A Monthly E-newsletter Providing Useful Information to Caring Parents of Enrolled Students
© Copyright 2015 April 2014

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. I was recently in Dallas where environmental consciousness does not seem as pervading, but the Montessori teachers at the conference I attended made the most of the few recycling containers we could find. And 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.


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.

With our Earth Day Celebration on the 11th and Spring Break the following week we only meet twice this month, but we will make the most of our time together discussing the child’s place in the family including “Theories in Birth Order” and “A Family for Life”.

Be sure to attend our Earth Day Celebration on April 11th from 9:00 – 12:00. Since we don’t have the use of the Santy Audtorium this year we are planning a cultural performance pageant throughout the school. We’ve never tried this before – come see how it turns out!


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.

Since we do not have the use of the Santy Auditorium this year for our traditional Earth Day play we are holding a school cultural celebration on April 11th. The Sunflowers Class will represent Antarctica and will offer games, crafts and perhaps even a snack from Antarctica. Look around the class for ideas in each area inspired by the icy continent. The Tadpoles will offer a North American experience in similar fashion incorporating North American games, crafts, a snack and North American touches throughout the room. You are invited to come with your family to tour the school on April 11th from 9:00 – 10:00 am, stopping at every continent. Dismissal for toddlers is at 10:00 on this day. Toddlers are welcome to dress to go along with their class theme if they like – perhaps penguins or explorers from Antarctica, cowboys and Native Americans from North America? At the toddler level the intent is to expose them to the wondrous variety that the world offers through concrete experience.


wb00727_Early Childhood Curriculum Calendar

News from Cottonwoods, Rainbows and Turquoise 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 snow melts, the bugs reappear and we find long lost articles on the playground that lay under the snow all winter! At last, the first few signs of spring appear. 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 taking special gifts for 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, “Around the World with a Song” Friday April 11th. Early childhood students draw flags, maps and may write stories or reports from the country of their ancestors. They help prepare classrooms to represent various continents along with songs, crafts, games and foods from that continent.  Although our celebration takes a different slant this year, using the school for a cultural fair rather than an onstage play the intent is the same – to allow early childhood students to investigate their own ancestry while celebrating the rich diversity of cultures on Earth. Thank you in advance for your help with costumes and scheduling. On Friday April 11th drop-off will be as usual and early childhood families are welcome to come join us between 9:30 and 11:30 am. Dismissal is at 11:30 for ec students on this day. Class costuming will be as follows.

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

Rainbow Class – South America (costume suggestions include an earth-toned poncho, a soccer inform or a Carnaval costume)

Cottonwoods Class – Africa (costume ideas might include an oversized t-shirt worn as a tunic, a wrapped sarong or a soccer uniform)

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 Macanuda the box turtle, Eric the corn snake, Puffy the bearded dragon and the water turtles, Miss Butternubs and Peanutbutter. Macanuda is happy to eat a live worm before onlookers, Eric eats frozen baby mice and Puffy chases crickets around her cage which always adds excitement to class zoology studies. 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. (Lizards are okay, too, but they are harder to handle for a young child unless you get a big one like Puffy.) 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.


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 are working on crafts, games, foods, songs and recitations for our Earth Day Celebration.

Thursday – Zoology
With spring on its 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 3rd.

When we return from Spring Break we will begin preparations for our River Trip  May 1st and 2nd. So much left to do – so little time!

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 25th.

Around the World with a Song
We’ll spend lots of time before Spring Break on our Earth Day celebration, “Around the World with a Song” on April 11th. Drop off is at the usual time and families are welcome to come from 11:00 – 12:00. Dismissal for elementary students is at 12:00 on that day. Our class is representing Europe so each student should come dressed in European costume on the 11th. This could consist of grandpa’s actual lederhosen or a dress with a tea towel apron for a girl and shorts with knee socks and suspenders for a boy. We have  performances to practice, crafts, games and foods to prepare and parts to memorize. We hope to add most of the elements of our theater curriculum without the actual theater. The point is to celebrate our planet and it’s people and communicate our responsibilities in it’s care.


wb00727_Upper Elementary Update

News from the Eagle’s Nest Class

Monday – History
Our study of History of Australia continues in April with a review of the historical timeline of Australia, moving on to New Zealand.

Tuesday – Geography
We will review the landforms of Australia, find them on a map and notice the corresponding biomes. We continue to build our water cycle model to replicate this system and review types of clouds.

Wednesday – Art
We have completed our entries for the Wasatch Back Student Art show and just need your help framing them for hanging in the Kimball Art Center.

Thursday – Zoology
We are reviewing the characteristics of fish, amphibians, reptiles,birds and mammals, particularly Australian species.

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 for our annual field trip to the Recycle Utah Water Festival on the 3rd.

When we return from Spring Break we will begin preparations for our River Trip April 30th, May 1st and 2nd. So much left to do – so little time!

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 25th.

Around the World with a Song
We’ll spend lots of time before Spring Break on our Earth Day celebration, “Around the World with a Song” on April 11th. Drop-off is at the normal time and families are welcome to come from 11:00 – 12:00.  Dismissal for elementary students is at 12:00 on that day. Our class is representing  Australia so please remind your student to dress in something evocative of that continent. We are making hats in class. We have performances to practice, crafts, games and foods to prepare and parts to memorize. We hope to add most of the elements of our theater curriculum without the actual theater. The point is to celebrate our planet and it’s people and communicate our responsibilities in it’s care.


“Music is the space between the notes”.

Claude Debussy


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

— Robert Louis Stevenson


Peace Maker

by Jordan McBroom

Eagle’s Nest Student

When I grow up I only want to do this one thing. I want everyone together just as family. I want to be a peace maker and carry all the love. I want everyone to be happy, every single one. The girls, the boys, the babies, even moms and dads should all be having fun together on sunny days like these. But in the busy city it’s hard to make peace. So many people fight out there. They don’t care about these things. And that is why I, Jordi McBroom, will become a peace maker and change the world.

wb00727_Mark Your Calendar

April 1st
Backwards Day for all students, parents and teachers……(just kidding – unless you want to!)

April 3rd
Happy Birthday, Lori!

April 11th
Earth Day Celebration “Around the World with a Song”!

Because we do not have access to a stage this year for our annual Earth Day play we are presenting a pageant of cultural performance art with performances staggered so families can come in shifts and enjoy songs, foods, crafts and games from around the world as well as two performances by the Just Dance! dance classes as follows;

8:30 – 9:00 am normal drop-off for elementary and early childhood students
9:00 – 10:00 Toddler students and families of the Sunflower and Tadpoles Classes are welcome to come enjoy the celebration in all classes
9:30 – 11:30 Early childhood families join students in the Turquoise, Rainbow and Cottonwoods Classes to enjoy the celebration throughout the school
10:30 Just Dance! Dancers
11:00 – 12:00 Elementary families join students in the Moose Tracks and Eagle’s Nest Classes to enjoy the ongoing celebration throughout the school
11:30 Just Dance! Dancers
12:00 Enjoy a safe and happy Spring Break!

April 13th
Happy Birthday to Jorden!

April 14th – 18th
Spring Break – no school!

April 20th
Happy Birthday to Linda!

April 21st
Earth Day clean up during class.

April 23rd
Fair planning meeting 2:00, office. All committee members and interested parties please come!

April 25th
Deadline for turning in photos for school yearbook!

May 5th – 9th
Teacher Appreciation Week

May 8th
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 again until the Fair is over on June 1st! With our Earth Day Celebration, Mothers’ Teas, Children’s Fair (including a Dads’ Day celebration), yearbook, Elementary River 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 27 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 into a play. This year we celebrate without a stage, since the Santy Auditroium is unavailable, so we have shifted gears and are planning a pageant of cultural performance art in the school on April 11th with families coming through in shifts. Be sure to look at the schedule in the “Mark Your Calendar ” section above and let us know if you have questions.  ”Around the World with a Song” features children from each class showing off the crafts, games, foods and songs they have prepared while turning their class into a representation of each continent.

Toddlers are practicing their crafts and games. EC students are researching their ancestors in order to prepare flags, maps and reports from a country of their own origin. (However, they will dress in costumes from the continent that their class depicts). And Elementary students are practicing songs, recitations and preparing cultural treats.

Do let us know if you can’t attend the celebration. Everyone has an important role to play. 

Thank You
Thanks for your kind and warm support after the loss of Erin Martin’s brother. She has taken a leave of absence to sort out family matters but the collection jar awaits her return in the lobby.

Welcome, Linda!
We welcome Linda Giebe to the Tadpoles teaching team. She earned a degree in English from San Diego State and has been in Park City for several years raising her family. Her experience includes work at an international school in Germany. Montessori is new to her, but she is a natural at it. Please join us in welcoming Linda to our Soaring Wings family.

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 will 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.

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

’14/’15 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 bruce@soaringwings.org.

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!


wb00727_SWPTSO News

Park City Children’s Fair

The last big event of the school year is the 21st Annual Park City Children’s Fair, Sunday June 1st, 10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at City Park. Fair Chair Lina Singleton and her committee have plans well underway for another fun day in the park. Volunteers Sarah Barnes, Shannon Buist, Melissa Filippone, Phil Kaplan, Gina Schneider, Karen Mertens, Jill Warburton, Jenny Samuelson, Christine Eschenfelder, Michelle Aldrich, Amy Warren and Jules Manning are working on lining up our old favorites like pony rides, magic shows, story telling, the bounce house and the giant inflatable slide plus games, an amazing array of food choices and fun activities. In the weeks ahead we’ll be asking for your help collecting sponsorships, donations for the class basket auction and distributing fliers and posters. All proceeds go to our Children’s Planet Fund which supports several local and global student chosen organizations as well as our Student/Teacher Enrichment Fund. The next Fair planning meeting is Tuesday April 23rd at 2:00 pm in the front office. Come share your ideas!
Tama D’Angelo 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 25th. Thanks for your support!


Out of the Mouths…

“What do you love about spring?”

Asked in the Turquoise Early Childhood Class

Manon- I like how warm it is so you don’t have to wear a jacket.
Sophie – All the flowers are different colors and beautiful.
Mark – I like when the flowers bloom.
Cloe O – I like when the blossoms come out – and Easter bunnies.
Otto – The trees start growing and then I get to climb them.
Angela – I like when the flowers start to bloom.
Cate – When the flowers bloom.
Sadie – Flowers.
Zayne – To see the flowers come back up.
Jacob – Mowing the lawn and raking the dead grass.
Josh G – Going skiing – there is skiing in spring.
Maya – All the animals come out and the flowers grow.
Sebby – The sun.
Zoe N – Flowers.
Rhys – I get to play baseball.
Quincy – The leaves start to grow.
Nathan – Sports.
Oliver – It gets a little sunnier.
Tarver – It rains and not snows.
Jules: Sunshine.
Stevie: Flowers.
Leah M: Not snow.
Ari: Snow.

“How do you celebrate Earth Day?”

Asked in the Moose Tracks Lower Elementary Class

Allie – I help my sister on Earth.
Amelie – I help plants – like the cactus in class.
Andie – I pick up trash and water plants.
Ash – I pick up trash and take care of my plants.
Braden – I go outside and play.
Camden – I go on a hike, plant a garden and pick up trash.
Daxelle – Paint stuff green and blue.
Davey – By putting on a school carnival and helping the Earth.
Dekker – Keep the Earth healthy by not killing insects.
Gabi – I invite my friends over to my house and we have lots of treats.
Greta – I dress up in green and sprinkle the house with leaves.
Jack – I have lots and lots of food.
Karsten – I pick up trash and try not to hurt anything.
Lily – We pick up trash on our road and I wear my t-shirt that says “less homework saves trees”.
Madeline – I turn off the lights.
Matty – I plant flowers.
Taryn – I plant carrot seeds.
Michelle: We go for a family hike.
Leti: We recycle.
Amy: We plant our garden.
Lina: Pay respect to the planet.


Happy Spring!