Wednesday Weekly
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January 23, 2013
Marie's Message    
Weekly news and notes from Head of School Marie Dugan 

 "The important thing is not to stop questioning." - Albert Einstein


Faculty News

Lead teachers are working together on a project called "Excellence in Montessori Education." The goal of this work is to clearly define the school's educational program, as part of the 2013-16 Strategic Plan. We are meeting after school every Tuesday until the completion of the Strategic Plan on March 13. The last three days of the process will include meetings with a facilitator from Independent School Management (ISM). This work is a self-study that includes the many strengths of our Montessori-based curriculum and planning for even more enrichment and continuing educational growth for our school. Some of the questions in the study include:    

What do we envision as our school goes into the future?

What are our strengths?

What would we change?

What's next with technology at our school?


Some of these questions and more will be included in an upcoming anonymous survey that will be sent to our parents and the entire WMS community. Look for it online in the next few weeks. I hope you will all take the time to respond; we want your input and involvement!


Happy Birthday, WMS!


We are planning an assembly next Thursday at 11:15 a.m. in the gym. Please join us as we gather in gratitude and joy to celebrate our 49th school birthday. Did you know a small group of parents founded our school? The first class had 11 children, and here we are with 232 this year, including 197 families!


WMS-PTO Websites


The recently updated PTO website looks fabulous, and now it can be accessed directly via the right column on the official WMS homepage!  Work continues to coordinate both websites - the WMS homepage for marketing and official school news and the PTO site for PTO news and information. Thanks to Kevin Kahn, parent and PTO member, and Noel Dietrich, Communications Officer, for their work on both sites (Kevin focusing on the PTO site and Noel on the official WMS site). Three cheers for both!

FAST logo
Important Reminder: Financial Aid Applications Due this Friday - January 25
2013-14 Financial Aid applications are being accepted online via the FAST (Financial Aid for School Tuition) program.

All financial aid applications for returning WMS families must be received by
January 25.  Financial Aid notifications for returning families will be made prior to the March 1 re-enrollment deadline.    

Because funds are limited and demand is high, late filing of materials OR failure to submit re-enrollment paperwork (available soon) before the March 1 deadline may result in non-renewal of financial assistance.


Learn more and apply at

Mark Your Calendars


24          WMS Basketball @ Centerville                           Bus leaves WMS at 3:15 p.m.

25          The Journey
              8:30 a.m. - noon 

              Financial aid applications due 
28          Montessori Monday - Admissions
              9:30 a.m., Meet in the lobby
              Tell a friend! 
              Learn more

31          WMS's 49th Birthday!
              All-school assembly at 11:15 a.m.
              in the gym, including a special 
              Parents are welcome! 
              PTO New Family Reception                               5:30-7 p.m.
              Meet school administrators, parent
              ambassadors & other families.
              Dinner will be served for children & hors
              d'oeuvres for adults. 
              RSVP to



1 & 4          Conferences

                  No school for preschool/elementary
                  students (classes open for toddlers)
                  Child care open.
                  Please register in advance. 

6 & 7          Class Pictures
                  Great Room

7                PTO Meeting
                  9 a.m. 
11              Montessori Monday - Admissions
                  Tell a friend! 
                  More on admissions events
15              All-Staff Professional Day
                  No school.
                  No child care.
18              Mid-Winter Break
                  No school.
                  Child care open.
                  Please register in advance.
22              Follow the Child program begins
                  9 a.m. 
7-9 children drew their interpretations of the Big Bang Theory and the beginnings of our solar system
7-9 Students Ponder Montessori's First Great Lesson
by Melissa Connelly
How many stars are in our universe?  Will our sun ever go away?  Why is there gravity?  What's on the other side of our universe?  Can you walk on Saturn's rings?  Is there really a problem with our atmosphere? 

These were some of the many questions the children asked after hearing Montessori's First Great Lesson, the Coming of the Universe.  We continued to think about the depths of time during the Great Lessons of the Coming of Life on Earth and the Coming of Humans.  
Even words and mathematical thinking have evolved, as we explored in the Coming of Language and Numbers. These lessons help open up a world of fascinating questions about the children's world as well as humanity's place in time and space. Maria Montessori called this the "Cosmic Curriculum."  
A great book that describes Montessori's vision of the cultural curriculum is "Children of the Universe: Cosmic Education in the Montessori Elementary Classroom" - Elizabeth has two copies in the school library.

News from the Preparedness Committee

Dear WMS Families,


The Preparedness Committee has been hard at work evaluating current safety procedures and looking for ways to enhance our building's safety and security further. Recent developments have included several administrative "walk-abouts" to look for areas in which safety and security can be improved, testing of intercom systems and phones, and continued work on our lockdown procedure, which will be implemented in phases, beginning with training for teachers/staff and individual classroom practices and culminating in a school-wide drill that will be repeated throughout the year. The first school-wide drill will be announced following the completion of the earlier phases of training.


As important members of our community, many of whom spend a great deal of time in our building, there are a few things you can do to help make WMS a safer place. Please read the following information carefully:


Key cards - Please do not put the school's name or any identifier on key cards. If you lose your key card, please inform the front desk immediately so lost cards can be deactivated.


Main Entrance - When entering school through the main entrance, please keep the following procedures in mind:

  1. During normal morning and afternoon drop-off and pick-up (for full-day students) hours, simply use your key card to enter the building.  There is no need to sign in or out.  When entering/exiting the building, please do not hold the door for visitors who are unknown to you.
  2. If you are entering at a "normal" time but plan to stay late for a group or individual activity (e.g., leading an after-school activity or meeting with a teacher), please sign in (and out) and take a green badge.  This is for your own safety so we can account for you in case of an emergency.
  3. For half-day families (noon pick-up) - You have been issued a cream-colored badge, which allows you to proceed to classrooms during this time without signing in. If you forget your badge, or plan to stay in the building for additional time, please follow sign-in procedures.
  4. All other visitors must sign in and take a yellow visitors badge - if you see someone without one, please contact the front desk from any phone at extension 173.
  5. Staff (including substitutes) wear blue ID badges. Loaner badges are issued when personalized badges are lost or forgotten. These loaner badges must be returned by the end of the day. 

Back lobby door - Beginning on Monday, January 28, the back lobby door will only be accessible to those with key cards.


Side door (Birch Wing) - Key cards can only access this door between 8 a.m. (or 7, for those registered for before-care) and 9:15 a.m. and 2:45 and 3:30 p.m. (6 p.m. for after-care only) in the afternoon. Please do not allow others to access the door with your key card for any reason, and do not put others (including staff) in an uncomfortable situation by asking them to do so for you. If you arrive late to pick up your child, please enter through the front entrance. Children in after-care will be brought to the lobby at 6 p.m. to be picked up from there. 


While some of the guidelines outlined above may cause minor inconvenience, cooperation will increase security at WMS by allowing us to accurately account for each person entering our facility. If you have questions, concerns or additional feedback, please contact our committee chair Nurse Paige by email, phone or stopping by her office.  We will continue to keep you updated on our work.  


Thank you for your feedback and efforts to continue to make WMS a safe place for all of us!

The WMS Preparedness Committee

P.S. Just in case you missed it last week, the PowerPoint presentation from the WMS Town Meeting on Safety held earlier this month is available at



Inclement Weather Information



On many snowy days, WMS remains in session. However, it is occasionally necessary for safety reasons to schedule a late opening or to close for the day. Child care is open from 7 a.m. through 6 p.m. when classes close, except when there is a state-wide or area closing due to extremely treacherous roads. 
In the unlikely event of a school closing, WMS will activate the AlertNow emergency communication system.  AlertNow, our first and primary method of disseminating closing information, allows WMS administration to quickly send out phone messages and emails announcing any closing or schedule change. Please use this form to update your contact information for AlertNow.  You may include multiple phone numbers/email addresses if you wish for these communications to be sent to more than one location. 

Other Information Sources

The WMS homepage (upper right column) will include closing information unless a network outage prevents us from updating this. Info will also be posed on the WMS Facebook page and Twitter account.


Local radio stations (and websites) typically also broadcast closing announcements for WMS. See the station links below for more information.
Parent Education

Encouraging Our Children Toward Independence 

Parenting Tips
by Certified Parent Educator (and WMS Great-Grandmother) Yvonne Nass


Holding a weekly family meeting is a great way to include everyone in making family decisions. It teaches children to contribute and take on responsibilities, and also learn to listen and to problem-solve. They are already doing this in the classroom. If one person is making all family decisions, children will not see how important their contributions are.  


Begin by having everyone participate in writing the agenda and always begin with appreciations. Bringing the calendar to the table helps everyone discuss how to be prepared for the activities of the week. A good question is - Where do we need to keep ... so we know where it is and how to get it quickly?  Always include the planning of something fun to do. Holding a family meeting is not easy, but very rewarding. 


followthechildWilmington Montessori School presents: 

"Follow the Child: Parenting Class - for you and your child!"

Birth to 2 years

9-10:30 a.m.

Fridays, February 22 through March 22

Cost: $100

Registration deadline is February 15 - class fees due upon registration.


Parent-child This weekly class offers moms, dads, grandparents and other caretakers mutual support and guidance in the beginning months of their child's life. Sara Grant, an Infant/Toddler Montessori teacher and mother of two, brings her many years of experience and observations to assist with the challenges of parenting and help parents enjoy the wonders of connecting their little one to the world around them. 


Set in an authentic Infant/Toddler Montessori classroom, this class will focus on nutrition, developing healthy eating habits, discipline, nursing and every-day life with your infant and toddler.  Meet other parents of infants and toddlers and enjoy lively discussions while your little one keeps busy in the classroom, prepared specifically for them at their stage of development.


Sara, who is also completing her doula certification training, will bring to life the Montessori Method through a wide range of enriching, hands-on activities in a fun environment for you and your child to explore.      

 "So much happens in the first 18 months of your child's life!" Sara says. "I look forward to helping you apply Montessori principles at home to make the most of this amazing stage of your child's development."


This workshop is open to families outside the WMS community so please tell a friend! 


Questions? Please contact or call 302-475-0555.   


Board News
The Board Portal has been updated with a major Board news update, as well as the Board's new Expectations Statement. We hope you'll take the time to review this new information, and mark your calendars for the Annual Meeting on March 20.
News & Notes
Rummage Sale Pick of the Week
Display case with mahogany finish

Elegant Bombay Company Queen Anne-style display case with mahogany finish, glass top and glass side panels.  Perfect to store your treasures!  

Speaking of treasures, always remember that your "junque" could be someone else's treasure - eclectic, unique, antique, shabby chic!

Thanks for your continued support!  Packaging materials such as boxes, handled paper shopping bags, paper and bubble wrap are always appreciated.  Please include them with your donations.



The 2013 Junque 'n' Treasures Rummage Sale will be held on Saturday, April 27.  Please drop your items off in the bins outside Room 24 or in the front lobby area. Donations are tax-deductible - visit the front desk to request a donation form. Join our Rummage Sale event page on Facebook for news and updates!


Free Money Update: Shoe Drive Results


A big thank you to everyone who contributed shoes to the shoe drive! We gathered about 350 pounds of shoes, raising $175 for WMS!  

It's not too late to donate - the drive was just the kick-off of this ongoing fundraising initiative! Boxes will be available in the two main entrances throughout the school year, so please continue to bring in your shoes.


Recycle, reuse, provide for others, raise funds for WMS!  
Shoebox Recycling
Auction Toast
Auction News 
The PTO is hard at work planning for WMS's 2013 Auction & Gala to be held on Saturday, April 20.

Please note that this is a change from the date announced earlier this year.  
Be sure to mark your calendars and look for more details in next week's issue!
Camp Montessori

Get your mind off the freezing temperatures outside by checking out our new line-up of hot summer programs at Camp Montessori!

Registration is open! Some specialty camps fill up as early as March, so sign up today and take advantage of our multi-week discounts as well!

Camp programs are open to all children, so be sure to share our camp page with your friends!

Visit for everything you need to know about camp!

The Wednesday Weekly promotes WMS news and events that are relevant to the families in our community.  Please send submissions to by 4:30 p.m. on the Friday prior to the issue in which you wish to include your information.  Content may be edited for length and style and may be held for a future issue due to space constraints.  For more information, contact Noel Dietrich.

Our Mission

Wilmington Montessori School is a collaborative learning community rooted in Montessori principles, inspiring the joyful discovery of self and a passion for learning and independent thinking. We empower children to be knowledgeable and responsible contributors to the global community.