Reflection on Middle School Immersion, Updates, and Coming Together

Let’s Get Acquainted at Aquila’s

This week we are truly gearing up for our annual Spring Get-Together and Auction at Aquila’s Nest Vineyards on May 1. We have had several parent volunteers in school during the day working with the children on their Class Gifts. We can feel the excitement in the air from the children and their parents!

If you have not done so already, please get your tickets today! We look forward to celebrating our FWM community! Register at

The Masamune Mystery

Our Middle School’s production of The Masamune Mystery last Friday night was fantastic! The students did an amazing job! Together with Mrs. Lamb, the students wrote the play. They created the plot, the characters, wrote the acts and the scenes, and told their story. Under the guidance of Mrs. Sutherland, their acting and blocking advisor, the students decided how they wanted it to look, visualized the set, decided on the stage layout, blocked each and every scene, and prepared for rehearsal each day. Mr. Brown led the student light and sound technicians and our stage crew. Mrs. Reid and Mr. Fuchs were the set advisors. It felt SO good to have all our middle school families attend FWM’s Black Box Theater (aka the gym) for the performance! BRAVO to our very talented students and kudos to the team of teachers working with them!

There is so much beauty to see in Montessori and I am grateful to witness it each and every day!

In-School COVID Testing Update

In my weekly communication on Friday, February 25, we shared that our in-school COVID testing would be offered until April 8, at which point we would reevaluate weekly in-school testing.

Our data since the early January omicron surge have shown only two positive cases in our weekly testing.  Both of these cases were in asymptomatic individuals. At this time we will suspend our weekly in-school PCR testing. Rapid antigen tests are available to send home should you want to test your symptomatic or exposed children. Please let the nurse or the Business Office know if you would like to receive rapid tests.

We will continue to monitor the current climate and make any necessary adjustments.

FWM’s Spring Get-Together: Let’s Get Acquainted at Aquila’s!

Each spring, Fraser Woods Montessori families from past and present gather to celebrate our community. We are thrilled to bring back this annual tradition of our spring get-together and auction.  On Sunday, May 1st, from 4-8 p.m. our community will come together for our 26th auction to truly get acquainted after two years of being careful to avoid large gatherings here at school in order to protect the community from the spread of covid.

This year, FWM welcomed over 50 new children to our school. We can’t wait to bring together those new to the community and those members who have been a part of FWM for years and years. This get-together at Aquila’s Nest Vineyards gives us a chance to enjoy a pleasant evening, meeting and reconnecting with other FWM parents!   

Your ticket to the auction includes an evening in a most beautiful setting- perched high on the top of a hill, with extensive views of rolling vineyards, and a spectacular sunset. Aquila’s Nest Vineyards is the ideal venue for all of us to get (re)acquainted. 

In addition, this event is also a fundraiser. As with any independent school, tuition only covers a portion of the operating expenses needed to run the school. The remainder is made through fundraising and donation efforts, and our Annual Auction has been a key part of that effort.

The Auction consists of a Silent Auction, a Live Auction, and a live Fund-A-Need round of bidding. The Silent Auction is conducted online via GiveSmart. In the days before the event, you will receive a text with instructions on how to bid using your mobile device. If you are unable to join us in-person at Aquila’s, you are invited to participate in the silent auction which opens virtually on Monday, April 25th. 

The Live Auction is conducted by a guest auctioneer. This is where the night gets fun, and sometimes a little crazy — in a good way! Items generally included in the Live Auction are a combination of unique opportunities, school/classroom/teacher experiences, and Class Gifts “made” by the children.

Once all bidding is concluded, you will be notified which items you won via GiveSmart on your mobile device – please collect them before you leave!

Each year, the school designates a particular area of need for the school, and donations to the Fund-A-Need are earmarked specifically for these projects and items. Stay tuned for details about the 2022 Fund-A-Need.

Please join us and celebrate FWM! 

Sunday, May 1st, 2022

4:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Aquila’s Nest Vineyards

Sandy Hook

Register at

Immersion Programs and Experiential Learning at the Middle School Level

Immersion Week in a Montessori School is an excellent example of the experiential, real world learning that our students participate in.

It combines challenging academic discussion surrounding playwriting, play production, and performance. 

Under the guidance of our incredible team of Middle School teachers and Mrs. Reid, our Art teacher, the students experience a week long (sometimes longer) immersion in the process. Working with Mrs. Lamb, the students write the play. They create the plot, create the characters, write the acts and the scenes, and tell their story. Under the guidance of Mrs. Sutherland, the students decide how they want it to look, visualize the set, decide on the stage layout and block each and every scene, and prepare for rehearsal each day. Mr. Brown leads the students who make up our light and sound technicians and our stage crew. 

A Montessori Immersion program satisfies the adolescent’s sensitivity to issues of justice, their need for a sense of belonging and self-worth, and their desire for creativity, self-expression and productivity. The academics and the management of immersion week gives the students opportunities for group collaboration and individual success which meld together to nurture a community of thriving young adolescents.

Thoughts and Reflections; News and Updates

It is hard to believe that after this week’s erratic weather, the first day of spring (the vernal equinox) is right around the corner on March 20th.

Spring has always been the season of new beginnings. Flowers begin to bud and bloom, animals begin to wake, and we welcome a sense of renewal. There is energy and enthusiasm for what comes next.

As FWM plans for the next school year, our commitment to making our school a safe and kind place for all members of the community; a place where everyone feels seen and heard is at the forefront of all we do.  We are committed to nurturing and challenging students in developmentally appropriate ways, creating an environment where children and adolescents can make mistakes and learn from them. FWM is committed to supporting students to find their voice and forge their path.

Montessori has always placed importance on education, child and adolescent development, the emphasis on collaboration, choice, curiosity, discovery, and relevant learning. These values are paramount at Fraser Woods, as is the attention paid to character and social/emotional development.  

With spring weather, comes spending more time outdoors!

Children love the outdoors and should be encouraged to explore all nature has to offer them.  Flowers, bugs, gardening, butterflies, and more!  

In our Montessori classrooms, activities for springtime encourage your child to explore, to probe, to discover, to learn, to create and to respect.

Some of the lessons, activities, and works your child experiences in the classroom can be carried over to home.


Spring is a wonderful time to talk about rainbows. Spend time searching for rainbows after rainstorms, and consider getting a prism like the one in your child’s classroom to let your child explore rainbows even on sunny days. Enjoy recognizing the order of the colors.

Daily weather report

Each day during morning meeting, one of our students observes what they see outside and they give the class a daily weather report.  You might supply your child with some drawing paper in a booklet and encourage them to draw or paint the weather each day and see how it changes over time.

Study butterflies

Children are clearly fascinated by butterflies and spring is a great time to study them. You can simply read a book or two with your child.  In some of our classes, your child will observe the transformation from caterpillar to a butterfly with a live butterfly kit which will be set up in the classroom.

Create a nature table

One of the favorite works in the classroom is the nature table. At home, you can designate a space such as a small table or even a tray or basket, and allow your child to collect interesting things they find in nature. Include a magnifying glass!

There are so many children’s books about spring.  Here is a link to a list of 25 Montessori Friendly Books for Spring

Update on Security Guard

Our security guard will be back in place on Monday, March 28. Rich Maurizio is one of the security guards that worked at our school several years ago. Some of you may remember Rich. We are happy to welcome him back.

Summer Camp

Summer Camp registration is now open! 

Log into MyFWM, go to the Parents module and click on FWM Programs.

Fraser Woods Spring Get Together + Auction!

Let’s Get Acquainted at Aquila’s 

Register at


FWM will be closed for the next two weeks for our March break. School resumes on Monday, March 28.

If you are traveling over the break, please review the CDC recommendations for travel. We sent home rapid COVID tests with your children. Please consider testing your child before returning to school on Monday, March 28. You will not need to submit the results. This is for your piece of mind as we return to school. 

Thank you for all you do to keep our FWM community healthy and safe. 

Wishing you all a peaceful and relaxing spring break!

News From Our Meet & Greet and New Research On Montessori

Meet and Greet with David Newman

On Thursday evening, we welcomed our families to FWM for some light refreshments and to meet and talk with David Newman, our incoming Head of School.

This was the first community gathering on campus to occur since early in 2020 and parents were excited to reconnect with one another and meet Mr. Newman- there is nothing quite like meeting in person!

It made our hearts full to see our close-knit community gather together again and it reminded us of why we are all a part of Fraser Woods Montessori School.

Families were grateful for the opportunity to say hello, enjoy a few laughs, learn a little bit more about David and welcome him to FWM, and David was delighted to connect with so many families. We look forward to our next Meet and Greet to take place later in the Spring.

New Research Highlights The Long-Term Benefits Of A Montessori Education

This article in FORBES.COM impressed me for two reasons. First, the author, Mark Travers, Ph.D., is a psychologist and contributor to the Innovation-Science column of the online magazine, not the Education column. Second, in his article, he shares the work of Dr. Angeline Lillard.

Dr. Angeline Lillard is a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia who has been studying Montessori’s methods for more than two decades. In her  book Montessori: The Science behind the Genius, Dr. Lillard presents Montessori’s theoretical principles, the scientific research that has followed them, and how they are implemented in a Montessori classroom.

The article talks about a research study that presents more evidence that a Montessori education may be superior to traditional methods of education, especially on measures relating to students’ long-term psychological health and well-being.

“The study is one more data point in a growing body of research suggesting Montessori pedagogy is better for humans than is the common model,” says Lillard. “And, since it is over 100 years since people began implementing Montessori, it has been beta-tested — we know how to implement this pedagogy and are doing so all over the world. More people should know about it.”

Please enjoy the full FORBES Article: New Research Highlights The Long-Term Benefits Of A Montessori Education

Fluid in Motion: Hydraulics

For the past five weeks, our middle schoolers took on a big challenge – how could they make hydraulic powered arms? This project shed light on a very important type of technology that is regularly used in the modern world, used in many contexts from brake lines in your car to airplane wing flaps to dishwashers and pushed our middle schoolers to innovate, experiment, and persevere in the face of a challenging project. Students were given the task to lift an object one foot in the air only using hydraulic power and then given the space and freedom to choose how they would approach this design challenge and build their hydraulic machines. It was exciting to see the different approaches each student took. We ended up with cranes, grippers, lifts, and more! Students went through the full iterative design process, first doing research into possible technologies and plans, then sketching out designs, prototyping, and eventually finalizing their designs and creating their final product. It is awesome to see the continued progress our middle schoolers are making in how they approach each project and challenge we have taken on in the Makerspace this year.


Up next, the middle schoolers will work on a project researching makers that are from both currently and historically underrepresented minorities in the science and technology fields. We will explore the rich history and diversity of makers in the United States and examine why some makers have been systematically excluded from the narrative of the advancement of technology in the United States. More on that next time!

A Note about Optional Mask Wearing, Updates, and Summer Camp

A Note about Optional Mask Wearing Beginning on Monday Feb 28, 2022

As a school community, we are committed to respecting the personal choice of students, staff, and visitors to wear a mask or not to wear a mask. The move to mask choice may be difficult for some in our community.  We have put together some talking points for teachers and parents.

Please know if you choose to send your child to school wearing a mask, teachers will offer gentle reminders to children but will not be responsible for overseeing mask wearing as teaching must take precedence.

At this time we will continue to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 with the following strategies: 

  • Daily, personal assessment of COVID-19 symptoms. Students and staff who are not feeling well should stay home. Please conduct a home test to determine if you are positive. FWM can provide these for you if you need one.
  • Three-foot distancing whenever possible.
  • At this time, we will continue cohorting.
  • We will continue to distribute KN95/ N95 masks and home test kits as requested by families and staff.  
  • Our in-school COVID testing will continue to be offered to parents for weekly testing of their children until April 8, which will be two weeks after we return from March break, at which point we will reevaluate weekly in-school testing.
  • Cleaning and sanitization of bathrooms will continue during the school day.
  • If we had students riding school buses, students would be required to continue to wear masks on all buses based on the federal regulation on public transportation.


Meet and Greet with David Newman

Please join us on Thursday, March 3rd from 6:30 to 7:30 in the FWM commons.

Staffing Update:

There has been an assistant teacher change in Toddler-Wilson. Valdete Biba is no longer at FWM. Michelle Crumb who has spent time in our toddler program as a substitute teacher will join the toddler team as assistant teacher in Cynthia Wilson‘s classroom.

Summer Camp Registration is open! More information in the Parent Corner located under Note from Gina

FWM Mask Wearing in School Policy Update

In light of the anticipated end of the statewide mask mandate, beginning on Monday, February 28, 2022, mask wearing at Fraser Woods Montessori School will become a personal choice for staff, students, and parents until such time that we may need to review and amend this policy in accordance with state requirements or local considerations.

Consistent with every decision we have made throughout the pandemic, we move forward with an abundance of caution, having taken into consideration all of the guidance available to us. 

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