children had the wonderful opportunity to observe first hand the many stages of their development. After they finally arrived, we enjoyed them in the Butterfly habitat. The children watched Ms. Julie preparing the nectar for them to feast on. After three days we ceremoniously walked outside as a group and released them. It was a memorable day as the sun was shining, and so we could see them take flight in various directions. Over the weeks butterfly and caterpillar stories were read, various butterfly and caterpillar art projects were completed, conversations were enjoyed at gathering, new vocabulary words were introduced and butterfly washing was added to the practical life area.

Mother’s Day activities created a lot of stir, and each of the children anxiously and patiently waited for their turn to help out with the muffin making. We are very proud of the way in which they practiced the songs and especially the seriousness with which they played their roles as “performers”!

A big thank you to Kristina Kroot, Allie Cours and Lilly (from the adolescent program) all of whom visited our classroom and presented to the class on Cultural Diversity Day. The children learned something new about Spain, its flag and flamenco dancers. They had the opportunity to see a Chinese newspaper and be introduced to the word “characters” . Additionally they also practiced saying the numbers 1 to 10 in Mandarin. Lilly sang a new continent song with them which they enjoyed.

During their remaining days we will be making some rainbow projects as a way of reinforcing the color names, and also we will be reading some books about birds, doing a little bird watching and of course enjoying some bird works on the shelves.

We look forward to seeing all of our Dads for our Fathers Day celebration on June 7th.

A special thank you to Ms. Tori and Ms. Julie for the great job they have done helping with the transition in Ms. Chris‘ absence. They have been so supportive and helpful. Thank you!!
Dear Primary Parents,

The month of May has been filled to the brim with activity. We have had many wonderful experiences as a Children’s community.  I have to say that the fabric of our school is very special. It’s quite amazing to witness how so many of you have shared your heart with the primary children, as well as your time and energy. One of the most beautiful qualities I think about primary children is that their world is an ongoing spark of inspiration and excitement. The impressions that are made will forever allow the children to shape themselves.

Many thanks to so many of you for joining us for our annual Mother’s Day celebration. As always, it was a beautiful occasion. The children were so proud to share with you what they had prepared, and it was a pleasure to see you there. We hope that you all enjoyed yourself. Additionally, the event was a meaningful opportunity for the primary children to step up to the plate and be helpful models for the toddlers. 

Speaking of good role models, the adolescent classroom has been a wonderful resource for the Primary Classroom particularly this month. The adolescent students began the month with a presentation on the life cycle of a chicken. They talked to the primary children about fun facts about chickens and described the process of incubation. As a treat, they left us with an incubator and eggs so that we could witness this amazing process firsthand. As you can imagine, this has been a very exciting event for the children to witness throughout the month. Subsequently, they introduced the Primary Classroom to their infamous pet rooster “Hey Hey” from the farm. The children all took turns petting the rooster and getting a kick out of its boisterous sound. 

The adolescents also organized a school event, “Cultural Awareness Day”. This was a great opportunity for us to collectively discuss where we come from and celebrate each other’s heritage. A big thank you to Ethan’s Mom, Allison Cours, and Belen’s mom, Kristina Kroot, for coming in to discuss China and Spain. The children loved learning about numbers and different words in Mandarin, as well as seeing pictures of Flamenco dancers and learning some Spanish along the way. Truly, it was a fun opportunity for them to come to the realization that many of them share a heritage that comes from different places in the world!

We have spent a great deal of time caring for our environment this month. Whether it is polishing a leaf, cleaning a table, or sorting the laundry, the children have internalized a sense of pride in taking care of their environment. In turn, this has been a great opportunity to explore the exciting period of growth that is occurring in our natural environment. As the summer approaches, they are more and more in tune to the plants and animals growing around them. 

As a special treat, Emma Jenkin’s grandmother led a fantastic planting activity with the children. She orchestrated all the children in planting an herb garden in the school parking lot! She talked with the children about the process of photosynthesis, and the different things plants need to grow. She also discussed the kinds of tools we use in the garden such as the hand shovel, spade, and rake. The children had a blast getting their hands dirty and learning about how to be efficient gardeners! A big thank you to Emma Jenkin’s Grandmother, Sue Giusto. We cannot wait to taste the fruit of the children’s labor and make more discoveries about herbs soon!

Things to look forward to!

As always, I look forward to another fun filled month. It’s hard to believe how quickly the year has flown by, and how much has happened in such a short amount of time.  Thank you all for your continued support! We look forward to many more opportunities of discoveries and growth.


Mr. Carl

Dear Parents,

What a packed month May has been! All of the children experienced a visit from some farm chickens and got a presentation from the adolescents. They observe the egg incubator in the Primary Classroom and are excited to see them hatch. There was a Mother’s Day celebration. Some children experienced Standardized Testing. Ms. Anne did more crafts with the children. Most of the Elementary children went on another memorable camping trip.

The School year is almost over and I want to give parents some food for thought for the remainder of the school year and the summer. I would like to touch on Freedom & Responsibility, Montessori in the Home, and screentime . Some of the information is from my own experience and knowledge, and some is from short books written by several Montessori Professionals.

Parents have a shared need of Freedom and Responsibility at home and at school with their children. Yet, this is not usually fully recognized! Your family is a culture and everyone’s is different. Your child should be acclimated to it in a way that demonstrates contributions. Your children are learning, mostly through observation, what dress codes are desirable and acceptable, what social behavior is appropriate and what certain limits are. Children should be given permission and shown how to contribute at home. Your child is not "doing chores" around the house, they are contributing to your family at an age appropriate level.

All children truly want and need to do this, but they need parameters and expectations set. Parents should stick to these guidelines and adjust as needed. Children can be contributing to meals, showed how to clean, and explained why it is important, even though they have something “better” to do like screen time, or the option not to help. Frustration stirs among you. Not participating must not be an option. Have an age appropriate discussion with your child about why things need to change if it is not already happening. It is okay to say not choosing to cooperate is not an option. It is so hard to remember that if we do not want the child to have the choice of no, we should not frame questions or statements that leaves room for them to choose no. Also, when we say okay at the end of our sentences, it can give the child the indication that they can choose no.

Parents are concerned with motivation, punishment and reward. Well, it comes across that way if structure has not been initiated and maintained. We can say to our children, “I made a mistake, what you have been doing has not been good for our family. Sometimes we have to do things we do not want to do and that will be the case for the rest of our lives. What is good for all of us sometimes means we have to sacrifice what we want to do for what we need to do.” There are so many lessons offered here, just with this scenario. If our child is not getting enough sunlight and is staying inside or not doing hands on activities, we are creating opportunities for our children to develop behaviors like hyperactivity.

No parent wants this for their child, so it just makes sense to exercise good habits now, instead of dealing with consequences later. In fact, parents note what an improvement they see in their child and their relationship when more natural light is included and less screen time spent. While children are happy in the classroom, there is a notable difference in their engagement and experience when I see them outdoors, (i.e. camping)!

Children need help with their own decisions at this age, to know their limits within decisions, allowing them to participate in adult experiences and preparations. Sometimes, they just cannot have a choice, even if it makes it harder on the adult, because it will get easier and better. Choosing not to work or choosing not to contribute should not be a choice. It is helpful for our children to learn to live and also work in a society that is wider than that of the immediate family.

They want to know the why’s of things. Taking them to the museum or zoo with friends or just family is paramount to broadening their horizons. Talk about where the lion lives, its habitat, etc., discuss different paintings at the museum, talk about perception and what happened during the time a certain painting was created. How was it different or similar to now?

In conclusion, I attempted to give you food for thought and capture glimpses of perspectives to share with you that might be helpful to better engage and integrate your child into your family culture. There is so much more to share and discuss. However, if you get nothing else from this, I think the big takeaway is, “how can we continue to better serve our children? Guidelines, nurturing why questions, sticking to our guidelines, and giving them freedom and responsibility to explore and make good choices are the main takeaways.”
May was a super fun month jam packed with exciting new experiences. The month started out with our Model United Nations trip to Chicago. The students thoroughly enjoyed meeting and interacting with students from all over the world as well as drafting resolutions for some of the world's most important topics including women in development, access to sustainable energy and racial discrimination.

The following week the adolescents did an egg hatching presentation for the younger children. The Primary children got to host an incubator for three weeks, which they diligently maintained, and then everyone got to hold the cutest fuzzy chicks. So awesome to experience the miracle of life right in the classroom!

After that we celebrated our moms, and the adolescents were a great help preparing and serving. One of the moms even stayed after to share with the adolescents about how she started her own business to provide resources and support for women who are struggling with various issues and encourage them to overcome their struggles. It was very relevant because one of our students had recommended such a service as part of her resolution at the MMUN. The adolescents understood that they too can make a difference in the world and in the lives of others even now.

In addition to the amazing life skills the students learned this month, they also got to explore some pretty cool and practical skills such as creating invoices, how to remember information efficiently using visualization and association techniques, and even analyze data by using pivot tables. In math the students have been learning about quadratic functions, linear equations, and graphing probabilities.

After completing a science mini course on magnets, the students started a new mini course about effective study skills. Overall, this school year they did a mini course on MMUN, money, magnets and memorization all led by the students. They also led a mini course on anti-addiction and one on the history of wars in the United States, which they created and presented to the elementary students. The adolescents participated in two major science occupations where they focused on learning about the goats and chickens on the farm through practical interactions. Their microeconomy included selling custom t-shirts and doing fecal testing for the animals on the farm.

One of the most fun activities of this month was Skyping from London with Jeremy Gilley, founder of Peace One Day. The students watched his documentary and had an opportunity to brainstorm about ways they can raise awareness about the initiative to promote peace in our own lives and spheres of influence as well as anticipate a great celebration on September 21st, which is officially an international day of peace.

The third full week of May we celebrated Cultural Diversity Day. The adolescents were inspired to organize a celebration where the parents were invited to share about their culture and enjoy various activities like making a lantern, coloring cultural designs and singing geography songs. It was a very enlightening experience as they explored various cultures. They even learned about the Silbo Gomero of the Canary Islands, a special language, which is based on whistling in a way that mimics the inflections of the Spanish language, has been passed down through many generations and is especially useful when communicating across mountainous areas.

The adolescent students had a fun time helping the primary children with a tie dying activity. It was very enjoyable to see how well the primary children followed instructions and expressed themselves with their colorful designs. Finally, the students got to do some more baking in the kitchen and challenge themselves with making something edible out of the ingredients found in the kitchen. They were very proud of themselves and felt a sense of accomplishment. They should all be proud of themselves for their aptitude on the standardized test and PSAT8 they took this month. It was encouraging to see the progress from last year.

Next month holds the last few weeks of school, and the students are preparing for their student led conferences, the father's day celebration, and an end of year trip. The school year has been full of so much growing and learning. This year we were able to successfully establish a solid framework for the adolescent program and are eagerly anticipating another awesome year, this time in our new space.
Cooking with Ms. Jamie
5 Tips to Kick Portion Distortion

  • Don’t over order – go for salads, soups, and appetizers, which are typically more reasonably sized than entrees.
  • Choose whole based high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains to keep you feeling full and energized.
  • Chew well to aid digestion and give your brain time to register you’re full before you overeat. 
  • Get enough water. Often we mistake thirst for hunger. 
  • Carry your own snacks. Stock up on snack-sized containers and fill them with baby carrots, air-popped popcorn, or nuts.

Try this healthy pre-portioned grab-and-go snack. 

Ingredients -
2 1/2 cup oats 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
2 tablespoons honey 
2 bananas mashed 
optional-3 tbl semi-sweet chocolate chips 

Directions -
Mix ingredients together and roll into a ball!
Keep refrigerated or frozen

Mindfulness with Ms. Marcella
This month in mindfulness, we have pondered peace, relationship, and conflict resolution. 

"When is the best time to do things? In the present moment.
Who is the most important one? The one you are with.
What is the right thing to do?" Help the one standing by your side.

-adapted from Leo Tolstoy

"Seek first to understand, and then to be understood." 

-St. Francis of Assisi, and Stephen Covey's Highly Effective Habit #5

"Peace is not just the absence of conflict; peace is the creation of an environment where all can flourish."

-Nelson Mandela

These concepts were explored by elementary students through interactive activities, thoughtful discussion, immersion in nature, and review of methods to calm the body and mind. 

For our remaining two weeks, we will be reviewing mindfulness methods for the students to continue practice on their own throughout the summer!
Higher Minds Yoga

Our theme for May was Determination.  We learned that with determination and practice, we are able to achieve things we never thought possible.  Students practiced more advanced poses such as inversions (shoulder stand and handstand) and arm balances (spider, crow and floating lotus).  Students even created their own unique poses to teach to the class. We played games of musical mats and sang many songs with the harmonium.
Ways to Incorporate at Home
Mindful Breathing – Sat Nam (I am truth)
Sit tall in a comfortable position; inhale and say aloud or in your mind the word ‘sat’ and on the exhale say the word ‘nam.’ Repeat for a few rounds.

Book Recommendation
I Am Yogaby Susan Verde

Positive Affirmations
I am determined.
I am focused
I am resilient.
When I fall, I get back up.

Question to Ask
Can you remember a time when you were determined?
Follow Higher Minds on IG @highermindsyoga

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