Montessori Matters

September 20, 2019

Universal Values

The second pillar for Montessori School of Anderson is: Universal Values. Our MSA Blueprint states: “The development of a strongly-held set of universal values, which include respect of self and others, honesty, integrity, responsibility, empathy, and a willingness to work out conflicts peacefully.”

Each one of those values could be looked at individually but for the purpose of our Montessori Matters, we are going to look at just one – the willingness to work out conflicts peacefully. This central idea is also a part of our Peace Pledge which we say every Monday at the flagpole after the Pledge of Allegiance. We state and hopefully believe that “peace is NOT the absence of conflict but the willingness to work out conflicts peacefully.”

Children at MSA begin their peace walk by watching their toddler teachers model the appropriate apology to the offended child. Before the toddler can form words or even remorse, the apology from the adult in behalf of the offending child sets the stage for later modeling and understanding.

In primary, we ask children who are having a dispute to go the “peace table” where they sit as young negotiators for a peaceful resolution. Many times, two children themselves, will decide “it is Peace Table time” and go there without any adult intervention. In most Montessori classrooms, there is a simple formula to follow which the children learn early on in their first few weeks in school. The offended child states first about the hurt – physical or emotional. The offending child listens and then repeats back the words and feelings he has just heard. 90% of the time – that is enough to resolve many young issues. As many times as I have witnessed this process through the years and through the grade levels, I am always amazed being a quiet witness to this “magic.”

Senior Abby Keenan captured these three photos showing the peace table process in Primary.

As the children mature through elementary and middle grades, classrooms have more advanced processes for dealing with issues. MSA children develop ability to deal with these more complex “injustices” of mainly hurt feelings. And by no means am I here to tell you that there aren’t still plenty of those floating around as young adolescents try to figure out who they are and aren’t, what battles are worth fighting and which ones aren’t.

Middle School can be the roughest, toughest time to deal with conflicts. Emotions are totally worn on hormonal shirt sleeves. “Nobody likes me; Esmeralda was whispering behind my back today,” common complaints still heard at any adolescent’s home, only now they don’t tend to forget it as easily as a younger child.

But by the time Montessori students move into high school, they become an interesting cohesive group, despite disparate temperaments, who have worked out lots of kinks. Many often participate in a Model United Nations honing their skills even further.

The take-away? By the time a young person leaves MSA having been here a while, hopefully three things of great universal value stand out:

  1. Conflict is inevitable – no matter who, what, where, when, or why.

  2. Conflict is a door to another universe - the universe of the other: other friend, other political party, other nation.

  3. Momentary peace is ultimately dependent on how those involved are willing to go the Peace Table, really listen and empathize, and negotiate compatible solutions. Sometimes even agreeing to disagree is the best for the moment. The important step? Just the willingness to be “vulnerable” is the step that makes the difference.

What do YOU think: Might the ability to do “deep listening” (the kind that involves not thinking of a response before the speaker has even finished) go a long way in helping solve 70% of our own and the world’s problems! Come join us any Monday at 12:30 out at the flagpole for a moment of community and reflection of some very important universal values.
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Dates to Remember

September 16-27 - MAP Growth testing (grades 2-9)

September 21 - International Day of Peace (celebrating Monday, September 23)

September 26 - Toddler Three Covered Dish Dinner

September 27 - Planet PJ Party (Primary)

October 8 - Family, Food, and Philosophy event

October 10 - Classroom Campout (LE and UE)

October 11 - Early dismissal for professional development, no extended care

October 14-18 - Fall Break, extended day available

See here for the full, interactive calendar.

Family, Food, and Philosophy

We invite you to join us for a night of Family, Food, and Philosophy on Tuesday, October 8. See this invite and RSVP form for more information!

DNA Extraction

In Mrs. Presgraves' class Upper Elementary students extended their lesson on the plasma membrane to talk about DNA and how it is protected behind two plasma membranes. They then brainstormed some ways they could get past this membrane to extract the DNA without destroying it. Since they knew the membrane is made mostly of fatty acids, they finally figured out that soap would break it down. So they used a simple extraction technique involving soap, salt, and isopropyl alcohol to extract the DNA from wheat germ. They then loaded that DNA into an electrophoresis box to organize the pieces of DNA on to a gel which they’ll get to see the result of next week.
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Secret Friends

The Upper School celebrated Secret Friend Week this week by having each participating student and faculty member draw names to choose a secret friend to whom they provided notes of encouragement and small gifts throughout the week with a larger surprise on Friday. Everyone was excited to guess who their secret friend was after receiving their final gift! See below for a few pictures from Secret Friends this week, and see this Secret Friend gallery for many more!
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2019 MSA Secret Friends

Toddler Covered-Dish Dinners

Photos from the Toddler One Covered-Dish Dinner have been uploaded to this album. Thank you to all who came out to the event for food and fellowship!

Toddler Two families met this past Thursday for their covered-dish dinner, and the children had a blast seeing each other after-hours while the families got to know each other. A few pictures from the event can be seen below, and this preview album has more. Look for the remaining photos in a future issue of Montessori Matters!

Toddler Three's dinner is this Thursday; we hope to see all of the Toddler Three families there!

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Toddler Works and a Frog Adventure

These photos show off just a small portion of the exciting week the students had in the Toddler classrooms this week! They learned how to take care of their teeth, made their weekly macaroni and cheese lunch on Wednesday, found a tiny frog on the playground, and got to hear Ms. Melonie play ukulele! More photos from the week can be found here.
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Lower Elementary Peace Lessons

Along with the rest of the school, Lower Elementary has been focused on peace and world leaders for peace. They have talked about peace leaders from many countries, including Maria Montessori, whose Cosmic Education Elementary Curriculum was designed specifically with the ideal of "peace through education". As Lower Elementary worked together on a collage of Martin Luther King, Jr. they learned about his life, his mission, and his legacy. They talked about how Dr. King was able to meet violence and hate with peace and love. Lower Elementary students also made a trip to the high school to watch an excerpt of his "I Have a Dream" speech with a follow up discussion with Mrs. Holt. Our peace study has been a beautiful journey which will continue through the year. Look for Lower Elementary's collage outside their door Monday morning and others throughout campus!

Times have changed, and science has made great progress, and so has our work; but our principles have only been confirmed, and along with them our conviction that mankind can hope for a solution to its problems, among which the most urgent are those of peace and unity, only by turning its attention and energies to the discovery of the child and to the development of the great potentialities of the human personality in the course of its formation. ~Maria Montessori

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As the introduction to a STEAM activity about bread, students in the Middle and High Schools learned the history and science behind one of Mr. Saunier's favorite hobbies: breadmaking! The students analyzed various recipes for making dough in an attempt to find a recipe that will work for them. They will continue the lesson next week. See this album for more photos from this week's lessons.
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Bow Tie Pasta Lunch

The Middle School cooking committee this week prepared a delicious bow tie pasta lunch for the Upper School community lunch on Wednesday.
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Happy Birthday, Molly Moorhead!

Ms. Moorhead celebrated an exciting milestone this week, and students and faculty showed their excitement with decorations and surprises for her walk around the sun celebration on Wednesday. Happy birthday, Molly!
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These Scouts from MSA-sponsored Scout Troop 97 put their training to good use by assisting a teacher who came out of a faculty meeting this week to learn that she had a flat tire. Thank you, Scouts!
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Montessori School of Anderson

Our mission is to nurture the whole child, physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, preparing students for academic excellence, lifelong learning and responsible, caring lives.