The new school is almost ready and we are excited to see old and new friends. We’ve been obsessing about details all summer long and with most of them in place all we need is to “just add children”!
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”!
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 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 this 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 – 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.
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 has been shown 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 (Miller and Dyer, 1975). 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.
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 main office 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 head teacher for you.
All students should be reminded to say good-bye to their teachers when leaving, not only as a matter of etiquette but also to ensure your child’s safety.
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.
The Highway 224 access is for right right turns into the parking lot and right turns onto the highway only.
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.
El Nido Class taught by Lynn Chadderdon
Infants and parents, grandparents and caregivers are welcome to arrive at the front door 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.
Sunflowers Class taught by Leah Linebarger
Tadpoles Class taught by Lynn Chadderdon and Tama D’Angelo
Toddler students will meet on the playground. Parents can pull up to the playground gate on between 9:00 and 9:15 am and a teacher will be on the sidewalk to help your child out of the car. If you need to get out of the car, please park in the parking lot and walk your child to the playground.
Toddlers can be picked up at their classroom door between noon and 12:15. Please park in the parking lot, ring the doorbell and someone will let you in. There will be a staff member in the hall at noon to get your child to you without disrupting the class.
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 when they come inside from the playground. This helps them become aware of their need to use the toilet and makes it easy for them to change out of and into fresh 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.
Cottonwoods Class taught by Stevie Harrison and Kim Norman
Turquoise Class taught by Jules Manning and Leah Morisi
Rainbow Class taught by Anne Weinrauch
Students can be dropped off at the front gate 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 Enrichment, Emergent and Prep students is at the playground gate 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 and walk to the playground to pick up your child.
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) Continuing students need to bring back their workbooks which will be kept in cubbies except during vacations
Moose Tracks Lower Elementary taught by Michelle Aldrich
Eagle’s Nest Upper Elementary taught by Erin Martin
Elementary students can be dropped off at the playground gate between 8:30 and 8:45 am where a member of our faculty 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”), 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:
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 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 Thursday and Friday, September 5th & 6th. 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 planned for May 8th -9th. 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 Michelle or Erin 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…