Students excited by cross-stitching, knitting and using the sewing machine

Throughout the year, student in The New School Montessori’s (3-6) program have been interested in making projects using their newfound skills of knitting hats, cross stitching self portraits, sewing on sequins, stitching hems on pillows and bringing arachnids to life through textile. This month, teachers gave an introductory lesson on the workings of the sewing machine. Students learned the names and functions of various parts of the machine and practiced straight lines and zigzag stitches. Most students only wanted to work the pedal with their foot, but several students wanted the additional challenge of guiding the fabric while they controlled …

Books to Read that Promote Discussions About Diversity

My husband, Scott Burks, and I are the proud parents of a fifth grader at TNSM. Along with being committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming world for our son, much of my professional and volunteer work involves issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In a recent TNSM Diversity Committee meeting, we discussed ways to keep this important work moving forward in our community over the summer. In that spirit, I have created a list of things your family can read together.   Summer Reading Suggestions that Focus on Diversity and Inclusion Please read and discuss: Ages (3-6) A Is …

O’Keefe-inspired work

In art class, kindergarteners studied Georgia O’Keeffe and her large-scale flower paintings, rendered in beautiful soft palettes. In order to achieve such a close-up perspective, students used mat board viewfinders to visualize their compositions. They then sketched the outlines of their lilies on grey paper, and colored them in with brilliant oil pastels.   .  . 

Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

It’s May and that means it’s officially Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM)!  Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) is an annual celebration and recognition of the Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans and their achievements and contributions throughout U.S. history and to the present day. This year a local organization, Asianati, has put together an entire month of programming that celebrates Asian food, culture, and history. Most of the events are free, and many are family-friendly. So take the opportunity to treasure our local restaurants, create works of art, and learn. Click HERE to see a complete list of events. ~Sarah …

A Mother’s Day Message

Hello Friends, This weekend is Mother’s Day. I have recently learned this national holiday has a strange and complicated history including the originator of the day, Anna Jarvis (1920), lobbying hard to remove it from the calendar due to how commercialized it had become.   Like many holidays, Mother’s Day has taken on a life of its own, detached from its historical roots. For some of us, it is a time to reflect, honor, and mourn a mother we have lost. For others, it is a day of thanks for the mothers still living and loving in our lives. Mother’s …

An Amazing Metamorphosis

In Montessori classrooms, you will hear a lot about life cycles. In fact, you will hear a lot about cycles in general; water cycles (evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection), three-year cycles (the three-year Montessori curriculum), and even the three-hour work cycle in (3-6) environments. As Montessorians, we value and honor the phases everything and everyone passes through. Each phase is significant and important in itself. Infant, child, adolescent, and adult. Spring, summer, fall, and winter. Morning, afternoon, and night. In our pre primary classrooms, teachers and students observed the metamorphoses of butterflies unfolding over the past few weeks: egg, caterpillar, …

Let us work together, deepening our understanding of racism and creating relational transformations

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is tied up with mine, then let us work together.”   ~Lilla Watson Much of the work that the Diversity + Community Engagement Committee has been doing this year has been about deepening – rather than spreading and doing. We have remained in the relational realm. Last week, Sarah Corlett shared powerful resources with us. One was an interview by Brené Brown with Aiko Bethea. A phrase from that interview really stuck with me: “Anti-racism work is never transactional. If we …

Age-appropriate books when navigating discussions around race, diversity, and inclusion

Hello Friends, Over 100 years ago, Montessori education was founded on the principle that every child, regardless of race, gender, or social standing, deserved a quality education. Dr. Maria Montessori also believed that the child was the pathway to peace, saying, “Establishing lasting peace is the work of education,” and developed a model of peace education that is still used today in Montessori classrooms around the world. Unfortunately, racism and discrimination still persist in our country. Modeling peace and empathy for our children is a great step towards a more just society. At The New School Montessori, we are committed …

Students study the weather and seasons

Spring is an excellent time to talk about weather, as we see ALL KINDS of weather in spring! Just as the crocuses poke their heads up through the warming grass, we get an unexpected snow. We must leave the house each day with winter coats for the morning chill, a sleeveless top for the heat of the day and a light-weight jacket for later. Students looked at weather in numerous ways by: cross-stitching a sunny weather prediction from the classroom’s weather map, placing the seasons in order with a friend, reading about storms, and observing the electrical power of lightning. …

Relying on defaults means we miss seeing who someone actually is! Diversity and Community Engagement Post

I hope you all enjoyed last night’s Community Conversation, and many thanks to Sarah Corlett and Gina Sabato for all their hard work in organizing the event. Although I wasn’t able to attend, I did watch Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo’s TED Talk video and want to share some of my thoughts. A couple of weeks ago, Allie wrote about the process of “unlearning,” and I think for many of us in America, developing racial literacy—of both the head and heart varieties—requires a kind of “unlearning.” For me, this process is about overriding my defaults. Our brains are notoriously lazy and want to make …