Maria Montessori knew children learn by “imitation models.” She created multi-aged classrooms that facilitate peer tutoring and collaboration. In mixed age classrooms, younger children learn from older children by asking them questions while watching them work. Older children who are teaching younger children repeat and consolidate their knowledge and skills and learn and hone their social skills.
At Fraser Woods Montessori School, we take this one step further. Our Middle School students perform community service by going into the classrooms of our younger students and they work one-on-one with their younger peers. The pandemic has prevented this from happening this year. But that did not stop our 8th year Leadership class from finding a way. The 8th years, under the guidance of their advisor Mrs. Lamb, are working with our Primary teachers and our Upper Elementary teacher to bring back our Reading Buddies program and community service virtually.
Reading Buddies is an opportunity that pairs middle school students with kindergarten students for shared or paired reading time.
Reading Buddies allows our young Kindergarten readers to see and hear what being fluent looks and sounds like as they have a peer model demonstrating reading skills. These developing readers can also gain a positive role model with some careful pairing. Our older students mature and develop social and emotional skills like patience and empathy as they work with their younger buddies.
Our Middle School students who will work with our Upper Elementary students on their classwork are creating a beautiful bridge to welcome our fifth year students to our Middle School.
When older students are given the opportunity to be better, to work for something larger than themselves, and to mentor younger peers, they can thrive.
We have seen these relationships extend beyond just one school year and carry over beyond reading books. Powerful moments of connection happen, and as a result, social and emotional lessons are inevitable. What wonderful outcomes; just from just sharing a book.
Please check out the What’s Happening segment of this communication! Our 8th year Leadership class is up to more good!
Today I am writing this bittersweet message to inform you that Danielle Ulacco will be leaving FWM at the end of the school year. She and her family will be moving out of state because her husband’s career is taking their family to New Hampshire. We, at Fraser Woods, are very happy for this opportunity for the Smith family, but we are also very sorry to say good-bye.
FWM will be forever grateful to Danielle for the love, joy, laughter, and learning she has poured into all the children whose lives and learning she touched over the years. FWM is also indebted to Danielle for the creation of our MakerSpace and its curriculum. The key to success in Maker Education is that it be integrated into your school’s culture and curriculum. Danielle made this a success for our school.
We appreciate all of Danielle’s many contributions to the FWM community and we are working together to keep her connected to FWM by working remotely as our part-time Marketing person. We are also working together with Danielle to find a candidate to be our MakerSpace teacher and IT person.
Please join me in wishing Danielle and her family well as they begin this new chapter in their lives!