A Monthly E-newsletter Providing Useful Information to Caring Parents of Enrolled Students
© Copyright 2013
April 2013

The Child and the Environment

by Duna Strachan

It was now four decades ago that I sat in ecology class and heard for the first time about global warming. The professor made predictions which have now all come true. I left the field of Environmental Zoology because I couldn't handle the habitat destruction I had to face day to day whether in the field or when talking to colleagues. Even now I can't read a whole Greenpeace or Sierra Club magazine. I recently heard that one of my former students is having the same problem in college - the field of environmental studies is just too grim. The salient point that stayed with me from graduate school was that environmental policies come and go, but education is what makes a difference in the future of our planet.

Although the news is depressing, there are more and more success stories. At last global warming is being addressed. Many say it's too late to make a difference, but others say maybe not. Everyone is recycling, composting, using their own grocery bags and switching to more efficient cars. Park City has adopted a "No Idling" ordinance largely due to the initial efforts of Soaring Wings mom Mary Jacquin. Disney is making movies about our Earth. A few years ago I got to visit a California condor breeding program that my nephew supervised in Oregon. I was amazed at the advances in technology since I worked in the field. I wouldn't go so far as to say that the condors are on their way back from the brink, but they sure have some talented and dedicated people on their side. While in Portland I also got a personal visit with a black rhino at the zoo as well as two Siberian tigers. Again, I can't say their habitat will be saved in time to repopulate, but they certainly have a strong backing in those who are willing to give them everything they need to breed in captivity. Also while in Oregon I was delighted to see recycling containers on the streets, composting bins in restaurants and low-flow toilets in every public restroom. I've been teaching in Canada lately where they won't give you a bag for your groceries unless you ask for it and then pay for it. And back home in Utah it's great to see families outside hiking, biking, skiing, gardening and enjoying the Earth.

I love seeing all the new Earth-friendly ideas throughout the community. Environmental education is now an important part of most school programs. Although the economic crisis was trying, it encouraged us to downsize our cars and homes and to conserve fuel and energy. At last our culture is noticing that plant-based foods and other products are not only healthier for us, but go a long way toward healing the overgrazing our lands have sustained for centuries. Eagles, wolves, peregrine falcons and bison are making a come back. Foxes, muskrats, ducks, raccoons and cranes are happily creating a ruckus in my backyard in Park Meadows. Although the housing development in Park City has displaced many species, ironically I realized that at least some of the people who have moved in are Sierra Club members, avid bird watchers and have installed dozens of bird feeders and backyard water features. Even Greenpeace newsletters have had more and more good news in them.

"Recycle", "compost"and "biodegradable" have become household words that even 3-year-olds use adroitly. Our planet is still a wonderful place to live and, just in the nick of time, a public awareness of its needs is growing. It is our job to encourage this appreciation in our children. Incorporated into almost every Montessori curriculum unit is a consideration for the child's place in the ecosystem. We talk about people as animals and our role as caretakers of the Earth. Every day in the classroom we remind the kids to make the most of every piece of paper and use rags instead of paper towels for clean-ups ("Trees died for that paper, you know"), use water sparingly ("Let's leave some water for the plants and animals") and treat everything with care rather than encouraging the "We can always buy another one" attitude that many of us grew up with.

At home, try changing from paper napkins to cloth ones, paper towels to cleaning cloths, disposable diapers to cloth or "G diapers". Remember to take your shopping bags to the store with you (have your child remind you). Use only the amount of water you really need for washing, bathing and brushing teeth. Remember to turn off your car engine when waiting to pick up children at school. Help your family to be conscientious of saving paper and picking up litter. Put spiders and bugs somewhere out of the way rather than killing them ("They have their job to do, too"). For your own family Earth Day celebration, sit down and make a list of things you can do differently to help the Earth. You'll find children are often much better at remembering these things and understanding why they should change some of their habits than adults. Even though, individually, these practices don't make much of a difference in the health of our Earth, they will make a big difference in the attitude of your child, in whose little hands the future of our planet lies.

El Nido News

News from the Parent/Infant Class

Spring time is exciting for babies - they now have the opportunity to wear fewer clothes and spend more time outdoors. We will move our meetings onto the patio when the weather permits and notice the new life springing up.

With our Earth Day Celebration on the 19th and Spring Break the following week we only meet twice this month, but we will make the most of our time together discussing the child's place in the family including "Theories in Birth Order" and "A Family for Life".

Our El Nido parents will enjoy our "Silent Journey" on April 10th from 3:00 - 6:00pm at the Park Avenue Campus. This is a carefully planned afternoon in the classrooms enabling you to work with the materials on every level just as your children will. Please let any teacher know right away if you'd like to attend since we can only accept the first 15 people who respond.

Be sure to attend our Earth Day Celebration on April 19th at 11:00 am in the Santy Auditorium at the Park Avennue Campus featuring this year's play "The Amazing Race for Peace". Our El Nido friends will enjoy seeing the action onstage, but be sure to sit on the aisle in case the enjoyment is fleeting!

Toddler Time

News from the Tadpoles and Sunflowers Classes

At first glance the Toddler classroom seems very simple. It is designed to be simple. We want the child to walk into her first school experience and see a beautiful, beckoning world of possibilities presented in such a way as to be neither confusing nor over-stimulating. Simple activities are laid out as offerings for the practice of large and fine motor skills, matching, sorting, shape recognition and self-care skills. These are the obvious lessons of the Toddler Class. But the careful observer soon notices that there are subtle lessons too.

One of the first subtle lessons is responsibility. The toddler is responsible for taking care of his possessions and dressing himself to the best of his ability. Most of the class is now involved in toileting independently, so remembering to provide clothing choices that your child can handle by himself is very helpful (avoid overalls and difficult buttons or snaps). He is responsible for putting away his work, cleaning up spills, using careful hands and being respectful of things living and non-living. The teacher engineers the environment so that the child's responsibilities will be simple ones. For instance, if the pegs spill on the floor there should not be so many that the child is overwhelmed with the responsibility of picking them up. As he gradually becomes more and more capable in these areas his confidence grows encouraging him to try the next task.

Another subtle lesson is making appropriate choices. The child chooses how to spend her day in school. It is often the first time a child has had a lengthy span of time in which to be free to choose her own activities. She discovers that some choices result in satisfying experiences while other choices may result in conflict. Again the teacher engineers the environment so that most choices are simple ones and she is there to guide the child through the more difficult ones.

The world of scientific principles is another subtle lesson in the Toddler Class. The teacher does not announce, "Today we will learn physics" to a class of toddlers. But each time an object rolls down the tracking tube (and the children will experiment with many possible objects) they are confirming Isaac Newton's observations. Every time the child practices pouring, sponging, mopping or washing he is discovering the attributes of water. Caring for the classroom pets is a beginning study of zoology. Noticing leaf shapes while on "toddler walks" is an introduction to botany. Matching and sorting activities are precursors to identification and classification. Even watching snow melt is a study of science in the eyes of a toddler.

At home notice the subtle lessons your toddler is learning. Your goal may be to walk to the car but your child's goal may be noticing how his boots splash in the puddles and how the water is absorbed into the ground along the way. On the playground your goal may be staying clean, but your toddler's goal may be in discovering the properties of water and dirt. When drawing or painting your child may not be so interested in producing an aesthetically pleasing product as in experimenting with the textures of the media - how the crayon glides across paper differs from how it marks the table, or the wall! Keep your mind open to possibilities and provide appropriate materials with which you and your child can continue a scientific exploration of the world.

Early Childhood Curriculum Calendar

News from Cottonwoods, Rainbows and Turquoise Classes

Monday - Music

Most of the students can identify a few of the compositions of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and know a little about his life. They've progressed in identifying instruments by their sound and recognizing the mood and ideas presented by the various pieces of music. We have begun the study of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky by listening to the "Nutcracker Suite" and how he told the story with music. We will sample "Sleeping Beauty" and "Swan Lake" in April.

Tuesday - Seasons

Excitement is in the air as the snow melts, the bugs reappear and we find long lost articles on the playground that lay under the snow all winter! At last, the first few signs of spring appear. In your travels this month call your child's attention to the new buds, birds building nests, new calves and lambs and discuss what people do differently in the spring.

Wednesday - Geography

Maria Montessori saw that we might succeed in evolving toward a more peaceful way of life if children can appreciate other cultures in a sensorial way. Toward this end we conclude our study of each continent throughout the school year with an all-school celebration of that continent's cultures involving food, music, songs, stories, games and costumes.

In November we complemented our study of Native Americans with the cultural immersion experience of the Navajo Rug Show taking special gifts for Grandmother Frances. In December we studied Winter Celebrations including school celebrations of Diwali, Hannukah and Las Posadas. In January every class wrote letters and prepared packets for our friend Reinaldo who lives in Paraguay. January's studies of South America culminated with our own "Carnaval" celebration including a parade, dancing and South American foods. In February we studied Asia and tied together lessons with an all-school Asian Celebration.

In March our studies of Europe centered around our European ancestors as we began our preparations for Earth Day. By now students know songs in many different languages. They prepare for the Earth Day Celebration by drawing a flag, a map and possibly a story or report from the country of their ancestors. Thank you in advance for your help with the costumes and dishes that make our Earth Day Celebration so satisfying.

In April we will look at Africa. So many countries in so little time! As always, anything from Africa that you have to share would be most appreciated.We'll send packets to our friends Soureya of Niger and Assitan of Mali and plan an African Celebration. Soureya and Assitan are now eight and nine years old, respectively, and live with large families in very small homes. We have been exchanging letters and small gifts with them since they were toddlers. We send letters from the students and can include any small gifts that will fit in an envelope such as coloring books, stickers or picture books. If you or your child would like to add a picture of your family or a small gift to the packet for Soureya or Assitan, please send them in to class in the next couple of weeks. Thank you for your support. Our relationship with these children makes our geography curriculum come alive and adds to our cultural immersion lessons.

Thursday - Poetry

The children enjoyed the Robert Louis Stevenson poems we read in class in March. We talked about how, as a little boy, Stevenson was sick in bed quite a bit so he made up imaginary friends and games which he later used in his poetry.

In April we will study the modern poet Shel Silverstein. His books include The Giving Tree, Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and The Missing Piece. If you have a Silverstein favorite you'd like to share, please send it in.

Friday - Biology

We enjoyed class visits with Macanuda the box turtle, Eric the corn snake, Puffy the bearded dragon and the water turtles, Miss Butternubs and Peanutbutter. Macanuda is happily to eat a live worm before onlookers, Eric eats frozen baby mice and Puffy chases crickets around her cage which always adds excitement to class zoology studies (see Turquoise Class quotes below). Most of the children know that reptiles usually live on land, have scales, breathe air, lay eggs and can be snakes, lizards or turtles. Snakes and turtles make clean, relatively care-free, sturdy and personable pets. (Lizards are okay, too, but they are harder to handle for a young child unless you get a big one like Puffy.) If you are looking for a new responsibility for your child, consider adopting a reptile.

Birds are the topic for April. We will be watching for birds as they come back from their southern vacation spots. If you have a feathered friend who can visit the classroom, please talk to your child's teacher. We will wait to visit the Tracy Aviary until May so that we can catch the bird show.

Lower Elementary Lowdown

News from the Moose Tracks Class

Monday - History

Our study of History continues in April, with work on the history of our school year as it will be recorded in this year's yearbook. We are assembling the best photos of the year. Please send us any you may have and let us know if you'd like to help.We will conclude the year by compiling our own personal history books.

Tuesday - Geography

We begin a study of Africa this month including topography, endemic plants and animals and cultures. If you have something African to share, please send it in. This unit culminates in our all-school African Celebration including native foods, music, dancing, costumes and stories.

Wednesday - Art/Music

As set-builders for the Earth Day play we are crafting sets and props to evoke the essence of some of the most peaceful places on Earth. We will also choreograph a piece to open the play.

Thursday - Zoology

With spring on its way we look forward to studying returning birds through April.

Friday - Field Trips, Etc.

This month we are headed to the Kimball Art Center to admire our entries in the annual Wasatch Back Student Art Show. Be sure to check them out!

We will prepare this month for our annual field trip to El Restaurante in May as the culmination of our year's Spanish studies.

When we return from Spring Break we will begin preparations for our River Trip May 9th and 10th. So much left to do - so little time!

Yearbook

As we begin working on the yearbook everyone will have a job to do, whether creating artwork, laying out photos or organizing sales and advertisements. We like the children to take responsibility for their yearbook, but we can also use any photos or time you may have to contribute. Please send photos to class by April 18th.

The Amazingly Awesome Race for Peace

We'll spend lots of time before Spring Break on our Earth Day play, "The Amazingly Awesome Race for Peace". We have scripts to memorize, sets to build and props to figure out as well as leading the younger students around the world in song. This year's play was inspired by the Amazing Race tv show and we may even add some video clips of our racers' exploits around the world. Thank you for your help in figuring out costumes for all of your little racers. It will be lots of fun!

Upper Elementary Update

News from the Eagle's Nest Class

Monday - History

Our study of History of Africa continues in April.

Tuesday - Geography

We continue with the countries and capitols of Africa through April.

Wednesday - Art/Music

As set-builders for the Earth Day play we are crafting sets and props to evoke the essence of some of the most peaceful places on Earth. We will also choreograph a piece to open the play.

Thursday - Zoology

With spring on its way we look forward to studying returning birds through April.

Friday - Field Trips, Etc.

This month we are headed to the Kimball Art Center to admire our entries in the annual Wasatch Back Student Art Show. Be sure to check them out!

We will prepare this month for our annual field trip to El Restaurante in May as the culmination of our year's Spanish studies.

When we return from Spring Break we will begin preparations for our River Trip May 9th and 10th. So much left to do - so little time!

Yearbook

As we begin working on the yearbook everyone will have a job to do, whether creating artwork, laying out photos or organizing sales and advertisements. We like the children to take responsibility for their yearbook, but we can also use any photos or time you may have to contribute. Please send photos to class by April 18th.

The Amazingly Awesome Race for Peace

We'll spend lots of time before Spring Break on our Earth Day play, "The Amazingly Awesome Race for Peace". We have scripts to memorize, sets to build and props to figure out as well as leading the younger students around the world in song. This year's play was inspired by the Amazing Race tv show and we may even add some video clips of our racers' exploits around the world. Thank you for your help in figuring out costumes for all of your little racers. It will be lots of fun!

"Music is the space between the notes".

Claude Debussy

The world is so full of a number of things I am sure we should all be as happy as kings.
--- Robert Louis Stevenson

Peace Maker

by Jordan McBroom

Eagle's Nest Student

When I grow up I only want to do this one thing. I want everyone together just as family. I want to be a peace maker and carry all the love. I want everyone to be happy, every single one. The girls, the boys, the babies, even moms and dads should all be having fun together on sunny days like these. But in the busy city it's hard to make peace. So many people fight out there. They don't care about these things. And that is why I, Jordi McBroom, will become a peace maker and change the world.

Mark Your Calendar

 

April 1st
Pajama Day for all students, parents and teachers......(just kidding - unless you want to!)

April 2nd
Coffee Talk at Jeremy Ranch Campus 9:00 am, lobby. Join us for a hot beverage and warm conversation.

April 9th
Coffee Talk at Park Avenue Campus 9:00 am, Main Office. Need a little adult conversation? Join us!

Fair Planning Meeting, Park Avenue Campus, Main Office, 2:00 pm.All committee members andanyone interested, please join us.

Happy Birthday, Maddy!

April 10th
The Silent Journey, Park Avenue Campus, 3:00 - 6:00 pm.This is a unique opportunity to explore the curriculum as your child does. Childcare is available. Talk to any teacher to register or contact duna@soaringwings.org. We can only take the first 15 to register so let us know right away if you'd like to attend.

April 18th
Deadline for turning in photos for school yearbook!

April 17th & 18th
Earth Day play rehearsals at Park Avenue Campus. All Jeremy Ranch Campus students plan to drop off at 1255 Park Avenue at regular times.

Park Avenue students: normal schedules

Jeremy Ranch students:

Leah's Sunflowers Toddler Classes will meet on the playground on 12th Street from 8:45 until 9:00 am. Pick up will be on the 3rd floor from 11:45 until noon.

Kim & Stevie's Cottonwoods EC Class will meet at the front doors between 8:45 and 9:00 am. Pick up will be on the playground on 12th Street at regular times.

April 19th
Earth Day Celebration - Santy Auditorium 11:00 am! Bring friends and family!

Park Avenue students:

Lynn and Tama's Tadpoles Toddler Class will meet in class in costume at 10:30 am.

All Early Childhood and Elementary students will meet in class between 8:45 and 9:00 am in costume for dress rehearsal.

Jeremy Ranch students:

Leah's Sunflower Toddler Class will meet on the 2nd floor at 10:30 in costume.

Kim and Stevie's Cottonwoods Class will meet at the front doors between 8:45 and 9:00 am in costume.

All parents please bring family and friends to the Santy Auditorium at 11:00 am for our play,"The Amazingly Awesome Race for Peace". You can drop off your dish for the International Buffet lunch at that time as well. Please remember extension cords and serving utensils! Dismissal will follow the play and lunch at approximately 12:00. See classroom sign-ups for needed items. Costume notices will come home soon. Thank you in advance for your help with this unique school community celebration!

April 22nd - 26th
Spring Break - No School

April 29th
Earth Day clean up during class.

May 6th - 10th
Teacher Appreciation Week

May 9th
Mothers' Tea Parties in all classes. Watch for invitations to come home.


School Bulletin Board

 

Ah, Spring!

It's that time of year again, when the pace picks up and doesn't slow down again until the Fair is over on June 2nd! With our Coffee Talks, Silent Journey, Earth Day Celebration, Mothers' Teas, Children's Fair (including a Dads' Day celebration), yearbook, Elementary River Trip, EC Tracy Aviary field trips and Closing Ceremonies coming up we will be constantly asking for your help. But it all pays off in the confidence your child has gained in being on stage, confirming classroom learning with real world experiences and in the thoughtfulness he shows in knowing he can make a difference in the world. Fasten your seat belt, get out your calendar and peruse the upcoming events.

Earth Day Celebration

This celebration began 26 years ago with outdoor festivities including planting trees and maypole dances and just enough rain, sleet and snow that we moved the event indoors and developed the cultural diversity aspect into a play. This year's play, "The Amazingly Awesome Race for Peace" features the Toddlers in their own scenes as racers and hula dancers, Early Childhood representing the children of the world while dressed as their own ancestors and Elementary acting out the story with a message about how to find peace.

Toddlers are practicing their dances. EC students are researching their ancestors in order to prepare flags, maps, reports, costumes, songs and dishes from a country of their own origin. And Elementary students are learning about the peaceful places of the world, memorizing lines and creating the set and props.

Rehearsals have already begun. On April 17th and 18th Jeremy Ranch students will join Park Avenue students for rehearsals in the Santy Auditorium. Schedules will remain the same. (Jeremy Ranch families: See the "Mark Your Calendar" section above for details.)

You will soon receive a costume notice with information about your child's role in the play. Costumes can be as simple or elaborate as you wish - Grandpa's real lederhosen or a tunic made from a paper bag. Girls often look classically European in a dress, tea towel for an apron and wreath of flowers in their hair. Boys in shorts with knee socks and suspenders evoke a similar effect. Ask any teacher if you need ideas. Check the classroom sign-up sheets for needed items for our International Buffet lunch. Remember extension cords and serving utensils! And plan to bring your family and friends to the Santy Auditorium at 11:00 am on Friday April 19th for the play and lunch to follow. This is always a favorite school event.

Congratulations, Leti and Kerry!

Big hugs to Leti Burns, Lower Elementary Class Intern, and her husband Kerry on the birth of Sophie Maria. A new little Montessori child we look forward to watching grow up in the Soaring Wings family.

Congratulations, Heinemann Family!

Welcome to Matthew who was born on the way to the hospital! Everyone is doing fine and Andrew was in the Sunflowers Class the next day in his "Big Brother" shirt. Well done, Angela and Jeff!

Welcome, Carla and Marcela!

We welcome Carla Grimaldi to the Tadpoles teaching team at the Jeremy Ranch Campus. She earned a degree in Business in Peru where she grew up and has been in Park City for several years teaching Spanish. She has worked at Little Miners Montessori and Another Way Montessori and is eager to learn the workings of Leah's toddler class.

Marcela Rafide is also new to our Jeremy Ranch Campus team. She grew up in Chile, holds a degree in Preschool Education and has been in Park City for many years. Her Montessori experience began when her son attended Little Miners Montessori. We are delighted to have Marcela join us as Administrative Assistant. Please join us in welcoming Carl and Marcela to Soaring Wings.

Congratulations, Ari!

Ari Alba, Sunflower Class assistant, quickly made an impression with her experience, knowledge and natural talent with children as demonstrated in the toddler class this year. She will attend the Infant/Toddler teacher training program this summer in the San Francisco Bay Area and return to complete her internship with Leah Linebarger in the fall.

Shoes to Choose

When choosing those new spring shoes, stick to Velcro, buckles and slip-ons until your child can tie laces independently at about age 5. This adds greatly to your child's confidence and her teacher's peace of mind.

And remember that the school grounds will continue to be wet throughout the spring months. Don't put those boots away yet! And keep a clean set of clothes in the car for those days when your child enjoys sand, paint and/or science experiments in a "sensorial" way.

Idle-free

Remember to turn off your car engine when you are waiting to drop off or pick up your student.

'13/'14 Enrollment

By now you should have received confirmation of your child's enrollment and class assignment for next school year. If not, contact Bruce at 649.3626 or bruce@soaringwings.org.

SWPTSO News

Park City Children's Fair

The last big event of the school year is the 20th Annual Park City Children's Fair, Sunday June 2nd, 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at City Park. Fair Chair Lina Singleton and her committee have plans well underway for another fun day in the park. Volunteers Amy Lineen, Karen Mertens, Brooke Brink, Jill Warburton, Jenny Samuelson, Sandy Geldhof, Leah Linebarger, Michelle Aldrich and Jules Manning are working on lining up our old favorites like pony rides, magic shows, story telling, the bounce house and the giant inflatable slide plus games, food by PC Pizza and fun activities to play off of our 20th anniversary theme. In the weeks ahead we'll be asking for your help collecting sponsorships, donations for the class basket auction and distributing fliers and posters. All proceeds go to our Children's Planet Fund which supports several local and global student chosen organizations as well as our Student/Teacher Enrichment Fund. The next Fair planning meeting is Tuesday April 9th at 2:00 pm at Park Avenue Campus. Come share your ideas!

Yearbooks

Michelle Aldrich and Kim Norman will soon begin work organizing this year's school yearbook with a staff of parents, teachers and students. The sales team will be giving you their pitch later on this month. They will again be selling family or business ads. The books will be delivered to school by the end of May so children can sign them in class. We are always astonished to look back over the year's events at all the good things we've done together. Children and families cherish these hand-made books of memories. Please place your order early to help the staff plan quantities and costs more efficiently. Please send any photos you may have to contribute to school by April 18th. Thanks for your support!

Out of the Mouths...

"What can you do to take care of the Earth?"

Asked in the Jeremy Ranch Sunflowers Early Childhood Class

Finley - Clean up messes.

Emma - You can play with my Earth if you want to.

Benjamin - We're on the orange one(points to US on puzzle map).

Frances - Ball.

Lilly - Mama.

Helena - My dad.

Leah - Walk wherever possible, live sustainably, reuse whenever possible (notice this is written on paper from the recycling bin).

Michelle S - Turn off lights and tv whenever I leave the room.

Duna - Throw a community fair every year and give the proceeds to Earth-friendly organizations.

Stevie -Teach the children how to recycle daily.

Lynn - Recycle.

Kim - Grow my own organic food.

"What do you love most about spring?"

Asked in the Park Avenue Eagle's Nest Upper Elementary Class

Mia: I like the temperature, the beauty and all the activities.

Dillon: Going to Mexico.

Gus: Spring Break.

Jordi: When all the snow melts and we can play "Capture the Flag".

Reyna: My birthday.

Thomas: Going to Mexico with Dillon.

Tobianna: Playing with my family, dog and cat.

Tracy: My birthday.

Erin: The blooming daffodils and the small hints of summer evenings to come.

Happy Spring!