Cincinnati Montessori Society Logo
Online Newsletter Issue No. 3
December 2010
Message from the CMS President... 

Getting the Word Out - this has been the theme for the different projects CMS has been working on this fall.
At the Beech Acres/For the Love of Kids Parenting Seminar, we introduced Montessori education to many families, discussed the philosophy and pointed out Montessori schools in their neighborhood.  It was great to meet past and present Montessori families and hear their success stories!  We look forward to going back in December (see their schedule for all their classes and events at

The same opportunity was had at our booth at the Education and Enrichment Fair where many parents were specifically looking for schools and educational activities for their children.

Plus, we had the privilege of speaking at 4C for Children to a group of child care providers about Montessori Sensorial and Math philosophy (visit for their schedule of classes and events).

The CMS School Directory is on the way to the printer and will be mailed to member schools and available for viewing on our website.  If you would like to request a hard copy, please email your name and mailing address to CMS.

In the meantime, plans for the CMS Spring Conference with Alfie Kohn continue to move forward. Thank you to everyone who sent in your conference proposals - what a talented and diverse group we are working with!  Please mark Saturday, March 12th, 2011 on your calendars and invite your friends. There will also be workshops available for parents so be sure to spread the word within your school community! 

Our goal of each and every venture is to get the word out - to introduce Montessori education to families and educators in the hopes of bringing the philosophy to everyone!

See you at the CMS Spring Conference!

Warm regards,
Jill Wilson
Teacher's Section:
A December Tradition

As we approach the holiday season, I find myself overwhelmingly excited for what has become a December tradition in my 6-9 community. My 2nd and 3rd level students have already started telling my 1st levels that December is so fun, "but you'll have to wait and see" (always followed with a little, all-knowing smile). So what is this tradition that has us all ready for December 1st? Reading books.

It began my first year of teaching. As my co-workers were collecting their books about holidays; Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, etc., stories about gingerbread men and gift giving, I found myself with a bit of a dilemma. I had a student who didn't celebrate any holidays. I wanted to show this student the respect he deserved, but I didn't want to short my other students on traditional December stories that they had, most likely, come to expect.

My favorite Christmas story, hands down, is The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. I knew I would read that story to the children to share my love of this story of hope, love, and the importance of believing in what makes you happy. Then it hit me - why not use the month of December to have an author study? And so the tradition began. I stocked the special book baskets on the top of my bookshelves with holiday books and traditional stories, but created an author's corner in my language area full of the books by Chris Van Allsburg.

Chris Van Allsburg was raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, moving from one neighborhood to the next before settling with his family in a neighborhood that is reflected in The Polar Express illustrations. Van Allsburg wrote his first book, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi in 1979. He used his background in art, his major in college, to illustrate his story. The story went on to win the Caldecott Honor Medal in 1980.

Since The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, Van Allsburg has written 15 books and illustrated 3 books written by Mark Helprin. Other awards Van Allsburg has received include two Caldecott Medals for The Polar Express and Jumanji, the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi and The Boston Globe Honor for The Polar Express and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. In 1982, Van Allsburg's book Jumanji was awarded the National Book Award and was later turned into a feature film, as was his book Zathura. Chris Van Allsburg has been honored with the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in children's literature.

While I find Van Allsburg's stories to be wonderfully entertaining, witty, creative, and smart, I have met with opposition from my peers throughout the years. Some have merely said they are "dark" or "weird" so I was curious to see how my students would react. I started that first year with Van Allsburg's beginning, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi in which a small boy follows his neighbor's dog into the forbidden garden of Gasazi. The boy is led to believe that the dog has been turned into a duck as a consequence for entering the garden. He must go home to share the bad news with his neighbor. When he returns to the house, he finds the dog happily at home with his neighbor; leaving us questioning what really happened in that garden.

Even with the typical unanswered questions that Van Allsburg is known for, my students loved the story! It was a huge success. Each day thereafter, I'd read another story and lead another discussion of what we think was happening, trying to solve the mysteries, and how the story made us feel. I hadn't seen my students involved in stories the way they were with these. I knew then that I had fallen onto something good. As we worked our way through the month of December, one book after the other, I observed my students reading the books during silent reading, ones we had already read as a whole group, time and time again.

On the last day of school before winter break, we finally read The Polar Express. Yes, it was a holiday book, but just as I have always loved the book for its hope, love, and pointing out the importance of believing in something good, I encouraged the students to think about all of the different things the story made them think about. In honor of hope, when we finished the story I handed out "sleigh bells" to all of my students, encouraging them to ring their bell when they needed to believe in anything good.

So now, as another December approaches, I have collected my Chris Van Allsburg books and started preparing for my author's corner. My 2nd and 3rd levels, I'm sure, will continue to be sly and all-knowing to spark the interest of my 1st levels and on December 1st, we'll gather together and open our imaginations to The Garden of Abdul Gasazi and everything thereafter.
Chris Van Allsburg Books-
The Garden of Abdul Gasazi
Bad Day at Riverbend
Ben's Dream
Just a Dream
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick
The Polar Express
The Stranger
The Sweetest Fig
Two Bad Ants
The Widow's Broom
The Wreck of the Zephyr
The Wretched Stone
The Z Was Zapped
A City of Winter, Swan Lake, The Veil of Snows (by Mark Helprin, Illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg)

-Sarah Fullen, 6-9 teacher at Sands Montessori
School Happenings:
The Transition from The Discovery Center to Community Montessori School

After 28 years, The Discovery Center on Cincinnati-Dayton Road in West Chester closed its doors. Jamie Minniear had always wanted her own Montessori school and didn't hesitate to take the chance. Now the new owner, she has renamed the school Community Montessori School.

Community Montessori School is housed in the second oldest building in West Chester. Even though documentation is uncertain, records show that it goes back to 1830. The building was originally a tavern-stop along the road between Cincinnati and Dayton.

Community Montessori School opened for the 2010-2011 school to serve students age three to six.  West Chester native and owner, Minniear, saw the opportunity to make Montessori education more affordable and accessible to the community.  She opened the school because she has feels "there's nothing more fulfilling than seeing a child learn and develop a love for learning."  The school's mission is "to provide quality Montessori education in an environment which fosters a child's love of learning and respect for self, others, community and the world."  Students will learn foundational academics, independence, cooperation and responsibility to school, family, themselves and their community at large.Community Montessori School

Community Montessori is a pre-primary preschool program, including kindergarten that serves children ages 3-6 years old. This school provides an enriching, age-appropriate and challenging learning environment with hands-on experiences.  Community Montessori values each student's development and keeps the student-teacher ratio low.  There will be no more than ten students per teacher and each child will have a working one-on-one relationship every other day with a teacher. This school is a place where children have the freedom to learn about themselves and others. Minnear is an advocate for children and passionate about the power of Montessori education. She honors the Montessori beliefs and has a heart for teaching parents about the wonderful philosophy of Maria Montessori.

Maria Montessori believed children were born to learn and Community Montessori provides an environment for children to progress intellectually while also learning important social skills.  Jamie Minniear notes that she has seen her own children develop a strong sense of self and respect for others through a Montessori education.

With more than a decade of teaching experience, Minniear holds an Elementary Education degree from the University of Cincinnati and Montessori Certification from the Greater Cincinnati Center for Montessori Education.  Community Montessori is unique in that it has all Montessori-trained teachers with its 16 current students and is looking forward to opening an afternoon class in January 2011.  They are accepting children who turn three, regardless of birthday.

Contact the school at  or visit
Community Montessori School offers:
  • Parent education nights to help parents learn more about the Montessori philosophy
  • Summer camp, which offers partly a Montessori experience as well as outside time with water play and themed activities each week
  • Half-day programs morning and afternoon
  • Field trips to Gorman Farm and The Children's Theatre
  • Music outreach, water/soil conservation visits, Little Gym and visits from the West Chester Fire Department (with fire truck tours)
-Dee Butler
Good at Baking, Loving You, and Being Patient: The Qualities of a Montessori Teacher According to Children
In Education for Human Development: Understanding Montessori, Mario Montessori Jr. stated this about the sensitive periods for children:

"The process of growth, maturation, and individuation potentialities, is slow.  These potentialities must be adapted and internalized in accordance with the developmental pattern typical of human species.  This cannot be achieved without the help of adults, help which is only available if love is the binding force in their relationship with the child." (p. 13)

Maria Montessori found that children go through sensitive periods of growth and, within these stages; adults are able to foster children's development in an environment of freedom within limits.  That said, there is a delicate balance between teacher, student, and environment.

I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at the thoughts of children in a Montessori classroom.  What would children who range in age from 3 to 15 say are the most important qualities of a Montessori teacher?  So, I asked them.  And when I read over their lighthearted, thought-provoking, honest answers, I was reminded of the importance of each stage of learning and how critical it is that, as Montessori teachers, we continue to foster children's developmental needs through our classroom guidance.  It also helped me reflect on how we teachers are also different and unique.  Within our own teaching environments we are still able to bring out our own personal talents.
The following list, made up of answers actual Montessori students, is not in any rank or order.  They are for you to read and reflect on in your own classroom environments. Enjoy!

The Most Important Qualities of a Montessori Teacher

From students in the 3-6 classroom:
  • Great at making rules and holding meetings
  • Being good to their students and help[ing] the children
  • Teaching lessons that are right and putting out nice works
  • Loving you and liking their students
  • Good at singing and being a good baker
  • Being strong and healthy, giving, patient, kind, nice, and happy 
From students in the 6-9 classroom:
(Sensitive Period - Cosmic exploration of the world through imagination and story)
  • Being nice, kind, helpful, patient, responsible, and having a positive attitude
  • Letting the children learn in different ways, having faith in the children, believing in them
  • Helping solve problems and understanding children
  • Good planning and organizational skills
  • Good math and reading skills
  • Needs to know cultures around the world
From students in the 9-12 classroom:
(Sensitive Period - The continuation of imagination and social growth)
  • Helps you if you are stuck on a work and makes time for individual help
  • Follows Maria Montessori's "rules" for teaching
  • The don't give up in trying to help you and they care about each and every student
  • Teach life skills, fair when disciplining, and understanding of children's issues
  • They let you sit on the floor or walk around
  • Teach children at their own pace and give individual attention
  • Allow freedom and flexibility
  • Nice, understanding, sense of humor, supportive, caring, and able to multitask
From students in the 13-15 classroom:
(Sensitive Period - The need to construct himself as a social being)
  • Ability to connect with students individually
  • Patient and a good sense of humor
  • Ability to connect with the whole class
  • Makes learning fun 
Montessori, M. M. Jr (1977). Education for Human Development: Understanding Montessori (pg. 13). New York: Schocken Books.
Suggested Reading
Chattin-McNichols, J. (1992). The Montessori Contraversy. New York: Delmar Publishers.

- Heidi Larson, chair of the Teachers Section of the AMS Board of Directors and an AMS-credentialed teacher (Elementary I) at Mercy Montessori Center (article reprinted with permission)
4C for Children:
A Resource for Parents, for Children and for Teachers!

Are you a new or seasoned director in need of help with professional development planning for you and your staff? A teacher or administrator designing a curriculum that begins with providing rich learning experiences for the children in your care? Or perhaps a parent in need of child care, looking for assistance in finding the best possible option for you and your child?

4C for Children is the hub of information on early care and education programs and the largest provider of training and technical assistance for early childhood care-givers and teachers in the Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and Miami Valley regions. Our daily work is driven by the belief that childhood is a unique and valuable time, and that all children deserve a nurturing, safe and stimulating environment!

Parents rely on 4C for assistance in finding child care and financial assistance for child care, as well as information on identifying quality programs. 4C educates parents about the critical importance of the early months and years of life, and empowers them to make the best care and education choices for their children.

For early childhood professionals we offer more than 1,000 professional development trainings each year with topics as varied as responsive care-giving, challenging behaviors, curriculum and lesson planning, professionalism, early language development and more. Our trainings accommodate teachers and administrators working with children of all ages, from infants and toddlers through school-age children. 4C is also a sponsor of the Child and Adult Care Food Program, reimbursing providers for offering healthy meals and snacks to the children in their care.

4C for Children is the region's leading resource in early education and care. Whether you're looking for help achieving a star rating through Step Up To Quality or STARS for KIDS NOW or for basic training in CPR, First Aid or child development, contact 4C for Children at 513-221-0033. Or visit our Web site at
-Jillian Kuhlmann, 4C Communications Specialist

CMS LogoAs you know, the Cincinnati Montessori Society is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring together parents, teachers and schools in order to promote and support the Montessori philosophy. It is governed by a volunteer board of trustees of Montessori parents, teachers, students, administrators and others interested in supporting Montessori education. If you are interested in serving on the board or have talents to share, please email your name and contact info to our nominations committee at

Each year, as we vote in new board members, we examine how we are serving our customers and what else we can do to support and promote Montessori Education in Cincinnati. Your feedback is very  important to us - comments, compliments and critiques!
  • What do you like and/or dislike about our service?
  • What ideas do you have to make our organization better?
  • What areas do you think are important for CMS get involved in?
Please send us your thoughts at
In This Issue
Teacher's Section: A December Tradition
School Happenings:The Transition from The Discovery Center to Community Montessori School
Good at Baking, Loving You, and Being Patient
4C for Children: A Resource for Parents, for Children, and for Teachers
NKMC's Inaugural Elementary Program
Calendar of Events
The New School Montessori's 40th Anniversary
Executive Board Members

Jill Wilson
Vice President
Teresa Dugan
Susan Flaspohler
Membership Secretary
Meri Fox
Recording Secretary
Sarah Fullen

The Cincinnati  Montessori Society is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring together parents, teachers, and schools in order to promote and support the Montessori philosophy.  It is governed by a volunteer board of trustees, comprised of Montessori parents, teachers, students, administrators and others interested in supporting this method of education.

Save the Date
March 12th, 2011-
CMS Spring Conference!

The Cincinnati Montessori Society will be holding their annual conference on March 12, 2011 at Xavier University Cintas Center, featuring Alfie Kohn as the keynote speaker.  Kohn speaks throughout the country on human behavior, education, and parenting and is the author of eleven books. Time magazine describes him as "perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades [and] test scores."  To learn more about Alfie Kohn, visit his website.

For up to date information regarding the CMS spring conference, check the CMS website often.
NKMC's Inaugural Elementary Program to begin in 2011

Northern Kentucky Montessori Center (NKMC) will inaugurate their lower elementary program in 2011.  The program (Northern Kentucky Montessori Academy) will be incorporated into their current location for its first year, while the Board of Directors continues the strategic planning process for a new facility.

Founded in 1967, NKMC has operated as a non-profit, child-care facility for over 40 years, but began a serious plan of expansion in 2004.  Since then the program has grown from a half-day preschool, to a full-day child care facility with extended day options and summer camp programs.
Executive Director, Julia Preziosi, sees the present time as the perfect time for reaching out to those families who continue to be unhappy with their children's elementary education.  She cites the movie, "Waiting for Superman", as just one more indicator of how our current system of education is failing to prepare children for their future as tomorrow's leaders.
"I see this as the natural next step for our program", says Preziosi, "and we look forward to making this contribution towards strengthening the educational options in Northern Kentucky."

Anyone interested in the new NKMA program is invited to attend an Open House on Sunday, January 23 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.  The Open House will give parents an opportunity to gain an understanding of Montessori education, and the benefits of the method to their children.  Enrollment for the new lower elementary will be limited to children entering 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades, with preference given to those with some Montessori experience.
Now accepting
articles for the 
Spring Newsletter!

Send us your favorite
lesson plan, your thoughts
and/or experiences.
Email submissions by
February 25th to CMS.

Calendar of Events
Northern Kentucky
Montessori Center,
Lower Elementary Open House
2625 Anderson Road - Crescent Springs, KY 41017
January 23rd, 1pm-3pm
The New School Montessori,
Open House
3 Burton Woods Lane - Cincinnati, Ohio 45229
January 30th, 2pm-4pm

CMS Annual Spring Conference
March 12th, 2011
Xavier Cintas Center
Featuring Alfie Kohn as the keynote speaker. Kohn speaks throughout the country on human behavior, education, and parenting and is the author of eleven books. Time magazine describes him as "perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades [and] test scores." To learn more about Alfie Kohn, visit his website.

AMS Annual National Conference
Chicago, Ill
March 24th-27th
For more info, go to

*Submit your event here.
The New School Montessori's 40th Anniversary
The New School Montessori celebrated its 40th Anniversary this October with over 150 alumni returning to enjoy the weekend's activities with current families and staff. The reunion was filled with opportunities for reminiscing, touring the campus, experiencing our city and its river in an amphibious boat and enjoying our outdoor Harvest Moon Festival. Face painters created masterpieces of princess tiaras, butterfly wings, and bunny whiskers on the rosy-cheeked canvases of TNSM students.

There to capture the spirit of the weekend and to interview its earliest pioneers was documentary filmmaker and current TNSM parent Andrea Torrice and her production team. It is inspiring to see how the school was created from a simple holistic vision that has continued these 40 years. We look forward to serving both TNSM's 150 students and our neighborhood community long into the future as a Montessori school known for innovation, peace education and dual accreditation.

We welcome you to call 513-281-7999 to plan a visit, or feel free to attend our upcoming Open House on Sunday, January 30 from 2:00-4:00PM.

-Ann Baumgardner
Positions Available

Northern Kentucky Montessori Center is Seeking a Lower Elementary Teacher.

Northern Kentucky Montessori Center is seeking an innovative, forward-thinking Montessorian to assist in the planning and implementation of a new Lower Elementary program for the fall of 2011. Candidates need a graduate degree in Montessori education from an accredited Montessori teacher education program, with 6 to 9 certification. The ideal candidate will be an enthusiastic, team-player with excellent tech skills. Applicants must be highly committed to the Montessori philosophy.

NKMC was founded in 1967 as a private, non-profit preschool and child care center. Over 98% of our enrollment occurs through personal referral. We are dedicated to our children, our families and the Montessori profession. If you are seeking a home for your professional passion, that you will find personally challenging and satisfying, please send your resume to Julia Preziosi, via e-mail For more information about NKMC, visit their website at

For National Job listings - check the American Montessori Society website.

Newsletter Staff

Editor - Heather Gerker
Teacher's Section - Sarah Fullen
School Happenings - Dee Butler
Current Events - Julie Kugler-Ackley
Contributors- Ann Baumgardner, Tricia Grawe, Jillian Kuhlmann, Heidi Larson, Julia Preziosi and Jill Wilson
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