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 …

Grateful, yes. Easy, no.

Hello Friends, This week has not been easy.  Joyous at times, yes.  Dozens of moments where I am filled to the brim with gratitude, yes.  Easy, not so much. As we continue to navigate our way through a pandemic, we are met with the challenges of finding subs for teachers with the sniffles, or having to ask families to come and pick up their children and their siblings for minor symptoms.  And, we found out today that our parent volunteer from picture day was confirmed positive with a PCR test.  This was a “breakthrough” case and their symptoms are mild.  …

Don’t forget about the big questions

Dear Friends, In Montessori circles, you will hear the term “Cosmic Education”  used.  In many ways, Cosmic Education lies at the heart of Montessori philosophy.  Its aim is to present a curriculum and learning environment in a way that captures the child’s imagination and reveals the interconnectedness of all things.  Categories, subjects of study, and classifications are  specialized and important ways to think about the world, however, at life’s core, these boundaries are more fluid, blurred and symbiotic.  One of the most profound ways of understanding this is through the old cliche, but astonishing truth, that we are all made …

Acts of kindness with a video

Dear Friends, Every day at TNSM, I witness acts of kindness: A Montessori material spills and two or three students quietly join to help with the clean up. A child sits alone and is invited by others to join a game. A student forgets to put his rug away and a friend rolls it up and places it in the basket. Alfred Adler, an early leader in psychology and student of Maria Montessori, said the primary need of every child is to feel a sense of belonging and significance. One way that children learn the significance of their own actions …

The New School Montessori Specials

  Hello Friends, What a beautiful end to the week. The weather has been perfect! On Thursday and Friday, our Specials Programs began for our (6-12) year-olds as they cycled through Music, Art, Appreciating Differences, and Spanish. At the New School Montessori, we understand how the arts are integral to cognitive development and self-discovery. Through our Spanish, Music, Art, and Appreciating Differences programs, our teachers promote an understanding of multiple cultures and traditions, help children develop social skills, empathy, creating thinking, self-awareness and cooperation. Our arts programming increases student engagement and cognitive flexibility as well as teaches children both what …

Have a great (slow) weekend

The first few days of school are a major milestone for your child. It’s a huge one for you, too. I still remember what it was like to drop our oldest son, Jakob, off in the (3-6).  He cried. A lot.  It went against all my parenting instincts to walk away before he had calmed down.  I knew how important it was to show him that I trusted the amazing teachers he was with, by telling him that I loved him and that he was in good hands, but then turn and go.  He was fine 10 minutes later.  I …