A Monthly E-newsletter Providing Useful Information to Caring Parents of Enrolled Students
© Copyright 2016 April 2016

wb00727_The Child and the Environment

by Duna Strachan

It was now more than four decades ago that I sat in ecology class and heard for the first time about global warming. The professor made predictions which have now all come true. I left the field of Environmental Zoology because I couldn’t handle the habitat destruction I had to face day to day whether in the field or when talking to colleagues. Even now I can’t read a whole Greenpeace or Sierra Club magazine. I recently heard that one of my former students is having the same problem in college – the field of environmental studies is just too grim. The salient point that stayed with me from graduate school was that environmental policies come and go, but education is what makes a difference in the future of our planet.

Although the news is depressing, there are more and more success stories. At last global warming is being addressed. Many say it’s too late to make a difference, but others say maybe not. Everyone is recycling, composting, using their own grocery bags and switching to more efficient cars. Park City has adopted a “No Idling” ordinance largely due to the initial efforts of Soaring Wings mom Mary Jacquin. Disney is making movies about our Earth. A few years ago I got to visit a California condor breeding program that my nephew supervised in Oregon. I was amazed at the advances in technology since I worked in the field. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the condors are on their way back from the brink, but they sure have some talented and dedicated people on their side. While in Portland I also got a personal visit with a black rhino at the zoo as well as two Siberian tigers. Again, I can’t say their habitat will be saved in time to repopulate, but they certainly have a strong backing in those who are willing to give them everything they need to breed in captivity. Also while in Oregon I was delighted to see recycling containers on the streets, composting bins in restaurants and low-flow toilets in every public restroom. I’ve been teaching in Canada lately where they won’t give you a bag for your groceries unless you ask for it and then pay for it. And in Portland they even have curbside composting. Back home in Utah it’s great to see families outside hiking, biking, skiing, gardening and enjoying the Earth.

I love seeing all the new Earth-friendly ideas throughout the community. Environmental education is now an important part of most school programs. Although the economic crisis was trying, it encouraged us to downsize our cars and homes and to conserve fuel and energy. At last our culture is noticing that plant-based foods and other products are not only healthier for us, but go a long way toward healing the overgrazing our lands have sustained for centuries. Eagles, wolves, peregrine falcons and bison are making a come back. Foxes, muskrats, ducks, raccoons and cranes are happily creating a ruckus in my backyard in Park Meadows. Although the housing development in Park City has displaced many species, ironically I realized that at least some of the people who have moved in are Sierra Club members, avid bird watchers and have installed dozens of bird feeders and backyard water features. Even Greenpeace newsletters have had more and more good news in them.

“Recycle”, “compost”and “biodegradable” have become household words that even 3-year-olds use adroitly. Our planet is still a wonderful place to live and, just in the nick of time, a public awareness of its needs is growing. It is our job to encourage this appreciation in our children. Incorporated into almost every Montessori curriculum unit is a consideration for the child’s place in the ecosystem. We talk about people as animals and our role as caretakers of the Earth. Every day in the classroom we remind the kids to make the most of every piece of paper and use rags instead of paper towels for clean-ups (“Trees died for that paper, you know”), use water sparingly (“Let’s leave some water for the plants and animals”) and treat everything with care rather than encouraging the “We can always buy another one” attitude that many of us grew up with.

At home, try changing from paper napkins to cloth ones, paper towels to cleaning cloths, disposable diapers to cloth or “G diapers”. Remember to take your shopping bags to the store with you (have your child remind you). Use only the amount of water you really need for washing, bathing and brushing teeth. Remember to turn off your car engine when waiting to pick up children at school. Help your family to be conscientious of saving paper and picking up litter. Put spiders and bugs somewhere out of the way rather than killing them (“They have their job to do, too”). For your own family Earth Day celebration, sit down and make a list of things you can do differently to help the Earth. You’ll find children are often much better at remembering these things and understanding why they should change some of their habits than adults. Even though, individually, these practices don’t make much of a difference in the health of our Earth, they will make a big difference in the attitude of your child, in whose little hands the future of our planet lies.

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wb00727_El Nido News

News from the Parent/Infant Class

Spring time is exciting for babies – they now have the opportunity to wear fewer clothes and spend more time outdoors. We will move our meetings onto the patio when the weather permits and notice the new life springing up.

El Nido families are welcome to drop in on our Earth Day Celebration, “Along the Human Path” on April 1st from 8:30 – 12:00. We are presenting a celebration of the Earth and her cultures infused with arts and sciences. Do join us!

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wb00727_Toddler Time

News from the Tadpoles and Sunflowers Classes

At first glance the Toddler classroom seems very simple. It is designed to be simple. We want the child to walk into her first school experience and see a beautiful, beckoning world of possibilities presented in such a way as to be neither confusing nor over-stimulating. Simple activities are laid out as offerings for the practice of large and fine motor skills, matching, sorting, shape recognition and self-care skills. These are the obvious lessons of the Toddler Class. But the careful observer soon notices that there are subtle lessons too.

One of the first subtle lessons is responsibility. The toddler is responsible for taking care of his possessions and dressing himself to the best of his ability. Most of the class is now involved in toileting independently, so remembering to provide clothing choices that your child can handle by himself is very helpful (avoid overalls and difficult buttons or snaps). He is responsible for putting away his work, cleaning up spills, using careful hands and being respectful of things living and non-living. The teacher engineers the environment so that the child’s responsibilities will be simple ones. For instance, if the pegs spill on the floor there should not be so many that the child is overwhelmed with the responsibility of picking them up. As he gradually becomes more and more capable in these areas his confidence grows encouraging him to try the next task.

Another subtle lesson is making appropriate choices. The child chooses how to spend her day in school. It is often the first time a child has had a lengthy span of time in which to be free to choose her own activities. She discovers that some choices result in satisfying experiences while other choices may result in conflict. Again the teacher engineers the environment so that most choices are simple ones and she is there to guide the child through the more difficult ones.

The world of scientific principles is another subtle lesson in the Toddler Class. The teacher does not announce, “Today we will learn physics” to a class of toddlers. But each time an object rolls down the tracking tube (and the children will experiment with many possible objects) they are confirming Isaac Newton’s observations. Every time the child practices pouring, sponging, mopping or washing he is discovering the attributes of water. Caring for the classroom pets is a beginning study of zoology. Noticing leaf shapes while on “toddler walks” is an introduction to botany. Matching and sorting activities are precursors to identification and classification. Even watching snow melt is a study of science in the eyes of a toddler.

At home notice the subtle lessons your toddler is learning. Your goal may be to walk to the car but your child’s goal may be noticing how his boots splash in the puddles and how the water is absorbed into the ground along the way. On the playground your goal may be staying clean, but your toddler’s goal may be in discovering the properties of water and dirt. When drawing or painting your child may not be so interested in producing an aesthetically pleasing product as in experimenting with the textures of the media – how the crayon glides across paper differs from how it marks the table, or the wall! Keep your mind open to possibilities and provide appropriate materials with which you and your child can continue a scientific exploration of the world.

Please plan to come to our Earth Day Celebration on Friday, April 1st. The Sunflowers and Tadpoles will represent Africa. Please bring your family along with toddler in costume, from 8:30 – 9:30 for families whose last names begin with A – I, 9:45 – 10:45 for J – R and 11:00 – 12:00 for S – Z.

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wb00727_Early Childhood Curriculum Calendar

News from Cottonwoods, Rainbows, Turquoise and Peacock Classes

Monday – Music
Most of the students can identify a few of the compositions of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and know a little about his life. They’ve progressed in identifying instruments by their sound and recognizing the mood and ideas presented by the various pieces of music. We have begun the study of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky by listening to the “Nutcracker Suite” and how he told the story with music. We will sample “Sleeping Beauty” and “Swan Lake” in April.

Tuesday – Seasons
Excitement is in the air as the flowers bloom, the bugs reappear and we no longer need to many  clothes to go outside! Spring is here. In your travels this month call your child’s attention to the new buds, birds building nests, new calves and lambs and discuss what people do differently in the spring.

Wednesday – Geography
Maria Montessori saw that we might succeed in evolving toward a more peaceful way of life if children can appreciate other cultures in a sensorial way. Toward this end we conclude our study of each continent throughout the school year with an all-school celebration of that continent’s cultures involving food, music, songs, stories, games and costumes.

In November we complemented our study of Native Americans with the cultural immersion experience of the Navajo Rug Show an our gift exchange with Grandmother Frances. In December we studied Winter Celebrations including school celebrations of Diwali, Hannukah and Las Posadas. In January every class wrote letters and prepared packets for our friend Reinaldo who lives in Paraguay. January’s studies of South America culminated with our own “Carnaval” celebration including a parade, dancing and South American foods. In February we studied Asia and tied together lessons with an all-school Asian Celebration.

In March our studies of Europe centered around our European ancestors as we began our preparations for our Earth Day Celebration on April 1st. First and second year early childhood students will prepare to turn their classrooms into a continent featuring costumes, crafts and foods of the continent. Third year, or Leadership Year, students will draw flags, maps and write reports about their ancestors.  The intent is to allow our early childhood graduates to investigate their own ancestry while celebrating the rich diversity of cultures on Earth. Thank you in advance for your help with costumes and projects. On Friday April 1st please bring your student in costume and your family at: 8:30 – 9:30 for families whose last names begin with A – I, 9:45 – 10:45 for J – R and 11:00 – 12:00 for S – Z.

Peacock Class – North America (costume choices might include a simple tunic or large t-shirt with fringe, feathers and beads)

Turquoise Class – Australia (costume choices might include a simple wrap and body paint)

Rainbow Class – Asia (costume choices might include a kimono, a sari or a karate uniform)

Cottonwoods Class – Europe (costume ideas might include a dress with an apron for a girl or shorts with knee socks for a boy)

All third year students: Talk with your child about your family’s ancestry and interview a grandparent or great-grandparent about the country the family came from and what children did there – foods, games, etc. Choose a country to represent, keeping in mind that this will entail a traditional costume and traditional dish. Costumes can be as authentic as you wish, for instance, grandpa’s actual lederhosen or a pair of shorts with suspenders and knee socks. The food should be something that is easily served in small bites. Please let teachers know by March 15th what country you have chosen and help students at home by creating a visual display on a tri-fold poster board. Children will make flags and maps of their countries in class.

After Spring Break all ec classes will study Africa. So many countries in so little time! As always, anything from Africa that you have to share would be most appreciated.We’ll send packets to our friends Soureya of Niger and Assitan of Mali and plan an African Celebration. Soureya and Assitan are now nine and ten years old, respectively, and live with large families in very small homes. We have been exchanging letters and small gifts with them since they were toddlers. We send letters from the students and can include any small gifts that will fit in an envelope such as coloring books, stickers or picture books. If you or your child would like to add a picture of your family or a small gift to the packet for Soureya or Assitan, please send them in to class in the next couple of weeks. Thank you for your support. Our relationship with these children makes our geography curriculum come alive and adds to our cultural immersion lessons.

Thursday – Poetry
The children enjoyed the Robert Louis Stevenson poems we read in class in March. We talked about how, as a little boy, Stevenson was sick in bed quite a bit so he made up imaginary friends and games which he later used in his poetry.

In April we will study the modern poet Shel Silverstein. His books include The Giving Tree, Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and The Missing Piece.

If you have a Silverstein favorite you’d like to share, please send it in.

Friday – Biology
We enjoyed class visits with Frankie the tortoise and the corn snake. We also got up close and personal visits with several reptiles from Kim’s collection when Kim’s Cold-blooded Creatures came to school.  Most of the children know that reptiles usually live on land, have scales, breathe air, lay eggs and can be snakes, lizards or turtles. Snakes and turtles make clean, relatively care-free, sturdy and personable pets.  If you are looking for a new responsibility for your child, consider adopting a reptile.

Birds are the topic for April. We will be watching for birds as they come back from their southern vacation spots. If you have a feathered friend who can visit the classroom, please talk to your child’s teacher. We will wait to visit the Tracy Aviary until May so that we can catch the bird show.

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wb00727_Lower Elementary Lowdown

News from the Moose Tracks Class

Monday – History
Our study of History continues in April, with work on the history of our school year as it will be recorded in this year’s yearbook. We are assembling the best photos of the year. Please send us any you may have and let us know if you’d like to help. We will conclude the year by compiling our own personal history books.

Tuesday – Geography
We begin a study of Africa this month including topography, endemic plants and animals and cultures. If you have something African to share, please send it in. This unit culminates in our all-school African Celebration including native foods, music, dancing, costumes and stories.

Wednesday – Art/Music
We have reviewed our art skills, studied Piet Mondrian and are considering entries for the Wasatch Back Student Art Show.

Thursday – Zoology
With spring rumored to be on it’s way we look forward to studying returning birds through April.

Friday – Field Trips, Etc.
This month we are headed to the Kimball Art Center to admire our entries in the annual Wasatch Back Student Art Show. Be sure to check them out!

We will prepare this month for our annual field trip to the Recycle Utah Water Festival on the 28th.

When we return from Spring Break we will begin preparations for our River Trip  May 12th – 14th. So much left to do – so little time!

Yearbook
As we begin working on the yearbook everyone will have a job to do, whether creating artwork, laying out photos or organizing sales and advertisements. We like the children to take responsibility for their yearbook, but we can also use any photos or time you may have to contribute. Please send photos to class by April 22nd.

Earth Day Celebration
We’ll spend lots of time preparing for our Earth Day Celebration, “Along the Human Path” on April 1st. Moose Tracks will play a dual role this year as Earth Scientists and South American Rhythm Dancers. Drop off is at 8:30am and families are welcome to come any time before noon. Dismissal for elementary students is at 12:00 on that day.

 

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Upper Elementary Update

News from the Owl’s Nest Class

Monday – History
Our study of History continues in April, with work on the history of our school year as it will be recorded in this year’s yearbook. We are assembling the best photos of the year. Please send us any you may have and let us know if you’d like to help.

Tuesday – Geography
We begin a study of Africa this month including topography, endemic plants and animals and cultures. If you have something African to share, please send it in. This unit culminates in our all-school African Celebration including native foods, music, dancing, costumes and stories.

Wednesday – Art/Music
We have reviewed our art skills, studied Piet Mondrian and are considering entries for the Wasatch Back Student Art Show.

Thursday – Zoology
With spring rumored to be on it’s way we look forward to studying returning birds through April.

Friday – Field Trips, Etc.
This month we are headed to the Kimball Art Center to admire our entries in the annual Wasatch Back Student Art Show. Be sure to check them out!

We will prepare this month for our annual field trip to the Recycle Utah Water Festival on the 28th.

When we return from Spring Break we will begin preparations for our trip to Teton Science School April 22nd – 24th. Details to follow…

Yearbook
As we begin working on the yearbook everyone will have a job to do, whether creating artwork, laying out photos or organizing sales and advertisements. We like the children to take responsibility for their yearbook, but we can also use any photos or time you may have to contribute. Please send photos to class by April 22nd.

Earth Day Celebration
We’ll spend lots of time preparing for our Earth Day Celebration, “Along the Human Path” on April 1st. Owl’s Nest will lead the whole affair this year as Tour Guides through the human migration from African throughout the continents including a look at the art and inventions developed along the way. Drop off is at 8:30am and families are welcome to come any time before noon. Dismissal for elementary students is at 12:00 on that day.

Toilets for Africa!
In addition to weekly field trips into our local community Montessori upper elementary students are expanding their awareness of the global community. They work on identifying a problem, setting a goal, planning, organizing and carrying a project through to completion. The coffee cart has been a wonderful ongoing hands-on project allowing students to keep track of income, costs and plan for their next goal. One of their early goals was raising funds for their Teton Science School trip. Lately they’ve been studying Africa and some of the needs in the town of Entiak, Kenya. They learned that there is a school in Entiak that has only two latrines for 300 children. This class of entrepreneurs loves retail so they are rolling out their little Matilda Jane Boutique for another fashion sale April 18 -29. Their goal is $1000 for toilets for Entiak. Please support their effort!

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“Music is the space between the notes”.

Claude Debussy

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The world is so full of a number of things I am sure we should all be as happy as kings.

— Robert Louis Stevenson

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wb00727_Mark Your Calendar

April 1st
Earth Day Celebration  – no fooling’! Please bring your student in costume and your family at: 8:30 – 9:30 for families whose last names begin with A – I, 9:45 – 10:45 for J – R and 11:00 – 12:00 for S – Z.

April 3rd
Happy Birthday, Lori!

April 4th – 8th
Spring Break – no school!

April 20th
Happy Birthday, Linda!

April 22nd
Earth Day Clean-up during class

Deadline for turning in photos for school yearbook!

May 2nd – 6th
Wellness Week

May 5th
Mothers’ Tea Parties in all classes. Watch for invitations to come home.


wb00727_School Bulletin Board

Ah, Spring!
It’s that time of year again, when the pace picks up and doesn’t slow down  until the Fair is over on June 5th! With our Earth Day Celebration, Wellness Week, Mothers’ Teas, Children’s Fair (including a Dads’ Day celebration), yearbook, Lower Elementary River Trip, Upper Elementary Science Trip, EC Tracy Aviary field trips and Closing Ceremonies coming up we will be constantly asking for your help. But it all pays off in the confidence your child has gained in being on stage, confirming classroom learning with real world experiences and in the thoughtfulness he shows in knowing he can make a difference in the world. Fasten your seat belt, get out your calendar and peruse the upcoming events.

Earth Day Celebration
This celebration began 29 years ago with outdoor festivities including planting trees and maypole dances and just enough rain, sleet and snow that we moved the event indoors and developed the cultural diversity aspect. This year we are planning an arts and sciences infused experience on April 1st from 8:30 – noon to enable you to follow the pathway of human migration from toddler class to elementary.  

Toddlers will demonstrate their skills in understanding the geography of the Earth. First and second year EC students will each depict a continent including costumes, crafts and foods. Third year EC students will research their ancestors in order to prepare flags, maps and reports from a country of their own origin. And Elementary students will put on an Earth Science Fair.

Families will come through in shifts at: 8:30 – 9:30 for families whose last names begin with A – I, 9:45 – 10:45 for J – R and 11:00 – 12:00 for S – Z. There will be music, art, science, and things to see, do and taste from every continent. See you then!

Welcome to the World, Boys!!
Sending warm wishes to Blythe Bishop and her family on the arrival of new brother, Tucker! Big hugs to Maya Portnoy and her family on the arrival of her brother, Milo! 

Wellness Week
May 2 – 6 will be Wellness Week at SWIMS. In this community of healthy lifestyles we want to celebrate our good health, evaluate our health practices and bring good wishes to the Make-a-Wish foundation in honor of Rhys Schillinger, a student who, along with his family, exhibited uncommon courage in his battle with cancer just a few years ago. To celebrate our wellness children are invited to toss coins into a “Wishing Well” in the lobby, hoping to fill it with wishes for good health. The week will culminate with a Jump-a-thon featuring the elementary classes jumping for wellness, led by Rhys. The coins will be counted by the elementary classes and donated to Make-a-Wish. So save up your change and encourage your children to check the sofa, parking lot and junk drawer for all the change they can haul in. We will also offer plastic coins to toss with any amount you care to contribute to Make-a-Wish. Be sure to hold a family dinner table discussion during the week on your good health practices. Is everyone getting enough sleep, exercise, water and plenty of whole foods? What is one thing you can add or delete from your routine to ensure you all live long and healthy lives?

Shoes to Choose
When choosing those new spring shoes, stick to Velcro, buckles and slip-ons until your child can tie laces independently at about age 5. This adds greatly to your child’s confidence and her teacher’s peace of mind.

And remember that the school grounds may continue to be wet throughout the spring months. Don’t put those boots away yet! And keep a clean set of clothes in the car for those days when your child enjoys sand, paint and/or science experiments in a “sensorial” way.

Idle-free
Remember to turn off your car engine when you are waiting to drop off or pick up your student.

’16/’17 Enrollment
By now you should have received confirmation of your child’s enrollment and class assignment for next school year. If not, contact Bruce at 649.3626 or duna@soaringwings.org.

Facebook
We post photos of the goings-on around school a few times each month. Be sure to “like” us so you’ll be in the loop!

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wb00727_SWPTSO News

A Message from Jill and Phil, Fair Auction Chairs
WE NEED SILENT AUCTION ITEMS! Our annual Children’s Fair is coming up on Sunday, June 5, a celebration of summer and end of the year and a great time for all! The Fair also supports a number of notable causes including: Adopt-a-Native Elder, Recycle Utah, SWIMS Enrichment, Summit County Library, Friends of Animals Utah, Swaner Nature Preserve and Kimball Art Center. Please donate any items that you think would be good for our silent auction that raises money for these causes. Thank you from Jill Warburton, Phil Kaplan and the entire Fair Committee.

Park City Children’s Fair
The last big event of the school year is the 23rd Annual Park City Children’s Fair, Sunday June 5th, 10:30am – 3:00pm at Soaring Wings. After 22 years of hosting this as a huge event for the whole community we are downsizing and making things simpler. We will have the same favorites – the inflatables, pony rides and petting zoo, but the Fair will be for our SWIMS families and friends rather than for the public. We will not be collecting tickets – you can stay and play all day if you want. But we do ask that you help us sponsor the costs and help with the auction. Fair Chair Lina Singleton and her committee have plans well underway for another fun day for children of all ages. Volunteers Phil Kaplan, Lee Singleton,  Jill Warburton, Courtney Williams, Christine Eschenfelder, Michelle Aldrich, Amy Warren, Ari Alba and Leah Linebarger are working on lining up magic shows, story telling, games and an array of food choices. In the weeks ahead we’ll be asking for your help collecting sponsorships, donations for the auction and distributing fliers. All proceeds go to our Children’s Planet Fund and SWIMS Enrichment Fund which supports several local and global student chosen organizations as well as our teacher development. Please contact lina@soaringwings.org if you have ideas to share.

Yearbooks
Tama D’Angelo, Amy Warren and Leah Morisi will soon begin work organizing this year’s school yearbook with a staff of parents, teachers and students. The sales team will be giving you their pitch later on this month. They will again be selling family or business ads. The books will be delivered to school by the end of May so children can sign them in class. We are always astonished to look back over the year’s events at all the good things we’ve done together. Children and families cherish these hand-made books of memories. Please place your order early to help the staff plan quantities and costs more efficiently. Please send any photos you may have to contribute to school by April 22nd. Thanks for your support!

 

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Out of the Mouths…

What do you love about spring?

Asked in the Turquoise Class
Parker: I like that you can swim and go on waterslides.
Anna: Ice melting.
Oren: Flowers.
Jake: Flowers.
Holden: The storms are not coming.
Reed: Cobras come out in spring and stop hibernating.
Graham: Little things start coming out.
Ethan: The snow starts to melt and the sun comes out.
Emery: We can sled down the rocks.
Clara: I like spring because you can go swimming.
Adwen: The snow melts.
Aster: Working some more.
Julia: Spring is after winter.
Jana: I love playing in the snow.
Brandon: I like spring because of yummy popsicles.
Amelia: Going to Disneyland.
Quinn: Garden flowers.
Peyton: Babies.
Wren: Little babies start to be born.

 

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Happy Spring!