November Newsletter – MEC North Campus

CHANGES FOR 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR

  • Billing for tuition for Preschool, and Full-Day Kindergarten will begin August 15,2020.
  • Preschool Thru Lunch will increase to $645 per month.
  • Kindergarten tuition will increase to $300 per month.
  • Beginning at 5:31 p.m., LEAP will be billed $1 per minute.

 

And from our Director…

How to Evaluate the Progress of a Montessori Child

Most Montessori schools such as MEC do not use grades or test scores as a way to evaluate children’s progress. While it’s wonderful that we don’t subject children to these sorts of assessments, which are often arbitrary and biased, it can be hard to find a meaningful way to estimate their progress. How can we measure children’s growth and development in a way that lets us know how they’re doing without using tests or grades?
Another important (and related) question is this: how can we know if a child is having an authentic Montessori experience? In other words, is the child truly receiving the full benefit of the prepared environment, the materials, and the Montessori philosophy? Knowing the answers to these questions will help us as we decide which materials to present, how to arrange (or re-arrange) the environment, and how to work with each child.

The best assessment of each child will include several things:

  1. First of all, there should be some kind of chart, list, or schematic indicating what work has been completed by the child. To make it even more useful, you can indicate whether or not a child has been shown how to do the work, actually done it themselves, or even mastered it (or all three, if indicated).
  2. The second part of the evaluation can include the child’s own work; samples of written work, creative writing, drawing, art projects, and even photographs of the child’s work can be included. (I’ll be authoring a separate post on assembling a child’s work portfolio soon).
  3. The third part of the assessment should include a written portion that summarizes the child’s progress as observed by the teacher. Observation notes can be included to support the conclusions. It’s helpful to briefly mention the general characteristics of a Montessori child and how this particular child is moving ahead in each area.

What characteristics should we be looking for in a Montessori child?

The Montessori method is practiced in dozens of countries around the world, in differing cultures and in many languages. Regardless of where and how the child experiences Montessori, you should be able to see these the following traits – even if just in glimpses.

Eight characteristics of the authentic Montessori experience:

  • Independence
    Besides the obvious displays of independence like being able to choose work for oneself, there is a certain autonomy that marks the Montessori child. They are used to doing things themselves rather than having an adult do everything for them.
  • Confidence
    The Montessori child approaches life’s challenges confidently. They may not know the answer or solution to every problem, but they know where to find help if they need it. This is not an arrogant confidence that presumes to be right at everything, but the kind of confidence that allows a child to try new things and be adventurous.
  • Self-discipline
    Self-discipline enables children to make the right choices without adult intervention. The child cannot achieve self-discipline without instruction and help from the teachers and parents. Guiding a child’s inner development is not something that can be done overnight; it’s a long-term process that focuses on incremental improvements.
  • Intrinsic motivation
    The idea behind the beautifully prepared environment of the Montessori classroom is that each material – and indeed, the set-up of the entire classroom – will appeal to the child’s inner needs. The teacher should never need to force or coerce a child into doing work. The child will instinctively know what they need to do. If the teacher or parent is always giving direction, the child will never get a chance to hear that “inner voice”.
  • Ability to handle external authority
    One popular misconception of Montessori is that children are allowed to run around and misbehave and basically do anything they want to with no interference on the teacher’s part. Nothing could be further from the truth. The child in the Montessori environment is treated with respect, but is expected to respect the teacher, the materials, and the other members of the class as well. Strong-willed children find it very difficult to handle external authority, but with time and patience can begin to graciously follow directions when necessary.
  • Academic achievement
    While we don’t wish to make academics the cornerstone of a Montessori education, they are indeed important. Each child will develop differently, but there should always be some progress over time. Montessori may have more elastic boundaries when it comes to grade-level expectations, but there are still general skills to be mastered in the 3-year cycles. It’s important to know which materials are presented in each level, and whether or not the child has completed them successfully.

Many Montessori schools avoid standardized testing, but it’s perfectly acceptable to evaluate kids with short, informal one-on-one sessions with an adult. The child may be asked to complete the work (or some part of it) so that the adult can note whether or not further instruction is needed. These can be repeated if necessary, and progress can be noted from one evaluation to another.

  • Spiritual awareness
    The Montessori philosophy recognizes that a child has more than just a mind and body: they possess a soul as well. The child’s soul needs to be nourished through art, music, literature, nature, moral lessons, religious instruction, and relationships. A Montessori child will have appreciation and respect for spiritual issues, and for other people as spiritual beings.
  • Responsible citizenship
    Since the Montessori curriculum stresses the interdependence of all living things, global awareness will come quite naturally to the Montessori child. They will be interested in current events, in helping others less fortunate than themselves, and in treating our planet kindly.

 

Let’s all take a deep breath…

…and accept the fact that no child will perfectly display all these characteristics at one time. Rather, we are looking for glimpses of the above characteristics, as well as evidence that the child is progressing in each area. This progress may be turtle-slow, but as long as there’s some forward motion, we can know that Montessori is taking hold. Any child who develops the eight characteristics mentioned above is going to be well prepared to succeed at anything they attempt to do, so let’s make sure we’re guiding them in the right direction.

 

                                       Important Dates

Nov. 11th-Veterans Day-No school

Nov. 28th-29th – Thanksgiving Vacation- No school

Dec. 6th – Parent/Teacher Conference – No school

Dec. 20th-Jan 3rd – Winter Break

Jan. 6th – School resumes

 

Fun Food Friday Menu

Nov. 1st –  Spaghetti, salad, cheesy bread, and milk.

Nov. 8th – French Toast sticks, turkey sausage, applesauce, and juice.

Nov. 15th – Hot dogs, baked beans, chips, and milk.

Nov. 22nd – Chicken taquitos, refried beans, fruit cup, and juice.

It’s not too late!

Students are able to purchase Fun Food Friday lunches up until the Monday before the desired date for $6.

Late orders(past Monday on week of)=$7.

Please contact Crystal in the office with any questions.

 

                                                          Illness

  • Please help us to keep our school healthy by keeping students home when they are coughing, have a runny nose, a sore throat, fever, or an upset stomach.
  • If your child becomes ill at school, we will contact you to pick him/her up. You will need to pick up your child within one half hour of our phone call. Your child must be fever free (under 100 degrees),without medication, no longer vomiting, diarrhea free, and rash free (or not contagious) for 24 hours before returning to
  • Please inform your classroom teacher if you are aware that your child is arriving to school with a non contagious rash, sores, bug bites, etc. This notice will eliminate teacher concern and questions.

                                                      CAR LINE

It has come to our attention that there are some safety issues in the carline. While the majority of you are safely navigating the carline, it is important that we refresh ourselves on the guidelines to better protect the children. If you see unsafe behavior in the carline, please let us know so that we can take care of the issue. We do not want any of our students to be involved in an accident because of someone’s carelessness in our carline. Also, keep in mind that those not following our guidelines may be cited for traffic and safety violations and can, at our discretion, be banned from the carline.

Help us keep your students safe by observing these guidelines:

 

 

  • NO CELL PHONE ZONE:  The moment you enter carline, there should be no cell phone use.
  • DRIVE SLOWLY:  Be aware! Drive slowly, and pull forward in carline whenever possible making sure there are no children near your car (including your own).
  • STAY IN VEHICLE:  Please stay in your vehicle at all times! Your children will be sent to your car when they get to carline.
  • BE PATIENT:  Each person in carline is in the same situation.  Be patient and do not assume your situation is different from anyone else’s situation.  We want all Montessori children to be safe.

BE RESPECTFUL:  Please regard staff with courtesy and patience. We are acting in the best interest of all students. Remember that carline is a service we choose to provide and not a requirement. Do not cut off other cars or skip ahead into line before others.