Montessori Matters

September 18, 2020

In the age of COVID-19, some education officials are promoting outdoor classroom space as a means to socially distance and offer a little reprieve from wearing face coverings. Such outdoor spaces and experiences are not new to Montessori School of Anderson (MSA). Dr. Maria Montessori believed that the outdoor environment is a natural extension of the classroom. Here at MSA students have the opportunity to experience the outdoors with structure and purpose on a regular basis (not just during a pandemic) through outdoor workspaces, gardening, and practical life.

An outdoor workspace does not have to involve a special project or activity. It can simply be an area that the child can get fresh air while continuing to work, such as our primary and lower elementary decks or our upper school amphitheater. These spaces offer the child a warm and inviting environment with freedom of movement that allows them to socialize and learn. In addition, a natural environment can create feelings of peace and contentment, meeting more than just the academic needs of the child.

As part of our horticulture program, students from primary through high school take part in gardening and caring for our campus. MSA has had a greenhouse on campus for about nine years. Currently, lower elementary students have been working in the raised beds in the greenhouse preparing the soil, planting broccoli and pea seeds, and watering the beds. Our upper school students have been pruning and weeding in our Peace Garden. Nothing creates that connection to nature better than these opportunities for students to get their hands dirty! Engaging in gardening can lead to healthier eating habits, improved mood, and reduced stress and anxiety. Children also learn about patience and resilience which are essential for healthy social/emotional development.

Practical Life, one of the core curriculum areas in Montessori, also presents the occasion for outdoor experiences that cannot always be part of the indoor classroom. An example is the project that upper elementary students have been engaged in this week. They are “up-cycling” some boards from another room to make work tables for their classroom. You will see in photos below that they have been outside using a compound saw to cut dowels needed for the table legs. They have been involved in marking and measuring and hand drilling so that the legs can attach to the boards. Soon they will finish the project by sanding and painting the work tables. What a tremendous experience this practical life project is, especially the confidence that is built through using these natural materials and tools to create a useful object!

Extending the classroom to include the outdoors is not just a temporary solution or current trend for MSA. It is based on Dr. Maria Montessori’s reverence for the natural world and her belief in the importance of a child’s understanding of their place in the universe. These rich sensorial experiences support the whole child - mind, body, and spirit - and will be part of our program long after COVID-19 is no longer a concern.

- Dr. Dana Hill

Dates to Remember

Remember that you can always check the MSA website calendar for upcoming calendar events.

September 14-18, 20-25 - MAP testing

September 25 - Primary Planet Pajama Party

September 28-October 2 - School Photos (see below for dates)

October 12-13 - Remote learning days, K5-High School

October 14-16 - Fall Break, Extended Care Only Infant/Toddler through Primary

October 19-23 - Spirit Week (more info to come)

October 21 - Fall Fling (more info to come)

October 30 - Primary Book Character Day

School Photo Dates

Weather permitting, we will be taking school photos the week of September 28 - October 2. See below for the class schedule:

September 28 - Primary

September 29 - Upper Elementary

September 30 - Infant/Toddler

October 1 - Lower Elementary

October 2 - Upper School and sibling photos

Students should arrive at school dressed for photos and may bring a change of outfit to change into after their photo is taken in the morning.

Nurse's Notes

I hope that you've had a safe and healthy week. The children are continuing to do a wonderful job wearing masks, socially distancing, handwashing and practicing hand and respiratory hygiene. As we move into our sixth academic week, I wanted to share information on a few topics that will help MSA maintain a safer and healthier community.

Wishing you continued good health.

With health and peace,

Susanna Merriman, RN

Flu vaccine

Flu season is right around the corner. In order to prevent the spread of flu within our MSA community, we ask that you speak to your healthcare provider and discuss if you or your child are candidates for the flu vaccine. Amid Covid, many healthcare providers are offering drive thru flu clinics. Contact your provider for more information.

Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC recommend the flu vaccine. I am sharing the links below regarding the 2020-21 Flu vaccine, Flu and may answer many questions. You should get a flu vaccine before the flu begins spreading in your community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout flu season, even into January or later.

For additional updates and information on Influenza and Covid-19, please refer to the links below:



Strategies to stay healthy during cold and flu season:

The best way to combat the flu or Covid-19 this season is through preventive measures.

Getting flu vaccine is your best defense, but you may also use the following tips to fight the flu this year:

  • Wear a mask
  • Socially distance
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, being with ill people and especially before you eat
  • Maintain good respiratory and hand hygiene
  • Avoid sharing objects
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes
  • Get enough sleep and avoid getting "run down"
  • Reduce stress
  • Use tissues for coughs and sneezes and dispose of them immediately and appropriately
  • Eat right and get regular exercise
  • Avoid crowds and keep your distance from people whom you know are ill
  • If you are sick, stay home from work or school
  • If you are sick, avoid the elderly, sick or frail

Reminder of the MSA Infectious Disease Policy

  • Children are expected to be in good health when in school. All students must be fever free for 24 hours before returning to school (without taking fever-reducing medication). Absences, excused or unexcused, will be recorded for all students. Any student experiencing a fever greater than 100.4°F, vomiting, experiencing diarrhea, or simply feeling too poorly to focus or concentrate on classwork will be removed

    from the classroom. His/her parents will be called to pick them up. The child should be isolated until the parent arrives. No student will be allowed to leave campus without the direct consent of the parent/guardian.

    COVID Change: Any student (or faculty/staff) who is diagnosed as COVID-19 positive will be reported to SC DHEC and MSA will follow their guidelines for when the student may return to school and whether others must be isolated/quarantined.

Immunizations ***deadline approaching

All students must have a South Carolina DHEC immunization record on file in the MSA Health Office within 30 days of admission or the first day of school. If you are a transfer student from out of state or country, all immunization records must be transferred to a SC DHEC Form at your physician's office or at a South Carolina Health Department. If the student has received any additional immunizations in the last year, a new record must be submitted to MSA. All Medical and Religious exemption forms must be renewed annually, this may be completed at your local health department. Any student not in compliance with South Carolina's Immunization mandated guidelines must be excluded until a immunization record has been received. Please make every effort to meet this deadline so there is no interruption in your child's educational experience.

With healthy regards,

Susanna Merriman, RN

Flag Ceremony Quote

Each week during the school year, an Upper Elementary student chooses a quote to read during our Monday flag ceremony celebration, followed by an Upper School student sharing their interpretation of the quote and how it applies to our lives at MSA. With the health conditions this year, we have transitioned to a virtual celebration, so each week a student will choose a quote and share its meaning with the rest of the school through a video quote. This week an Upper School student shared this quote with her fellow students.
September 14 Flag Ceremony Quote

Lower Elementary Horticulture Planting Preparations

Students in Lower Elementary Horticulture smoothed out the planting beds in the greenhouse, read planting instructions, and used their trowels to measure seed spacing in preparation for fall planting.They finished by planting some radishes and lettuce.
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Genetics Lab

Students in the Upper School took bacteria cultures and inoculated them with plasmids which were engineered to have a small piece of DNA from jelly fish that produces a protein that glows under florescent light. They heat shocked the bacteria to get them to take in the plasmid. If it worked, they will see bacteria glowing on their plates next week.
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Crafting Tables

Upper Elementary students are working on a woodworking project. They are making low tables for work in the classroom and outdoors. A student measured and made marks on dowels for the legs and students used a compound saw to cut the dowels into short legs for the tables. After this, the students sanded the legs and used a hand drill to drill a hole into the center of the legs. The next step will be to attach the legs to the tabletops with screws and then sand and paint the tables. See this link for more photos of the students' woodwork.
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Making Table Legs with a Compound Saw

Snack Planning

Students in Upper Elementary brought containers to school that they use for their snack. Each week, students place their orders for the week and when the order arrives, their snack for the week is put into their containers. Each day, when students are ready for a snack they can get their containers and serve themselves a snack.
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Practicing Faces

Mrs. Culwell, the Upper School Art teacher, covers face drawing with two of her students in the high school room while a dead tree above the art building is scheduled for removal.
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Art Building Tree Removal

A dead tree that had grown above the art building for years had to be removed this Friday as it posed a hazard to buildings in the area. A local tree removal service made quick work of the tricky task.
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Free Personalization Icons

Order your child's yearbook today and receive four free personalization icons. Click this link to purchase yours today!
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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.