Why I Love Montessori by Gina Abegg, A.M.S., Co-Director
Children and Service
Montessori-raised children grow up with a special sense of community. This starts with appreciation of their place in the home and school and grows into a respect for meeting their own needs and also caring about the needs of other people, plants and animals, and evolving into a true sense of earth stewardship.
Many everyday lessons are taught through grace and courtesy lessons, where children learn to use manners, move without hurting others, speak in a respectful tone, etc. Values such as kindness, fairness, and respect for differences are integrated into practical living activities as well, where children learn to create community meals, be responsible for their own work, help younger students, tend gardens, care for classroom animals, tweeze sunflower seeds for the winter birds, etc. The Golden Rule, taught here as Treat Others as You Would Like to Be Treated is a regular reminder of the way we choose to live together. Little acts of kindness become habits when the opportunities are regularly there and holidays give us the chance to give gifts, decorate, and send cards, as well.
A wonderful extension of this is the opportunity to do service to those in our greater community. This December there are two great opportunities for the children to be kind to others. The children prepared gift-giving ornaments for our Giving Tree. Starting December 3, families had the opportunity to select a gift request for a parent or child from the Denver Safe House. When children help to pick out the gift or give something they no longer need to help others, it is an opportunity to reinforce both generosity and gratitude. We learn to be grateful not only for what we have but also for our ability to share. Our families have been incredibly generous.
On Dec. 18, the primary children, under the guidance of Julie Robuck, our music teacher, will be sharing holiday music with elders at the Victorian House, an activity we hope to repeat through the year.
This year, we will be collecting canned goods to contribute to the Parker Task Force food bank in March, to remind the children to think of others throughout the year, not just at holidays. In the spring as we recycle, compost and care for our gardens and share food grown, we will have the opportunity to practice service to the earth.
by Gina Abegg, A.M.S., Co-Director at Parker Montessori
- Collect food for food shelf (more than just at Thanksgiving).
- Create outreach programs for people in difficulty, such as homeless, elderly.
- Recognize birthdays, illnesses, weddings, etc. with art projects such as decorating aprons, bags, banners.
- Make baby quilts or other gift for new arrivals.
- Make food for someone in need, having an operation or new baby, poss. coordinate with other families by calendar.
- Connect to elderly shelter, visits, singing, gifts.
- Adopt individual grandparents at senior center.
- Volunteer for a food kitchen like V.O.A..
- Share food with friends and family .
- Crush cracker scraps for birds.
- Give back rubs (have rollers in basket).
- Make decorations for all holidays and special occasions, decorate table cloths, arrange flowers, set tables, make place cards.
- Make presents, cards (supplies always out).
- Crush cans
Charitable Activities for Different Seasons
- Put out jack-o-lantern with seeds in the garden for little creatures to live in through the winter.
- Rake leaves for elderly on block.
- Send home boxes for UNICEF collection, count money (October).
- Rake leaves in yard into pumpkin bags in October, stomp on, put on garden in November.
- Harvest sunflower seeds in fall and tweeze for birds.
- Bring in outgrown clothing. Make pretend friends with newspaper and pumpkin heads for Halloween. Then donate to homeless shelter.
- Prepare group meals or food gifts for holidays.
- Collect mittens for homeless shelter children.
- Coordinate with community adopt a family for holiday gifts
- Make valentines for elderly, family, friends who have moved, volunteers, etc.
- Feed birds with pine cone, rice cake, cookie cutter toast feeders. Use sesame butter if peanut free.
Recycle and buy plants with profits.
Care for gardens.
Clean up trash around neighborhood.
Set out ribbons, yarn, and cotton for birds to make nests.
Raise butterflies and release.
Share harvest from garden with neighbors.
Keep bird feeders and squirrel feeders full.
Set up water sources for animals.
Compost for garden.
Wash a friend’s feet.
Work the compost, feed the worms
Recruit members of the Lost Worms and Ladybug club to relocate creatures found on sidewalks into gardens.
Arrange flowers from family gardens, donations.
Plant bushes with berries for birds and butterfly attracting plants.
What a joy it was to watch our children parade through the school in their costumes!
Wednesday, October 31, we celebrated the season with our annual Fall Festival. The children, parents and staff came together as a community for a day of fun and reverie. The morning began with Ms. Gina leading the children through the halls of Parker Montessori to display their costumes for all to see. We then gathered on our beautiful playground to have an all-school line time. Songs were sung and groups of children were called to the center of the circle to show off their outfits. Then, the children went back to their individual classrooms for crafts and other fun activities.
We are so thankful to have had so much parent participation at this event! Our sidewalk area on the playground was packed with families. Many of our parents stayed to help our teachers with preschool age-appropriate crafts for the children. We could not have had such a successful festival without the help of our outstanding parent community. Thank you!
Just like adults, children perform their best when they eat a healthy, balanced diet. We would like to share with you some information excerpted from www.healthychildren.org about the best foods to help fuel our children for success. Educating our children about food is very important and is a practical life skill that will help them to learn care of self.
Eating for Good Health
“Consistently good nutrition, meal after meal, is a foundation for a healthy childhood.
In preparing foods high in nutritional value, build the family meals around selections like:
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Whole-graincereals and bread
Low-fat or nonfat dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheeses
Lean and skinless meats including chicken, turkey, fish, and lean hamburger
The basics of good nutrition really aren’t that complicated. Portion sizes at this age should be less than that of an adult-sized serving.
During the middle years of childhood, there are plenty of obstacles that can trip up your well-intentioned efforts at keeping your family eating right. In the mornings, as you’re rushing to get your child off to school, are there days when he doesn’t have the time to sit down for a nourishing breakfast?
As a parent, part of your responsibility is to find solutions for any stumbling blocks that arise. Pack a healthy lunch for your child each day. You might prepare a turkey sandwich on multigrain or pita bread. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is fine, too. Add a piece of fruit to your child’s lunch sack and perhaps a bag of pretzels. Pack a small water bottle for him.
Also remember that you’re a role model in this process, so make healthy food choices for yourself as well as the rest of the family. Even though children are busier than ever, make an effort to find time for family meals as often as possible. When all of you sit down at the dining room table together, it’s a perfect opportunity for every family member to describe his or her day and the family to grow closer.”
If you would like to read the entirety of this article, as well as information on many subjects to keep your children healthy, please visit HealthyChildren.org.
Invite your child to be a part of the meal-making process. Children are able to set the table, pack a lunch box and even help with some of the cooking or preparation. If they have taken part in these processes, they will feel so proud of the accomplishment and might also be willing to try some new foods!
Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence. – Dr. Maria Montessori
Our Fall Gardening Week was at the end of last month. Each class has a designated garden area outside on our playground. This event gives students the opportunity to learn about gardening, as well as to help beautify their outdoor environment. We asked that the students bring mums and bulbs to plant . The mums will look beautiful in their classroom gardens now and the bulbs will let the students see the results of their hard work in the Spring. Parents were invited to join their child’s class for planting. This is a wonderful time for parents to connect with their child’s teacher, as well as other parents, and strengthen our school community.
Gardening, especially at this young age, allows the children to learn to care for their environment. They get to be hands-on and learn the proper seasons for planting specific flowers. This helps to make our playground an outdoor classroom and leads our students toward independence in caring for their own gardens. We encourage our children to gain an appreciation for the world around them by experiencing firsthand the cycles of nature and how they relate to the seasons they observe around them.
“The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.” — Dr. Maria Montessori
Below you will find the year-long goals for our Peace Education program in a more detailed format than was included in the September Office Newsletter. We’re really excited to be working together as a community to instill peaceful values into our school.
To give strength to the teachers who are already teaching these lessons on a daily basis, Gina Abegg, co-director, will be visiting the Pre-Primary and Primary classes through the school year to share stories, songs, rituals, charitable outreach, and art projects that reinforce peaceful values.
Peace Education Pre-Primary and Primary Curriculum: Parker Montessori
facilitator: Gina Abegg, A.M.S.
- A. August, September and October: Respecting Oneself and Othersoverview of peaceful values, self and other awareness, creating a community of respect, reinforcing basic ground rules and grace and courtesy, basic conflict resolution, naming feelings and needs, making requests
Personal Awareness: uniqueness, silence, awareness self with others in space, love lights, feelings (include fear/courage-Halloween)
Community Awareness: Everyone has right to get needs met, reinforcing grace and courtesy and ground rules from respect
- B. November and December: “Gratitude and Compassion”Gratitude: increasing awareness of the abundance of gifts we receive, using please and thank-you,
Compassion: engaging in charitable service, giving gifts, holiday connections
(Holidays: Thanksgiving , Christmas , others celebrated by families )
- C. January and February: Respecting and Celebrating Differencescelebration of one another similarities and differences , qualities of a friend, conflict resolution revisited from different needs view, saying no to unkindness,
(Holidays: Martin Luther King Day*, Presidents Day, Valentine’s Day, Friendship Day )
- March: Honesty and ResponsibilityMaking value based choices, practicing self-discipline and determination to accomplish a goal, taking responsibility for actions
(Holidays: St. Patrick’s Day)
- April and May: Respect for the Earthrecycling, composting, tending the garden, learning about the plants, responsibility for care, connection with all life growing
(Holidays: Easter, Earth Day, Graduation, Growing Ceremony )
- June and July: “Respect for the Life of Plants and Animals”fundamental needs of all living things, interdependence, cycles of nature, gardening
(Holiday: Independence Day)
“If we want peace, we must begin with the children.” — Dr. Maria Montessori
Thanks to our amazing staff and incredible parent community, our Back To School Night on September 6th was a huge success! We had a great turnout and were able to communicate some important information to our families.
First, we spoke to our parents about some of the exciting programs going on in our school. We discussed the option of a Traditional or Year Round calendar, as well as the opportunity for our half day students to stay for lunch. Our Traditional calendar students will have child care available to them during breaks on an as needed basis if they do not choose the Year Round calendar. We spoke about our Specials Classes for our Primary students: Music and P.E for 3+ day students and Spanish for 5 day students. We talked about and met some of the instructors for our After School Enrichment programs: Art, Soccer, Dance and Music. Ms. Gina, our co-director, also talked to our parents about our Peace Education curriculum. Lastly, we spoke about our community resources with our liason, Carol Unwin, from the Parker Library.
Our parents were then invited to go their child’s classroom for a special time with their teachers. The teachers spoke to our parents about our year-long Biome study, the Montessori method and curriculum for the year. Our parents were able to see the beauty and purpose of the prepared environment and the five areas of the Montessori classroom: practical life, sensorial, math, language and culture (science and geography).
Being able to invite our parents into the classroom is a wonderful way to show our families that Parker Montessori is so much more than a daycare, it truly is a school. The Montessori philosophy educates the whole child and encourages independence. When the parents visit the classrooms, these goals, as well as how they are achieved, become more concrete in their minds.
Parent questions are always welcome and encouraged, both at these events and every day. We will be having “Parent Education” events throughout the year, including a Parent Volunteer Training this month and a “Montessori in The Home” class in October. We look forward to connecting with our parents and exploring the Montessori philosophy together.
Parents were also invited to sign up for various all-school volunteer opportunities that will be available this school year. Parker Montessori really strives to make our school a community, which is why we encourage parent involvement. For more information about these opportunities, please read the monthly office and teacher newsletters. You are also always welcome to contact the front office at 303-841-4325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The first duty of an education is to stir up life, but leave it free to develop.” — Dr. Maria Montessori
“When I took our first tour of PMEI and we met Anitha and saw the school, I was struck with the visceral parental feeling of ‘this is something I must give to my child.’ I was so glad to know that we are putting her in the hands of good people whose business decisions still take the well-being of a child as the highest priority.” — Brian, former PMEI parent