The new school is almost ready and we are excited to see old and new friends. We've been obsessing about details all summer long and with most of them in place all we need is to "just add children"!
Where's My Newsletter?
The current newsletter will be posted on the website around the first of each month. You'll get an email notice when it is ready. Look for the new newsletter and be sure to note important dates and schedule changes in your calendar. You can also access the event calendar for the whole school year at any time on our website - www.soaringwings.org. We can always tell who's not reading their newsletters so make sure you check it out so you'll be "in the groove"!
The Importance of Being Montessori
Did you know that the education system you have chosen for your child is the most effective currently known? Dr. Angeline Lillard published results of an exhaustive study (Lillard, Science, September 2006) showing that Montessori children not only retained academic information more readily than students learning in a traditional environment, but were significantly more thoughtful and empathetic in their relationships with others. In her study of Milwaukee school children, "children who were in the public Milwaukee Montessori schools from preschool to fifth grade scored significantly higher on standardized tests (ACT and WKCE) of math and science than did matched controls from their same high schools." (Lillard, 2005) Our own SAT scores consistently show the same result year after year (see these on our website - www.soaringwings.org). Our educated and talented faculty, the precision manipulative tools, the mastery learning approach, the logical progression of lessons from simplest to most complex, the multi-year age grouping, and the individualized curriculum all combine to provide the ultimate educational experience. Duna attended the International Montessori Congress in Portland this summer - an incredible gathering of 2500 Montessorians from all over the world. There were keynotes by leaders in science, education, sociology and philosophy. They spoke of the state of the Earth, the state of humanity and the path of education. Their messages were basically the same - a Montessori education - the unique blend of academics, the arts, sciences, geography, history and education for peace - is just what today's children need to prepare for their future.
Dr. Montessori opened her first "Casa de Bambini" in Rome in 1907. The celebration of the centennial of Montessori education has brought much attention to an educational method that is still ahead of its time. With "Google guys" Sergey Brin and Larry Page crediting their success to a Montessori education (ABC interview with Barbara Walters, 2004), the list of leaders (including Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama), who have chosen Montessori for their children, continues to grow. Our own graduates consistently amaze us with their leadership skills. After a century of quietly educating children, using the same proven method while other methods come and go, it seems as if the humble world of Montessori is coming into the spotlight.
No, Montessori isn't for all parents but it is for all children. And if you are willing to make the commitment to pay tuition, transport your child to and from school each day, keep up with school events, follow school policies, stay aware of your child's progress and areas of interest in the classroom and follow through with Montessori philosophy at home, then you've already made the big commitment it takes to be a Montessori parent.
The satisfaction of that commitment comes as you see your child
becoming more independent, responsible, confident and genuinely
happy with her accomplishments. You'll realize that with your child's
academic achievements come new levels of growth and awareness that
contribute to an increasingly well rounded individual.
It has been shown that children who have attended Montessori schools maintain an academic advantage and are more inventive and curious long after they leave the program and move into traditional schools as compared to children from other types of private schools (Miller and Dyer, 1975). We notice our graduates' names showing up on every honor roll and awards list. They make the news as leaders in civic and academic projects and the arts. We know this is largely because their parents are people who care about a good education and go out of their way to provide them with one. But we also know our students pick up a passion for learning in a Montessori classroom that sticks with them for life.
Getting Back in the Groove
Please say good-bye quickly, lovingly and go. This is important for your child's transition as well as traffic flow. The staff is skilled at easing the transition for your child and we will let you know if there is a problem. Groups of parents lingering in the classrooms or on the playground can deleteriously affect an otherwise calm routine. Parents are always welcome to hang out in the halls, the kitchen or in the main office where there may very well be a project with which you can help!
With younger children you may want to discuss and role-play saying good-bye. Be sure to convey your confidence that school is a good place for them to be. Some families establish a ritual such as "hug-kiss-snuggle" that reassures them both at parting. Saying good-bye quickly, warmly, lovingly and matter-of-factly just as you rehearsed (no matter how anxious you are feeling!) will ease them through this transition.
Please be on time. We cannot accept children on campus before class begins. We hold staff meetings each morning before class. This time is important in allowing us to prepare a peaceful, harmonious and happy environment for your child. And if you are late picking up, teachers have a hard time fitting in cleaning, prepping, phone calls, lunch and meetings. Punctuality is as important to your child as it is to the staff. Children are often worried and distressed when they arrive too early, too late or when parents are late for pickup.
Please always make sure a teacher is in attendance before leaving your child. There will be staff members at the front door and gates during drop-off time. They are happy to relay messages to your child's head teacher for you.
All students should be reminded to say good-bye to their teachers when leaving, not only as a matter of etiquette but also to ensure your child's safety.
In order to ensure smooth traffic flow we have staggered pick-up and drop-off times. Please let us know how it's going out there. Keep in mind;
There is no parking on Old Ranch Road.
The Highway 224 access is for right right turns into the parking lot and right turns onto the highway only.
Please do not park in the drop-off/pick-up lanes. If you want to come inside the building or the playground please park in the parking lot.
We will supply EC and Elementary students with a name placard to display in your car to help us get your child ready for you at pick up time. This will facillitate the pick up routine until we get to know your car.
Parent/Infant Program (prenatal to 1 1/2 years old)
El Nido Class taught by Lynn Chadderdon
Infants and parents, grandparents and caregivers are welcome to arrive at the front door and stay as long as you like between 9:00 am and noon on Fridays. Participants will receive a syllabus of classes including days when no class will be held due to special events and holidays.
Toddler Program (1 1/2 to 3 years old)
Sunflowers Class taught by Leah Linebarger
Tadpoles Class taught by Lynn Chadderdon and Tama D'Angelo
Toddler students will meet on the playground. Parents can pull up to the playground gate on between 9:00 and 9:15 am and a teacher will be on the sidewalk to help your child out of the car. If you need to get out of the car, please park in the parking lot and walk your child to the playground.
Toddlers can be picked up at their classroom door between noon and 12:15. Please park in the parking lot, ring the doorbell and someone will let you in. There will be a staff member in the hall at noon to get your child to you without disrupting the class.
All toddler students will need a backpack with a water bottle, change of clothes, indoor shoes or slippers, a 4" x 6" snapshot of the family (for the class album) and two 2" x 3" photos of the child (for the cubby and locker). Please select clothing and shoes that the toddler can learn to put on and take off by himself. Dressing skills are important in establishing confidence and independence, but most children under the age of 5 cannot tie their own laces. Velcro or slip-on style shoes are a must for toddlers.
Toddler Pants Policy: All toddler students change into cotton training pants with plastic covers when they come inside from the playground. This helps them become aware of their need to use the toilet and makes it easy for them to change out of and into fresh pants independently. We keep a supply of extra pants at school and will wash our pants here, but will send your child's pants home to be laundered. We will make sure your child is changed back into the clothes she arrived in before pick-up time. Although it may be easier to use a diaper when travelling in the car and running errands, we recommend that you purchase a supply of training pants so your child can practice using them at home. With a child-sized potty or seat, a basket of fresh pants, and a pail in which to place the soiled pants your child will enjoy the independence of using the toilet much more quickly than if she were in diapers all day. We've spent the past two years testing this theory with one campus using diapers and the other implementing the pants policy. 91% of students using training pants were independent or close to it by the end of the school year as opposed to 67% of the children who wore diapers and pull-ups. It means more laundry for all of us but just as we give older children every opportunity to learn to read and write when they are ready, we want to offer the same opportunity to toddlers learning to use the toilet. They just need lots of practice. You can order Gerber cotton training pants online for about $7/3 pack.The Gerber waterproof pants are about $2 each.
Early Childhood Program (3 to 6 years old)
Cottonwoods Class taught by Stevie Harrison and Kim Norman
Turquoise Class taught by Jules Manning and Leah Morisi
Rainbow Class taught by Anne Weinrauch
Students can be dropped off at the front gate between 8:45 and 9:00 am where a teacher will greet them. Please pull up in the drop off lane so the students can exit the car safely onto the sidewalk.
EC morning students will be picked up at the playground gate between 11:45 and noon. Pick up for Enrichment, Emergent and Prep students is at the playground gate between 2:45 and 3:00 pm. A teacher will be on the sidewalk to help your child into the car. If you want to get out of the car, please park in the parking lot and walk to the playground to pick up your child.
EC students should bring a backpack with a water bottle, change of clothes, slippers or indoor shoes and room to bring work home. They should be quite independent in dressing for the out-of-doors so please make sure your child can easily put on and take off her own shoes. Velcro, slip-ons or shoes with large buckles are a must until the child learns to tie laces at around 5 years of age. Afternoon students will need a lunch as well (see "Lunch Guidelines" below) Continuing students need to bring back their workbooks which will be kept in cubbies except during vacations.
Elementary Program (6 to 12 years)
Moose Tracks Lower Elementary taught by Michelle Aldrich
Eagle's Nest Upper Elementary taught by Erin Martin
Elementary students can be dropped off at the playground gate between 8:30 and 8:45 am where a member of our faculty will be waiting to greet them.
Pick-up is at the playground gate between 3:00 and 3:15 pm.
Elementary students will need a lunch (see "Lunch Guidelines"), and the items listed below, most of which can be purchased at WalMart for around $60. (Please do not buy paper, pens or mechanical pencils.) The school supplies paper, erasers, planners, journals and art materials.
The Elementary student will need:
- a backpack (large enough to hold two workbooks, planner, water bottle and extra mittens, hats, socks, etc.)
- lunch box
- water bottle for class use
- "Camelback" or small backpack with water bottle for field trips
- sun hat or baseball cap
- 1 package of wooden pencils (no mechanical pencils - the lead falls out and makes a mess)
- hand held pencil sharpener
- 12 inch ruler (showing inches and millimeters)
- "Kids Fiskars" scissors with sharp points
- 4 glue sticks (not liquid glue)
- 5 two-pocket folders for Lower El, 6 for Upper El
- pencil box
- calculator with basic functions
- compass for geometry
- Summit County Library card
- headphones/earbuds to use with the Apple computer and iPad
Fall is a good time to shop for deals on camping equipment for this year's family camp-outs in September and May. You and your child should have a tent, sleeping bag, a flashlight, an emergency whistle, good hiking shoes and rain gear. Students take weekly field trips and are outside in all kinds of weather. We believe there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!
The Elementary Outdoor Curriculum
The outdoor curriculum is an important part of the Elementary student's education. The first weeks of school the children will be working on team-building activities to get to know themselves and each other. This culminates in the Fall Family Campout Thursday and Friday, September 5th & 6th. There will be field trips every Friday throughout the year including many hiking trips into the surrounding hills. The annual Spring Family River Trip (a 2 - 4-day camping trip to Moab) is planned for May 8th -9th. These trips will require parental assistance with driving and preparing meals. Although they will take much work and planning on everyone's part, these outdoor expeditionary learning experiences give the student a valuable opportunity to integrate classroom knowledge in a real world experience such as planning and preparing a meal for all the parents or studying the local flora. The outdoor classroom is every bit as important as the indoor counterpart. If your child must miss an outdoor experience for any reason please ask Michelle or Erin for a homework packet to supply similar experiences. On top of the educational importance, our family camping trips are always lots of fun and are guaranteed to create long lasting memories and friendships. Please plan to join us for this year's Family Campout and bring your best campfire stories! Details will follow...
Mark Your Calendar
Sunday, August 25th
Grand Opening!! 2:00 - 4:00 pm
Bounce House, NY Johnny's Italian Ice, Music by Savor the Sun. All students past, present and future along with their families are welcome!
Monday, August 26th
First Day of School!
Friday, August 30th
Early dismissal for all classes; 11:45 am - 12:15 pm
11:45 - noon Early Childhood (3 - 6 yrs) pick-up at patio gates
12:00 - 12:15 Toddler Class (1 1/2 - 3 yrs) pick-up at classroom doors
12:00 - 12:15 Elementary (6 - 12 yrs) pick-up at playground gate
There is no parking on Old Ranch Road. Please help us keep traffic moving and carpool whenever possible.
Monday, September 2nd
Labor Day, NO SCHOOL
Thursday - Friday, September 5th - 6th
Upper and Lower Elementary Classes Fall Family Campout. See Moose Tracks & Eagle's Nest Class news for details.
Thursday, September 8th,
Happy Birthday, Leah M!
Saturday, September 10th,
Happy Birthday, Stevie!
Sunday, September 11th,
Happy Birthday, Michelle!
Wednesday, September 18th
Cider Social on the playground Come meet the families of Soaring Wings!
Toddler Families 11:30 - noon
Early Childhood and Elementary Familes 2:30 - 3:30 pm
Saturday, September 28th
Soaring Wings hosts the Utah Montessori Council Fall Workshop, "Confident and Courageous Children", 8:30 am - 3:00 pm in the Santy Auditorium at 1255 Park Avenue featuring Dr. JoAnn Deak, author of Your Fantastic Elastic Brain. Dr. Deak is an engaging presenter who will shed light on children's brain development in general, how it explains behavior and what we can do to support our children. Registration is $50 per person until August 23rd, $65 per person until September 6th.Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Tuesday, October 8th
Back-to-School Night, Toddlers and their families 5:00 - 6:00pm, Early Childhood students and their families 5:30 - 6:30 pm, Elementary and their families 6:00 - 7:00 pm. Families with students in multiple programs, pick a time that is good for you! All families are welcome for a slide show starring your child and a child-guided tour of the classroom.
School Bulletin Board
Drop-off/Pick-up...The portion of the school day when your child is absorbed in learning new skills is called the "work period". The ideal work period is 2 1/2 to 3 hours long so that each student has the opportunity to cycle through a variety of activities and plenty of time to complete each one. We do our best not to interrupt once a child is concentrating. Doors lock at 9:15 am. If your child is late or you have something to drop off please come to the front door and ring the doorbell.
That which we call a rose...We teachers like to be addressed by our first names. Here in the west we don't feel the need for titles such as "Miss", "Mrs." or "Mr.". We feel that true respect is shown by actions and attitude. We therefore avoid these titles and treat each other as friends. At Soaring Wings "Grace and Courtesy" is an every day reminder of manners practiced in all classes. Modern etiquette requires that we address others in a manner respectful of local culture and individual wishes. In Park City, even our Mayor is "Dana"! Welcome to the West, partners. Make yourselves right at home!
If the shoe fits...All students will need clothing and shoes that they can easily manage themselves. If your child cannot yet tie laces, please provide school shoes with buckles, Velcro or slip-on styling. When shopping for school clothes keep in mind that there are plenty of opportunities to get wet and/or dirty at school. It's a good idea to keep a fresh change of clothes in the car in case your child has a run-in with paint or wet sand on the day of his dentist appointment.
Class in session...If your child is late or must leave class early please make this transition as unobtrusive as possible to avoid disturbing class.
School etiquette...Remember to lower your voice when in the classroom. Teachers and students use "inside voices" which are a step below normal conversation level to avoid disrupting nearby students. Even in the halls we use "inside voices" and "walking feet" out of respect for our neighbors. Anywhere on school grounds we practice good manners by returning equipment to proper places when leaving, picking up trash, leaving rocks and sticks on the ground and keeping feet out of garden areas.
Events and Holidays...Remember to look over the Events and Holidays calendar posted on the website - www.soaringwings.org - and note the early dismissal days, EC Party Days, Friday Parent/Teacher Conference days and school plays. Since half of our students are attending Mondays through Thursdays we try to schedule unusual events for Fridays so as to disrupt as few routines as possible.
Parents welcome...Please feel free to come in after class and ask your child to show you what she has been working on. Your child's teacher will be happy to explain lessons and answer questions any time after class. We would also be delighted to have you observe class any time after our first six weeks of normalization. The following are phone numbers to keep handy. Teachers return calls after class. Please call the Parent/Teacher Hotline when your child will not be in class or will be picked up by someone new. We will not release a child to anyone without your authorization.
Keep In Touch...
Teacher Hotline: 435-200-8248
Lina Singleton, School Director: 435-200-8247, email@example.com
Duna Strachan, Executive Director 435-200-8246 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bruce King, Administrator 435-649-3626 or email@example.com
We recommend that you program the Teacher Hotline into your cell phone so you can give us a call when your child is sick or if you're running late.
New for Fall!
Thank you for your feedback over the past several months as we've honed our new ideas for fall. Although we've decided to postpone the art program, we will offer the following;
Caffe dei Bambini Lunch Program...Healthy, mostly organic, delicious lunches will be provided every school day by Savoury Kitchen Park City. Meals are nut-free, sugar-free and have dairy-free and gluten-free options. All you do is sign up! They even plan sack lunches for field trips! We are delighted to have found a local caterer who has the same ideals as we do for what a student lunch should look like - and taste like! We are finalizing details right now and will send sample menus and contact info in the next few days.
Joyful Noise Music Program...Wait until you see the incredibly beautiful piano that graces our hall!! Tama D'Angleo, Toddler Teacher and Music Specialist, will be giving private lessons once a week for children 4 years and up during the afternoon with practice opportunities throughout the week. Contact any of us to let us know you'd like your child to participate and we will adjust your account.
4 to 6 years: 15 minute lesson plus practice time $350
6 to 12 years: 20 minute lesson plus practice time $450
Just Dance! Dance Program...Karissa Molen, owner of Intensity Dance, will offer after school dance lessons with the same energy and creativity with which her mom taught dance for Soaring Wings back in the 1980's! We are excited to have a Molen back in the house. Classes will be Thursdays beginning September 19th in three 8-week sessions with a recital at the conclusion of each. Registration information will be emailed to you.
Creative Movement 3 to 6 year olds: Thursdays 2:45 - 3:15pm $75/8 week session
Hip Hop 6 to 12 year olds: Thursday 3:15 - 4:00 pm $100/8 week session
Very Big Thanks!
Thank you to the Larsen, Samuleson, Wright, Wein and Shannon/Marcks Families for their very generous contributions to our new playground. The equipment is on a slow boat from Norway so it will be installed sometime this fall. If you wanted to help with this project, don't worry - there are still a couple of pieces we may add in the spring. Your very thoughtful donations in any amount are welcome any time.
It seems our staff has been busy this summer. Ari Alba completed her teacher training at the Montessori Teacher Education Center of the San Francisco Bay Area and will intern in the Sunflowers Class with Leah this year. Leti Burns has begun her practicum for her teacher credential with Westminster College and will intern with Michelle in the Moose Tracks Class this year. Erin Martin has completed the last phase of her Upper Elementary credential at MTEC of the San Francsco Bay Area. Kim Norman, Stevie Harrison, Tama D'Angelo have begun their graduate studies at St. Catherine University in Minneapolis in a program designed for Montessori teachers. Leah Morisi completed her teaching credential at Westminster College and will teach the Turquoise Class with Jules. Tama D'Angelo completed her EMT training this summer and is ready to help with any emergency. Carla Grimaldi-Morris got married this summer and will assist Anne in the Rainbow Class.
Stevie Harrison has accepted the title of our Program Director as a result of her impressive intiative and forward planning skills. She will continue to teach the Cottownoods Class in the mornings and wow us with her new ideas in the afternoons.
We are very happy to welcome Amy Warren to our faculty. Amy attended Soaring Wings as a child and we are delighted to have her back with us. Amy holds a degree in Spanish from the University of Utah and an American Montessori Society teaching credential at the Lower Elementary level. She taught in Los Angeles and in Portland before deciding to return to her roots in Park City. Her children Daxelle and Gianevive are true Montessori children, having spent time with our old friend, teacher and School Director Alyssa Fought in her school in Portland. They live with dad Donovan and happy grandparents Karen and Butch in Park Meadows. You will see Amy working as Adminstrative Assistant this year. Please join us in welcoming Amy to our Soaring Wings family.
Big Warm Hugs
We send condolences and warm wishes to teachers Anne Weinrauch and Lynn Chadderdon whose mother passed away recently. You are in our hearts, Lynn and Anne.
If you decide not to try out our new lunch program, EC Plus and Elementary students will need to bring a lunch each day. We will study nutrition in class and your child will bring home a copy of our food rainbow to post in the kitchen so that she may take responsibility for packing a healthy lunch. Unprocessed whole foods are the best choices. We are a "No Sugar, No Nuts" school. No candy (including chocolate-covered granola bars), soda pop or gum are allowed in school.Ask your child's teacher for a copy of our lunch guidelines pamphlet including peanut butter substitutes.
We recommend stocking a low shelf in the pantry and one in the refrigerator with appropriate lunch items such as cheese, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, fruit, juice, cold cuts, sandwich makings and individually packaged leftovers such as pasta and pizza so that your child can pack her own lunch each day. Usually a half sandwich, fruit and a drink is enough lunch for a young child. "Lunchables", "Go-gurts" and other processed foods are easy to pack, but the packaging is not child- or Earth-friendly, the nutirition is negligible and they often go uneaten. Try providing the fixings so your child can make her own "munchable", an American version of the Japanese bento box approach to healthy portable meals: a small "Gladware"-type container and an assortment of sliced cheeses, fruits, crackers, vegetables and dips. She can arrange the foods into faces or designs - simple, beautiful and nutritious!
If your child would like to share something, make sure there is enough for everyone (approximately 25). We have microwaves for student use in winter months and we recycle aluminum, glass, paper, cardboard and plastic. Students will take turns laundering tablecloths and picnic cloths each week. This not only lightens the teacher's load, but gives the child a Practical Life lesson that will hopefully carry over into the home.
Until the weather turns cold children will be picnicking outside. During warm weather please make sure your child packs a lunch that does not require warming and contains all necessary utensils. It is so frustrating to sit down on a picnic cloth on a sunny day only to find you have a lunch of cold soup and no spoon!
Soaring Wings Parent Teacher Student Organization is a non-profit volunteer organization responsible for the social, civic and fund-raising events that enhance our school community. These include the Cider Social, Fall Food Drive, Angel Trees, Conference Refreshments, Yearbook and Park City Children's Fair and Auction. Participation is voluntary. If you have not yet filled out a volunteer form for the new school year, please let any of us know how you would like to help. Thanks in advance for helping to make our school a special place.
The new school year starts Monday, August 26th.
We'll look forward to seeing all of you at our Grand Opening on Sunday, August 25th from 2:00 - 4:00 pm!!
Take some time to roll down a grassy hill or watch the clouds go by with your child. Enjoy the remaining days of the summer!
"Let us give the child a vision of the whole universe...for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity." Dr. Maria Montessori