The Trillium

New & Events from Holy Trinity Montessori

January 2016

A Note from our Head of School

Dear HTM Families and Friends,

Happy New Year! I trust that you all had a great break and enjoyed some quality time with your families over the holidays. Now that school is back in session and we are all settling back into our routines, I am looking forward to an amazing 2nd semester at HTM. We have so many fun and wonderful reasons to be excited...beyond the projects, lessons, events, and other happenings around school, we are (finally!) going to be breaking ground at our new campus! I can hardly believe it!

As I communicated with you in my email update, our newly redesigned site plan offers us even more opportunities to spread out and fully embrace the natural beauty of our new property. I'm beyond excited to see this vision become a reality, but even more thrilled that we will soon be able to welcome to our community even more families who share the dream of a faith-based Montessori education for their children.

I'm more convinced than ever that God is the one leading us on this journey and that He cares about the details. Thank you for trusting in me through the challenges of the last few months and for offering encouragement, support, and enthusiasm throughout the process. It means the world to me, our staff, our board, and our project team.

With excitement and love,


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What's Happening on Campus?

Toddler Community

It is always a shock as to how big the children seem when they return from Christmas Break. It must be all the cookies, family time and PRESENTS! The children have settled back into their routine. This semester, our Toddler class has really dived into Practical Life activities. They take great responsibility and pride in keeping the classroom neat and clean. They wash windows, sweep crumbs, set tables, and pour their own milk/water. While these activities may seem like busy work, in actuality they have a great impact on the child’s development. Most importantly these tasks give the children a sense of accomplishment. They build the child’s confidence and instill a feeling of responsibility and belonging to a greater community.

These activities are easily replicated at home. You can put a basket of cleaning cloths and a spray bottle (5 Below sells nice small spray bottles) on a low shelf so your child can clean up spills. Place a small pitcher of milk on the table so your child can pour their own drink at meal times. With a little planning and preparation you can foster your child’s independence as well as check some chores off your to-do list!

- Heather Dennis

Primary A

Primary A has had a great start to our New Year! Everyone has come back excited about new lessons. I love this time of year because we get to see the growth that has happened with each child since August. It is always such a joy to see them mastering lessons that seemed so far from reach when they first began. We are excited to watch our three year-olds matching initial sounds and objects, new four year-olds who have recently started Golden Beads and blending words, and Kindergarten friends who are working on multiplication, nouns, articles and verbs.

Molly and I are truly blown away everyday by these sweet kids. They are each such a joy to have, and we look forward to the rest of the year.

- KaToya Jackson

Primary B

Our space may be small, but our work is not. Primary B friends are busy! We're busy with Gold Bead multiplication and addition, story writing, learning the names of different baby animals, learning names of so many different countries, the history of our American flag and so much more!

Two things that they're really loving right now are stitching work and hammering work. It always amazes me how these young friends can use a real hammer and nail with such care, and how beautiful a simple stitched heart can look when stitched by little hands.

We are looking forward to another great semester of caring for one another, big work, new lessons and we'll be crossing our fingers for some snow to play in!

-Priscilla Arjes

Lower Elementary

In Lower Elementary, each day is met with excitement to learn, new lessons and experiences, and a lot of opportunity to practice the social skills that the 6-9 year old child innately craves. As teachers in the Lower Elementary community, our roles involves preparing weekly lessons that spark the imagination of the children and leave them craving deeper work within the materials. Dr. Montessori believed that "our teaching must only answer the mental needs of the child, never dictate them." To honor this notion, we present lessons on various topics, provide follow-up materials and the children's interest guides them from there.

If you were to enter our classroom environment, you would notice not only Math and Language materials in use, but you may also see a sprinkling of research being done on subjects such as the Living World and Universe. Each week the students receive group lessons in these areas, and following the lesson, a material is placed on the shelf for further use and discovery. Most recently, we have discussed topics such as Vertebrates/Invertebrates, Parts of Plants (with seed planting for observation), The Formation of the Earth, Layers of the Earth, and Day/Night. The children love these lessons as they provide them with a deeper understanding and connection to the world around them!

- Cara Erbe

Upper Elementary

It has been an exciting couple of weeks in Upper Elementary! The children are working on many fascinating independent and group projects, and their work spans throughout all areas of the classroom.

In Science, our class is learning to use the scientific method in order to conduct their our own experiments. We've discovered so many things, such as why hot air rises, the differences between acids and bases, and how to characterize a chemical reaction; we have also been researching types of energy by studying the way a light bulb circuit works, creating sound waves, and making rainbows by separating white light with prisms.

In History we have been discussing Native Americans and the early United States settlements. Our students have brought these studies to life by presenting many plays to their classmates about Lewis and Clark's journey west, Sacajawea, and Benjamin Franklin. Another exciting highlight in our History studies was our visit to the Tennessee State Museum to see Native American artifacts.

In Language and Literacy, we've been reading and comparing classic stories, such as works by C.S. Lewis and Charles Dickens. Through these authors' talents, we have discovered many great writing techniques that we have been applying to our own writing; UE is now working on their own fictional stories and applying the use of foreshadowing, inferences, and creating imagery for their readers.

In our Geometry studies, we have become enchanted with the story of Eratosthenes, a mathematician who, through his knowledge of circles and angles, successfully measured the circumference of the Earth almost 2,000 years ago! We are measuring angles and circles and creating our own measurement tools, just like the mathematicians of the past.

What an amazing year it has already been in Upper Elementary!

- Jessica Polsteen


We are jumping into the musical "Swamped" with both feet now in music class! All of the children will be a part of the musical that we will be performing on the evening of May 5th and the day of May 6th (during Grandparents/Special Friends Day).

The children are very excited about the possibilities of what animals from the swamp they will be, so you may be hearing them discuss costume ideas with you at home soon! Our Upper Elementary students are "running the show" as far as set design, props, sound, lights, concessions (very important), ticket sales etc. are concerned. This 25-minute musical party features five original songs and easy-to-learn rhyming dialog with over 40 speaking parts. I'm sure you will be hearing more about it from your children as the weeks pass, but for now here is a brief description:

Swamped: A Musical About Friendship, Tolerance and Change by John Jacobson and John Higgins

The swamp is all a-buzz with party preparations galore! Naturally, the turtles are running late, and Bully the Frog is being a bully. The frogs have learned a new dance they want to share. The tadpoles are growing appendages (yikes!) and the dragonfly larvae need encouragement to spread their wings and fly. Lessons of friendship, tolerance, courage to face the future, and more, abound!

- Anadara Arnold

Calendar & Events


1/18 - School Closed: Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

1/22 - 6:30 PM "New Years Cheer" Ladies' Night at the Riley's home - to participate or for further details, please email

1/26-1/28 - Open House for parents and caregivers; dates and times vary by classroom; please see your child's teacher for further details


2/5 - Dad's Poker Night at the Riley's home; to participate or for more info, please email

2/12 - No classes; Parent/Teacher conferences throughout the day as scheduled; please see your child's teacher for further details

2/15 - No classes; Teacher In-service Day

2/19 - 6:30 PM Father/Daughter Sweetheart Dance (more info coming soon!)


3/10 - 2:00 PM dismissal, no aftercare

3/11-3/14 - School Closed: AMS Conference for Staff

3/21-3/25 - School Closed: Spring Break


4/15 - Mother/Son Event (details TBD)