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February 5, 2014

Message from Lisa Lalama, Head of Wilmington Montessori School


February has arrived, and I am now officially Head of School at WMS. In spite of the cold, wintry weather, I have received such a warm welcome from students, staff, families and the broader community. Thank you. I am happy to be here and looking forward to leading the school solidly into the future. The past week has held plenty of excitement; from the school's 50th birthday celebration to parent-teacher conferences, many things happen each day to remind us just how special WMS is to each of us.


As a Montessori parent, I hope each of you enjoyed learning about your child's school day and progress as a learner - academically, socially and emotionally. The connection between a teacher and student has proven to surpass even the most rigorous of academic environments in encouraging learning and engaging students. Research has proven that relationship trumps content. That is not to say that we do not need solid and standard-based content in our classrooms; we do. But it is even more important that we, as educators, become part of the classroom community. We need to be learners, to value and understand each child.

In the words of Rita Pierson, a teacher of more than 40 years in some of the toughest environments, "Teaching and learning should bring joy. How powerful would our world be if we had kids who were not afraid to take risks, who were not afraid to think, and who had a champion? Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be."


I am so happy to be here to lead the school as we inspire each other to be the best we can possibly be. No matter our role at WMS - parent, student, teacher, administrative staff - that is our goal. Lofty? Perhaps. Worth trying? Indeed.  

Mark Your Calendar
6 & 7Class Pictures - Rescheduled due to today's delayed opening. View the updated schedule.
50th Anniversary Logo
WMS 50th Anniversary Celebration - 7 p.m. - Learn More & Purchase Tickets

Check out our event page on Facebook to find out about our featured entertainment and more!
PTO Meeting - 9 a.m. - Parent Work Room (Room 17)
13Alex Shaw, Artist in Residence Performance - 6 p.m. in the Great Room - Learn More
14All-Staff Professional Day - No school or child-care.
17President's Day - No school. Pre-registered child-care available.
WMS Annual Meeting - 7 p.m. - Great Room 
Important Calendar Update
Monday, June 9, will be a professional development/camp preparation day for all WMS staff.
There will be no child-care available on this day. Child-care will still be available, as scheduled, on Friday, June 6, as well as June 10-13, prior to the start of Camp Montessori. Register online for child-care.
News & Notes
Artist-in-Residency News brazilian
WMS Family Concert - Thursday, February 13 at 6 p.m.
Featuring WMS's 9-12 Students 

On Thursday, February 13, Alex Shaw will perform in concert at 6 p.m. in the Great Room. This concert, featuring a special performance by our 9-12 students, will serve as the culminating event for one of this year's artist-in-residency programs and is free to WMS students and their families.

Mr. Shaw is a musician, composer and arts educator who specializes in Brazilian musical traditions. During January and February, in between snow storms, WMS students have worked with guest teaching artist Jonathan Whitney and WMS music teacher Mary Kate Newell to prepare for their lessons with Alex Shaw on February 13. The students have enjoyed hearing The Dancing Turtle, a Brazilian folktale, and learned about the rhythmic and musical traditions of Brazil. The elementary students have even made their own pan pipes from bamboo harvested right here on the WMS grounds.

Growing up in a family of chamber musicians, Alex Shaw began his studies in orchestral percussion and developed an early interest in Latin percussion. Upon graduating from Swarthmore College, he joined Philadelphia's award-winning Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra, and later became the Artistic Director for Alô Brasil, a renowned 14-piece Brazilian ensemble.

As a freelance arts educator, Alex regularly teaches and facilitates residencies and workshops in numerous universities, schools, and organizations throughout the tri-state region. Alex has been awarded several competitive artist grants to support his music research and study in Brazil, including Arts International's Artist Exploration Fund (2004) and the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts (2007). In 2008 he joined the board of as a consultant for curriculum development and is the lead facilitator for their music education programming.

This artist-in-residency program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment of the Arts.
Inclement Weather Reminders

We have certainly had our share of winter weather this year, and the forecast shows that there may be more to come (thanks a lot, Punxsutawney Phil)! 

If there is a change to the school's schedule, it will be announced in the following ways:

  • Via AlertNow (phone, email, text messages)
  • On our website
  • On the WMS Facebook page
  • On Twitter 
  • Through WDEL/WSTW's SnoWatch 
To keep our phone lines open in case of emergency, please check the sources above before calling the school about our status. 
We realize that many of our families travel from a distance to reach our school. Your safety is our highest priority. Please feel comfortable using your discretion when deciding whether or not to send your child to school in case of inclement weather.
To update your contact information for AlertNow and/or opt-in for text message alerts, use our contact information update form. For addition information regarding school closing announcements, contact Noel Dietrich.
Updated Classroom Photo Schedule
The Wednesday Weekly shares 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, Communications Officer.
 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.