Storytelling over the 3-day weekend

Hello Friends, I love a good story.  The way it engages the imagination of the listener.  How, like magic, if you can mix the right words in the right order, it can conjure laughter, suspense, grief, nostalgia, hope, compassion, anger, or even love. One of my favorite poems is by Billy Collins called Marginalia.  Most of it is about how different types of readers scribble notes into the margins of a book. Students studying for courses scribble, “Irony,” “Metaphor,” or the more enthusiastic reader writes, “Nonsense,” “PLEASE,” or “HA!”   It ends, however, with a teenager reading Catcher in the Rye …

A culture of curiosity

Hello Friends, I was delighted to see in December’s national publication of Montessori Life, an article written by a former TNSM (6-9) teacher (Kira Hinkle) about the previous TNSM Head of School, Eric Dustman!  It was a reminder of how our alumni and predecessors continue to do great things in the world! We stand on awesome shoulders. The article was about creating a culture of curiosity. The New School Montessori has a long history of fostering curiosity. One of Maria Montessori’s core beliefs was that we are all born deeply curious beings. The primary role of a Montessori teacher is to …

Please test before returning and other ways to help

Hello Friends, Happy New Year.  I love this time of year as we reflect and dream.  There are so many things to be grateful for.  So many things that make me hopeful.  And yet, here we are, navigating another variant and surge.  We hope your family and loved ones are healthy and safe.  For those in our community who are on the front lines in hospitals and medical centers, our thoughts are with you.   We are asking all of our families to please test before returning to TNSM on Monday, Jan. 3rd.  It seems certain that we will be experiencing positive cases …

Brimming with Gratitude and Joy

Hello Friends, I am brimming with gratitude and joy.  Thank you for all of your efforts to keep our community safe.  Thank you for volunteering.  Many of you have helped with lunches, recess, professional development workshops, in-kind donations, subbing, moving furniture, advice, events, and serving on committees.  Many of you supported our Staff Holiday Fund and Annual Giving, and I am pleased to share we surpassed our goals in both areas!  Time and again I am blown away by the generosity of our community.  Since this past summer, we have raised  $1,656,656.00  for our Kaleidoscope Campaign (Click HERE to  learn …

Skills for making a living and knowing how to live

Hello Friends, “There are two types of education. One should teach us how to make a living, and the other how to live.” -J. Adams I have always loved this quote, because it reminds us that both types of education are equally important. TNSM’s commitment to teaching the “whole child” is another connection to this same theme. Math without context becomes less interesting. However, when children come to understand mathematics as a type of language that can explain how bridges are built, rockets are launched, or how planets orbit, then these two types of education merge into skill development. The …

Last night the ginkgo trees lost their leaves. I love this moment.

  Hello Friends, Last night the ginkgo trees lost their leaves. I love this moment. It happens all at once. From one day to the next, almost all of the leaves detach and fall around the trunk of the tree like a golden blanket. During drop-off this morning, the sun hit our very own ginkgo tree, and it looked like it was dripping gold as the last few leaves fell. As you know, tomorrow begins our Thanksgiving break. For many of us, holidays can be complicated. They can remind us of people we have lost. They can bring us into …

What does success look like?

Hello Friends, I was recently asked, “What does student success look like?” I LOVE big questions. I love asking them and being asked; my wife often jokes that when we first started dating, she felt like she was being interviewed. So, as you can see, I really appreciated it when our board president called me up and asked such a big and important question.     As you might imagine, it’s a topic I have given a lot of thought to, but like any big question, it can be difficult to capture its essence. When she asked, it reminded me of …

Zip on! Taking risks and exercising courage.

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Hello Friends, Last Friday I spent the day with our (9-12) students at Camp Ernst. We love this experience because it provides our students with opportunities to take risks and exercise courage.   Students played in creeks, practiced archery, went horseback riding, scaled climbing walls, and zipped down zip lines. Some comfortably moved from one activity to the next with confidence and enthusiasm. Others had to dig down deep to find the courage to try something new. Some watched and waited, thinking, “Next year. I’ll try that next year.” What I …

New eyes

Hello Friends, I am so blown away by the work I see going on in our classroom environments. Recently, I took a Head of School, who now teaches leadership at the University of St. Louis, on a tour through our campus, and he was deeply impressed with how our students remained focused – even with guests in the room.  I shared with him this fitting Montessori quote, “The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, the children are now working, as if I did not exist.” We started our tour in the preprimary classrooms …

Observe: Take time to look at each other with love, humility, and appreciation

“I observed little children; I sensed their needs; I tried to fulfill them: they call that the Montessori Method.” – Maria Montessori Hello Friends, I have been thinking (and reading) about Maria Montessori’s emphasis on observation. In fact, observation is really the centerpiece for how Montessori educators approach their work. Between news feeds, social media, email, texts, phone calls, capturing and editing photos and short clips, etc. it is hard to really force ourselves to pause, calm our minds, and observe our children. I remember coming across a series of photos by American photographer Eric Pickersgill, who edited out the …