Celebrating our own timelines and “my-ness” moments

Hello Friends, The crocus. The daffodil. You can never hold back spring. I always loved Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote, “The earth laughs in flowers.” Even in a pandemic, the world blossoms and with it, a renewed hope and optimism. One of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, always comes to mind when winter thaws and the spring birds return. The red-winged blackbird. The robin. Mary Oliver once wrote out her simple instructions for life: “Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”  I hope each of you has a spring break that allows you to pay attention and be astonished. I can’t …

“Adversity does not build character, it reveals it.”

Hello Friends, One year ago today, TNSM went remote due to COVID-19. This year has revealed the strength of character our community has. Each of you is truly a hero. With humor and courage, our staff took on risk and the unsettling emotions that change evokes. Our families revealed patience, flexibility, and trust – time and again – as we responded to all of the challenges a pandemic introduces. But most of all, our students (your children) demonstrated a depth of character that inspired us all to be our best. Our students showed us how to be joyful in compromise, …

Jeff’s learnings from observing our our 100th day at school

Last week our (6-9) students stepped from their cars dressed in mix-matched shoes and colored hair. They were allowed to dress “wacky” in celebration of our 100th day in school. This has been a tradition for the past few years, however, this year it seems to have taken on more significance. With so many schools still closed for on-campus learning or in hybrid models, we are delighted to be celebrating our 100th day of on-campus learning. I should’ve colored my hair! Yesterday in the (9-12) I was with our 6th grade students teaching William Shakespeare’s, Macbeth.  We invited two actors …

“…we are grateful and appreciative of the beautiful minds working at TNSM”

Hello Friends, As we took 2 days off of school so our staff could receive their second vaccine shots and teachers from each level could attend the American Montessori Society Conference, I wanted to thank you again for your flexibility as we do everything we can to keep our community safe. A recent article in the New York Times titled, How to reopen schools was shared with me by a TNSM parent who added that he thought of The New School Montessori staff when he read the following: “Still, Douglas Harris, the Tulane economist who runs the research group, told me, ‘All …

Biff Maier (former TNSM director) honored with AMS Living Legacy Award

Hello Friends, The week was short but beautiful.  Our campus was snow-filled, and when the sun came out every tree, rooftop, and patch of land would sparkle.  Our kids put on their boots and snow gear to build igloos, snow people, or just flopped down, hands behind their heads, looking up at the sky.  Snow reminds me that the universe loves children and the child in all of us. As many of you know, The New School Montessori is accredited through the American Montessori Society (as well as the the Independent Schools of Associated Central States).  Each year, AMS picks …

Take a bow

Hi Friends, Thanks for all the support you have provided your children throughout the last two weeks of shutdown.  Our community continues to hold each other up during these trying times in the service of children. It’s both astonishing and thankfully ordinary how hard our community (parents, teachers, grandparents, etc) works together toward holding a space for children to develop joyfully. Each of you, for nearly a year now, has done what is necessary to keep your children safe, loved, and educated. For some of you, it has required a shift in career, a difficult decision not to see certain …

A Door Opens

Hello Friends, These are historic times, but in spite of the challenges we face I am filled with hope.  Watching a female vice president of color being sworn in this week with my 5-year-old daughter on my lap was a remarkable moment regardless of political affiliation.  Montessori education is focused on unlocking potentials within children.  But in spite of our best efforts as parents and educators to encourage our children to  confidently believe that if they work hard enough everything is possible, we know the harsh reality of the world often conveys a different message.  Your race, gender, class, or …

Kids are amazing at being adaptive, collaborative, inclusive and forgiving

Hello Friends, When I was 25, I walked into my first Montessori school. I was touring the country for 9 months performing poetry for students and training teachers on how to get their classrooms engaged and excited about reading and writing poems. I had never witnessed students like the ones I saw that day.  4th-6th Graders working together in groups on a graphic novel, and next to them another group with a large map of the world spread out on the floor, identifying natural and political boundaries.  Some students worked independently and were not interrupted by a teacher or peer. They …

We created an environment that allowed joy to blossom.

Hello TNSM friends, A new year approaches. We know that time is constant and new beginnings are always available to us each moment, however, a new year always seems an invitation to pause, take stock, and ask ourselves big questions. Where are we headed? What did we learn? Who are we grateful for and who will we miss? Amidst a year of great turbulence, grief and soul searching, TNSM was a safe space for our children, families and staff. Not only did we do everything possible to keep our community safe from COVID, but we also created an environment that …

Making our way through grief takes time and a listening and patient ear.

Hello Friends, I remember a parent from the TNSM community sharing with me that our community will be going through the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) again and again at different times throughout the pandemic. Denial: It’s terrible the pandemic is affecting so many people, but WE won’t be touched by it. Anger:  Why can’t people figure out how to fix this or tell us what to do?!!! Bargaining: Can I wear a mask when I go into public places, but have  my friends and family over with no precautions? Depression:  I am just so tired of this. Acceptance: Well, I don’t think we are …