Learning more about Kwanzaa

Article written by Portia Dyrenforth, TNSM parent and Diversity and Community Engagement Committee member This year I decided it was time to update my very cursory knowledge of Kwanzaa. I remember learning about it during elementary school when a parent gave a presentation to our class, but to be honest, I don’t know much beyond the very basics. After spending some time down an internet-rabbit hole, I know a little bit more and have a lot left to learn. In the spirit of this busy time of year and incremental learning, I wanted to share two short video clips that …

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 …

Jewish Festival of Lights speaks to a universal truth about light 

Essay written by Hope Mille (TNSM parent and Diversity and Community Engagement member) As I write this, it’s the first day of December and the third day of Hanukkah. It’s the time of year when I bemoan the fading light. Although I don’t observe Hanukkah, I appreciate the miracle of the light. (Well, technically, the oil was the miracle.)  Syrians took control of Jerusalem in the 2nd century BCE, persecuted the Jewish people, and desecrated the Second Temple. After regaining control of Jerusalem during the Maccabean revolt, Jewish people rededicated the Second Temple by lighting a candelabra. While there was only enough …

The coming of humans

New School Montessori (6-9) students were told Maria Montessori’s story of the Third Great Lesson: The Coming of Humans. The class talked about what makes humans different from other animals, highlighting our hands, thumbs and minds. Having an opposable thumb increases the types of work we can do with our hands. And our complex brains allow for higher order thinking, feeling and reasoning. Just think of all the ways we can use our hands and brains to show love and care for others. Students created booklets about what makes them human and molded miniature brains from clay as a souvenir …

Seeing a taxi in the Covid Test car line awakens an understanding…

In 1990, “over 1,000 people marched from the White House to the U.S. Capitol to demand that Congress pass the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. When they got there, about 60 of them cast aside their wheelchairs and other mobility aids and crawled up the Capitol steps” (history.com). This event, later called the Capitol Crawl, served as a catalyst, perhaps the catalyst, for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.   The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is on December 3, and this year’s theme is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, …

(9-12) Students shared their ideas, needs and hopes for the Kaleidoscope Center

Hello Friends, Through the extraordinary generosity of our alumni and current families we have raised $1,648,000.00! Our goal is $2M in donations and pledges before the end of the academic year. Kaleidoscope: A Beautiful Vision is an ambitious new chapter at TNSM. The campaign includes an environmentally-green arts building and community center for all of our students, as well as a commitment to growing our Diversity Scholarship Endowment. A few weeks ago, Lisa Cameron (TNSM Parent and Elevar Senior Designer) met with our (9-12) students. She wanted to hear why the project was important to them and what needs they …

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 …

Resources to open conversations and spark curiosity

Essay written by TNSM parent and D+CE member Allie Precht Hope, Rachel, Portia & Claudia have shared such lovely, vulnerable and informative stories over the past 4 weeks along with many resources that I want to re-share with our TNSM community. These resources can open conversations with our families, within ourselves, and spark curiosity and learning within our children. Claudia shared this video of the song Aya Aya (Hello, Hello) – try singing with you children as a way of honoring some of the ancestors of this land we call home now. Portia shared a list of Native American Children’s …

During Ex-Day, students made luxury accommodations for insects and squirrels

Students in (6-9) Extended-Day have been doing some serious planning for the insects and little creatures sharing space in our elementary woods. Not only do leaves left on the ground provide cover for butterflies and other insects to winter under, but some students have gone the extra mile to create a rock-enclosed bug sanctuary with choice bits of finely ground dirt to blanket the enclosure. These accommodations are the “Hotel Ritz” of the bug world. And that’s not all! The next day, these students decided to create a potential habitat for squirrels. The structure’s homey interior is very inviting, with …

Rockets = History + Science + Math + Fun

Students in 4th-6th grade were thrilled to make and set off their own rockets on The New School Montessori’s  blacktop.  Their work began by studying  the science that had come before, making this kind of event possible. Students looked all the way back to 400 BC when a Greek scientist propelled a pigeon along a wire using steam power to the Chinese igniting gunpowder for fireworks in 1232, to Newton’s discovery of the 3 Laws of Motion in the 17th century, to Germans’ ballistic missiles fueled with liquid oxygen and alcohol in 1942. All of these discoveries led us to …