Tickets are on sale in the office now for our Annual MCS Family Carnival!
Many thanks to those who have organized this exciting event!
Tickets are on sale in the office now for our Annual MCS Family Carnival!
Many thanks to those who have organized this exciting event!
"I'm so glad we are all good at different things."
Today I was performing a task alongside a collegue of mine and I expressed how much I loved the task to which she responded with the above comment. This struck a deep chord with me as I was preparing to write this webpost about the beauty of authenticity. All of the greatest improvements throughtout history have come from people who were able to think outside the box. Anyone who has spent any amount of time with children knows that they are small people with BIG vision. I applaud those parents who have embraced the uniqueness of their children and are making an effort to give them the continued gift of being unique in a society that largely embraces conformity. As children discover their world they do so with their whole selves. An engaged child often uses more than one sense to discover and their entire little bodies are prone to form or move in order to fully engage.
Maria Montessori described ages 0-3 as an unconscious absorbent mind. This means that a childs brain works like a sponge-absorbing almost everything in their environment and then the information sinks deep into their psyche, developing various observations and ideas of the world that will likely remain with them into adulthood. This theory speaks to the importance of the early years...hence; our Toddler environment.
Maria Montessori then described the ages 3-6 as those of a conscious absorbent mind. The sponge is still in tact-the child absorbs exorbient amounts of information using multiple teqhniques and senses. But, their consciousness now plays a role in decifering information. These children begin to be led and guided by their personal interest and intrigue. Children begin to gain the ability to think and reason. Their desire to participate as part of a community develops as the find themselves repeating tasks in an effort to master their bodies and minds. The beauty of this is evident in a normalized Montessori Early Childhood environment.
The transformation to an elementary aged student, about 6 years old, is like a huge explosion into a much bigger world. They can see and recognize a world outside themselves. These children begin to discover that they have something to contribute to a larger community. The elementary years find a child with big thoughts and big ideas paired with the ability to take ACTION! At 6-9 years old they find satisfaction in collaboration and their big ideas grow as they learn to combine ideas with their peers. Big idea plus big idea equals enormous idea.
Although we see a child become slightly more "me" oriented around nine years old, we now have a child with the ability to transform their ideas into other ideas as the skill to abstract grows. They see the change they are capable of making. Now, we are looking face to face at these big thinkers who have, hopefully by now, experienced the satisfaction of making some signifigant contribution(s) to whatever society they feel they are a part.
One of the most disheartening things about society, to me, is its huge impact on taking away big ideas. No matter how big the box, the truth remains, we don't all fit inside it. Our world thrives on originality. Our children deserve the opportunity to be empowered by the big ideas floating around inside their little bodies. Having all this wonder and hope and excitement about the world can hardly make a change if we take away the ability to apply them. How can we do that in a system that expects the same things from each person? The video below supports the idea that our children deserve to have a voice and we, at Montessori Community School, are proud to have the ability to give it to them. We are more than the private school down the street. What do our children want from their education? Are they able to voice the importance of their needs and wants? Are we listening when they do?
I invite you to take three minutes to hear one perspective on the subject and when you are done watching pat yourself on the back with the knowledge that just by reading this post or watching this video you are taking steps in the right direction as we strive for a better, more authentic education for our big thinkers!
The Spiritual Preparation of the Montessori Teacher
The curriculum and the philosophy of Montessori are both based on her careful observation of individuals. As she watched the children develop and explore their environment she brought essentials in to the environment that would support their natural development. This action clearly supports her theory that entering a classroom and guiding a child in their development as a whole person means the teacher must be well prepared. The teachers personal preparation and commitment to the students and their paths is extremely important. Maria Montessori was the ultimate example of careful observation, preparation and honoring the spirit of the child. But, as anyone who has participated in a Montessori training program can attest to, that preparation is necessary of any Montessori teacher.
“The real preparation for education is a study of one’s self. The training of the teacher who is to help life is something far more than the learning of ideas. It includes the training of character, it is a preparation of the spirit.” (The Absorbent Mind)
According to Montessori, to work effectively with children, we must tear out our most deeply rooted defects, especially those that would hinder our relations with our children. In true humility we must look at ourselves to identify our strengths as well as our weaknesses.
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I feel a great desire to share my own understanding of the deep and ongoing preparation that our teachers commit to in order to be present and attentive to our children. First of all, this preparation requires a moral preparation as well as a spiritual preparation. In an effort to model appropriate behavior and interactions, they must be non-judgemental and able to see a situation from many angles. A Montessori teacher is required to observe the children and attune to their needs while she acts as a natural part of their environment and presents lessons in such a way that she entices each child, each day, and in each area. Her depth of understanding the emotional status of each child must be sharp. Her ability to assess, during her presentations, what a child is understanding must be present at all times. There is no space in a classroom for judgement or prejudices.
As you know, ours is a program which teaches many practical skills. Therefore, assessing the needs of the children on a daily basis is a necessity in being prepared to follow their needs. They must let go of anger and pride as they step into the classroom each day. They learn to model peaceful conflict resolution and learn to sit on and meditate with decisions in an effort to be fair and constructive. They learn to trust the process and see even the slightest change in their students.
My experience has been, and continues to be, that these wonderful people who are drawn to the philosophy of Montessori have a special gift. Sending love and appreciation to the amazing teachers here at Montessori Community School. Your dedication to Montessori, our children, and your own personal growth does not go unnoticed or under-appreciated. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
"(Parents) alone can and must save their children. Their consciences must feel the force of the mission entrusted to them by nature for...in their hands lies positively the future of humanity, life."
The philosophy of Montessori has, at some point, called to each one of us. Over the years I have seen parents and teachers "fall for" Montessori for a variety of reasons and with a variety of intentions or hopes for its outcome. Whatever the reason we chose this particular journey, it has probably become as clear to you as it has to me that a Montessori education is bigger than the 8 hours a day that our children spend inside the walls of Montessori Community School. Our children are coming home with the ability to think with initiative and innovation. They have the desire to extend their learning outside the classroom. From the time they are small, children are naturally learning. They begin life touching and tasting everything in their path in an effort to learn as much as they can about their environment. For a child who has been in a Montessori environment, their desire for knowledge has not changed much from the time they were infants. They seek knowledge everywhere they go!
One of the most popular questions I get from parents is "how can I support the Montessori philosophy at home?" What are we to do? How do we keep that flame alive so their desire for knowledge continues to grow as they learn the tools necessary to obtain knowledge? As a Montessori mother I can assure you that the items below will make your job bringing Montessori home a whole lot easier as well as making your child’s Montessori experience more rich and meaningful than if it were to stand alone as a “school” experience.
Slow down, model appropriately, and STOP hurrying our children: Our children are watching us. And they are in an environment where they are learning appropriate social behavior. They are learning skills necessary to recognize and communicate their needs and desires. In our homes we can give them a voice! The moments we spend effectively communicating with our little ones will serve them for a lifetime. In addition to hearing their voice and giving it a fair amount of power, we need to SLOW DOWN. Let us all make a committed effort to teach our children to stop and smell the flowers. Lets show them that the only job worth doing is a job done well. Effort and desire produce meaningful results.
Preparation of the environment: Preparing an environment where the child can continue their patterns of growth and discovery is essential to supporting our children’s Montessori experience. This is because our children are in a state where everything in their environment is of essence to their experience as an individual. Our school environment allows the child space to learn in many aspects but often our home environments are set up to suit the needs of the adults. Montessori said, “(The child) absorbs the life going on about him and becomes one with it....The child’s impressions are so profound that a biological or psycho-chemical change takes place, by which his mind ends by resembling the environment itself.” Providing our children with an age appropriate, enriched environment is part of the gift we can give them in support of their Montessori education.
Give our children space to explore their passions: These little ones are learning to find enthusiasm and joy in different tasks. They are given freedom to explore topics of interest. When we hear their voice and honor their passions, we support their love of learning. A child who has developed an interest in plants desires nothing more than a parent who will listen and actively encourage their passion by providing them books, field trips, and conversations about plants. A person truly masters a skill or subject when they can teach another person about it. I urge you to give your children space to teach and share their passions with you.
Accept their contributions: Our children are being taught to be contributing members of a community. How can you allow your child this opportunity at home? Their ability to contribute is usually beyond what we might think they are capable. When we maintain our space as a family community we then have the opportunity to explore, play, and learn as a community. My experience has been that to be an effective Montessori Parent, I have no choice but to understand and fully embrace that I have three little individuals on my hands. Their ability to truly and effectively contribute to society is one that makes me feel honored and privileged.
I don’t advocate for having a house full of Montessori materials. Our little ones spend many hours in a day working on academics. They are most served at home when we allow them to participate in practical tasks and explore their surroundings. When I invite you to bring Montessori home I certainly don’t want anyone getting the impression that I think our children should be home working on math. I am saying that we can indulge their love of learning by hearing what they are interested in. We can support their development of imagination by reading wonderful, adventurous books with them. We can support their love of nature by hiking and camping and exploring with them. We can teach them the beauty of the earth by walking slowly with them. We can nurture their ability to build meaningful relationships by seeing them and hearing them and touching them. We can teach them to be confident by looking them in the eye while they speak to us. We can teach them to resolve conflicts peacefully by modeling peaceful conflict resolution.
Thank you to all the families who participated in the Children’s clothing swap last week. We had a record amount of clothes donated! I hope you all got to update your growing child’s wardrobe a little bit.
Glass recycling Wednesday is getting off on the right foot! Each week we continue to see more and more glass coming in for us to recycle. Keep it coming! I hope you find this a useful service.
I wanted to publicly acknowledge the Green Committee members who have made our efforts to green MCS a success this year. You are all amazing and passionate about improving the school and the environment for our children.
One Green Committee member needs a little extra acknowledgement, Jaymison Peterson. With out Jaymison’s efforts the clothing swap just would not have happened. She sorted and folded so many kid tee shirts I think she will be folding in her dreams for quite awhile! Throughout the entire swap Jaymison was there, straightening and organizing, in order to make it easier for all of us to find what we needed, in the right size! And the wonderful signs for Glass Wednesday, you guessed it, Jaymison made them! Most Wednesdays she is one of the members taking the glass to be recycled. She is a vital part of the Green Committee and I hope she knows how much I appreciate her efforts and commitment to our Committee and to MCS. Thank you Jaymison!
And, thank you to all MCS parents and students for making the Green Committee a success again this year.
Chair, Green Committee
As you are aware our Annual Service Fundraiser –the Fun Run- will be held on Wednesday, April 17th. Our goal for this year is to raise at least $6500 for our two special Navajo grandmothers, Emma and Elvira, as well as our seven students from Ethiopia.
As we have 220 students enrolled at this time this means that if each child could aim to raise $30 we would reach our goal. We are aware that this will be an easy target for some families and more difficult for others and want you to know that anything you can offer will be so gratefully received.
The Adopt A Native Elder program has an excellent website that we invite you to view at this link- www.anelder.org The website gives so much information about the work of the organization. We are aware that there are many other grandmothers who would really benefit from sponsorship and therefore if we meet our goal this year we hope to adopt another grandmother. We have been sponsors for Grandmothers Emma, Roseline (who recently died), and Elivira for about seventeen years now and know how much our support has helped provide a higher quality of life. As you know from some of our Weekly Email newsletters we hear from our grandmothers on a regular basis and having spent time with each of them on the reservation Robyn and Bob know what great an impact our commitment and support has on their lives.
Recently we received new photos and thank you letters from our sponsored students in Ethiopia. We include two of their photos here. Along with the correspondence we received a recommendation to watch the following link -http://youtu.be/cYumqw7idQY On the video you will see that one of our students, Bethelhem Eyob, (who is one of the girls shown in the photos attached) speaks about her experience at school and her gratitude for her sponsors (in this case our school). In a recent communication from Rick Egan at COEEF he wrote, "Bethelhem Eyob is a brilliant student, and so I thought you may be interested in seeing a short video we put together from our last visit to Ethiopia. It includes a short interview with your student, Bethelhem Eyob, talking about Mr Solomon and St Michael's School where she attends.
Once again we thank you in advance for your support.
Robyn and Ramira
Shakin' it for Nico!
Deacon, Drake, Meghan and Sophie volunteer their time at the Zumbathon.
A small crowd of attendees before the madness began!
Shakin' It for Nico!
Excited children watching their parents dance!
Alyana and Lauren, volunteering in Child Care, bust out a move.
For those who participated in the Zumbathon last Friday night, we cannot begin to thank you enough. The energy was incredible and seeing the event come together, as a community of loving adults put their dollars AND their enthusiastic energy into this project, was a touching experience for many. We raised well over our anticipated goal and some of our staff members are looking forward to presenting the money to Nico and his family next week.
This event is just one reason we are all proud to be a part of the Montessori Community School...when we bring together our talents, our good intentions, and our positive energy-we can do amazing things!
Special thanks to the following:
Sophie Lake -MCS teacher, event organizer, event volunteer
Cinthya Barajas - MCS teacher, Zumbathon instructor/event volunteer, event organizer
Ralynne Purdy - Zumbathon instructor/event volunteer
Jena Marston - Zumbathon instructor/event volunteer
Meghan Burrows - MCS teacher, event volunteer
Alyana Kay - MCS teacher, event volunteer
Lauren Bornschein - MCS teacher, event volunteer
MCS Facilities - event organization, set-up
Drake Jones - MCS student, event volunteer
Tanner Jones - MCS student, event volunteer
Deacon Jones - MCS student, event volunteer
And especially to all the community members (MCS Community as well as many SLC Community members) who participated in the event!
Many, Many Thanks!
6th Annual - Montessori Community School Fun Run
Wednesday, April 17th 2013
(Please note the change in date from the school calendar.)
The two main service projects that our school is involved with are the Adopt A Native Elder program and also COEEF (Children of Ethiopia Fund).
For the past seventeen years our school has raised money, in various ways, for the Adopt a Native Elder program, to provide financial assistance for our three adopted Navajo grandmothers- Roseline, Emma and Elvira who have chosen to remain living on a reservation and spent their lives living in the traditional life style as role models for their children and grandchildren. For the past ten years our school has also raised money to pay full tuition to allow our girls in Ethiopia to attend school. Only 25% of girls in Ethiopia are afforded the opportunity to attend school and COEEF has built schools in Ethiopia for the express purpose of providing education only for girls.
For the past six years the main fundraising event to support our grandmothers and young girls in Ethiopia has been our Spring Fun Run. All of our students participate in the event. The children collect pledges from family and friends who are interested in supporting these two programs and the children run laps on the Lower Field to earn the money that has been pledged. 100% of the money earned goes directly to our grandmothers to whom we provide certificates throughout the year for them to buy food, clothing, general incidentals and firewood and for the tuition for our students in Ethiopia.
There is still a great need within the Adopt a Native Elder program for support of other grandmothers and we hope to be able to adopt another grandmother. That will be determined based on the funds raised at the Fun Run this year. Last year we only raised about half of what we had raised the year before so we do not want to over commit ourselves. Over the next couple weeks, the teachers will be talking to the children about service to others and in particular about our grandmothers and the students we support in Ethiopia. Our grandmothers and students will surely appreciate anything you can give.
It is with extreme sadness that we advise you of the death of one of our beloved grandmothers – Grandmother Roseline Jackson. She was 94 years old.
Approximately seventeen years ago our school began our relationship with the Adopt A Native Elder program and at that time we adopted Grandmothers Roseline, Emma and Elvira.
Approximately eighteen months ago Bob and I had the opportunity to travel to Arizona with the Adopt A Native Elder group on one of their Food Runs. Each day we visited a different area of the Navajo reservation and our three grandmothers – Roseline, Emma and Elvira lived in two of these areas so we were able to spend several hours with each of them and get to know them on a more personal level. It was such a pleasure to meet Grandmothers Roseline and Emma for the first time. We really appreciated the opportunity to learn first hand so much more about the history of Navajo and the lifestyle that they have lead.
Grandmother Roseline was a wonderful warm and charming woman with a really funny sense of humor. She has had many health issues over the past two years and has been hospitalized a few times. Each time she has bounced back and has continued to have her positive attitude and sense of humor. I have kept in touch with her regularly and know how much she appreciated all the assistance we were able to provide her. Over the past few years she has felt the cold very badly and she needed to keep her wood fire going all year long so was especially grateful for all the firewood that our school provided for her. Her family also expressed their extreme gratitude for all of our assistance.
Written By: Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan
Summer is quickly approaching and registration is officially open for our currently enrolled students. If you are not already signed up for "Full Year" we invite you to stop the office to pick up a registration form. Please ask Lynn or Liz if you have any questions.
See the flyers below for information about this years Montessori Community School Summer Adventures Camp. Students will study Tanzania and Kenya.
Registration will close on March 29th so don't delay. Space is limited.
We had the wonderful opportunity to catch a glimpse of what our students have been up to this year in Music, Art, and Dance at the Performing Arts Showcase last Friday evening. Another huge shout out to the students who worked hard and gave their best effort! Our students are amazing. Also, another heartfelt thank you to Kindra, Laura, and Katie for their hard work and dedication.
Narrators Oliver & Joshua welcome the crowd of excited families.
Upper Elementary students charm the audience with song.
Middle School students jam on their guitars with Ms. Laura. Their rendition of "House of the Rising Sun" was incredible! Great job, guys!
Lower Elementary Wasatch students dance to Diana Ross's
"You Keep Me Hangin' On." They had great form!
Upper Elementary grooving to Michael jackson!
Upper El student, O, has great moves....what a crowd pleaser!
Another group of Lower Elementary Wasatch students shine on stage!
Lower Elementary Oquirrh students groove to "Beggin."
Upper Elementary bringing the stage to life with the Beach Boys!
Lower Elementary Oquirrh students remind us that all you really need IS
love as they dance to this Beatles classic!
The wonderful people who made the whole show possible...thanks again to Kindra (Art), Laura (Music), and Katie (Dance). A shout out to Margaret for taking on the role as the shows emcee.
Before and after the show parents had the opportunity to stroll the gym and check out the students amazing art projects.
We are so grateful to Linda Meyer and the Adopt a Native Elder program for their outreach and efforts in bringing the Children’s Rug Show to MCS on Friday, March 1st.
In addition to displaying various crafts that Navajo children made, such as handwoven small rugs, homemade cards, jewelry, and stuffed animals (with their very own names!), the presenters shared information about Navajo history and culture. At one point five children sat in a circle around a Navajo woman while she showed them how to grind corn. During the demonstration she also shared about the three crops that Native Americans introduced: squash, beans, and corn. She asked the children if they knew what those plants looked like when they were growing and explained their interdependence. Corn grows tall and provides shade for the squash, which provide the natural trellis for the bean vines to wrap themselves around.
In the center of the gym, a couple of elders invited children to learn how to weave on the loom, and for some of the elementary-age students, this activity held their attention for a long time. An elder named Roger showed children how to use a drum, and told stories at certain times.
Similar to the squash, beans, and corn, we too are interdependent on one another for support and growth. Our children learn this from day one at MCS, living in community in their multi-age classroom. Every year we host the Fun Run, our primary school fundraiser specifically for the purpose of raising money for those in the global community who depend on us for our generosity. As a school we support our grandmothers in the Adopt a Native Elder program, as well as five young women through the Children of Ethiopia Education Fund (COEFF).
Thank you to all the families who stopped by during the Rug Show in support of learning more about the Navajo culture and who bought crafts to support the Adopt a Native Elder program. We also want to especially thank our Facilities staff for setting up and cleaning for and after the event.
By Ramira Alamilla
ZUMBATHON for NICO
make every move count
Friday - March 22, 2013 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Montessori Community School (in the Gym)
2416 East 1700 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84108
Minimum Donation $5 - Please contribute more if you can.
Come join us for a fun evening for grown ups (ages 16 and up) with the MCS community coming together in support of little Nico who 2 years old. Earlier this year he was diagnosed with high risk Leukemia and your contribution could help greatly.
Parent Teacher Conferences will be held on Friday, March 15. There will be no school that day. Sign-up sheets for the conferences are on a table in the lobby, arranged by class, from Toddlers to Middle School (please check the top of each page for the name of the class). As we do every year, we ask that you observe the following requests:
We have included some additional tips that might be useful in having a successful Parent Teacher Conference:
By: Aliza Jensen, MCS P.E. Teacher
Lower Elementary P.E.
In Lower Elementary P.E., students learn a variety of motor and coordination skills by participating in a variety of sports, games, and movement activities. Students also gain valuable lessons about teamwork and cooperation by playing with others in a team-building atmosphere.
A typical class begins with warm ups. Each child has the opportunity to choose a physical motion that can be performed while moving across the length of the gym or field. Skipping, leaping, and racecar driving are popular choices. The class then does the warm up across the gym or field together. The children really enjoy coming up with new and innovative ways to move their bodies! After warm ups, the children play a game. Frequently children have the opportunity to choose a game and teach the rules to the class. Children learn how to play games such as soccer, capture the flag, and variations of tag.
Upper Elementary P.E.
In Upper Elementary P.E. students refine their coordination and motor skills by participating in a variety of sports, games, and exercise activities. Students also explore healthy living by learning about eating healthy, staying hydrated, and staying active.
Each day in P.E., one student is the P.E. coordinator. The P.E. coordinator is in charge of various tasks such as leading the group in warming up and stretching. The P.E. coordinator also chooses a game for the group to play that day. This role allows students to gain leadership skills and gives them an opportunity to guide their own unique experience.
Students play a variety of sports and games in P.E. such as soccer, basketball, kickball and various creative tag games. Students also have the opportunity to research obscure sports such as bobsledding, ice climbing, and surfing and present their research to the class. In upper elementary P.E., children gain life long lessons about sportsmanship and learn the enjoyment and benefits of an active lifestyle.
We had a wonderful Silent Journey and Discovery experience this month. Fifteen parents were in attendence. We started in the lobby where we shared the routine and schedule and then headed into the classrooms. Upon entering each new environment, attendees spent the first few minutes of their visit to access the environment in relation to the students at that level. With some prompting they looked at the nature of the materials in the space. Then, when the bell rang, they were invited to sit down and engage with the classroom materials. After visiting each classroom and working with the materials, attendees participated in a student-led Socratic Dialogue. Following a wonderful lunch, we had an open discussion about the experience as a whole and staff members answered specific questions about the materials, the curriculum, and the Montessori philosophy. Thank you to those who attended. We are looking forward to hosting this event again in the Fall and we hope more of our parents will have the opportunity to experience this wonderful event.
SJ&D participants engage with materials from the Practical Life, Math, Language and Sensorial materials in an Early Childhood environment.
Upper Elementary teacher, Margaret, gives these parents a lesson on the Division Board during their visit to the Lower Elementary environment.
Parents work independently on Checkerboard Division in the Upper Elementary environment.
Participants explore the Middle School environment where they read about Middle School students experiences of different learning cycles.
Middle School student, Maddi Schmunk, and Upper Elementary teacher, Margaret, prepare for the Socratic Dialogue. Maddi chose the topic quote and led the discussion beautifully. The topic of discussion was quote, "It's better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life" by Sister Kenny.
Two parents who attended the Silent Journey and Discovery share their experiences below:
"The Silent Journey and Discovery was a very emotional and powerful experience for me. I did not attend a Montessori school as a child so I am only familiar with the Montessori philosophy through what I have read and observed in the last two years. It gave me a great appreciation and understanding of the different developmental levels of the works. I loved seeing the progression and advancement of the works through Toddler, Early Childhood and up through Middle School. The grammar and math works were thrilling to learn and experience. The focus on the sensorial aspects of each work creates a love of learning. In addition to receiving an amazing education the students are also learning how to be independent, respectful and loving human beings. I think every MCS parent should participate in the Silent Journey and Discovery to really understand and appreciate the experience and education we are giving our children. I know that it made me realize that I will do everything in my power to continue my daughter’s Montessori education."
Mother of Savvy Williams, Blue Class
"Having not grown up in a Montessori environment, it has been difficult for me to understand what exactly a day in the life of my Montessori students is like. I try to take in as much as I can at pick-up and drop-off, with the occasional visit and guided lesson by my children, but there is no way to fully understand without an experience like the Silent Journey and Discovery. It was an eye-opening voyage that I would recommend for every parent, and prospective parent. I want to do it again.
Going through a classroom from each cycle really makes the whole Montessori experience come full circle from seeing how the Toddlers get their first understanding of space and shape, to Early Childhood and their practical life lessons, to Lower Elementary and their grammar materials which encourage socialization, to the Upper Elementary complex math problems, to a Middle School student-led Socratic discussion. We only saw the tip of the iceberg, but the hands-on learning experience helped personify the school life of our children. I was struck by the thoughtful organization of each room; how comfortable and serene a small space can feel.
I also enjoyed the roundtable discussion following our classroom journeys. We were able to get some insight from teachers, staff, students and other parents. Because Montessori isn’t the “traditional” schooling for kids in our country, there are obvious concerns and hesitations with going outside the “norm”. Many of my concerns were put to ease and I feel my children are on the correct path for them at this time. I appreciated the book recommendations and feel they will help in understanding the Montessori Method and perhaps assist me with decisions for my family down the road.
My kids have been at MCS for three/four years now and I feel like I have finally been able to look beyond the curtain of their daily journey, something that every parent should see and experience. Now, when my kids and I have our chats at the end of the day, I can ask even more detailed questions and have a bit more understanding as to how their day went. That is priceless.
Thanks again to all who helped facilitate the Silent Journey and Discovery."
Mother of Lucas, Oquirrh Class and Emily, Blue Class
In a recent interview, Head of Montessori Community School (MCS) established in 1985, Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan, and a current MCS parent, Marie Bosteels, reveal the difference between MCS and other schools in the Salt Lake Valley.
Montessori is an authentic curriculum which has been practiced for over 100 years to meet the developmental needs of each individual student. “We have multi-age classrooms where students are presented lessons with hands-on materials by trained Montessori teachers. Certified teachers observe carefully and prepare the environment to suit each student in their classroom,” says Robyn. Essentially, students have the opportunity to gain a firm understanding of a concept before moving on to the next concept.
In addition, according to Robyn, it is commonly misunderstood that Montessori is a preschool program. On the contrary, the program offers an authentic Montessori education for children aged 18 months up to 8th grade.
Current parent, Marie Bosteels, shares her thoughts about MCS. “From an early age the children are empowered by learning independently through well-adapted materials with guidance from teachers”, Marie says. “They are confident that the knowledge of the world is at their fingertips.”
Beyond Montessori’s carefully developed curriculum, MCS also offers an enrichment program where students participate in a diverse selection of activities. “Students participate in Art, Music, Dance, P.E., Yoga, Drama, Outdoor Classroom and the Great Outdoors expeditions. Children can also participate in Spanish instruction at different levels,” says Robyn.
Like many MCS parents, Marie also has her children participate in the Enrichment Program. “We are driven to give our children a rich childhood, where they can explore and experience many areas of life. Thanks to the amazing program at MCS, I always knew that enrichment for my children happened at school,” says Marie. The Outdoor Classroom and the Great Outdoor Expeditions has supported her family’s desire to have an innate knowledge of the beauty, ecology, and flora and fauna that surround us. “My youngest daughter has a passion for art and because the Montessori materials are so unique and adaptable to the individual needs of each child, the teachers guide her to art projects that integrate reading and writing skills,” Marie says.
Marie shares her thoughts on the most important skills her children have gained at MCS. “Because Montessori adapts to the individual needs of every child, MCS has been the right place for all three of my children,” Marie says. “They have developed organizational skills, a sense of order, the ability to work independently, research, think and analyze, lead meetings and debates, conflict resolution, listening skills, mindfulness, staying connected with your passions, and goal setting. At MCS, my children have been learning and integrating these skills since their Early Childhood classes.”
When asked what sets MCS’s Middle School program apart from others, Robyn responded, “Our Middle School program is designed to meet the unique needs of adolescents. Supportive of their sensitive period for social development, our program allows children to continue to progress academically at their own level while also focusing on life skills,” says Robyn. In addition, team building exercises, appropriate communication, and rendering service are a few of the skills they develop as they explore social behaviors in a small, protected environment.
According to Marie, there are experiences her children have had at MCS that may not have been possible elsewhere. “In Upper Elementary my oldest daughter was able to successfully lead a group discussion with parents. She made sure everyone had a chance to express their opinions and kept the conversation going during silent moments,” says Marie. “She has always followed her passions and inner voice, a quality I attribute to the MCS school environment, where children always have a choice within a well- prepared environment.”
The MCS is located on the South-West corner of Foothill Blvd. and 1700 South in Salt Lake City. The school is open from 7:30am to 6:00pm Monday through Friday. The school day for Toddlers and Early Childhood students is 9:00am-3:30pm. For Elementary and Middle School students, the school day runs 8:30am-3:00pm. “We offer Extended Day programs and Summer and Holiday Camps in addition to the regular school schedule,” says Robyn.
For those interested in applying, MCS accepts applications all year with limited availability. Parents should schedule a tour now for the 2013-2014 Academic Year. Tuition rates and application forms can be found on their website, www.montessorislc.com.
Don't forget to take a look at the newest issue of Tomorrow's Child, which will be placed in your child's take-home file this week. Some of the interesting articles that we recommend include: