“Fasten your seatbelts. This twenty-two hour Quantas Airline flight to
Melbourne, Australia is about to take off!”
Thus began the Elementary class’s multidisciplinary study of Australia. For the past few weeks, our Elementary students have been surfing near Bondi Beach, touring Tasmania, studying Australian cartography and landforms, speaking in Aussie slang, creating Aboriginal-styled artwork, eating Vegemite, pumpkins scones and Brisbane oranges, and avoiding (and studying) large Australian insects. Children have been so busy they haven’t had time to snorkel around the Great Barrier Reef, listen to the didgeridoo or observing the crocodiles at Crocosaurus Cove yet. All while developing reading, writing, math and social studies skills.
This amazing unit was designed and implimented by our awesome Elementary teachers, Mrs. Hannon and Mrs. Hatziyannis, whose creativity, enthusiasm and passion for their classroom make their program unrivaled.
Why are children so enthusiastic? This type of multidisciplinary, integrated continent study brings all forms of intelligence—linguistic, emotions, musical, movement and spatial reasoning, and logical mathematic together to create rigorous, relevant, and engaging learning. The ‘virtual’ field trip provides the context for our students to make connections across disciplines in a meaningful way. Students see a purpose to their learning, even though Australian is on the other side of the globe.
So if you see an Elementary student this week, be sure to say, “G’day, Mate! Have a ripper of a trip!”
Why do we celebrate Winter Festival?
Winter is the darkest season. But the darkness of winter draws our attention to light. At Winter Festival we celebrate the light that each of us brings to our family, our classrooms, our school and our community.
Winter is the darkest season. Winter is also the coldest season. But the coldness of winter draws attention to the warmth in our hearts. With this warmth, each of us has the power to thaw bigotry, intolerance and ignorance. At Winter Festival we celebrate the love inside each of us.
As Maria Montessori said, “Love is the most potent.” Love is the most powerful.
And just as the song goes, “As long as you love me so, Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”
The Montessori approach to educating children is based on what we understand about children’s cognitive, neurological, and emotional development as shown to us through years of research. Some of the key aspects of our program include:
- Montessori is focused on teaching for understanding. The Montessori materials give the child concrete sensorial impressions of abstract concepts.
- The approach promotes organization and focus as being just as important as the academics.
- The mentor/mentee is a critical feature. The mixed-age class allows older children to be leaders and teach the younger children.
- In Montessori schools, children from different neighborhoods who share common values have come together to create the school community. Children who grow up in a Montessori environment often speak of close-knit relationships with classmates and their families.
- Montessori supports personalized learning. Children learn at-their-own pace without unhealthy stress or artificial competition. The child can move as slowly or quickly as needed to understand a concept.
- Montessori students study other cultures creating the foundation for global citizenship.
- Children are treated with a deep respect as unique individuals. The school is keenly focused on the child’s intellectual, social, and emotional development.
- Montessori teaches kindness, peacefulness, grace, and courtesy.
- Montessori children learn through their five senses. Materials are hands-on, allowing children to explore, investigate and research. They become actively engaged in their studies rather than being spoon-fed information.
- Montessori addresses different learning styles and helps children learn how to study.
- Montessori challenges children and sets high expectations. Children develop self-discipline and an internal sense of purpose and motivation.
Montessori children are typically engaged, and curious learners who look forward to going to school. They have a high level of self-confidence and independence, a lifelong love of learning, and feel close bonds with friends and teachers.
Winter Festival is an Evergreen tradition since 1978 in which we celebrate love and warmth, friendship and light. This year’s theme is particularly poignant in view of recent events in schools around the world.
We are grateful to Music Director Caitlin Garry for leading the music portion of the program, Primary Teacher Rebecca Tobin for coordinating the art exhibit, Lourdes Barden Sims for coordinating the reception, Lourdes Buenaflor for the program, book drive and logistics, and all our wonderful parent volunteers!
Have a wonderful holiday and joyful New Year.
With our 50th anniversary year approaching, I’ve been digging (more literally than figuratively) through our school archives.
One conclusion: Montessori education is timeless.
It is heartwarming to see children in the ’70s working with materials that are familiar to our students today. And its an honor to carry on these traditions with our current generation of children.
As we create our a photo archive for our anniversary our alumni– even the 55 year old ones– will be able to find and tag themselves as toddlers and pre-schoolers.
Here is a look back to 1976…
Over 250 current and alumni families, past and present faculty members of Evergreen Montessori School in Silver Spring, Maryland dedicated a new custom-designed Tree House play structure in honor of the 30-year career of Primary Division Director Marilynn Liotta. The dedication of the Tree House took place at the school’s annual Spring Festival and featured a violin recital and choral concert. Guest speakers included Mrs. Lynn Pellaton who served as Head of School from 1972 to 1996.
The Tree House is all natural and was constructed from sustainably harvested Black Locust logs and Osage Orange branches. The Tree House is a permanent part of the school’s award-winning rain garden and was built by local craftsman Marcus Sims. Ms. Liotta is retiring at the end of the school year.