Athena Montessori Academy

November 2021 Newsletter

"Joy, feeling one's own value, being appreciated and loved by others, feeling useful and capable of production are all factors of enormous value for the human soul."

-- Maria Montessori

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Google Calendar for Parents

Check out the Athena Parent Calendar and stay tuned to important school events!

Important Dates

Monday, November 1st
Five Days of Diwali Begins

Thursday, November 11th
Veteran's Day

Saturday, November 13th
World Kindness Day

Wednesday November 17th

Virtual Parent Workshop: What Is Montessori Anyway?

Monday, November 22nd-Friday, November 26th
School Closed for Fall Break

Thursday, November 25th
Thanksgiving Day

Sunday, November 28th
First Day of Advent

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Fall break and Your Young Child

You feel like you have just gotten in the routine; the newest version of your New Normal doesn't seem so new anymore. The kids are at school, you found that shoe you lost back in June, you went to an uninterrupted work meeting yesterday... and then along comes Fall Break. You are happy/sad, and we get it. We are here with some tips that work when routines are interrupted.

  • Most primary aged children love to participate in the family schedule with a paper calendar with a large grid. (you can draw it!)
  • Every night at bedtime, let your child mark through the day that is ending and tell them the name of the next day and what to expect.
  • When you present the calendar to your child, decorate two or three squares in advance that are special days.
  • If you are traveling talk with your primary aged child about what that will look like. Start about a week prior.
  • If your child is younger, they can still participate in the calendar routine, but telling them of events that are a week away is not helpful.
  • If your plan for Fall Break is to stay home, designate baking day or family walk day on your calendar.
  • Getting ready to end Fall Break: Use the Saturday and Sunday prior as practice days. Reinstate bedtime routines on Friday.

Enjoy your loved ones! Athena is closed 11/22 - 11/26

T2 Team Spotlight

1. What is your favorite aspect of the Birth to Three Plane of Development?

Ben -- My favorite thing about tots is their understanding of empathy. There's nothing like seeing one child check on another child because they see them being sad.

2. What is a sweet moment you have already experienced this school year?

Kaitlin -- There are so many but I would say my favorite so far has been getting to watch our older toddlers help the children who are new to the classroom. They do this often and we see it especially during lunch time. :)

3. Name something that people generally think very young children cannot do, but you have seen them do.

Kaitlin -- The children in our classroom can set boundaries independently by saying or signing phrases like “space please”, “my body”, and “my work.”

4. If you could own only one book on early childhood, which book would you pick?

Daniela -- Raising Resilient Kids by Rhonda Spencer-Hwang

Follow the link below to read the full Tots 2 Spotlight:


Diwali, or Dipawali, is India's biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. This festival is as important to Hindus as the Christmas holiday is to Christians.

Over the centuries, Diwali has become a national festival that's also enjoyed by non-Hindu communities. This year, the festival begins on Monday, November 1 and lasts for five days, with November 4th being the first day of the new year.

Please let us know if your family will be celebrating this holiday and you would like to share your traditions and culture with our community!

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Parent Workshop: What Is Montessori Anyway?

Wednesday, Nov. 17th 2021 at 12-1pm

This is an online event.

Join Athena's very own Education Director, Mandy Waid, for a virtual lunchtime workshop all about Montessori! Mandy will be giving parents a deep dive into the Montessori philosophy and how that relates to the actual classroom work here at Athena, as well as answering any specific questions parents might have about the Montessori method and philosophy. If you have specific questions you would like Mandy to cover, you can email her before the workshop at Join via the Zoom link below or watch your email for a reminder the day before the event!

Topic: Parent Workshop

Time: Nov 17, 2021 12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 726 3664 6740

Passcode: HqRqr1

Giving Thanks

At Athena Montessori you won't see any construction paper pilgrim hats, no brown paper fringed vests, no feathered headbands. You won't hear any talk of the 'friendship' between the Indigenous Peoples and the Settler Colonialists.

What you will see at Athena are Tots children learning to sign "Thank You" and "You are welcome". You will hear guides telling children "Pumpkins come from Mexico. They are an Indigenous crop."

What you will see at Athena are primary children expressing gratitude and appreciation for their families, for their homes, for their food. for their school, friends and families. We will, indeed, be "Giving Thanks" for all of you and all you do as a vital part of the Athena Montessori community.

What you will see at Athena are books by Indigenous authors and illustrators on the classroom shelves. You will hear discussions about Indigenous People centered on contemporary existence, not a false narrative that erases Indigenous identities. Athena Montessori Academy is committed to weaving Indigenous voices into our curriculum year round.

At Athena Montessori we acknowledge that we exist upon the unceded lands of several Indigenous Nations including, but not limited to, the Tonkawa, Alabama-Coushatta, Cherokee, and Kickapoo. Although it is not in our power to restore these lands to their rightful occupants, we work to decolonize our practices and make Athena an inclusive space for all. We continually question how we benefit from being on this land, and we work with our privilege toward restorative justice for Native peoples.

Athena Alumni Spotlight - Leif Rasmussen

Many of you had the opportunity to meet Leif at his Athena Knife Sharpening event last month! Leif attended Athena for all 3 years of Primary. His favorite memory of his time here was being one of the earliest arrivals on campus and getting to greet the other students and families as they arrived in the morning.

Leif graduated from high school this year and currently runs his own knife sharpening company, Sharp.n. He started this company in April of this year, with the idea of using his gap year to help fund his college education. He decided to try out a mobile knife sharpening business. He started with family and friends and it just exploded from there! Leif describes starting and running his business as both incredibly challenging and very rewarding.

Leif set up an event at Athena last month where parents were able to drop off their knives with him in our parking lot for sharpening over the weekend and pick them up on Monday as sharp as new. It was a huge success and he got more customers than he ever expected! Thank you to our parent community for supporting a young, local business, and a huge thank you to Leif for bringing his skills back to Athena!

Thank you, P1 Families!

A huge thank you to the Primary 1 families for our first staff appreciation happy hour of the school year! They went all out with a Dia de los Muertos theme, decorations, and delicious snacks and drinks. These happy hours are such an incredible way for our staff to connect and build community and we appreciate our families so much for providing this opportunity!

Happy Birthday!

Student Birthdays:

Niam J. 11/3

Grace G. 11/4

Reyan B. 11/4
Miles S. 11/6
Sofia F. 11/8
Kincaid P. 11/9
Anjali K. 11/10
Caleb P. 11/12
Quest S. 11/13
Calliope K. 11/14
Henley S. 11/17
Shepp T. 11/17
Sienna T. 11/20
Pierce B. 11/21
Magnolia M. 11/22
Lyla U. 11/28

Staff Birthdays:

Zach N. 11/2

Lynda M. 11/4
Sean K. 11/5
Tess H. 11/21

And a special Happy Birthday to Mary Ann Torrence!

Mary Ann was the owner and Director of Athena Montessori School in West Austin, where Lisl attended in the early 1970’s. In celebration of her birthday this month, we want to recognize her vision and leadership as her school became one of the first schools in Texas to racially integrate. Mary Ann was dedicated to equality in education then and now. The impact her school had remains an inspiration to our leadership and our commitment to the diversity, equity, and inclusion work we practice here at Athena. Happy birthday, Mary Ann!

Mr. Sean's Music

Hello Musical Families! I'm so excited about what I'm sharing this month because it relates to some of the peacemakers we've been introducing to our classrooms. People in our world who affect change are important to us, and we love to share their influence with the children. This influence can be big and abstract, and there are ways we convey the information so that it is digestible and age-appropriate. One of those ways is through music, a medium that we can all connect with, and that has the magical ability to transcend borders, boundaries, and differences. Whether it's familiar rhythms, new melodies, or characteristics of a language that are different then our own, music can bridge the gap between dissimilarities and provide a path to empathy and understanding. Greta Thunberg is a young activist who speaks about climate change and how the the influence of people in power can help create a safer world for us to live in. Children can relate to her being a young person, and also someone who uses their voice to talk about keeping everyone safe and healthy. A song that correlates to this message is This Pretty Planet by Tom Chapin. It is a simple song to learn and sing along with, but has very thoughtful musical complexities. The lyrics can be very relatable to children, and offer opportunities for expanding on the themes within. Autumn Peltier is a young, indigenous activist who carries the message of the importance of clean water and the Sacredness of Water to indigenous tribes as well as the world. There is a short film called Sing the Water Song, and as the website states so eloquently, "...starts with an Algonquin Water Song that expresses loving gratitude for the water and raises the consciousness and connection of women with Mother Nature’s greatest gift." Some of my favorite feedback from a child about music was, "I really like this song. It's so peaceful and relaxing." The kids really connected with it, and I heard them repeating the melodies throughout the day. Malala Yousafzai is a young activist from Pakistan who uses her voice so that girls all over the world have the opportunity to pursue education. I've seen children directly inspired by her message that “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” Na Tutteya Ve is a song by female artists from Pakistan that tells "the story of resilience and an unbroken heart." Learning about peacemakers is just one way that music can be a part of exploring big ideas and making them relatable to young minds. I hope this inspires you all to convey your own passions to your children through music!

Sean Kohler

Enrollment Notices

Current Athena Families:

Re-enrollment for the 2022-2023 school year will begin in December, followed by sibling enrollment in January. Joy will be in touch with more information when the time comes.

If you have an 18 month - 2 year old, you should have received an update directly from Joy regarding the potential for Tots siblings to enroll this spring.

Waiting Pool Families:

2022-2023 enrollment for families new to Athena will begin in February. We strive to maintain a balance of age, gender identity, race/ethnicity, and temperament in each of our classrooms, so children in our waiting pool are considered according to these factors and their date of application. You can expect to hear from Joy by the end of March if we are able to offer your child a spot at Athena for the 2022-2023 school year.

If or when your child is offered a spot at Athena, and should you choose to accept, an Enrollment Fee will be due to secure the spot. If you choose to decline the spot, your child will remain in our waiting pool unless you ask to be removed or until they reach the age of five.

Our continued goal in the admissions process is to be as transparent as possible, and we strive to give you the most accurate information we can during each step of the deliberate process of enrollment. We respect that decisions related to your child's education are important and timely ones, and we will continue to send you general enrollment updates via our monthly newsletter. Thank you for your continued interest, and we encourage you to reach out with specific questions related to your child's enrollment at any time during this process.

Please direct admissions & enrollment questions to Joy Jacobson.

You can email her directly

Mariposas Spanish School

Practice and learn Spanish with Mariposas Spanish School! They offer an array of resources: virtual after-school classes, on-demand classes, printable material, music albums, Spanish app, and more! Visit their website & social media for more info:

School Supplies

Oliver's Labels

Need labels? Oliver's Labels has labels for backpacks, shoes, clothes, lunch boxes, and water bottles!  Click on the image above to purchase customized labels and Athena will receive 20% of your purchase!

For Small Hands

For Small Hands carries a wide variety of items for children, all child-sized, fun and developmentally-appropriate!  Use our code below, and Athena will get a percentage of the sale to apply towards materials for school. CODE 165595