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December 11, 2014 Email Update

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Winter Holiday Programs at MMS

Wednesday, December 17
Ms. Martha Dolan & Ms. Christina Eckstein’s Classes
Holiday Sing Along @ MMS Big Room 10:00 AM-10:30 AM
*After School Programs available

Wednesday, December 17
Ms. Renee Brohamer & Ms. Elizabeth Falls’ Classes
Holiday Sing Along @ MMS Big Room 11:30-12:00 PM
*After School Programs available 

Thursday, December 18
Ms. Erin Sorel & Mr. Richard Aslanian’s “Nutcracker” Performance Field Trip @ Phillips
Center for Performing Arts 11:30 AM-12:30 PM

Friday, December 19
Ms. Crystal Sorrow’s Little House Craft Party 9:15-10:30 AM
*Beginners school day ends at 10:30 AM 

Friday, December 19
1st-8th Grades Winter Holiday Show @ Abundant Grace Church
12:30 PMStudents picked up and transported by parents to church.

Students must arrive at church no later than 1:00 PM
Parents may then enjoy refreshments in lobby while students rehearse.
1:30 PM-2:30 PM – 1st-8th Graders perform Winter Holiday Show.
*School day ends after the show for 1st-8th Grade

School Day Ends at 3:00 for
No After School Programs

A Most Important Gift to Give Your Child!

A Most Important Gift to Give Your Child!
By: Ms. Elizabeth Falls

“The child’s first instinct is to carry out his actions by himself, without anyone helping him, and his first conscientious bid for independence is made when he defends himself against those who try to do the action for him” (Maria Montessori, Absorbent Mind, 1995, pp. 90-91).

Independence and autonomy are important traits/gifts we must foster in children.  Piaget (1973) reminds us that it is only as we encourage and guide children in the development of these two traits from an early age that oral autonomy in adulthood will be developed.

Like many Montessori environments, our school provides the environment necessary for the fulfillment of this inborn drive.

To understand that school and home are complementing each other in their approach to your children, it is helpful to look at Maria Montessori’s insights about children’s development and see how these relate to family life, as well as school life.  They, of course, will not be exactly implelemented at home in the same way as at school, but the underlying dynamics will be the same – for it will take the combined efforts of both parties (two distinct, yet complementary roles) to create an optimal environment for children’s growth and development.

Maria Montessori believed that independence and autonomy/self-direction was of prime importance for children to develop.  Children will need these characteristics in the world in which they love.  As educators, we rely on these characteristics for an optimal environment for the children to grow and develop (“work”) in.

As we first enter the toddler classroom, we see that it has been designed to meet the needs of very young children: the furniture and shelves are sized appropriately so the child can choose and return work independently.  Activities of Practical Life are the child’s first introduction to independence: first in the toddler and early childhood classes and continuing throughout the elementary and upper elementary years.  With each increasing year of advancement, the children are given more opportunities to work without direct interference from adults.  They instinctively choose work which helps them master the skills they need.

Whether the community is at school or at home, the child’s autonomy and independence must always be within limits for the group as a whole.  There are implicit and explicit rules and behaviors – both inside and outside of the classroom.  Behavioral expectations also must operate at home.  Implicit rules of behavior such as bedtime and meal routines need to be consistent.  Children quickly understand the ground rules of home just as they learn the behavior expected at school.  Most behavioral ground rules are modeled and learned by repeated practice.  It is absolutely necessary for the children to follow the rules for the well being of our “school family” as well as our “home family”.

In some settings where time and routine are not in place, children are often unsure what to expect or how to act.  Well defined rules provide security for the child and it is within the safety of routine that the child can learn to make appropriate choices – have independence and be responsible.

From their early childhood years, the children will automatically apply the skills they have learned from the Practical Life activities – leaving their minds free to concentrate on more complex social/emotional and academic issues.  As Maria Montessori pointed out “the child becomes less dependent on the persons about him, till the time comes when he wants also to be mentally independent.  Then he shows a liking to develop his mind by his own experiences and not by the experiences of others.  He begins to seek the reasons for things” (pp. 89).

We can simulate this environment at home by learning much from Maria’s prepared environment used in the classroom.  Maria Montessori found that children need to have order, consistency such as in where things can be found and clear expectations of how to care for things, how to put them away when finished working with them, how to have respect for other’s privacy and how to appreciate their own and other’s work without receiving external rewards.

It is important that parents respect their children’s efforts – even if done imperfectly in the adult’s eyes!  Young children do not yet have the judgment to be independent in some areas, but we need to find those areas in which they can make successful decisions and begin to allow them to practice.  For example, one way we can foster independence is to allow the children to pick/choose their clothes each day.  What difference does it really make if the child chooses to wear colors/patterns that do not match!

As educators and parents, we help children through this journey into dependence, explaining situations as well as being there with the love and nurturing they need!  Even during the sometimes rough communication times of adolescence, it is important that students are guided in their development of their own sense of responsibility.  As Maria wrote, “independence is not a static condition; it is a continuous conquest, and in order to reach not only freedom, but also strength, and the perfecting of one’s powers” fostering independence and beginning autonomy we must guide our children towards responsibility and independence.  Children will begin to assume responsibility for their own thinking and for their own actions – they will then be able to move along the path to becoming more mature and responsible adults.

As a parent of three now young adults!, the continuous effort to allow independence as well as provide guidance will be (and has already been) rewarding for themselves and for us as parents!

Happy Holidays!
Ms. Elizabeth

December 4, 2014 Email Update

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Holiday Gifts for Teachers

Dear MMS Parent,

The holiday season is a wonderful time to let the teachers and staff of MMS know that we recognize and appreciate how much they enrich the lives of our children on a daily basis.

The PTO Appreciation Committee is pleased to once again offer the opportunity to purchase for our teachers and staff a gift certificate to a local merchant of their choice.  By many families contributing to the same gift, they are able to select something special.  Participation is optional, and we hope the program will alleviate some of the stress of the busy holiday season.  Since the PTO is now a non-profit 501c3 your donation may be tax deductible. Please speak to your tax advisor regarding tax deductions. Click here for a copy of our 501c3 certificate.

If you would like to participate, please review the enclosed sheet and indicate the dollar amount you wish to contribute next to the individual’s name. Please total all your contributions and return the form with cash (receipts provided upon request) or check (made out to the MMS PTO) in an envelope to Crystal Sorrow by Friday, December 12, 2014.  You may leave the envelopes at the front desk or hand them directly to Crystal.

Gift certificates will be presented to each recipient just before the holiday break along with a card listing the families who have contributed.  Dollar amounts are not included on the card.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Have a wonderful and safe Holiday Season.

Erin Jaszczak
PTO Past President

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