W E D N E S D A Y  W E E K L Y
December 3, 2014
In This Issue

Upcoming Events

December 3
Re-take order forms due at the Front Desk by the end of the day. 

December 4
WMS Reading Celebration!
3-7 p.m.
Learn More

December 8
Montessori Monday Open House
9:30 a.m., Tell a friend! 

December 10
First State Ballet Theatre Artist-in-Residence Performance
Time TBA 

December 19
5-9 Holiday Concert
9:30 a.m. in the Gym

December 22 & 23
Winter Break
Pre-registered child-care available.

December 24-January 1
Winter Break 
Building Closed - no school or child-care.

January 2
Professional Day
Pre-registered child-care available.

Holiday Shopping Reminder
As you make your holiday purchases, don't forget you can support WMS through shopping on Amazon.com, at Target, and in a number of other popular stores. Click here to learn more!
Message from Director of Extended Day Programs Cass Winner


As snow and slush pile up outside my window, I listen to the children laughing in the hallways. They are on a Thanksgiving scavenger hunt, and a cheer goes up as someone finds a cardboard turkey leg in a potted plant, and someone else finds a tail feather hidden in plain sight on a bulletin board. Together they'll assemble the whimsical bird and make it the centerpiece of their feast table.


I am thankful to have this job, to be able to share in the small joys and struggles of childhood with so many friends. But the wheel of the year is spinning, and it's already time to announce plans for Camp Montessori 2015!


In its 35th year, Camp Montessori will offer 35 special-interest camps and 11 weeks of traditional day camp. It will be a place in which WMS students feel at home, enjoy spending time with old friends, meet new friends, try new activities, build new skills, explore our marvelous campus in new ways, and savor the more relaxed pace of the summer.  Brain research confirms what Maria Montessori knew all along: that children need time to construct knowledge and understanding, to experiment and to practice, to make meaningful connections with peers and adults. Our expansive outdoor campus allows us to spend time in nature, as well, which plays a unique part in children's cognitive, spiritual and ethical development.


What's new this year?  First, a new platform for online registration which promises to be easier, cleaner, faster and more user-friendly.  Second, 18 of those 35 specialty camps are brand new, providing a wide variety of choices for summer enrichment. WMS music teacher Heather Wadler will lead a musical performance camp, Jeanne Orr will teach fiber arts, and Paula Sharpe will be taking 4- to 6-year-olds Full STEAM Ahead! 

What else is great about camp?  Our relationship with Windybush Swim Club that allows us to swim three times a week, our archery range, our early childhood curriculum cycle created by Montessori teacher Dolores Morra (which will focus on Zoology in 2015), our water slide, our many schedule options, and our wonderful, highly-qualified, year-round staff.

Camp is not only of value to WMS families and children, but also to other local families. Camp is open to everyone aged 2 through 13 and to WMS students from 12 months of age. That means you can share brochures and links with your friends, sharing the joys of the WMS community with folks who may not have discovered us yet. 

Registration will open January 2, and the early registration deadline is April 1.  In the meantime, may December bring you the gift of time with your friends and families.  




News & Notesnews
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WMS Reading Celebration reading

Join us on Thursday, December 4, from 3 to 7:30 p.m. as we celebrate reading with an evening of fun for WMS families! Activities will include readings and crafts to enjoy, books and pizza for purchase, a raffle and more! 



Today's LearnersLearner
What's Behind the Morning Message?
by Room 15 Teacher Erin Wehler


Have you ever visited one of our classrooms and wondered to yourself what the meaning might be behind our colorful giant messages on large easel pad paper? Have you passed an interesting message hanging on the walls in the school and been provoked to think about how you would respond? Indeed, there are many amazing things that happen within WMS classrooms each day. There is the beautiful dance between a student and his or her "work," the sense of joy when a child discovers something new seemingly "by themselves," and a powerful love of learning that can't be taught in any book. The Morning Message ranks high among these incredible experiences in a WMS classroom, serving as a harmoniously concentric place to begin our day.

Many of our teachers have attended a Responsive Classroom training program, and all of our teachers practice these tools in our classrooms. Responsive Classroom, as described on their webpage, "is a research- and evidence-based approach to education that is associated with greater teacher effectiveness, higher student achievement, and improved school climate" and "one of the most well-designed, evidence-based social and emotional learning programs." The Morning Message is one of the many techniques a teacher uses to welcome the students into the classroom. The teacher can harness everyone's excitement and enthusiasm at the start of the day and transfer that energy into a purposeful response to the message. It is a common starting point that sets the tone. It provokes thought and there is a sense that there is no right answer, "just your thoughts."


The Morning Message increases in complexity as the year progresses. It is meant to be a functional note that engages the student to think in all curriculum areas of the classroom. It encourages the class to review information already presented, introduce a new concept for that day or make predictions for something that may happen that is pertinent to the classroom in the future. It can be answered as a group or individually. It is written in many different colors because we know that color is a powerful stimulus for the brain and for memory! Here are a few examples of how we touch on the curriculum areas in the classroom:
1. Language: "Can we stretch these words together?" (e.g., drawings of a pig, owl, fin, six and mug, for example).
2. Math: "Write the number that is 1 more." (e.g., 5, 10, 452, etc).
3. Science: "Draw an insect or animal you saw on our nature walk yesterday."
4. Social/Emotional: "Yesterday we read 'When Sophia Gets Angry.' What is one thing you do when you are really, really angry?"


The other important piece to the Morning Messages is that it is an introduction to the concept of shared writing. As children begin to write, it is important that they learn that writing is a process that we use to share ideas and communicate meaning on paper. We think, write, talk, read and listen to one another. The teacher also adds her response with the group and the students see the thought process occur as she writes. Ideas are born through this process! It opens the door to understand ourselves as individuals among our community through sharing, recollections, our experiences, diversity and community building. We learn grammatical concepts such as sentence structure, greetings, closings and expressive language. We practice mathematical concepts such as comparisons, predictions, observations and the number code for the date. We even celebrate our mistakes that we make as we write!


This is a wonderful tool to use as a conversation starter with your child, instead of the age-old, often dead-end question, "What did you do today?" Instead, ask about the Morning Message! It is bound to provoke an interesting discussion!

Tomorrow's LeadersLeaders
Reflections on WMS from "Across the Pond"
Laurel Brown, '06, reminisces about WMS while studying abroad in London. 
It's not unusual to run into a WMS alum in Wilmington, but finding one in London, England, isn't as easy.


Laurel Brown, who attended WMS from 1996 to 2006, is currently studying abroad at the University College London. Last month, she had the pleasure of meeting up with Head of School Lisa Lalama while she was visiting the city. They enjoyed catching up, sight-seeing and, of course, reminiscing about Laurel's days at WMS.

After graduating from WMS, Laurel attended Wilmington Friends School. She is now a student at the 
University of Rochester where she is double majoring in math and psychology with a certificate in actuarial sciences, and she is also on the executive board of a community service organization called Circle K. Last summer, she was selected  for a data analysis internship in Washington, D.C., with Enroll America, and she has already secured an actuarial internship at Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Philadelphia for next summer. She says WMS provided her with the foundation that prepared her for this success.

"WMS taught me to be a good person," Laurel says. "I have had people say 'Wow, you were a Montessori kid, weren't you?' I think this is due to the respect I learned to have for others while attending WMS. It also taught me to be an independent learner. I have no trouble setting deadlines for myself with no external influence. This is due to my wonderful Montessori education."


With this independent spirit, Laurel has traveled to Prague, Warsaw, Salzburg, Vienna, Brussels, Bruges, Barcelona, Paris, York, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Brighton during the past three months. She also looks forward to visiting Palermo, Naples and Rome before returning to the United States. 


Looking back at her time at WMS, Laurel says the life skills lessons that took place in the 9-12 Program were some of her favorites: "I loved it because it offered some of the most valuable and directly applicable lessons one can learn in a classroom. For example, I remember we learned how credit cards work and how to write a check. Not only was it a valuable lesson, but we also had so much fun doing it." 

She also fondly remembers the musical performances her class put on with former WMS music teacher Kelly Rhodunda and a mystery dinner she participated in as a 9-12 student: "We dressed up in costumes and stayed in character all night. I can't remember if it was a robbery or a murder or something else, but I remember the parents trying to figure out what had happened, and the kids just thought it was the best time ever." 

When she returns home during holiday breaks, Laurel always tries to take the time to stop by WMS. What keeps her coming back? It's the feeling of community, she says. Laurel still describes WMS as "a home away from home."

We want to know what our alumni are up to, and we would love to hear from our alumni parents as well. How did WMS impact your life or your child's life? Do you have any photos or news to share?

Please send any and all info to
 [email protected]

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2013 Constant Contact All-Star Award Logo The Wednesday Weekly shares WMS news and events that are relevant to the families in our community.  

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