W E D N E S D A Y  W E E K L Y
March 30, 2016
In this Issue


Upcoming Events

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

April 8
The Journey
8:30 a.m. 
Learn More


April 11-15
ERB Testing
Grades 3-6 


April 16
Auction & Gala - A Night at the Museum
7 p.m.
 
"I Got A Feeling"
Message from Head of School
Lisa A. Lalama


Read more from Lisa on our Montessori Message blog.
As I sat in a variety of workshops at the American Montessori Society's national conference in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, I heard many things I've been hearing for a while. Years ago, Montessori education distinguished itself by the true nature of its pedagogy and philosophy. It is student centered, follows the child, promotes hands-on learning, offers an integrated approach to all types of learning, provides collaborative learning environments and more. Today many schools and most educational systems hold claim to these very ideals. So why choose a Montessori education over other options? Why choose Wilmington Montessori School?

One of the sessions I attended focused on this very question. What is that difference? Why does it matter? Now, if you ask anyone in our school they know the answer. Putting it into words is a whole other story. Whether we like to admit it or not, many of our "big decisions" in life are based less on facts and data than we might like to think. How we choose a house or car to purchase, a partner in business and, yes, even a school for ourselves or our children is often based on objective criteria too numerous to mention here. However, the final decisions often contain a lot of emotional aspects that we may only recognize in hindsight. The trick is tapping into that emotion. What we know is that people choose schools because of their safe environment, well-trained teachers, test scores, rigorous curriculum, student success and satisfaction of others who have chosen the school. What we don't often recognize is that when people enter a school - or a business or a restaurant or a home - they are influenced by the "feeling" they have and the experience of the visit.

Data speaks and we work hard to meet the demands of education today. At WMS, we want our data to speak to our student success and solid future of the school. But what keeps people at the school is the feeling of community, of being a part of something more than simply "an elementary school in Wilmington, Delaware." Being part of WMS is being a part of something larger than any one of us. It is being a voice for what education can be and what we strive to be each and every day. We do not need to meet the demands of a school district or a new government initiative. We can be what we know children need: a school that involves their family, nurtures their spirit, introduces them to learning for learning's sake, and nurtures that introduction to become what drives them to learn and succeed in school and in life. That is what you felt as you came into the school and that is what shines through today.

We cannot be complacent and allow what is the current considered "best practice" to lead us astray. We must work to do what we know is right for children and their learning. Our commitment to those goals is what sets us apart and will keep us on the path to a future of students who succeed in ways as unique as they are, students who are learning about the world and working toward solutions to meet its needs, students who love to learn and learn because they are curious and interested.

We are WMS. Notice the difference.

    
 
Co-op Cornercoop
Auction Bakers Needed

The auction committee is looking for volunteers to provide home-baked cookies, cupcakes, cakes and pastries to serve at this year's auction. This is an important school-wide fundraiser, and the committee would be grateful for any contributions. Contact Lori Oberly (lori_oberly@wmsde.org) or co-op@wmsde.org to volunteer.

Baked goods may be dropped off at the front desk on Friday, April 15 (until 6 p.m.) or Saturday, April 16 (before 1 p.m.) and marked with the recipe name, as well as your name.
 
Auction guests will enjoy the festivities even more with a range of delicious treats spread before them. If you want to make something to match the theme of the auction - A Night at the Museum - it will add to the fun. Thank you in advance for any help you can offer.
News & NotesNews
Camp Early Registration Deadline:
March 31 (Tomorrow!)
 
The hands of the clock keep spinning, and there is only ONE DAY 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.
Five Reasons Why You Should Attend the WMS Auction & Gala
 
Do you need a reason to buy your ticket to the WMS Auction & Gala: A Night at the Museum on Saturday, April 16 at 7 p.m.? No problem...we'll give you FIVE!
 
1. Life is crazy, and you could really use a fun night out! (Don't we all?)
2. You can bid on very cool things like vacation homes, tickets to sports events and amazing art made by your child's classroom.
3. You've been waiting for an excuse to dress up as your favorite work of art or artist. (Don't worry... this is not a requirement!)
4. All but $25 of your ticket is tax deductible, and the money goes to help create the kind of educational environment where children are truly thriving!
5. Did we mention that you could really use a fun night out?
 
Don't wait! Buy your tickets online today! 
Lights, Camera, Action!

This week, you may have noticed a group of young filmmakers roaming the halls of WMS.

This group, led by WMS alumnus Lukas MacKinney, is working on a short film about WMS for Lukas' Eagle Scout project. Not only have Lukas and his team been filming our students; they are also teaching our 9-12 students about the process of creating a short movie.

We can't wait to see their final project!
journeyThe Journey
Join us on The Journey -
April 8 at 8:30 a.m.

Whether you're a long-time Wilmington Montessori School parent or just beginning to learn about Montessori education - it is time to step out of the observation room and into the classroom!

Learn more about The Journey.

Registration is free and you receive five Co-op hours per family for attending.

Register Now Button

Child-care is available by registering with cass_winner@wmsde.org in advance.

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

Please RSVP to lisa.hastings.sheppard@gmail.com or simply show up on the first night (Thursday, April 7)!

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!
Support the 2015-16 Annual Fund

It's not too late!
 
Our WMS Community of Givers has extended almost across the entire school. Thank you!
 
Gifts to the Annual Fund come from our current families, Board and Advisory Board members, grandparents, WMS teachers and staff, and families of alumni and former WMS students. We all believe that WMS is a special place and your support is what keeps our school thriving.
 
It's not too late to add your name to the chain! We still need $20,000 to make our goal! Make your donation online at www.wmsde.org/annualfund or stop by the Development Office. Thank you!
#GivingTuesday 2015 - #WMSCommunity
Click above to watch our #WMSCommunity video!
 
Today's LearnersLearner
Toddler Art: Process vs. Project
by Lead Pre-Primary (Toddler) Teacher Lynda Coan
 

The Montessori environment is filled with activities that help children explore, experience, observe and appreciate the artistic expressions in their world. Artistic creativity is the expression of the human spirit acquired through experiences and knowledge. This process helps focus children's actions and thinking into a way to express themselves.

Toddlers are naturally drawn to art. As sensory explorers, they absorb the characteristics of art as it becomes a language of their spirit. There is an important distinction that must be made when discussing toddlers' artwork and creativity. In a Montessori classroom, toddlers' artwork is sensorial and process-oriented. Generally, the children are exploring and experiencing the possibilities of various artistic materials and techniques. Because of this, toddlers' artwork is, by nature, repetitive and serendipitous. How the final result looks is less important than what they learned along the way.

As a parent, you may notice that your toddler is often not interested in what he or she made. Toddlers often paint over art projects, tear them up or even throw them away. This indicates that they value the process more than the end result. Parents should follow their child's lead about what creations he or she would like to keep. Be patient; your toddler's artistic creativity will reveal itself when he or she is able to plan and manipulate materials with precision and knowledge.

We can support toddlers' creative processes by providing a variety of opportunities to experiment and follow their interests. Toddlers should be allowed to choose the materials they would like to explore. Limit the use of adult-led "craft projects," which have predetermined steps, use only certain materials and focus on the end result. These are fine once in a while but tend to place limits on toddlers' thinking, actions and self-expression. Creativity is about doing things in new ways. It requires risk-taking. In the Montessori classroom, the environment provides choices that allow for these creative impulses. The children take the lead in deciding when to engage in art, how to use the medium and when to stop. At times, the children may not like the outcome, but that is OK as well. They took a chance, followed their whim and have experienced the result. We need to show that we value their experimentation and originality over the product. We can learn so much about children by observing their art. Their artwork reflects their moods, feelings, fears and their personal preferences.

It is important to give toddlers feedback about their artwork and let them know we value their risk-taking. However, we need to be mindful that our comments focus on the process rather than the product. For example, comments such as "I saw that you were really enjoying exploring the paint with your fingers today," or "I noticed you took your time deciding which colors to use," tell children that we value the creative process and allows them the freedom to explore another day. On the other hand, saying "I really like your picture," places the focus on the product. These comments can pull children's attention away from their natural desire to explore and take risks, instead causing them to work for the approval of others. This switch in focus can place limits on toddlers' freedom of self-expression.

"Montessori's approach to the arts is a good example of her indirect approach to learning, which leads to increased creativity. The foundation is laid, and the child is then left free to do his own exploring."
- Paula Polk Lillard, Montessori: A Modern Approach

Tomorrow's Leadersleaders
Featured Alumnus: Ben Connor, Class of 2012
 
Above: Ben Connor's profile from WMS's 2012 Memory Book
Many alumni tell us that interests they began to explore at WMS develop into a true passion as they grow older. In Ben Connor's case, his early exposure to the performing arts gave him the confidence, skills and love of music and theater that have allowed him to continue performing in school and community theater productions.

Earlier this month, Ben performed in "Ragtime: The Musical" at Mt. Pleasant High School, and over the summer, he will appear in the Arden Shakespeare Gild's production of "Troilus and Cressida."

"My love of theater and music was fostered by WMS music teacher Kelly Rhodunda and her annual spring performance," Ben says. In particular, he fondly remembers playing a DJ during the spring musical "The Journey of Jazz" as a fifth-grader.
 
While theater plays a big part in Ben's life, his interests and many accomplishments are diverse. After graduating from WMS in 2012, he was accepted into the P.S. DuPont Middle School Gifted Program. In eighth grade, Ben won the Pennsylvania State History Bowl with his teammate Ben Snyder (also a WMS alum). The plaque still hangs in the WMS lobby as a symbol of the bond "Ben and Ben" formed during their time at WMS. Today, Ben is a 10th-grader in the International Baccalaureate Program at Mount Pleasant High School. He plays varsity tennis and, in ninth grade, he was part of a team that won the state's "Project Citizen" competition for their plan to alleviate highway congestion. Ben maintains a 4.0 GPA and credits his academic success to the quality of the education he received at WMS. He also continues to enjoy writing and has begun to write short stories which he hopes to publish someday as a collection.
 
Current photo of Ben Connor, WMS Class of 2012
Along with all of his school activities, Ben is active within his church and goes on a week-long summer service trip to Appalachia each year to repair homes.  He also enjoys juggling and reading in his spare time and being with his family's black lab.

Never far from WMS, Ben worked at Camp Montessori as a junior counselor last summer and comes to visit the school often. He very fondly remembers the small reading groups
that read and discussed "Animal Farm" in sixth grade and the thrill of the Secret Snowflake gift exchange every year in the 9-12 Program. He has even kept all the notes he has received from WMS over the years.

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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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