Ms Marissa: A Pumpkin Filled October!

Welcome to our pumpkin patch!  There are pumpkins everywhere in our class. Having pumpkins in the classroom provides many opportunities for the children to observe and introduce basic science and math concepts.

In Practical Life, we have pumpkin spooning, pumpkin pouring, pumpkin scrubbing, and pumpkin grasping. In Science, we learned about the parts of a pumpkin and the pumpkin’s life cycle. We compared pumpkins and categorized them as small, medium, and large. We are using our five senses to determine what pumpkins look, smell, feel, sound, and taste like.

On Tuesday, we had a small in-class Harvest Celebration where each child had the opportunity to visit our “pumpkin patch” and pick their own pumpkin, make a yarn spider web, and have a fun snack.  Last but not least, meet Skelly, our veggie skeleton prepared by the kindergarten students.  It is always so wonderful to hear the children say they don’t like this vegetable or that one and then devour all of it! All of this was possible because of parents helping behind the scenes.  A huge shout out to everyone for sharing their time and energy with us to provide these wonderful opportunities for the children. We are very grateful and truly blessed.

Wishing you a week filled with peace and love.

Marissa & Sue

Setting the Table for Independence. Pause, Connect, Partner

By David Newman, Head of School

I recently read an article sent in the Family and Student Newsletter from my daughter’s college that resonated with me both as a parent and an educator. The article was directed toward parents of freshmen, and while we have a junior in college, my wife and I are certainly not experts and thus benefitted from its wisdom.

The intent of the article was to provide guidance for parents on how to support their students in realizing their own path to independence – effectively allowing them to struggle, emphasizing that we should support this process through listening and offering empathy without trying to solve every problem. After all, their solution might be different than ours. The college suggested the following advice to us: Stop, Drop, and Roll.

Stop = Take a deep breath. Are they truly asking me to fix the problem? More likely, they want me to listen and allow them to talk through it. Don’t panic.

Drop = Don’t take action or give in-depth advice. Ask productive questions that might help them come to a solution on their own, and acknowledge that struggling is a part of life’s journey.

Roll = Be a cheerleader. Stay informed. Make them feel like they can do this.

As a parent, this made perfect sense and served as a good reminder. As an educator, it struck a chord as it is advice I have often given to parents throughout the years – albeit not as succinctly.  

It got me thinking about the work we do at FWM, and the times when students struggle. How do our parents handle these situations, and in what ways do we promote actions that are in the best interest of the child’s learning journey? In college, the stakes may be quantifiably more consequential, but that does not mean that a 6-year-old’s challenges are any less anxiety-producing to both the student and the parent. A college student is more self-aware and more able to problem solve simply because of the “tools” they have in their kit from life experience. A 6-year-old does not have a tool kit. Yet, the goal is still the same. Therefore, while the concept applies, the execution needs adjusting for school-aged children because we are setting the table for future independence. To apply this thinking to the FWM community, I reframed my thinking of Stop, Drop, and Roll this way: Pause, Connect, and Partner.

Pause: When your child comes home and shares something about their day that caused them to be upset, was challenging, or simply doesn’t seem right, take a moment to absorb what they are telling you. Does this sound possible? In what context might this have taken place? Is it possible that this is developmentally appropriate? Listen to your child and try to provide context that reassures them they are safe.

Connect: Reach out to their teacher to establish a line of communication. Explain what your child shared with you and allow the teacher to acknowledge and then provide their perspective of what they saw…or are seeing. Often, children at these ages have trouble seeing beyond themselves. Reaching out for more context from the school can often answer questions that you may have as a parent and enable you to better support your child.

Partner: We often talk of the partnership between the school and our families formed when you send your child to FWM. When your child faces a challenging situation, the school can be an excellent partner. We have seen many students face challenges along their journey and have engaged with them to help them navigate difficult times. Each child is unique in how they react to and meet their challenges, but there are few situations we have not experienced.

It is important to remember that the school and our families share the most important goal, and that is to do what is best for our children. We may not always face challenges with the same perspective, but if we commit to a thoughtful partnership, we will more than likely set the table for our children’s future independence and a successful and meaningful learning journey.

Happy Summer!

Now that the end of the school year is here and I take a moment to reflect on all that we have accomplished together, I am humbled by all we achieved. Our FWM community came together, each day to celebrate the children! 

This week is no exception. It has been an incredible week of celebrations of community.  From our 8th year commencement ceremony Thursday evening, to our Kindergarten moving up ceremony, and our bridge crossing ceremonies for Toddler,  LE and UE, this has been a memorable week.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful children with us. They make our community what it is because they are absolutely overjoyed to be together at school every day.

Here is some information for you as the school year ends:

  • Teachers will send Summer Learning Resources and a Suggested Summer Reading List to all families next week.
  • Please encourage your children to read over the summer. Summer vacation allows us to relax, but is also a critical time to ensure students keep learning.
  • New school year instructions and supplies lists will be emailed to families in August. This communication will include a welcome from your child’s teacher.  

Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy and fun-filled summer!

The End of the School Year is Approaching!

Another school year is quickly coming to an end. For those of you with children in toddler, primary, and elementary, I’m sure you’re amazed at how your children blossomed as the year has gone by. We experience both joy and tears as our elder Montessori students in the class move up to the next levels. 

As Montessori teachers we cannot end the school year without celebrating the classroom community. It is just as important to bring closure to the year as it was to set the tone when we began the year with your beautiful children. There are important rites of passage to recognize and celebrate. We stay true to our traditions of celebrating the community and bringing closure to the school year by honoring the students’ achievements with recognition of the time spent in their current level.

For the parents of our graduating 8th years, you are probably filled with mixed emotions of joy and bittersweet sentiment as your child prepares to leave FWM and move on to high school. 

When I talk to parents, I often hear them say how quickly time “flies” and how it seems “just like yesterday” their children began their educational journey at FWM. 

With 8th year graduation, moving up and bridge-crossing ceremonies planned for the week ahead, our students, their parents, and their teachers have much to celebrate!

Although we had to cancel tonight’s picnic, the children will be able to enjoy some of the festivities during the school day. The caricature artist was able to be here during the day today. Our 8th year students spent the afternoon getting their drawings done, in color, including a beautiful whole class caricature! 

Next week, on Tuesday, the ice cream truck we intended to have at the picnic will be here for Field Day! 

The Montessori Work Cycle, Another Head of School for the Day, Summer Camp is ON! No School on Monday, Memorial Day

The Montessori Work Cycle

“The mind takes some time to develop interest, to be set in motion, to get warmed up into a subject, to attain a state of profitable work. If at this time there is interruption, not only is a period of profitable work lost, but the interruption produces an unpleasant sensation which is identical to fatigue.”

-Dr. Maria Montessori, What You Should Know About Your Child

As an adult, think about what you need to do your best work? 

  • What should your workspace look like? 
  • What do you need from others? 
  • What restrictions do you need removed in order to meet your goals?

Dr. Montessori spent years observing children as they played. She recognized that significant learning takes place during play, so much so that she called it the “child’s work”.  

Children, even very young children, have the potential for intense concentration. Children do have the innate ability to work through problems and come to solutions all on their own. 

Montessori saw that they want to do these things and they do it with a sense of self-satisfaction; not because it is demanded or expected. 

What Montessori realized is that we, as adults, often imagine the children require more help than they actually do, or that we must offer rewards or incentives to ensure they do their schoolwork. What children really need is time, respect, and an environment where they can focus deeply on their work.

So, the work period or the work cycle was born. Generally spanning between two or three hours in the morning, this precious time is a cornerstone of Montessori education.

How does it begin?

The start of the work can vary from classroom to classroom but typically begins as children arrive in the morning. For some classes, there may be a whole class morning meeting or circle time at the start or end of the work cycle.

A typical day begins with the child hanging their belongings in their locker, changing into their indoor shoes, and greeting their teacher as they walk into the room. Children may say hello to a friend or two, take a moment to transition themselves, and then select a work from the shelf.  

Prior to age six the children will often work by themselves, but near their peers. They may lay out a work rug, set up their material, and delve into a deeply concentrated state. They use the materials in the way they have been taught, then clean up and replace everything when they are done. 

In the classrooms with children older than age six, the start of the day can be a bit noisier and more chaotic due to their level of social development and their desire for social connection. They still get to work rather quickly, although it’s often in the form of group or partner work.

What do the teachers in the room do?

A Montessori classroom typically has two adults present: the teacher and an assistant. The assistant busies themselves with ensuring the room stays neat and orderly and that everything the children need is available to them. If children need help or redirection, the assistant is quick to engage while still allowing the child to maintain an appropriate level of independence.

This allows the head teacher to focus on two main tasks: observation and presenting lessons. During the work cycle, teachers give lessons to individual students or small groups of children. Adults in a Montessori classroom do their best not to interrupt the work of the child. 

Do children really focus the entire time?

Can anyone truly focus for three hours straight without a break? 

This is one of the reasons our environments are designed for students to meet their own needs independently:  If they feel hungry, they are welcome to have a snack. If they need to use the restroom, they don’t need to ask permission. Even if they just need to get up and stretch their legs or look out a window – we do not prevent children from doing these things. Allowing for breaks lets us all focus better in the long run.

There is one interesting phenomenon worth mentioning here. Sometime around 10:00-10:30 in the morning, toward the end of the work cycle, classroom communities often experience what we refer to as false fatigue. 

Like clockwork, the volume of the children’s voices will rise, there is noticeably less engagement with the materials, and fewer children are sitting in one place – rather they seem to be wandering around the room. 

The adult instinct is to ring a bell and make a plea for re-engagement, but we have learned to hold back. False fatigue is a normal part of the flow of the day. If we pause, observe, and wait even two or three minutes, we will see the children find their way back into their work. It can be pretty amazing to observe.

Curious to see what a morning work cycle looks like in action? We would love to have you visit. Please contact Paromita at to arrange an in class observation. 

Head of School for the Day

Olivia Labastida was FWM’s Head of School for the day on Friday, May 27th. Olivia began the day with the 8th years as they delivered the weekly news in the FWM Commons. Olivia announced, “Popsicles for everyone and extra recess for Lower El, Upper El, and Middle School.

Olivia took her place at the desk in the head of the school’s office and called to check in and say hi to her family. After that, Olivia got right to work. She visited several classrooms to get a real look at the work that goes on in each of our classrooms at FWM, just as Ms. Gina does.

Olivia and Ms. Gina talked about how we can bring back the annual school dance. Our parent’s association were the planners and organizers; however, Olivia worked on two themes for the dance we hope to back.

All in all, a GREAT day for a Head of School!

Enhanced Police Presence

Given the tragedy in Texas, it was confirmed with me Wednesday morning that Newtown Police will provide an enhanced presence at all schools including FWM. In addition, our security company briefed our guard before he arrived on Wednesday as to the heightened protocols he is to take.

Summer Camp is ON

We are happy to let you know that we have enough students registered for camp to run all of our programs. Registration is still open!

If you would like your child to participate in FWM’s Summer Camp, please register as soon as possible. 

To Register:

  1. Log in to your account
  2. Click on PARENTS Widget and click FWM PROGRAMS
  3. Find the program and click REGISTRATION DETAILS

Click here for the:

FWM School Calendar 2022-2023

Memorial Day-Monday, May 30- No School

Wishing you a warm and Happy Memorial Day; let us remember all our heroes who have left us while preserving our lives, our freedom, and our country.

Expert Project Symposium; Head of School for the Day; Summer Camp Registration; FWM Calendar 2022-2023

BRAVO to the 8th year class on their Expert Project Symposium 

One of the highlights of the 8th grade year at FWM is the Expert Project.

All of us in attendance on Wednesday evening were moved, inspired and impressed by the level of maturity, professionalism, and expertise these students demonstrated as they spoke passionately about their topics of choice. Each presenter prepared a visual presentation and spent approximately 20 minutes on stage talking about their subject. 

An important part of Montessori education is learning about what interests you or what you are curious about. 

Years of exploring, learning how to research, and developing critical thinking skills at Fraser Woods leads to the culminating, five-month Expert Project. 

This end-of-year 8th grade research project begins with a topic chosen by each 8th grade student that is then thoroughly researched. Part of the research process includes consulting with experts in the field. Students contacted and corresponded with an array of experts in their respective fields of research to enhance and support their thesis statements.

Topics included: 

  • Building a House
  • Ways to Improve Mental Health
  • Cuban Missile Crisis
  • The Case for Race
  • Athletes and Mental Health

Congratulations to this incredible 8th year class!

Head of School for the Day

Liam Alston was FWM’s Head of School for the day on Friday, May 20th. Liam began the day with the 8th years as they delivered the weekly news. Liam announced, “Popsicles for everyone and extra recess for his Lower Elementary class.” After that he called and checked in with his family, rolled up his sleeves and got to work! Liam had a couple of formal meetings this morning. He met with Ms. Pascarella to talk about Field Day, he met with Ms. Gina and talked about new ideas for After School Clubs for the upcoming school year. Liam also visited classrooms and attended an extra PE class. All in all, a GREAT day for a Head of School!

Summer Camp Registration

If you would like your child to participate in FWM’s Summer Camp, please register as soon as possible. We need to meet the minimum number of students in order to run the camp. 

Note: We are able to accommodate more children than the minimum required.  

To Register:

  1. Log in to your account
  2. Click on PARENTS Widget and click FWM PROGRAMS
  3. Find the program and click REGISTRATION DETAILS

FWM School Calendar 2022-2023

A Special Visit, Expert Project Symposium, Art Show, The End of the Year Picnic, and more…


Wise leaders connect the past, the present and the future.

“Let us learn from the past, to profit from the present, and from the present to live better in the future”

~William Wordsworth 

What a treat it was for us to have Fraser Woods’ Heads of School, past, present, and future, come together to visit and talk. 

Our long-standing Head of School (1990-2016), Myriam Woods, came by to visit today! Those of us who are lucky enough to have worked with Myriam or who have had children or grandchildren pass through the doors of FWM, know and appreciate all she has achieved and the legacy of excellence in Montessori education she has left for us. 

David Newman, our incoming Head of School also stopped by school today to visit campus. The staff was happy to see him here at school, and the children were even more excited to have him walking the halls and stopping to say hi!

With our eyes on the future of FWM, making strong connections between the past, present and future allows us to gain insights and make more informed and ‘good’ decisions for our school community.  The positive impact of this will be for the benefit of the children, of course!

Come See Our FWM Art Show!

  • Toddler – 8th Grades
  • May 9th through May 20th
  • Daily from 9:00 – 2:30 
  • All are welcome to come, browse, and enjoy our students’ original creations.

Expert Project Symposium 

One of the highlights of the 8th grade year at FWM is the Expert Project.

Years of exploring, learning how to research, and developing critical thinking skills at Fraser Woods leads to the culminating, five-month Expert Project. 

This end-of-year 8th grade research project includes a topic chosen by each 8th grade student that is then researched and uses experts in the field to enhance and support their thesis statement.

Mrs. Lamb and the 8th year students are excited to invite you to the Expert Project Symposium on the evening of Wednesday, May 18th at 6:30 pm in the Commons at FWM. You will hear and learn from our resident experts! Topics include: 

  • Building a House
  • Ways to Improve Mental Health
  • Cuban Missile Crisis
  • The Case for Race
  • Athletes and Mental Health

End of Year Celebration and Picnic

  • When: Friday, June 3rd 5:00- 7:00p.m.
  • Where: FWM Playground
  • Transportation: Shuttle Buses at Sand Hill Plaza parking lot. 
  • More information to come.

Meet and Greet with our Incoming Head of School, David Newman

On Friday, June 3rd, David will join us at the End of Year Picnic to spend time with FWM families and friends. Come and see him there! 

We All Got Acquainted at Aquila’s!

On Sunday, May 1, Fraser Woods Montessori School hosted our Annual Spring Get-Together and Auction: Let’s Get Acquainted at Aquila’s!

What a special event!

Because of the pandemic, it has been three years since the FWM community last came together to celebrate. Getting through these last two years has taught all of us the meaning and the importance of community. A sense of belonging to a greater community improves your health, and happiness. When you see your connection to others, there is comfort in that.

Our Fraser Woods community is so very special.  Coming together and celebrating the greatest thing we share in common – the children and the experience they have at Fraser Woods, created an energy that was clear to see amid the smiles, laughter and good time had by all. 

We have built a strong sense of community at FWM and you made it so. THANK YOU!

Thank you to all of you who joined us to celebrate FWM!! Thank you for your generosity and support. Thank you to everyone, who could not be there in person, but participated digitally. We have so much to be grateful for and we are so excited for the momentum that this event has built.

This year’s fundraiser supports FWM’s Fund-A-Need campaign: FWM’s new Fabrication Laboratory or FAB LAB. 

Each year the Fund-A-Need is an initiative that carefully creates a curated experience or physical space for our young learners that reflect the Montessori philosophy and optimize child development. Please take a moment to click on the link below to see a video presentation for the FAB LAB. 

Because of the generosity of our FWM community we raised:


Celebrating together with our current families, alumni parents, grandparents, trustees, our faculty and staff, sponsors, and friends of the school is always tremendously meaningful.  

On behalf of Fraser Woods Montessori School, we would like to thank you for your generosity, support and your commitment to the children and our school community.

Please click on the bottom link below to see some pictures from Let’s Get Acquainted at Aquila’s. 

2022’s Fund-A-Need Video: FAB LAB

2022 Spring Get-Together Photo Show