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

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, December 19
Last day of class before Winter Break
and Elementary Musical Recital
Thursday, December 20
and Friday, December 21
School Closed Winter Break
Expanded Care in Session
Monday, December 24 through
Tuesday, January 1
School Closed Winter Break
Wednesday, January 2
Classes Resume
Monday, January 21
Spirit Day
Early Dismissal
11:30am-11:45am
In-service Day
Expanded Care in Session
Thursday, January 24
PK-2 Art Night

Albrook News

Albrook's Halloween Parade

by Mrs. Ponzio

"Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death, Halloween is a known as All Hallows' Eve. Over time, Halloween evolved into a secular community event to usher in the winter season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats." (History.com)

"Witches, black cats, superheroes and princesses all could be found in the Albrook Halloween line up! The weather was perfect, the parents enjoyed a quick cup of coffee and the children were in high spirits. Who could ask for more? The parade began at 9:15am and circled A and B playgrounds as parents waved and took photographs while their children smiled back. The operative word in the previous sentence being "smiled," as we proudly announce there were no tears during the festivities! After the parade, the children went back to their classrooms to enjoy treats provided by the parents and then were dismissed to enjoy the remainder of the evening celebrating with their family and friends.

Please enjoy the pictured highlights of the morning's events.

holloween images

Positive Discipline Workshop

The Albrook education series got off to a very good start on Tuesday, October 23, with a workshop on Positive Discipline hosted by Ms. McCusker.

"There was a strong turnout for the presentation. This was a wonderful opportunity for all the attendees to discuss and share all the different methods of discipline they've tried at home. We all learn and grow from related experiences.

"Here are the most important techniques shared at the workshop.

  • Use eye contact with your child.
  • Keep the direction short.
  • Use a calm voice.
  • Always acknowledge the child's feelings.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Mr. and Mrs. Behar were downsizing after raising their family in their home of 34 years. While packing for the move they came across a dollhouse in the attic that was purchased for their youngest daughter Erin.

This beautifully designed house was in impeccable shape as were all the beautiful accessories. The family donated the childhood dollhouse to our Expanded Care program. The children absolutely love it, and love the fact that Ms. Behar played with it when she was a little girl!

The childhood dollhouse of the Behar sisters keeps on giving joy to this day.

Fall Harvest

by Mrs. Kim

fall harvest picture

The Albrook community came together to celebrate Fall and carve pumpkins on Thursday, October 25, 2018 in Albers Hall. As always, it was a sold out event with 143 adults and 138 children signed up for this annual community building celebration.

This year, we got the beautiful pumpkins and delicious cider from Malanga Farms in Warren. An APA Board caravan went with Rachel Rosenthal to pick up the pumpkins earlier in the week. We were excited to find and partner with a new farm friend in Warren! (Malanga also sells Christmas trees for those who might be in the market for one, and donates a portion of the proceeds to St. Jude's.)

When the pumpkins arrived at school, the Upper Elementary students carried out the annual tradition of carrying the pumpkins into school and lining the hallways with them-- the students excitedly even named some of the pumpkins and helped each other when a pumpkin was too heavy to carry alone.

On the night of the event, families entered the school, walking past the fall decorations lining the walkway, chose their pumpkin and proceeded to the Hall. Newspaper-covered tables with carvers and stencils awaited. Immediately, the Hall filled with excited chatter and the sounds of spooky Halloween music for families creating Halloween pumpkin art!

During the evening, families enjoyed pizza, apple cider, cookies and other homemade treats such as mini tacos and mini quiches.

At the end of the evening, Mrs. Marvi led the children in a sing-along and families went home, happily carrying their beautifully carved pumpkins and a warm sense of Albrook community with them.

Thank you to everyone who helped with the event, especially the Albrook staff and teachers, and thank you to the families for joining together for a fun evening!

fall harvest

Why Practical Life?

Practical Life is undoubtedly the most misunderstood area of the Montessori Early Childhood classroom. While most parents are definitely pleased when their child gains the ability to do their own clothing and pour without spilling, few realize the multitude of hidden objectives that go along with the teaching of these basic skills. Indeed, Practical Life may be considered the foundation to all future learning.

Young children are in the process of gaining the ability to be their own masters. Practical Life initially provides simple, precise tasks which children have already seen adults perform (and which they therefore are eager to attempt) so to assist in the achievement of this goal. All Practical Life activities fall into four basic categories: independent care of self, grace and courtesy, care of the environment, and control of movement. All exercises are presented in a sequential order so that no task demands a skill that the child has not already practiced.

The young child enters the classroom already having gained perceptions, ideas, and a great deal of knowledge about his or her world. Practical Life activities aid this young child in self-constructing focus, concentration, and a sense of order to the knowledge s/he has accrued. At the same time, the abilities required to be successful in all other future learning are being developed.

The base aim of Practical Life tasks is to teach process, not just the achievement of a product. Each exercise has a beginning, a middle, and an end. To complete a work, the child therefore demonstrates ordered thinking, coordination, concentration, and independence. Through this achievement s/he has created the beginning of self-reliance, and a sound foundation necessary to all future learning.

Also, Practical Life exercises are indirectly designed as initial preparation for both reading and writing. As examples: Objects are picked up and transferred using a three-finger grasp, as one would hold a pencil. Through control of movement, eye-hand coordination is developed. All activities are set out, and movements performed, left to right, top to bottom, as in reading. Scrubbing and polishing require circular movements taught in anti-clockwise directions as if one were writing an 'O' or a 'C'. The free wrist movement required to write is thus developed.

As in all areas of the classroom, care of the environment is stressed in Practical Life. Children may not take out a second activity until the first has been returned to its shelf location, completely ready to be used by another. This may require, as with snack and food preparation, that the dishes used be washed, dried, and the tray (or table) be reset. All Practical Life work items are real, functional, attractive, and quite often breakable, indirectly demanding the development of coordination, self-control, and both fine and gross motor ability. This development is necessary for the child to be able to move on to working with materials such as the Geography puzzle maps, the concrete Montessori math bead materials, Language Moveable Alphabet, and scientific experimentation.

Maria Montessori realized that the skills developed in Practical Life are the foundational learning required for overall success, not only in future academics but throughout life. To quote her, "The child becomes a person through work. The essence of independence is to be able to do something for oneself."

Practical Life activities nurture and build development of the whole child, creating the foundation to ultimately reach his or her full potential not only as a student, but as a responsible and caring human being in our global world.

The Van Gogh Class and Global Stewardship

by Mrs. Fritsch and Mrs. Delia

The Van Gogh class is celebrating global stewardship by learning and practicing about composting techniques and procedures. Last spring, we planted our tomato plant, peas and cilantro seeds in our earth box. The children watched and picked the red tomatoes, pea pods and cilantro leaves and had them for snack. After the first frost on one of our boot days we prepared our earth box for the winter months. The children helped to put the plant matter and soil into one of the two Albrook compost bins. We compost daily in the classroom by disposing of the fruit and vegetable scraps from food preparation work, snack and our lunches. We toasted the seeds and cooked our pumpkin from our October field trip to Melick's farm. We plan to use the fresh pumpkin for our Thanksgiving cooking muffins. Through this activity, the children were able to experience the life cycle of a plant.

Grounds for Sculpture

by Lucille and Caitlin

The Upper and Lower Elementary classes all went to a place called Grounds for Sculpture on October 19. We rode on the bus but when we got there, we went our own way. Upper El saw many beautiful sculptures. We saw a big and tall pole. Around the pole, there were four statues in armor. There was a big naked woman on a big couch with a big pillow and a not so big cat. There was a giant statue of a man outside of the main lobby. At first, the man looked like a monster, but then we saw it was just a king that was curtsying. In the main lobby there was a sculpture of a man that was all gray. He had newspaper all over him. There was also a bamboo forest and inside there was a 3D picture of the Dream. The Dream was another naked lady on a couch in the middle of a forest and next to her there was a tiger, a snake and a person playing an instrument. There was a museum on a Japanese artist that made rough rocks into beautiful, smooth rock sculptures. They were sooo beautiful! There was a shepherd sculpture that had sheep below him. They were fake sheep, of course. All over the place, there were people sculptures. They looked so real! We saw 4 peacocks. 3 of them were regular and the other one was the best. It was completely white. Everyone wanted to see it. There was a wall and on part of the wall there was a door. Lined up behind the door were a couple men and everyone lined up in between them and they took pictures. At lunch when everyone was finished, people started to run back and forth on a giant fake snake that was nearby. There was a water section and everyone struck a pose on a concrete platform that was surrounded by a small little still water creek. Also in the water area there was small pond and in the middle there was a beautiful metal sculpture. The sunlight glinted off the metal making the water illuminated. There was an area where there was a tunnel. Everyone went through and when they came out they saw a couple sculptures where there was thin metal wire and in between the wire there were tiny glass balls. After a long walk, we all went into a building and saw a statue of Louis Armstrong. He was playing the trumpet. There were other statues playing the piano and cello. It was like a band. You could hear some music coming from hidden speakers so it felt like you were at a concert. There was also a fake house. It was supposed to be a painting of a room by Vincent Van Gogh. Then an artist turned the painting into a 3D house. When we got on the bus, we were all exhausted from walking. It was a great trip.

Sculpture Garden in Albers Hall

After being inspired by their field trip to Grounds for Sculpture, the lower and upper elementary students completed an art and research project based on a painting of their choice. They each took a 2-dimensional painting and recreated it into a 3-dimensional sculpture. The Yeats and Kandinsky classes took turns presenting their sculptures and reports to one another in Albers Hall. They then were able to present to the upper elementary students, who in turn, shared their projects. The lower elementary sculptures were displayed on the stage in Albers Hall during the book fair.

"If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him… We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth."
John F. Kennedy

Bridges

by Chloe

The Upper Elementary classroom has been studying bridges. We started this unit of study on 29 of October and will be done before winter break. So far, we have been studying the beam bridge and the truss bridge. We learned that the shorter, the beam bridge holds more weight than a longer one. The triangular shapes of this bridge hold the weight better than a plain beam bridge. Mrs. Vazaios thought it would be interesting to learn this and improve our knowledge of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). In fact, bridges are one of the few studies that cover all the letters of STEAM.

Teaching children to Be Greateful

by Charlotte Latvala (adapted from an article in Parent Magazine)

Want your child to be grateful for what he has? Here's a roundup of surprisingly simple ways -- from sending thank-you notes to feeding pets -- for him to learn a sense of gratitude.

"The More We Give Him, the Less He Appreciates"

A few years ago, my son A.J., then 4, was obsessed with getting a robotic dog. Whenever we drove past a toy store, he started his pleading. Convinced that nothing would make him happier than that dog, my husband and I broke down and bought him the most expensive version on the market for Christmas. "He will be so thankful when he opens this gift," we told ourselves. And yes, A.J. was thrilled -- for about a week. Then, we noticed the dog spent most of its time in his closet, as A.J. begged for other, even more expensive toys -- a drum set, a riding mini-Jeep, a huge playhouse. "You'd think he'd be grateful for what he has," I complained to my husband, Tony. "The more we give him, the less he appreciates it."

The Art of Appreciation

Gratitude is one of the trickiest concepts to teach toddlers and preschoolers -- who are by nature self-centered -- but one of the most important. Sure, thankful children are more polite and pleasant to be around, but there's more to it than that. By learning gratitude, they become sensitive to the feelings of others, developing empathy and other life skills along the way, says Barbara Lewis, author of What Do You Stand For? For Kids (Free Spirit Publishing, 2005). Grateful kids look outside their one-person universe and understand that their parents and other people do things for them -- prepare dinner, dole out hugs, buy toys. "On the flip side, kids who aren't taught to be grateful end up feeling entitled and perpetually disappointed," says Lewis.

Indeed, instilling grateful feelings now will benefit your child later in life. A 2003 study at the University of California at Davis showed that grateful people report higher levels of happiness and optimism -- along with lower levels of depression and stress. The catch? "No one is born grateful," says life coach Mary Jane Ryan, author of Attitudes of Gratitude (Conari, 1999). "Recognizing that someone has gone out of the way for you is not a natural behavior for children -- it's learned."

Teaching Gratitude in the Early Years
When Do Kids Get It?

Toddlers are by definition completely egocentric. Still, children as young as 15 to 18 months can begin to grasp concepts that lead to gratitude, says Lewis. "They start to understand that they are dependent; that Mom and Dad do things for them," she says. In other words, toddlers comprehend that they are separate human beings from their parents, and that Mom and Dad often perform actions to make them happy (from playing peekaboo to handing out cookies) -- even if kids that age can't articulate their appreciation.

By age 2 or 3, children can talk about being thankful for specific objects, pets, and people, says Ryan. "When my daughter Annie was 2, our family would go around the dinner table each night and say one thing we were thankful for,"she says. "Annie wasn't particularly verbal, but when it was her turn, she would point her finger at every person -- she was grateful for us!"

By age 4, children can understand being thankful not only for material things like toys but for acts of kindness, love, and caring.

How to Teach It

Children model their parents in every way, so make sure you use "please" and "thank you" when you talk to them. ("Thanks for that hug -- it made me feel great!") Insist on their using the words, too. After all, "good manners and gratitude overlap," says New York City etiquette consultant Melissa Leonard, a mother of two young daughters.

  • Work gratitude into your daily conversation. Lately, we've been trying to weave appreciation for mundane things into our everyday talk -- with A.J., his big sister, Mathilda, 10, and especially with our 2-year-old, Mary Elena. ("We're so lucky to have a good cat like Sam!" "Aren't the colors in the sunset amazing?" "I'm so happy when you listen!") When you reinforce an idea frequently, it's more likely to stick. One way to turn up the gratitude in your house is to pick a "thanking" part of the day. Two old-fashioned, tried-and-true ideas: Make saying what good things happened today part of the dinnertime conversation or make bedtime prayers part of your nightly routine.
  • Have kids help. It happens to all of us: You give your child a chore, but it's too agonizing watching him a) take forever to clear the table or b) make a huge mess mixing the pancake batter. The temptation is always to step in and do it yourself. But the more you do for them, the less they appreciate your efforts. (Don't you feel more empathy for people who work outside on cold days when you've just been out shoveling snow yourself?) By participating in simple household chores like feeding the dog or stacking dirty dishes on the counter, kids realize that all these things take effort.
  • Find a goodwill project. That doesn't mean you need to drag your toddler off to a soup kitchen every week, says Lewis. Instead, figure out some way he can actively participate in helping someone else, even if it's as simple as making cupcakes for a sick neighbor. "As you're stirring the batter or adding sprinkles," she says, "talk about how you're making them for a special person, and how happy the recipient will be."
  • Encourage generosity. "We frequently donate toys and clothes to less fortunate kids," says Hulya Migliorino, of Bloomingdale, New Jersey. "When my daughters see me giving to others, it inspires them to go through their own closets and give something special to those in need, as well."
  • Insist on thank-you notes. Paula Goodnight, of Maineville, Ohio, always makes her girls (Rachel, 10, Amelia, 6, and Isabella, 3) write thank-yous for gifts. "When they were toddlers, the cards were just scribbles with my own thank-you attached," she says. "As they grew, they became drawings, then longer letters." Younger children can even dictate the letter while you write, says Lewis. "Just the act of saying out loud why he loved the gift will make him feel more grateful," she says.
  • Practice saying no. Of course kids ask for toys, video games, and candy -- sometimes on an hourly basis. It's difficult, if not impossible, to feel grateful when your every whim is granted. Saying no a lot makes saying yes that much sweeter.
  • Be patient. You can't expect gratitude to develop overnight -- it requires weeks, months, even years of reinforcement. But trust me, you will be rewarded. Four years after the robotic dog fiasco, I can now report that A.J. is a grateful, cheerful boy who delights in making other people happy. Sure, he asked for lots of gifts this Christmas, but he was just as excited about requesting gifts for his sisters. "They've both been good girls and deserve something special," he wrote in his letter to Santa. Now I'm the one feeling grateful.

The Albrook Students Celebrate World Peace Day

by Ms. MacNeill

On the morning of Friday, September 21, our school community of friends old and new, gathered in Albers Hall to celebrate World Peace Day. International Day of Peace was established by the United Nation's resolution in 1981, which stated, "Peace day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideas of Peace both within and among all nations and peoples." Albrook students have gathered annually since 2009 to take part in Sing Peace to honor this special day.

This year, I had the privilege to welcome everyone to the first school community gathering of our new school year.

Josh followed by reading the Albrook's Peace Pledge, "We learn to love the world by being peaceful, loving, caring and kind."

As Hailey lit the Community Peace Candle, the students sang in harmony "Light a Candle for Peace," followed by a minute of silence for Peace.

Darya read the story, "Who Ever You Are" by Mem Fox. As this beautiful story weaves in and out of different countries and cultures around our world, it points out all the similarities that connect us.

Under the guidance of Mrs. Marvi, the students continued singing songs which tied in beautifully with the peace theme. Our hall was filled with sweet voices sharing songs like "This Little Light of Mine,"and "We are Flowers in one Garden" to mention a few. It was a privilege not only to observe our students embrace this wonderful event, but heartwarming to know that we have been fostering Peace Education as a school community for forty years!

Back to School Night

by Mrs. Ponzio

On September 27, the Albrook parents came together as a community and there was much to discuss and celebrate. It was a beautiful night and the energy was positive. For the first half hour we all ate, talked and socialized. It was evident that many parents were greeting each other for the first time in their new surrounding and others were thrilled to be catching up. Ms. MacNeill began the welcome address by introducing our staff. We have added a few additions to the Albrook roster, Mrs. Perez is our new Administrative Assistant in the reception area and Ms. Ponzio has joined our Expanded Calendar staff.

After the staff introduction, Ms. MacNeill spoke of celebrating our 40th year as a school. A brief synopsis of the school's history was highlighted by denoting its origin as a "dream in a young girl's heart." The spirit of Albrook has blossomed and transcended through different locations, building projects, and special events; however, what has remained the same is Albrook's commitment to the Montessori philosophy and the love for all the children we are blessed to serve. Ms. MacNeill concluded her talk by identifying this year's goal of Global Stewardship and discussing how our peace curriculum has always been a part of Albrook culture. She also defined additional activities which will be added to this year's curriculum to prepare the children to be citizens of the world and to cherish our planet.

Ms. Albers was introduced as one of the founders of our school. A tribute to her passion and vision was recognized after 40 years of devotion to the staff and children of Albrook. Ms. Albers had the opportunity to speak, and she did so emotionally, as she addressed the difficult times and the dedicated staff that stood by her side and believed in her mission. At the conclusion of her talk, parents stood in applause of her achievements.

Hicks was also introduced and honored as a devoted and dedicated leader to Albrook for over 35 years of its 40 year existence. She was cited for the positive impact she has had, the way she guided the Albrook ship, and the order in which she left the school.

Following Ms. Hicks, Mrs. Ponzio discussed the importance of school security, the guidance the Bernards Township Police has provided, and the new sign-in procedure for visitors to the school. Mrs. Ponzio then introduced Ms. Kim, President of the Albrook Parents' Association. Ms. Kim welcomed everyone and discussed the importance of involvement. She encouraged everyone to offer their time and talents in any way, small or large to Albrook. We are an active community and the APA needs your support.

The parents were directed to the classrooms for an introduction to the curriculum, and to participate in a discussion with their child's teachers. At the conclusion of the evening the Pre-K 1 and Pre-K 2 parents were invited to attend a meeting with the afternoon teachers.

All in all, the evening ended on a high note with a clear vision and plan for the year ahead!

Global Stewardship in the Classroom

by Mrs. Dignam & Mrs. Murphy

How are we encouraging our students to become Global Stewards? The Montessori classroom teaches children freedom with responsibility and fosters a sense of appreciation and awareness of one's environment. Global stewardship begins on the local level. Within the classroom, our students have the opportunity to choose a lesson with the responsibility of treating the work respectfully.

We remind our children that the classroom is theirs and to be mindful of their impact on their surroundings. All students participate in keeping the classroom neat, clean and peaceful by washing tables, pushing in chairs, and sweeping. Our expectation is that this translates to an understanding that they have the power to positively affect the world in which they live and to preserve and care for it.

We asked our Kindergarten students how they contributed to the harmony of our classroom.
"I organized the closet," Sarah excitedly replied.
"I did too," said Anvith.
"Bella and I cleaned the paint from the tables," Abigail said.
"We helped put away work so we could get ready for lunch," said Kieran and Corlyn.

When the children can look outside of their own needs to see the needs of the greater environment, they become stewards of their environment.

In our increasingly connected and interdependent world, it is more important than ever that our children develop geographic knowledge, experience diverse cultural perspectives and live respectfully and responsibly in a global environment. Our classroom incorporates materials that reflect our world's diversity and our commitment to preserving and protecting our environment.

For example, our study of Africa includes native artwork and sculptures. We discuss African biomes and animals. In our morning circle, we say "good morning' in languages from around the world. We sing about peace and love. We utilize the peace rose to resolve conflicts. To help the environment, we cut our paper towels, recycle, and compost.

Maria Montessori wrote, "The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth." It is our hope that as our students grow, they will extend their experiences to the world around them.

Three Tips for Fostering Environmental Stewardship at Home

Children learn to care about what we as adults care about. When we take steps in our lives to practice global stewardship, we become models for the children in our lives.

Replace Disposables: Wherever possible, replace disposable products with reusable ones (i.e., razors, food storage, batteries, ink cartridges (buy refill ink), coffee filters, furnace or air conditioner filters, etc.).

Limit Your Use of Trees: Replace paper napkins with cloth napkins, leave messages for family members/roommates on a reusable message board, reuse envelopes, wrapping paper, the front of gift cards (as postcards) and other paper materials you receive wherever possible, read books, magazines, and newspapers from your local library or online .

Skip the Plastic: Skip plastic bags for small purchases and make sure you bring your own bags to stores.

Children Enjoy Learning About Mushrooms —
Because They Are "Fungi"!

by Ms. Yamawaki

In early October, the Degas class went on a boot day outing with upper elementary friends to the woods by Harry Dunham Park and were greeted by all sorts of mushrooms popping up everywhere! The upper elementary friends promptly guessed that the recent warm and humid weather as a cause of this phenomenon. The ground was dotted with toadstools, which are just the right size for a small amphibian to take a rest on, and some tree branches were covered with flat, bracket mushrooms. We even spotted tiny, dainty ones that sparkle as if they were made of silver. Ms. Vazaios pointed out that only mycologists, who study mushrooms professionally, can distinguish ones that are safe to touch and eat, so we were careful to observe only with our eyes. Thank you, upper elementary friends, for guiding the preschoolers through this adventure!

Parent Toddler Class 2019

By Miss McCusker

We are excited to announce that we will be offering our second Parent/Toddler class beginning Tuesday, January 15, 2019.

This is an eight week, one hour class for children 16 - 30 months of age. The class serves as a parent introduction to the Montessori classroom.

Each Tuesday from 3–4 PM, the children and parents will have an opportunity to explore and learn together in a modified, age-appropriate Montessori toddler classroom; activities will include individual work time, circle time, snack, and weather permitting a short playtime outside. There will also be some specific educational tools for parents on navigating infant and toddler behaviors, e.g. bedtime routines.

Registration for this class will open on Tuesday, November 6 on School Speak and our website at albrookschool.org. If you are interested, or know of someone who may be interested, we invite you to sign up quickly. Space is limited and the program may fill quickly. Note the photographs of a few of last year's graduates!

Allowing Opportunities For Movement

by Maren Schmidt, March 8, 2015

A kid's got to move. Observing a few minutes at a playground will attest to that. You don't see children sitting around if they have the chance to run, jump, climb, or skip. Children are in a sensitive period of development for movement from birth to about age five-and-a-half.

Around age four-and-a-half, children have a growth spurt where their legs may grow over an inch per month. During this time, it is difficult for children to sit comfortably. They will squirm or refuse to sit in their chairs at the dinner table. They will appear to wander aimlessly about in their preschool classes. At this time, it is important to allow lots of opportunities for movement such as long walks and other outdoor activities.

Because of this leg growth, children need additional calcium. Many children suffer from leg cramps at night, don't sleep well and end up being very cranky. Be on the lookout during this growth spurt. Children can't tell you about their legs cramps because they don't have the language experience in most cases. Additional calcium supplements, stretching and massage will help children (and parents!) get a good night's sleep, and restore pleasant dispositions.

Children love to walk on stonewalls, balance beams or lines drawn on the floor. At a playground observe all the different activities children do. Every movement is fulfilling a basic developmental need. Give your child opportunities to move and learn at the same time.

The need for movement, though, should not be a license to run wild in the house, stores, or restaurants. Purposeful activity needs to direct children's movements.

We need to give activities that engage all the senses of the child and therefore help him or her direct energy for a positive outcome. For example, folding laundry is a purposeful activity. Children can fold laundry and make many trips to put the laundry away. Send them off with one towel to put away and have them come back and get the next one. It may take twenty trips, but they'll love it, especially when a big pile has disappeared.

You can also incorporate movement while sitting and waiting. The preposition game is a quiet game for a restaurant or doctor's appointment. It's simple to play with two objects. In a restaurant I'll use a napkin and spoon. Ask the child to do things such as:

  • Put the spoon under the napkin.
  • Put the spoon next to the napkin.
  • Put the napkin under the spoon.
  • Put the spoon near the napkin.
  • Put the napkin around the spoon.

Switch roles and let the child give you directions.

Change the prepositions using words such as over, above, near, through, far, around, between and for the more adventuresome, adjacent, tangent, perpendicular, horizontal, vertical, intersecting. Dig out that old geometry book!

This game helps the child learn that certain words (prepositions) show the relationship between two or more objects.

Have a good time and laugh at all the funny relationships you can describe for the objects. Each request is a walk across the room and directs movement in a purposeful manner.

A key to a happy child, and thus a happy parent, is using purposeful activities to allow movement that aids development. Household chores and word games give children purposeful movement. Your children will have chances for movement along with learning responsibility for a cheerful home life.

Elementary Ice Skating

by Ms. Hicks

What a wonderful way to return to the Bridgewater Sports Arena! Eighteen years ago, Kimberly Cagnassola was a student in our lower elementary class and an excellent ice skater. Her mother suggested that Albrook students might enjoy skating too, and put me in touch with Jackie Kulik at Bridgewater Sports Arena. When Jackie moved from Bridgewater to Mennen Arena, we followed her. Under her leadership and excellent, well-organized instruction, the elementary students have been progressing with their skating.

This summer, when Jackie wrote that she was returning to Bridgewater after their twelve million dollar renovation, we decided to return to our original ice rink. What a surprise to be greeted by both Kimberly and Jackie! Kimberly is teaching part-time at the ice rink while she continues to train. The children were also thrilled to learn that two of their teachers have performed with the Rockettes each Christmas season for the past twenty years as the ice skating duo.

Some of the youngest elementary students approached the rink with awe while some have been skating on teams or for fun with their families. Returning students were excited to have another chance to improve their skills on a rink just for Albrook students. Many thanks to the Cagnassola family for initiating this tradition and for Jackie's great leadership through the years.

Parents' Day

Parents' Day offered a wonderful opportunity for the Albrook students to share their class environment and introduce new friends to mom or dad. Each visitor explored the classroom for approximately 45 minutes and the students' demonstrated with pride all the work they enjoy. Parents' Day provides a birds-eye glimpse into the life of a Montessori student. With this broader understanding of the classroom, parents are able to generate conversations after each school day and the students are able to share their experiences with a clearer understanding from their parents. Captured on the next pages are the beautiful highlights of the morning.

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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..