It’s been a lovely summer – teachers have scattered to the winds, visiting friends, family and beaches around the world. 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.
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 Events & Holidays 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 known? Dr. Kevin Rathunde of the University of Utah recently delivered a keynote address to a group of Montessori administrators in which he emphasized that in his study contrasting Montessori and traditional schools, Montessori students were almost twice as likely to work with intrisinc motivation. Students from traditional schools understood that they had to get the work done because it was important, but they didn’t enjoy it or immerse themselves in the flow of working to great satisfaction. Montessori students did. For more on this look at Rathunde, K., & Csikszentmihalyi, M., Applications of flow in human development and education: The collected works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 2014. 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 (100% AMS credentialed, 100% holding bachelors degrees, 57% holding or competing master’s degrees), 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. Through our teacher training, conferences, graduate thesis projects and consulting experiences we continue to see the effectiveness of this method unlike anything else available. 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 dei Bambini” in Rome in 1907. And this method of education 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 finally being widely acknowledged.
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.
Please say good-bye quickly, lovingly and go. This is important for your child’s transition as well as for 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 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. We encourage you to establish a ritual such as “hug-kiss-snuggle” that reassures you 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. Our teachers are expert at handling it from there. We will contact you if we feel there is any reason for concern.
Please be on time. We cannot accept children on campus before class begins. Only those enrolled in Breakfast Club can arrive before class time. 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.
Pick-up and drop-off times are staggered to ensure smooth traffic flow. 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 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 to the south.
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 8:30 and 11:30am 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 and Ari Alba
Tadpoles Class taught by Tama D’Angelo
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, 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. The more consistent you are with drop-off the sooner your child will come to understand that, yes, it’s hard to say good bye but then 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 leave your 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: 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 spent 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.
Peacocks Class taught by Cassie Vultaggio
Turquoise Class taught by Molly McDowell
Rainbow Class taught by Leigh Ann Gray
Cottonwoods Class taught by Natalija Djunic
Students can be dropped off at the front patio 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.
Morning ec students will be picked up at the playground gate between 11:45 and noon. Pick up for Prep students is at the front patio 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 and readers which will be kept in cubbies except during vacations.
Moose Tracks Lower Elementary taught by Michelle Aldrich, Amy Warren and Leti Burns
Owl’s Nest Upper Elementary Class taught by 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, 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!
This year we are instituting an Elementary Activity Fee so that the year’s field trips will be covered in advance. The Moose Tracks Lower El fee is $350, Owl’s Nest Upper El fee is $450. If you have not already paid this, please send in a check payable to SWIMS. Thank you!
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 Moose Tracks Fall Family Campout and the Owl’s Nest Family Circle tentatively scheduled for Thursday and Friday, September 8th & 9th. There will be field trips every Friday throughout the year including hiking trips into the surrounding hills. The annual Moose Tracks Spring Family River Trip (a 2 – 3-day camping trip) is tentatively planned for May 18th – 20th. Owl’s Nest will trek to Teton Science School (tentatively) February 2nd – 5th. 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 events and bring your best campfire stories! Details will follow…
Our school lunch program provides healthy, yummy, allergy-conscious, mostly organic, catered lunches every day by Savory Kitchen Park City. Just call 435-608-1408 to register. If you decide not to try out our lunch program, Toddler Plus, 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 nutrition 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 with an assortment of sliced meats, 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 (plan 25/class). We have microwaves for student use 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!
Contact firstname.lastname@example.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, stews, pasta, burritos, 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 email@example.com or 435-608-1408.
Joyful Noise Music Program…Tama D’Angelo, MEd, offers private piano lessons for children 5 years old and up during afternoon class time. The child enjoys a weekly 15-20 minute lesson and is welcome to practice at any time during the school day. The program continues throughout the school year for $600. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Montessori Magic – Tutoring with Lori Whistler…Does your child need just a little more practice to become an independent reader or more adept with math facts? Does penmanship need polish? Contact Lori for a schedule that works for you. email@example.com
After School Enrichment Classes:
Mondays – Yoga with Randi Jo…One of “Park City’s Best” and kids’ favorite Randi Jo Taurel offers yoga for children 3 – 10 years from 3:00 – 3:45 pm starting September 12th. $200/10 week series. Contact RJ@yogawithrandijo.com
Tuesday – Friday…TBD Let us know if you have a request or a talent to share!
For more details on what to bring and what to expect at school, see the Parent Guide at http://soaringwings.org/full-parent-guide/