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


Welcome Back!

It’s been a lovely summer – teachers have scattered to the winds, visiting friends, family and beaches across the western hemisphere. Some are trickling back into town already, dusting the sand off their feet and starting to work on their classrooms. You know how people say they come to Park City for the winters but stay for the summers? Teachers come to their field for the summers off but stay for the time in class with the children.

Where’s My Newsletter?

The current newsletter will be posted on the website around the first of each month. You’ll get an email notice when it is ready. Look for the new newsletter and be sure to note important dates and schedule changes in your calendar. You can also access the event calendar for the whole school year at any time on our website – www.soaringwings.org. We can always tell who’s not reading their newsletters so make sure you check it out so you’ll be “in the groove”!

The Importance of Being Montessori

Did you know that the education system you have chosen for your child is the most effective currently known? Dr. Angeline Lillard published results of an exhaustive study (Lillard, Science, September 2006) showing that Montessori children not only retained academic information more readily than students learning in a traditional environment, but were significantly more thoughtful and empathetic in their relationships with others. In her study of Milwaukee school children, “children who were in the public Milwaukee Montessori schools from preschool to fifth grade scored significantly higher on standardized tests (ACT and WKCE) of math and science than did matched controls from their same high schools.” (Lillard, 2005) Our own SAT scores consistently show the same result year after year (see these on our website – www.soaringwings.org). Our highly educated and talented faculty, the precision manipulative tools, the mastery learning approach, the logical progression of lessons from simplest to most complex, the multi-year age grouping, and the individualized curriculum all combine to provide the ultimate educational experience. Duna attended the International Montessori Congress in Portland last summer – an incredible gathering of 2500 Montessorians from all over the world. There were keynotes by leaders in science, education, sociology and philosophy. They spoke of the state of the Earth, the state of humanity and the path of education. Their messages were basically the same – and they have resonated through conferences and journal articles in the past year. A Montessori education – the unique blend of academics, the arts, sciences, geography, history and education for peace – is just what today’s children need to prepare for their future.

Dr. Montessori opened her first “Casa de Bambini” in Rome in 1907. The celebration of the centennial of Montessori education has brought much attention to an educational method that is still ahead of its time. With “Google guys” Sergey Brin and Larry Page crediting their success to a Montessori education (ABC interview with Barbara Walters, 2004), the list of leaders (including Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama), who have chosen Montessori for their children, continues to grow. Our own graduates consistently amaze us with their leadership skills. After a century of quietly educating children, using the same proven method while other methods come and go, it seems as if the humble world of Montessori is coming into the spotlight.

schoolparents No, Montessori isn’t for all parents but it is for all children. And if you are willing to make the commitment to pay tuition, transport your child to and from school each day, keep up with school events, follow school policies, stay aware of your child’s progress and areas of interest in the classroom and follow through with Montessori philosophy at home, then you’ve already made the big commitment it takes to be a Montessori parent.

The satisfaction of that commitment comes as you see your child becoming more independent, responsible, confident and genuinely happy with her accomplishments. You’ll realize that with your child’s academic achievements come new levels of growth and awareness that contribute to an increasingly well rounded individual.

It was shown in 1975 (Miller and Dyer) that children who have attended Montessori schools maintain an academic advantage and are more inventive and curious long after they leave the program and move into traditional schools as compared to children from other types of private schools. The same conclusions have been reached by more recent researchers (Bagby, Barnard-Brak, Sulak, Jones and Walter, 2012;  Kayili & Ari, 2011; Rinke, Gimbel and Haskell, 2013; Shankland, Genolini, Franca, Guelfi and Ionescu, 2010). We notice our graduates’ names showing up on every honor roll and awards list. They make the news as leaders in civic and academic projects and the arts. We know this is largely because their parents are people who care about a good education and go out of their way to provide them with one. But we also know our students pick up a passion for learning in a Montessori classroom that sticks with them for life.

Getting Back in the Groove


Please say good-bye quickly, lovingly and go. This is important for your child’s transition as well as traffic flow. The staff is skilled at easing the transition for your child and we will let you know if there is a problem. Groups of parents lingering in the classrooms or on the playground can deleteriously affect an otherwise calm routine. Parents are always welcome to hang out in the halls, the kitchen or in the sanctuary where there may very well be a project with which you can help!

With younger children you may want to discuss and role-play saying good-bye. Be sure to convey your confidence that school is a good place for them to be. Some families establish a ritual such as “hug-kiss-snuggle” that reassures them both at parting. Saying good-bye quickly, warmly, lovingly and matter-of-factly just as you rehearsed (no matter how anxious you are feeling!) will ease them through this transition.

Please be on time. We cannot accept children on campus before class begins. We hold staff meetings each morning before class. This time is important in allowing us to prepare a peaceful, harmonious and happy environment for your child. And if you are late picking up, teachers have a hard time fitting in cleaning, prepping, phone calls, lunch and meetings. Punctuality is as important to your child as it is to the staff. Children are often worried and distressed when they arrive too early, too late or when parents are late for pickup.


Please always make sure a teacher is in attendance before leaving your child. There will be staff members at the front door and gates during drop-off time. They are happy to relay messages to your child’s  teacher for you.

All students must say good-bye to their teachers when leaving, not only as a matter of etiquette but also to ensure your child’s safety.

Dropoff/Pickup Routine

Traffic Flow/Parking
In order to ensure smooth traffic flow we have staggered pick-up and drop-off times. Please let us know how it’s going out there. Keep in mind;

There is no parking on Old Ranch Road.

Please do not park in the drop-off/pick-up lanes. If you want to come inside the building or the playground please park in the parking lot.

We will supply EC and Elementary students with a name placard to display in your car to help us get your child ready for you at pick up time. This will facillitate the pick up routine until we get to know your car.

For special events at school there is overflow parking at Knoop Park across Old Ranch Road.

Parent/Infant Program (prenatal to 1 1/2 years old)

El Nido Class taught by Lina Singleton
Infants and parents, grandparents and caregivers are welcome to come into class and stay as long as you like between 9:00 am and noon on Fridays. Participants will receive a syllabus of classes including days when no class will be held due to special events and holidays.

Toddler Program (1 1/2 to 3 years old)

Sunflowers Class taught by Leah Linebarger and Ari Alba, assisted by Denise Martin

Tadpoles Class taught by Tama D’Angelo, assisted by Linda Giebe
NEW THIS YEAR: Toddler students will drop off at the classroom door from 8:30 – 8:45 am. Parents can help children put belongings into their lockers, say good bye quickly and lovingly and go. Once you’ve said good bye a teacher will take your child into class – please do not come into class or linger near the door. The first few weeks you can expect that your child may cry when you leave and the more consistent you are with drop-off the sooner your child will come to expect that, yes, it’s hard to say good bye but soon a wondrous school day begins and very soon you will be back to pick up at the playground gate.

Parents can pull up to the playground gate between 11:30 and 11:45 am and a teacher will be on the sidewalk to help your child into the car. If you need to get out of the car, please park in the parking lot rather than in the pick-up/drop-off zone.

All toddler students will need a backpack with a water bottle, change of clothes, indoor shoes or slippers, a 4″ x 6″ snapshot of the family (for the class album) and two 2″ x 3″ photos of the child (for the cubby and locker). Please select clothing and shoes that the toddler can learn to put on and take off by himself. Dressing skills are important in establishing confidence and independence, but most children under the age of 5 cannot tie their own laces. Velcro or slip-on style shoes are a must for toddlers.

Toddler Pants Policy: All toddler students change into cotton training pants with plastic covers once class begins. This helps them become aware of their need to use the toilet and makes it easy for them to change pants independently. We keep a supply of extra pants at school and will wash our pants here, but will send your child’s pants home to be laundered. We will make sure your child is changed back into the clothes she arrived in before pick-up time. Although it may be easier to use a diaper when travelling in the car and running errands, we recommend that you purchase a supply of training pants so your child can practice using them at home. With a child-sized potty or seat, a basket of fresh pants, and a pail in which to place the soiled pants your child will enjoy the independence of using the toilet much more quickly than if she were in diapers all day. We’ve spent the past two years testing this theory with one campus using diapers and the other implementing the pants policy. 91% of students using training pants were independent or close to it by the end of the school year as opposed to 67% of the children who wore diapers and pull-ups. It means more laundry for all of us but just as we give older children every opportunity to learn to read and write when they are ready, we want to offer the same opportunity to toddlers learning to use the toilet. They just need lots of practice. You can order Gerber cotton training pants online for about $7/3-pack.The Gerber waterproof pants are about $2 each. Be sure to label all of your child’s clothing – even socks and shoes.

Early Childhood Program (3 to 6 years old)

Cottonwoods Class taught by Natalija Djunic and Amy Warren

Turquoise Class taught by Leah Morisi, assisted by Shannon Dixon and Ari Alba

Rainbow Class taught by Lina Singleton and Leigh Ann Gray, assisted by Ember Salveson

Students can be dropped off at the front gates between 8:45 and 9:00 am where a teacher will greet them. Please pull up in the drop off lane so the students can exit the car safely onto the sidewalk.

EC morning students will be picked up at the playground gate between 11:45 and noon. Pick up for Prep students is at the front gates between 2:45 and 3:00 pm. A teacher will be on the sidewalk to help your child into the car. If you want to get out of the car, please park in the parking lot rather than in the pick-up/drop-off zone.

EC students should bring a backpack with a water bottle, change of clothes, slippers or indoor shoes and room to bring work home. They should be quite independent in dressing for the out-of-doors so please make sure your child can easily put on and take off her own shoes. Velcro, slip-ons or shoes with large buckles are a must until the child learns to tie laces at around 5 years of age.Afternoon students will need a lunch as well (see “Lunch Guidelines” below) unless you are registered for the school lunch program.  Continuing students need to bring back their workbooks which will be kept in cubbies except during vacations.

Elementary Program (6 to 9 years old)

Moose Tracks Lower Elementary taught by Michelle Aldrich, Leti Burns and Lori Whistler

Elementary students can be dropped off at the playground gate between 8:30 and 8:45 am where a teacher will be waiting to greet them.

Pick-up is at the playground gate between 3:00 and 3:15 pm.

Elementary students will need a lunch (see “Lunch Guidelines” below) unless registered for the school lunch program, and the items listed below, most of which can be purchased at WalMart for around $60. (Please do not buy paper, pens or mechanical pencils.) The school supplies paper, erasers, planners, journals and art materials.

The Elementary student will need:

  • a backpack (large enough to hold two workbooks, planner, water bottle and extra mittens, hats, socks, etc.)
  • lunch box (unless registered for the school lunch program)
  • water bottle for class use
  • “Camelback” or small backpack with water bottle for field trips
  • sun hat or baseball cap
  • 1 package of wooden pencils (no mechanical pencils – the lead falls out and makes a mess)
  • hand held pencil sharpener
  • erasers
  • 12 inch ruler (showing inches and millimeters)
  • “Kids Fiskars” scissors with sharp points
  • 4 glue sticks (not liquid glue)
  • 5  two-pocket folders
  • pencil box
  • calculator with basic functions
  • compass for geometry
  • protractor
  • Summit County Library card
  • headphones/earbuds to use with the Apple computer and iPad

Fall is a good time to shop for deals on camping equipment for this year’s family camp-outs in September and May. You and your child should have a tent, sleeping bag, a flashlight, an emergency whistle, good hiking shoes and rain gear. Students take weekly field trips and are outside in all kinds of weather. We believe there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!

The Elementary Outdoor Curriculum

The outdoor curriculum is an important part of the Elementary student’s education. The first weeks of school the children will be working on team-building activities to get to know themselves and each other. This culminates in the Fall Family Campout tentatively scheduled for Thursday and Friday, September 11th & 12th. There will be field trips every Friday throughout the year including many hiking trips into the surrounding hills. The annual Spring Family River Trip (a 2 – 4-day camping trip to Moab) is tentatively planned for May 7th -8th. These trips will require parental assistance with driving and preparing meals. Although they will take much work and planning on everyone’s part, these outdoor expeditionary learning experiences give the student a valuable opportunity to integrate classroom knowledge in a real world experience such as planning and preparing a meal for all the parents or studying the local flora. The outdoor classroom is every bit as important as the indoor counterpart. If your child must miss an outdoor experience for any reason please ask the teachers for a homework packet to supply similar experiences. On top of the educational importance, our family camping trips are always lots of fun and are guaranteed to create long lasting memories and friendships. Please plan to join us for this year’s Family Campout and bring your best campfire stories! Details will follow…

Lunch Guidelines

If you decide not to try out our new lunch program, EC Plus and Elementary students will need to bring a lunch each day. We will study nutrition in class and your child will bring home a copy of our food rainbow to post in the kitchen so that she may take responsibility for packing a healthy lunch. Unprocessed whole foods are the best choices. We are a “No Sugar, No Nuts” school. No candy (including chocolate-covered granola bars), soda pop or gum are allowed in school.Ask your child’s teacher for a copy of our lunch guidelines pamphlet including peanut butter substitutes.
We recommend stocking a low shelf in the pantry and one in the refrigerator with appropriate lunch items such as cheese, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, fruit, juice, cold cuts, sandwich makings and individually packaged leftovers such as pasta and pizza so that your child can pack her own lunch each day. Usually a half sandwich, fruit and a drink is enough lunch for a young child. “Lunchables”, “Go-gurts” and other processed foods are easy to pack, but the packaging is not child- or Earth-friendly, the nutirition is negligible and they often go uneaten. Try providing the fixings so your child can make her own “munchable”, an American version of the Japanese bento box approach to healthy portable meals: a small “Gladware”-type container and an assortment of sliced cheeses, fruits, crackers, vegetables and dips. She can arrange the foods into faces or designs – simple, beautiful and nutritious!

If your child would like to share something, make sure there is enough for everyone (approximately 25/class). We have microwaves for student use in winter months and we recycle aluminum, paper, cardboard and plastic. Students will take turns laundering tablecloths and picnic cloths each week. This not only lightens the teacher’s load, but gives the child a Practical Life lesson that will hopefully carry over into the home.

Until the weather turns cold children will be picnicking outside. During warm weather please make sure your child packs a lunch that does not require warming and contains all necessary utensils. It is so frustrating to sit down on a picnic cloth on a sunny day only to find you have a lunch of cold soup and no spoon!

Additional Options for Fall

Contact duna@soaringwings.org for further information on any of the following. After school classes fill quickly so reserve your space soon!

Caffe dei Bambini Lunch Program…Healthy, mostly organic, delicious lunches will be provided every school day by Savoury Kitchen Park City for $5.50/day. Meals are nut-free, sugar-free and have dairy-free and gluten-free options. All you do is sign up! They even plan sack lunches for field trips. Menus include tacos, soups, pasta, salmon and couscous. We are delighted to have found a local caterer who has the same ideals as we do for what a student lunch should look like – and taste like. To register your child contact info@savouryparkcity.com or 435-608-1408.

Mondays – Spanish…Lango brings their Spanish program to Soaring Wings Mondays from 3:00 – 4:00 pm for children 4 – 8 years starting September 9th. Cost is $159/10-week session.

Tuesdays – Super Amazing Science…Amy Warren continues her popular science classes beginning September 2nd from 3:00 – 4:00 pm for children 4 years and up. Cost is $130/session.

Wednesdays – Art …Diana Harbour brings her vast experience in teaching art to Soaring Wings on Wednesdays! Classes start September 3rd, 3:00 – 4:15 pm for children 5 – 10 years. Cost is $135/8 week session.

Thursdays – Just Dance! …Karissa Molen, owner of Intensity Dance, offers dance lessons with the same energy and creativity with which her mom taught dance for Soaring Wings back in the 1980’s!  Classes are Thursdays beginning September 18th in three 8-week sessions with a recital at the conclusion of each.

Creative Movement 3 to 6 year olds: Thursdays 2:45 – 3:15 pm $75/8 week session
Hip Hop 6 to 9 year olds: Thursday 3:15 – 4:00 pm $100/8 week session

Fridays – French …Lango offers French for children 4 – 8 years old from 9:15 – 10:15 am on Fridays starting September 9th at a cost of $159/10 week session.

Fridays – Mandarin …Lango again offers their Mandarin class at 10:30 – noon on Fridays starting September 9th for children 4 – 8 years. Cost is $275 for the 10-week session.

Fridays – Yoga with Randi Jo…Park City kids’ yoga favorite Randi Jo Taurel offers yoga for children 3 – 10 years from 3:00 – 3:45 pm starting September 5th. $120/8 week series.



Mark Your Calendar

Sunday, August 24th
Open House 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Come explore the classrooms, meet teachers, parents and classmates!

Monday, August 25th
First Day of School!

Friday, August 29th
Early dismissal for all classes; 11:30 am – 12:15 pm

11:30 – 11:45 Sunflower and Tadpole Toddler Classes (1 1/2 – 3 yrs) pick-up at playground gate
11:45 – 12:00 Turquoise, Rainbow and Cottonwoods Early Childhood Classes (3 – 6 yrs) pick-up at front gates
12:00 – 12:15 Moose Tracks Elementary Class (6 – 9 yrs) pick-up at playground gate

There is no parking on Old Ranch Road. Please help us keep traffic moving and carpool whenever possible. There is overflow parking at Knoop Park south of Old Ranch Road.

Monday, September 1st 
Labor Day, NO SCHOOL

Sunday, September 7th
Happy Birthday, Leti!

Monday, September 8th
Happy Birthday, Leah M!

Thursday, September 11th
Happy Birthday, Michelle!

Thursday – Friday, September 11th – 12th
Moose Tracks Elementary Class Fall Family Campout. See Moose Tracks Class news for details.

Wednesday, September 17th
Cider Social on the playground 2:30 -3:30pm.  Come meet the families of Soaring Wings!

Saturday, September 20th
Utah Montessori Council Fall Workshop, “Building a Montessori Community of Peace and Transformation”, 8:30 am – 3:00 pm Elizabeth Academy, 2870 Connor Street, Salt lake City featuring Andrew Kutt, author of Living in Harmony. Andrew is the founder of the Oneness Family School in Maryland and has 30 years of experience as an educator of children and adults, administrator and consultant. Teachers, parents and those who see a more peaceful future through our children are invited to take advantage of this opportunity to spend a day with Andrew learning how to support the development of a peaceful community. Registration is $60 per person until August 22nd, $75 per person until September 5th. Contact duna@soaringwings.org to register.

Thursday, October 2nd
Happy Birthday, Natalija!

Wednesday, October 8th
Back-to-School Night, Toddlers and their families 4:00 – 5:00pm, Early Childhood students and their families 4:15 – 5:15 pm, Elementary students and their families 4:30 – 5:30 pm. Families with students in multiple programs, pick a time that is good for you! All families are welcome for a slide show starring your child and a child-guided tour of the classroom.

School Bulletin Board

Drop-off/Pick-up…The portion of the school day when your child is absorbed in learning new skills is called the “work period”. The ideal work period is 2 1/2 to 3 hours long so that each student has the opportunity to cycle through a variety of activities and plenty of time to complete each one. We do our best not to interrupt once a child is concentrating. Doors lock at 9:00 am. If your child is late or you have something to drop off please come to the front door and ring the doorbell.

That which we call a rose…We teachers like to be addressed by our first names. Here in the west we don’t feel the need for titles such as “Miss”, “Mrs.” or “Mr.”. We feel that true respect is shown by actions and attitude. We therefore avoid these titles and treat each other as friends. At Soaring Wings “Grace and Courtesy” is an every day reminder of manners practiced in all classes. Modern etiquette requires that we address others in a manner respectful of local culture and individual wishes. In Park City, even our Mayor is “Jack”! Welcome to the West, partners. Make yourselves right at home!

If the shoe fits…All students will need clothing and shoes that they can easily manage themselves. If your child cannot yet tie laces, please provide school shoes with buckles, Velcro or slip-on styling. When shopping for school clothes keep in mind that there are plenty of opportunities to get wet and/or dirty at school. It’s a good idea to keep a fresh change of clothes in the car in case your child has a run-in with paint or wet sand on the day of his dentist appointment.

Class in session…If your child is late or must leave class early please make this transition as unobtrusive as possible to avoid disturbing class.

School etiquette…Remember to lower your voice when in the classroom. Teachers and students use “inside voices” which are a step below normal conversation level to avoid disrupting nearby students. Even in the halls we use “inside voices” and “walking feet” out of respect for our neighbors. Anywhere on school grounds we practice good manners by returning equipment to proper places when leaving, picking up trash, leaving rocks and sticks on the ground and keeping feet out of garden areas.

Events and Holidays…Remember to look over the Events and Holidays calendar posted on the website – www.soaringwings.org – and note the early dismissal days, EC Party Days, Friday Parent/Teacher Conference days and school plays. Since half of our students are attending Mondays through Thursdays we try to schedule unusual events for Fridays so as to disrupt as few routines as possible.

Parents welcome…Please feel free to come in after class and ask your child to show you what she has been working on. Your child’s teacher will be happy to explain lessons and answer questions any time after class. We would also be delighted to have you observe class any time after our first six weeks of normalization. The following are phone numbers to keep handy. We do not release teachers’ personal phone numbers. Teachers return calls after class. Please call the Parent/Teacher Hotline when your child will not be in class or will be picked up by someone new. We will not release a child to anyone without your authorization.

Keep In Touch…

Teacher Hotline: 435-200-8248

Lina Singleton, School Director: 435-200-8247, lina@soaringwings.org

Duna Strachan, Executive Director 435-200-8246 or duna@soaringwings.org

Bruce King, Administrator 435-649-3626 or bruce@soaringwings.org

We recommend that you program the Teacher Hotline into your cell phone so you can give us a call when your child is sick or if you’re running late.Very Big Thanks!

Thank you to the Larsen, Samuelson, Lam/Wright, Wein/Hamlin, Googin/Winterholler, Rudolph/Pfeiffer, Cumming, Shannon/Marcks, Filippone, Herbert-Jaffa and Quinn Families for their very generous contributions to our playground. The final installment is on a slow boat from Norway so it will be in place sometime this fall. We plan to keep the rest of the playground space open for on-going development and creative design with natural elements by the children. A few of the projects in the works include; a weaving house, a living tunnel, a sound garden, a labyrinth, a yurt and the elementary nature area and tree house along the creek.

Congratulations Due!…It seems our staff has been busy this summer. Ari Alba completed her teaching credential at the Montessori Teacher Education Center of the San Francisco Bay Area, Michelle Aldrich is about halfway through her master’s in Montessori education through St Catherine University in St Paul, Tama D’angelo completed her masters at St Catherine, Natalija Djunic and Leigh Ann Gray completed their early childhood training at Westminster College including a master’s in education,  Lori Whistler completed her training at Westminster and Leti Burns completed her teaching credential with Westminster. 76% of our faculty has teacher training from the American Montessori Society and 35% hold or are working on master’s degrees.

Welcome, Ember!…We are very happy to welcome Ember Salveson to the faculty. Ember grew up in Montana, North Dakota and Saskatchewan, holds a masters in education from Weber State and is just completing student teaching at the Winter School. She is new to Montessori but possesses a natural Montessori spirit. Ember will be our Administrative Assistant in the mornings and will assist in the Rainbows Class in the afternoons. Please join us in welcoming Ember to Soaring Wings.

Calling All Families New to Park City!..Melissa Filippone, our friend, school supporter and mom of Greta, Dean and Anna, would like to invite families who are new in town to get together and facilitate play dates. Please contact her at melissafloren@gmail.com if you are interested. Thanks, Melissa!

Ski Program PlanningWe are planning the ski program with Park City Mountain Resort beginning in January for several weeks. Details will follow in about October, but we wanted to let you know for planning purposes.




Soaring Wings Parent Teacher Student Organization is a non-profit volunteer organization responsible for the social, civic and fund-raising events that enhance our school community. These include the Cider Social, Fall Food Drive, Angel Trees, Conference Refreshments, Yearbook and Park City Children’s Fair and Auction. Participation is voluntary. If you have not yet filled out a volunteer form for the new school year, please let any of us know how you would like to help. Thanks in advance for helping to make our school a special place.

Dog Days

The new school year starts Monday, August 25th.

We’ll look forward to seeing all of you at our Open House on Sunday, August 24th from 3:00 – 4:30 pm!!

Take some time to roll down a grassy hill or watch the clouds go by with your child. Enjoy the remaining days of the summer!

“Let us give the child a vision of the whole universe…for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.” Dr. Maria Montessori