W E D N E S D A Y  W E E K L Y
Bi-Weekly Summer Edition - August 5, 2015
In This Issue

Upcoming Events

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:
Rooms 22 & 24 - Tubing on the Brandywine

August 24-28
Camp Week 11

August 26
New Family Reception
5 p.m. in Library

Family Picnic
6-7:30 p.m.
at WMS
Learn More

August 27
Field Trip:
Room 22 to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

August 31
All-Staff Professional Day
No Child-Care 


Message from 
Director of Extended Day Programs
Cass Winner
Cass Winner

"Where do I belong?"

All of us ask this question at one time or another, and all of us know the feeling of finding one of those places. A special friendship, a neighborhood, a place of worship, a school, a club or even a job can make us feel as though we are "home."

The primary job of a school must be to facilitate education, and the primary job of a summer camp must be to keep children safe, facilitate growth and provide enriching activities. At WMS and Camp Montessori, of course, we want to do more. We know that a sense of belonging makes children want to come to school or camp every day, and makes them more willing to try new things and meet new challenges. When they know that they are liked and respected, they are braver. They will stretch out and reach for growth with enthusiasm.


During the school year, the teachers have nine months to nurture that sense of community within a classroom whose members, for the most part, don't change. In the summer, children come and go in concert with their parents' schedules, vacations and participation in a variety of kinds of camps. That makes building community harder, but we do it anyway.


We build community through holding a morning meeting just as we do during the school year, helping the kids learn one another's names, playing games to help nervous campers relax and laugh, and setting the agenda for the day together.  We also hold group meetings when there is a problem or concern, and when there is something to celebrate, like a birthday or other special occasion.


We build community through ceremonies like the ones at the beginning and end of the summer when we raise and lower the camp flag, but we also build it by learning who our campers and parents are. The more we know, the more we can respond to their needs. I spend time talking with parents of new campers, making sure that the placement we choose is the right one. Some 4-year-olds are ready to be part of an older peer group, to take field trips and swim, and others are not. Some 9-year-olds would enjoy being with young teens in the Dragons group, and some would not. We try to find the right placement for every child, the place that will feel like "home." And if we don't get it at first - or if the child grows and changes - we will facilitate a mid-summer move.

Many of our 3-year-olds start the summer with their teachers and peer group from their toddler year, and then make visits to the preschool camp over the course of a few weeks. When parent and teacher agree that it's time, that child will make the move to preschool, becoming a "big kid" in an organic way, at his or her own pace. Sometimes we even send a favorite staff member with them for that first week, especially if they have a favorite junior counselor buddy. 

We all spend our lives balancing our wish to be comfortable and our drive to grow, and it's no different for the children. As the adults in their lives, we consider it a sacred trust to be guides and nurturers on their journey through childhood.




News & NotesNews
Join us for our Back-to-School Picnic - On-campus for the first time!
August 26, 2015 - 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Wilmington Montessori School

Don't miss WMS's first community event of the year. Meet your child's teachers, classmates and other WMS families and staff; enjoy live music and face-painting; sample Smart Lunches; find out about WMS's Extended Day Programs and after-school specials; and explore our campus and playgrounds.

Bring your own dinner or purchase food from Kapow Food Truck, featuring a delicious blend of Thai, Korean and Hawaiian flavors. For those looking for a sweet treat, snow cones will also be for sale.

Visit www.wmsde.org to check for a cancellation notice in case of inclement weather. For more information, email [email protected] or call 302-475-0555.
magnus health
Message from Nurse Paige:
Back-to-School Forms

It's hard to believe it is August! The 2015-16 WMS school year will be underway before we know it. 

Many thanks to all who have already completed the back-to-school requirements on the Magnus Health System! If you have not, please take a few moments to do so as soon as possible. 

In order to efficiently prepare for the new school year, we must receive the information well in advance of the first day of school. If you have any questions or if I may be of any assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me at
[email protected]

Click here to log into the Magnus Health Portal. 

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention. Wishing you a safe and happy last few weeks of summer.


Only a few weeks left to support the 2014-15 Annual Fund

WMS's 2014-15 Annual Fund closes on August 31, and it's not too late to make your gift! The Annual Fund supports our 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!
  • Donate to the WMS Annual Fund Today
    Edmodo News for the 2015-16 School Year

    Returning families will remember that WMS introduced Edmodo as a primary tool for communicating with parents last year. 2014 was the first year Edmodo offered parent communication tools, and we are excited about the many enhancements that have been added during the past few months.These improvements will enrich the partnership between WMS parents and staff by making it easier for you to get a glimpse inside your child's classroom.

    Updates include:
    • New and improved mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows - All content can now be viewed with the apps! 
    • Parent comments - Parents will be able to respond to Edmodo posts directly through the system and the app. Please note that any specific questions or messages regarding your child should be addressed through your teacher's official WMS email account.
    • Enhancements to the teachers' version of Edmodo - It will be easier for your child's teacher to share photos, documents, videos and more due to improvements in their version of Edmodo - which means that you will receive better content!
    To prepare for the start of school, please visit our website for links to the mobile versions of Edmodo. If you already have an account, be sure that you follow the instructions to set up notifications so you don't miss anything. Important: Edmodo will be the primary communication tool used by teachers to share classroom information - if you do not set up your account, you will miss important information.

    New families will be introduced to Edmodo at the New Family reception and receive instructions to sign up by email. Rose Feehan, Instructional Technology Coach, and Noel Dietrich, Director of Communications, will be available to help new and returning families get up and running on Edmodo at the start of the school year. Stay tuned for more information about workshops and training!
    Today's LearnersLearner

    School/Camp vs. "Daycare" in the Toddler Classroom

    "I work!" Antonio makes a gleeful announcement as he pulls a knobbed cylinder from the rack, its polished wooden surface smooth under his fingers. 


    "Yes!" answers his teacher, Leanne. "Can you get a work mat to put under it?"

    "Yes!" Antonio, who has just turned two, leaps up to pull a rug from the basket. He begins to roll it out, and it bumps up against a shelf. He pushes it and it still doesn't roll.


    "Pull this end," Leanne suggests, and he pulls the opposite edge an inch or two. Still it doesn't quite clear the shelf. He frowns. "Maybe like this?" Leanne helps him to tug the rug a few more inches until it clears the shelf.

    Work mat in place, he places the knobbed cylinder rack, the loose pieces, and the box of knobless cylinders on the rug. He takes out the rest of the knobbed pieces and begins to place the blue cylinders.  The first one he places is the largest one, and he does it on the first try. The next one he picks up is an intermediate size, and he places it first into a slot that isn't quite right. He sees that it is sticking up above the top of the rack, and he moves it into the correct slot, into which it fits perfectly. "Fits!" he exclaims.

    Ella, who has been watching, chooses another rack of knobbed cylinders for herself, and then brings its corresponding box of knobless cylinders. When Leanne reminds her to get a mat, she chooses one that is smaller than the one Antonio chose, but she makes it work.

    When they finish with the work, they fit their knobbed cylinders back into the rack and drop the knobless cylinders back into their color-coded wooden box. These things go back onto the shelf, and the work mats are rolled and returned to the basket. Does this always happen without a reminder? No, but when prompted, the children return and put the work back where it belongs.

    Was the choosing of the work mat and the process of rolling it out extraneous to the "work?" Not at all. Developing good work habits and figuring out how to navigate the practical obstacles of the physical world are very much the work of the early childhood years. Manipulation of the sensorial materials helps them to learn visual and other sense discrimination - can I tell by looking at something where it will fit? What about by feeling its shape with my hand, or feeling how heavy it is? Can things that look different still fit into the same space?

    Toddler parents often ask why a Wilmington Montessori toddler classroom - whether school-year or camp - is not "daycare." The answers to this are many. The brilliance of the Montessori materials, the training and continuous professional development of the teachers, the design of the environment and the schedule, and the patient, consistent and orderly guidance of all of the teachers and staff are just some of the reasons. The other is the respect for - and close observation of - the intelligence, the drive and the developing mind of each child.  

    Tomorrow's LeadersLeaders
    Alumni Spotlight: Kira Messinger, Class of 2004


    This summer, you may have seen Kira Messinger working with campers to build an elaborate Rube Goldberg project, helping out with Keren Portia's yoga camp, "flying" around the preschool classroom with storyteller/performer Clem Bowen, working with the "Kangaroos" (kindergarten-age campers), and more. More than a decade after leaving WMS, Kira, who attended the school from 1996 to 2004, remains a familiar face on our campus.

    "Wilmington Montessori School has been an incredible part of my life for years," Kira says. "Even after I left, some of the things I learned there carried through. I learned to be a lifelong learner and that there is no such thing as too much passion for something. I learned compassion for others and became driven to explore the world around me. I learned about communication skills and how to work well with others. Maybe most importantly, I learned to believe in myself." 


    After WMS, Kira attended school in the Garnet Valley School District. At WMS, Kira began to develop a wide range of interests, the ability to work with a team and strong leadership skills, and in high school, she honed these skills through a variety of activities. She was a co-founder of an anti-bullying campaign called "Let's Be Better Friends," served as an officer for Peer Pals (an organization that worked with students who had developmental disabilities), and was vice president of her school's Gay-Straight Alliance. She also participated in marching band and was captain of her high school's indoor color guard during junior and senior years. In 2011, she took her love of marching band to the next level as a member of Jersey Surf, a professional drum corps that competes around the United States.

    In addition to her many school activities, Kira has also served as a volunteer for several charities and has been an active member of her church community. From sixth grade on, she has been involved with her church's youth group and the Student Adult Leadership Team (SALT). She has also taught Sunday school and vacation Bible school. Kira was part of three mission trips to various areas of need within the United States. She has volunteered with Aid for Friends, City Team Ministries, the Sunday Breakfast Mission and Martha's Carriage House, a home for abused women and children. She has also spent time working with the elderly at various local nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

    Following high school, Kira enrolled at Millersville University where she is double-majoring in Early Childhood and Special Education. "WMS and the teachers I had there were what first inspired me to become a teacher," Kira says. "My teachers and the learning experiences I had at WMS were truly incredible, and I still have that hunger for knowledge - that natural curiosity when I first learned to fall in love with learning!" 

    Along with the busy job of serving as a Resident Assistant, 
    Kira is a member of Millersville's Early Childhood Organization and participates in a tutoring group that works with school-aged children on their homework. She and a co-worker recently co-founded a chapter of the Food Recovery Network on campus. This past year, as a junior, Kira had an internship with Aaron's Acres, an organization that provides a fun and safe environment for students with disabilities. She was in charge of designing and organizing monthly programs for the children and will return to work there again this fall.


    During her breaks from college, she has served as a substitute teacher at WMS. Upon graduation from Millersville in 2016, she plans to enroll in a Montessori training program to gain a certification in teaching either ages 3-6 or 6-9. "It is my goal to one day come full circle from going to WMS to teaching there!" Kira says.


    Looking back upon her time at WMS, Kira remembers a number of times when teachers helped pique her curiosity and love of learning in unexpected ways. Now, she loves having the opportunity to inspire the same sense of wonder in the children she works with at Camp Montessori.


    "My favorite memory is from Liz and Kelly's room," she recalls. "I remember that we had just finished reading 'The Gingerbread Man,' and a parent volunteer baked gingerbread men with us as a follow-up activity. But, when she took the gingerbread men from the oven... Oh no! One was missing! We deduced that perhaps he had run away, just as he had in the book. We began receiving letters and postcards from all over the country and even other parts of the world, all allegedly from the 'gingerbread man.' I found out later that our parents had been sending cards from their business travels. It was just a really fun way to learn about different places around the country and world." 

    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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