W E D N E S D A Y  W E E K L Y
March 16, 2016
In this Issue

Upcoming Events

March 14-18
Spirit Week
Help our sixth-graders raise funds for Room to Read
Learn More

March 21-24
Spring Break
Pre-registered child-care available, along with Spring Break Camps

Note: There will be no Saturday front desk coverage during Spring Break.

March 25
Building Closed
No school or child-care.

March 28
No School. Pre-registered child-care available

March 29
Parent Education Webinar: Standardized Testing 
7:30 p.m., Online
Register Now

March 31
Early Registration Deadline for Camp Montessori 
Read More

April 6
Admissions Open House
9:30 a.m. & 5 p.m.
Tell a friend!

April 7
Toddler Sing-Along
11 a.m. in the Great Room

Parent Book Club Meeting
7-8:30 p.m. at WMS
Message from Head of School
Lisa A. Lalama

Read more from Lisa on our Montessori Message blog.
Although you may not have had occasion to read the WMS mission statement or ponder our core values lately, every organization strives to be true to itself and carry out its mission. A lot of thought, exploration and collaboration go into the development of these documents. Once agreed upon, it is imperative to live up to them and the promises they offer.
Most of the days at WMS are filled with opportunities to see examples of our mission and core values come to life. We live them and are proud to be WMS. When a question arises, we look to those documents for guidance.

Each year, there is an event that parents run that fully aligns with WMS and its mission - Odyssey of the Mind. Parents step forward, work hard and spend a great deal of their time supporting the teams of students who choose to participate in the competition each year. Parents support the teams as coaches. They can teach a skill, such as how to use certain tools or how to create a circuit, but according  to the rules of the competition, they are not  allowed to do these things for the children. It's truly an opportunity for children to learn how to determine what is needed and figure out a way to do it. It requires problem-solving, creativity and collaboration. It prompts learning by engaging students' interest in a topic or working toward a solution of a given problem.

This year, three teams participated in regional Odyssey of the Mind tournaments over the past two Saturdays. They had varying degrees of recognition as a result, and one team, which placed second in its category, has been invited to the state tournament in April. Teammates worked together toward a common goal, supporting each other in a variety of ways, sometimes leading and other times following the lead of a team member. They collaborated; parents guided. 

Each year, WMS students have a great deal of success in the Odyssey of the Mind competition. Do they do well because they work on their problems for more hours than other teams? Probably not. Is it because we "teach to the test" by incorporating the problem into their daily work? Definitely not. Are our students smarter or better or somehow superior to the hundreds of others who compete? Maybe yes, maybe not. Or is it because throughout their time as a student at WMS they are offered untold opportunities to work together, guide their own learning, ask adults for help when needed and have them step back so they can own their learning? Is it because, through each student at WMS, we live our mission and values?

We truly empower children to be responsible for their learning and to ask for what is needed. Parents are our partners. None of us could do what we do without the others. That is at the heart of our mission and values. Thank you for being such an important part of WMS.

Co-op Cornercoop

News & NotesNews
Camp Early Registration Deadline:
March 31
The hands of the clock keep spinning, and there are only two weeks left to get the 10% Early Registration discount for Camp Montessori! 

There's something for everyone, and it's all at 
 www.wmsde.org/camp. For more information, email camp@wmsde.org.
bookBook Club - The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age
Thursdays in April

Smart phones, tablets, cable TV and social media are all wonderful advancements of the modern age and can contribute positively to our children's lives and education. But they can also make parenting more complicated. Are you struggling with limits on screen time? Do you find that technology sometimes interferes with establishing meaningful connections with your kids? Join other parents on Thursdays in April at WMS from 7  to 8:30 p.m. to discuss these and other important questions as we read The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age

Steel Drums - Fall 2015
WMS Steel Drums Ensemble Spring 2016
 Fridays, 4-4:45 p.m.
For Grades 3-6

Session 2: Six weeks - $180
Fridays April 8, 15, 22 & 29, May 13 and Thursday, May 19

Performance at the 9-12 Spring Concert

Musician, composer and teacher Joe Ambrosino brings his talents back to WMS for another season!
To register by credit card, go to www.wmsde.org/afterschoolspecialsTo register by check, please submit payment to Cass Winner. 

Beginners welcome!

Last Chance to Purchase Girl Scout Cookies

The two Girl Scout troops that meet at WMS will be holding their final cookie sale of 2016 this Friday during pick-up time (until 4:30 p.m.)  at both the front and side entrances.

Thank you for your support!

Today's LearnersLearner
Cultural Studies in the Primary Program
by Lead 3-6 Teacher Erin Winner
In the Montessori curriculum, cultural studies begin with a broad overview, then gradually zoom in.

In the Primary Program, we begin with the concept of "living or non-living." Is this table living? How about this spider plant? How about your puppy? We then move on to finer and finer distinctions  (e.g., "plant or animal" or "vertebrate or invertebrate") and eventually we reach the different classes of animals.
In Room 13, we recently completed a study of reptiles. A visit from the traveling zoo allowed the children to see live lizards and snakes up close. We followed up by reading a variety of fiction and non-fiction books that helped us to better understand these creatures.  We learned that reptiles are cold-blooded and have scales, and that most reptiles lay eggs.  Our focus then narrowed to turtles.  Many children were able to make personal connections to the topic, sharing experiences of seeing turtles at the zoo or aquarium. 
Through read-alouds and the discussions that followed, we learned to identify the external parts of the turtle, including the carapace and plastron. Young children love to learn new and interesting words, and the Primary years are the ones during which they most enthusiastically and easily absorb even scientific vocabulary.  As a follow-up to this lesson, the class worked together to paint and label a drawing of a large box turtle. We decided to use green, yellow and brown paint, as this would allow our turtle to camouflage in the woods.  Some of the students were surprised to learn that mother turtles lay their eggs in a hole and then leave, making the babies vulnerable to predators. This led to a discussion about parenting behaviors in animals (including humans) and the many differences that exist between species.
Once the children had developed a base of knowledge, we briefly discussed why many turtle species are endangered. We talked about how humans impact turtle populations and habitat, which provided an opportunity for the children to see the interconnectedness of our world. An overarching goal of our cultural education is to foster each child's understanding of and respect for all living things.  Our study of turtles brought together science, literacy, art and imagination, and invited the students into a deeper understanding of our place in the web of life.

Tomorrow's Leadersleaders
Calling all alumni parents!
Would you be willing to participate in an interview or write about your family's WMS experience? Please email alumni@wmsde.org and we will be in touch! Thank you!
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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