W E D N E S D A Y  W E E K L Y
Bi-Weekly Summer Edition - July 22, 2015
In This Issue

Upcoming Events

July 23
Field Trip:
Room 22 to Brandywine Creek State Park

July 27-31
Camp Week 7
Specialty Camps:
Fiber Arts I
Indiana Jones LEGO

July 30
Field Trips:
Rooms 25, 27 & 30 to Linvilla Orchards
Room 22 to Cape Henlopen State Park 

August 3-7
Camp Week 8
Specialty Camps:
Short Sports
Archery II

August 6
Field Trip:

Rooms 24, 25, 27 & 30 to Tyler Arboretum

August 10-14
Camp Week 9
Specialty Camps:
Dance Groove
Watercolor Sketching

August 12
Toddler/Preschool Playdate & Admissions Information Session
Tell a friend!

August 13
Field Trips:

Rooms 24, 25 and 30 to Crystal Caves Room 22 to Dickinson Plantation


August 17-21
Camp Week 10 
Specialty Camps:
Beginning Ballet
Earth Art
Gamer's Theater
Scratch Programming

August 20
Field Trip
Room 22 - Tubing on the Brandywine


Message from 
Director of Extended Day Programs
Cass Winner
Cass Winner


One of the things that Wilmington Montessori School staff, families and students have commented upon over and over is that the community feels like a family in many ways. The warmth, the familiarity and the sense of being known and cared about unconditionally despite our warts and our imperfections - these are the hallmarks of family.


As a staff, we also hold professionalism as a core value. Merging these two things - being as warm as family members but also rational, knowledgeable, skilled and prudent professionals - is not something that comes easily or automatically to most of us. It is learned. We learn it through our professional development courses, and we learn it through mentoring by more experienced staff members and leaders.


Fifteen years ago, parents of several of our oldest campers beseeched me to find a way for their young teens to remain connected to the WMS and Camp Montessori community: "Can't they become counselors?" In response, we created a Counselor In Training Program. One of the graduates of that program is now my assistant camp director.


In its current incarnation, the C.I.T. program is a course that runs every two to three years. This course covers child development, Montessori philosophy, classroom management, leadership skills and self-management. Always led by a male and a female lead, the course aims to help young people to make that transition from campers to staff.  This is a gradual transition, of course; some make it faster than others, but when they come into the classrooms, each one of these young people brings an enthusiasm that is infectious. 


In the years after they've completed the course, they are considered junior counselors. They are assigned carefully, placed in groups for which they've indicated both a preference and demonstrated suitability in their communication style, energy level, general demeanor and understanding of the needs of the given age group. 


Watching these young people at work is a wonderful thing. The children gravitate to them, sensing the difference in someone closer to childhood, someone to whom their every success and new step is new and exciting. The junior counselors thrive in this environment, supervised and guided by the adult staff, energized and admired by the children. The adults help the young people to see their own strengths and challenges, and the young people help the adults by running errands, cleaning, reading to the children, playing games with the children and taking a small hand in theirs on walks in the woods.


Junior counselors who are WMS graduates - as most of them are - have even more advantages, knowing the language and the tones in which we speak to children, and knowing how to approach conflict resolution. I can't count the number of times I have seen a teenager sitting with a child who has experienced a problem or setback, asking gentle questions to lead the child through the process of turning that problem into new knowledge and understanding. 


When I asked Alexis Szkotak, WMS graduate and second-year counselor, what was special about working in camp, she said that she loved helping children problem-solve in a peaceful, Montessori way.  "During the last few weeks of school, all I could think about was getting to camp to be with the kids, even during final exams!" 


One of the values of a Montessori education is multi-age interaction: children of varied ages teaching one another the lessons of life in a peaceful, collaborative, joy-filled environment. Our Counselor Development program is the bridge between childhood and adulthood, celebrating both.




News & NotesNews
There's still time to support the 2014-15 Annual Fund!
#WMS100Reasons - Giving Thanks
Watch #WMS100Reasons to see why our families love WMS and support the Annual Fund!

WMS's 2014-15 Annual Fund closes on August 31, and it's not too late to make your gift! We are less than $4,000 from reaching our $100,000 goal. The Annual Fund supports Wilmington Montessori School's operating budget, which contributes to:

  • Enhancements to WMS programs that directly impact students
  • Teacher/staff salaries and benefits
  • Facilities improvements
  • Professional development
  • An amazing Montessori education for your child!

  • To donate, visit
    www.wmsde.org/annualfund or visit the front desk for an annual fund envelope. For more information, contact Joan Beatson, Director of Development.

    On behalf of the children of WMS, thank you!
    Today's LearnersLearner
    Sharon Entzminger Offers Hairy Cultural Lesson to Campers

    Last week, Sharon Entzminger, who has been an early childhood teacher for more than 20 years, came to work in the preschool camp room with her hair in an "Afro" style. Many of the children had questions:

    "Why does your hair look funny?"

    "Why are you wearing your hair like that?"

    "Can I touch it?"

    Of course she did let them touch it, but she also saw a teachable moment.

    Over the weekend, Sharon prepared a cultural lesson on some of the hairstyles worn by African-American women (and men). Monday morning, she invited the Kangaroo and Tiger groups to join the preschool campers for her lesson. She sat on the circle with her hair wrapped in a colorful cloth. She began by telling the children what it was called (a gele), and showing them how she turned it from a flat cloth into a beautiful headpiece.


    She then told them that beneath the wrap, her hair was done in a style called Bantu knots. She described the knots, then took off the gele. The children exclaimed in surprise when she removed it, because beneath it she wore a stocking cap. She explained the method she'd used to create the Bantu knots and how she'd worn the stocking cap to keep the knots in place while she slept.  

    Removing the stocking cap, she displayed the knotted hairstyle, for which the hair is first parted into squares, then twisted and knotted. Several of the children exclaimed, "That's beautiful!"

    "Thank you!" Sharon responded. 

    The last step of the demonstration allowed the children to see how she could untwist the knots and comb out her hair with the pick, creating the Afro style that she'd worn the previous week. They discussed the ways in which the pick was different from other combs, and then the group discussed styles like dreadlocks and braids. Many of the children knew someone with dreadlocks, and all knew someone with braids. 


    Creating an inclusive, globally-aware school community does not mean pretending that there are no differences between us. It means celebrating and learning about the things that make our families, our cultures and ourselves unique. 

    Tomorrow's LeadersLeaders
    Homecoming - October 3, 2015 from 1 to 4 p.m.

    Mark your calendars for October 3! Wilmington Montessori School's Alumni Committee will host the school's first-ever homecoming event. To learn more and receive updates about Homecoming 2015, check our official Facebook page for the event.

    If you would like to help out with the event, please email [email protected]

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

    Please send submissions to [email protected] 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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