W E D N E S D A Y  W E E K L Y
November 28, 2018
In this Issue

Upcoming Events

November 29
Information Morning for Parents of Rising 6-9 Students*
9 a.m.
Learning Commons

November 30
Information Morning for Parents of Rising 9-12 and Middle School Students*
8:30 a.m.
Learning Commons

December 5
Information Night for Parents of Rising First-Graders*
5-6 p.m.
Great Room

December 6
Make Sale
3-5 p.m.
Great Room

Celebration of Reading
3-6:30 p.m.
Great Room
(Co-op help needed: email Lori Oberly or sign up via the co-op bulletin boards)

December 8
11 a.m.
Toddler playground

December 19
6-9 Winter Concert
9:30 a.m.

*Parents may earn co-op hours for attending Information sessions.

Setting the Table
Message from
Head of School Lisa Lalama

Read more from Lisa on the Montessori Message blog.
Last  week we had the pleasure of welcoming grandfriends to WMS. They spent time in the classrooms, enjoyed refreshments and renewed acquaintances with others they may seldom see. Then, we busily went our separate ways, enjoying a Thanksgiving feast - whatever that means to each of us - with friends and family. Years ago, when I first began hosting Thanksgiving dinners, my mother informed me, "Don't mess around with the menu. People expect to see the same food each year." She was advising me that if I got too creative or reached too far, the guests would be disappointed. They're counting on the same food year after year. Familiarity is the key.

I have mostly followed that advice, preparing a family recipe for stuffing, veggies and pies. However, each year I try to sneak in something that wasn't at the table the year before. I like to cook and doing it on autopilot is certainly easier, though no less work. If I'm going to put in the work, I want to have a bit of an adventure. Plus, people LOVE to offer feedback on new foods - if they'll taste them.

The menu, the people at our tables and the traditions we follow all can be aligned with parts of education. The curriculum, the students, teachers and families in our school, and the methods we employ are familiar, and if we're not learning and growing, they remain the same year after year. Though as adults we are familiar with education because we all went to school, we do not contend to have the perfect recipe for educating children. Just as altitude or improper preparation will affect the outcome of a traditional recipe, applying a one-size-fits-all curriculum in schools does the same.

You have chosen a WMS education. Although this was unfamiliar to most of you when you first walked through our doors, it has become better understood through your time with us. You have come to expect the high standards that reflect a WMS education. We provide an education for each child, adjusting ingredients as needed, based on a student's needs and preferences. We know the traditional ingredients and what is expected when students move on to high school from WMS, and we make sure students have mastered those areas. We also know, as Dr. Montessori taught us, that if we do not keep the interest and passion alive in children, they will not be motivated to carry their studies throughout their lives.

On Grandfriends' Day we got a taste of what our new middle school students have been doing since September as they shared about their field trips, musical compositions, micro-economy, sculpture of found and recycled materials and much more. We learned that they have a voice in choosing their areas of study, and push their teachers to meet them where they are and provide meaningful, exciting experiences that steadily increase their motivation to learn more. We felt their excitement and engagement in learning.

This school year we added another offering at WMS: middle school. We've set the table for students from 12 months through eighth grade to experience the best education has to offer, adjusting our recipe as needed. We are grateful for each of you and your participation in WMS, learning and growing with us each step along the way.

News & Notes News
Thank You for Giving on #GivingTuesday

Thank you to everyone who participated in #GivingTuesday - we received more than 100 donations to the WMS Annual Fund! We know there are many causes worthy of your donations, and we're grateful you chose to support WMS. With your help, we raised nearly $24,000, including a generous matching gift. 

We would especially like to thank our homeroom parents, for leading this initiative and making yesterday our most successful #GivingTuesday yet. A special thanks to our middle school families, who helped the middle school classroom achieve 100% participation in this year's annual fund drive and win a pajama pizza party!

Order Your WMS Gear: the School Store is Open
Stock up on WMS spirit wear just in time for the holidays: the WMS school store is open now through November 30 at midnight. Purchase WMS logo sweatshirts, sweatpants, flannel pants, fleece jackets and more. Spirit wear is only available for purchase online, and the store opens for limited periods throughout the year. If you have any questions, please contact Lori Oberly or email schoolstore@wmsde.org.

This article is the first in a series about how WMS is helping children across all age levels become more independent.

Toddler Coat Flip
Watch the toddler coat flip
Fostering Independence Among Toddlers
by Toddler lead teacher Hillary McDonald

In the Toddler rooms, we are working on independence. We are introducing the children to many skills that allow them to care for themselves.  One example is the "coat flip." As the weather is getting colder, we have begun to incorporate this skill into our daily routine. We see another example during snack time, when children are encouraged to pour their own water. At this level, the children are capable of so much. From retrieving their own work mats and gathering their own materials to cleaning up their space by themselves, the children learn to be independent.  

For more information on how to foster independence with your child at home, read this article from LePort Montessori

Eco-Student Council members: (top row) Ella Walsh, Lydia Snyder, Addie Laster, Samantha Russell, (bottom row) Maya Connelly, Taylor Stroud, Camille Moritz, Griffin Downes, Max Wake; not pictured: Jacob Politis
Introducing WMS's Eco-Student Council

Tuesday, November 20, marked the inaugural meeting of WMS's newly minted Eco-Student Council - a group of 10 elementary and middle school students, six faculty members and one parent leading WMS's commitment to sustainability, reducing energy costs and protecting the environment. Forming the  Eco-Student Council marks a step toward fully implementing the National Wildlife Federation's Eco-Schools USA program at WMS. 

Depending on their age level, council members were selected by nomination by their peers, volunteering to serve (with support from their peers) or having their names drawn from a pool of interested candidates. The council will meet monthly to discuss ways our school can reduce waste and energy use, seek input from their classmates about what initiatives they would most like to pursue and work to ensure 100% participation in the projects they put into place.

Stay tuned to the Wednesday Weekly for updates about the Eco-Student Council's activities and progress throughout the school year.

WMS has been part of the National Wildlife Federation's Eco-Schools program since 2014, is a member of the Delaware Pathways to Green Schools program and was named a 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School.

Please join the WMS community, family and friends of former WMS Toddler teacher Jane Miner to dedicate a tree in her memory next Saturday, December 8, at 11 a.m. at the WMS Toddler playground. 

Jane taught at WMS for 26 years, where she created a beautiful environment in her classroom for our youngest students and served as a mentor for many of our newer toddler teachers. She was a dear friend to many in the WMS community.
Every October, the sixth-grade class travels to New York City to attend the annual GCAP conference - a four-day academic conference at the United Nations for Montessori students across the United States and from other countries. Read sixth-grader Maya Connelly's summary of the GCAP experience below.

What is GCAP?
by Maya Connelly, sixth grade

Do you know what GCAP is? I am guessing you don't. GCAP stands for Global Citizenship Action Project. Every year the sixth graders go to GCAP in New York City. We go for three nights and four days. All day we went to meetings about different issues in other countries around the world. After we heard all of the presentations we voted on which organization we should raise money for. This year we are doing Save the Rain. In the past the sixth graders also chose Save the Rain. They had all of the kids walk around the room and carry a bucket of water so they get to feel what the people in Africa feel. We also sell bracelets to raise money for making big jugs that hold and collect rain water.

After a day of meetings it's night time. At night we do amazing things like go ice skating at Rockefeller Center. We also go to a Broadway show! This year we went to "Frozen." It was so much fun. The special effects were incredible. We even got our playbooks signed by the actors.

We also visited a mission. This year we visited South Sudan. We talked to the ambassador of South Sudan. We also toured the United Nations. We went through a real meeting. It was really interesting; everyone was talking in a different language and talking about changes they could make so all of the countries benefit. GCAP is so much fun, I could do it every year. New York is amazing and so is GCAP.

For more about the sixth-graders' trip to the GCAP conference in New York, including the UN mission they visited (South Sudan), the NGO presentations they attended, hotel and food reviews, and more, visit the sixth-grade blog, Today's Bloggers, Tomorrow's Writers

leaders Tomorrow's Leaders
Alumni Parent and Grandparent Kay Holbrook Reflects on Three Generations of Montessori Education

Since January, alumni parent Kay Holbrook has been experiencing deja vu on a daily basis. Almost 20 years after her sons Justin and Austin graduated, she's been escorting her granddaughters to school at WMS. For Kay, while the physical space has undergone a few changes since her time as a WMS parent, the spirit remains the same.

Kay Holbrook with granddaughter Sophia
"It's the same halls - sometimes it's like 'been here, done this before,'" Kay said. "It's just like bringing my two boys in. That same feeling is here - it's peaceful."

She is also watching her two granddaughters thrive, as she did with her sons a generation ago.

"The Montessori Method prepares kids for life academically, socially, emotionally," she said. "The academic piece, social piece and emotional piece - when I think of education, I think of all three. To achieve a peaceful love of life, contributing to society, you have to deal with all three."

While Kay knew little about Montessori education until she enrolled her older son at WMS as a kindergartner in 1992, her first Montessori experience actually dates back to her own days as a kindergartner.

Continue reading Kay's story on the WMS website

The Wednesday Weekly shares WMS news and events that are relevant to the families in our community.  

Please send submissions to wednesday-weekly@wmsde.org by 4:30 p.m. on the Friday prior  to the issue in which you wish to include your information. Content may be edited for length and style and may be held for a future issue due to space constraints.  

For more information, contact Noel Dietrich, Director of Advancement & Communications.

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