Maitland Montessori School

December 2015

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:

Thank you to the PTA board and the tireless volunteers who manned the October 22 Chili Cook-Off and Halloween Party, as well as the November 7 Monte-Soirée.  They make it look effortless on the day so you know a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to make that happen.

Hopefully, you also enjoyed the Lesson Demonstration Nights.  We have written little about what goes on in the classrooms as you came and saw and were impressed.

We wish all the Maitland Montessori School community a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!

Adele Fondo, M.Ed. and Muriel Owens


December 4, 2015:  Parents* Night Out, 6:30-10:00 P.M., Preschool-Third Grade

December 7, 2015:  Preschool/Kindergarten Progress Reports Distributed

December 9, 2015:  Elementary/Middle School December 16 Sub Wednesday Orders Due (order form on under "Resource Documents")

December 11, 2015:  PTA WinterFest 6:00-8:00 P.M.

December 12, 2015:  Parents* Night Out, 5:00-10:00 P.M., Preschool-Third Grade

December 14, 2015:  Auditions for Elementary/Middle School May 13 Musical "Disney*s Alice in Wonderland, Jr.," 3:00-4:30 P.M.
Science Fair for Grades 4-8 and Open House (12:30-2:00 P.M.) at Elementary/Middle School

December 18, 2015:  Jiggleman and "Pajama Day" at Preschool/Kindergarten

December 21, 2015-January 1, 2016:  Schools Closed for Winter Break


January 8:  PTA General Membership Meeting, 6:00-7:30 P.M.  (all parents welcome)

January 9:  Parents* Night Out, Preschool-Third Grade

January 12:  End of Second Marking Period for Elementary/Middle School

January 14: Open House for Upcoming First Grade Students and Their Parents, 6:30 P.M.-7:30 P.M.

January 15:  Student Holiday/Teacher Workday

January 17:  PTA Scottish Highland Games Meet-Up

January 18:  Schools Closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

February 1:  Grades 1-3, Off-Campus Field Trip to Safari Wilderness

February 7, 21, or 28:  PTA Solar Bears or Orlando City Soccer Meet-Up

February 11:  "Chicken Lady" at Preschool/Kindergarten and Elementary (Grades 1-3)

February 13:  Parents* Night Out, Preschool-Third Grade

February 15:  Schools Closed for Presidents Day

February 16-19:  Montessori Week

February 24:  Author Visit at Elementary/Middle School

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

Have a safe and joyous holiday season!

Maitland Montessori School (Preschool/Kindergarten)
Blue Room, Red Room, Yellow Room


We thank our "Pioneer Days" volunteers.  The children always enjoy learning how people lived in a different time than theirs.

We hope you enjoyed our Lesson Demonstration Nights as much as we did.  We love sharing lessons and learning with you.  If you have any questions we did not answer on the evening your Lesson Demonstration Night was scheduled, please let us know.  How interesting was it to watch your child present a lesson and see how he or she learns in the Montessori environment?  We will hold another Lesson Demonstration early in 2016; watch for the dates!

The children are all individuals who are amazing.  We thank you for sharing them with us!


Thank you, parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, for donating your time to listen to our readers.  We thank our sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students for doing the same.

Progress Reports

Progress reports will be distributed December 7.

Kindergarten Leadership Class

For December, Kindergarten Leadership, preschool, and pre-k students will explore the holiday traditions from around the world.  If you have a special festival from your country or culture, please share it with our students.  They love hearing about celebrations they don*t see every day.

After-School Care

Our 2015/2016 school year has reached the halfway point.  It*s amazing how fast it has gone by!  We have had such an eventful and fun after-school care time so far.  In November, we made thank-you cards for our U.S. veterans.  The cards were delivered on Veterans Day to VFW Post #2093 by Mrs. Crosby.  Our veterans were humbled and gratfeul to be remembered and appreciated by our students.  We continue to practice our grace and courtesy, as well as being thoughtful of others.  We also always use our safety rules.

That said, for EVERYONE*S safety we ask that as you leave the campus through the main pedestrian gate, ONLY AN ADULT may push the exit button to open the gate.  Please understand that this is for the safety of ALL our children.


Maitland Montessori Elementary/Middle School

First, Second, and Third Grade Students

If you have any special holiday celebrations, traditions, or crafts you would like to share with us, please contact your child*s teacher to plan a visit.  The students really enjoy your visits and contributions.

Please check to make sure your child has adequate school supplies.  We understand the children enjoy pencils with fun designs on them, but they are often difficult to sharpen.  We would prefer that you please purchase solid wooden pencils.  If you are interested in a good manual sharpener for home that you do not need to mount, take a look at

Mrs. Flanagan/Mrs. Mathis/Mrs. Babinchak

We really enjoyed the large turnout for Lesson Demonstration Night!  The children got a kick out of presenting lessons to their families, and the second and third graders* big "Time Line of Life" project (focusing on the Paleozoic Era) was unveiled then too.  If you were unable to attend, please contact us to arrange an alternate time for you to see what your child has been learning.

The special presentations from members of the community continue to delight us which, in turn, gives us an opportunity to show our gratitude by writing thank-you notes.  We really appreciate the wisdom shared with us by The Butterfly Man, the Maitland Fire Department, and Dr. Alkadry.

If you have not already heard, we have been truly fortunate to have another Montessorian-in-training join our group.  We are so grateful for the enthusiasm and dedication to our children Mrs. Strong brings to our team!

Parents often ask us how they can support learning at home.  Two important activities are making sure your child reads consistently and practices math facts.  Supporting your child*s reading efforts by taking regular trips to the library is a wonderful family activity.  As the holiday season approaches, we suggest having your child assist you with the preparations at home, keeping in mind Dr. Maria Montessori*s philosophy about independence:  "He who is served is limited in his independence; never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed."  We trust that in working together at home, as we do in the classroom, we can only foster more independence and bring more joy to the season!

Mr. Owens/Mrs. Prado

Hello, parents!  We are quite pleased with the progress the children have been making thus far.  We are glad you were able to come out on Lesson Demonstration Night and see what the children have been up to lately.

With a "big" issue of the newsletter following so closely on Lesson Demonstration Night, all we really have to share is a a couple of reminders.  Please practice memorizing math facts at home.  Second and third grade students must take a minimum of one AR comprehension test and one AR vocabulary test each month.

A big thanks to all who donated to the LEGO classroom basket for the PTA*s November 7 Monte-Soirée.  The basket fetched a tidy sum for this annual fall fundraiser!

Of course, do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to drop by for a visit or would like to schedule a conference.

Mrs. Talbert

The children enjoyed showing off their work during Lesson Demonstration Night.

Watching two white peacock caterpillars metamorphose into beautiful butterflies fascinated us.  The caterpillars were a gift to us from Lorenzo Zayas, The Butterfly Man.

We estimated the seeds of a medium-sized pumpkin.  There were 620 seeds.

The children highlighted what they had written in their Gratitude Journals by making a "Gratitude Tree" that would grace their family dining table over the holidays.

Once again, we have ignited an interest in sewing this year.  The children made pumpkins or pumpkin bags.  We hope you look forward to these and other future projects coming home; our children are thrilled when they accomplish a project with their budding sewing skills.

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grade Students

Mrs. Peña/Mrs. Serbia

Lesson Demonstration Night was a great success!  Thank you to all the parents who were able to join us.

Our students continue to progress in all areas.  They are showing excitement about presenting their science fair projects.  Chemistry and physics are part of our integrated curriculum.  Performing experiments in the classroom has given our students a good foundation for organizing their science fair projects.

The fourth grade students are about to be introduced to fractions by working on finding the lowest common multiples (LCM) and the greatest common factors (GCF).  They continue to work further on long division, dynamic multiplication, estimation, and word problems.  We introduced the students to the prokaryotic cell and we will continue the studies of other cells in the following weeks.

Our fifth grade students are working on decimal boards, long division, and the multiplication and division of fractions.

In Culture, we are exploring the migration charts of the U.S. history time lines, economic geography, and the layers of the ocean.

The sixth grade students continue to work on advanced syllabication, writing essays, and the study of nouns.  Their math work includes integers, the area of a section of a circle, the order of operations, algebra, and reviewing multiplication and division of fractions.  In Culture, they began the study of biomes, the study of rocks and minerals, botany through tending the garden, and U.S. history and explorers.

Seventh and Eighth Grade Students

Mrs. Shivji

As the holidays approach, the middle school students were busy with preparations for "Pioneer Day."  In December they will sell the Apopka Rotary Club 2016 calendar as part of the fundraiser for their overnight field trip.  They will also be organizing the "Adopt-a-Family" program, so be sure to stay on the lookout for details about that (in e-mails and on RenWeb).

Thank you for your continued support!

Extracurricular Subjects

Mrs. Peña and Mrs. Serbia/Art

In Art with Mrs. Serbia, the children are experiencing new techniques and concepts such as texture and negative/postive space.  They are learning how to interpret pieces of art, evaluating colors, textures, shapes, line weights, and more.  In January they will begin working on three-dimensional art.

In Art with Mrs. Peña, the students were excited to participate in the Apopka Rotary Club 2016 calendar contest and the Maitland Art Show.  They loved going outside to explore the different textures of nature and illustrating these textures in their individual artwork.  They are now working on positive and negative space.

Apopka Rotary Club 2016 calendars will be sold here at the school.  These calendars make great gifts.  You will be able to purchase them in drive-thru or in the main office.  Three of our students* art was chosen for inclusion in the calendar:  Samantha Froemming (May), Elana Mayo (June), Sophia Carr (September).

The Rotary Club will host an "Artist Appreciation Night" on December 10, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., in the Community room at Florida Hospital Apopka (201 North Park Avenue, Apopka, 32703).  All submitted artwork will be framed and on display, and there will be a special section for the featured calendar artists.  You, your artists, and their families are cordially invited to join in for a great evening of art and light refreshments.

Be sure to RSVP to Bill Spiegel at (407) 925-4382 to let him know if you will be attending and how many artists/family members you think will attend.  An RSVP is necessary to ensure enough refreshments for everybody.

All the framed artwork will be available for pick-up at the end of the evening so the students may take their artwork home.

Mr. Little/Band, Music, Music 101

We*ve been spending more time warming up our voices and singing in preparation for the PTA WinterFest.  Everybody think snow!

Recorder class is going well; it*s such a sweet sound when everybody plays the same notes!  Parents, students should play their recorders every day, even if it*s only for five minutes.  Learning something new in class takes repetition at home to lock it into memory.  Help your child start and he/she will know what to do.  A few minutes and the children will keep what they learned in class; a few more minutes and they will get good at it!

Band I and II are progressing.  Band I is gaining confidence in reading music and now plays songs with five notes.  Band II is moving along too.  A special thanks to one of our seventh grade students who has become my teaching assistant, allowing us to split the band into sectionals.  This way, I can work with just trumpets while my assistant uses her years of experience to help the woodwinds.  Ultimately, this means more individual attention.  Band parents, some students have indicated difficulty in practicing because their schedules "seem" too busy; they seem to never get around to practicing.  Please help your child schedule time for practice; 95% of success is showing up!  It may be helpful to attach practice to another thing that always happens--for instance, practice flute right after finishing math homework.  It*ll provide a great mental break and the practice will also get done.  If the children play even just a little bit, their body will remember more how to do this, and this will really grow self-confidence.

On a side note, my funky jazz group has just finished a new promo video:  We play Friday nights from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the Disney Dolphin Resort.  I*d love to see you there!  For more information go to

Thank you for your continued support, and let me know if I can help with anything.

Mrs. Suazo/P.E.

Is your child keeping you informed of the Physical Education activities?  Just in case, here is a brief overview.

Our primary objective is to use developmentally-appropriate physical activities to provide students with the maximum opportunities for skill improvement and participation.  I consider the ages of our students when selecting their warm-up activities.  They perform different warm-ups and workouts each day to rpvide variety and to maintain their interest.  The students also take turns in leading the exercises.  They work out really hard and build up a sweat!

This quarter, we will focus on cardio exercises like fast walking or jogging for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the grade level).  Jump ropes are an important part of our class, and students jump between 100 to 400 times; our goal for May is between 300 and 600 jumps.  We have started doing soccer drills, such as dribbling, passing, shooting, receiving, and throw-ins which are critical to good play.

Occasionally, children try to avoid participation by telling me they are ill or hurt.  School policy dictates that unless a student has a note from a parent or a doctor, he or she must participate in P.E.  If the injury is severe, such as a broken bone, we will need a note from a doctor telling us when your child can return to P.E. and/or any restrictions he or she may have upon returning.

Please remind your child to wear sneakers and socks on his or her P.E. day.

Mr. Sibbitt/Computer

We*ve covered basic skills and components, done lots of typing, and began covering productivity software.  We use MS Office since most students use that at home.  We are finishing Word studies and moving on to Power Point next.  The middle schoolers currently work with Excel.  Thank you, Ms. García, for sharing your expertise in this program.

Typing practice is paying off for several of our students who are now typing in the 30-50 words-per-minute range.  We practice in class, but practice at home would help.  If you need the school link to practice, please contact Mrs. Dunkle at (407) 628-0019 or log into your RenWeb family account and pull up the December 2015 newsletter under "Resource Documents."

The recent Accelerated Reader program report indicates students have read 347 books, making a total of 11,370,853 words read.  Great job, everyone, and keep up the good work!  Also, don*t forget to make sure your books are AR books at  Keep up with your child*s progress by using Renaissance Home Connect:

Mrs. Prado/Spanish for First, Second, and Third Grade

The children are being introduced to verbs.  They are using articles, nouns, adjectives, and verbs.  We are reviewing vocabulary for the classroom, food, fruits, and vegetables.  We have been working on greetings and phrases.

Ms. García/Spanish for Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade

The fourth grade children are enjoying the new conversational class on Friday.  They practice their numbers, play bingo, do crossword puzzles, and use the concepts learned in the Tuesday class.

The fifth grade children are busy making sentences with the verb "to be," describing friends and family members, describing where farm animals are, and learning the new concept of "to be" + "ing."

Spanish 3:  The sixth and seventh grade children have been working on greetings and goodbyes.  They have studied how to:
*Ask someone*s name
*Ask how someone is
*Introduce someone
*Say where one and others are from
*Give phone numbers and e-mail addresses
*Give the time
*Spell words

Spanish 4:  The eighth grade children recently finished a unit and took their exam; they work hard and it pays off.  They are getting more comfortable with ver conjugation and how verbs need to match their subjects.  We started a new unit, where we will learn about Chile, and we will learn about family trees in Spanish, as well as how to ask about and describe relationships between family members.  We will also learn about possessive adjectives and stem-changing verbs.

December Dates for Parents* Night Out

Plan your holiday shopping excursions and parties now!  Parents* Night Out will be available on the following dates and times:
Friday, December 4, 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 12, 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Detailed information and enrollment forms can be found under "Resource Documents" when you log into your family account on

"Disney*s Alice in Wonderland, Jr." Audition Information

Auditions will be held on Monday, December 14, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The auditions are open to students in Grades 1 through 8.  Everyone who auditions will be cast in the show.

To audition, prepare a short song.  You may bring an accompaniment cd or sing a capella.  Students who wish to audition for larger speaking and singing roles must prepare a monologue from one of the "Disney*s Alice in Wonderland, Jr." excerpts in addition to a song.  The excerpts, along with more detailed information, were e-mailed on November 3.  If you did not receive this information, please contact Mrs. Dunkle in the main office at (407) 628-0019 or

You can get an idea of the music by visiting  Scripts will be distributed on the first day of rehearsal (January 4).

Before auditioning please consider the following:
*Rehearsals will be every Monday, 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., beginning January 4, and are mandatory.
*The performance will take place Friday, May 13, at 7:00 p.m.
*Once a student accepts a part in the show, he or she CANNOT drop out of the show.
*All song and line memorizations must be done at home and are a requirement for being in the show.  Parents must be willing to help their children with this and to make it a part of their children*s daily homework.

If you have any questions, please contact Miss Mel, our drama teacher, at (407) 921-2242 or

Maitland Montessori School Summer School

Our schools will offer summer programs as usual.  Details about the programs should be forthcoming in February, and you should register early for the summer camps.  The summer camps get quite full and spaces are limited.  Come join the fun!

Safety for Your Child*s Sake

Think about it:  We have a drive-thru for a reason--to facilitate dropping off your child on time.  However, if you can*t be here on time, please abide by the following stipulations:

*When dropping off your child after the drive-thru gates are closed, please go to the main office to sign in.  Staff will ensure your child goes to his or her classroom.

*When picking up early, please go to the main office to sign out.  Your child will be brought to you.  If you would like to wait outside the office, you may wait at a red picnic table at the elementary/middle school.  Please remember that only emergency pick-ups are allowed between 2:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., as students are preparing for the end of their day during this time.

*ONLY adults may press the exit button.  Do not allow your child to do this for you, as this is against the school rules.

*Do not park in front of the drive-thru gates (either end).  The gates must be kept clear for emergency vehicles.

*Please do not stop or park on the right of way outside the gates; it is illegal to block the road.

We thank you for your cooperation in these matters; it*s part of keeping our students--your children--safe.

Mrs. Dunkle*s Arts and Crafts on Sale and on Display

We are pleased to announce that Mrs. Dunkle (who creates art under the name of Lydia Bladen) will have a painting and a drawing in "Live, Laugh, Love" at Dandelion Communitea Café, 618 N. Thornton Avenue (behind Colonial Photo and Hobby) in Orlando.  The show is free and family-friendly, and will run for two months.  The opening is Wednesday, December 2, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Mrs. Dunkle*s painting "Ah, Those Glorious Days of Cold!" will appear in "Art That Makes You Smile" at The Barefoot Spa on 801 Virginia Drive in Orlando.  The show opening is on Saturday, December 5, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  The show will run approximately three months and is free and family-friendly. 

On Sunday, December 6, Mrs. Dunkle will have her signature, one-of-a-kind bears and dolls on sale, along with note cards and her art, at the Sparkle Handmade Market, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  This one-day event takes place at Dandelion Communitea Café (see the info above).

December 7 through December 18 (or until supplies last), Mrs. Dunkle will have her colorful critters for sale at reasonable prices in the main office...that is, if they don*t all sell at Sparkle.  Feel free to do some gift shopping for yourself and others!

Thank you for supporting your local artist!

PTA "Tidbits"

We thank all of you who came to the November 7 Monte-Soirée!  We sold over 120 tickets and filled the University Club. Everyone had fun and the bidding wars got very intense!

A special thank-you goes to:
Everyone who helped organize, work, and set up the event
All the parents and teachers who donated so many great auction items
The room parents who organized the class baskets (The baskets were a new item added to the auction this year and they were a big hit.)
We could not have done it without you and we are so grateful.  Again, thank you.

We would also like to express our gratitude to our sponsors:
3E Consultants - The Pearson Family (who also donated the bar)
Starling Chevrolet and Cadillac - The Starling Family

AKT - The Wells Family
Cypress Supply - The Streich Family
FABRKATE - The De Luca Family
Temple Israel - The Neely Family

Arine Albert and Rachel Stewart, Your Monte-Soirée Co-Chairs

For the full list of prize winners, please log into your RenWeb family account and pull up the December 2015 school newsletter under "Resource Documents."


Please mark your calendars for our next big event, the WinterFest Holiday Party.  This event takes place on Friday, December 11 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and will include a delightful student concert and the PTA*s "famous" Cookie Walk.  Remember to drop off your (preferably homemade) cookies at the main office the day of the event.  Then come to the WinterFest with $5 in hand and fill a container (we will provide) with treats on the Walk.  As always, there will be a PTA-sponsored dinner and hot cocoa.  We promise you will leave filled up in every way!


We know everyone is very busy trying to keep up with multiple events through multiple organizations.  You may even have children in multiple schools on our campus, or other school campuses altogether.  We try to make it easy for you by having our information available at your fingertips, 24/7:

First, be sure to read your e-mails from  Make sure you add us to your contacts so we don*t end up in the dreaded Junk folder (and while your*re at it, add so you don*t miss any billing reminders either).

Read our monthly school newsletter, paying particular attention to the "Important Dates" section.  The newsletter is e-mailed every month, the beginning of the month, and is posted on our website,, and under "Resource Documents" on your RenWeb family account.

Log into your family account on regularly and read the announcements.  We recommend checking the announcements daily, like you would your e-mail.  All the current announcements are listed, but if you don*t have time to read them all at that moment, be sure to at least read "Today*s" and "Tomorrow*s Events" which are listed to the right of all the current announcements.

Log into your family account on regularly and click on "Calendar."  You can review the school calendar by the month.  Pertinent details and contact information are given for each event listed on any given date.  Merely click on the event o learn more.

Log into your family account on regularly and click on "Calendar."  Click on "My Classrooms" to review your child*s classroom calendar by the month.

The current school calendar, with major dates like Winter Break, Spring Break, school closings for national holidays, etc. are listed on our website,  Click on "Parent Portal."  Then click on "School Calendar."  Please note, though, that for more specific events like field trips, Parents* Night Out, etc., you best bets for finding the information you need are on RenWeb or in the "Important Dates" section of our monthly school newsletter.

If all else fails, you are always welcome to contact the main office at (407) 628-0019 or!