Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

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


The Heart is the Center

November 12, 2015 Leave a comment

bulletin board

Ask any Evergreen student to find her heart, and she’ll immediately put a hand to her chest.

Our children seem to naturally know that the heart is the center of life and love.

It is the same way with our school. Ask any parent where to find the heart of Evergreen and consistently you’ll hear: it’s the teachers. Each teacher is guided by a passion for children, a passion for the Montessori philosophy, and a passion for the Evergreen community. While each brings his or her own unique personality to the classroom, each shares the same deep commitment to helping children develop confidence, independence and competency in a safe and loving atmosphere.

Day in and day out we seem the wisdom of Dr. Montessori’s methods in action. For a child to become strong and self-sufficient, he must engage in meaningful, challenging activities within his “zone of proximal development”—i.e., between what he can do with help and what he can do without. Knowing that a kind and supportive teacher is always nearby allows children to feel secure no matter the task at hand. And because our teachers know each student so well, the child’s work is always set to the right level of challenge.

I am grateful that the Evergreen community shares my appreciation for our teachers. Thanks to your generous support of the For’Ever Fund, two teachers were able to receive Montessori training and others were able to attend the American Montessori Society Annual Conference in Philadelphia this year. At the conference connected with other Montessori teachers from around the world, learned about the latest developments in education and renewed their commitment to the ideals of Dr. Montessori. Professional development is one of the most important ways that Evergreen has been able to maintain the strength of our program and remain the premier Montessori program in our area.

Supporting our exceptional faculty takes the commitment of our entire school community. I would like to sincerely thank you for your ongoing support. Thanks to our teachers’ work, Evergreen continues to make a difference in our children’s lives. I look forward to the year ahead.

Regards, John

The Montessori Holiday Guide

December 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Montessori holiday guideNow that we’re in the holiday season, it’s time to start thinking about ways to enjoy this special– but challenging– time with your children.

While most of the holiday commercialism runs counter to many of our families’ principles, it can seem nearly impossible to shield our children from the excesses of the season.


I wish you all the best in the weeks ahead and encourage you to keep in mind the insights we’ve learned from Montessori– chiefly these: children crave authentic, child-scaled activities including hands-on work like puzzles, cooking and crafts; they love creative play and movement; children hunger for books rich with language and images;  they live for making music and quiet moments, routine, family and togetherness most of all.


Enjoy this special time with your family!

Regards, John DeMarchi

We are grateful…

November 17, 2014 Leave a comment

photo 3 (7)We are so fortunate to be in a place of gratitude and love.  Kindness is contagious.  Here is what our Nest class is thankful for this season:

I am thankful for…

  • Lucy: flowers
  • Nico: My toys
  • Iona: Penny the dog
  • Patrick: My school
  • Vivian: Music
  • Alma: Kitties
  • Clarke: My mommy
  • Evelyn: My pet fish
  • Leia: My family
  • Margot: Ice cream
  • Nathan: My music
  • James: Jake, my cousin’s dog
  • Maia: planting flowers with Mommy
  • Joshua B: My cats
  • Joshua C: My brother Connor
  • Shanthi: Music
  • Avram: My dad
  • Noelle: my pet fish
  • Chloe: Time with my family

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Timeless Montessori

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…

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“Since We Were Two.”

January 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Bat MitzvahDo you know the feeling? racing heart? sweaty palms?   It’s unnerving to speak to a ballroom full of strangers.  But on Saturday night, my daughter Isabel didn’t have any trouble.  I asked her if she wanted to say a few words at her friend Jordyn’s Bat Mitzvah.  She grabbed the microphone and answered, “Of course.  We’ve been friends since we were two.”

Isabel and Jordyn went to preschool together at Georgetown Hill eleven years ago.  Our families have stayed in touch ever since.  Isabel’s words—since we were two—remind me of the power of friendships that form in places like Evergreen.  Her words remind me of our obligation to nurture these relationships, plan playdates, reach out and make and sustain connections. They help our children feel tethered.  Being part of a school community is important– but it can take 11 years or more to recognize just how much it means to your children.

Winter Festival

December 16, 2013 Leave a comment
Snowman Bulletin Board Evergreen School

Snowman detail

Did you know that Saturday, December 21 will be the shortest day of the year?  The sun will not rise until 7:23 AM.  The sun will set at4:49 PM.  It will be a dark, damp and chilly day.  Our elementary class has already had lessons on the path of the Earth and the science behind the solstice.

What can we do on this bleak and dreary day but celebrate? Hibernating is not an option.

The day before the solstice, the Winter Festival will be Evergreen’s way of using the warmth and joy of family and friendship to thaw the coldness of the season.   We are named Evergreen for a reason! We look forward to seeing our parents at our traditional mid-winter event.  In addition to the music performances by each class and our school song, we celebrate the children who are moving up to a new academic level in January.   And then our all-school potluck.   Enough to keep us warm until spring!

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