Growing Together

Geist Montessori Academy@GeistAcademy

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Volume 6: September 5, 2020

Make a wish!

Dear GMA School Family,

Make a Wish!

This week, all of the students and staff enjoyed celebrating the courageous life of Maria Montessori, who continues to inspire us to be the light in the world, spreading love and kindness. Whole child development was reflected in the 150th birthday celebration of Maria as students physically revolved around the sun, created caring candles, and sang songs of celebration.

As we head into Labor Day Weekend, our yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country, I must pause to recognize you and our amazing educators at GMA for the incredible work you do each and every day to enrich our students’ lives and ultimately the world!

We wish each of you a wonderful holiday weekend, followed by a week of wonder, joy, and the lifelong love of learning!


Cindy Schuler

Executive Director

Geist Montessori Academy

(317) 813-4626

Of all things, love is the most potent.

-Maria Montessori

Happy birthday, maria montessori!

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make a wish!

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Please select your Learning option!

In order to plan for the upcoming nine weeks, we need your family's learning preference commitment by September 17. Thank you for helping to keep our GMA school family safe!

Learning Option Selection for 10/12-12/18

FREE Reading Resources

FREE Reading Resources

New! Implementation Toolkits Offer Support to Student Literacy Growth in Remote and Blended Learning Environments

The National Center on Improving Literacy (NCIL) and OSEP have released a toolkits to help schools and families join efforts to support children’s literacy growth in remote or blended learning environments.

Literacy Toolkit

We love learning!

What’s blooming by the ditch? By: Ms. Jeanie

What’s blooming by the ditch?

Last May, I planted a few Indiana native plants on Schultz’s Ditch, beside the school. Now just three months later, there are masses of flowers in bloom. I was so excited I just had to share them with you.

Most impressive are the ones I did not plant, the ones that must have been there before the school was built, that survived the bulldozer scraping off the topsoil.

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Obedient Plant

Still blooming now is the obedient plant. Watch for our native bumblebees to crawl inside each flower doing a wonderful job of spreading pollen from one flower to another. They drink the nectar and carry some of the pollen home to eat. Look for yellow bags full of pollen on their legs.

These late summers days are the glory days for prairie flowers. I hope you are enjoying them. There will be more!

Covid care connection by Nurse April


Labor Day Weekend Care Note

Honoring our American workers this weekend and the rights they fought for is typically a time to gather with our family and friends. We have all worked hard these first few weeks of school and this is a great chance to celebrate this achievement as well! I have seen the grocery sale adds for BBQ items and the weather forecast looks PERFECT for an outdoor gathering. While we celebrate and relax, let us not forget our commitment to safety for our school community.

The state and local department of health are urging people to limit time spent in large groups. They are finding many COVID-19 cases are coming from events such as family gatherings, birthday parties, slumber parties, sleep overs, extracurricular sport activities and so on. Looking back to the surge of positive COVID-19 cases after our last holiday weekend, 4th of July, we are asking for families to take into consideration what the health department is asking of us to. Please be cautious, remember your social distancing, practice good hygiene, and have a great time connecting with your loved ones this weekend!

substitute teachers needed

Do you love learning and making a difference in students' lives? If so, we need YOU!

Substitute Permit Requirements

Individuals applying for Substitute Permits at GMA must have at least 60 college credit hours:

Once these requirements are met, applicants should apply via the Indiana Department of Education's Licensing Verification and Information System (LVIS).

Application Process

  1. Each school employer will recommend individuals for Substitute Permits through the application process. The superintendent or his/her designee will verify the applicant's employment and application through LVIS(link is external). Each application for a Substitute Permit must be submitted and paid through LVIS(link is external).
  2. The Office of Educator Licensing will issue the Substitute Permit in the applicant's name and the school employer’s name. The applicant may print a copy of the permit by logging into the applicant’s LVIS account.
  3. The Substitute Permit is valid only for the requesting school employer unless the school employer has a reciprocity agreement for use of substitute teachers with another school employer.
  4. Substitute Permits are valid for three years. The validity period begins on the date the applicant pays for the permit application in LVIS.
  5. A Substitute Permit is not renewable. Once it expires, an applicant must apply for a new original Substitute Permit.
  6. The fee for a Substitute Permit is $15.00 + $1.32 processing fee.
  7. A license or permit that is valid on the first day of school in the school in which the license holder is employed is considered valid for the duration of the school year.
Mr. Michael's Week 4 Video: Neuroplasticity

Counseling Corner

GMA Families!

It is hard to believe we are already in September! Hopefully soon we will transition into autumn with wonderful weather and beautiful colors as the leaves start to change. As we move forward with the school year, I want to remind everyone of the importance of self-care. Taking some time out of our busy schedules each day to recover and recharge is very important to our health. Everyone deserves some time to take a deep breath and do something they enjoy. Below are some great articles about self-care that provide great information about increasing our overall health and well being.

Here is weekly video #4. In this video, we learn more about the brain and how it is constantly changing in our everyday lives to make things easier for us. At the end of the video, I ask for some important feedback from all of our students! As we move forward on creating a safe place for children to play outside during recess, we need ideas on what students would like to see on their dream playground. Every idea is very important as we start to create layouts and plans that best fit the needs of our students. If your child has an idea on what they would like to see on a future playground, please let me know so I can add it to our dream playground list. As always, if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know!

Thank you!

Michael Skiles

Geist Montessori Academy

School Counselor

317-813-4626 EXT: 104 - This article has important information about the basics of self-care. It is a great resource for tips and understanding why self-care is so important for everyone. - This article is more specific for pandemic related self-care and talks about knowing the "turbulence" that is created in our bodies and how to help wind back down as we go about the day. - Knowing how to use self-care is critical. This article does a great job of explaining the do's and don'ts of self-care. Using self-care efficiently and effectively can make a huge difference in every day life.

Lighting the Lifelong Love of Learning, Montessori's Story

150 Years: A Legacy to Celebrate

New Post in Montessori on the Hollis Montessori Blog

Education, Service, and Drive, From the Start

In a seaside town in Italy, Maria Montessori was born on August 31,1870. At the time, education was not always readily available for girls and women and was certainly not emphasized. Her father Alessandro was a man with fairly conservative views, but Montessori’s mother, Renilde, was rather well educated herself. Well into her young adulthood, Maria’s father often disapproved of her life decisions, while her mother encouraged them. (He did, fortunately, seem to have a change of heart later on.)

Even as a child, a deep sense of service was instilled in Maria by her parents. She knitted for and spent time with those in her community that were less fortunate. She was tasked with cleaning the floor of her family home, a chore which she likely took great pride in.

Maria’s family moved when she was young due to her father’s work, and they eventually ended up in Rome, where she began the first grade. Schools in Rome at the time were far superior to those elsewhere in Italy, so her educational advantages began early.

At a certain point, school and learning became much more important to Maria. It is said (and referenced in a biography by Rita Kramer) that she once took a math book with her to the theater so she could study during the performance. One thing she was certain of: she would never become a teacher.

For a while, young Maria aspired to be an engineer, but later decided she would rather attend medical school. At the time (unfortunately, but perhaps unsurprisingly) women were not permitted in the university program. Not to be dissuaded but an initial rejection, Montessori took and passed the entrance exams and continued to ask for admittance until she received ‘yes’ for an answer.

During her years at the university, Montessori faced constant discrimination due to her gender. She was not permitted to enter lecture halls at the same time as her male counterparts or study cadavers alongside the other medical students. (They felt it improper to be in the presence of a dead, naked body with a woman.) She wasn’t even allowed to walk to school without a male chaperone, who was, of course, her disapproving father.

Despite it all, Maria Montessori did become Dr. Montessori. Over the years she gained the respect of many of her university peers, faculty, and family members.

A Winding Path to a Visionary Model

Early in her career, Montessori was assigned to work in a psychiatric hospital. Children were treated there alongside adults, and Montessori was struck by the sheer lack of stimulation available to the children. She began working with the children and soon realized their cognitive capabilities far exceeded what they were assumed to be able to accomplish.

Not long after, Montessori was asked to start a school in an impoverished neighborhood in Rome. In an apartment complex, the parents were forced to go to work each day and leave behind their children who were too young to be in school yet themselves. This led to a natural progression of unruly behavior, thus leading the apartment manager to seek a solution.

Montessori opened her school on the first floor of one of the apartment buildings. It was called Casa dei Bambini (Children’s House) and provided a place for the little ones to use their time productively, while also allowing Dr. Montessori an opportunity to develop her now infamous materials and methods. She believed that young children learned first through the senses, and her materials were created specifically to allow children independence in the journey to refining them.

Not only were the children of this first Casa privy to the materials; they also were the first to experience Montessori practical life lessons. They helped to prepare and serve their own meals. They polished the silver and cut and arranged the flowers. They learned polite social norms through intentional modeling and lessons in grace and courtesy. They began to take pride in their work, their community, and their home. Montessori recruited a woman who was a resident of the complex to become the teacher, and the children’s mothers met with her regularly to discuss progress.

The results were astounding. This work done with the children slowly trickled outward so that it positively affected the entire neighborhood. Visitors came to the school and were amazed at how focused and engaged the children were with their work. No one had ever seen anything quite like it before.

Observing, Refining, and Sharing

Montessori’s work and ideas spread quickly as more and more people visited Casa dei Bambini. Requests were made to open new schools elsewhere, and Montessori soon found herself training teachers, producing copies of her materials, and giving lectures around the world.

Throughout her life, Dr. Montessori’s work never ended. Though she began with a focus on children aged 3-6, during different times in her life, she focused on developing methods and materials for elementary aged children, infants and toddlers, and adolescents. She was a fierce advocate for the preservation of the methods she had worked tirelessly to create. She was, after all, a woman of science. Each material, each lesson, each approach - they were all a result of many hours of careful testing, observation, analyzation, and refining. It was understandably important to her that the movement that bore her name moved forward in a way that honored her high standards.

Montessori Education: Where It Stands Today

Today, there are tens of thousands of Montessori schools across the globe. In the United States alone, there are more than 2,000 private and more than 500 public Montessori schools.

Efforts are being made to advance Montessori into mainstream education while retaining high fidelity methods. Current scientific research in areas of learning, brain development, and human development are repeatedly confirming what has already been known by over a century of Montessori education.

What might the next decade bring? Shifts in our common goals for education and what developing children need just may be the push our society needs to fully embrace what’s been working for so many families for such a long time.

We’re glad to have you on this journey with us!

money grows on trees for kindergarten Families

Hi Parents of 2033 Graduates!

As a kindergartner, your child has the opportunity to sign up for the Hancock County Promise. The Hancock County Promise GIVES you FREE MONEY for your child!!! Yes, that is correct FREE MONEY for your child!!! I know, you are thinking there is a catch....NO!!! There is NO catch!! If you sign-up, you get a FREE CollegeChoice 529 Direct Account for your child and we will deposit $25 of free money into the account!!! Attached is more information about the Promise. We want 100% of kindergartners enrolled.

You can find more information about the Hancock County Promise at or by reviewing the Family Enrollment Guide linked HERE or the Roadmap 2020 linked HERE.

How do I take advantage of this FREE money, you ask? HERE is a link to the video of how to create your Hancock County Promise CollegeChoice 529 account. HERE are STEP by STEP instructions. It is very only has 6 steps to complete!

If you have more questions you can contact Hancock County Chairperson, Scott Shipley at 317-485-3100 or

We are growing together: Join a GMA committee today

GMA is growing, and we are so excited for your partnership to better our school community. Please sign up and help us grow for the better: Growing Together Committee Sign-ups.

Look! Up in the Sky! It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's the ... GMA Super hero Run coming Soon!

The PTO will be releasing more information soon about the Super Hero Run coming September 30 to GMA!

If you are interested in the Parent Teacher Organization, please contact Morgan Bitz, PTO President at

Dine to donate on September 16

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Labor Day by: Ms. April

What is the Importance of Labor Day? Why is it especially important this year?

This weekend we will recognize Labor Day, an American workers holiday. Labor Day is a day to honor the American workers who sacrificed so much during the Industrial Revolution. It’s interesting to see the parallel of the time of the late 1800’s to today. Take a look at this Article from to learn how this holiday came to be.

Labor Day 2020 will occur on Monday, September 7. Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. Labor Day weekend also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, street parades and athletic events.

Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?

Labor Day, an annual celebration of workers and their achievements, originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters.

In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages.

People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks.

As manufacturing increasingly supplanted agriculture as the wellspring of American employment, labor unions, which had first appeared in the late 18th century, grew more prominent and vocal. They began organizing strikes and rallies to protest poor conditions and compel employers to renegotiate hours and pay.

Many of these events turned violent during this period, including the infamous Haymarket Riot of 1886, in which several Chicago policemen and workers were killed. Others gave rise to longstanding traditions: On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history.

The idea of a “workingmen’s holiday,” celebrated on the first Monday in September, caught on in other industrial centers across the country, and many states passed legislation recognizing it. Congress would not legalize the holiday until 12 years later, when a watershed moment in American labor history brought workers’ rights squarely into the public’s view. On May 11, 1894, employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago went on strike to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives.

On June 26, the American Railroad Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, called for a boycott of all Pullman railway cars, crippling railroad traffic nationwide. To break the Pullman strike, the federal government dispatched troops to Chicago, unleashing a wave of riots that resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen workers.

Who Created Labor Day?

In the wake of this massive unrest and in an attempt to repair ties with American workers, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories. On June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed it into law. More than a century later, the true founder of Labor Day has yet to be identified.

Many credit Peter J. McGuire, cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, while others have suggested that Matthew Maguire, a secretary of the Central Labor Union, first proposed the holiday.

Labor Day Celebrations

Labor Day is still celebrated in cities and towns across the United States with parades, picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays and other public gatherings. For many Americans, particularly children and young adults, it represents the end of the summer and the start of the back-to-school season.

References Editors. (2020, 9 1). Retrieved from HISTORY:

Arrival and dismissal

Arrival: Please help provide a safe and efficient carline for dropping off children and picking them up. The carline gate opens from 8:00-8:10 for Pre-K ONLY. The carline gate opens at 8:15 a.m. for K-8, with students exiting cars for arrival at 8:20 a.m. Students should be dropped off each morning at school entrances 5 & 6.

Please have your child ready to exit the car independently when you pull up to the entrance (i.e., shoes and jacket on, lunch and backpack in hand). Students may only exit the vehicle once the appropriate staff member has signaled for them to do so. A staff member will greet them and assist them into the building. Please note that if you arrive after 8:30, you must park and accompany your child into the front office of the building and sign him/her in. Children cannot sign themselves in late. These students will be reported as tardy.

Dismissal: At dismissal, your child will walk to your car when his/her number is called. Staff will be present to help ensure that all students are safely in their vehicle before the carline continues. Please refrain from lengthy discussions with teachers or staff, or from giving verbal messages at this time. We make every effort to provide a quick and efficient system of arrival and dismissal, and we appreciate your cooperation and assistance.

ALL kindergarten parents need to be in the inside lane for pick-up. If your kindergarten student has no siblings at GMA, then the gate for pick-up will open at 2:45, with kindergarten students with no siblings being released at 3:00 p.m. If your kindergarten student does have siblings at GMA, the older sibling will walk to the younger child’s room, and they will dismiss together at regular pick-up.

The gate for regular pick-up opens at 3:15, with school dismissal at 3:30 p.m.


Carline map:

Thank you for helping to keep our students safe!

GMA's Sensational School Board!

Our sincere appreciation is extended to our amazing school board for their service to GMA!

President: Uriah Ellis

Secretary: Lacey Willard

Treasurer: Andrew Cavallaro

Members at Large: Karen Swan and Mark Clark

Meeting Dates: October 20, 2020 (*Pending Fall Break calendar), December 15, 2020, February 16, 2021, April 20, 2021, June 15, 2021

*All Meetings begin at 5:30 pm and are open to the public. Meetings will be held at the physical school location or virtually, as needed.

We look forward to our continued partnership, as we grow together for the better!

Important Census INformation

Every ten years, everyone living in the United States – regardless of immigration status – is counted in the census. The count is used to distribute power at every level of government and distribute more than $675 billion each year to communities across the nation. Participating in the census is a civic duty – much like voting – and is confidential and simple to complete.

The census is important. From school boards to the U.S. House of Representatives, the census is used to distribute power – and resources – to the people. The 2020 Census will determine how much federal funding our community receives for education, healthcare, housing, transportation, emergency services, and more. Every person counted in the census means more money for programs that support [School/School District], our students, and you – their families. In our community, the census impacts funding for [Choose 1-3 relevant ones: Title 1, Head Start, free and reduced school lunches, school nutrition programs, mental health services, special education, SNAP, WIC, Medicare, Section 8 Housing, higher education, household energy assistance programs, people with disabilities, public transit, highway planning and construction], and so many more essential programs. The census supports all children, helping them meet challenging state academic standards and have a well-rounded education.

The census is safe. By federal law, individual responses to the census are confidential for 72 years and cannot be shared with anyone, including law enforcement, immigration, tax agencies, or even the President of the United States. Your information is private and cannot be used against you.

The census is easy. Completing the census for your household should only take about ten minutes and is simpler than ever to do. Your household should have received a form by mail earlier this year, but if you’ve misplaced it don’t worry! You can still respond by calling [English version: (844) 330-2020/Spanish version: (844) 468-2020] or online at

The census’s deadline is approaching. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline to respond to the 2020 Census was extended earlier this year until September 30, 2020. The date your household will reference when completing your census is April 1, 2020. Make sure you count everyone who was residing in your household on this date, including roommates, extended family, friends, and – of course – children!

Please help support our school and community by completing your 2020 Census today. Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, YOU COUNT!

GMA School Calendar

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Virtual or LIve, GMA always thrives!

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Montessori Resources

Whole School Resources for the Coronavirus Pandemic

Special Needs

Online Learning Platforms

Primary (3-6)

Elementary (6-12)

"Children of the World" Virtual Choir

Children of the World, featuring GMA students!!!

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Meet our incredible School Family staff members: Enjoy Photos and Letters

Please enjoy this special edition newsletter, filled with letters and photos from our 2020-2021 staff members.

Meet our 2020.2021 Staff Members

We are so excited to grow together for the better!

Meet Geist Montessori Academy's Executive Director: Cindy Schuler

GMA Contact iNformation


(317) 813-4626


6058 W. 900 N.

McCordsville, IN 46055

growing together for the better!