Montessori in the New Year
Happy New Year! We begin a new year with warm thoughts of the many generous and loving contributions that are invested into our school each day, whether in a word, a gift, or a smile. Soaring Wings flourishes because of our shared wish for educating your children to their highest potential. Our goal is to grant each child the skills necessary to live a peaceful, productive and fulfilling life. Our dream is to ensure that when this future generation matures, our world will pass into the most capable of hands. In these times of uncertainty it is more important than ever before to raise a generation who can reach out to those of different cultures and find peaceful solutions to problems. As world events alarm us people voice their concern about bringing children into a place like this. But really, it's only our children who can straighten things out. To prepare for what awaits them these children need more than the ability to work at a job and make money. They need conflict resolution skills, intrinsic motivation and an understanding of how cultures and ecosystems must balance to support the biota of our planet.
Maria Montessori began this dream over a century ago. She opened her first school, Casa dei Bambini, in Italy on January 6, 1907. Many recognized the potential of her ideas. Maria succeeded in establishing several schools throughout Europe in only a few years. However, the world wars ripped through the continent and Mussolini evicted Maria and her educational philosophy from Italy. The wars, however, gave Maria a greater incentive to continue to develop a process which would not only educate people to their fullest potential but would produce generations with such well-developed communication skills and appreciation of cultural diversity that war would become a thing of the past. Only in the last decade have Maria's ideas begun to become incorporated into traditional American school programs. As classrooms become more child-centered and education slowly becomes more individualized, we are seeing a more mindful generation arise. Just in the nick of time, there is a new awareness of the importance of including cultural awareness, conflict resolution and emotional literacy into the education of even the smallest children.
In the classroom we set up each activity with a control of error so that the success of the child is guaranteed. With improving skill, the self-correcting factor is gradually removed so that the child's own skill becomes the control of error. This applies to social as well as academic skill development. We are equipping these children not only for academic success but for success in life as well. With the incredible technological tools at their disposal combined with a respectful approach to the balance of life on this planet how can these children do anything but succeed?
El Nido News
Our community of infants and their parents continues to grow, with teacher Lynn Chadderdon leading weekly discussions on child development and the Montessori Method. In January we will discuss Sensorial, Language, Socio-emotional and Artistic development. If you have a baby or know one who may be interested, invite them to join us Fridays any time between 9:00am and noon!
News from the Tadpoles and Sunflowers Classes
As we all know, toddlers enjoy a regular routine. We appreciate January because, although some students may need to readjust to the school routine again after the long break, it is typically a quiet month in which to get back into the routine of the work cycle. It is a time to learn new Practical Life skills such as pouring a glass of water or preparing a snack. Old songs and stories are enjoyed and new ones are added. Art media is expanded and new ideas are introduced. The oldest class members are starting to become more aware of social opportunities which puts a new perspective on class time. The uninterrupted class period provides time for lessons in Language, Math or Sensorial concepts. Science activities may involve studying the properties of snow. Take time to stop and see the snowflakes with your toddler this month and enjoy the peace and quiet of January.
If you dads haven't been in for a Parent Day yet this school year, please schedule a time with us right away. We look forward to seeing you!
Early Childhood Calendar
News from the Turquoise, Rainbow and Cottonwoods Classes
Montessori is a method that has been misunderstood for almost a century. It seems that criticism comes from those who think the Montessori method of education is too structured and those who think it is too unstructured. Those who understand the principles see that a true Montessori class employs a complementary blend of structure and freedom.
At the beginning of the year most of the students in the Early Childhood program spend a great deal of their time with crayons, blocks and puzzles. During the school year, although the materials offered are changed only slightly, the interest of the student gradually turns towards academics. We do lessons with each child every day, usually allowing the child to pick the activity but keeping in mind the child's age, health, developmental capabilities and interests. A "lesson" is never a drill, but a demonstration of precisely how an activity is done, from rolling out the work mat to wiping up every drip of water and replacing the activity on the shelf. All lessons are aimed at coordination, concentration, organization and independence. The theory is basically to offer a wide array of avenues of interest and allow the child to decide when the time is right for each one. Our classrooms are set up to provide for all types of learning styles so that, for instance, those who learn best through movement are provided plenty of opportunities for practicing motor skills and those who are auditory learners hear the carefully chosen words of the teacher. The Montessori child typically seeks out the academic lessons in the classroom just as s/he seeks out dolls, trucks and blocks, because they offer a learning opportunity. And as children are infinitely different, so they are the same in at least one respect; their love of learning.
Monday - Art
The children have been intrigued with Georgia O'Keeffe and her enormous flowers and floating bones. Her definition of art is... "to fill a space beautifully." The artist of the month for January is a friend of Georgia's, Ansel Adams. This is a good time to give your child a lesson on how to use a camera carefully and allow him to take some photos of his own. If you are not comfortable with your child using your digital camera, try giving him a disposable camera with which to experiment. Send your child's photos to class to add to our photo exhibits.
Tuesday - Time & Seasons
This month we will be looking for signs of winter in the weather, plants and behavior of people and animals. We plan to celebrate the next big snow storm with snow ice cream!
Wednesday - Geography
Last month we extended our study of North America to its winter celebrations, as well as those around the world. In January we learn about South America and its plants, animals and people. If you have any artifacts to share from South America please send them in.
Thursday - Literature
The kids became familiar with Dr. Seuss last month and most noticed that he usually wrote books that are silly, but have a message for those who listen carefully. His messages can be as simple as... "a host above all must be nice to his guests" (Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose) and as profound as... "maybe Christmas...doesn't come from a store" (How the Grinch Stole Christmas).
Eric Carle is January's author of
the month. His books (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The
Very Busy Spider & The Very Quiet Cricket) are creatively illustrated and fun for kids this age. If your child has a favorite Eric Carle book, this is a good time to share it with the class.
Friday - Biology
A seafood meal is a good way to review which edible sea animals are invertebrates (clams, oysters, shrimp, crab, lobster, calamari) and which are vertebrates (fish) for the transition into the study of fishes this month. Any fishes, living or dead, or parts thereof would be most interesting as sharing items this month. We could use three nice, whole, medium-sized fish with which to do fish prints. Any fishermen want to contribute something from the freezer?
Each spring we administer the Stanford Achievement Test to our Kindergarten, 3rd grade and 6th grade students. You may view those results on our website (www.soaringwings.org). If your child is eligible for testing you will recieve an information packet in April.
If any of you haven't already been in for your own Parent Day, please talk to any teacher about scheduling a time right away. We look forward to seeing you!
Lower Elementary Lowdown
News from the Moose Tracks Class
January is a great month to re-evaluate your Elementary student's role in the family. By now even the youngest child should be in charge of keeping his room and bathroom clean, making the bed and helping with the laundry. As soon as the child is tall enough to reach the knobs on the washer and dryer he can take over his own laundry. Until then he can at least fold and put it away.
If you are having recurring problems with keeping possessions and toys picked up, evaluate your storage system. Baskets of toys ask to be dumped on the floor and then no one wants to pick them up. A simple shelving system can hold books, music, art supplies, games and smaller toys sorted into small bins. For instance, all space Legos in one bin, pirate Legos in another, and doll clothes in another so you never have to take out too much to find what you are looking for. If you have trouble with space, put away or give away some toys. The simpler the arrangement the easier it will be for your child to keep neat.
An Elementary student should also have a few family responsibilities such as feeding the animals, taking out the trash or changing light bulbs. These jobs can be tied in with an allowance system so that the child can learn budgeting for things for which she wants to save up. If you decide to do this, figure out the amount of allowance you pay per job so that your child can conceivably save up for a big item in a reasonable amount of time, but so that some sacrifices will have to be made to that end.
Another consideration for an Elementary child is giving him a night to cook for the whole family. He can start with simple meals like pasta and pizza. At this age children are eager to contribute to the family's well-being and in only a few more years, when they become adolescents, they'll rarely be home in time for dinner! So take advantage of teaching your child to cook while you've got him hanging out in the kitchen with you.
Monday - History
We will study biographies this month as collections of information recording history. Students will chose someone to research and prepare a presentation for the class including costume. This is the child's chance to become an expert on a hero, an artist, an athlete or an intriguing historical figure. Look for more information to come home soon.
Tuesday - Geography
We study South America this month including endemic plants, animals and cultures. If you have any books, music, artifacts or a guest speaker from South America to share, please send them in. This unit will culminate in a South American Carnaval celebration at the end of the month.
Wednesday - Healthy Lifestyles
Our ski program begins on January 9th. Ski helmets are required. Please label all of your child's ski gear and send it to school in one bag. Thanks for your support.
Thursday - Zoology
Zoology studies this month will build on our definition of an animal with a closer look at invertebrates. This will lead us into an introduction to vertebrates beginning with fishes.
Friday - Field Trips
Ski classes take the place of field trips through January. Thank you for your help in making it happen! We'll spend Friday class time working on new projects.
Look for details to come home the first week of January regarding this month's book report project - biographies. Students will choose books about a person of interest to them, then become that person to present the book report in class. We look forward to the individual interpretations of famous figures.
We continue to add to our vocabulary including simple conversational phrases. Try having a dinner conversation in Spanish or naming things you see while driving to school. Que es ese? Por favor pase el pan.
If anyone hasn't yet been in for a special day in our class, please schedule your visit with Michelle right away. We look forward to seeing you!
Upper Elementary Update
News from the Eagle's Nest Class
Upper elementary students are capable of so much! They begin to excel at academics, athletics, art, music and their mastery of sophisticated concepts. They are fascinated with how everything works and can cook a meal, crochet a hat, do a healthy share of house cleaning, learn to fix a leaky pipe, unclog the toilet or help tune up the car. In another couple of years they will be too distracted with social goings-on to focus on these mundane tasks so take advantage of their interest now and enjoy working side by side with your pre-adolescent.
As accomplished as these children are, they are still children so also remember to continue to read aloud with them, snuggle often and allow plenty of time for unstructured play.
Monday - History
This month we will read biographies and present reports in character to the class. Children can choose an athlete, artist, historical figure or a hero to learn about, dress as and report upon.
Tuesday - Geography
We will conclude our study of South America this month with a traditional art project.
Wednesday - Healthy Lifestyles
Our ski program will take lots of planning and organizing on everyone's part, but will result in five Wednesdays spent on the mountain building lifelong skills and memories. Thank you for your support.
Thursday - Zoology
An introduction to vertebrates is the topic of the month, having covered botany and invertebrates.
Friday - Field Trips
Our ski program will take the place of field trips through January, so we will spend Fridays persuing new concepts in art and music.
We've been working on the calendar in Spanish and using terms about the date and weather conversationally. Que tiempo hace?
If either parent has not yet been in for a special day in our class, please schedule your visit with Erin right away. We look forward to seeing you!
|Mark Your Calendar
January 7th...School resumes
January 9th...Ski program begins
Please remember to label all ski gear and send to school in a single bag. Ski helmets are required. Program runs 1/9 - 2/6.
January 15th...Fair Planning Meeting
2:00 pm, Park Avenue Campus
January 17th-27th...Sundance Film Festival - Park Avenue students please carpool!
January 18th...Noon dismissal
January 21st...Martin Luther King, Jr Day
January 25th...Noon dismissal - Utah Montessori Council Conference 25th - 26th
January 30th...Happy Birthday Anne!
January 31st...Re-enrollment due for 2013-2014
February 15th...Half day before holiday - Noon dismissal
February 18th - 22nd...Presidents Week Break - No school
Angel Trees - We extend a special thanks to Lynn Chadderdon and Leah Linebarger for organizing our Angel Trees project. Their team of volunteers including Sally Lutzker, Brooke Brink and Sara Moola Vaughn, who maintained a tree at each library and added extras in the schools resulting in a huge donation for Peace House. The Peace House volunteers were very thankful for your generosity, having had a higher need than usual this year. Thanks to everyone for your donations which made the holidays happier for families in need.
20th Park City Children's Fair -This year's Fair will be held Sunday, June 2nd at City Park. Fair Chair Lina Singleton along with her team of volunteers, Sandy Geldhof, Karen Sigler-Mertens, Brooke Brink, Amy Lineen, Leah Linebarger, Jules Manning, Jenny Samuelson, Sally Lutzker and Michelle Aldrich have plans rolling along. If you'd like to help please come to the next Fair planning meeting Tuesday, January 15th at 2:00 pm in the main office at the Park Avenue Campus.
School Bulletin Board
Thank you! We thank the parents who helped with our winter celebrations of Diwali, Hanukkah and Las Posadas including Sally Lutzker and Jennifer Hamlin. Maria Montessori hoped that if children learned to celebrate the diversity of cultures eventually war would become a thing of the past. Thank you with your help in meeting this goal, everyone. Namaste'. Shalom. Gracias.
Parent Days - By now all parents should have had an opportunity to visit your child's class for your own special Parent Day. If not, please talk to your child's teacher about scheduling a time. Grandparents are always welcome, too!
Sundance Film Festival - Park Avenue parents, brace yourself for the hordes of city people who are coming our way! Be prepared for parking problems, carpool wherever possible and let us know how it's going out there. The parking lot will be available only to school and library patrons and 12th Street will be closed to parking as usual for pick-up and drop-off. We'll need a few "Potty Patrol" parents to help with bathroom runs. This is a good opportunity to people-watch while being extremely helpful to the school. Let us know if you can help.
2013/2014 Enrollment - You will soon receive a re-enrollment invitation in the mail. The Enrollment Agreement and Commitment Fee are due back by January 31st for currently enrolled students and siblings. On February 1st we will assign students to classes and mail confirmations. After that date we will accept new student applications.
Snow Daze - On heavy snow mornings be sure to listen to KPCW, 91.9 FM. If the public schools close due to snow we will too.
Taxes - For your tax preparation pleasure, our EIN is #87-0495076.
Out of the Mouths...
"What is your New Year's resolution?"
Asked of Cottonwoods Class students at the Jeremy Ranch Campus
Dylan - Go to Santa Barbara.
Evan - Go to Szander's house.
Rhys - Go to Darth Vader's house.
George - Go on an adventure.
Devin - Play
Creed - Learn to ski.
Jack R. - Nothing.
Loch - Use a bow and arrow.
Liam - See a new thing at Science World in Vancouver.
Payten - Ice skate.
Rudger - Be an inventor.
Julian - Finish a 5K this summer.
Van - Run forever and ever.
Keira - Play the ukelele, piano and ice skate.
Zoe - Make cookies and cupcakes with my mom.
Georgia - Sled down a low hill by Lily's house.
August - Get in a rock band.
Kim - Run in a race.
Leah L - Paint my walls.
Stevie - Run in the Mid-mountain Marathon.
Lina - Health and happiness.
Duna - Open a world class Montessori school.
"What is your favorite part of Winter Break?"
Asked of Turquoise Class students at the Park Avenue Campus
Connor - Playing cars.
Oliver - Playing airplanes.
Manon- Playing with beads.
Allie - Sledding.
Braden - Going on a trip.
Jack S - Sledding.
Bobby - The snow.
Brody - Throwing snowballs at my dad.
Ella - Making snow angels.
Sophie - Frosty the Snowman.
Mark - Sledding.
Sadie - Hot chocolate.
Cate - Snowballs.
Sebby - Sledding and snowboarding.
Cloe - Taking Puffy the lizard home.
Happy New Year!