Montessori Matters

October 12, 2018

Modeling Empathy instead of Teaching Empathy

We are trying to respond to several of the topics listed in our Parent Education Survey. One family was interested in how to teach “empathy to a six-year-old.” The good news is, as far as MSA is concerned, it is built into our very fabric. We do not “teach” empathy as much as we “model” empathy. It is inherent in all our classrooms across campus. It is a foundational piece of a Montessori education. That is one advantage of having a three-year age span. The six-year-olds in a class readily “teach” the three-year-olds. The fives comfort a four-year-old on the playground who has taken a tumble. The third grader listens to the first grader read from a book. When the younger child comes to a difficult word, the third grader (having remembered that feeling just a short time ago) encourages the first grader to sound it out and gives hints if necessary. Upper elementary does community service with toddlers and Primary children. The middle schoolers do community service at West Market where they work one on one with preschoolers. It is not “cool” to care about little kids in most big school settings, but here it is a natural part of the day. Those are just a few of hundreds of daily and weekly examples around our campus.

In order to model empathy, help your child “see” how the other child, adult, or animal is being affected by an uncaring act; identify the emotion for young children so they can learn to identify the facial expressions. “Do you see her face? Does it look sad, happy? Just helping her to “read” faces is a big part of “picking up” empathy. Why is the dog cowering in the corner? Does he look frightened?

Now this is a big part for children that is not generally practiced or at least it wasn’t in my days of growing up. The old way was to “coerce” an apology if one wasn’t forthcoming on its own. “Go say you are sorry!” even if you weren’t. Genuinely feeling sorry is an internal emotion, an empathetic emotion. Forcing an apology from a child is simply getting them to say words that are hollow, meaningless.

So, if the child is not “ready” to say they are sorry – modeling the feeling of the apology by you sets the stage for the next time. “I am sorry Michael knocked the blocks down and you are feeling sad/mad.” An apology has been offered/modeled genuinely and your child has watched the interaction with more openness.

The coerced apology leads to not really connecting with genuine empathy and regret and if offered too frequently can tend to become a pattern for life. We all know of adults who say the “words” but you know well they don’t mean it.

And above all – monitor what your children are seeing on TV, in the movies, and playing on video games. But that is a topic for another day... or better yet, a whole evening of parent education: How to Help Control Media Mania!

Dates to Remember

October 15-19 - Fall Break

October 22 - Fall Fest food reservation form due

October 23 - Pink Out for Breast Cancer Awareness

October 22-26 - Upper Elementary play week, see poster below for details

October 26 - Primary Book Character Day

October 27 - Fall Festival at Dbouk Farm

October 27 - National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, see note below

Oct. 29-Nov. 2 - Spirit Week

Oct. 29-Nov. 2 - Parent/teacher conferences

November 6 - Election Day, see note below about make-up day

November 6 Make-Up Day

Dear MSA Parents,

If you were like me, you were caught somewhat by surprise that schools were closing yesterday. Our policy is to follow Anderson District 5 regarding Inclement Weather School Closings, but there are times when the factors considered in making these decisions are not ones that pertain to us. This was probably one of those times. Of course, Anderson 5 did not hesitate to make this call to close school, because they have now implemented “E-learning Days” (Chromebook-based) which means that they do not lose a day of school even when it’s closed and therefore do not have to make up the day later.

We will need to make up this lost day. Fortunately, we had already designated November 6 (Election Day) as a possible Make-Up Day. Unfortunately, we will have a polling station on campus that day with many voters coming and going. So, we have decided to use this make-up day as an “At-Home School Day.” All programs will be closed on campus, but Primary risers through High School will be assigned work on that Monday to do on Nov. 6 while they are at home. Teachers will provide details about what will be expected closer to the date.

This will also serve as a test to see if we might be able to implement an “At-Home School Day” for future inclement weather closings. Of course, Montessori School of Anderson is a little different from traditional school and we want to ensure that our students are able to do meaningful work during this time, so we would appreciate your feedback after Nov. 6. As we review and update policies and procedures for severe weather and professional development closings, our objective is to inconvenience our families as little as possible, but more importantly, to keep our children’s learning foremost in our minds.

Your thoughts and input are always appreciated. Please let me know if you have any concerns or questions.

Wishing you all a wonderful Fall Break!!!

Dr. Hill

PINK OUT for Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual worldwide campaign to highlight the importance of breast health, early detection, awareness, education, advocacy and research advancement. The MSA staff and faculty welcome you to join us on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 during our PINK OUT event. We encourage everyone campus wide to don your “pink”, as we respectfully acknowledge all of the women and men who are bravely battling this disease and we remember those who bravely lead the charge in the advancement of research and treatment. We look forward to and hope to see our community come together and celebrate the lives of those who have been touched by breast cancer.

Please see this infographic for some quick facts about breast cancer.

With healthy regards,

Susanna Merriman, RN

Fall Festival

Fall Festival is quickly approaching! It will be held October 27 at Dbouk Farm, 347 Bowlan Road, from 10am-2pm. There will be music, food (generously provided by Cromer Food Service), crafts, a duck derby, and games. Come join the Montessori School of Anderson faculty and staff for the festivities!

Follow this link to download and print a food reservation form (due Monday, October 22).

Upper Elementary Presents: Schoolhouse Rock Live! JR.

Be sure to stop by the front office soon to purchase tickets to see Upper Elementary's presentation of Schoolhouse Rock Live! Junior.
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Box Tops for Education

We will be submitting our Box Tops for Education soon, and we would greatly appreciate any Box Tops you are able to provide us! Each Box Top submitted is worth 10 cents for our school. We ask that you please clip them and turn them in by Friday, October 26 so that we may send them off before the upcoming semiannual Box Top submission deadline on November 1. Box Tops may be found on the following brands: Ziploc, Nestle, Pillsbury, Hefty, Betty Crocker, General Mills, Progresso, Reynolds, and Mott's among others. See this link for a complete list of products containing Box Tops for Education.

Oliver Saunier

We are very excited to announce that Mr. Saunier, our High School chemistry and Upper Elementary and Middle School history teacher, and his wife, Katelyn, welcomed their son Oliver to the world this past Sunday! He weighed 8 lbs, 5 oz and was 21 inches long. Congratulations, Mr. Saunier!
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Special Comments

Our Primary 3 class shared special comments with a friend who is traveling back to China.
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Primary Extended Day

At Home Work

A lower elementary student created a three-part card set on the life cycle of a plant as her "At Home Work" for the week. She taught a lesson during the "At Home Work" share time which happens every Friday morning.
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Upper Elementary Sun Presentations

Upper Elementary students have been researching the sun and shared their findings to middle school and high school students through presentations that included interesting facts and funny sun-related jokes.

Middle School STEM Activity

For our middle school STEM activity this week, students built supports that could hold up textbooks using only paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, newspaper, and a piece of tape. They were able to make some impressively sturdy towers!

High School Volleyball

Two of our high school students play for the Lady Cavaliers volleyball team at Concord Baptist Church. At a recent tournament, sophomore Elli MacDonald (pictured right) was named the All Tournament player for the team. Below are some shots of our students in action.

Ethanol Experiment

Students in Dr. Mahajan's high school biology class performed an experiment to calculate the change in mass resulting from burning ethanol to mimic the burning of food as the class learns about chemical reactions and processes in the body.
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Safety Training

We appreciate your cooperation this Friday with early dismissal as our faculty and staff underwent safety training to learn how to better protect our students and our campus. Below are a few images of our teachers getting hands-on practice for applying tourniquets and chest seals. Special thanks to Besto, Arnold's, Dazzlers, and Tucker's for providing lunch for faculty and staff before the training!

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

When: Saturday, Oct. 27 from 10am - 2pm


- AnMed Health North Campus - front parking lot across from Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market

- Anderson Mall - front parking lot beside LifeWay Christian Store

Note: only pills will be accepted - no liquids, insulin pens, epipens, inhalers, or needles.

Please help us get the word out to our community! See this link to learn how you can properly dispose of your unused medications.

Yearbooks and Recognition Ads

Yearbooks are on sale now! Follow this link or click on the sibling photo below to purchase yours today. Thank you all so much for your cooperation in getting students to campus ready for school photos these past couple weeks!

Recognition ad prices go up after October 26! If you have an 8th, 9th, or 12th grade student this year, you may purchase a recognition ad for your child today. This link will allow you to purchase and design your recognition ad online. If you prefer a paper order form and have not yet received one, please let Mr. Dabney know at, and he can send one home with your student after Fall Break.

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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.