A Monthly E-newsletter Providing Useful Information to Caring Parents of Enrolled Students
© Copyright 2013
May 2013
Parents, you can print out this newsletter for future reference. Select the "Landscape" option under "Page Set-up" so it will print crosswise.

Welcome Spring!

You can tell by the "surprise" snow flurries that spring has sprung! And with the buds and daffodils come multitudinous plans for the school year's end. Be sure to look over the "Mark Your Calendar" section and add all events that apply to you to your May and June calendars! And try to take some time from this busy schedule to smell the blossoms with your child.


The Outdoor Classroom

by Duna Strachan

Now that the trails are clear and the weather is warming it's time to start taking advantage of the outdoor classroom again. For Toddlers this means stopping to look at the daffodils pushing their way out of the ground, the first bugs waking up and the new buds. For Early Childhood students it means more walking, biking and hiking, exploring what's new in the surrounding gardens and fields and helping to plan camping trips. For Elementary students the outdoors is a great place to sketch, to write, to practice music, to climb trees and build hide-outs. At our school we make a point of getting outside whenever possible. It's important to have real experiences in nature to confirm what we have studied, to notice something new and to make a connection with our planet.

When I speak to a group of people I often ask them for favorite childhood memories. At one conference of Montessorians I heard about a child dancing in the rain in Singapore, another playing in the wind on the beach in Pakistan, another eating fruit right off the vine in Michigan. No one ever says their favorite childhood memory was watching a movie or playing a video game or staying in a hotel. It's always climbing trees and catching frogs and playing in the garden. When my son was in about 8th grade he told me that his favorite memory of going to Soaring Wings was the time he and his buddies dug a gigantic hole on the playground. I was disappointed that he hadn't mentioned the bead chains or one of my stunning geography presentations. A few years ago when he was 23 years old, he sent me a text message that said, "My favorite thing at Soaring Wings was when we listened to the trees with a stethoscope." Still nothing to do with the expensive materials or the fabulous curriculum, but a simple outdoor activity.

The April 2008 Scientific American reported;

"Americans are losing interest in going outdoors. Visits to parks and forests...peaked between 1981 and 1991 after 50 years of steady increase. Since then they have been declining...an overall drop of as much as 25%."

Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods says;

"A growing body of evidence indicates that direct exposure to nature is essential for physical and emotional health."

He points out that the increasing occurence of learning disorders in young children is in inverse proportion to the amount of time children are spending outside in unstructured experimentation with nature. Digging, climbing, building forts...we considered this to be just messing around when we were kids, but it turns out we needed that time with the Earth.

Most of us live in Utah because we so value the natural beauty of the place. But Louv points out that our children may not grow up to value the wilderness we have carefully set aside for them if we don't make sure they, too, have a connection with the Earth.

This month the Toddler classes will be taking "toddler walks" - toddler-paced explorations of the surrounding environs, Early Childhood is going to the Tracy Aviary and Elementary is spending the better part of a week applying the year's curriculum to practical experience in the desert and on the river in Moab. As you plan your summer remember to leave lots of unstructured time for your children to mess around outside. Consider keeping a box of camping equipment at the ready so you can just throw in some hot dogs and head into the Uintahs or out to the desert even just for the night. Summer in these mountains is a magnificent thing. Make sure you grab a few nights under the stars for those childhood memories to come.


El Nido News
News from the Parent/Infant Class

In May we bring our year's discussions full circle with a description of the planes of development. Or, what to expect as your child grows up. We only have four classes left in the school year so if you've thought of coming in, but haven't made it yet, bring your baby in for a morning in El Nido. We meet Fridays any time that's convenient for you and your baby between 9:00 am and noon. Let us know if you'd like to attend so Lynn can prepare for your time in class.


Toddler Time

Tadpoles and Sunflowers Classes

Our toddlers have gained much over the past school year. Most have mastered simple sorting tasks, spooning, pouring and wiping up spills. They can dress themselves independently and are responsible for putting their materials back where they belong. They have dabbled in various forms of artistic expression and have been working diligently on colors, shapes, numbers, letters and recognizing their names. If you have taken some time to "Montessori-ize" your home, you have seen your child gain confidence and independence in being able to choose clothing, put toys where they belong and help with simple cleaning tasks. As you prepare for vacation this summer, plan to arrange for your child to continue practicing what she has learned this year.

With a small cutting board and a butter knife your child can slice bananas for a fruit salad and spread cream cheese or sunbutter for a snack. With a small broom, dust pan, a sponge cut in half and a wash cloth cut in quarters she can clean up spills on her own. With a small bucket and a nail brush she can keep her sand toys well scrubbed and help clean off the patio table.

Many of our students who are three and older are enjoying working on letters and numbers. Try writing lower case alphabet letters, one at a time in the sand, with chalk on the sidewalk or on paper and challenging your child to find something that starts with that sound - "b" for ball or bat or baby. You can play number games in the same way - ask your child to find 3 rocks, 3 leaves or 3 sea shells.

Summer is a great time to take "Toddler Walks" which means exploring the natural world at the toddler's pace, taking time to notice the texture of stones, bark and leaves and to watch the ants at work. Time in the car is well spent singing favorite songs, playing "I Spy", reading aloud and playing with a home-made "mystery bag." This can be made from a sock or draw string bag with objects inside which the child tries to identify by touch only. Great mystery bag objects could include shells, stones, small toys, pom poms, clothespins, plastic eating utensils; anything that has a distinctive shape and texture. Most of all, give your toddler opportunities to make her own choices and allow time for her to complete her activities at her own pace. Have a wonderful, toddler-paced summer!


Early Childhood Calendar
News from the Cottonwoods, Rainbows and Turquoise Classes

We're rapidly approaching the end of the year. Here's what we will cover over the next few weeks:

Monday - Music
We've gone from working with rhythm to hearing the emotions of Mozart and the storytelling of Tchaikovsky. We covered "The Nutcracker", "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty", as well as Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf", listening to the music again and again in class. The children were impressed that a little Russian boy was able to envision such beautiful fairy tales and later tell them through music. If you enjoy the ballet be sure and catch one with your child the next time it is around.

In May we'll study Grofe's "Grand Canyon Suite" and finish up with some modern composers. Possibly John Lennon, Jack Johnson, Taylor Swift...Justin Bieber? Who does your child like to listen to? Besides Raffi?

Tuesday - Seasons
During May and we'll study the parts of flowers and work on our garden. If you have any fresh flowers to contribute, we'll use them for dissecting, looking at under a microscope and flower arranging.

Wednesday - Geography
In May we'll study Australia (including surrounding islands) and have a little time left over for Antarctica. As always, please share any artifacts or ideas for guest speakers from these continents.

Thursday - Poetry
Now that we know many of R.L. Stevenson's and Shel Silverstein's poems almost by heart, we'll see what the children can make of Emily Dickinson. They are usually very adept at interpreting her "riddles" and are fascinated with her peculiarities.

Friday - Biology
Daily observations of our classroom birds and lessons on bird anatomy and specializations has prepared us for a trip to the Tracy Aviary at Liberty Park on May 22nd (see below). We'll be noticing how each bird has particular adaptations that enable it to eat, hide, mate and raise young in a particular environment. Through May we will be studying mammals, concluding with a short "Me" unit, and discussing our place as animals in the ecosystems of Earth.

Last Field Trip
On May 14th from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. we will make our annual trip to the Tracy Aviary followed by a picnic in Liberty Park. Remember school t-shirts, disposable lunches (no backpacks or Tupperware, please) and remember to apply sun screen. Water shoes or sandals are great for wading in the pond. We'll need drivers too. Drivers should bring a bag in which to carry lunches, a first aid kit, a water bottle, spare pants, a cell phone and $7 admission. See the sign-ups on the classroom doors if you can help. This is always a really fun field trip.


Lower Elementary Lowdown
News from the Moose Tracks Class

Monday - History
The Elementary Class is concluding their study of recorded history by writing their own autobiographies during the last few weeks of school.

Tuesday - Geography
We wrap up our geography unit with a study of Australia. We'll have just enough time for a look at Antarctica before we adjourn for the summer.

Wednesday - Healthy Lifestyles
We plan to take advantage of the warmer weather to work on outdoor game skills between planning fo rthe River Trip, choreographing our Closing Ceremonies dance and concluding with our peaceful living activities.

Thursday - Biology
We will wrap up the Biology sequence with a look at mammals and our role in our ecosystem. In true Montessori tradition we will confirm our observations of how ecosystems work with our Annual River Trip.

Friday - Field Trips and Mother's & Father's Day Fun!
We have lots of fun Friday adventures planned for the remainder of the school year, including admiring our artwork at the Kimball Art Center on the 3rd, rafting down the Colorado River on the 17th, communing with nature at Swaner Nature Preserve on the 22nd and our annual trip to El Restaurante where we will order and enjoy our almuerzo en espanol! Plan to join us for our Mother's Day/Father's Day Fun-Filled Field Day on the North Field at
10:30 on Friday, May 24th. Please come ready to play!

ETC...

Spring River Trip
May 16th - 18th we'll be applying our outdoor curriculum during our annual Spring River Trip in Moab. This trip solidifies and polishes the year's social and academic work. Air out your camping gear and bring your favorite campfire stories!

PC Children's Fair
The Fair is coming up June 2nd, so plan to stick around after Closing Ceremonies! Elementary students will be selling tickets, helping with games and performing a song. Plan to be at City Park 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. on the 3rd to support your little fund-raiser, rain or shine!

Thanks!
Thanks to our dedicated parents who all give something of themselves to make our classes an exceptional place for learning and establishing friendships for life.


Upper Elementary Update
News from the Eagle's Nest Class

Monday - History
The Upper Elementary Class is concluding their study of recorded history and closing out our time in the Park Avenue building by writing a history of our school.

Tuesday - Geography
We wrap up our geography unit with a review of South America and Africa.

Wednesday - Art
We hope to take advantage of the warmer weather to work outdoors as we polish our sketching skills.

Thursday - Biology
We will wrap up the Biology sequence with a look at mammals and our role in our ecosystem. We will confirm our observations of how ecosystems work with our Annual River Trip.

Friday - Field Trips and Mother's & Father's Day Fun!
We have lots of fun Friday adventures planned for the remainder of the school year, including admiring our artwork at the Kimball Art Center on the 3rd, communing with nature at Swaner Nature Preserve on the 22nd and our annual trip to El Restaurante where we will order and enjoy our almuerzo en espanol! Plan to join us for our Mother's Day/Father's Day Fun-Filled Field Day on the North Field at
10:30 on Friday, May 24th. Please come ready to play!

ETC...

Spring River Trip
May 16th - 18th we'll be applying our outdoor curriculum during our annual Spring River Trip in Moab. This trip solidifies and polishes the year's social and academic work. Air out your camping gear and bring your favorite campfire stories!

PC Children's Fair
The Fair is coming up June 2nd, so plan to stick around after Closing Ceremonies! Elementary students will be selling tickets, helping with games and performing a song. Plan to be at City Park 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. on the 3rd to support your little fund-raiser, rain or shine!

Thanks!
Thanks to our dedicated parents who set the standard for support within the school just as our students model what the younger ones hope to achieve.
We couldn't do this without you.

Mark Your Calendar

May 1st...
Happy Birthday, Erin!

May 6th - 10th...
Teacher Appreciation Week

May 9th...
Mothers' Tea Parties

Jeremy Ranch Campus:

*Sunflowers 11:30 - 11:45 am

*Cottonwoods 11:00 - 11:45 am

Park Avenue Campus:

*Tadpoles 11:30 - 11:45am

*Turquoise/Rainbow 10:45 - 11:45 am

May 3rd...
Deadline for donations to Class Baskets!

Deadline for yearbook orders!

May 7th...
Happy Birthday, Bruce!

Last Fair planning meeting 2:00 pm, Park Avenue Campus, Main Office

May 16th - 18th...
Lower and Upper Elementary Class River Trip. Both classes, teachers and parents will be incommunicado in Moab exploring the outdoor classroom portion of the curriculum. They'll return tanned, dirty and happy on the 18th...or 19th.

May 14th...
Early Childhood Field Trip to Tracy Aviary, 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 pm (early dismissal for Enrichment and Prep at 2:00 pm), rain or shine! Children need SWMS t-shirts, disposable lunches and a coat of sun screen. Water shoes are great for wading in the fountain. Drivers need a bag in which to carry lunches, water bottle, spare pants, first aid kit, a cell phone and $7 admission.

May 24th...
Moose Tracks and Eagle's Nest Elementary Classes' Mother's Day/Father's Day "Fun Filled Field Day" on the North Field 10:30 - noon. Come ready to play!

May 27th...
Memorial Day, No School

May 28th - June 1st...
Soaring Wings TV Turnoff Week. Go outside and play!

May 29th and 30th ...
Closing Ceremony rehearsals at Park Avenue Campus. All Jeremy Ranch Campus students plan to drop off at 1255 Park Avenue at regular times.

Park Avenue students: normal schedules

Jeremy Ranch students:

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

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

May 31st...
Closing Ceremonies

9:00 am - Dress rehearsal at Park Avenue Campus for all EC and Elementary students. PA students report to classes, JR students meet at front doors wearing SWMS t-shirts.

10:30 am - Toddler students meet wearing SWMS t-shirts: Tadpoles meet in class, Sunflowers meet on the 2nd floor at PA

11:00 am - Closing Ceremonies, Santy Auditorium, including Graduation for those who have completed their current program of study (Graduates are those students who are 3 years old/ready for Early Childhood Class, 6 years old/ready for Lower Elementary Class, 9 years old/ready for Upper Elementary Class, or 12 years old and ready for 7th grade). Dismissal will follow the ceremony at approximately 12:00. Please bring families and friends!

June 2nd...
Happy Birthday, Kim!

20th Annual Park City Children's Fair, 10:30 am- 3:00 pm, City Park, rain or shine! Set-up is 8:30 am, clean-up is 3:00 pm. Come support your school and your planet!

August 25th...Grand Opening Celebration for all students Past, Present and Future!

August 26th...School begins again - Have a terrific summer!


School Bulletin Board

Park City Children's Fair
The 20th Annual Park City Children's Fair will be held Sunday, June 2nd, 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at City Park. Since this is the Sunday after school is out, go ahead and pack up the family wagon, but don't hit the dusty trail until afterward! Our Fair has become a popular community event over the years and we'll need your help with hosting it.

The Fair Committee headed by Lina Singleton has a fantastic line up this year. Sandy Geldhof, Amy Lineen, Karen Mertens, Brooke Brink, Jenny Samuelson, Jill Warburton, Jules Manning, Leah Linebarger, Leah Morisi and Michelle Aldrich are working to line up fun, games and pony rides. We'll soon be asking virtually every student, teacher and parent to help as well.

The Fair is an event for which the students take ownership. Every student can distribute fliers and posters and help with class baskets for the auction. Elementary students have leant their designs to the posters, and will sell tickets and help run game booths. All EC classes and Elementary will soon begin rehearsing for performances scheduled throughout the day at the bandstand. The Elementary class will make up a budget of proceeds and decide how to appropriate them to the organizations of the Children's Planet Fund (including Recycle Utah, PC Library, Summit County Library, Friends of Animals, Adopt-a-Native Elder, Kimball Art Center, SWMSTeacher/Student Enrichment, Swaner Nature Preserve and Plan International). These are all child- and environment-oriented groups that students have chosen to support and with whom they interact throughout the school year.

Of course there is a lot of adult preparation that goes into the Fair but the children play a significant role in raising the money that they then personally donate to organizations that make their world a better place. Our graduates often go on to roles of leadership in their community and the Children's Fair is a great first experience in how they can make a difference in their world. So plan to round up some auction items, invite your friends and neighbors and come to the Fair on June 2nd. Thanks in advance for your valuable support!!

Thank you, Fair Sponsors!
Thank you to the Vandenberg, Durling, Portnoy, Zediker, Mertens, Belz/Geldhof, McBroom, AbuHaidar, Ehrich, Brink, Haaijer, Rapella, Caplan, Martin, Grover, Connell, Brown/Griggs, Cervelli, Bretts and Lineen Familes as well as Zane Prep and the Reddy Family for generously helping us meet our sponsorship goal to cover the costs of the Fair. We have 95% of needed sponsorships! See the game board in the lobby at JR and by the office at PA if you would like to contribute.

SAT Testing
SAT testing is complete for another year and once again we are amazed at what these children can do. Every student scored above grade level and many scored far above grade level exceeding the results of the nation and the state. These results help us evaluate and adjust our curriculum content and delivery. Check out the cumulative results on our website, www.soaringwings.org. Thank you for your support with this process.

Teacher Appreciators Appreciated
Special thanks to parent volunteers Julie McBroom, Anne Marie Portnoy, Lisa Stein, Kristen Haaijer, Liz Connell, Chastity Seliga, Claudia Padilla and Melanie Petty for organizing the week of surprises for teachers and staff at both campuses.

TV Turn-off
We'll have our own Soaring Wings TV Turnoff Week the week of May28th - June 1st. That will enable you to spend the week drawing, reading, playing, hiking and biking with your family instead of watching TV. It will also be a good time to pass out some flyers for the Children's Fair on June 2nd!

Lunch Time
Now that it is spring we will be having lunch outside most days. Please make sure your child packs a lunch that includes a spoon or fork, if necessary, and does not need heating. It is so disappointing to get all the way outside and sit down to find that you have cold soup for lunch and no spoon!

Yearbook
Special thanks to editors Kim Norman, Michelle Aldrich, the Moose Tracks Lower Elementary Class, Eagle's Nest Upper Elementary Class and volunteers Kathy True, Melanie Petty, Sharon Bush, Kimberly Crichton, Heather Jensen, Lisa Stein and Sally Lutzker for putting together this year's yearbook. It's a huge project that Kim and Michelle have organized into a simple process. The books will be beautiful hand crafted souveniers of our school year. Be sure to turn in your order for books and ads by May 3rd! Children will sign each other's books in class during the last week of school. Teachers do their best to keep the few who don't have yearbooks from feeling left out, but it's a tough task. Remember to get your orders in on time!

Closing Ceremonies
You and your family and friends are invited to join us in celebrating the closing of the school year with a simple program and graduation ceremony in the Santy Auditorium at the Park Avenue Campus (1255 Park Avenue) on Friday May 31st at 11:00 am. Once again all Jeremy Ranch Campus students will join our Park Avenue Campus for rehearsals on the May 29th and 30th with a final dress rehearsal the morning of May 31st for EC and Elementary students. The routine is the same as for the last two plays. (See "Mark Your Calendar" above for drop-off/pick-up details).

Every child will participate in Closing Ceremonies. Everyone will enjoy the accolades of completing the year's work. Graduates (those children who have completed their current program of study: 3 years old/ready for Early Childhood, 6 years old/ready for Lower Elementary or who are 9 years old/ready for Upper Elementary or 12 years old and ready for 7th grade) will take part in a simple graduation ceremony honoring their acheivement.

All Early Childhood and Elementary children need to report to the Park Avenue Campus at 9:00 am wearing SWMS t-shirts. Tadpoles Toddler Class will meet in their classroom at 10:30 am wearing SWMS t-shirts. Sunflowers Toddler Class meet on the 2nd floor wearing SWMS t-shirts. Parents, friends and family please come to the Santy Auditorium at 11:00 am to enjoy our last program of the school year. Dismissal will be at approximately noon.

Smarter Than the Average School Year
Our motto has long been "we work harder and we play harder, too!" Did you know that SWMS Elementary students are in class approximately 107 hours more than elementary students in the Park City School District? Our Elementary Prep students attend school almost 50 hours more than PCSD elementary students. Although we use the PCSD schedule as a guideline we do not observe the teacher work days and half days that they do, leaving us with more time in the classroom.


Out of the Mouths...


"What is your favorite thing to do in the summer?"

asked in the Cottonwoods Early Childhood Class (3 to 6 years old)

Aidan - My birthday.

August - Go to Puerto Rico.

Evan - Play outside with my friends.

George - Ride my tractor.

Jack - Play with my sister.

Jax - Ride my bicycle.

Keira - Summer break.

Liam - Play tag.

Loch - Go swimming and look at plants.

Pierce - Me and my sister go to the park and go down the slide.

Payten - Go to Moab and ride horses.

Rudger - Go to the space museum.

Szander - Ride my scooter.

Van - Ride my bike.

Zoe - Ride scooters.

Zadkiel - Play outside.

Georgia - Go to the Fair.

 

 

 

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Happy Mother's Day!

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