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
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.
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 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 Coronavirus.it 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