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News for
Your time at home
In this issue
Head of School
Quote of the Week
Appreciation
Support
General Resources
Get Involved
Virtual Tours
Math
Language
Social Studies
Science
Practical Life
Music
Art
Outdoors
Health and Wellness
Articles
Videos
All School News
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Quote of the Week 

"I glanced out the window at the signs of spring. The sky was almost blue, the trees were almost budding, the sun was almost bright."

- Millard Kaufman
 
Appreciation

Thank you to our hardworking and dedicated staff who helped collect these resources!

Thank you to Mary who put these resources together and has been keeping our social media pages alive with resources and reminders of how much we miss you all!

Thank you to all of the TMS parents who are emergency responders and are working to keep our community safe.
Community Support!

If you are able, donations to our general fund would be much appreciated at this time.



Message from the Head of School

Dear Families,

I hope you are all doing well during these difficult times. Below is not our typical e-news but instead a list of resources and ways to support your family at home. Our guides have been working so hard to support our families remotely. This is not an easy task! As Montessori educators, online learning is not something that we ever pictured doing. The hands-on approach and human interaction is what we love. I am so impressed with the efforts our staff have put into providing resources to our families and providing support in any way they can, all while tending to their own needs as parents, caregivers, partners, community members, and humans. Thank you for supporting my team and appreciating all that they do. 

As a parent myself, I am experiencing all of the struggles and joys of having my children at home every day while also keeping up with my own responsibilities. Every day seems to be trial and error but also establishes more and more of a routine for us. Here are some of the ways I've found social distancing at home can be made easier with the family:
  • Reasonable expectations: Yes, your child may normally be in school three or six hours a day, but that doesn't mean you have to teach them (or even hang out with them) three to six hours a day. In a Montessori classroom, we teach children to build their stamina to work independently. Being at home in a new routine, this will most likely need to be re-established. As your child acclimates to being at home, though, remember that they are capable of learning from and exploring their environment with very little instruction. A 15-minute activity with my four-year-old and then an hour of playtime is a reasonable expectation for us. Focus on quality over quantity.
  • Use what you have: No need to invest in hundreds of dollars of homeschooling materials. There are things in your house that you can use! For younger children, puzzles and games are perfect learning tools. For older children, have them write a letter to Grandpa and discuss handwriting, spelling, or grammar with them in the process. Read a chapter book together. Pause and ask questions or have discussions. 
  • Go outside a lot: Whether your child is having unstructured playtime in the backyard or a more structured activity like a scavenger hunt walk around the block, this is valuable time. Children develop so many skills just from being outside. If your child is having a meltdown from too much math or siblings are arguing over Legos - send them to the backyard immediately!
  • It's all about Practical Life: Many parents are not natural math teachers or don't have the patience to teach the rules of grammar. Teach what you know! Do you really want your pre-teen going off to college in eight years not knowing how to do their own laundry or how to clean a bathroom? It's time to give them step-by-step lessons on how to do these important skills. Want to expedite your morning routine? Teach your young child how to get dressed by themselves, prepare their own breakfast, and unload the dishwasher. When children do chores, they are not only learning valuable life skills, but they also feel like an essential part of the family. Chore time is built into my family's daily schedule multiple times per day. Helping in the house is just a part of being a family. Our two-year-old is responsible for folding her brother's cloth diapers and putting them away every morning. Our four-year-old sets the table for meals, feeds the cat, and folds towels. Our thirteen-year-old does the dishes, folds laundry, vacuums, and watches his siblings. 
  • Cook with your kids: Children love to cook, and if you let them practice, someday they may even be preparing your meals! Skills like measurement and multiplying a recipe are great math activities. We've eaten a lot of cupcakes and banana bread in the last two weeks. Our thirteen year old makes dinner one night per week. We've allowed him to prepare his own breakfasts and lunches since he was small. Over time, these skills add up to self-sufficiency in the kitchen.
  • Be good to yourself: Juggling all of this is difficult. Loosen the rules and expectations. Don't fight about reading time or math facts. Give lots of choices and follow your child's interests. Be flexible. Don't be married to a schedule. Remember that most parents are in the exact same boat as you. Even with a daily routine, there's still lots of crying, tantrums, and (sometimes) yelling in our household. Forgive yourself. This time with your children is so valuable. Focusing on quality time - whether it be watching a movie together or building a fort - has more value than any workbook out there. 
While the world is scary and unpredictable right now, we have the privilege of hanging out with our favorite people for a while. Enjoy it! 

As always, I will continue to keep you updated as new information is available. Take care of yourself and stay safe. We miss you all!

Peace,
Ann

General Educational Resources

Social Media:  Activities and resources will be posted daily on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Be sure you are following us to stay up-to-date.

YouTube:  Visit our YouTube channel to view children's books read by our staff, songs and poems, movement activities like dancing and yoga,  virtual  lessons, and more

Online Classrooms:  Many of our lead guides have begun some kind of online classroom forum. Contact your child's lead guide for more information.

Printables
This linked website offers  free printable worksheets. The handwriting and journal worksheets would be appropriate for primary students. The math facts would be great for elementary students.

Research Site
https://www.facts4me.com/  A safe research site for elementary-level readers. They are offering free 24/7 access
USERNAME: read (case sensitive)
PASSWORD: read (case sensitive)

Use this site to complete the research guides found in later sections, or to explore a subject of interest to you!

American Montessori Society:  at-home student activity ideas

Montessori Parent Coronavirus Survival Guide
Download this e-book free through March 30 ($2.99 after). It has a wealth of resources for children of all ages. Download link .
Get Involved and Stay Connected

As we work and learn from home, there are still many ways to stay connected with our community and give back how we can. Here are some ways you and your child can volunteer your time and resources to vulnerable communities during these uncertain time, many right from the comfort of your home. 

Sew Face Masks
This is a way those of us with sewing kits and skills can help our healthcare professionals during this crisis. Area hospitals are now accepting donations of hand-sewn masks. See all the details and instructions in the article linked below.

Crosstown Parkway Apartments Letter Writing
Many of our senior citizen neighbors at Crosstown Parkway are in need of some friendship during this time of isolation. Please consider writing an letter to the address below to be shared with a senior. Write 'from TMS' somewhere on the envelope so the front office staff knows to distribute them appropriately

550 W Crosstown Pkwy, Kalamazoo, MI 49008

Also consider writing a letter to a grandparent or other relative, a friend, or a neighbor.

Picking up Litter -- Safely
Many of us have found lots of trash in our own neighborhoods/yards since the snow has melted. Imagine how much trash we could pick up if everyone cleaned up just a small space. Please remember - safety first! Never pick up something unless you know what it is - if you're not sure, ask an adult.

You'll need:
  • bright colored clothing and an adult if you're picking up trash near the road
  • gloves
  • trash grabber (the elementary students have found that using a stick to stab the trash, or using two sticks as tongs works really well, too) 
  • hard sided container for holding trash
Snap photos of your trash and share them with us!



South Michigan Food Bank
The South Michigan Food Bank is open M-F daily, even now, filling thousands of lunches (and sending them out) for children and seniors in need and they can only do this through volunteers. You can also donate pantry items any day until 3:30 pm. Peanut butter, sun butter and tuna are highly needed, as their suppliers have run out.  
 
Individuals or groups may sign up to help. The shifts are 9 am-12 pm or 12:30 pm-3:30 pm. No more than 15 volunteers are allowed at a time.  Children as young as 6 may come. 
 
Contact Michelle, 269-441-4438 to sing up if you are interested.  

Call 2-1-1
This hotline run by the state of Michigan can connect you with a number of resources and ways to support your community. 


Virtual Tours and Adventures

A number of museums, zoos, aquariums, and state and local parks have made virtual tours available. You can even explore the solar system from home!
Math Activities and Resources

Printable math works for primary students

Online Learning Activities

Language Activities and Resources

Printable language works for primary students

Online Learning Activities
Social Studies Activities and Resources

Research Guides
These are appropriate for elementary students. Access them here: 

Online Resources

Science Studies Activities and Resources

Experiments

Research Guides
These are appropriate for elementary students. Access them here: 

Online Learning Activities

Practical Life Activities

Chores
Age-appropriate chores are a great way for your child to learn responsibility, practical-life skills, gross- and fine-motors skills, and concentration.




Baking and Cooking
Recipes from our staff: Link (all ages)
Article: Cutting A Banana Montessori (primary)


Music Activities                                                                

Online classroom
Join Hal's online classroom at this link:  https://new.edmodo.com/home
Create an edmodo account and then click 'Join a Class'. Use code  24kwtt to join.

Research Guides
These are appropriate for elementary students. Access them here:  https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ZaZTVt_4aZv2TlBbb2uEPNqpNqMrSL3M?usp=sharing

Here is a rhythm challenge for you and your family: 



Level one: speak the words and clap the rhythm till you feel you have it. Keep the beat steady, and remember to repeat.

Level two: there are 4 parts to the rhythm - we also have 4 "instruments" in our body percussion - stamp feet, pat knees, clap hands, and click over our head. Choose one "instrument" (clap, pat, stamp or click) for each part of the song. Practice your body percussion till you master it. Keep the beat steady.

Level three: perform the body percussion piece as a round with other family members! The second person starts after "stay home". To hear the overlap, speak/play th song two or three times.

Level four (the super-a vanced level!) Write your own MELODY to the rhythm! You may use these notes: C, D, E and G. (No F's allowed - use an F, go to jail!) Practice singing your melody and teach it to your family so you can SING it in a round! When you have composed your melody and you like what you have, write it down in notation so you can share it when we get back to school together.

Good luck, all of you!

Sing-a-longs:  video playlist
Follow our YouTube channel for more sing-a-longs and videos from Hal

Art Activities                                                                          

Virtual Lessons
Our art specialist, Sam, has created a handful of virtual lessons. They are available here: 

Research Guide
This work is appropriate for elementary students. Access it here: 

Art Hub for Kids
This site has many tutorials and printable activities for all ages: 

Homemade Cornstarch Play Dough 
Materials
1 cup cornstarch
1 lb baking soda
1 cup water
1/8 tsp oil
Food coloring
 
Directions
In a large pot, combine ingredients. Cook over medium heat until "mealy." Allow to cool on a plate, covered by a damp cloth. Knead well and store in an airtight container.

Start an Art Journal
Warm-Up Time - A space of time where the child colors/paints on her own, without instruction.

Multiple-Mediums - bring out other art mediums for them to try. Make sure to provide a t-shirt or coverup to protect clothing .... Don't be afraid to get messy-both art, and life, ARE messy.

Name and Date - At the end of each journaling session, have your child pause, close their eyes and quiet down. Then have them name or title the journal page. Sometimes you can ask your child to think of one word; a feeling/emotion; or simply write what they were thinking about as they were 'journaling'. Date that page as well.

Outdoor Activities  

Jessica's outdoor classroom website:
https://sites.google.com/themontessorischool.org/tmsoutdoorclassroom/home Please
 expect more updates to this site in the coming days and weeks.

Scavenger Hunt
Try finding one of each of the following items while on a walk


Native Animal Tracks
Take a walk on a muddy day and see if you can spot any of these animal tracks.


Health and Wellness                                                                         

Avery's health and wellness online classroom: 

All-ages Home Workouts



Emotional Literacy
These resources can help you help you child process through big emotions and challenging topics, such as COVID-19.

Self-care
Parents, remember to take time for your  well-being  as well!
Articles                                                                         
Videos                                                                        
All-School News

Email
Please be sure the email you have on file with the school is up-to-date. Per the Family Handbook, email and E-news are official forms of communication between the school and our families, and will be used most frequently to communicate updates about the school, billing, and non-urgent updates about your child. If you are unsure what email address we have on file, or would like to update your email address, please contact Erin at frontdesk@themontessorischool.org

TMS Blog
Be sure to follow our blog for monthly updates on special happenings at TMS from staff and the administration. 

Wish Lists
We do not require our students to provide their own materials for class each day. Instead, our online  Wish List  is a great way to give new works and supplies to our cla ssrooms and programs. Select your child's classroom or favorite p rogram and see the items the guide or specialist is requesting. As a non-profit, your contributions are so helpful in maintaining our beautiful learning environments and greatly appreciated! Thank you! 

Family Handbook
The most up-to-date version of the  Family Handbook  is always available on our website. Please make sure to review this for our policies and procedures.

Amazon Smile
Do you shop on Amazon? Did you know that with every purchase, Amazon could be giving a little back to TMS?  Remember, always start at  smile.amazon.com  and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases.  You'll need to select T he Montessori School in Kalamazoo for the first time. After that, you can use smile.amazon.com for every purchase! 

Clip Those Box Tops!  
A reminder that The Montessori School participates in
the Box Tops for Education loyalty program. This program earns money for the school simply by cli pping the Box Top coupons from packages of products who parti cipate in the program.

Each Box Top is worth 10 cents. Our school then can us e the money to off-set the cost of field trips,  purchase supplies and materials for our classr ooms, and much more. It is an easy way to give back to the school. You can clip the Box Tops and send them to school anytime.   

           
Questions? Let us help!
We're here to help with whatever you might need. Feel free to call us any time at (269) 349-3248. E-mail is also a great way to communicate. Just click on the name below to send a message to one of our staff members.

Ann Pilzner, Head of School

Susan Atkinson , Business Manager  

Administrative Office - General inquiries