The beginning of a new school year is rapidly approaching and we are excited to see old and new friends. As we trickle back into town and dust the sand off our feet we all look forward to getting back into the school routine and catching up with each of you!
Where's My Newsletter?
The current newsletter will be posted on the website around the first of each month. 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.
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 virtually 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 or Reading Garden at Park Avenue and the lobby at Jeremy Ranch.
You may want to discuss and/or role-play saying good-bye with younger children. 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 very important and allows us to maintain 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 a staff member at the front door and on the playground each morning until 9:00 am. 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.
Jeremy Ranch Campus - 2740 Rasmussen Road
We will supply you 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. Please circulate in a generally counter-clockwise direction, entering the development at the south end and exiting at the north end. Please do not park in the drop-off area at the front of the building. If you want to come inside the building or the playground please park in the parking lot.
Toddler Class (1 1/2 to 3 years old)
Sunflowers Toddler Class taught by Leah Linebarger
Children attending the Sunflowers Class will meet on the playground. Parents can pull up to the playground gate on between 8:45 and 9:00 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 in front of the school between 11:45 am and noon.
All toddler students will need a backpack with a change of clothes, diapers, a 4" x 6" snapshot of the family (for the class album) and two 2" x 2" photos of the child (for the cubby and coathook/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.
Early Childhood (3 to 6 years old) including EC Plus Enrichment & Elementary Prep
Cottonwoods Class taught by Stevie Harrison and Kim Norman
Students can be dropped off at the front doors between 8:45 and 9:00 am where a teacher will greet them. Please pull up in the drop off space so the students can exit the car safely onto the sidewalk.
EC morning students will be picked up on the playground between 11:45 and noon. Pick up for Enrichment and Prep students is at the front door 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 and plenty of 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. Enrichment and Prep 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.
Park Avenue Campus - 1255 Park Avenue
We will supply you 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. Please drive in a clockwise direction around the building to facilitate traffic flow. If you want to come inside the building or the playground please park in the parking lot - there is no parking on 12th Street.
Toddler Class (1 1/2 to 3 years old)
Tadpoles Toddler Class taught by Lynn Chadderdon and Tama D'Angelo
Children attending the Tadpoles Class will meet on the playground. Parents can pull up to the playground gate on 12th Street between 8:45 and 9:00 am and a teacher will be on the sidewalk to help your child out of the car. There is no parking on 12th Street. If you want to get out of the car, please park in the parking lot and walk your child to the playground. Toddlers can be picked up in the classroom (room 302) between 11:45 am and noon.
All Tadpole toddler students will need a backpack with a change of clothes, diapers, a 4" x 6" snapshot of the family (for the class album) and two 2" x 2" photos of the child (for the cubby and coathook). 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.
Early Childhood (3 - 6 years) including EC Plus Enrichment & Elementary Prep
Turquoise Class taught by Jules Manning
Rainbow (formerly Otters) Class taught by Anne Weinrauch
EC students can be dropped off at either of the front doors between 8:45 and 9:00 am where a teacher will greet them and see that they get safely to their classrooms. Please pull up in the parking lot headed south so the students can exit the car safely onto the sidewalk and come in the front door.
EC morning students will be picked up on the playground on 12th Street between 11:45 and noon. Pick up for Enrichment and Prep students is on the playground on 12th Street between 2:45 and 3:00 pm. A teacher will be on the sidewalk to help your child into the car. There is no parking on 12th Street. If you need 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 and plenty of room to bring home work. 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. Enrichment and Prep students will need a lunch as well (see lunch guidelines at right). Continuing students need to bring back their workbooks which will be kept in cubbies except during vacations.
Elementary Classes (6 to 12 years)
Moose Tracks Class Lower Elementary taught by Michelle Aldrich
Eagle's Nest Upper Elementary taught by Erin Martin
Elementary students can be dropped off at the south door between 8:45 and 9:00 am where a member of our faculty will be waiting to greet them. Please pull up in the parking lot heading south so students can exit the car safely onto the sidewalk and come in the front door. Greeters are at the front door each morning to facilitate this process and relay messages to teachers.
At pickup time you can park in the parking lot and meet your child in the Reading Garden in front of the building between 3:15 and 3:30 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
- Park City Library card
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.
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 6th & 7th, in the beautiful Uinta mountains. 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 two-day camping trip to Moab) is planned for May 9th -10th. These trips will require parental assistance with driving and preparing meals. Although they will take advance 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 26th
Open House at both campuses, 4:00 - 5:30 pm
All families welcome
Monday, August 27th
First Day of School!
Friday, August 31st
Early dismissal for all classes, 11:45 am - 12:00 Noon. Please pick up Toddlers at front doors, Early Childhood on playground and Elementary students on North Field. Please help us keep traffic moving and carpool whenever possible.
Monday, September 3rd
Labor Day, NO SCHOOL
Thursday - Friday, September 6th - 7th
Upper and Lower Elementary Class 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 19th
Fall Fiesta 3:00 - 4:00 pm. Come meet the families of Soaring Wings!
Saturday, September 22nd
Soaring Wings hosts the Utah Montessori Council Fall workshop, "Keeping Love and Light Alive at Home and at School", 8:30 am - 3:30 pm in the Santy Auditorium at Park Avenue Campus featuring Sonnie McFarland, author of Honoring the Light of the Child and Montessori Parenting. Contact email@example.com to register.
Tuesday, October 9th
Back-to-School Night, 6:00 - 7:30 pm, both campuses. All families are welcome for a slide show starring your child and a child-guided tour of the classroom.
School Bulletin Board
8:45-9:00 drop-off...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 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. For this reason we've set our start time at 8:45 am. With the transition into class complete by 9:00 am classes will be able to achieve close to an optimal 3-hour morning work period. Security doors lock at 9:00 am. We love to see parents making friends and exchanging ideas, but please move to the hall, JR lobby or PA Reading Garden at 9:00 am so our classes can start on time. Thank you!
Welcome Infants!...Our El Nido Parent/Infant class take the same appoach as classes for older children - an environment set up expressly to meet the needs of the children, from prenatal to 18 months old, with a teacher trained to facilitate the development of the child, the parent/child relationship and the family. The philosophy is to provide a sublime atmosphere including art, music, and didactic materials while providing interactive lessons with parents and babies on child development and educational philosophy. This class is taught by Lynn Chadderdon, who holds a degree in English from UC Berkley, an AMS Infant and Toddler credential, has several years experience in the toddler class and is mom to an 13-year-old Montessori boy. The class meets on Fridays from 9:00 until noon. Parents and infants are welcome to drop in and out as is convenient for them and the baby's nap schedule. There will be a group lesson each day at 9:30 and plenty of time for discussion as the children explore the classroom. We are offering a month's tuition free if you enroll now or with the enrollment of another student. This offer is based on availability. If you have a child under the age of 18 months or know someone who does, do call for a tour right away!
Toddler toilet learning...Leah's Sunflowers Toddler Class at Jeremy Ranch Campus pioneered the training pants approach to toilet learning over the past school year while Lynn and Tama's Tadpoles Class at Park Avenue Campus continued with the "come as you are" policy. Although the Sunflowers were steadily ahead of the learning curve completing the year with 57% of total students toileting independently, Tadpoles also made good progress completing the year with 45% of their total students 1 1/2 to 3 years old toileting independently.
Each school day all Sunflower students will change into cotton training pants with plastic covers during class time.This will help them to become more aware of their own bodily processes and to become more independent in undressing and dressing themselves. While it may be more practical to change into diapers for car rides and outings,we encourage parents to adopt the same policy at home. It will mean 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.
Since this will be our last year at the Park Avenue Campus we've decided not to make the plumbing adjustments and laundry facility installation necessary to carry the training pants program over to the Tadpoles Class at the PA Campus. But we do recomend all parents use this approach at home to facilitate the toddler's independence and confidence. It's a simple process requiring consistency and lots of laundry, but will save you months of diapers and will afford your child a sense of self-esteem.
Although diaper companies urge us not to "push" children into toilet trainig, history and child developmentalists point out that children are capable of learning to use the toilet somewhere between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 years of age. We recommend, as soon as your child is walking steadily, introduce a small potty in the bathroom along with baskets where clean and soiled training pants can be kept easilly within her reach. Plastic covers can be used until your child is reliably getting to the toilet. You may want to use diapers for car trips and night time use.Different children will pick up the skill and the muscular control at different times, but most are practicing successfully at two years of age. Use positive language and avoid bribes. It's not going to happen over night, but you've given your child everything she needs to be independent which is what she most wants! Our toddler staff is happy to consult with you on how this process is going at home.
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!
Parting is such sweet sorrow...As you have probably heard, the Park City Library is planning an expansion into the third floor of our Park Avenue Campus so this will be our last year in this grand old building. It has a been a good 20 years in the building and we will miss the location, the big windows and the building's unique charm. We will be reuniting there three times each year for our school plays in the Santy Auditrorium. Tadpoles, Turquoise, Rainbows, Moose Tracks and Eagle's Nest Classes will move into our new Ranch Road Campus, on the corner of Old Ranch Road and Highway 224, which will be ready to open in August 2013.
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.
Security...Our security doors are closed and locked each day from 9:00 am until 3:45 pm. If you need to pick up a child or drop off a lunch during those times call the Parent/Teacher Hotline below.
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.
Inside voices...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 noon dismissal days, EC Party Days, Friday Parent/Teacher Conference days and school plays. Since more than 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!
Park Avenue Campus 640-4858
Jeremy Ranch Campus 640-1350
Lina Singleton, Director, can be reached at either number above or firstname.lastname@example.org
Duna Strachan, Executive Director can be reached at either number above or email@example.com
Bruce King, Administrator 649-3626 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We recommend that you program these numbers into your cell phone so you can give us a call when your child is sick or if you're running late.
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 22). 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 Fall Fiesta, 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 27th.
Sunday August 26th we'll be hosting our Open House at both campuses from 4:00 - 5:30 pm to give the children the opportunity to see their classrooms and visit with their teachers and classmates. We'll look forward to seeing all of you then!
Take some time to roll down a grassy hill or watch the clouds go by with your child. Enjoy the rest 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