Wednesday Weekly
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May 7, 2014

Message from Head of School Lisa Lalama 



"I'm more of a facilitator, and I'm taking more of a step back." 


These words were spoken by a seasoned teacher in New York who is changing the way she teaches math based on that state's initiatives to teach more deeply. This is one of the distinct advantages of being a student at Wilmington Montessori School. Students have the luxury of time. They are able to dig deeply into a topic, whether it is math, as is discussed in the above-mentioned article, or the work of reading, writing, learning about others, or exploring the plants and animals that fill our world.


Learning happens here on children's schedules - not teachers' or parents' or arbitrary decisions made by a department outside of our school. Yes, we employ the agreed-upon standards in education to guide us. We know how to reach children and engage them in their learning. We strive for academic rigor always. What Maria Montessori knew and what we know at WMS is that we are facilitators in a child's education; we are guides. We can sow the seeds, create the opportunities, entice the mind and prepare the environment. Then we step aside. Our daily work is observing children, asking well-placed questions and guiding them to the next stages of development.  This is education at its finest. 




Mark Your Calendar
6-23Student Art Show - Lobby and front hallway 
10Delaware Marathon "Run 1, 4 Fun" children's run/walk (conclusion of GYMM program) - Events start at 10:30 a.m., race at noon - Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park. Parents, please don't forget to bring a waiver form for your family! Contact Adrianna for more information.
11Delaware Marathon Meerkat Milers Relay - 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. - Tubman-Garrett Riverfront  Park. Stop by the WMS tent to cheer on our runners! 
Student Art Show - Lobby and Hallway 
13Smart Lunches Taste Test - 3-4 p.m. - Great Room - Learn More
Home School Project Fair - 1-4  p.m. - Great Room - Support local home-schooling families and students from WMS's Home School Enrichment Program by viewing their projects. 
Admissions Open House - 9:30 a.m. - Tell a friend!
Classroom News
Food for Thought: Agricultural Studies in the 9-12 Program 

by 9-12 Teachers Joanna Breger, Shelley Robyn & Melissa Sugzdinis    


Throughout the year, the 9-12 students have been answering the question "What is Culture?"    

One of our readings introduced the idea of a community garden where people from many different cultures turned a city lot into a multicultural vegetable garden that satisfied a diversity of needs. In addition, our science work this year addressed topics about plants as the foundation of life, the flow of energy and matter, and how nature's biological system and our human-designed agricultural system work together to supply us with food. 


Students had many opportunities to combine their current thinking with what they were learning to develop new knowledge constructs. Students were challenged to collect thorough, accurate data and to carefully interpret this data, along with writing assignments to reflect on what they learned while expanding their thinking.


A unit on agriculture took students from the natural world to the human-designed system for producing the plants and animals we eat. The unit led students through investigations of the ways in which humans depend on farmers for our food. Students then tried their hands at being farmers. They measured, planned and researched various processes before building two raised beds for their garden. Square Foot Gardening allowed each student to choose a space based on which cold weather vegetable they wanted to plant and care for. The beds are now full with kale, lettuce, spinach, arugula, radishes and marigolds. 


We can't wait to taste our harvest before leaving school in June. Vegetables that continue to grow through June will be donated to the Food Bank of Delaware where we will be volunteering one morning this month. We will also be taking several other off-site trips this month. These trips include visits to the University of Delaware's Cooperative Extension Demonstration Garden, which will highlight the use of native plants to attract beneficial insects and birds; UD's College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, where we hope to learn more about native plants and other ways that we can enrich our environment; and the Delaware Agricultural Museum in Dover, where we will learn how agriculture affected Delaware history and how agricultural technology has changed over time.


Co-op Corner

Year-End Reminder


Has your family completed its co-op obligation? Please remember, the yearly co-op obligation is 30 hours per family, and we are quickly approaching the end of the year. It is vital that parents submit their hours either on paper (available at the Co-op bulletin boards) or online.


Laurie Orsic would be happy to help match you to volunteer opportunities and also to help you calculate your hours to date. Please contact her at 302-475-0555 or

Auction Newsauction
auction header 2014


Thank you to everyone who made the auction such a huge success - the auction committee, the donors and attendees.  Everyone embraced the hoedown theme, searching their closets for their western gear - gingham, bandanas, cowboy boots and hats. Altogether, it was quite a "purty" picture. 


Beyond the tasty refreshments, toe-tapping music and camaraderie of new and old friends, there was the all-important fundraising aspect of the event. The numbers are not officially in, but it is safe to say the auction committee's hard work and creativity definitely paid off. (More on that later.) We appreciate the exceptional generosity of the donors and bidders in their support of the school and its programming.


Thank you to all of the co-op parents who chipped in and found time to help plan, set up, host and clean up afterwards. Special recognition goes to Stephanie Simms and Paul Gatti, the auction co-chairs, for the work in guiding the committee and volunteers over many months to plan and prepare this annual community celebration. (View the full committee list on page 7 of the auction catalog.)


Hoedown Barn Sale (a.k.a. "The After-Auction Sale")

Tuesday, May 13-15, Main Lobby


Here's your second chance to purchase great auction items and also help raise funds for the school. From May 13 through May 15, there will be another chance to bid on silent auction items. Featured items will include:

Monkey Business in the Jungle Gift Basket
  • Authentic 76ers Autographed Photo
  • Photographic print by Elizabeth Bard
  • Monkey Business in the Jungle Children's Gift Basket
  • Handmade Children's Table and Chair Set
  • Toddler Rocking Chair
  • Microsoft Upgrade Kit
  • Gift Card to Bob's Discount Furniture
  • Acupuncture and Gift Basket for Man's Best Friend
  • 28-Day Immersion Yoga Gift Certificate
  • Kenpo Karate Classes
  • Wine Education Gift Card for Four Classes
  • Little Expression Portrait
  • Unique Family Portrait

Stop by, find a bargain, make a bid and help us clear out the barn! All proceeds benefit WMS and will be much appreciated.

News & Notes

Don't Lose Those Math Skills - Pre-order summer math workbooks and save on shipping!    


It's hard to believe it's already time to plan summer homework.

Most of us are aware of the academic slide that occurs when children take three months off from learning during summer vacation. To combat this loss of skills, it is important not only to give children enrichment experiences in different areas of interest (like those available at

Camp Montessori), but to also encourage reading, writing and math work.    


One recommended summer math review option for students just finishing K-6 is the Summer Math Skills Sharpener series. These books are meant to be used three or four times per week for 10 weeks. Most lessons take about 20 minutes. More information about these workbooks, including sample pages and curriculum overview, is available here. (Your child's teachers will also provide information on this and other summer homework recommendations.)

This year, Summer Math Skills Sharpener workbooks can be ordered directly from WMS for $17. Shipping is free. Orders through WMS must be turned in by 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 27, and will arrive before the last day of school.

Order for the grade-level your child has just completed. $17 per book is payable by cash or check made out to WMS at time of order. Please specify classroom number and grade-level book desired. Orders and payment can be submitted at the front desk.    


Please direct questions about ordering through WMS to Lori Beth Levin.


End-of-Year Library Information

Thank you for making this a very successful year in the WMS library. Many of you contributed to the "Adopt-a-book" campaign, others offered time to work in the library and still others donated gently used books.  

As the last day of school grows closer it's time to start thinking about books that haven't made it back into the library. Please help your child look around for any overdue library books. We will start doing an inventory of the library materials by the end of May, so for that reason, and to help get things wrapped up in a timely fashion, we ask that all books be returned during the week of May 19. Elizabeth will be explaining to students that this week will be the last week for checking out books so that everything is back on time.

Children will still come for library story time; you just won't see any books in their backpacks or classrooms. If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth.

Field Day: Help Wanted

Adrianna is looking for a few good volunteers to help with Elementary Field day 2014 on Friday, May 23 (8 a.m. - noon) and Preschool Field Day on June 4 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Spend time outdoors and enjoy fun fitness and water activities with the children.    

Sign-up sheets are posted on co-op boards or you can email Adrianna for more information.



lunch Top School Lunch Questions + RSVP for Taste Testing

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the possible school lunch program at WMS:

Are the hot meals previously frozen? 

Smart Lunches' Philadelphia-area catering partner is Drexelbrook Catering. Meals are made fresh by the catering company daily and delivered to the school.  

What kind of packaging are the meals in? 

The lunches are individually packed and labeled in recyclable containers.

Are the meals local/organic/healthy?

All of their meats are all natural, without nitrates or added hormones. Drexelbrook Catering does their best to source locally when available.    

Each meal on Smart Lunches website shows nutrition information including: calories, fat (g), cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates and protein.  

Items from the sample menu on their website may be removed from the overall program.  As an example, another local area school removed Oreo cookies and chocolate milk from the program.

Read more, and RSVP to our taste test scheduled after school on Tuesday.

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, Director of Communications.
 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.