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A second generation Montessori child nurturing her body and her spirit along with her mind.


"The more that gets involved - the body, the emotions, everything - changes the brain, nurtures the brain. The social nurtures the brain. The joy nurtures the brain. The physical activity nurtures the brain. And it also nurtures your physical health. You're going to be more physically healthy if you're socially connected, if you're physically fit, if you're using your mind actively."


- Adele Diamond

February 8th, 2015

In This Issue: 

  1. On Being an MJDS Parent: Turning Some Ideas on Their Head

  2. So ... What are Executive Functions?

  3. Great Work at MJDS

  4. Dr. Maria Montessori - An Extraordinary Woman

  5. MJDS Students Learn About the Brain and the Science of Sports

  6. Fun Jumping!

  7. A Beautiful Tu Bishvat Celebration

  8. MJDS Upcoming Events

On Being an MJDS Parent: Turning Some Ideas on Their Head


As an MJDS parent, you will be pleased to know that new findings about the brain are turning long-held ideas about education and life on their head - especially debunking the notion that the most efficient and effective strategy for advancing academic achievement is to focus on academics alone. We invite you to see this video and look for  the reference to Montessori at approximately 4 minutes 40 seconds.

Turning some ideas on their head | Adele Diamond | TEDxWestVancouverED
Turning some ideas on their head | Adele Diamond | TEDxWestVancouverED


One of the world's leading researchers in developmental science, Adele Diamond, (PhD, FRSC, Canada Research Chair Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia (UBC)   adele.diamond@ubc.ca) Some of our teachers had the pleasure of meeting Adele and hearing her speak about executive functions and how Montessori supports their development 


Here is why this is important:


Executive Function skills are proven to be

  • more important for school readiness than IQ or entry-level reading or math.
  • essential for school success throughout the school years.
  • critical for job success
  • important for marital harmony
  • critical for mental and physical health through out the life span.

Children, and adults with poor executive functions have difficulty making and keeping friends and being accepted by others. They often respond impulsively, have trouble resisting urges, and are forgetful; they don't wait their turn, forget the rules that all agreed to, etc.


In a large sample of 14,000, teens with poorer inhibitory control were found to be "exponentially more likely" to suffer from 9 of 10 adverse health conditions (e.g., high blood pressure, high cholesterol). 

A community lunch is a great time to exercise self-discipline and enjoy each other's company.

So ... What are Executive Functions?


Starting with our Toddlers, MJDS children are exercising the core Executive Functions on a daily basis. 


These are:

* Cognitive Flexibility(including being able to switch perspectives and see things in a new light)

* Inhibitory Control(which includes self-control & discipline)

* Working Memory


Through their own independent work all MJDS children are also developing their higher level Executive Functions:

* Problem-solving 

* Reasoning

* Planning


Research shows that the repetition of activities, multisensory materials, and the ability to make choices guided by a caring knowledgeable adult creates the perfect "recipe" for human brain development. 

Thus, at MJDS we are following a program that holds a proven place in creating neural pathways that facilitate cognitive development.

For additional information follow these links:

The Neurology of Montessori and How Important are the Montessori Materials?

As they work on the "Decanomial Square" these children are developing problem solving, planning, reasoning and team work skills. They are also learning high level math and enjoying themselves!

Great Work at MJDS


When the children set themselves huge projects, giant math problems or endless construction projects, we call it "Great Work". And these are definitely great division questions self-posed by the Upper Elementary students.  You can indeed "see" Executive Functions in action and enhanced by their pride and joy!  


Dr. Maria Montessori - An Extraordinary Woman


Maria Montessori was the first one to turn educational ideas on their head. Being a scientist before she was an educator, Dr. Montessori was a woman of vision. In her remarkable life she challenged convention to pioneer a radical new system of education; one which focused on the child as an independent, capable, willing learners.  We are very excited that this is now confirmed and affirmed by current brain research and invite you to learn more about this extraordinary woman here.

Extraordinary Women Ep13 Maria Montessori
Extraordinary Women - Maria Montessori

This child is honing his visual perception skills through the "Cylinder Blocks"

MJDS Students Learn About the Brain and the Science of Sports


 The oldest students in Kita Shalhevet and Rimon visited the new exhibitions "Brain, the Inside Story" and "AstraZenica Human Edge" at the Science Centre.


"Brain, the inside story" is amazing. Done in an artsy way, you enter the exhibition as if entering a cave of thousands of wires and connections... representing the brain! The different parts of the brain are explained and shown. You can even assemble a plastic brain.


In the AstraZenica Human Edge exhibition we saw a neat 45 minute presentation, "The science of Sports", about sports athletes, the body, performances etc... One of our students went on stage for an experiment with 2 children from other schools. She 'won' the contest on the spirometer (an apparatus for measuring the volume of air inspired and expired by the lungs).

Science Centre Picassa Album


We also admired the Rube Goldberg style installation, let the kids solve brain training string puzzles and we spent some time in the Space pavilion. The students also had a chance to go on a climbing wall and compete on a rowing machine.


These are definitely exhibitions to be seen by all adults if they are slightly interested in the human condition, and it finishes on March 29th! Our students enjoyed the experience as you can see here.


Click here to find out more about these exhibitions.

Fun Jumping!


In the spirit of our Year of Sports and Health, MJDS parents Jacinda and Stephen, owners of

 Just Bounce Trampoline Club, invited our students to experience the excitement of trampoline athletics. Students in Rimon, Shalhevet, Mazal, and Gefen had an incredible time getting active and learning trampoline moves such as star jumps, pike jumps, and motorcycle stop. The staff were knowledgeable and prepared for all levels of learning. Even the youngest students were able to safely enjoy the equipment. We are happy to share these picassa albums with you featuring our students in action. Thank you to the staff at Just Bounce for making our field trips great. Kita Magen David students are eagerly awaiting their turn next week.

Gefen Just Bounce Album
Shalhevet and Rimon Just Bounce Album
Check in next week for pictures of Mazal and Magen David classes.

Children see the beauty in the world around them and are drawn to recreating patterns with the "Colour Tablets"

A Beautiful Tu Bishvat Celebration

Tu Bishvat Celebration Album


MJDS gathered together to celebrate Tu Bishvat. Our Middle School student Maya and our Shinshinim 

Gal and Ishai led us in the traditional blessings. We all loved the songs presented by Kita Magen David students led by their teacher Alla and then had great fun with Israeli dancing. 


Celebrating holidays within a joyful community nurtures our children's brains and nourishes their spirit while fostering their love of Judaism. 



MJDS Upcoming Events

Thursday February 12 - Professional Development Day - School Closed
PD Day Camp Available - Pottery with Shayne and Susie
Registration due now!

February 13 - 16 - Mid-Winter Break/Family Day - School Closed


Sunday March 15 - Zimriyah - Adath Israel Congregation 2:30 pm performance