MMA Montessori Moments

September 4, 2018

Teachers TV: The Montessori Method

A Message from Assistant Director, Lana Pas


We had a fantastic start to the 2018-19 school year! Thank you for entrusting us with your students. It was beautiful to see students in their classrooms getting to know their environment, teachers, and each other. These first few weeks in the Montessori classroom are very important and crucial in building a strong class culture. This is when classmates bond as families and undergo the process of normalization. Normalization at MMA lasts until October 1st and we ask that parents not observe the classroom during this time.

The North American Montessori Teachers' Association describes the process of normalization in the following way:

In Montessori education, the term "normalization" has a specialized meaning. "Normal" does not refer to what is considered to be "typical" or "average" or even "usual." "Normalization" does not refer to a process of being forced to conform. Instead, Maria Montessori used the terms "normal" and "normalization" to describe a unique process she observed in child development.

Dr. Maria Montessori observed that when children are allowed freedom in an environment suited to their needs, they blossom. After a period of intense concentration, working with materials that fully engage their interest, children appear to be refreshed and contented. Through continued concentrated work of their own choice, children grow in inner discipline and peace. She called this process "normalization" and cited it as "the most important single result of our whole work" (The Absorbent Mind, 1949).

She went on to write,

Only "normalised" children, aided by their environment, show in their subsequent development those wonderful powers that we describe: spontaneous discipline, continuous and happy work, social sentiments of help and sympathy for others. . . . An interesting piece of work, freely chosen, which has the virtue of inducing concentration rather than fatigue, adds to the child's energies and mental capacities, and leads him to self-mastery. . . . One is tempted to say that the children are performing spiritual exercises, having found the path of self-perfectionment and of ascent to the inner heights of the soul. (Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, 1949)

E.M. Standing (Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work, 1957) lists these as the characteristics of normalization: love of order, love of work, spontaneous concentration, attachment to reality, love of silence and of working alone, sublimation of the possessive instinct, power to act from real choice, obedience, independence and initiative, spontaneous self-discipline, and joy. Montessori believed that these are the truly "normal" characteristics of childhood, which emerge when children's developmental needs are met.

Checking Students Out

During normalization until October 1st, we strongly discourage disruptions to the classroom environment. This includes students arriving late and leaving school early. This not only disrupts the child's learning flow, but also that of the class. We ask that you please make every effort to schedule appointments outside of school hours.

Thank you for presenting your photo identification every time you come into school to check your child out. This is an important part of our safety procedures.

If you need to change your "release" permissions that state who your child is allowed to leave with or change your contact information, you can update that yourself online after you get an Aspire account by following the directions on our website.

Attendance and Punctuality

It is important that your child attend school every day and be punctual. Please make every effort to honor this time in school. This teaches our children valuable practical life skills and allows each child to maximize their learning time at school.

If your child arrives after the start of school at 8:30am, please accompany them into the office to sign them in as tardy - after you park your car in a parking space. Junior High students who arrive after 8:30am will need to enter the building through the main doors.

MMA Cross Country

You have seen them running around school; now you should see them run in a competition. Our cross country team started practicing the first week of school and have been preparing for their meets to begin. Put the schedule below on your calendar and come out to cheer on the team! The MMA girls' cross country team are defending their championship title this year.
  • September 6th - MMA Home Meet at Harrisville Park, 4:15pm
  • September 13th - Ogden High Meet at Mount Ogden Park, 4:15pm
  • September 18th - Meet at Syracuse Arts Academy, 4:30pm
  • September 20th - Meet at Quest Academy, 4:30pm
  • September 27th - Meet at High Mark Charter, 4:15pm
  • October 4th - Championship at Big D Park

See you there!

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Orchestra Night - Friday

If your child is interested in joining our before school orchestra program with Ms. Clarissa, there is an informational event Friday, September 7th. Local music stores will be present with information about instrument purchase and rental.

Junior High Stomp - Friday

The Junior High Student Council is welcoming all Junior High students to the new school year with a Stomp! It is Friday September 7th, 3:30pm – 5:30pm.

We are looking for yummy food donations – click this trackitforward link to sign up!

Cross Country practice this day is optional, so everyone can join us if they so choose. See you there!

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Celebration of Life

Birthdays are important to children. The Montessori class has a ceremony used to observe these special occasions called the “Celebration of Life.” Please understand that this not a “birthday party,” but rather a celebration of the child’s life thus far. Parents are asked to provide a brief biography with a few photos of the child. We encourage parents to attend and to comment about the child’s growth and important events in the child’s life. Please contact your child's teacher to schedule a day/time for the Celebration of Life.

Based on school policy, no food or party-like favors (balloons, pencils, etc.) will be permitted during your child’s Celebration of Life. Children with summer birthdays will have an opportunity to celebrate their birthday as a half year celebration.

This is a special ceremony for each child. Children from other classes will not attend siblings' Celebration of Life, since this is disruptive to other classes and lessons. Due to scheduling constraints, this celebration may not be scheduled on your child’s actual birthday.

If your child is inviting classmates to any kind of party outside of school, please mail these invitations from home and do not distribute them at school. If the whole class is not invited, please talk with your child about not discussing the party or who is invited at the school, as it can hurt others’ feelings.

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Stay In the Know

Follow MMA's official Facebook page and subscribe to MMA’s Main Blog and MMA's Jr High Blog in addition to subscribing to your child(ren)’s Teacher Blogs – accessible by clicking the “website” link under the teacher’s picture. You can also follow us on Twitter @MMAofUT.


Thank you! Carpool has been going great and running smoothly. Remember to please park if you have to walk your child in or get out of your car for any reason.

For your reference, you can access the MMA Traffic Trifold to see the traffic flow.

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Junior High Fees

Junior High fees are the same as last year and can be paid online here. If your family requires assistance in paying these fees, please complete a fee wavier found on the forms and documents page of our website and submit it to René. All parts of the form should be filled in before submitting it and accompanied by required supporting documentation.

School Spirit Gear

A limited number of mountain lion school spirit t-shirts are available for immediate purchase in the office at a discounted price of $12.99. We still have shirt sizes youth M & L, adult S, M, L & XL.
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Track it Forward & Volunteering

We are a community school and we request that all families volunteer at least 40 hours per school year, cumulatively between all family members. MAPA utilizes a online program called Track it Forward to advertise school events, opportunities to volunteer, and to calculate each family's progress toward meeting the goal of 40 hours. You can even get to it on your smart phone.

Please sign up asap on Track it Forward. After you sign up, you will be approved for the group and will get an email indicating as such. After this, get online and click on the upcoming events page. If the main calendar is too overwhelming, click on "filter by category" and only check those teachers you would like to view. I suggest also checking "school wide" events so you don't miss anything.

Track it Forward is where you will sign up for your turn to bring snack to the classroom and where early childhood families sign up for a KEEP assessment time slot.

Student Dress Code

There are no changes to the school’s Dress Code Policy, Dress Code Guidelines, or Dress Code Samples. School spirit t-shirts and other accessories are able for purchase. Remember that school spirit t-shirts that say MMA are appropriate to wear and meet the dress code policy.

In the past it has been acceptable and considered school spirit to wear a t-shirt from an MMA sponsored field trip, like JA Biztown, the Redwoods or Crow Canyon. Moving into next school year for consistency and clarity, we ask that students only wear these special trip shirts (that do not say MMA) within a week of their attending the trip. Since these shirts signify a milestone, we ask that siblings not wear these shirts until they, too, have experienced these trips and wear the shirt within a week of them having the experience.

We want to both celebrate our students' experiences on these unique MMA field trips and also be consistent with our dress code policy and how that is communicated to students and their families.

Hoodies may only be worn as outerwear outside of the school and should have a school spirit t-shirt or collared shirt underneath. Students will be asked to remove their hoodies and other outerwear while inside the building. Students have time in the morning and during scheduled transitions to put these items in their lockers and still be on time for class.

Junior high students no longer have to walk outside to get to all of their classes. This means that there are no excuses for why hoodies need to be worn during the school day.

5K and Pancake Breakfast

The annual 5K and Pancake breakfast fundraiser that normally happens in September has been postponed. This is organized by the school (not MAPA) and is the biggest fundraiser the school sponsors. We are working with the 5K volunteers to set a new date and will be in touch soon about all of the details.

There are many ways to get involved and opportunities vary in terms of time and effort commitment. Examples include: participating in the race, assisting in race set-up, assisting in race breakdown, and obtaining race sponsors/swag.

The more successful we make the 5K and Pancake Breakfast fundraiser, the less little fundraisers we will have to host overall and I think we can all agree that is a good thing. All fundraisers benefit the experiential field trips enjoyed by ALL students at MMA.

Join MAPA on Facebook

Head over to the new and official Facebook page for MAPA, MMA's parent organization:

The Montessori Academy Parent Association (MAPA) is the Parent-Teacher Organization for Maria Montessori Academy. This organization is used to facilitate communication and involvement between parents and teachers. MAPA is currently seeking volunteers who are interested in joining this organization to ensure that the needs of Maria Montessori Academy’s student body are being fulfilled.

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