Upper Elementary: Let’s Support Each Other

This week we witnessed a lot of student collaboration and group work in the classroom. It began with the introduction of literature groups on Monday for the books, A Bridge to Terabithia and The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. After the students made their book choices they were divided into groups of five. Role sheets were passed out and each group discussed how they wanted to organize their weekly roles.

Later in the week the students worked together on their kingdom posters that focus on the different kingdoms of life. Together, they organized information and illustrations on their poster to highlight the kingdom they chose.  Once these are finished they will present the posters to the class.

Lastly, all students wrapped up their endangered animal research. We then gathered as a class and voted on which animal to adopt as our class mascot. There were many favorites, but in the end the black-footed ferret earned top honors. We will provide a donation to the World Wildlife Foundation to support endangered animals and their habitats. Then we will receive a plush black-footed ferret that will go home once per week with a different student to enjoy for the weekend.

Lower Elementary: Enjoying Fall Outdoors

“There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all of the life to be found around them in a real forest. Something emanates from those trees which speaks to the soul, something no book, no museum is capable of giving.” -Maria Montessori

We spend as much time in the outdoor classroom as possible; from lessons, to discovery, and playing in the woods. Being in nature promotes creativity, imagination, and responsibility as well as connecting us with the natural world. The outdoor environment allows children to interact meaningfully with their surroundings and think freely. We also have been enjoying learning how to nature journal and taking time to appreciate the beauty around us. This week we had our first history lesson on the study of time where we learned about the different cycles of time on Earth. We discussed seasons, phases of the moon, movement of the stars in the night sky, and day and night.

The children learned how to use the Cosmic Mat material for independent work on the creation of the universe. They have been enjoying taking out this work during our morning work cycle!

Mrs. Thomas – New Work!

One of our favorite things to do in our environment is to constantly assess the works and activities we have available for the children. Are the materials being used? Have the children lost interest in an item? Do we need more of a particular type of activity? Through daily observation, we learn a great deal about your children and what they need. Depending on those needs, we often switch out one or two materials or activities every few weeks. However, there are times when a most of the shelves are cleared and new items make their debut. This week was such a time, and the children have loved exploring what we have to offer!

Although not pictured, the children have explored pumpkin “guts’ this month and will be doing so again before the end of October. It is a wonderful sensory experience to feel the slimy fibrous strands and the bumpy rinds…hope you get to experience this at home too!

Mrs. Hood’s Class: Pumpkin Patch and Community Helpers

The crisp in the air, the change of colors in the trees, and the smell of pumpkins tell us fall is finally here, and we got to celebrate in a special way this week. Thanks to all of you and your donations, children enjoyed a lovely wagon ride through the whole school and had a lot of fun finding and carrying their own pumpkins. We were so thankful our Middle School helpers were visiting us so we could do this activity together as a class! Your children have learned to feel comfortable with these students and they seem happy when they visit us and work with us.

Our little ones kept their eyes open trying to spot the pumpkins during the ride. People all around took also a minute to stop their activities and admire the beauty of innocence and grace each of your children reflect!

As soon as the children arrived to the zen garden they got super excited to see the pumpkins and ran to touch them all, carrying them, playing with them and showing the pumpkins to Grace and Charity, our school rabbits! They were so happy to know they could take their own pumpkin home!

It’s an honor to be able to see your children grow in our community! We are looking forward meeting with you next Thursday, October 25th during our Parent/Teacher conferences to talk more about your child’s progress.

Ms. Kayser’s Class: Shoot for the Moon!

One of my favorite quotes written by Norman Vincent Peale is, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” The children in our classroom are so fearless in their own individual journeys. The risks they take and challenges they overcome are motivating to witness and it is such a pleasure to be there to help them gain the self-confidence they need to continue to flourish as remarkable human beings.

This week in our classroom, your children have truly landed among the stars with our new space themed geography unit! The children have spent many days learning a new song that helps them to remember the order of the planets. If you have not heard it yet, please ask them to share it with you because it is truly a fascinating sight to see and hear!

The children are so enthusiastic about space and the exploration of the each individual planet. Each morning we start our day with our planet song and learn about a new planet from our solar system. We have gotten to read about all the planets and have learned some amazing facts! One thing that the children are so curious about is the difference in days and years on the other planets compared to Earth. We use the children’s ages to help them to get a better understanding of how long years can be on other planets. For example, one year on Jupiter is 12 years on Earth! We said that our kindergartners will be 17 years old and almost out of high school by the time a year has passed on Jupiter! Wow!

Along with our song and books, the children have new exciting works on our geography shelf that they use to explore the solar system more closely! They can make their own solar system books, and even replicate the constellations!

We hope your week was as “out of this world” as ours was!

Ms. Kayser and Ms. Alli

Mrs. Carroll’s Class: Savor The Season


A chill to the air, the first fire in the fireplace, the smell of pumpkin spice. It’s finally fall!

This week your children experienced autumn, not just as a date on the calendar, but as an opportunity to use our sense of smell to really savor the season. The smells of pumpkin, leaves, and spices brought smiles and evoked particular memories.

Maria Montessori believed there is a sensitive period for developing the senses. Although the senses are an integral part of our lives, children during the early years have the greatest potential to develop and retrieve them. It is precisely this idea that demonstrates the purpose of Sensorial materials in the Montessori classroom. The Sensorial materials are powerful tools, which allow children to become aware of their unconscious impressions and bring these impressions into conscious awareness. Additionally, they enable your children to create a basis of order in their mind, allowing for intelligent exploration of their environment.

Please remember to access and sign up for your Parent/Teacher Conference.  We look forward to sharing your child’s many accomplishments.

The Joy of Reading to Children

As a father, teacher, head of school, and now a grandfather, I have always loved reading to children. I read to my sons from birth and sustained this habit as they grew up. I saw the amazement in their eyes as I read; they were enthralled and totally immersed in the story. I knew reading to my sons would increase their vocabulary and their interest in reading, but
there was also a selfish reason—it gave me great joy. In my work as a teacher and head of school, I also read to many students. Decades later, I continue to find venues to read to children, at my granddaughters’ Montessori school and through United Way’s K-Ready Readers program.

What I love most about reading to children is their uninhibited response when something does not play out correctly. For example, once, I was reading The Pout-Pout Fish to an Early Childhood class. I turned to the last page (or so I thought), ended the story, and smiled. Immediately, a 5-year-old raised her hand and said, “It seems to me that there is one more
page to the book.” With a know-it-all smile, I said, “Hmm, let’s check to see.” To everyone’s delight, I did forget to turn to the very last page—the page that was essential to the fulfillment of the “pout-pout fish” and the book.

I have the most fun reading when I change my voice to fit a given character. For example, Sesame Street characters that my children and I followed 40 years ago—Elmo, the Count, Cookie Monster, and Grover—are now equally enjoyable to my grandchildren (ages 2, 4, and 6). They are mesmerized when I change the cadence and pitch of my voice to bring reality to the characters.

A favorite of Upper Elementary and Middle School students is the wonderful short story “The Lion Roared,” by Virginia Eiseman. The characters in this classic story take on their own unique voices. The short story “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson, or excerpts from the books Growing Up, by Russell Baker, or Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson, capture the attention of Middle School students, provoking a plethora of questions. Middle Schoolers also have great discussions about the stories or articles they choose to read and often challenge articles that run counter to their thinking.

Aside from the pleasure gained from reading, research demonstrates
that reading aloud increases children’s vocabularies and improves reading comprehension in school. However, while 71 percent of parents with a college degree say they read aloud to their children every day, only 33 percent of those with a high school diploma or less do. In addition,
Caucasian parents and married parents are more likely than others to read to their children daily (Miller, 2015).

At your local public library, bookstores, online book retailers, or websites such as Storyline Online and Just Books Read Aloud, you can find a wealth of good books to share. Recently, during a video chat with our 2-year-old granddaughter, my wife read Clifford the Big Red Dog out loud. Our granddaughter was transfixed by the pictures and story. Ah, the joy of reading aloud to children…and of grandparenting.

by Dane Peters


Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities

November 8th:  Global Culinary Night from 6:30-8:00pm

Grab your “passport” and travel along with us as we visit countries near and far, sampling foods at each stop!

This community event is for FWM families to gather together and share a unique dish from their cultural, ethnic, or regional background while also sampling dishes from other FWM families’ cultures.  It is expected that each family attending will bring a dish with enough food to serve between 6-10 people.  The dish can be homemade or purchased from a local restaurant. To register, kindly RSVP here by October 31st.


October 25th:  Parent & Teacher Conference Night

On Thursday, October 25 is Parent & Teacher Conferences.  To schedule a conference, parents can access the online sign-up page by clicking here.

Please note there is no school on this day.  Also, childcare will be available while parents are in conferences; parents may drop-off their children in the After School Room while they are conferencing with teachers.  There is no need to sign-up ahead of time and there is no charge.


October 23rd: Picture Day

This is a regular dress day for children, but parents tend to have their child wear clothing that is more presentable for home pictures.  Parent Volunteers are needed for the entire school day. Please email Michele Stramaglia if you are interested in volunteering.

October 20th: FWM Family Oktoberfest Fundraiser from 4:00-8:00pm.

With over 270 people attending, this is coming together to be an epic event!

Purchase your tickets here!

Thank you for contributing to your class’ themed basket that will be available at our silent auction tables at the Oktoberfest! If you have any questions, please contact your class parent.
Toddler – Mrs. Hood’s Class: Tailgating
Toddler – Mrs. Thomas’ Class: Breakfast
Primary – Mrs. Carroll’s Class: Rainy Day
Primary – Mrs. Doyle’s Class: Family Game Night
Primary – Ms. Kayser’s Class: Thanksgiving
Lower Elementary – Halloween
Upper Elementary – Baking
Middle School – Cocktail Hour

FWM Family Oktoberfest Fundraiser – Volunteer Sign Up – Click here.