A Monthly E-newsletter Providing Useful Information to Caring Parents of Enrolled Students
© Copyright 2017 January 2017

Montessori in the New Year

Happy New Year! We begin a new year with warm thoughts of the many generous and loving contributions that are invested into our school each day, whether in a word, a gift, or a smile. Soaring Wings flourishes because of our shared wish for educating your children to their highest potential. Our goal is to grant each child the skills necessary to live a peaceful, productive and fulfilling life. Our dream is to ensure that when this future generation matures, our world will pass into the most capable of hands. In these times of uncertainty it is more important than ever before to raise a generation who can reach out to those of different cultures and find peaceful solutions to problems. As world events alarm us people voice their concern about bringing children into a place like this. But really, it’s only our children who can straighten things out. We were pleased to see a SWIMS graduate’s letter to the editor of the Park Record declaring that it’s her generation who now needs to move into action to straighten out the mistakes we grown-ups have made. They can do it. To prepare for the  future that awaits them these children need more than the ability to work at a job and make money. They need conflict resolution skills, intrinsic motivation and an understanding of how cultures and ecosystems must balance to support the biota of our planet.

Maria Montessori began this dream over a century ago. She opened her first school, Casa dei Bambini, in Italy on January 6, 1907. Many recognized the potential of her ideas. Maria succeeded in establishing several schools throughout Europe in only a few years. However, the world wars ripped through the continent and Mussolini evicted Maria and her educational philosophy from Italy. The wars, however, gave Maria a greater incentive to continue to develop a process which would not only educate people to their fullest potential but would produce generations with such well-developed communication skills and appreciation of cultural diversity that war would become a thing of the past. Only in the last decade have Maria’s ideas begun to become incorporated into traditional American school programs. As classrooms become more child-centered and education slowly becomes more individualized, we are seeing a more mindful generation arise. Just in the nick of time, there is a new awareness of the importance of including cultural and environmental awareness, conflict resolution and emotional literacy into the education of even the smallest children.

In the classroom we set up each activity with a control of error so that the success of the child is guaranteed. With improving skill, the self-correcting factor is gradually removed so that the child’s own skill becomes the control of error. This applies to social as well as academic skill development. We are equipping these children not only for academic success but for success in life as well. With the incredible technological tools at their disposal combined with a respectful approach to the balance of life on this planet how can these children do anything but succeed?


El Nido News

New Infant Class!
New to Soaring Wings and Park City is our brand new infant class based on the same model of the successful Parent/Infant Class but with the option of half or full day attendance for babies without a parent. Over the years we keep hearing about the difficulty of finding a place for babies in our town. There are a few daycare options, but parents are looking for something more. Parents in this town moved here for a unique quality of life and they want the same for their children.  The Montessori approach to infant education is just like that for older children – it is based on respect for the individual. Teachers carefully prepare the classroom environment with the needs of each child in mind. Children eat, sleep and investigate the wonders of the classroom – indoors or outdoors – at their own pace. Lina Singleton, School Director and teacher of 11 years, has observed infant programs in Portland and Chicago and has been planning this idea for some time now. With the effort going into the new infant-toddler teaching program at Westminster College by colleagues Duna Strachan, Leah Linebarger and Tama D’Angelo, she has all the resources at her fingertips to make this a fine program. Drop by and see the classroom!

Parent/Infant Class
Our community of infants and their parents continues to meet on Fridays beginning January 6th, with Lina leading weekly discussions on child development and the Montessori Method from 8:30 – 11:30 am.  If you have a baby or know one who may be interested, please contact Lina at lina@soaringwings.org.


Toddler Time

News from the Tadpoles and Sunflowers Classes
As we all know, toddlers enjoy a regular routine. We appreciate January because, although some students may need to readjust to the school routine again after the long break, it is typically a quiet month in which to get back into the routine of the work cycle. It is a time to learn new Practical Life skills such as pouring a glass of water or preparing a snack. Old songs and stories are enjoyed and new ones are added. Art media is expanded and new ideas are introduced. The oldest class members are starting to become more aware of social opportunities which puts a new perspective on class time. The uninterrupted class period provides time for lessons in Language, Math or Sensorial concepts. Science activities may involve studying the properties of snow. Take time to stop and see the snowflakes with your toddler this month and enjoy the peace and quiet of January.

If you dads haven’t been in for a Parent Day yet this school year, please schedule a time with us right away. We look forward to seeing you!


Early Childhood Calendar

News from the Peacock, Turquoise and Cottonwoods Classes
Montessori is a method that has been misunderstood for almost a century. It seems that criticism comes from those who think the Montessori method of education is too structured and those who think it is too unstructured. Those who understand the principles see that a true Montessori class employs a complementary blend of structure and freedom.

At the beginning of the year most of the students in the early childhood program spend a great deal of their time with crayons, blocks and puzzles. During the school year, although the materials offered are changed only slightly, the interest of the student gradually turns towards academics. We do lessons with each child every day, usually allowing the child to pick the activity but keeping in mind the child’s age, health, developmental capabilities and interests. A “lesson” is never a drill, but a demonstration of precisely how an activity is done, from rolling out the work mat to wiping up every drip of water and replacing the activity on the shelf. All lessons are aimed at coordination, concentration, organization and independence. The theory is basically to offer a wide array of avenues of interest and allow the child to decide when the time is right for each one. Our classrooms are set up to provide for all types of learning styles so that, for instance, those who learn best through movement are provided plenty of opportunities for practicing motor skills and those who are auditory learners hear the carefully chosen words of the teacher. The Montessori child typically seeks out the academic lessons in the classroom just as s/he seeks out dolls, trucks and blocks, because they offer a learning opportunity. And as children are infinitely different, so they are the same in at least one respect; their love of learning.

Monday – Art
The children have been intrigued with Georgia O’Keeffe and her enormous flowers and floating bones. Her definition of art is… “to fill a space beautifully.” The artist of the month for January is a friend of Georgia’s, Ansel Adams. This is a good time to give your child a lesson on how to use a camera carefully and allow him to take some photos of his own. Smart phone cameras and most small digital cameras are simple and easy for a child to use with supervision. Print out a few of your child’s photos to bring class for our photo exhibits.

Tuesday – Time & Seasons
This month we will be looking for signs of winter in the weather, plants and behavior of people and animals. We plan to celebrate the next big snow storm with snow ice cream!

Wednesday – Geography
Last month we extended our study of North America to its winter celebrations, as well as those around the world. In January we learn about South America and its plants, animals and people. If you have any artifacts to share from South America please send them in.

Thursday – Biology
A seafood meal is a good way to review which edible sea animals are invertebrates (clams, oysters, shrimp, crab, lobster, calamari) and which are vertebrates (fish) for the transition into the study of fishes this month. Any fishes, living or dead, or parts thereof would be most interesting as sharing items this month. We could use three nice, whole, medium-sized fish with which to do fish prints. Any fishermen want to contribute something from the freezer?

Friday – Literature
The kids became familiar with Dr. Seuss last month and most noticed that he usually wrote books that are silly, but have a message for those who listen carefully. His messages can be as simple as… “a host above all must be nice to his guests” (Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose) and as profound as… “maybe Christmas…doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” (How the Grinch Stole Christmas).

Eric Carle is January’s author of the month. His books (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Busy Spider & The Very Quiet Cricket) are creatively illustrated and fun for kids this age. If your child has a favorite Eric Carle book, this is a good time to share it with the class. We will hold our own Eric Carle film festival about the time Sundance comes to town this month.

SAT Results
Each spring we administer the Stanford Achievement Test to our Kindergarten, 3rd grade and 6th grade students. You may view those results on our website (www.soaringwings.org). Testing is scheduled for April this year. If your child is eligible you will receive an information packet in February.

Leadership Year
The 3rd year of each level is called the “Leadership Year.” This is the time when the oldest students in the class polish their academic skills, build their confidence and enjoy being leaders in the school community. The curriculum is planned in 3-year cycles so the 3rd year brings together all of the foundations previously laid. For instance, in early childhood the geography curriculum begins with sensorial experiences associated with each continent – the music, games, foods, dress, plants and animals of each continent. The 2nd year student has now learned the names of each continent and a few of the endemic plants and animals characteristic of each. The 3rd year student reads additional resources about the continents, writes reports and stories and shares new details with the class such as the varieties of poison arrow frogs in South America. In addition the child in his Leadership Year learns to find answers to questions and to approach each new challenge with executive functioning skills that allow him to organize tasks and utilize past experiences to solve new problems. In addition the typical 3rd year student at age 5 – 6 in early childhood has the opportunity to work through the math and language curriculum to a 2nd or 3rd grade level. These lessons are given using concrete learning materials unique to Montessori that give him the experience of working out relationships using real things in order to solidify his understanding. The child will not have this opportunity again outside of an early childhood Montessori classroom. Leadership Year students belong to a “Leadership Club” which enables them to identify, plan and execute projects to support their community. Leadership Year is an opportunity for growth, independence and responsibility. Let any teacher know if you have questions.

Parent Days
If any of you haven’t already been in for your own Parent Day, please talk to any teacher about scheduling a time right away. We look forward to seeing you!


 

Lower Elementary Lowdown

News from the Moose Tracks Class

January is a great month to re-evaluate your elementary student’s role in the family. By now even the youngest child should be in charge of keeping his room and bathroom clean, making the bed and helping with the laundry. As soon as the child is tall enough to reach the knobs on the washer and dryer he can take over his own laundry. Until then he can at least fold and put it away. Some families keep a small laundry basket for each child that is filled with dirty clothes by even the youngest child, delivered to the laundry room, then returned to the child’s room with clean laundry to be folded and put into drawers. The elementary-aged child often enjoys being in charge of this laundry detail for the rest of the family.

If you are having recurring problems with keeping possessions and toys picked up, evaluate your storage system. Baskets of toys ask to be dumped on the floor and then no one wants to pick them up. A simple shelving system can hold books, music, art supplies, games and smaller toys sorted into small bins. For instance, all space Legos in one bin, pirate Legos in another, and doll clothes in another so you never have to take out too much to find what you are looking for. If you have trouble with space, put away or give away some toys. The simpler the arrangement the easier it will be for your child to keep neat.

An elementary student should also have a few family responsibilities such as feeding the pets, taking out the trash or changing light bulbs. These jobs can be tied in with an allowance system so that the child can learn budgeting for things for which she wants to save up. If you decide to do this, figure out the amount of allowance you pay per job so that your child can conceivably save up for a big item in a reasonable amount of time, but so that some sacrifices will have to be made to that end.

Another consideration for an elementary child is giving him a night to cook for the whole family. He can start with simple meals like pasta and pizza. At this age children are eager to contribute to the family’s well-being and in only a few more years, when they become adolescents, they’ll rarely be home in time for dinner! So take advantage of teaching your child to cook while you’ve got him hanging out in the kitchen with you.

Monday – History
We will study biographies this month as collections of information recording history. Students will chose someone to research and prepare a presentation for the class including costume. This is the child’s chance to become an expert on a hero, an artist, an athlete or an intriguing historical figure. Look for more information to come home soon.

Tuesday – Geography
We study South America this month including endemic plants, animals and cultures. If you have any books, music, artifacts or a guest speaker from South America to share, please send them in. This unit will culminate in a South American Carnaval celebration at the end of the month.

Wednesday – Healthy Lifestyles
We will review healthy and peaceful living skills this month while planning adventures in Winter Sports such as snowshoeing and ice skating.

Thursday – Zoology
Zoology studies this month will build on our definition of an animal with a closer look at invertebrates. This will lead us into an introduction to vertebrates beginning with fishes.

Friday – Field Trips
Stay tuned for details…

Biographies
Look for details to come home the first week of January regarding this month’s book report project – biographies. Students will choose books about a person of interest to them, then become that person to present the book report in class. We look forward to the individual interpretations of famous figures.

Spanish
We continue to add to our vocabulary including simple conversational phrases. Try having a dinner conversation in Spanish or naming things you see while driving to school. Que es ese? Por favor pase el pan.

Parent Days
If anyone hasn’t yet been in for a special day in our class, please schedule your visit with Michelle or Amy right away. We look forward to seeing you!

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party_balloonsUpper Elementary Update       

                                News from the Owl’s Nest Class

January is a great month to re-evaluate your student’s role in the family. Upper El students should be in charge of making their bed, keeping their room and bathroom clean, helping with the laundry, setting and/or clearing the table and loading the dishwasher. As soon as they are tall enough to reach the knobs on the washer and dryer they can take over their own laundry and be in charge of helping younger sibling with this task. An Upper El child can also be in charge of cooking a meal once a week or so. Start with simple menus like soup and salad and build on this so by the time your child leaves for college he will have mastered a fairly broad repertoire of meals and not be the college kid who survives on Top Ramen!

If you are having recurring problems with keeping possessions  picked up, evaluate your storage system. Baskets of belongings ask to be dumped on the floor and then no one wants to pick them up. A simple shelving system can hold books, music, art supplies, games and puzzles. Baskets or bins are helpful for storing smaller items. For instance, all space Legos in one bin, pirate Legos in another, and sewing projects in another so you never have to take out too much to find what you are looking for. If you have trouble with space, put away or give away some items. The simpler the arrangement the easier it will be for your child to keep it neat.

An elementary student should also have a few family responsibilities such as caring for pets, taking out the trash/recycling/compost or changing light bulbs. These jobs can be tied in with an allowance system so that the child can learn budgeting for things for which she wants to save up. If you decide to do this, figure out the amount of allowance you pay per job so that your child can conceivably save up for a big item in a reasonable amount of time, but so that some sacrifices will have to be made to that end.

Monday – History
We will study our heroes this month, reading biographies as collections of information recording history. Students will chose someone to research and prepare a presentation for the class including costume. This is the child’s chance to become an expert on a hero, an artist, an athlete or an intriguing historical figure. Look for more information to come home soon.

Tuesday – Geography
We begin our study of South America this month extending through February. Our tour of South America includes endemic biomes and cultures, countries, arts and foods. If you have any books, music, artifacts or a guest speaker from South America to share, please send them in. We will lead the school in a South American Carnaval celebration at the end of the month.

Wednesday – Healthy Lifestyles
We will review healthy and peaceful life skills this month while planning a few outdoor adventures before our big trek to Teton Science School in February!

Thursday – Botany
Botany studies this month will build on our definition of a plant with a look at Flora of South America. This will lead us into the Fauna of South America in February.

Friday – Field Trips
We will start planning our field trip to Wyoming soon while also planning a few smaller outdoor expeditions in preparation.

Biographies
Look for details to come home the first week of January regarding this month’s book report project – biographies. Students will choose books about a person of interest to them, then become that person to present the book report in class. We look forward to the individual interpretations of famous figures.

Spanish
We continue to add to our vocabulary including simple conversational phrases. Try having a dinner conversation in Spanish or naming things you see while driving to school. Que es ese? Por favor pase el pan.

Parent Days
If anyone hasn’t yet been in for a special day in our class, please schedule your visit with Lori right away. We look forward to seeing you!

Coffee Cart
Thank you for your support of our Coffee Cart. This has been quite a successful venture helping to pay for our Teton Science School trip. Students have taken over management and you may notice they have expanded their offerings with mugs and baked goods. They are charting proceeds and planning for the next goal.  The Coffee Cart will be at the front office every M-Th from 8:30 – 9:00am. Thanks, Lisa, for your help!


Mark Your Calendar

January 2nd…School resumes. Yes, we know this is a holiday for some but we can’t wait to get back to school!

January 8th…Happy Birthday Denise!

January 10th…Montessori for Middle School presentation by Dr. Kevin Rathunde, 7:00pm, hosted by the Portnoy, Warburton and Samuelson Families. Contact duna@soaringwings.org for details.

January 13th…Half day before holiday, noon dismissal

January 16th…Martin Luther King, Jr Day, NO SCHOOL

January 27th…Noon dismissal – Utah Montessori Council Conference 27th – 28th 

January 31st…Re-enrollment due for 2017-2018

February 14th…Party Day! 
Sunflower and Tadpole toddler and Moose Tracks elementary schedules remain the same. Peacock, Turquoise and Cottonwood early childhood classes begin at 9:30. Toddlers do not exchange Valentines. We recommend helping your ec and elementary students to make Valentines for each classmate.  No names on ec Valentines, please.  No candy, nuts or sugar.

February 17th…Half day before holiday – noon dismissal

February 20th – 24th…Presidents Week Break – NO SCHOOL

 


SWPTSO News

Angel Trees – We extend a special thanks to Lori Whistler, Ari Alba, Cassie Vultaggio and Leah Linebarger for organizing our Angel Trees project. Donations resulted in a huge donation for Peace House. The Peace House volunteers were very thankful for your generosity, and said the response was much higher than expected. Thanks to everyone for your donations which made the holidays happier for families in need.

24th Soaring Wings Children’s Fair – This year’s Fair will be held Sunday, June 4th on the school grounds. We were overwhelmed with how perfectly the new Fair went last summer, raising the needed funds with about 1/4 the stress! Fair Chair Lina Singleton along with her team of volunteers have plans rolling along to do the same this year. Our “Pony Boys” who had been helping walk pony rides since they were 12 have finally all grown up, gotten married, had children, moved away, etc (*sigh*) so we will need a few more helpers this year. If you’d like to help or have ideas to share please contact Lina at lina@soaringwings.org.

 


School Bulletin Board

Congratulations! Sending bundles of warm hugs to Kennedy Schuhmacher and her family on the birth of little brother, Graham.

Well Done! Sending cheers and confetti to Leah Linebarger who finished her MAEd in Montessori at St. Catherine’s University in December. Her thesis was on normalizing through work – something we are all ready to do after a good break! Fun Fact: Our teachers have an average GPA of 3.6 with 76% holding or working on master’s degrees. Some of us never get tired of school, apparently!

Thank you! We are grateful to everyone who helped with our winter celebrations of Diwali, Hanukkah and Las Posadas especially Michele Kaufman and Rabbi Levinsky who brought Hanukkah music and light to our school. Maria Montessori hoped that if children learned to celebrate the diversity of cultures eventually war would become a thing of the past. Thank you with your help in meeting this goal, everyone. Namaste’. Shalom. Gracias.

Parent Days  By now all parents should have had an opportunity to visit your child’s class for your own special Parent Day. If not, please talk to your child’s teacher about scheduling a time. Grandparents are always welcome, too!

After School Classes The after school choices will go something like this for the New Year:

Monday Yoga with Randi Jo

Tuesday Art with Diana

Wednesday Super-amazing Science with Amy, Art with Diana

Thursday Kidz Dance Groove wth Donovan

Most classes are open to children age 3 and up and run from 3:00 – 4:00pm. Contact any teacher or duna@soaringwings.org for more information.

Idle Not    Bundle up on these cold days and please turn off your car while waiting at pick-up. Let’s make sure our Park City air stays clean for plenty of blue bird days to come.

Park Not in Drop-off/Pick-up Lanes  Remember that pick-up and drop-off times are staggered so unless it’s 3:15 there will likely be another wave of cars coming along soon. If you need to come in please park in the parking lot.

2017/2018 Enrollment  You will soon receive a re-enrollment invitation in the mail. If not, please contact bruce@soaringwings.org. The enrollment agreement and commitment fee are due back by January 31st for currently enrolled students and siblings. In February we will assign students to classes and send out confirmations. As of February 1st we will accept new student applications.

Snow Daze  On heavy snow mornings be sure to listen to KPCW, 91.9 FM. If the public schools close due to snow we will too. We can’t remember the last Snow Day, but we remain hopeful! If a storm forces us to close early we will send out an email/call to let you know.

Nothing is Certain Except Death and …  For your tax preparation pleasure, our EIN is #87-0495076.

 


Out of the Mouths…

“What do you want to do in the New Year?”

Asked of passers-by in the hall, roughly oldest to youngest.

Duna – Yoga every day.

Michelle – Dance at the beach.

Molly – Travel.

Shannon – Have fun!

Cassie – Travel.

Margot – Stop eating gummies!

Lily – I want to be able to do a back handspring.

Allie – Have a big slumber party!

Blake – Learn to surf and travel to two countries.

Maya – Take care of animals.

Gavin – Become a famous inventor.

Taryn – Be a champion horse rider.

Jackson – Watch Star Wars 8.

Malia – Hang out with my grandma.

Aster – Give presents to kids who don’t have toys.

Quinn – Color.

Sabrina – Hang out with my mom and my cat.

Mara – Happy New Year!

Indeed – Happy New Year!

 

Warburton Photography