A Monthly Newsletter Providing Useful Information to Caring Parents of Enrolled Students
© Copyright 2013
December 2013
Gift Ideas

With the winter holidays rapidly approaching, we offer suggestions for some appropriate toys and gifts.

It is easy to over-buy at this time of year. In Duna and Bruce's family, we choose one gift for each child. When they were little, they would ask for something special ("If you ask for too much, you might not get anything at all!"). When you limit yourself to one thing, it becomes all the more difficult to decide on the perfect gift. Below is a list of worthwhile toys that most children will greatly appreciate. That the less you give, the more meaningful the gift.

A special place: Parents report again and again that once they go to the trouble to Montessori-ize their home their children become incredibly self-reliant, responsible and neat! Our main supplier of child-sized equipment is the Montessori Services catalog (montessoriservices.com) that we sent home in the fall. Take a look at your child's room and see if you can replace the toy box with shelves, lower the clothes bar in the closet, simplify the bed-making process (replace multiple sheets and blankets with a fitted sheet and duvet with cover) and provide low hooks for hanging coats so your child's room can truly be her own. It will expedite getting out the door each day if there is a child-accessible place for outside clothes near the door. Clean-ups will be easily handled by your child if he has his own sponge, bucket, broom and dust pan. And children are great at preparing vegetables and salads if they have a small peeler, chopper and cutting board. (When you send in your Montessori Services order be sure to write the name of our school on the form so we will get credit toward new equipment.)

Blocks: A good set of hardwood blocks and/or Legos is very expensive, but a must for eye-hand coordination, fine and gross motor skills, and the foundation of mathematics and geometry concepts.

Cars, trucks, trains, and rolling marble sets: One reason little girls have typically been poorer at math than boys is that they are not encouraged to play with these "boy" toys. These toys are important in building an understanding of the principles of physics, linear math and mechanical engineering.

Dolls: A well-made doll that is easy to hug, dress and undress, with a few accoutrements necessary for feeding and putting to bed, is very important in teaching and practicing skills that will one day make your child a good Daddy or Mommy. Just as cars and trucks are important to girls, dolls are important to boys.

Doll Houses: You can spend very little or very much money on a doll house. The important aspect is that the child is provided with a means of role-playing the functions of the home. The doll house is a good place to explore what problems, if any, the child is having in adjusting to changing roles in the family. The doll house is also a way for children to practice organizing and maintaining domestic tranquillity on their own.

Art Supplies: Even the young child should have access to plenty of plain and colored paper, crayons, chalks, oil pastels, markers, water colors, colored pencils, stencils, scissors, glue, scraps of various shapes, colors and textures. The older child will enjoy sketching pencils and erasers, water color pencils, oil paints, good water colors, a mixing palette, pen and ink, art paper, tracing paper, and "How to Draw" books as well as some of the child-oriented books on artists. A kit to keep supplies in, a smock and a place to work are important considerations. How about replacing those Disney posters with a framed art print for your child's room?

Puppets: A collection of well-made hand puppets or marionettes (for the older child) and a simple theater would make a marvelous gift. The Hearthsong catalog usually has shadow puppets and theaters as well. When choosing puppets, look for a boy, a girl, a man, a woman, some animals and/or fantasy creatures. A theater can be made from a cardboard box or a curtain on a spring rod that fits in a doorway.

Dress-up trunk: How about filling a trunk, suitcase, or basket with hats, shoes, purses, wallets, jewelry and clothes? Thrift stores are good places to find many of these things. A yard or two of various fabrics (calico, fake fur, nylon tricot, satin, etc.) would be wonderful to drape and tuck for just the right effect. Halloween costumes, masks and leotards can be added to satisfy the dramatic flare. Your child will be asked to don costumes for virtually every occasion right up through college, so why not start collecting now?

Books: If you buy your kids books that are just a little ahead of their ability, you can read them aloud now and they can read them on their own later. Even adolescents enjoy reading aloud with the family. Bring a great book on the next road trip or turn off the tv and read together. Pick out a few of your favorites from your childhood.

Music: An iPod loaded with children's versions of ballets and operas with accompanying books will keep your child happy on trips while giving them an early start on music appreciation. There are some wonderful versions of "Peter and the Wolf", "Swan Lake" and "The Nutcracker" that even very young kids will enjoy. Speaking of "The Nutcracker", Duna started taking her daughter, Lina, to the ballet when Lina was two years old. Although they finally let the tradition go after 20+ years, granddaughter Finley attended her first Nutcracker at 18 months and sat raptly through it despite her mother's doubts. If you enjoy the ballet, opera, theater or the symphony, get matinee tickets this year and plan to make a hasty retreat to the lobby if your child is not as enchanted as you are! Listening to the music in advance and telling the child the story helps prepare them.

Etc.: So you already have all this stuff and we have not helped a bit? Well, then how about cross-country skis, downhill skis, snowshoes or ice skates, a set of bells or a keyboard, a real musical instrument and lessons, a nice globe, a set of real child-sized tools and a work bench, a rock tumbler, dance or theater lessons? The gift of adventure is always a good choice - perhaps a snorkeling or spelunking adventure for an older child? Whatever you choose, go for quality. Avoid toys that entertain rather than encourage

El Nido News

News from the Parent/Infant Class

In December we begin a discussion of Montessori's sensitive periods of development starting with motor development and cultural development. Parents and grandparents with babies up to 18 months of age are welcome to join our class on Fridays from 9:00 until noon. And bring your family to our school play on the 20th in the Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Avenue, at 11:00 am.

Toddler Time

News for the Tadpoles and Sunflowers Classes

We teachers have voted December "Most Challenging Time of the Year." So much to do! We begin in October planning things far enough in advance to keep November and December from becoming too busy. From the toddler's point of view, the holidays can all be a dizzy blur. But there are also so many wonderful things to enjoy. Candles, music, sparkling snow, fantastic decorations, special foods, fragrances, singing, etc. We would all do well to slow down to the toddler's pace and take time to enjoy every detail. But this seems impossible when you glance at your "To Do" list. This is the time to go over your list and decide what is really important and what is not.

Try letting go of all but the most cherished traditions. Keep things simple and allow your child plenty of time to eat, dress and play. Transitions are difficult for many young children so plan activities to include transition time for your child. Also keep in mind that young children enjoy a consistent routine. Stick to your regular schedule as much as possible and involve your child in decorating so changes don't seem to happen too fast. Reconsider having big parties or lots of guests. When planning trips, keep your child's needs in mind and again try to stay with your normal schedule. In the end your efforts to simplify your holidays will do much for both you and your child.

Early Childhood Calendar

News form the Turquoise, Rainbow and Cottonwood Classes

Monday - Art
The children have developed the ability to pick out many of the distinguishing characteristics of Mary Cassat's work. She is particularly appealing to children because of the warmth of her colors and subjects, many being mommies with their babies. During December, we will move on to "Modern Art" with Georgia O'Keeffe. If you would like to further your child's interest in fine art, a collection of art note cards makes a fun game. The note cards can be obtained from museum shops and catalogs. Buy sets of your favorite artists and try matching games. At first, matching pictures that are the same, then picking out different pictures by the same artist from an array of many. Once they become familiar with them, the kids can try guessing titles, artists, and other facts about each artist.

Tuesday - Time and Seasons
During December we will concentrate on winter celebrations around the world. We have already celebrated Diwali and plans for Las Posadas and Hanukkah are in the works with snacks, stories, songs and ornaments to go along with each.
If you have a special celebration to share, please talk to any teacher.

Wednesday - Geography
Our study of North America will integrate with Winter Holidays through December. We have focused on the many types of American Indians living here when the Pilgrims arrived and how others followed in pursuit of their dreams. Moving on to present North American cultures, we will take a look at holiday traditons across the continent.

Thursday - Literature
We have read many of Tomie de Paola's wonderful books and have learned a little about him. His stories are often autobiographical and can be silly, sad or funny. In December we will study Dr. Seuss. This is a good time to send your favorite Seuss books to class to share.

Friday - Biology
We studied plants and their edible parts in November. In December, preparations for our Winter Celebration take over our Friday lessons. The bean plants we grew in class may carry out the cycle of life by producing beans with a little care at home. As a home extension of our Botany studies, consider making your child "family botanist."  With a small pitcher or watering can marked with the correct water level, some cotton balls and an eyedropper bottle full of water your child can water your plants and polish their leaves. If you have lots of plants perhaps a few could be cared for each day. Yes, there will be some spills and some over-watered plants but once this becomes routine you will have a few minutes to work on your jobs while your child does his!

Lower Elementary Lowdown

News from the Moose Tracks Class

Monday - History
We bring our timeline of US History up to present times before Mondays give way to rehearsals in December.
This lesson links the Thanksgiving Timeline students have learned in Early Childhood to some of the major events that have shaped our country over the centuries since the Pilgrims arrived.

Tuesday - Geography
In December the Elementary Class helps host several school holiday celebrations including
Diwali, Hanukkah and Las Posadas. Each of these involves crafts, snacks, stories and songs.

Wednesday - Theater Arts
The class has reviewed sketching basic shapes and continues to practice using those shapes to draw the real things they see. We have also experimented with color mixing and painting. This month we will apply our artistic skill to building sets and props for our play, "Boot Scootin' Holiday Hoedown". The elementary classes take the lead in every aspect of crafting a play. We will work on story telling, acting and theatrical "magic" as well. Plan to bring family and friends to see the finished product on December 20th at 11:00 am in the Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Aevnue.

Thursday - Holiday Cooking and Crafts
In December we'll be busy making gifts, cooking surprises and carolling to spread holiday cheer to our friends and neighbors.

Friday - Dance
We have
attended the Repertory Dance Theater where we noticed how professional dancers expressed their ideas with movement. We are now choreographing our dance piece for the play and we will refine it through rehearsals over the next weeks. We can't wait to show it to you at the play on December 20th.

Upper Elementary Update

News from the Eagle's Nest

As the holidays approach we will keep our morning work periods intact up around rehearsals until the last few days before the school play on the 20th. As we continue with the comfortable consistency of our morning language and math exercises, in the afternoons cultural lessons gradually give way to the all-consuming task fo putting on our school play. Upper elementary students take the lead in every aspect of theater craft.

Monday - History
In November the class enjoyed a visit with Stevie's grandpa who was a miner in the Park City mines. They have also spoken with Mr. Workman who owns the ranch next door to the school about what the area was like in the "old days". We also visited the Park City Museum and tried sluice box mining. This information contributes our understanding of Park City history and to the theme of our play. In December we'll review a history of world holidays to introduce our school celebrations of Diwali, Hannukah and Las Posadas. We help to plan and prepare for these celebrations striving to include the sounds, scents and sights of the culture leaving a lasting sensorial impression of cultural celebrations world wide.

Tuesday - Geography
In December we'll bring our study of Europe in for a focus on holiday customs and their European origins, adapting some of these to design our own class celebration.

Wednesday - Theater Arts
The class has reviewed principles of sketching, metal working with Stephanie Ritchie and has worked on various crafts including weaving and making a braided rug to go along with our history and geography lessons. This month we will apply our artistic skill to building sets and props for our play, "Boot Scootin' Holiday Hoedown". The Upper Elementary Class plays the lead characters of the story, works on building sets and creating props. Costume notices will come home soon - please let Erin know if you have any questions. Plan to bring family and friends to see the finished product on December 20th at 11:00 am in the Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Avenue.

Thursday - Holiday Cooking and Crafts
In December we'll be busy making gifts, cooking surprises and carolling to spread holiday cheer to our friends and neighbors.

Friday - Rehearsals
attended the Repertory Dance Theater where we noticed how these professional dancers expressed their ideas with movement. We'll draw upon this experience to create theatrical effects for our play.

Happy Holidays!

Mark Your Calendar

December 4
Happy Birthday, Leah!

December 13
Deadline for getting gifts to school for class gift exchanges

December 16
Deadline for Angel Tree donations

December 18 & 19, Wednesday and Thursday
Rehearsals for Winter Celebration

All classes will meet at 1255 Park Avenue on these days:

*Breakfast Club will meet on the 3rd floor (7:45 - 8:30am).
*Sunflower and Tadpole Toddler Classes will meet on the playground (9:00 - 9:15am) on 12th Street and pick up on the 3rd floor, north end of the building (12:00 - 12:15).
*Turquoise, Rainbows and Cottonwoods Early Childhood Classes will meet at the front doors (8:45 - 9:00am) and pick up on the playground on 12th Street (11:45 - noon and 2:45 - 3:00pm).

*Moose Tracks and Eagle's Nest Elementary Classes will meet on the front steps, south end of the building (8:30 - 8:45am) and pick up in the same place (3:00 - 3:15pm).

If you are late on these days you can find us in the Santy Auditorium on the 3rd floor. Please call the teacher hotline 435-200-8248 or 435-649-3626 to notify us if your child will be absent.

December 20
Winter Celebration featuring our school play "Boot Scootin' Holiday Hoedown" @ 11:00 a.m. in the Santy Auditorium
. Bring family and friends!

Park Avenue students:

*Breakfast Club meets on the 3rd floor, 7:45 - 8:30 am in costume.
*Sunflowers and Tadpoles Toddler Classes meet in costume on the 2nd floor from 10:15 - 10:30 am.
*Turquoise, Rainbow and Cottonwoods Early Childhood classes meet on the front steps in costume at 8:45 - 9:00 am.

*Moose Tracks and Eagles' Nest Elementary Classes meet on the front steps, south end of the building in costume, 8:30 - 8:45am.

Please join us beginning at 10:30 and bring your dishes for the Cast Party at that time. The play starts at 11:00 am. Cast Party to follow. Dismissal at approximately noon.

December 23 - January 3
Winter Break - NO SCHOOL

December 29
Happy Birthday, Jules!

January 6
School resumes

January 20
Human Rights Day - NO SCHOOL


Angel Trees
Our Angel Trees project is now in full swing. Please visit the tree in our lobby to select a child-crafted angel bearing a donation request. Return the angel and the item, (Peace House requests new, not used items) unwrapped, to the tree by December 16th. All donations will be taken to Peace House to help the families through the holidays. These families often arrive with no more than the pajamas on their backs and need a few things to get them started again. Thanks to Lynn Chadderdon and her parent volunteers for organizing this project. And thank you for making the holidays a little brighter for someone in need.

21st Annual Park City Children's Fair
The Fair is coming of age this year and our first planning meeting got the ball rolling on some great ideas to celebrate. Fair Chair Lina Singleton has the committee lined up including Jenny Samuelson, Jill Warburton, Sarah Barnes, Phil Kaplan, Gina Johnson, Shannon Buist, Karen Mertens, Melissa Filippone, Christine Eschenfelder, Michelle Aldrich, Leah Morisi, Amy Warren and Jules Manning. If you would like to help please contact lina@soaringwings.org. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 15th at 2:00 pm in the main office. Please join us!

School Bulletin Board

Congratulations, Singleton Family!
We send big, fat hugs and wishes for good health, happiness and plenty of sleep to Finley Singleton and her family on the birth of her new little sister, Mara. Mom, Lina, our School Director, will be out on maternity leave but making guest appearances in the next few weeks. The hospital staff called it "a perfect birth". Well done, Lina and Lee!

Welcome, Lori!
We are happy to welcome Lori Whistler to our SWIMS family as teaching assistant in the Tadpoles Toddler Class. Lori holds a degree in business education from BYU and owned Rocky Mountain Christmas on Main Street for several years. She worked for two other Montessori schools and home schooled her son before coming to us, eager to learn more. She and her husband Brett and her son Peyton live in Heber. Please join us in welcoming Lori to our school community.

Winter Celebration
Winter holiday preparations and all the art and cooking projects, stories and songs that go along with them will be a big focus this month. This year we will present our Winter Celebration, "Boot Scootin' Holiday Hoedown" on Friday, December 20th, at 11:00 am in the Santy Auditorium at 1255 Park Avenue. All classes will meet at there for rehearsals on Wednesday the 18th and Thursday the 19th (see details above). The play begins at 11:00 am on Friday. Please plan to bring friends and family. There is overflow parking available across the street toward the skate park.

If you cannot be there, please let us know right away since every child has an important part to play. We invite you to join us for a Cast Party following the performance. Look for sign-up sheets for party items and a note to come home soon on costumes. We will need a few parents to help with costumes, props and make-up. Let your child's teacher know if you are interested.

We prepare for the play by first talking through it, in story-telling fashion, then walking through it physically so that the idea is built upon gradually, adding props and sets and finally costumes. Even with all of this preparation, we fully expect some of the youngest children to decline to appear on stage. They gain much by watching with you from the audience. But we must ask that any children who cannot sit quietly be taken out of the auditorium out of respect for the rest of the performers and the audience. Again and again we see the shrinking violet of the Toddler Class grow to become the shining star of the Elementary Class.

Gift Exchange
During regular class time on Tuesday December 17th all Early Childhood and Elementary classes, will exchange gifts. Your child has drawn a classmate's name and should help with the selection or making of a gift for him or her that should not exceed $15 in value. Check with your child's teacher if you have not seen a notice regarding this. Please wrap, tag (label who the gift is to and from) and send the gift to school no later than Friday, December 13th.

December Advice
Remember that young children enjoy consistency. Although we delight in our many holiday traditions and celebrations, a small child may find them over stimulating. Keep your child in mind while planning activities this month. Allow her time to play, eat and dress without rushing. Consider carefully how many guests you'll be entertaining and for how long. Say "no" to a few parties so you can enjoy your child's regular bedtime ritual. Play down the gifts. Emphasize the time spent together instead. Stick all those extra sweets that people keep giving you in the freezer so they don't play havoc with your child's diet. At school we often see sighs of relief as children come into the classroom and leave the hectic world of grown-ups behind them for a little while. We teachers recognize the feeling because we often think of our classrooms as our sanctuaries, too. Enjoy the parties, food, traditions, guests and gifts this holiday season but remember to carve out a little sanctuary for yourself as well as for your child.

Out of the Mouths...

"What is your favorite winter tradition?"

(Asked of the Moose Tracks 1st - 3rd grade class)

Mateo: Sledding.

Dekker: Telling Santa what I want for Christmas.

Allie: Skiing.

Lily: I like waking up on Christmas morning, checking to see if Santa ate his cookie and if the reindeers ate their apples, then opening presents.

Greta: I like going sledding on a mini hill.

Karsten: Eating pie for breakfast on Thanksgiving.

Taryn: Reading stories with my family.

Braden: I like opening presents on Christmas morning and having a special breakfast.

Davey: I like lighting the menorah with Zoe.

Madeline: I like eating breakfast and opening presents until lunch time.

Michelle: Hiking with my family.

Leti: Spending time with my family.

"What is your favorite thing about snow?"

(Asked of the Turquoise Early Childhood Class -3 - 6 years old))

Connor: You can jump in it and throw snowballs.

Dina: Playing in it.

Ellie: Making snowballs.

Jack: When it is icy.

Manon: Making snowmen.

Mark: Sliding on the ice.

Oliver: Making snowballs.

Rhys: Sledding.

Sadie: The fun!

Sebby: Playing in it.

Sophie: Building a snowman.

Tarver: The fun.

Zoe: Building a snowman.

Leah: Hot chocolate.

Jules: The need for a fireplace.

"What do you like to do in the snow?"

(Asked of the Tadpoles Toddler Class -1 1/2 to 3 years old))

Emery: Go sledding.

Halen: Make a snowman.

Cameron: Eat it.

Tristan: Sled.

Anders: Throw snowballs.

Reed: Shovel.

Aven: Go sledding.

Brooks: Build a snowman.

Emily: Sled.

Grace W.: Make a snowman.

Emerson: Work.

Lori: Ski.

Lynn: Build a snow fort!

Tama: Sledding with my boys.