Montessori Matters

September 7, 2018

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Location of the first Montessori School of Anderson class.

“If you build it, they will come.”

(famous quote from the 1989 film: Field of Dreams)

From renting space in Holy Trinity Lutheran Church to owning a sprawling 20 acre campus…

From 600 square feet to 22,000 square feet of classroom space…

From one class of 3-6 year olds to sixteen classes of 6 weeks to 18 year olds…

From 14 children to approximately 200-250 children…

From born-and-raised Anderson families to an international community of families and faculty…

How does that happen?

It happens over a 45-year period.

It happened when a small, dedicated group of families TRUSTED that this new thing called “Mon-tess-ory” was actually something different, exciting, and well worth the time and energy they were going to have to devote to trying to understand it -- then go to the banks to fund it.

It happened when families were willing to pay a whopping $40 a month (remember 1973) for a five-day-a-week preschool program.

It happened when the first Montessori-certified teacher was willing to earn a mere $6,000 a year and live in a cement house not too far from the school.

It happened when families of those pioneers signed their names on bank notes for the first 4,000 square foot classroom that was erected on Sam McGee Road -- way, way out in the country.

It happened when one of those fathers, who was a contractor, simply charged for the materials but donated all the labor to build that first building. And each of the by then 24 families painted walls, plowed the fields, ran off the skunks, and planted grass on that first two acres.

It happened when happy families wanted to see what would happen if their children had more Montessori in their elementary years. It happened when those families were willing to put up the next shoe box building to accommodate the expanding program and were willing to trust, again, the concept of the “one-room schoolhouse” of first through sixth graders, that it was not only viable but consistent with Montessori philosophy.

It happened again as more families enrolled their children AND had more babies. They wanted a safe, and by now trusted, familiar place to have these infants and toddlers begin their Montessori journey. And so, the next building was erected… built by parents, painted by parents, landscaped by parents, and appreciated by parents.

Several years passed, and a good many German, French, and Japanese families moved into Anderson due to new industries, such as Bosch, Afco, Milliken, etc. They understood the quality of a Montessori education because of its European roots, and the programs expanded again to accommodate a more international community.

Next the time came for understanding the specific needs of the young adolescent. There were no Anderson programs that could speak to those needs. Families got together and decided it was time to build the next level. Banks were contacted, families vouched for the program, loans were made, and the next series of classrooms were erected. Yes, families were part of that, too. Walls were painted, skunks were run off the new acres, and trees were planted.

In 2006, the final question was raised: “If these young people look like this at the age of 14, after 10-14 years of a Montessori education, what might they be like if they had four more years of a Montessori-style high school?” Starting out at Anderson University, a troop of pioneering parents and students took that trusting last step once more. Classrooms were finally added back on campus (built by a family), and the first Montessori School of Anderson graduating class of 2011 took to the aisles of Grace Episcopal Church for their high school diplomas.

Montessori School of Anderson is truly an example of “build it and they will come.” However, no one, absolutely no one, could have anticipated the journey nor seen the complete vision. It was not a “field of dreams” all prettily laid out. It was more step-by-step, brick-by-brick, age-by-age, and, most importantly, driven by parent desires and hard work.

Montessori School of Anderson, a 6 week through 18 year old school, has happened. Families working together over 45 years… nothing is stronger than that. #MSATogether

Karen Holt, Founder

Dates to Remember

September 11 - Toddler One pot luck dinner

September 17-28 - MAP testing 2nd-9th Grade

September 18 - Toddler Two pot luck dinner

September 20 - Upper Elementary Field Trip to Paris Mountain State Park

September 25 - Toddler Three pot luck dinner

October 1-5 - Yearbook portraits -- class schedules will be announced soon

October 12 - Early dismissal, see note below

*Note: Toddler parents please be sure to check out the sign-up forms attached to your child's classroom door for your class' potluck dinner.

*Note: October 12 is an early dismissal day for Professional Development for teachers. All programs closed. No extended day or childcare will be available.

The Early Release schedule for Oct. 12 will be as follows:

Infant/Toddler dismissal---11:30 a.m.

Primary dismissal------------11:30 a.m.

Lower el dismissal-----------11:45 a.m.

Upper el dismissal-----------12:00 noon

Middle School dismissal---12:00 noon

High School dismissal-------12:00 noon

High School Ropes Course

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Celebrating Maria Montessori on Her Birthday

On Friday, August 31 the Montessori School of Anderson community of students, parents, faculty, and staff celebrated the 148th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Maria Montessori. On this day, everyone proudly wore their MSA apparel in honor of Dr. Montessori. Yearbook students traveled the school capturing these special moments. Additional shots were supplied by faculty and staff.

Walk Around the Sun

During a Walk Around the Sun celebrating Dr. Montessori, our Primary Three class learned about her life and her work.
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Primary Celebrates Maria Montessori

These Primary teachers and students wore their Montessori School of Anderson shirts last week on August 31 as part of the school-wide celebration.
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A Visit from Dr. Montessori Herself

A highlight of the day was Dr. Montessori stopping by MSA to see check in on students learning using the teaching philosophies that are her legacy.
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Student Teachers

A student in Dr. Mahajan's high school geometry class teaches her fellow classmates a mini lesson on angle relationships.
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Exploring the Solar System

Dr. Mahajan's upper elementary science students research what makes up the solar system and create an inventory of it.

Middle School Wednesday Lunch

This week's Middle School meal was breakfast for lunch including pancakes, eggs, and a fruit medley.

STEM Activities

Middle school students took part in a series of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) challenges Wednesday. This week's challenges focused on engineering solutions to simple mechanical puzzles. The first challenge was to build the tallest possible balloon tower out of balloons and tape -- the students excelled and built their towers to the ceiling!
Another challenge was to stack several cups in a pyramid without touching the cups with their hands; instead, they were each given a rubber band.

Nurse's Notes

SAFETY ALERT: Please note that Montessori School of Anderson only has ONE entrance located near the Main Office. Please use this entrance at all times and do not enter the campus at the middle exit. Please alert friends and family who may be visiting campus of this safety message.

Safety: I am currently conducting tests on the Montessori School of Anderson's Reverse Notification system. The information that you provided on your data sheet is what was imported into the system. Should your student's information change, please notify the Main Office so the information can be updated. The Reverse Notification system will only be utilized and activated for emergency situations or school closures.

Health Message:

Healthy kids are more likely to become healthy adults. Be a role model and help your kids make safe and healthy choices every day.

  • Buckle up every age, every seat, every trip.

  • Put on a helmet during outdoor activities, including riding bikes and skating.

  • Promote a healthy diet.

  • Proper amounts of sleep help academic success.

  • Put on sunscreen and avoid indoor tanning.

  • Brush and floss teeth with fluoride to help prevent tooth decay.

  • Wash hands with clear running water and apply soap. Rub hands for at least 20 seconds, then rinse.

  • Get a flu vaccine. Everyone needs a flu vaccine – every flu season.

  • Be active with your kids. Children and adolescents need a total of 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

  • Be smoke-free, and protect your children from second hand smoke.

  • Be a healthy role model. Show your child what it means to be healthy.

With healthy regards,

Susanna Merriman, RN

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.