Connections Program

September 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Our Elementary Class is taking a leadership role in a school-wide study of buildings and architecture.  Primary children will join the Elementary for project-based lessons in construction and design.  The program will reinforce the Montessori philosophy of multi-age learning, provide mentoring opportunities and develop stronger school-wide connections.

The program launched today with introductions and a student-led lesson on homes around the world.

Welcome Parents (its a new school year)

September 15, 2016 Leave a comment

Hello parents.

For your children, it’s a new school year.  For you, its another step closer to when you’ll send your children off into the world. What a scary thought. Right?

But one day, these children, who depend on us for everything, will be independent, self sufficient.  Already they are saying “I can do it myself” I can zip a zipper, I can tie, I can draw, dress.  And sometimes we let them zip, tie, draw and dress. And sometimes we don’t.

How do we decide when to help?  When to allow tv watching?  When to allow iPads, cell phones, sugar?

This is such a smart, educated group of adults here in this room.  So we ought to have parenting pretty figured out.  Some of you have been at it for 9 years.  Me, 18 years. Who has mastered parenting?

I am sorry that parenting doesn’t work that way.  You will never figure it out.  Just the fact that there are so many parenting books on the market is a sign that there are no satisfactory answers on how to do it well.  All those books? They are a sign that there is a crisis of confidence in our ability to raise children in this country.

We all have something in common. We all have anxiety about raising our children.  It is okay to admit it. And we should be anxious since our children’s health and well-being is completely our responsibility.

And we worry about our abilities as parents. At least I do.  I worry that sometimes I am too permissive and sometimes I am too strict.  Did I allow too much Halloween candy? Did I encourage my children to take responsibility for their own choices? Did I spend too much time at work?  And what about the weird nanny 10 years ago?

There are so many paradoxes in parenting in today’s culture. We want our kids to be morally grounded and ethical, and we want them to be successful in a cut-throat world.    We want them to grow up to be self-confident, but we have so little confidence that we know how to do it.

I have daydreamed about my children being accepted to prestigious colleges on full scholarships just so I can brag about my parenting skills.  See, I wasn’t too permissive!  Parenting has made us all crazy at times. We can admit it.

One thing for sure, it has made us into different people than we were pre-kids. Now we are more loving. More tired. More self-less. And also more selfish. I would put my child’s needs ahead of anyone else.

So, before I go on too long, I am going to tell you how to be a parent.

At some level, we all know that our culture isn’t good for kids.  The commercialization, sensationalism and sexualization in the media is really disturbing.  The culture of celebrity and egotism is really horrible.  The professionalization of childhood, including youth sports, travel teams and tutors isn’t really spot on for kids.

How to parent is simple, but impossible.  It’s this:  let your children extend their childhood as long as possible.  Fourth grade is fourth grade, and your children will be ready for it when the time comes.

Extend childhood. Let them explore with their hands, let them play with younger children and older ones, let them spend as much time as possible in places that respects their innate curiosity.  A place with high expectations not high stakes testing. A school where they will be known by loving teachers who believe learning isn’t a competition with winners and losers. Learning is just what people do.

I think you will find that the less you try to make your child into something, (like some idealized version of you), the more they will grow into someone competent, grounded and amazing. The less you try to toughen them up for the real world, the more confidently they will be able to navigate it.

So last words, let your kids see you live your values.  Be true to yourself.  Step away from your parenting anxiety.  Show your children that you have faith in their ability to grow up strong. They’ll watch you and they’ll learn from you. And they will grow into wonderful people.


Our Butterflies, a Metamorphosis

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Bear with my metaphor, but almost all of life’s lessons can be learned from children’s picture books.

In two fitting ways, Evergreen children are the Very Hungry Caterpillars in Eric Carle’s book. First, they are voracious. They are ravenous to learn things, to do things and to figure things out (not just hungry for fruit and junk food). Second, our children have been warmly nestled in cozy classroom cocoons—with caring teachers in a safe, nurturing place to learn.

So what happens when our caterpillars become butterflies?  What happens after Evergreen elementary?

In a few months, our third graders will emerge from the Evergreen cocoon as graduates with colorful new wings.  After four years or more with us, each is excited and nervous for new schools, new teachers and new friends.

I am proud to share their plans for next year.  Our third graders have been accepted at several of the most selective independent schools in the DC region.  Among hundreds of applicants, our students stood out for their academic preparation, personal character, intellectual curiosity and maturity.  These qualities will serve them well wherever they go.

I am grateful to our Elementary teachers, Mrs. Hatziyannis and Mrs. Hannon, for their hands-on support of each child through the application process. As Evergreen father Joel Klein said at a recent ESPA meeting, the relationship between Elementary teachers and their students is the most powerful part of the Evergreen experience.

Just as our program is individualized to meet the needs of each child, our objective is not to get students into the most selective schools. Therefore, as you will see from the list, Evergreen isn’t a “feeder” for any particular school. Our children will attend a range of schools, each a well-selected match for the personality and learning-style of each child. In addition to these schools, Evergreen graduates have also attended MCPS schools, Sidwell Friends School, Sienna School and Catholic schools in the last two years.  We are fortunate to have many excellence independent, religious and public schools in the area for families to choose for fourth grade.

There is tremendous value in staying at Evergreen for the entire Elementary experience.  It is a powerful launching pad for newly-winged butterflies!

Avery: Sandy Spring Friends School
Lydia: Barrie School
Alexander: St. Patrick’s Catholic School
Anais: Maret School
Harry: Lowell School
Maddie: Lowell School


John DeMarchi
Head of School

Tennis Clinic with USTA

February 23, 2016 Leave a comment

Evergreen hosted a tennis clinic with USTA instructor Ronnie Goodall on Monday.  What a great way to use our gym on a wet February day.  Evergreen will offer enrichment tennis classes this spring and summer tennis sessions, too.

Summer Programs and Camp!

December 30, 2015 Leave a comment

Evergreen Summer Image

Get ready for a summer of creativity, discovery and friendship. With more than 50 years of experience, Evergreen offers joyful, safe and educational programs where active, curious children age 2.5 to 10 learn and grow. Led by our caring and experienced staff, our programs provide enriched experiences that children and parents love.

(click to see all sessions and dates)

Montessori Summer (Ages 2.5 – 5)

Learn the hands-on Montessori way! Includes trips to the pool, field trips, performer visits and more.

Acorns (Ages 3.5 – 4) and Sprouts (Ages 4 – 5)

Multi-faceted day camps focus on art, music, dance and fanciful creatures. Includes swimming, field trips, performer visits and more.

Specialty Camps (Ages 6 – 10)

Sensational programs in Art, Cooking, Karate, Musical Theater, Science, and Tennis led by expert teachers!


UgolMeet our Director: Stephanie Ugol Stephanie is the Evergreen School Summer Programs Director. She holds a BFA in Theatrical Design from the University of Georgia and an Associate’s Degree in Visual Communications from the Arts Institute in Atlanta. Previously she serve as Director of the Center of Youth and Family/Camp at the District of Columbia Jewish Community Center. She also served as Director of Summer Camps at Sandy Spring Friends School.

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Evergreen School Tree House

There is Joy in a Job Well Done.

There is Joy in a Job Well Done.

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Montessori Preparation

December 22, 2015 Leave a comment

The real preparation for education is the study of one’s self.

–Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori Observing a Child

Why Evergreen School?

December 18, 2015 Leave a comment

Taking Care of Each Other Evergreen SchoolWhy Evergreen School?

The most distinguishing characteristic of Evergreen School is the quality and expertise of our faculty.  Our teachers are committed to the Montessori philosophy of education.  As such, their strongly held beliefs in the capability and dignity of each child lead to a learning community based on respect.  It is an environment characterized by collaboration, kindness and a strong sense of mission and purpose.

The welcoming feeling in the school building comes from the sense of trust shared between children, teachers and families. Our teachers bring joy to their classrooms because they are performing meaningful, fulfilling work each day.  They experience a powerful sense of satisfaction from seeing their students learning, growing and making progress.  Our teachers are personally invested in the success of each of their students. This commitment is the foundation of our community spirit.

A significant reason why our teachers choose to work at Evergreen is our small class size and the intimate nature of our community.  Evergreen is a place that values knowing each child individually.  We are unique among Montessori schools for having such small classes and a low student/teacher ratio.

Our teachers are committed to their profession.  Lead teachers have all participated in rigorous Montessori training programs.  And they eagerly pursue continuing education and life-long learning about child development.  In addition to participating in national Montessori conferences, they attend local and regional workshops to stay abreast with current trends in education.

Following the Montessori Method, we believe that each child should have a personalized learning experience in which the level of challenge is appropriately set for each child.  No child is overwhelmed, frustrated or bored by lessons presented.  Children experience the right level of challenge, in an environment with high expectations so they continue to make progress.

The broad diversity of our community is a major strength; here is a place that all can call home.

Another key attribute of our program is our comprehensive program.  At Evergreen, we believe that every child has multi-faceted interests and passions.  Our Montessori classroom program is complemented by specials including music, art, physical education, library and Spanish.  By participating in specials twice each week, children experience continuity of their learning. Outdoor recess every day in an all-natural Playgarden gives our students the essential opportunity to connect with nature and have the kind of free play and social time that is vital to physical, social and emotional development. Finally, our facility provides the backdrop where all these activities take place. Our full-sized gym, art, music and library spaces are essential for carrying out our comprehensive program.

The quality of the Evergreen experience comes from our philosophy, our size and our structure. Most of all, it comes from our teachers and parent community who work hand-in-hand together to provide our children with the very best opportunities to learn and grow.

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