W E D N E S D A Y  W E E K L Y
March 18, 2015
In This Issue


Upcoming Events

March 19
9-12 Talent Show
9:30 a.m. - Dress Rehearsal
7  p.m. - Concert 
Gym 

March 23-27
Spring Break
No classes
Pre-registered child-care only.
More Info 

March 30-April 2 
Spirit Week
Learn More

April 2
Tony Vacca Family Concert
6:15 p.m. in the Great Room
Learn More

April 3
Building Closed  - No school or child-care.

April 6
No school.
Pre-registered child-care only.

April 9
Toddler Sing-a-Long

April 10
The Journey
8:30 a.m.
Register Now
 


Talent Show - Ballet
Message from 
Director of Development 
Joan Beatson 

 

Tomorrow is the 9-12 Talent Show - one of the highlights of the school year. I will never forget the feeling of watching my sixth-grader triumph on the WMS stage in the now-classic "Who's on First" skit. For many of our children, this is their first experience in the spotlight - and, in true Montessori fashion, it is a community effort. It also gives them the opportunity to explore their passions, make choices and collaborate with others to create something totally new.

 

We know from parent surveys that the arts are important to our families, and that you would like to see the arts play an even stronger role in your child's education. In response to this feedback and current educational research that proves the importance of making connections between the arts and other subject areas, WMS is planning to integrate the arts more fully into our curriculum. As this initiative progresses, you will see the arts become a deeper, more integral part of learning at WMS. You will also see more visits from artists-in-residence, as well as improvements and repairs to our performing arts spaces - including new sound and lighting equipment - to enhance the quality of your child's performing experiences.


As you know, the Longwood Foundation awarded the school a grant of $300,000 toward our arts integration initiative -
and has challenged us to raise an additional $300,000 match by April 2016. Since the grant was awarded at the beginning of December, more than $60,000 has been raised toward the match. It is exciting to me - as a parent of two WMS alumni - that many of those gifts are from former parents who continue to feel a deep connection to the school because of the profound effect WMS has had on their lives. 

 

Our Campaign Committee has begun reaching out to current parents as well as alumni families, and we will continue to do so. Letters will go out later this week asking for your help. All of you support the school in so many ways, and we know that we are asking you to dig a little deeper to help us reach this goal.

 

Donors have three years to pay off a one-time pledge to the Campaign. The Longwood Foundation believes in Wilmington Montessori School, and we look forward to showing them the amazing results of their generous gift. Thank you for everything you do to support WMS.



News & NotesNews
Auction tickets are now on sale!

Visit our new Bidding on the Bayou Auction Gala website to purchase tickets for WMS's biggest fundraising event of the year and find out about other ways to support this event.

Ticket prices will increase at the door, so be sure to buy yours in advance.

Watch the Wednesday Weekly for more auction news as we approach the big night on April 18!
tonyWMS Family Concert Featuring Tony Vacca
April 2 at 6:15 p.m.

 

The sounds of African drumming filled the halls of WMS earlier this month as Tony Vacca worked with your children (and their teachers) during the first day of his residency - now it's your turn to hear him perform!

 

Tony Vacca is an innovative American percussionist with jazz and world music roots going back to 1972. His solo performances are a nearly non-stop athletic spectacle of percussion music and spoken word. He incorporates percussion instruments from a world of traditions that include African, Caribbean, Asian and Middle-Eastern influences, to which he adds some of his spoken word and rhythm poetry. Tony's 14 trips to West Africa have contributed to his unique approach to playing the balafon, and to his depth of knowledge regarding African and American musical traditions. 

As part of the concert, 9-12 students will be performing with Tony. We hope to see you there!

 

This 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 for the Arts.   
Spirit Week Twins
Twin Day
Spirit Week - March 30 through April 2
by Sixth-Graders Alexa and Morgan

This fall, our sixth-grade class took a trip to New York City. We did many fun things there including ice-skating at Rockefeller Center and watching Aladdin on Broadway! But that is not the reason we went to New York. We went to participate in the Global Citizenship Action Project. GCAP is an organization that works with Montessori schools across the country. While we were there, we heard from many non-government organizations. Our group decided to support the organization Save the Rain, which makes rain barrels and collects water to help countries with water issues. 

Spirit Week, which begins on March 30, is a fundraiser for Save the Rain. This year, it will consist of four days on which kids get to wear clothes they probably wouldn't usually wear to school. Monday will be "PJ & Stuffed Animal Day," Tuesday will be "Twin Day," Wednesday will be "Halloween in April" and Thursday is "Spirit Day." 

If you would like to learn more about Save the Rain, stop by the front lobby during Spirit Week. We will also be hosting an activity for the younger children to learn about Save the Rain. There will be donation jars outside of each classroom, and one in the front lobby. Suggested donation is $5 per student. Thank you for your support.

Looking for spirit wear for Spirit Day? The school store will be open before and after school on Tuesday, March 31 and Wednesday, April 1. For more information, email schoolstore@wmsde.org.

Odyssey of the Mind at Wilmington Montessori School
by WMS Parents Jeffrey Politis and Nora Lober

 

On March 7, five teams from Wilmington Montessori School competed in the River Region Odyssey of the Mind (OOTM) competition. We want to congratulate all of the teams and coaches for brilliantly representing our school. They made the school proud, and one of the teams received first place for their problem and division and is moving on to the state finals. 

 

For those of you who are not aware of OOTM, the program fits quite well into the Montessori philosophy as all of the ideas/work must be done by the students - in fact, they get penalized if they receive outside interference. Coaches will tell you that it was not always easy to "follow the child," but watching the students' creativity and energy was nothing short of inspirational.

 

The program consists of two parts - a long-term problem and a spontaneous problem. The long-term problem has an overall theme including specific elements that must be completed within a specific time (usually eight minutes). For the competition, the students must interpret the theme, determine and write a story, build props, incorporate the specific elements and perform their solution - all on their own. For the spontaneous problem, the students go into a room and receive a new problem in which they will have five to 10 minutes to respond. Teams are scored on both the long-term and spontaneous problems and are given feedback. 

 

If you wanted to learn more, you could simply ask any WMS elementary student until you found one who participated. You have a little better than a 1 in 3 chance of finding an elementary child who participated as just over 35% of the WMS elementary population competed (a total of 32 students). In addition, we had five lead coaches (all parents) who worked with the kids over the course of five months to prepare a long-term problem and get them ready to handle a "spontaneous" problem. 

 

As co-coordinators (and coaches) this year, we want to thank the other coaches - Will and Tabitha Bradley, Susie Ventresca (with help from Dave Ropars) and Sharon Miller - as well as all of the other parents who helped. We also want to thank those that volunteered to be judges. We are fortunate to have great teachers and staff - four of whom volunteered along with one parent. Without these volunteers (each of whom gave up two Saturdays), we would not be allowed to participate. If you see Trish Harkins, Cathy Simon-Cord, Ben Loder, Renee Anderson or Charu Ghambir, please take a moment to say thank you for taking their personal time to ensure our kids could participate.

 

Lastly, we wanted to thank the school administration for providing space and funding for our participation and most importantly, for allowing all of us to represent the school.

 

Let's cheer on the our WMS team at the Delaware State Finals on March 28.  We look forward to continuing to expand the program next year.

Co-op Cornerco-op
Would you like a simple way to complete ALL 30 (or some part) of your family's Co-op hours in one fell swoop? Would you like to work on a Co-op task that will make a lot of people very happy (or, at least, hydrated)?

 

The Meerkat Milers - Delaware Marathon Relay runners from WMS - urgently need Co-op parents to host the water station on the race course on Sunday, May 10. Volunteers will also be needed to coordinate the distribution of race packets and other activities at the WMS tent. We have an experienced team of people who will guide volunteers through these processes and procedures, so first time water station hosts and assistants will not need to think through the steps on their own. 

 

Come join in the fun and provide valuable services for the WMS runners, while also earning Co-op hours. If you are interested in volunteering, please email meerkatmilers@wmsde.org or contact WMS mom Becky Davey! 

 

Today's LearnersLearner
Liberty & Discipline: Two Sides of the Same Coin
by Room 15 Lead Teacher Erin Wehler
 

Google "What is the Montessori Method?" and Wikipedia quickly replies with the standard definition any online-seeker may discover. "Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori and characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child's natural psychological, physical, and social development." The question most often asked from individuals wanting to know more about what children "do" in a Montessori Classroom hover over the uncertainty of that term "freedom with limits." It stands as a pillar of structure in each of our classrooms and it truly is the beginning of growing a self-governed individual. After all, Dr. Montessori referred to liberty and discipline as two sides of the same coin.
 

This past weekend, nearly every faculty and staff member in our school had the privilege of attending the 2015 Annual American Montessori Society Conference held in Philadelphia. For my first workshop, I entered a packed conference hall. The workshop was called, "Liberty and Discipline: The Eternal Quest for Balance." I would venture to say that everyone struggles to find this balance in their personal, professional and parenting lives. 
 

A newcomer observing our classrooms often remark, "Wow. The children were just so busy and happy going about their work. How does the teacher get them to do that?" Instead of "that" being an external force of techniques we impose on our children, it is rather an invisible internal compass broadcasting from within our children. We learned that in order to have the greatest freedom, one must have self-discipline. Our job is to connect the children to their inner teacher/guide and to follow those internal impulses. We do this by setting expectations and expecting that they will be met. We learned that there is no freedom without responsibility. Teachers do not give too much freedom until the children know what to do with it. "Liberty is not just thinking or doing what we want," Maria Montessori wrote. "It is being able, without hindrance, or restraint, to do in the direct way what is right and proper." Children figure out what is "right and proper" through modeling and teaching, not correcting.
 

That leaves us the other notion - discipline. Dr. Montessori said, "Every problem of discipline results from a lack of liberty." Think about that for a second. We learned to stop and observe instead of react to a child's disorder or resistance (a tantrum, fit, etc). What is it that the child is trying to accomplish that the environment is not allowing? The children in our classrooms learn the boundaries for freedom and the discipline follows. This provokes us to think of how we preserve the freedom that the children already possess in themselves.

We believe in the mantra "help me to help myself" and "every unnecessary thing we do for the child is actually a limitation to his development". And get this: "The child who is constantly scolded for not acting the way he is told will eventually lose the impetus to act." We don't want that! Two sides of the same coin indeed, but don't take it at face value. The preparation of the child and the teacher to recognize these tendencies and preserve them is the true work.

Tomorrow's LeadersLeaders
Featured Alumna: Alex del Tufo, Class of 2010
 

Alex del Tufo attended Wilmington Montessori School from 2002 until 2010. It was here that she first discovered her love of writing:

"I think the free reading and writing time we had at WMS gave me the chance to really discover what I was passionate about. Without the freedom of WMS, I'm not sure if I would have been able to discover what I love and am good at."

Now, she attends Wilmington Friends School, where she is an editor of the school paper. She has interned for Wilmington's Out & About magazine, as well as IN Wilmington and Arts In Media, where also works as a blogger. In addition, she has blogged for WXPN's website.

 

She has known that she wanted to write ever since she was a little kid. "It's really cool to see it slowly (but surely) becoming a reality!" she says.

 

Along with writing, Alex enjoys volunteer work and has mentored at the Boys & Girls Club. Her first paid job was as a camp counselor at WMS when she was 14 and she has also enjoyed working as a lifeguard at the Arden Pool.

Plans for college are at the forefront of Alex's mind. She is preparing for the SATs and plans to major in journalism "hopefully at a city school" like New York University, Boston University or American University.


The memory that sticks out in her mind the most from WMS was "in about third grade when Laurie Orsic taught us how to spell 'antidisestablishmentarianism.' I still pull that one out every now and then when I'm trying to sound smart. Knowing I could spell such a long word when I was 9 always boosts my confidence a little."
 

Alex thinks that WMS has taught her that there's more to her than her report card. "I think not having grades for the first half of my schooling has benefited me in the long run. I am capable of being motivated without any reason other than to gain knowledge."

The Wednesday Weekly shares WMS news and events that are relevant to the families in our community.  

Please send submissions to wednesday-weekly@wmsde.org 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.

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