Montessori Matters

October 4, 2019

The Fourth Pillar: Service to Humanity

Every roof needs a fourth pillar to stand it strong. Remembering our first three: passion for excellence, universal values, and global understanding. Our fourth pillar takes us out of our classrooms to share with each other on this campus and then out into our larger community. Service to Humanity is integral to Montessori School of Anderson’s Blueprint as a student, faculty member, and family.

Building myself: my own striving for excellence; holding values high as a priority, building my own awareness of the fact that I belong to a global community; these three then are all facets of the concept of “taking in.” In order to be balanced as a human being, one must understand the concept of “giving back” – the fourth pillar.

It starts down in toddler and primary classrooms, where the older children “help” the younger ones by sometimes giving them lessons or tying a three-year old’s errant shoelace. It continues throughout our campus at all levels: Middle school students listen to emerging readers in the lower elementary classroom. Middle schoolers recycle/compost around the campus. Upper elementary children go out on a weekly basis to help serve at Meals on Wheels and help in Infant/Toddler and Primary. Students restock supplies when it comes to the Soup Kitchen at Thanksgiving time and help in the animal shelter. Christmas finds our carolers visiting nursing homes and decorating windows. There have been years when students collected bottled water for sending to a war zone, created cards for servicemen, collected hats and gloves for those who are in need in Anderson and elsewhere.

Each year can be different dependent on our community – internal and external. One special time I remember is when our middle schoolers visited a nursing home. They were assigned a senior who didn’t have visitors very often. Each student then listened to the elder’s stories, wrote them down, composed them into a well-written biography, and then after six weeks read and presented the elder’s “booklet” to their “adopted” grandmother or grandfather and his or her family. These times always had a lasting effect on all concerned: student, senior, and the senior’s family. (Such a win-win-win: English class biography writing “passion for excellence” meets an avenue for community service and generational sharing.)

There are so many anecdotes to share and so little time to do it. Just remember that to be a human being, the “giving back” part has to be balanced with the “taking in” part. We hope, over many years of these early experiences, that our students understand this and carry it with them into their adult lives.

PS: If you have a couple hours to share some morning or afternoon, please let us know. We would love to share the love and warmth with you.

Dates to Remember

October 10 - Classroom Campout (LE and UE)

October 11 - Early dismissal, no extended care

October 14-18 - Fall Break, extended day available

October 21-25 - Spirit Week

October 25 - Primary Book Character Day

Oct. 28-Nov. 1 - Middle and High School conference week

See here for the full, interactive calendar.

Family, Food, and Philosophy Date Change

While many families have an interest in attending our Family, Food, & Philosophy event, several have expressed that Tuesday, Oct. 8, is not an ideal time. With soccer and volleyball and all the other fall activities, family schedules are packed! We know that the demands on your time are great, so we appreciate this feedback. In response, we have decided to postpone our Family, Food, & Philosophy night to Tuesday, Jan. 28, in hopes of giving families more time to get it on their calendars. After Fall Break, we will begin previews of the various topics in Montessori Matters.

The new date will coincide with our re-enrollment period, so this will be a great opportunity for you to invite prospective families to the event! The referral incentive is still being offered for MSA families.

Mark your calendars now! TUESDAY, JAN. 28 - "FAMILY, FOOD & PHILOSOPHY"

Dr. Hill

Box Tops for Education

Please send in any remaining physical box tops by Friday, October 25th so we can get them sent off by November 1st. Remember to sign up for the all new Box Tops for Education mobile application from the App Store or the Google Play Store to continue participating in the new and improved program -- ten cents from every eligible product purchase goes to support MSA!
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Infant Activities

These infants had a busy week practicing walking using the walking bridge, having productive conversations with each other, recognizing self in the mirror, and cleaning up after themselves after enjoying snacks in the classroom.
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Toddler Three Covered-Dish Dinner

The Toddler Three Covered-Dish Dinner was a great opportunity to get to know classmates and their families while eating a delicious dinner and enjoying each other's company outside. See below for albums from each of the three Toddler dinners.

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This Week in Toddler Three

The first image below is a friend trying out a new textured block work for the first time. She was concentrating hard on how each would fit together and would fix it if she was unhappy with the result.

The second is the same friend looking in the mirror wiping her face clean after lunch. She wanted to make sure every sticky spot was gone before she went to nap.

The third is of another friend working on their pouring skills. Even though he spilled some of the beans, he kept trying over and over again and then was taught how to use the small broom and dust pan to clean up his spill.

The fourth is of the same friend stacking blocks. Even though this seems like a simple task this works has helped our friend become more precise with their movements.

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Primary Soccer Preview

The Primary MSA-sponsored YMCA soccer team played on Thursday this week. Click here for a sneak peek at the upcoming album from the game.
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Upper Elementary STEAMy Bread Lesson

It was Upper Elementary's turn for the bread-making STEAM lesson this week. The students learned the historical significance of bread and its impact on society and the chemical processes that take place in the creation of bread before engineering their own recipe by observing several example recipes and calculating their own ratios of ingredients. Click here for more photos from the lesson.
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Middle School Etiquette: Tying Ties and Dining

Students in Middle School continued their etiquette lessons as part of their Personal World course by learning how to tie a tie last Friday. See this trove of tie tying photos for more images.
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The students put their dining etiquette lesson from several weeks ago to the test by eating a formal luncheon together. Students practiced holding doors, pulling out and pushing in chairs for each other, using the proper utensils, and using table manners. Thank you to Tucker's Restaurant and Bar for hosting our students! More photos from the luncheon can be found in this album.
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Buddhist Meditation

As a portion of learning about Buddhism, students in Middle School History have been practicing meditation and mindfulness.
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Coding in CoSpaces

In Technology class, Middle School students have been designing virtual reality worlds and coding and animating the models within them to tell a story over several scenes using the website CoSpaces.
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Students at the Middle and High School levels are participating in fall volleyball in Anderson leagues. Two of our middle schoolers played this Monday.
And two MSA high schoolers played Tuesday. All three teams won their matches in straight sets!


High School students have enjoyed spending their free time this week brushing up on their vocabulary and spelling by playing the game Bananagrams. See this album for more Bananagrams photos.
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School Portraits and Peace Garden Nature

School portraits were taken this week by the Peace Garden, and the environment surrounding them was calming and beautiful. Make-up shots will be held this week as the weather allows -- please let your teacher know if your child needs to take a make-up shot or schedule a reshoot. Please enjoy these nature shots in and around the garden last week.
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Nurse's Notes

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. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC recommend the flu vaccine. I am sharing two links from Kids Health and the CDC regarding the 2019-2020 flu vaccine; it may answer many of your questions. You should get a flu vaccine before flu begins spreading in your community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against the 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.

10 ways to stay healthy during cold and flu season:

The best way to combat the flu this season is through preventive measures.

Getting the flu vaccine is your best defense, but you may also use the following 10 tips to fight the flu this year:

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, being with ill people and especially before you eat
  • 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, avoid contact with the frail, very young and elderly
  • If you are sick, stay home from work or school

With healthy regards,

Susanna Merriman, RN

Alumni Catch-Up: Anna (Riester) Reardon

Anna (Riester) Reardon “graduated” from MSA after having spent 10 years in our program, from age 2 – 6th grade. She is currently an RN Case Manager with Interim of the Upstate. Anna has one son, Edward, a two-year-old in our Toddler program.

One of her favorite memories includes learning to knit in Mrs. Hopkins’ class which she still enjoys to this day. Although this area is now “off limits” to our students, Anna has happy recollections going down to “dead man’s pit” near the creek behind the school. You mention Camp Lou Ann, Barrier Island, zero food waste, Mrs. Yon and the chicken-hatching incubator, and playing Helena in Ms. Duart’s production of “A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream” and she still smiles thinking about them. One that she can laugh at now is “having to rinse my mouth with water and spitting it into the sink for biting another student (the same sink my child is currently using).” She has many wonderful memories of her dad working tirelessly around the school designing buildings, volunteering on the board, and building one of the porches off the Infant/Toddler program.

Advice to other MSA students? “If you need help, ask. The Montessori way encourages independence. I remember a time when a teacher was unable to help me understand a concept but had another student explain it to me. It worked!”

Advice to families and faculty? Communicate frequently with each other about concerns.

Final thought? “Montessori has a wonderful program. I am still friends with many of my former classmates to this day. The skills I learned at Montessori have helped me be independent in my job and be responsible for all of the work I complete.”

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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.