“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!”
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.
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!
Meet 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.
There is Joy in a Job Well Done.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio
So much for planning. My family didn’t plan to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland when we planned our summer vacation. By the time we arrived in Ohio, we had already visited Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and Art Museum in Philadelphia, bicycled on the Allegheny Passage and stayed at an eco-lodge in Cumberland. We were looking forward to a few quiet days in Cleveland, and when we visited the Hall of Fame, I wasn’t expecting to gain any insights into school leadership. I just wanted to see Michael Jackson’s glove and Madonna’s corset.
Here is what I learned: the majority of Hall of Fame inductees are musical groups, not individuals. Even the solo artists collaborated with well-known producers and band-mates. Creativity is social. The relationship between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards was documented in an extraordinary ’50 Years of Satisfaction’ exhibit which emphasized the creative energy that came from their competing artistic visions. In addition, the museum made it easy to trace how styles and genres evolved over time: bands influence one another, borrow, and steal. Oh, the debt the Beatles owe to Chuck Berry. No one succeeds alone.
I was also struck by the relationship between technology (FM radio, turntables, recording devices, video and MP3 player and creativity) and consumer culture. It was fascinating to trace the relationship between Civil Rights and popular music. And it was inspiring to the passion and perfectionism of Hall of Fame inductees.
The Hall represents the soundtrack of American culture. It is all so encompassing that it seems nearly impossible to curate. Of all we heard and saw, this sticks with me the most:
When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all;
I’m on your side. When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Could there be a Simon if there never was a Garfunkel?
Why is the last day of camp so grim? It is because it’s heartbreaking to say goodbye to beloved friends. To say goodbye to the Connecticut Bel Air Pool. To say goodbye to the crafts, the games, the songs, the amazing counselors and more.
We enjoyed nine great weeks of fun, science, adventure, cooking and more. Thanks so much for joining in. In particular, I want to thank our awesome counselors, Erika, Evan, Tasmin, Kathleen, and Lisi. It was their enthusiasm, joy, experience, patience and kindness that made our time so delightful. They are off to teach children in their own classrooms or be on their way back to colleges around the US. Another great contributor, our Camp Director, Caroline Maffry, did a wonderful job conducting the ‘summer orchestra’ this year. From hiring our great staff to planning field trips, the curriculum, t-shirts and more, she coordinated the endless details necessary to make camp work like a Swiss watch. Thank you, Ms. Maffry!
And now… on to the thrill of a new school year. Congratulations: everyone is a year older! Soon it will be a time to see old friends and make new ones. It’ll be a time to learn new skills and make new discoveries. It’ll be a busy time of hustle and bustle.
None-the-less, don’t neglect to reminisce about this wonderful summer (kinda like that Kid Rock song.) Remember these long days of sunshine. The brutal heat and the icy popsicles. Soap bubbles and watermelon. Pine Cones and glitter glue. And all the good times and good friends at Evergreen Camp!
See you next summer!
Head of School
Dr. Lillard, Author of Montessori: The Science behind the Genius
On this hot Friday afternoon in July, I set aside time to address the perennial question: “What do School Heads do in the summer?” And then I got distracted by a wonderful book, Montessori: the Science Behind the Genius by Dr. Angeline Lillard, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia.
I will return next week to reveal a behind-the-scenes look at Evergreen School’s administrative projects. You’ll discover how a School Head keeps busy in July. It will be as interesting as when Dorothy pulled back the curtain to reveal the Wizard, I promise. But first, I will leave you with a thought provoking list from Dr. Lillard’s book to keep you intrigued all weekend…
Eight Principles of Montessori Education, p.29
- movement and cognition are closely entwined, and movement can enhance thinking and learning;
- learning and well-being are improved when people have a sense of control over their lives;
- people learn better when they are interested in what they are learning;
- tying extrinsic rewards to an activity, like money for reading or high grades for tests, negatively impacts motivation to engage in that activity when the reward is withdrawn;
- collaborative arrangements can be conducive to learning;
- learning situated in meaningful context is often deeper and richer than learning in abstract contexts;
- particular forms of adult interaction are associated with more optimal child outcomes; and
- order in the environment is beneficial to children.
It doesn’t sound like your traditional school in Kansas, does it Toto? Montessori education works!
Enjoy the weekend. John
How do you approach the end of the school year? For some, the countdown to summer begins immediately after spring break. For me, I am in denial until the very last week: “It is NOT almost over!” I protest. But even when the end comes, there is still Evergreen Camp and next year to look forward to.
To make the transition to summer meaningful, we are planning two special events to put closure on the year. The first honors our elementary class. On Friday, we will recognize the special journey of our elementary students—in particular those who are departing after many years of learning and growth at Evergreen– through songs, poems and presentations. We are so proud of our students and their accomplishments! If you are familiar with the elementary class, you will understand how sad it will be to say goodbye to our beloved students and their families.
The second event takes place on the last day of school. Students will gather in the gym for a giant Montessori birthday celebration for the school. We will simulate the earth’s path around the sun and represent the journey we have been on this year. We will recount highlights of the year, sing, say goodbye and conclude with cookies and lemonade on the playground. The snacks may be sweet, but the end is always bittersweet.
Why is it so much fun for Evergreen children to come back to school after spring break? The thrill of seeing old friends is as strong for three year olds as it for adults. Happiness is directly tied to our relationships in life. There is nothing like being surrounded by loved ones, as we saw on Esteemed Elders’ Day.
In her best-selling book, Raising Happiness, Christine Carter writes about raising joyful children and creating happy adults. Her book has been cited by experts as an authoritative guide to parenting. Carter writes, “What is the key to happiness? …our relationships with other people matter more than anything else. Very happy people have stronger social relationships than less happy people…. Truly, our happiness and our relationships are so closely linked that they can practically be equated.”
We all recognize that it can be hard to raise children in the culture of affluence in Montgomery County. That’s why my favorite section of the book is about gratitude vs. entitlement. It takes concentrated effort and strategic planning to get children into the habit of practicing gratitude—especially when you consider that the average American child receives seventy toys per year! (p.68)
In addition, Carter’s book covers all the topics that are useful to parents: entitlement vs. gratitude, how to give praise, handling conflict, teaching optimism, the roots of materialism in children, and more. In addition to her book, Carter even offers classes to parents and helps to organize discussion groups. You can learn more on her website. http://www.raisinghappiness.com/