W E D N E S D A Y  W E E K L Y
December 9, 2015
In this Issue

Upcoming Events

December 7-11
Code Week
December 17
6-9 Winter Concert Dress Rehearsal
1 p.m. in the Gym

December 18
6-9 Winter Concert
9:30 a.m. in the Gym

December 21-23
Winter Break
Pre-registered child-care only

December 24-January 1
Winter Break
No school or child-care.

January 4
School re-opens.

January 7
6-9 Maker Morning
7:45-8:30 a.m., Room 30

6-9 Information Night for Rising First-Graders 
5-6 p.m., Great Room 

January 14
Primary Enrichment Event - STEAM 
(for prospective students ages 2-5)
10:15-11:15 a.m., Primary Maker Studio

January 15
Application deadline for first-round financial aid decisions (2016-17)

January 18
Martin Luther King Day
Pre-registered child-care only. 

From 12 Months Through 12 Years: Building the Foundation for a Lifetime of Learning
Message from 
Sarah Williams, Director of Early Childhood Education
Sarah Williams_ Director of Early Childhood Education
You may not be ready to think about this yet, but the New Year is right around the corner. With that comes time for reflection on the past year while also looking toward the future. Here at Wilmington Montessori School, when I think about the future, I think about what life has in store for our students. Early childhood experts know that the experiences of childhood play a significant part in the success of students' schooling later in life. The sixth-graders constantly reaffirm for me just how much the experiences in our early childhood programs matter. The vision of your young one as a sixth-grader - or perhaps a thriving, well-rounded adult - may not yet be something you are imagining, but at WMS, we are thinking about it every day.

There is a thread that is carried through the Toddler and Primary programs all the way to the 9-12 Program. Everything our youngest learners are doing right now builds a strong foundation for personal and academic achievement. The cognitive, self-care and interpersonal skills that children develop during these formative years lead to greater self-regulation, abstract thought, innovative thinking and more.
I know, for instance, that Practical Life exercises such as sweeping the floor, pouring water from pitcher to pitcher, and learning to set the table all contribute to a growing sense of pride, accomplishment and responsibility that is needed later in life. However, when I saw the same expression of wonder and pride on the face of a 15-month-old toddler who just successfully used a cup on his own as I did days later on the face of a sixth-grader who successfully completed the prime factorization of a number into the thousands, I was inspired.

Last year, when I heard a Primary student identify a waxwing outside on the playground and compare it to a cardinal, I realized that she had an in-depth knowledge of birds and wondered if she would continue to show that keen interest in the natural world as she grows. When I compare the kind of practice that the Toddler and Primary students do with the Sensorial materials, first subconsciously and then with full awareness, I know that they are concretely organizing their mathematical mind for more complex tasks. Your children are learning how to learn from the very moment they begin their educational journey at WMS.

As you look back on your time at WMS, even if you only joined us in September, take a moment to also think about your child as a competent fourth, fifth or sixth-grader in the 9-12 Program. Imagine him or her harvesting the garden with classmates, participating in book clubs, visiting the United Nations and fundraising for charitable causes. Imagine, also, the endless possibilities that he or she will be offered because of the strong foundation for learning and relating to others that was built in the Toddler and Primary programs. Lastly, be confident that you have chosen a place for your child that has long been a safe and stimulating place for children to learn. We are so happy you are here.

Co-op Cornercoop
Thank You!

Thanks to all of the parents who came together to make last week's Celebration of Reading a huge success. 

Special thanks goes to parent Kim Giles, the event chairperson, and her merry band of volunteers/book lovers. The children had a wonderful time at both the book fair and Maker Faire, as did the parents and staff members who were lucky enough to join in the fun. 
News & NotesNews
FAST logo
Financial Aid Application Now Open

Our 2016-17 Financial Aid application is now open. All application materials, including 2014 tax returns, must be submitted by Friday, January 15, to be eligible for our first round of decisions. 

Because funds are limited and demand is high, late filing of materials may result in non-renewal of a financial aid grant.

For more information, please contact Nancy Oddo, Business Manager.

Giving Tuesday Update

Thank you to everyone who supported WMS on Giving Tuesday!

We surpassed our goal of 20 donations and raised more than $1,100 for the 2015-16 Annual Fund

Our chain of supporters now reaches to the Great Room and continues to stretch down the toddler hallway! Our goal is to cross the entire school and every gift matters!
Congratulations to the Latina-Saarloos Family who won the WMS backpack! Thank you again to everyone who has supported this year's Annual Fund.

Basketball Registration
for grades 3-6

If your child is interested in playing basketball this year, please pick up a registration form at the front desk and turn it in with payment by Tuesday December 15. 

The season will run from January 7 to February 25. No experience is necessary. Participants will learn basic skills, strategies, teamwork and sportsmanship all while having a great time!

Have a first- or second-grader who is interested in basketball? Stay tuned for information about a basketball after-school special program on Mondays. 

WMS Participates in 2015-16 Pathways to Green Schools Program

Wilmington Montessori School is participating in a new program called Delaware Pathways to Green Schools. This program aims to reduce environmental impact and costs, improve the health and wellness of students and staff, and provide effective environmental education in local schools. Eleven schools - seven public and four independent - were accepted into the 2015-16 program, which was developed by the Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC) and is funded by the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility.
The WMS community has a long history of participation in efforts to "go green" both in the classrooms and beyond. Our participation in the Pathways to Green Schools program has given interested WMS parents and staff a chance to come together as a part of the Eco-Team to discuss and share the classroom and school-wide projects currently underway, as well as possible future initiatives. 
All participating schools receive an energy audit conducted by the University of Delaware's Industrial Assessment Center, assistance with energy benchmarking using EPA's Energy Star Portfolio Manager and one-on-one support with implementing new sustainability initiatives. WMS's facilities staff met with the University of Delaware energy audit team last week, and the report and recommendations are expected in the coming weeks.
As a part of the Pathways program, students are learning about another long-running WMS program - the ShoeBox Recycling program, led by parent Kelly Lambiras. Kelly is making presentations in the elementary classes about the environmental costs of making and disposing of shoes. Her presentation in Room 20 on Monday inspired many questions from the children about the resources used in shoe production, as well as ways to reduce shoe waste, reuse the materials in shoes and recycle shoes - to benefit others and our school.  The 9-12 classroom, as well as Room 19, will participate in the same presentation this week and next.  
Stay tuned for more news about the Pathways to Green Schools program here at WMS. If you would like to be a part of the WMS Eco-Team, please contact Laurie Orsic at laurie_orsic@wmsde.org.

About the WMS Shoe Recycling Program
by WMS Parent Kelly Lambiras
Recently, the Room 20 students attended a presentation explaining the shoe recycling program we run here at WMS. They learned how it benefits the environment, other people in need and the school as a fundraiser. We wanted to reach out to families to help you better understand the program as well.
The program accepts all shoes. Anything not reusable is donated to a different program and used for raw materials. Most shoes donated are reusable and shipped to more than 50 different countries around the world. Once there, they are cleaned up and sold in small locally owned businesses at local prices, therefore, supporting local business owners, local economies and keeping prices affordable for local people. The program is also a fundraiser for our school. WMS receives 50 cents per pound for our donated shoes. Since we started this program three years ago, we have raised more than $1,200 for our school!
The children learned the phrase "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" and the great importance of putting these words into action. In the world, about 34 million pairs of running shoes are made per day - about 25 billion pairs per year! Making one pair of sneakers creates about 30 pounds of CO2 gas, which is about 1 billion pounds per day or 750 billion pounds per year. It is estimated it takes about 1,247 gallons of water to make one pair of sneakers and approximately 4,385 gallons of water to make 2 pounds of leather. Hopefully seeing these statistics will inspire all of us to become more conscious consumers.
Reusing shoes, instead of throwing them away, reduces trash in landfills and oceans and reduces trash created during the manufacturing process. Here are a few "conscious consumer" options the children learned about:
  • Okabashi brand sandals are 100% recyclable and made in the USA.
  • Nike Flyknit sneakers are woven in one piece, creating no scrap trash in the manufacturing process.
  • Rawganique is an online store, which carries shoes made of hemp fiber and natural rubber soles. 
  • TOMS Shoes donates a new pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair they sell. Also, their Core Coloured Canvas Classic shoes are all bio-degradable!

We hope this inspires you to donate your old shoes and ask family and friends to pitch in as well. Thanks!
Today's LearnersLearner
Holiday Traditions and the Spiral Curriculum
by Lead Toddler Teacher Lynda Coan
During the holiday season, families observe a variety of traditions, passed down from generation to generation. Over the years, these traditions are repeated and refined as generation makes them their own. They are part of who our families are; an intimate part that fills a variety of personal and spiritual needs. As adults, we share these traditions with our children to help them develop a sense of their family history. These traditions are learned through continued exposure and experiential opportunities. They help our children realize they belong to something bigger.
The way we learn about traditions in our homes is a perfect example of Maria Montessori's spiral curriculum. As young children we are introduced to our parents' traditions in a very concrete fashion. Our parents provide us with experiences and materials to help us gain a foundational understanding of their traditions. These experiences and materials bring the religious and cultural traditions to a sensorial level through which children can explore using all of their senses. The traditions became part of their everyday lives, creating routines and providing a sense of order. Children come to know these patterns of behavior as their "normal," then are given the opportunity to practice these traditions over and over again each year. After years of repetition, children start to take a deeper role in the practices within the traditions. They learned the language and started to identify themselves by these traditions. They slowly move from a simplistic understanding to a more abstract understanding. They move away from being satisfied with the concrete images and start to desire a deeper understanding. They begin to explore and question the deeper meaning behind the traditions. Dr. Montessori called this "the awakening of the spirit."
As children continue to grow, they develop an awareness that their traditions are not universal. Not only do other people have different traditions, but there are also people who practice the same traditions in different ways. The most amazing thing they discover is that no matter what the traditions are, they all served the purpose to fulfill similar personal/spiritual needs. They start to realize that, among their differences, there are similarities. Eventually they started to tap into their own creativity to reshape their traditions to meet their own personal/spiritual needs. And, it is at that time that they finally experienced what Montessori called "cosmic harmony." While they connect to their self within, they gain a better understanding of their role in humanity.

This process embodies what occurs in a Montessori classroom. Your child is initially introduced to concepts in very concrete ways which provide plenty of time for repetition and refinement of skills. Your child utilizes all his senses to feel and manipulate the environment. Once your child establishes a solid foundation he naturally seeks out more abstract information. Your child is no longer satisfied just to know "what something is." Now, he wants to know, "Why is it?" As children continue to grow, their interest in the larger society flourishes. They notice how things are different and how they are the same. They start to ask, "How do I fit in?" They strive to create a sense of their personal identity. As they develop this sense of self they start to look for ways they can "give back." They work to take on their role as contributing members of the larger society. This is a natural process that constantly asks your child to revisit things they thought they knew and discover a deeper understanding.

Both family traditions and a Montessori education are working to developing the person within for the benefit of humanity.
Tomorrow's Leadersleaders
Where do WMS alumni go after graduation?

Last week, we shared some of the middle schools our graduates attend. Many of these schools and programs are very selective, and often tell us how much they appreciate our graduates' level of academic preparation, leadership skills, creativity, open-mindedness and commitment to helping others. This week, we would like to share some of the local high schools these graduates attend after completing middle school:
Archmere Academy
Brandywine High School
Cab Calloway School of the Arts 
Charter School of Wilmington 
Concord High School
Delaware Military Academy
Delcastle High School
Garnet Valley High School 
Haddonfield Memorial High School
Henderson High School
Mount Pleasant High School (IB Program) 
Padua Academy
Saint Mark's High School
Salesianum School
Sanford School
The Tatnall School
Tower Hill School
Ursuline Academy
West Chester East High School
Westtown School
Wilmington Christian School
Wilmington Friends School
Unionville High School 
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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