The Albrook School--Montessori at its best
The Albrook School--The Albrook School--Montessori at its best

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, May 23
Through
Friday, May 25
Frost Valley YMCA Camp
Elementary Students
Monday, May 28
School Closed
Memorial Day
Friday, June 1
Early Dismissal
11:30 - 11:45am
Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
Thursday, June 7
Last day of class for Preschool
and Stepping Stones students
Friday, June 8
Kindergarten Celebration 9:30am
Expanded Care for Preschool
and Kindergarten
Monday, June 11
through June 15
Expanded Care for Preschool
and Kindergarten
Monday, June 18
Summer Camp Begins
(Summer Session 1)
Wednesday, June 20
Last day of class for
Elementary students
12:15pm Dismissal

Albrook News

The Elementary Presents Annie

By Mrs. Lipman

On April 13th, the elementary performed the well-loved musical, Annie. The production was the culmination of several months of hard work on the part of students, staff, and parents. Each child performed his or her role with great poise and enthusiasm, and the excitement was palpable on the night of the show. It was wonderful to watch each child grow into his or her role throughout the rehearsal process and particularly delightful to witness the empathy and respect shown by the performers to each other backstage.

We were especially fortunate this year to have Albrook parents share their professional arts experience with our students. Ron and Barbra Sharpe were kind enough to spend an afternoon sharing their vocal and theatrical talents, coaching our performers on their solos. We were also incredibly lucky to have the talented drummer and preschool parent, Jimmi Kane, provide percussion for the show.

In addition to the fabulous performances, we also had many wonderful technical elements. We were very excited to use our digital backdrop for this elementary play. Under the guidance of scenery chairs, Lynda Tomaru and Jessica Koster, the upper elementary students created designs on paper that were then projected as backdrops for the performance. The scenery committee also spent long hours creating the set for the show. TJ Schock created a new and improved method of attaching scenery to our frequently used blocks, making scene changes much easier for our backstage crew. A special highlight this year was the auction of scenery pieces from the show's Times Square scene directed by Mrs. Tomaru. Funds from this auction will be put toward the Somerset County Food Bank's backpack program for next year's Spirit Day. From the large number of props organized by Mrs. Yamawaki and Mrs. DeBue, to the beautiful costumes created by Nancy Greb, to the elaborate playbill designed by Marge Majkowski and Sunny Lu, each piece was superb. We are truly grateful to all who participated in making this performance such a success!

"As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has--or ever will have--something inside that is unique to all time. It's our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression."

Respect and Empathy in Lower Elementary

by Ms. Francese

Dr. Montessori described the stages of growth in children as planes of development, each with its own unique fundamental characteristics of "normalization". The elementary child constitutes the second plane of development which is characterized by a shift from the sensorial to the abstract, an increased interest in and capacity for intellectual pursuits, and a desire for sociability and the moral aspects of life. Montessori wrote, "Education must take advantage of the value of the hidden instincts that guide man as he builds his own life. Powerful among these instinctsis the social drive. It has been our experience that if the child and the adolescent do not have a chance to engage in a true social life, they do not develop a sense of discipline and morality".

Elementary aged children have a keen interest in their own lives as well as the lives of others. They now embrace a larger community of people and become interested in the morality of actions as evidenced by a growing interest in rules and the notion of "fairness". Children at this stage of development continually question what is right and wrong. They possess a desire to use their developing powers of reason to formulate their own ideas about right and wrong. As a result, children look to the adults in their lives for validation and verification of the boundaries of behaviors to confirm/reaffirm that which is acceptable. Their interest in judging behaviors and ideals then extends to an interest in justice and compassion for others.

Anyone who has ever spent time in an elementary classroom has observed obvious evidence of this social awareness. The room is often abuzz with conversation among the children as they interact with one another throughout the day. As teachers, we carefully plan the lessons and activities for the children, including those that address their newly developing moral compass. While our peace curriculum has been firmly established as an integral part of our classroom experiences, our annual school goals are often interwoven into our peace exercises. This year's goal of empathy and respect has particular importance. Our time together often presents us with many "teachable moments", but there are times when a concept is presented for consideration. In those cases, we often use literature to help us introduce a topic or provide a springboard for discussion.

During one of our more recent peace circle meetings, the children gathered to participate in an activity designed to help them understand the concepts of equality (the quality or state of being equal or the same) and equity (a justice according to natural law or right, specifically freedom from bias or favoritism). As the children sat in a circle, they were asked to remove one shoe and place it into a basket. We spoke about how they were now in need of something; a shoe, with eyes closed, each child reached into the basket to retrieve a shoe, without peeking. Of course no one pulled out the shoe they needed; either it didn't fit, it was for the opposite foot, or both. The children realized that although they each got a shoe, it was not the right one. After exchanging shoes to find the one that each child needed, we discussed that equality is giving everyone a shoe that fits.

Kindergarten Science Experiments

The kindergarten children have enjoyed their weekly science experiments. The joy on their faces when their friends and their families share different science concepts such as: density, the way sound travels, and various chemical reactions sparks the curious scientist inside each child.

Peace

by Ms. MacNeill

"Peace is what every human being is craving for, and it can be brought about by humanity through the child." Dr. Maria Montessori.

Students, teachers, administrators, and allies were invited to support a nationwide walkout on the morning of March 14, for seventeen minutes to honor the seventeen lives lost in a school shooting in Florida on February 14 of this year.

Our school community gathered together that morning in spirit and song with a mission of peace in our hearts. Our school community showed support for all students across America in Albers Hall by observing a minute of silence.

Aidan Vineis, one of our upper elementary students, read a beautiful book If Peace is… by Jane Baskwill to help inspire us all to be more peaceful. The story echoed the importance for all of us to find our own ways to love, protect and care for each other.

The students had an opportunity to share their thoughts on how to make the world a more peaceful place, then they joined together to sing a collection of peace songs guided by Mrs. Marvi.

After hearing their thoughts, we are confident that Albrook's students will leave a positive mark on the world. Within our walls, it was easy to observe how Dr. Montessori came to the conclusion that "Within the child lies the fate of the future."

Funds Raised for Backpack Program

Mrs. Tomaru had a great idea for the scenery pieces from the play, Annie. She and Ms. Koster held a silent auction in the reception room for each of the special scenery pieces created by the students and the scenery committee under Mrs. Tomaru and Ms. Koster's direction. The parents were very supportive and the silent bids raised $505. toward next year's backpack program.

In the past, the Girl Scout troop led by Mrs. Tomaru, donated funds toward the program to supplement the food brought in by the students. Since this is the last year they were able to add to our program, Mrs. Tomaru created a new way to supplement. Many thanks to all the bidding parents for a good cause.

Former Student and Board Member is new
Assistant Attorney General of New Jersey

It is always a pleasure to hear how well our former students are doing. At last night's Albrook Board Meeting, we were delighted to hear that my former student, Jeremy Hollander, will start his new position (with a very long title) at the end of the month as the Assistant Attorney General of the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Group in the Division of Law for the State Attorney General.

Upper Elementary Reflections of MMUN

gathered by Ms. Francese

Clara-My favorite part of my MMUN experience was the social night. Everyone that participated gathered for a big party, just like DJ night. I made a new friend from China.

Joshua-The committee room was a highlight for me. That was where I presented my project to the other delegates. It helped me with my public speaking. I made a friend that I am still in touch with.

Aidan-I really enjoyed learning about how a committee session and the UN works. The experience of being in the UN building and participating in a general assembly meeting was very informative and interesting.

Chloe-I liked the cultural exchange night. I enjoyed watching people from different countries perform. I also liked looking at everyone's posters.

Darya-I liked participating in the MMUN project because I enjoyed speaking at the UN. Being chosen to speak in the UN building was a delight for me because it was my first and only time doing it. Dancing at the social night was fun. I liked making new friends in the general assembly committee rooms. I hope to do it again next year.

Carly-Being in the UN building and experiencing cultural night was cool. I liked seeing all of the people perform. Preparing for the event was difficult, but I learned a lot.

Miya-I enjoyed going to the UN building and hearing everyone's resolutions and collaborating with them on the final resolution. Being in New York City was exciting.

Matthew-The best part of MMUN was meeting with all of the other kids and discussing resolutions.

Kyle-I liked being in the UN building and having the chance to go there. I liked hearing the head of the UN speak.

Duncan-I liked being in the UN building and sitting in the seats of the real ambassadors. I also liked talking and collaborating with people from other countries.

Tommy-I enjoyed representing Australia and creating a resolution with people from other countries.

Alumni Focus: The Casamassina Family

by Mrs. Michelle Casamassina

I had done a great deal of research on Maria Montessori, and believed that her teaching method was something we wanted to expose our daughter to. The practical life and building block aspects made so much sense for educating a small child. We had only moved to the area a few months before Abby joined Albrook. A friend had mentioned the school during a get together, and once I did some research, I wanted to find out more. As soon as we visited the school, we knew we wanted to be there!

Even as a baby, Abby showed she was a child that learned through exposure to new things and had a huge curiosity of all her surroundings. Albrook and its staff provided this type of environment for a child to explore within boundaries. Boundaries that helped guide, but not restrict. The expectations placed on the children during Stepping Stones was a process that helped them reach their own accomplishments. They were exposed to the concepts of responsibility and respect so early that it naturally became the norm.

Abby completed 5th grade at Albrook. We only moved her prior to completing her 6th year because the school for her future, Kent Place, had entries at that level.

Albrook prepared Abby to feel comfortable going into almost any situation. She was never afraid to make new friends, and always felt confident at being herself, a strong girl with the right level of self-confidence. Additionally, she excelled on her entrance exams and has just grown from there in her academics. We contribute this preparedness to her Albrook experience.

There are soooo many special memories that it is hard to choose even a few!

  • Our GS troop planted a peach tree in Ms. Albers' yard
  • Abby played the bird lady in Mary Poppins
  • Ms. Yamawaki found a green lump of a meatloaf we left in the oven when cooking with the GS for charity
  • Abby's first day of Stepping Stones and first day of Kindergarten.

Abby, my husband and I, all made life-long friends through Albrook. Abby keeps in touch regularly with most of her upper El class actually, and often sees them at various sporting events. Even our Girl Scout troop that was started at Albrook during Kindergarten is still a part of our lives!

April's Discipline Tool Kit

  • Give your full attention to each member of the family sometime each day (including your spouse and yourself). Go for a walk, following your child's pace and interests.
  • Listen to your child, giving eye contact and full attention.
  • Reflect feeling expressed "it sounds like you are really frustrated/angry/disappointed! Your wanted ______!"
  • Include, rather than exclude, your child. Let the child be a part of your activities. Let him scrub potatosed, wash the dishes, and unpack the groceries. Include her in your hobbies and your work.

Boot Day in the Van Gogh class

by Mrs. Delia and Mrs. Fritsch

The Van Gogh class has had a wonderful time during their monthly boot day trips to Harry Dunham Park. In March, we were lucky enough to have experienced newly fallen snow in the woods and on the playing fields. We traversed mountains of snow, made our own paths and looked for prints in the snow. The children found a great many different sized dog tracks, deer tracks and bird tracks as well as human tracks. As we made our hike to the river, we observed that it was no longer frozen but had a lot of running water this time. We gave our grandfather tree another hug and finished our boot day journey with some free play and rolling down the snow covered hills. A fun morning was had by the Van Gogh class.

Spring at Albrook

by Mrs. Marvi

Spring has finally arrived and the Albrook School is in bloom. Many varieties of daffodils and narcissus are gracing the campus. It's a delight to observe the excitement of the children as they eagerly examine the fruits of their fall labors of bulb planting. The children planted various hyacinths as well as tulips and still more daffodil species which added depth to their numbers.

Throughout the school, the children have been busy planting a variety of flower and herb seeds, all the while singing our many songs for spring which include ' The Earth is Waking Up!'. It's safe to say that botanical studies are in full swing as we study the life cycle of a seed and the parts of various plants as well as the changes that spring brings to the trees that surround us.

Once again we are pleased to see our preschool classrooms planting vegetables in Earth Boxes. These specialized planters were given to Albrook last year as part of a grant from the Rutgers Cooperative Community Outreach Program. This was in recognition of the Montessori curriculum's concentration on environmental studies and commitment to encouraging stewardship of the environment as well its fostering of nutritional eating habits and concepts of where our food actually comes from.

Great excitement is in evidence as the children water the boxes and watch for signs of germination! We look forward to observing the rapid growth of our peas and radishes which are cold weather tolerant. They will be harvested in just a few weeks. Many tasting activities will follow!

Look out for future updates on The Children's Garden as well as The Stepping Stones Edible Garden.

The Expanded Day Program

by Mrs. Flaherty

One of the most distinctive features of human beings is the development of social skills. Children usually like to spend most of their time in the company of their peers. In our Montessori expanded care program, we offer two connected rooms, one for ages 3 and 4, and the other for ages 5 to 12. As they interact and socialize with children from different developmental stages, they have the opportunity to help each other grow.

The highlights of our Montessori program distinguish us from other schools. It is a safe environment to grow and learn, enjoying freedom within limits of the classroom. As educators, we must emphasize the experience of love, respect, and care to create a better future for this world.

Expanded calendar at Albrook is a special place where students not only finish their weekly homework, but also find time to create, design, write, dream, laugh, and above all, feel safe and at home.

APA Spring Event "Heart and Sole"

by Mrs. Marshall

2018 Spring Event

The Albrook School's Spring Event was a wonderful evening when parents, faculty, alumni, and friends of the Albrook family gathered to celebrate together. Upon entry, guests were greeted by a live pianist in the lobby and entered the cocktail hour where there were many fun ways to contribute to the fundraising efforts of the evening. Boot Bags, individually handmade with love by each student, were available for purchase. The first-ever Wine Wall gave guests a chance to take home a mystery bottle of wine. Many people bought tickets and tried their luck at raffle baskets with a huge variety of prizes. And valuable Silent Auction items as well as Priceless Gift donations from our teachers were up for bid as well.

Marking the 30th anniversary of the school opening at its current Somerville Road location, the formal program in the Ball Room opened with a beautiful slideshow entitled "A Walk Down Memory Lane," flawlessly produced by Lynda Tomaru. We then enjoyed an amazing performance by Albrook parents and Broadway stars, Ron Sharpe and Barbra Russell-Sharpe, and their daughter Samantha Sharpe. We were brought to our feet applauding their amazing talent. After we enjoyed a delicious dinner buffet, we were treated to an exciting live auction led by the ever-talented Mrs. Tarangul, where parents enjoyed the priceless beautiful masterpieces created by the students. The live portion concluded with "Keep It Up", when guests were encouraged to keep up their paddles to help the school "keep it up." Finally, we got on the dance floor to enjoy music by Not Enough Jeffs, a fabulous live band. The night out seemed to be especially welcome after a week of winter storms and power outages that kept many of us bundled up in our homes.

Many, many other people worked so hard to put together the Spring Event. It really was an incredible effort of everyone coming together, in emergency situations in some cases. We'd like to extend a big thank you to everyone who contributed to the event's success, including our generous sponsors, donors, guests, our planning and set-up committees, and the administration, teachers, and staff, all of whom worked tirelessly to put on the fabulous event and raise valuable funds for our school. This all truly represents the heart and soul of The Albrook School.

Nurturing Empathy

by Mrs. Laidlaw and Mrs. Comperiati

The Homer Room has worked throughout this school year to emphasize Albrook's 2017-18 strategic goal "to foster and nurture Empathy and Respect" within each of its students. Ongoing lessons continue to be presented, providing children with the language to use to help encourage new friendships, solve conflicts, and embrace the opinions and feelings of others. Each child is led, by repeated modeling and example, to recognize not only personal feelings, but those of others as well. Eventually, with time and maturity, the hope is that this empathetic level of respect for one another will be reflected in all of their relationships; that it becomes second nature within each of them.

We can honestly report that, as a result of these efforts, Homer Room students definitely appear to have gained a greater awareness of one another's feelings. They now readily take on the role of coming to the assistance of classmates needing help, and rush to comfort and "soothe" one who is in any way troubled. We have also experienced the joy of watching friendships and bonding relationships develop within the family community of our classroom.

With all of this in mind, we recently asked each Homer Room child (individually and away from the influence of others) the following question: "How could you help someone who is feeling sad or unhappy feel better?"

Here (in alphabetical order) are the responses:
Aaron– If someone makes a big mess, I will help them clean up.
Adriana – If they don't know what to do I could help them.
Brantley – I'd give them a hug and say I'm sorry.
Chelsea – I would do coloring work with them.
Cole – I'd help them clean up.
Dev – I could give them a hug.
Dhruv – I'd give them snack.
Dylan – If someone was sad I would help do the work for them.
Julia– I'd give them water.
Max – I'd get them a tissue.
Nina– I could hug someone.
Riley – If two friends want to do the same work, I would help one find another work to do.
Sabrina – I'd give them a hug.
Sattva – I would work with a friend who didn't have someone to work with.
Theo– I could help them zipper their coat.
Todd– I see a friend sitting alone, I ask them to join me.
Yvonne – Give a hug and tell them it's going to be okay.

Yes, Yvonne, we agree… with the fostering of empathy and respect in our future leaders (and with lots of hugs), it is all "going to be okay."

Star Lab Returns to Albrook

by Mrs. Comperiati & Mrs. Laidlaw

star lab

During the week of March 5th, Albrook preschool students were invited to explore space through Star Lab, a portable planetarium. It was loaned to us from Raritan Valley Community College and set up in Albers Hall. Mrs. Tarangul, trained in a special session at RVCC, was our students' teacher guide.

This exploration into our galaxy began, for the Homer Room (pictured) and all preschoolers, with an introduction to the concept of how very small planet Earth is in comparison to our galaxy, and to the universe as a whole. The children also learned that every day more and more knowledge is being gained by scientists about space; that what we now realize is actually how little we know. Maybe one or more of our Albrook students will become a scientist or astronaut, helping the world to learn more!

Once inside Star Lab, lights were dimmed as it functions as a planetarium. Students were introduced to constellations and given special instructions on how to locate the Big Dipper in the night sky, using the North Star (Polaris) as a starting point. They were then shown the constellation known as Orion the Hunter, and Ursula Major and Minor were also pointed out. Children laughed at its name when introduced to "Beetle Juice", also known as "the red star". Students were both amazed and fascinated to learn the origin of constellations… that long ago people did not have IPads, or radios, or books, or television, or movies to provide entertainment. They instead turned to the night sky and, using their imaginations, "connected the dots" of the stars to create interesting creatures and characters, which they then made up exciting stories about.

Afternoon Pre-Kindergarteners made a second visit to Star Lab on March 6th. This time when the night sky appeared overhead, the children made "visits" to each of the nine planets that they recently have learned so much about. The Milky Way and the Asteroid Belt were also viewed and discussed. As one child very aptly put it upon exiting, "Star Lab is really fun! Can we go again?"

Highlights from the NJMAC Conference

The teachers thank the APA for raising funds to enable all of them to attend the NJMAC conference this month. Several of their comments follow.

From the Preschool teachers:

Mrs. Murphy related that "the NJMAC's keynote session, presented by Dr. Amanda W. Harrist, Ph.D. and Ms. Terry Varnell, titled 'Increasing Acceptance Among Schoolchildren: We are Peacemakers Making Peacemakers', and based on the documentary film, REJECT, complimented our theme of Empathy and Respect. The movie explored the social, physical and emotional effects of being rejected on children. The keynote speakers focused on how teachers can facilitate and encourage acceptance in the classroom. They also discussed how being accepted or rejected can impact a child's behavior. I found their recommendations helpful and often use the phrase they suggested "You can't say you can't play" if a child is being excluded."

This year's NJMAC conference was, for Mrs. Laidlaw, both energizing and renewing. "I was inspired with new ideas in both of the workshops which I attended. The first was entitled "Peace through Movement", and was led mainly by an Occupational Therapist familiar with Montessori materials. She provided new and innovative possibilities for using our classroom materials to specifically develop and refine motor skills. My second workshop was titled, "Developing Empathy in the Young Child". I was delighted to find that most of the suggested classroom lessons and activities involved age-appropriate books, several of which we already have in Albrook's library. One fun activity from this workshop has already been successfully experienced in the Homer classroom!"

Mrs. Tarangul and Ms. Yamawaki took advantage of a morning workshop, "Team Teaching: Eight Essential Elements of a Harmonious Team". "The presenter, Uniit Carruyo, challenged the participants to examine their priorities in order to create and to maintain a harmonious classroom environment. This must be why the Degas class has been running so smoothly!"

From the O'Keeffe teachers, Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Dignam: "We appreciated the Keynote presentation 'Increasing Acceptance among School Children'. The keynote addressed how important it is for children to be inclusive in the class and on the playground. Even though we do this at Albrook, we were reminded how vital it is to nurture and role play those social interactions."

Mrs. Comperiati added: "This year I chose a workshop that highlighted different art activities. The ideas for our art area have been put together, and are being enjoyed by many in the class. As always, participating in the NJMAC conference is inspirational."

From the elementary classes:

Ms. Francese felt that "the NJMAC conference never disappoints in that it reliably provides inspiration and insightful commentary on a variety of topics. The keynote speakers are always a highlight and this year did not disappoint. Amanda Harrist and Terry Varnell spoke about the effects of social rejection on young children. They described anecdotal classroom experience, brain research, and Vivian Gussin Paley's classroom experiment detailed in her book You Can't Say You Can't Play. I was surprised to learn that research shows that social rejection is perceived by the brain the same way as physical pain."

Ms. Baird added: "I am so grateful to have been able to attend NJMAC, which is always a wonderful opportunity to see colleagues and share ideas and information. The conference was a great chance to get reinvigorated for the classroom. We found some new materials for the lower elementary that the children have already begun to use. Most importantly, the conference keynote speakers offered a moving and vivid reminder of how important our peace curriculum is for each individual. I left the conference with a renewed dedication to promoting peaceful interactions every day in order to build community and support each child."

Harlem Renaissance

by Ms.Francese

Che' brought his parents to school on Wednesday, February 28 for a special cultural presentation on the Harlem Renaissance. This movement, considered to be a rebirth of African American arts, originated in New York City's Harlem and spanned the 1920s and 1930s. The children gathered together in the Yeats classroom to learn about some of the people that made this movement so uniquely special. Mr. and Mrs. Tafari showed us video images of Cab Calloway scat singing and a wonderful tap dancing sequence of the Nicholas brothers from the film "Stormy Weather". Lastly, we looked at images of lifestyle collage artist Romare Bearden's works. The children then enjoyed creating their own original collages in the style of Bearden. Thank you to Che' and his parents for a fun and informative presentation.

Learn more about the Harlem Renaissance

A new African-American Identity: The Harlem Renaissance
From The National Museum of African-American
History & Culture
https://nmaahc.si.edu/blog-post/new-african-american-identity-harlem-renaissance

Poets of the Harlem Renaissance
From the Academy of National Poets
https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poets?field_school_movement_tid=445

Black Writers during the Harlem Renaissance
From ArtsEdge, Kennedy Center
http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/interactives/harlem/themes/black_writers.html

Artists of the Harlem Renaissance
From The Smithsonian
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/blogs/archives-american-art/2018/02/27/artists-harlem-renaissance/

An Archive of Virtual Harlem
From Scalar
http://scalar.usc.edu/works/harlem-renaissance/harlem-renaissance-summary

Montessori Model UN

mmun

On March 14, 2018, fifteen Upper Elementary students and ten adults boarded the bus and cars for the MMUN conference. Beginning in September, the students had spent a great deal of time each Tuesday working on Opening Speeches, Country Displays, and Position Papers for their individual countries. Now that the big day had come, you could almost feel the excitement in the air.

The first three days were spent at the Marriott Marquis in New York City with some of Albrook's students carrying their nation's flag in the first evening flag ceremony where over 2,000 students gathered from around the world. Young students from every continent joined students from across the United States in this wonderful event.

The second evening, The Albrook School was chosen to present at the cultural entertainment exchange and sang a song from last year's play, "Learn about the USA", on a huge stage with three large television screens for all the audience to observe.

On the second and third days, pairs of our students gathered in each of the five groups of 60-80 to present their opening speeches and convince the rest of the represented countries to come up with resolutions to solve their countries' given problems in the same way that the United Nations does when they meet. Each student had to dress in formal dress with the boys in jackets and ties and the girls in suits or business dresses. The parents observing were all very proud of the way the students stood up for their countries and interacted politely with other students.

After two very full days of deliberations, the students voted for peers to represent and speak for their group. Darya Tahmasebi was chosen to speak for her group at the United Nations building. All MMUN students gathered on Saturday to sit in the seats of the UN delegates and announce their resolutions. The parents sat in the rear seats of the UN to observe the proceedings.

It was a rigorous four days, but the children managed to muster up the excitement to join the thousands at the St. Patricks' Day parade.

We'd like to thank Mrs. Majkowski and Mrs. Lucid for dedicating such a tremendous amount of time to take the training and supervise the weekly meetings that prepared the students for this conference. We'd also like to thank Mrs. Tomaru and all the staff, parents and students who helped in all the fundraising events that helped enable the students to have this unforgettable experience.

Spring Equinox

by Mrs. Delia and Mrs. Fritsch

The children of the Van Gogh class celebrated the spring equinox at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20th, during recess time by standing an egg on its end. The spring equinox is commonly regarded as the moment when the plane of the Earth's equator passes through the center of the Sun's disk. Happy spring!

Illustrator Visit

by Alina a Lower Elementary student

Illustrator visit

Meg Walters, the illustrator of the book LUCY LOVES SHERMAN, visited The Albrook School to share with us how she became an illustrator. As a young girl Ms. Walters loved to draw. She grew up in upstate New York and went to college to become an illustrator. She now lives in Gladstone and still loves to draw!

Illustrator visit

Ms. Walters read the book to the preschoolers and they made lobster headbands representing Sherman. She then gave a presentation to Lower and Upper Elementary on how to draw the characters. The students each drew their own versions of Lucy and Sherman.

I found the presentation very informative and interesting. We learned the process of making a children's book and all the different steps involved. One of the most interesting facts I learned was there are 32 pages to every children's book. Also, if you look closely you will see a few of my favorite stores in the book like The Bookworm and Cocolux! Keep an eye out for the sequel to Lucy Loves Sherman; due out next year!

Mentally Strong Kids Have Parents Who Refuse to Do These 13 Things

By Amy Morin

Raising a mentally strong kid doesn't mean he won't cry when he's sad or that he won't fail sometimes. Mental strength doesn't make you immune to hardship and it's not about suppressing your emotions.

In fact, it's quite the opposite. Mental strength is what helps kids bounce back from setbacks and it gives them the strength to keep going, even when they're plagued with self-doubt. A strong mental muscle is the key to helping kids reach their greatest potential in life.

  1. Condoning a Victim Mentality Striking out at the baseball game or failing a science test doesn't make a child a victim. Rejection, failure, and unfairness are a part of life. Refuse to attend your kids' pity parties. Teach them that no matter how tough or unjust their circumstances, they can always take positive action.
  2. Making Their Kids the Center of the Universe If you make your entire life revolve around your kids, they'll grow up thinking everyone should cater to them. And self-absorbed, entitled adults aren't likely to get very far in life. Teach your kids to focus on what they have to offer the world, rather than what they can gain from it.
  3. Allowing Fear to Dictate Their Choices Although keeping your kids inside a protective bubble will spare you a lot of anxiety--playing it too safe teaches your child that fear must be avoided at all times. Show your kids that the best way to conquer fear is to face those fears head-on and you'll raise courageous kids who are willing to step outside their comfort zones.
  4. Giving Their Kids Power Over Them Letting kids dictate what the family is going to eat for dinner or where the family is going on vacation gives kids more power than they are developmentally ready to handle. Treating kids like an equal--or the boss--actually robs them of mental strength. Give your kids an opportunity to practice taking orders, listening to things they don't want to hear, and doing things they don't want to do. Let your kids make simple choices while maintaining a clear family hierarchy.
  5. Expecting Perfection Expecting your kids to perform well is healthy. But expecting them to be perfect will backfire. Teach your kids that it's OK to fail and it's OK not to be great at everything they do. Kids who strive to become the best version of themselves, rather than the best at everything they do, won't make their self-worth dependent upon how they measure up to others.
  6. . Letting Their Kids Avoid Responsibility Letting kids skip out on chores or avoid getting an after-school job can be tempting. Afer all, you likely want your kids to have a carefree childhood. But, kids who perform age-appropriate duties aren't overburdened. Instead, they're gaining the mental strength they need to become responsible citizens.
  7. Shielding Their Kids From Pain Hurt feelings, sadness, and anxiety are part of life. And letting kids experience those painful feelings gives them opportunities to practice tolerating discomfort. Provide your kids with the guidance and support they need to deal with pain so they can gain confidence in their ability to handle life's inevitable hardships.
  8. Preventing Their Kids From Making Mistakes Correcting your kids' math homework, double checking to make sure they've packed their lunch, and constantly reminding them to do their chores won't do them any favors. Natural consequences can be some of life's greatest teachers. Let your kids mess up sometimes and show them how to learn from their mistakes so they can grow wiser and become stronger.
  9. Confusing Discipline With Punishment Punishment involves making kids suffer for their wrongdoing. Discipline, however, is about teaching them how to do better in the future. Raising a child who fears "getting in trouble" isn't the same as raising a child who wants to make good choices. Use consequences that help your kids develop the self-discipline they need to make better choices.
  10. Taking Shortcuts to Avoid Discomfort Although giving in to a whining child or doing your kids' chores for them will make your life a little easier right now, those shortcuts instill unhealthy habits in your kids. Role model delayed gratification and show your kids that you can resist tempting shortcuts. You'll teach them that they're strong.

Montessori In The News

The Parent Perspective about Montessori, Introduction to Montessori Method

The Montessori Method is designed to educate the whole child, socially, emotionally, academically and physically. This style of learning creates innovative, creative thinkers from young children to adults.  It's an educational approach that is appreciated by those who have been fortunate enough to receive a Montessori education or who had parents who knew the true benefits and value of a Montessori education.

Forbes, a well known magazine, has an informative article regarding Montessori written by Justin Wasserman who is the Managing Director at Kotter International. Justin Wasserman helps leaders accelerate strategy implementation in their organizations.
Corporate Kindergarten

Montessori Madness
A video, by Trevor Eissler, informs us about why children enjoy a Montessori education. It is called "Take Five Minutes To Watch This Video," and we hope you will find it interesting.

The Montessori Mafia
By Peter Simms, reprinted from The Wall Street Journal

Google Founders Talk About Montessori

All I got out of Montessori..