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CMA MARCH 2015 NEWSLETTER
Mission
The Colorado Montessori Association is a powerful voice for Montessori advocacy providing a forum for networking and professional growth in the Montessori community. It is a highly functioning, evolving professional organization, unified in its vision, respectful, purposeful and inclusive.

Teaching with Spirit

Maria Montessori's Cosmic Vision
By Seth Webb

One of the great pleasures of being a Montessori educator is the opportunity for reflection and renewal that is made possible by the work we do. Recently I had no less than a spiritual awakening when considering our craft. 

An elder Quaker friend of mine was speaking of the importance of discernment when attempting to move forward when challenged; that is, letting go of our own preoccupations so to let the Divine inspire our actions. Through this process, one winnows the desires, thoughts, and personal attachments that might otherwise cloud guidance from Spirit. 

It struck me profoundly that this is what we attempt to do in a Montessori environment: prepare ourselves to be open to receive the Light of each child. 

In our schools we approach children with unprejudiced hearts – so to be led by them. I wonder, however, if we have missed the full import of what Montessori was intending. What if Montessori’s vision was much more profound?   What if her instruction to “follow the child” was to mean something far greater than a technical approach for working with children?

What if it implies that the act of teaching must be transformed so to allow for the conscious caretaking of the Spirit within the children we serve? 
 *                       *                      *                    *                       *

Montessorians often use the term spirit to describe the indescribable, that part of a child that is unique and original and ever-unfolding. Given the weight of the term, such talk is usually couched as a holistic view of the child – one that encapsulates cognitive, social, emotional and physical development - yet that remains special to each individual. In that manner, we commonly talk of the children as spiritual beings, eager for learning and attachment. 

I contend that there is much more that we can do. I believe that when Montessori spoke of preparing the classroom, she meant laying the temple bare for worship. When she wrote of preparing the teacher, it was much more than good eating and sleeping habits, and time for oneself so that one could be present for others. 

Rather, it was something much more profound. At the core, she asks us to enter into a pattern of discernment, separating our wants and needs and desires, our fears and preoccupations and external directives, so to illuminate the Light of the child. When Montessori tells us to "follow the child" it is akin to reminding us to let the Divine show us the way. 

• When we speak of preparing the teacher, we are preparing ourselves as mindful tenders of the Light.

• When we speak of preparing the environment, we are preparing the cathedral to receive the worship that is the work we do together. 

• Guiding becomes stewardship.

• Manipulatives become meditations.

• The flow-state that a child reaches with her work is evidence of a complete unification between oneself and Spirit. 

What if we were to re-frame our practice as a spiritual one? Can we find that center – beyond curriculum alone - to the root of Montessori’s cosmic vision? What if we were to shift our mandate to one of tending to the Light that is within each child? If we could create an opening for such spiritual transformation, imagine what would be possible.

There is nothing more important than to be present for the children in our care. We are the stewards of their Light.

 
Article Submitted by: Seth Webb, Free Horizon Montessori  

VIDEO: Sheila Wolfe's Presentation on Assessments in the Montessori Classroom

Please click here to watch Sheila Wolfe's video presentation at the CMA Director's Network Meeting in January. Sheila Wolfe is the Curriculum Director and Child Care Director at DCS Montessori Charter School in Castle Pines, CO.
Password to watch the video is CMAJAN2015.

Letter from the President

Bright, curious children are a national and world resource.  They need to be cared for, cherished, and encouraged.  But mere encouragement isn’t enough. We must also give the essential tools to think with.
                       
-Carl Sagan  The Demon-Haunted World
 
Educators walk amongst the bright and curious children. We are some of those who  care for them and know we have found ways to make our caring impactful and real.  We are Montessori educators.  We value the questions of children who have not, as Carl Sagan writes, ever even heard of “dumb questions.” 
 
Yes these bright and curious children are being asked dumb questions themselves, and we, who value their curiosity, are tasked with asking those dumb questions, or at least asking them in a dumb way.   On behalf of agencies who want proof of learning, we have been asked to administer tests to these curious children, robbing them of time to explore, question, probe, repeat, name, and wonder about the world surrounding them.
 
CMA exists to support and give a platform for Montessori educators in the state of Colorado. Montessori exists to support children here and beyond.  Don’t forget the children – bright eyed and curious. 

-Kathryn Ross
President
Colorado Montessori Association
UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS:
 
Assessment Meeting at DMHS
 
CMA Public School Assessment Committee Meeting
What:       Assessment Committee Meeting
When:      Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015, 4-6:00 pm
Where:     Denver Montessori Junior/Senior High School
Phone:     720-424-2600


CMA Directors' Network Meetings
 
March CMA Director's Network Meeting
What:       Directors' Network Meeting
Speaker:  Heather from CDHS
When:      Thursday, March 19th, 2015, 1:00-3:00 pm
Where:    Montessori School of Evergreen
Phone:    303-674-0093
Topic:      TQRIS
Come and join other Montessori Heads of School as we network, discuss relevant issues and support one another in leading our schools.  Don't miss it!
CMA Director's Network Meeting Calendar
Click here for a copy of the 2014-2015 calendar for CMA's Director's Network Meetings.


Save the Dates!
 
Colorado Collaboration
What:    Collaboration between the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector & Montessori Education Center of the Rockies
When:         Friday and Saturday, April 10-11, 2015
Where:        Montessori Education Center of the Rockies
 
What:    A meet-up to build community, share successes and challenges, and strategize on expanding Montessori education for all children. Please click here for further details.
Sponsor: Westminster College Institute for Montessori Innovation, The National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector and Montessori for Social Justice
When:        June 26-27th, 2015
Where:       Westminster College, Salt Lake City, UT
Contact:     Nancy Lindeman at nolindeman@gmail.com or Kacee Weaver at                                 KWeaver@mariamontessoriacademy.org
 
"Montessori in the Mountains"
Conference Retreat

September 25-27, 2015
YMCA Conference Center and Resort, Estes Park, CO
Registration brochure is online at www.mecr.edu. Click on RETREAT tab.

Join Montessori teachers and administrators from Colorado and beyond for a stimulating fall weekend of professional development and personal renewal in a beautiful mountain environment. CMA will host the Welcome Reception from 7-9:00 pm on Thursday, September 24th.
  • More than 70 workshops and panel discussions.
  • Noted presenters will include: Jennifer Morgan, Louise Chawla, Betsy Coe, Marta Donohoe, Judi Bauerlein, Susan Tracy McDaniel, Tanaya Winder, and Frank Leto, as well as local favorites: Dee Coulter, Alice Renton, Donohue Shortridge, Betsy Hoke, Kathryn Ross, Sonnie McFarland, and Betsy Lockhart. 
  • Sessions for Infant through Secondary levels.
  • Up to 15 hours credit for professional development.
  • Exhibit Hall (Alison's, ETC, Laughing Star, Great Extensions, Bluestem, Big Picture Science, Montessori Foundation, and more!)
  • Schools Showcase
  • Receptions and Dinners
  • Music, Yoga, and and Dance
Register before May 24 for Early Bird rates and the best choice of workshops. 

TEACHER TIP

Mid-Year Refueling

By Rachel Averch

The statistics speak for themselves. With estimates varying between 20 and 30% attrition of first year teachers, teaching can challenge us to really question our commitment from time to time. And, let's admit it, at the end of February, after several snow storms and with no end to the days spent trapped indoors in sight, teaching is not always easy, especially with some of our restless cabin-fever infected students.

So, how do we avoid becoming a part of the statistics?  For those that are dedicated to sticking with teaching through thick and thin, we exercise the wisdom to care for ourselves and refuel with the same kind of care and compassion that we give to our students. For everyone, this looks different of course. But, here are some suggestions that have worked like a charm for me over the years: 

  1. Get outside. You likely need exposure to some sunshine as much as your students do! In addition to benefits like the absorption of needed vitamin D, sun exposure enhances your mood and energy through the release of endorphins.
  2. Get enough sleep. Having sufficient sleep helps you improve your memory, maintain a healthy weight, live longer, increase creativity and (yes!) decrease stress and avoid depression.
  3. Eat well! Eat foods that feed your cells - whole foods instead of processed foods are best. The better you eat, the better your mood (and your overall health).
  4. Do things that are FUN for you. Whether it is at home, or in the classroom, be sure to build in activities that you love. If you love to knit, why not include knitting in your classroom works? If you are a passionate foodie, why not increase the amount of food preparation and cooking activities in your classroom. And, of course, do the same thing outside of the classroom. 
  5. Notice the positive. According to the Mayo clinic, positive thinking may have several health benefits, including lower rates of depression and distress and better coping skills during hardships and times of stress (in addition to better psychological and physical well-being). Do you find yourself complaining about things? Reframe it and make a practice of noticing and putting your attention into the daily observations that fill you up and make you joyful.
  6. Get present. Get out of your head! Take a deep breath, feel your body, notice everything that your senses are picking up on. Really see your environment, your students, and experience each moment fully. Real life is rarely as hard as your mind can make you believe it is, and quite frankly it is all there really is, so be present to the gift of every moment of your life.
  7. Practice Gratitude. Putting your attention on what you want and feeling grateful for it makes all the difference in your classroom with your children, and it will make all the difference for you too. Seeing the beauty and possibility in everything will draw those things into your life and make the people around you start noticing things that they are grateful for too.
  8. Be gentle with yourself. When things don't go according to plan, or you are feeling like you aren't measuring up, think of yourself the same way that you would a child in your class and speak to yourself in the same way. How many times do we talk to ourselves in a way that we would never talk to someone else? Knock it off and give yourself the love, support and forgiveness that you give your students.
  9. Remember your why. For me my why is the way that a child lights up when the sudden understanding of a new concept comes over them. It is the chance to bring about world peace through educating children. It is being able to witness the growth and development of all of these unique and beautiful people. What is your why? Write it down and keep it close at hand to remind yourself when you lose resolve.
  10. Laugh and be playful. Just because we are adults, doesn't mean we always have to be serious. There is a time and a place for that, of course, but hopefully there aren't too many times and places for it because that is no fun whatsoever. Giggle with the children and with your co-workers! Build snowmen or swing on the swings. Whatever it is, join in on the fun.
The work that you do each day as a Montessori teacher is a gift to each child in your care as well as a gift to the world. Thank you for your commitment to your work and for the difference that you make each and every day!

Article Submitted By: Rachel Averch, Montessori Children's House of Denver

 

RAISING CARING CHILDREN

 
Creating Community through Family Involvement
Contributed by: Gina Abegg
thecompassionateway@comcast.net www.compassionateway.net
 
Because presentation of formal materials requires specific training, some schools resist including family involvement in the school. Family participation is good for many things including building a strong relationship with parents, stabilizing enrollment because they see all that is going on, and supporting children in their learning.  But, the most important reason is the creation a caring community.

Some schools do have special trainings for parents wanting to learn how to give lessons according to the Montessori principles. These parents,
 
who make a regular commitment, are instrumental in supporting children with the intensive lessons such a sounds, sandpaper letters and reading. MAC recruits a “Circle” of parents to read stories and to cook with children. Parker Montessori has an active group of parents who help with gardening tasks. 

Family surveys are helpful to not only find out what classroom and all-school projects families can support, but also what special interests, cultural celebrations, travels, and skills families can share with children. A school-wide “talent bank” makes it easier to include family involvement when it fits with a cultural theme, such as a holiday or study of a continent. It is important to also include extended family members, nannies and community members.

Many schools invite family sharing of “celebrations of light” representing many different cultures during November and December, but it is important to keep this door open through the year. Adventure Montessori studies a continent a month and invites families in to share food the children have made and learn about their studies. MCHD has an International Day in October where each class learns about a different culture and shares a dance or song representing it, and families bring in food from around the world.  Adventure Montessori invites families to celebrate Montessori’s birthday with the children. The older children tell stories of her life and everyone shares a huge cake. Families in many schools are invited to share seasonal celebrations such as International Day of Peace, Earth Day, and growing and graduation celebrations.

Community outreach is also a great way to involve families, who can help children to gather food or clothing as well as go along with their children to deliver items to the charity. Holiday parties and field trips are also opportunities for participation. Having family celebrations in the evenings or on a weekend is recommended for schools with a large populations of working families.

Gratitude is naturally taught when children are given the opportunity to show appreciation to parents and others who participate in the school. Parker Montessori has a regular work with cards ready to be completed whenever a kindness is given. Children’s Garden sends out valentines to all of the people who support the school. Many schools also have events like Volunteer Appreciation breakfasts, Mothers’ Day Teas, and Donuts for Dads, etc., where children prepare thank you gifts, decorations and food.

Article Submitted By: Gina Abegg, The Compassionate Way Consulting

Colorado Montessorians unite! Support Montessori advocacy in Colorado while also enjoying the benefits of networking, community forums and discounts on events, including great speakers like David Kahn, Jackie Cossentino, Tim Seldin and Phil Gang!  
 
Without members like you, CMA's work to ensure Montessori training for QRIS quality raters, advocacy for testing options for public Montessori schools, and the passing of House Bill 1276 allowing breakable waivers for Montessori schools wouldn't be possible...
 
If you aren't already a member, click here to sign up now. 
ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Member Schools can now sport the CMA "Member Program" Logo on their websites!
If you are a CMA member school or organization in good standing, it’s worth sharing that information!   That you have chosen to partner with other Montessori programs in the state gives additional credibility to not only your school, but Montessori education in general.
 
You are invited to add this “CMA Member Program” logo to your website, or use it in print publications.  We ask that you complete a “CMA Logo Use Application Form”, and send a signed copy to CMA via email to: coloradomontessoriassociation@gmail.com. Upon receipt of a signed agreement, we will respond to your email with a digital version of the program member logo shown below for your use.  
 
JOB POSTINGS
DIRECTOR POSITIONS
Campus Director 
Montessori Children's House of Denver
Denver, CO

Position Description

MCHD is currently accepting applications from Montessori Certified Directors as it begins its search for a committed and passionate, collaborative Montessori leader to fulfill the role of Campus Director, taking over leadership at one of MCHD's Campuses as the current Campus Director prepares to retire. This role is supported by MCHD's collaborative administrative team which will be available to support the incoming Campus Director's transition into the MCHD community.

The Campus Director oversees all daily campus operations and leads their campus within the overall school community in the implementation of the Montessori Philosophy and MCHD's Vision Statement under the support and guidance of the Executive Director.


Position Requirements

Director's Qualifications and Montessori Certification through a MACTE accredited teacher training program. 

BA and 2 or more years of lead teaching experience preferred. Click here for more information about the Montessori Children's House of Denver.
 
Start Date: July 2015
 
Contact
Please email or fax resume to Attn: Michelle O'Donoghue, Executive Director. 
Email: excdirector@mchdenver.org Fax: 303-355-8629  Phone: 303-322-8324 x 121



 
LEAD MONTESSORI CERTIFIED TEACHER POSITIONS
Lead Teacher in a Preschool Classroom
Mt. Sopris Montessori School
Carbondale, CO

Position Description

Mt. Sopris Montessori School is currently accepting applications for a Preschool Lead Teacher position for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years. Founded in 1981 by Mark and Kathryn Ross, the school enjoys a sterling reputation in the community and wants to hire a teacher who will help to preserve and protect this legacy. Carbondale is a small community, approximately 6,000 people, located between Glenwood Springs and Aspen. There are incredible opportunities to recreate in some of the most spectacular outdoor setting in Colorado. Our proximity to Aspen offers cultural and intellectual enrichment of world class quality. The valley has a public transportation system that allows easy access to most of these venues. Benefits include: 22 paid holidays, 10 days of personal leave, wellness benefits, up to 3% matching for an IRA, paid professional development, attendance at national AMS conference, and reduced tuition for dependents.

Position Requirements
Montessori credentials from an accredited Montessori Training site. An AA or Bachelor's degree in a field related to Child Development or Education is preferred, but not necessary. 
 
Start Date: August 17, 2015
End Date: May 27, 2017
8-week Summer Session optional
 
Contact
Please email or call Patricia Waddick, Director  
Email: pat@mtsoprismontessori.org 
Phone: 970-963-3506
Mt. Sopris Montessori School
879 Euclid Avenue
Carbondale, CO 81623

Now Hiring Teachers
Bright Horizons
Various Locations around Colorado

 

Position Description
Bright Horizons is currently hiring Infant/Toddler Teachers, Preschool/Prekindergarten Teachers, and Substitute Teacher positions. Bright Horizons is a Fortune 100 "Best Company to Work For" and Denver Post "Great Place to Work 2014."

Position Requirements
Please visit www.brighthorizons.com/careers to complete an online application and click here for the flyer with further details on their $400 Sign On Bonus.
 
Contact
Please contact Cara Tudor, Recruiter
Email: cara.tudor@brighthorizons.com 
Phone/text: 303-242-1918
***************************************************************************************************************
If you have a position that you would like to see posted in the CMA newsletter, please contact us with your position information at:

coloradomontessoriassociation@gmail.com 


Cost:  $35.00 per month for Member Schools, $75.00 per month for Non-Member Schools. 

Position posting deadline is the 3rd Friday of each month for the coming month's newsletter.

To become a CMA member school, click here.
CMA NEEDS YOU!
 
Get Involved with CMA... 
Articles & Images Needed - Submission deadline: the 3rd Friday of each month.
  • Are you a published author or photographer? Would you like to be? Submit your original work to CMA by the 3rd Friday of each month with the possibility of having your photographs and/or article selected for one of the future newsletters. Submit photographs and articles for consideration to CMA at coloradomontessoriassociation@gmail.com with a copy of your article and some details about yourself. (CMA reserves the right to edit all material prior to publication). 
Be a member!
  • If you aren't already, sign up to become a member of the Colorado Montessori Association, by clicking here.  
  • If you are already a member, don't forget to renew your membership now!
POINTS OF INTEREST
 
Sorting Snowballs
From Pinterest and Learning & Teaching Preschoolers
I love this landform booklet idea...

Trinomial with Equation
From Pinterest and Flickr
All About My Feelings: Identifying Emotions with Self Portraits from Still Playing School

Phases of the Moon
From Pinterest and Natural Beach Living
Clouds Classified by Altitude
 
SHARE YOUR PHOTOS, TEACHER TIPS, ARTICLES & NOTEWORTHY EVENTS!
Would you like to have an article you have written published, or do you have any great photos or noteworthy events that you would like to share in the CMA Newsletter?  If so, please e*mail CMA! The deadline for newsletter submitting is the 3rd Friday of each month for the coming month's newsletter.
CMA Board of Directors
 
Kathryn Ross - President
RB Fast - Vice President

Katy Myers - Treasurer
Rachel Averch - Secretary
Sheila Wolfe
Lyn Mead
Karen Farquharson
Jim Barrett
Martha Teien
Lionel Espanoza

March Board Meeting:

March 24, 2015 * 4:00-6:00 pm
50 S. Xavier Street  Denver, Colorado 80219


Contact us by e*mail
Join CMA Today!

Member Benefits:

  • Two program administrators are enrolled at no extra charge.
  • Lead teachers receive a $10 discount on membership.
  • Discounts on admission to CMA sponsored professional development events.
  • Featured on CMA website with a link to the school’s website.
  • $40 discount on job advertisements in the CMA newsletter.
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Edited by: Katie O'Neill