Maitland Montessori School

February 2016

Please note as you read the online school newsletter, asterisks have been used in place of apostrophes. The asterisks are being used for technical reasons; if we use apostrophes, an error message is generated and the newsletter cannot be published to our website.

Notes from the Directors

Enrollments are coming in steadily and the process is complete for your child once you submit your registration fee and tuition insurance payment to the main office.

Thanks to the PTA for organizing the WinterFest.  The colorful lights, together with your children*s talents, led to a memorable event.

We enjoyed meeting with parents of our upcoming kindergarten and first grade students.  Please call the office if you have any further questions.

Enjoy the newsletter!  We thank you for your support; our door is always open to you.

Adele Fondo, M.Ed. and Muriel Owens

"Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence."  --Dr. Maria Montessori


February 4:  Payments and/or Unwanted Pik-Chure Photos Due in the Main Office

February 11:  Kerri Bloom, "Chicken Lady;" Preschool/Kindergarten and Elementary/Middle School

February 12:  Pik-Chure Man Make-Up/Family Photos (Family photos are by appointment only.)

February 13:  Valentine Parents* Night Out, Preschool-8th Grade

February 15:  Schools Closed for Presidents Day

February 16: Open House and Lesson Presentation for Parents and Children (1st, 2nd, and 3rd Grade), 5:30-6:15 P.M. OR 6:15-7:00 P.M.

February 16-19:  Maria Montessori Week (Special events have been planned by the PTA for February 20.)

February 17:  Elementary/Middle School February 24 Sub Wednesday Orders Due

February 20:  PTA Solar Bears Meet-Up

February 24:  Chris Tozier, Author, Visiting 4th-8th Grade Writing Workshop

February 25:  Birds of Prey, Preschool/Kindergarten and Elementary/Middle School

February 29:  "Leap Into Art," Preschool/Kindergarten, 5:30-6:15 P.M. OR 6:15-7:00 P.M. (Open House, Lesson Presentation, and Art Display) and Open House/Lesson Presentation for 4th-8th Grade

March 2:  Shakespeare Alive In-House Field Trip for 1st-3rd Grade

March 3:  Shakespeare Alive In-House Field Trip for 4th-8th Grade

March 5:  Parents* Night Out, Preschool-3rd Grade

March 8-10:  Camp Wewa Overnight Field Trip, 6th-8th Grade

March 10:  Autumn Oaks Petting Zoo and Pony Rides, Preschool/Kindergarten and Elementary/Middle School (Pony rides are at preschool/kindergarten only.)

March 11:  Student Holiday/Teacher Workday/PTA LEGOland Event

March 11, 12, 13:  American Montessori Society (AMS) Conference

March 13:  Daylight Savings Time Begins (Turn clocks forward.)

March 21-25:  Spring Break

March 28:  School Resumes; End of 3rd Marking Period for Elementary/Middle School

March 29-31:  Scholastic Book Fair

April 2:  PTA Spring Fest, 12:00-3:00 P.M.

April 9:  Parents* Night Out, Preschool-3rd Grade

April 14:  Elementary/Middle School Student Art Show

March 21 through March 25 is Spring Break.  We will offer Spring Break care at an additional charge as long as we have at least 12 students enrolled by the deadline.  Please be on the lookout for an e-mail with further information.  The sign-up form will be available under "Resource Documents" on RenWeb.

Thanks to all our devoted "snippers" of General Mills Box Tops for Education.  Those little pieces of paper really add up!  Keep up the snipping!  The collection box is in the main office on the front counter.  Just drop your box tops in the slot.  We collect box tops year-round.

Thank you, volunteers, for making our school community special!

Valentine Parents* Night Out for ALL GRADES

Celebrate the day before!  Beat the crowds.  Check "Resource Documents" when you log into your family account on  We will be hosting a Parents* Night Out on Saturday, February 13 for all our students.  You can choose 5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m.  Everybody*s welcome!

Parents, we wanted to share this thank-you note from Dommerich Elementary Community Outreach Chair, Katie DeGrace:  "Thank you so much for the extremely generous donation to our Dommerich families in need.  Those donations made lots of children very happy on Christmas morning--which in turn made their parents very happy and thankful as well.  Thank you again to all the Maitland Montessori families who donated!"

The elementary/middle school science fair was a great success.  We thank the parents who stopped by to see the projects.  Congratulations to our winners!  (To see the winners* names, check out your February newsletter under "Resource Documents" on RenWeb.)

Maitland Montessori School - Preschool/Kindergarten

Ms. Williams, Mrs. Manthe, Ms. Concepcíon; Mrs. Beresheim, Mrs. Becerra, Mrs. Crosby, Ms. Sanchez-Barre; Mrs. Bertizlian, Mrs. Brightwell/Blue Room, Red Room, Yellow Room

 We would greatly appreciate donations of G-rated DVD movies.  Thank you in advance!

We are pleased to announce that Mrs. Becerra, a Red Room teacher, has been called by the Editorial Hispana to publish some of her poems in a Spanish poetry anthology, Herencia Hispana.  The book can be purchased at  Mark your calendars for the presentation of this book, which will take place February 14, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Plaza del Sol, 3831 West Vine Street, Kissimmee.

Blue Room

Happy New Year!  The children are working hard in all areas of the classroom.  In culture we studied Antarctica, the human body, and weather.  In our study of penguins we learned how they live and how they take care of their young.  Do you know how tall an Emperor penguin really is?  We measured our students against a life-sized penguin replica, and the children were surprised by how tall these flightless birds are.  The students carried an egg on their feet (like th penguins do) and held a race.  Next month we will study Asia, nutrition, the five senses, and other birds.  We look forward to celebrating Maria Montessori week with lots of activities.

Red Room

January has been a very busy month for us.  We have been studying Antarctica, the Arctic, weather, and the human body.  The children enjoy human body trivia, as well as videos and lessons on weather.  January was a good month for science experiments.  We made "snow" with baking soda and shaving cream, and we made a hand "boiler."  We domeonstrated how the lungs work with a 2-liter bottle, a plastic gab, and a balloon.  In February we will study Asia, Chinese New Year, nutrition, money, and birds.  And, of course there*s Valentine*s Day!

Yellow Room

The children have settled into their routines after our holiday break.  All areas are bursting with activity.  Some children are doing golden bead work--fetching, making "soup," and performing applications in addition, multiplaction, and subtraction.  Our younger children enjoy lessons in Practical Life and Sensorial; this work will prepare them for all the other areas of our classroom.  At home they can help grate carrots, set the table, pour a glass of water, and sort socks.  They have practiced these tasks in the classroom and will enjoy putting them to real life use.

With January*s "cold" weather arriving, it seems appropriate that the children are studying the continent of Antarctica and learning about clouds and weather.  They enjoyed several experiments, such as a "cloud in a bottle."  In the upcoming months we will study birds, Asia, nutrition, and the five senses.

We welcome our new student!

Kindergarten Leadership

Aloha from Hawaii!  The children are continuing to study our island state.  They are learning about the musical instruments from Hawaii.  They are learning how to play the puli sticks accompanied by traditional Hawaiian music.  In addition, they are practicing their sewing skills by making a Hawaiian quilt.  They are also making native gourd instruments called uli uli.  We will conclude our study with a Hawaiian luau.

Maitland Montessori Elementary/Middle School - First, Second, Third Grade

Mrs. Flanagan/Mrs. Mathis/Mrs. Babinchak

The school year is half over!  Hard to believe, but true, and ans a result, many of our students need some school supplies replenished in their pencil pouches.  Please remember to label any new ite.sms brought in to school.  It can e very frustrating for all involved when a pencil cannot be found and it is time for the child to do written work.

The children presented some absolutely fantastic biography projects in December.  We learned about people from all walks of life and eras of history, from William Shakespeare to Jane Goodall.  Details on our second project will come home later in the spring.

Although we were excited to see each other again upon returning from Winter Break, we had some sad news awaiting us.  Our handsome red Betta fish, Bob, died unexpectedly.  His presence definitely made the room more cheery, so we are pondering what kind of replacement pet might be suitable.

Our field trip this year will take us to Safari Wilderness near Lakeland on February 1 (In fact, we may be on our safari right as your are reading this newsletter!).  We are looking forward to this new experience and using our new knowledge of animals when we return.

We are quickly approching our annual Friendship Luncheon, which as become a Valentine*s Day tradition in the lower elementary classes.  Students will exchange names ahead of time, and provide lunch and a homemade valentine for a classmate on Thursday, February 11.  More information will be sent home soon.  This celebration is a wonderful way for the children to really practice their growing grace and courtesy skills.

Despite all the chatter in the news about schools not teaching cursive handwriting anymore, we continue to promote the use of it for many important reasons, and the second graders were so excited to receive their first cursive lesson right after we returned from Winter Break.  There*s a lovely (but completely optional) Montessori cursive app from the iPad available through the App Store (Intro to Cursive, by Montessorium).  Third graders continue to hone their skills and are even beginning to record some of their work in cursive.  It*s fascinating how such a small thing can make a child feel so grown up!

Of course if you are looking for at-home practice ideas, we always recommend the old standby of practicing math facts to promote speed and accuracy.  Whether you use a tried-but-true method like flashcards, or just call out problems for your child to solve as you are driving to school, repetition leads to mastery!  Thanks as always for your support of your child*s education!

Mr. Owens/Mrs. Prado

The first half of the year has just flow by, and our students are charging full speed ahead.  Here*s a quick recap of this quarter:  In math, the children have studied all kinds of money math, and word problems, along with the vocabulary that helps us solve them, have been a quite intense focus for the class.  Lessons on reading directions and completing a task without asking for clarification have been done; these are significantly important because of their "real world" applications.  These lessons are the elementary school equiivalent of a preschool/kindergarten Practical Life lesson.  Naming geometric shapes and solids, as well as units of measurement, have engaged the class.  We have also worked on a study of lines, angles, and triangle types.  In language the students have built bigger, more complex, and better organized sentences.  They*ve analyzed sentences, written creatively, and edited each others* work.  In culture the topics have touced on a wide variety of subjects in science, geography, and history as they relate to the timeline of humans.  Spelling tests have been going well, with the clas as a whole seeing an average of over 90%!

Please don*t forget that parents are a welcome addition to the class* day.  The students love to work with their own and other children*s parents.

The children continue to move forward with math facts memorization.  If you*re not doing this already, please have your child practice the facts at home for just a few minutes each night.  the difference between having these facts memorized and not will directly affect how far and how quickly your child will advance through the Montessori 6-9 math curriculum.  Don*t forget to check your RenWeb account for the latest calendar and information about what is going on at school.  Don*t hesitate to contact us with any qustions or concerns at:  E-mails are checked as soon as we arrive for school in the morning and before we leave at the end of the day.

Mrs. Talbert

The students have continued their work, and we have many events on our horizon.  We*ve had an explosion of story writing.  We*re traveling to Safari Wilderness Ranch for an off-campus field trip.  We plan to celebrate Chinese New Year, and we*ve studied Chinese brushwork, and some basic Chinese words and tangrams, just to name a few of our lessons.

February is the month when we highlight friendship.  we will host our anual Friendship Luncheon on Thursday, February 11.  The students will each choose a classmate*s name form a hat and will prepare a lunch for that classmate.  The children will have a "possibility lunch list" for their friend from which they can make a lunch.  The children will compliment each other with the "Notes of Kindess" they will write and will take home at the end of the month.

Please be on the lookout for the next spring project*s guidelines.  As your child completes reading a book, please send the book in so he or she can take the accompanying AR comprehension test.

Maitland Montessori Elementary/Middle School - Fourth-Eighth Grade

Mrs. Peña/Mrs. Serbia - Fourth, Fifth, Sixth Grade

In science, all our students are performing successful chemistry and physics experiments, mixtures, and solutions.  For culture, the fourth grade children are researching Chinese civilization; for geography, the meso-climates and microclimates; and for zoology, the prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.  Fifth grade students are learning about U.S.A. explorers, the geographic parts of mountains and rivers, and for zoology they are studying "The Tree of Life."  Our sixth graders independently study the U.S.A. through advanced lessons, as well as water forms and the introduction to biomes.

In language, we ask that all students continue with a half hour of IXL for the rest of the school year.  We have introduced advanced sentence analysis.

In math, all students should do a half hour of math on IXL for the rest of the school year.  Fourth graders are learning divisibility rules and solving division and word problems.  Fifth graders are learning decimal operations and solving word problems.  Sixth graders are cubing and working with formulas.

Reminder:  Please bring complete supplies to school every day.

Mrs. Shivji - Seventh and Eighth Grade

The new year is here and we celebrated with a new class pet, Ginger, a calico guinea pig!

In December we saw "Peter and the Starcatcher" at Orlando Shakespeare Theater.  This was our second visit to the theater this school year.  As the Montessori philosophy recommends, we are attempting to "go out" more; the SunRail has definitely made this much easier for us.  This has inspired the students to look for new destinations, and we are always open to new ideas.

Thank you for your donations to the children in need at Dommerich Elementary.  Your participation was greatly appreciated by both the families and faculty at Dommerich.  Be sure to read the thank-you note at the beginning of this newsletter.

The middle school students, along with Mrs. Peña and Mrs. Serbia*s students, are still corresponding with their friends in Uganda.  We eagerly await their letters in February.

In world history we are studying the early civilizations.  The students are able to compare and contrast the different methods of leadership, both good and bad, which in turn makes the students more aware of the plight of ordinary citizens.

Maitland Montessori Elementary/Middle School - Extracurricular Activities

Mrs. Serbia (Art for First, Second, Third Grade)

We are incorporating and practicing different elements in our artwork:  positive/negative space and texture.  We are experimenting with printmaking and collages.  In December the students created and donated Christmas cards and ornaments to the Seniors Intervention Group in Longwood.  A new element will soon be introduced--the lightness and darkness of color, or value.  The students who attended our preschool/kindergarten are familiar with this element since they would have used the Montesori color tablets there.

Mrs. Peña (Art for Fourth-Eighth Grade)

Students learned the concept of positive and negative space.  Upper elementary students created collages using this concept.  Middle school students also incorporated the concept of positive and negative space.  Their project involved recycled cd cases; they created images for a poem.

Fourth and fifth grade students viewed the painting "Two Young Girls at the Piano" by Renoir to identify how value is used to create depth.  We revised the Color Box III lesson and learned how to use ratios and proportions to achieve different color values.

Fourth and fifth graders additonally explored the elements of comic strip design.  Mr. Dunkle, Mrs. Dunkle husband who is also an artist, visited the class to demonstrate basic techniques the students can use to create their own comic strip art.

As part of our efforts to involve the children in our community, our students created Christmas cards that were distributed to elders thorugh the non-profit organization Seniors Intervention Group.

Mrs. Suazo (P.E.)

You have probably come across the term "hand-to-eye coordination."  You might think this is a special skill which relates only to athletes or sportsmen, who learn and master this skill to improve their game performance and win tournaments.  However, hand-to-eye coordination is on of the body*s most vital skills involving hands and eyes.  These two sets of body parts must work together in order to ensure every movement is smooth and efficient.  Head and neck control is as important as the overall work of the hands, with the eyes observing the hands* operations.  to refine the children*s hand-to-eye coordination and to help them master the skills necessary for hitting a ball or some other object accurately, we are practicing activities using paddles.  The students will learn and develop some basic skills for baseball and other activities.  Students should maintain a positive attitude while performing these exercises so that their physical education can have a lasting effect.  They should learn to appreciate the challenge of moving their bodyies and should maintain a healthy perspective when it comes to their individual athletic abilities.  An uncoordinated student can learn to balance and stay in shape instead of worrying about his or her lack of abilities.  Students should also keep a positive attitude toward each other and toward their school, and even find some enjoyment in their physical education.

Mrs. Prado (Spanish for First, Second, Third Grade)

We are reviewing greetings, conversational skills, letters, and numbers.  We are learning vocabulary for clothing and how to use adjectives in sentences.  We solve crossword puzzles with the vocabulary we have already learned.  We have learned singular and plural words, as well as vocabulary for things in the classroom and verbs.  We will continue to practice using articles, nouns, and verbs, as well as study the designations of masculine and feminine in the vocabulary of the Spanish language.

Ms. García (Spanish for Fourth-Eighth Grade)

Spanish 2:  Fourth and fifth grade children learned new vocabulary for family members and body parts.  we continue practicing the vocabulary for items in the classroom and for numbers.  Conjugating the verb "to be" (ser/estar) has proven to be a challenge, but this will get easier with practice.  Advanced fifth graders keep practicing the verb "to be" and are making sentences with the help of the symbolic grammar.

Spanish 3:  The sixth and seventh grade children started the second chapter; we learned about Puerto Rico, its traditions and customs.  We will also learn how to:

*Ask what someone is like
*Describe someone
*Ask about someone*s age and birthday
*Use ser with adjectives
*Use gender and adjective agreement
*Form questions
*Describe things
*Use singular and plural forms of nouns
*Use definite articles
*Use the verb gustar
*Use the words ¿por qué? and porque

Spanish 4:  The eighth grade children started the fifth chapter and are learning about Chile, its flora and fauna and national parks.  The children learned vocabulary for extended family members, and how to ask about grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, and cousins.  We also learned about possessive adjectives and stem-changing verbs.  We will start learning new vocabulary for items in our homes as well as for locations; we will learn the verb "to be" with prepositions and the negatives of "never," "neither," and "none."

Mr. Little (Band/Chorus/Music 101)

Thank you for the support and kind comments you offered after our WinterFest performance.  I was very proud of our students and how they performed.  Now that we*re in the new year and back in the swing of things, here*s a little bit of what we*ve been doing.  In all the music classes, we*ve been singing traditional songs and working on Solfege and reading and playing rhythms.  We*ve just started delving into Orff instruments.  You can expect to see these xylophones at our spring performance.  We*ve also been watching videos on the history and origins of jazz.  I*m a big jazz fan and I*m really enjoying bringing one of America*s greatest contributions to the art and music world to our students.  Jazz has had a major influence on practically all modern styles of music, and it all started and developed right here in the U.S.A.

Band I and II and Recorder are moving along, learning new notes and techniques.  This might be a good time for me to ask for parents* assistance in helping the children commit to a daily practice time.  Some parents may not realize that most children don*t know how to set a definite practice time and make it happen, and consequently, they don*t practice as much as they should.  Children need help scheduling and starting.  Band students should practice 30 minutes a day, most days of the week, but 15 minutes a day of focused practice will still have a good effect if that*s all the time a child has.  Even five or ten minutes can help.  For recorder players, five or ten minutes is all they need.  I know most people are very busy.  (I have an 8- and an 11-year-old who do lots of activities; believe me, I understand!)  Your child will "find time to practice" when you help him/her "make time to practice."  The increased enjoyment and confidence are well worth it too.  Thanks for your support!

Mr. Sibbitt (Computer)

We have been working on Power Point since returning from Winter Break.  The children love this program and create some amazing presentations.  I*m hopeful they will be inspired to create slideshows at home.

In the ongoing quest to stay current, we will be pursuing more curriculums that are focused on coding.  Computer programming, or coding, is what makes it possible for us to create computer software, apps, and websites.  During the past couple of years we have participated in the "Hour of Code," an online activity that introduces the basic concepts of coding.  Resources have become available in recent months that will allow sutdnets to gain more in-dpeth experience in a skill that is destined to become part of the STEM initiative.  Even if being a programmer is not a personal goal, coding teaches how to analyze a problem and figure out the logical steps needed to solve that problem, making it a critical thinking skill, and the children love doing it.  There are mutliple websites available that teach coding, such as,,,, etc.  We will use to start and will expand from there.  I have been attending workshops and practicing coding myself to get up to speed, and I invite any parents who work in this field to please contact me so that I may relate to the students the opportunities available to them as coders.

The Accelerated Reader program reports that, as of January 25, 2016, our students have read 502 books for a total of 17,210,913 words read.  Great job, everyone!  Keep up the good work.  Also, don*t forget to check your books on to make sure they are actually AR books.  Keep up with your child*s progress by using Renaissance Home Connect at

General News

Pik-Chure Man make-up photos will be taken on Friday, February 12.  Be sure to send an e-mail or handwritten note to Mrs. Dunkle in the main office no later than Thursday, February 11 if you would like your child*s photo retaken.  If your child was absent for the original shoot and was supposed to have his or her photo taken, we have already put him/her on the list for retakes.

The Pik-Chure Man will also be taking family photos on February 12, starting at 3:00 p.m., at the school.  Please note that for family photos you will need to arrange an appointment with Mrs. Dunkle at (407) 628-0019.  Appointments are extremely limited so don*t delay if you are interested.

If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Dunkle at (407) 628-0019 or

PTA "Tidbits"

Save These Important Dates!  Mark Your Calendars!

Orlando Solar Bears Meet-UpFriday, February 20; 7:30 P.M., End of Game, Amway Center

Come hang out with all your Montessori friends and cheer on the Orlando Solar Bears while they battle the Indy Fuel!  We got a reduced rate and lower-level seating.  Look forward to a pesonal visit from Shades the mascot, a free gift, and a night to remember.

LEGOland Meet-UpFriday, March 11, 8:30 A.M., Winter Haven

This is an annual favorite and just perfect because March 11 is a teacher workday/student holiday.  Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available at a big discount:  children are $15 and adults $25.  (Compare that to $72 and $79!)  Invite friends, family, and even your neighbors to come out and play!  There is no limit to the number of tickets you can buy.

Spring Fest
Saturday, April 2, 12:00 P.M.-3:00 P.M., Lake Lily in Maitland

We are bringing back Spring Fest!  Yay!  Look forward to an old-fashioned, back-to-basics event at Lake Lily, the best park in town!  There will be music, games, popcorn, and buckets of fun inspired by Maria Montessori.  (Now all we need to do is hope for great weather.)  Plan to bring a picnic lunch and a blanket, and join us for this annual favorite.

Contact the PTA at

Check out the latest calendar information at

After-School Robotics

We had a successful session in our Robotics Club in 2015.  The children built a beautiful Lego city, and their parents had a chance to enjoy their learning growth and their abilities, not only in building, but also in programming.

In our EV3 experience, children built and programmed two models:  on that threw plastic balls and had biped movement (the EV3 Storm), and the other that stopped when a touch sensor was activated (a Rover).  The students studied the numerous aspects of the motors and different sensors to complete missions.  However, the most important thing for us was to witness a strong leadership from our EV3 students, who helped and inspired the students working with the WEDO robots.

We are looking forward to seeing how the creativity and sense of community takes place in our Robotics Club this semester.  Welcome, students, to our Spring 2016 session!