February Newsletter 2019

Let Your Heart Beat Here

Love is the most essential element in our community. It is the foundation of our teaching. It is like breathing, a thing that comes so naturally. We breathe deep and true in a way that feeds our bodies, our hearts, and our souls. We love the same way.

The week before holiday break was a busy one for all. The excitement and energy was tangible on campus. Sometimes this surge of energy creates disturbance within our bodies. This happened to one of our students. I was asked to come help calm a student who was having a hard time. This student and I have formed a trusting relationship. He knows our agreement; when I come to see him, he sits on my lap, so we can talk. It took him a while to find his way to my lap, but, once he did, I wrapped my arms around him, and we breathed. As we sat there, his back to my heart, I noticed that our breaths and our heartbeats were in sync. I could feel it in my bones. There was a place in his heart the exact size of me. How is that possible? But, then again, he also fit perfectly in me. His body started to relax; his edges began to soften, became lighter yet grounded. He was able to find safety and comfort. He knew I would not let him disappear. He knew it was safe for his heart to beat here.

My story is not unique. These moments happen often throughout our days with your children. Our hearts recognize your child from the very beginning, and we know it is only a matter of time before they recognize ours, too. Loves flows at MEC, because we let hearts beat here.

by Cassi Mackey, M.Ed., Principal

Intrinsic Motivation 

As adults, we understand that work and responsibility never end; they simply take on various forms and follow us to whichever corner of the world we find ourselves. It would be unrealistic to promote the idea to children that work and responsibility are temporary and only necessary when a reward is waiting at the “end.” As Michael and D’Neil Duffy state in their book, Love of Learning: Supporting Intrinsic Motivation in Montessori Students, Maria Montessori conducted several experiments where children were rewarded for their work (given good behavior badges or candy) which resulted in these children later responding with indifference or rejection (M. & D. Duffy, 2012).

Our goal is to promote and model intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is the drive to continue to explore a subject for the “experience of internal growth” (M. & D. Duffy, 2012). It is the idea that once children feel success, they will be more willing to explore subjects unknown to them with curiosity rather than intimidation. It is the knowledge of what needs to be done and feeling confident enough to approach that challenge, even at the risk of failure. It is the desire to improve and the aspiration to move forward.

Granted, intrinsic motivation is not an easy concept to teach to children who are coming to realize that “work” is taking the place of their “fun.” Every classroom uses different strategies to help children grasp the concept and achieve that feeling of success in every task they choose to complete. A strategy that can be practiced at home is to begin to shift praise from a child’s work to their effort. It is the difference between saying, “Wow, your handwriting is beautiful,” and, “I can tell you took your time when you wrote these words in cursive.” The former only speaks to the perspective of the viewer while the latter speaks to the effort it took to create the final product.

The independent work environment of a Montessori classroom is designed to help children build on their natural gifts of curiosity and their instinct to learn about the world around them. We hope that, by the time they are ready to leave our doors for good, they have the intrinsic motivation and self-discipline they will need to follow their dreams to fruition.

by Nikki Black, Lower Elementary Teacher

My MLK Day of Service

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man who fought...but peacefully. He was born January 15, 1029 in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. King was an American Baptist minister who became the most known leader in the Civil Rights Movement from 1954 until he was assassinated April 4, 1962.  

As King stated, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" So, in memory, my family and I went to a local train park to pick up trash on Monday, January 21st, his national "Day On" for service.  

It feels amazing to do good, to serve, or to help.  Knowing you are helping is unbelievable. I wish everybody can one day feel that feeling.  Even my four and five year old brothers had an excellent time and wanted to do more. It's so crazy how doing something even so small makes you happy and someone else happier. It may seem so hard to help, but it's as easy as picking up trash.

I encourage you to do something big or small to help a good cause just like Martin Luther King, Jr. did, helping boys and girls get to be free. 

by Emma Prior-Barker, age 11


It has become one of our school's favorite traditions to collect necessities and fun items for the children from Children First Academy (school for homeless children). Once again, our CFA friends will be coming to our Valentine Mercado. Not only will they get the opportunity to shop at our students' stores, but they will also take with them these much needed items that we collect as a community. Items are due no later than Tuesday, February 12th.

Together we can make their visit one to remember!

We Need Your Help

3B Gary boys' t-shirts for 7 - 9 yr olds (no undershirts)
3A Cassi shampoo/conditioner/lotion (travel size only)
2B Kathy new toys for girls/boys (small/medium)
2A Nadine/Hollie girls' t-shirts for 7-9 yr olds (no undershirts)
4A Romie/Genine new stuffed animals (small/medium)
4B Cyndy/Nikki girls' socks for 7-9 yr olds
4C Laurie/Lesley toothbrush/toothpaste packets
1A Jenna new colored pencils and markers
1B Tabitha boys' socks for 7-9 yr olds
1C Cecile/Mary girls' hair accessories and wrapped candy
1D Heather/Vari snacks for snack bags (fruit snacks, raisins, cheese crackers, etc.)

Please bring items no later than Tuesday, Feb.12th.
If we all pull together, we can make Valentine's a little brighter for these children. Thank you for the support and generosity.
Contact Cassi with questions.

Valentine Mercado

The Valentine Mercado continues to provide basic lessons in economic principles, financial literacy and collaborative learning, but it is also an opportunity for our community to give back to those in need by hosting students from Children First Academy, a school for homeless and underprivileged children. Because we want the CFA children to feel comfortable and not overwhelmed with crowds; because we want our students to focus on hosting these children; and because we want to assure that booths stay adequately supplied, we are asking MEC parents to not attend the Valentine Mercado. As with every choice we make, this request is made with all intentions toward the best interest of the child, and, in this case, that includes your children, as well as some very deserving guests. You will have an opportunity to attend an evening event with the whole MEC community in May for our Wild at Art show.

by Cassi Mackey, M.Ed



  • Thanks to all the families who participated in the MLK Day of Service. The students had a lot to share about their experiences. We encourage you to continue to serve and share your stories.
  • Thank you for donating much needed items for the students from Children First Academy. Please continue to bring the items in. The last day we will be collecting is February 12th.
  • Thank you for showing your commitment to MEC by getting in  your re-enrollment paperwork and fee in on time. Our parents ROCK!
  • Congratulations to our MEC community. We passed the second phase for the National Blue Ribbon School Award. We will be submitting our final report in March.
  • Congratulations to Cassi Mackey, our principal. She has an article in this month's Tomorrow's Child, a national Montessori magazine. Her article is about parent and teacher communication.

Dates to Remember


February 12th - items due for Children First Academy  


February 15th - book orders due

Please make checks payable to MEC, not Scholastics.


February 18th - Presidents Day, No School


  • Please do not park in the fire lane (red curb) unless you are quickly dropping off or picking up your children.
  • Please call the office at (480) 926-8375 by 10:00 am to let us know if your child is absent that day.
  • Toddler and preschool enrollment fee for the 2019-2020 school year will be $100.
  • Account balances are due on the 15th of each month. If you have a credit/debit card on file, then it will be processed on the 15th. If your card on file declines, a $25.00 reprocessing fee will be applied to your account.

The Arizona School Tax Credit Program

allows you to direct up to $400 for a married couple or $200 per individual to our Charter School Extra-Curricular Fund. This donation replaces dollar-for-dollar funds that you otherwise would owe in state income taxes. Donations can be made anytime but must be received by April 15, 2019 to qualify for the 2018 tax year. Tax credit forms are available in the office.