Maitland Montessori School

October 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.

Note from the Directors:

Welcome back!  Our first five weeks rean smoothly.  The careful and thoughtful planning during the summer months brought a sucessful school start.

Stay informed of school activities and events by visiting and logging in.  If you are having trouble logging in, please call the main office at (407) 628-0019 and they will guide you through the process.  All information will be on RenWeb and we will be moving away from paper copies as the way to disperse information.

Part of our job as directors is to attend Montessori conferences and meetings so we can stay abreast of important information.  We also belong to the Maitland Chamber of Commerce to connect with our community.

Parents may now begin to volunteer and observe classes in session.  Parent conferences may be scheduled by calling Ms. Leslie, our office administrator, at (407) 628-0019.  Pleae refrain from holding conferences in morning or afternoon drive-thru as other parents may be detained from appointments.  If you would like to speak to a teacher or a director, please park your car and come inside.

One of our other roles is teacher education.  We meet from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. each Wednesday, teaching adults to become Early Childhood Montessori teachers.  Our elementary teacher education program occurs during the summer months.  If you are interested in attending, please call the main office to find out what the evening will be about and to see if it is of interest to you.  All parents are welcome to attend but please keep in mind that we do not offer child care then.

We look forward to the months ahead, and together we will have another successful school year!

Adele Fondo, M.Ed. and Muriel Owens

Important Dates

October 8:  Maitland Fire Department and Rescue Vehicle at Preschool/Kindergarten and Elementary/Middle School

October 14:  "Butterfly Man" In-House Field Trip for Grades 1-3, starts at 9:00 a.m.

October 16:  Parents* Night Out, Preschool-3rd Grade

October 19:  End of First Marking Period for Elementary/Middle School

October 22:  PTA Chili Cook-Off & Halloween Part, 6:15-8:00 P.M.

October 23:  Student Holiday/Teacher Workday

October 30:  Elementary/Middle School Report Cards Distributed and Pinktober Day

November 7:  PTA Monte-Soirée, 6:00-10:00 P.M., University Club Winter Park

November 12:  "Amazing Animals:  Ocean," Preschool/Kindergarten

November 13:  Parents* Night Out, Preschool-3rd Grade

November 16 & 17:  "Pioneer Days" at Preschool/Kindergarten

November 19:  "Pioneer Day" at Elementary/Middle School

November 23 & 24:  Thanksgiving Camp

November 25-27:  Schools Closed for Thanksgiving

December 4 & 12:  Parents* Night Out, Preschool-3rd Grade

December 11:  PTA WinterFest, 6:15-8:00 P.M.

December 18:  Jiggleman at Preschool/Kindergarten

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

January 4, 2016:  School Resumes

Donations of old music CDs will be appreciated by Mrs. Talbert for a Pioneer Day weaving project.  She needs approximately 100 CDs.  Thank you in advance for your generosity!

"To give a child liberty is not to abandon him to himself." --Dr. Maria Montessori

Preschool/Kindergarten - Blue Room, Red Room, and Yellow Room

Your Child*s Morning:  Arrival Sets the Tone for the Day

The following are questions parents ask us on a regular basis.  Please take a moment and read the answers.


1.  Does it matter if my child arrives late?
2.  Why am I required to drop by child off in drive-thru?
3.  My child wants me to walk into the classroom.  Why is this wrong?
4.  I only need a minute of the teacher*s time.  Why can*t I park on the driveway and leave my car to go into the classroom?
5.  Does it matter if my child is picked up early?


1.  Yes, it matters if your child arrives late.  As parents, you set the example for your child*s school habits for the next 12 years or more.  Tardy arrivals will appear on a report card.  By arriving late--even if it is only five minutes each day--you are telling your child it is acceptable to not be on time for "work."  We call the activities in the classroom the child*s work, and so the child is coming to work.  There are consequences in the real world for constantly keeping bad time.  Drop-off is between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m., thus allowing the child time to come into the school, put away his or her lunch box, and socialize prior to going to work.  This half hour is a very important part of the day; the tardy child loses this opportunity.  The other children are already at work (either individually or in groups), and it takes longer for the tardy child to assimilate into the classroom.  Your child may even tell you he or she has no friends, but this is because children already working will not stop to chat with a tardy child.

2.  Drive-thru is the way we do admittance for the day; staff/pupil ratios are established during this time.  A teacher from your child*s room will come to your car and, as the child picks up his or her lunch box, climbs out of the car seat, and happily jumps out, you have this time to relay necessary messages for the day.  The child will gain a sense of independence by feeling he or she is going "out on his or her own."  In fact, this could be your child*s first lesson in independence--leaving you with confidence.  The child is responsible for his or her lunch box, hanging his or her coat, putting away books and or Show-and-Tell items, and walking into the classroom to socialize with friends.  Additionally, the drive-thru is the safest method of admittance from a traffic point of view.

3.  Generally speaking, if the child asks you to walk into class every day he or she senses that you are not ready to do drive-thru and intuits your need to walk him or her to the classroom; your child wants to please you.  In order to keep your child on the track towards independence, you need to talk to him or her and make the decsision that drive-thru is the way to enter shcool; it is school policy.  Every child needs consistency and order, so ask yourself, "Do I walk my child into school for his/her sake, or for mine?  Am I the one who is not ready to let go?  Who is this helping?"  If there is a legitimate issue, we are available to discuss it.

If you wish to participate in your child*s classroom we greatly appreciate parents coming to listen to readers at any time.  Just arrange for a time with the class teachers; they will let you know the sign-in procedures.  We welcome all parents to be a part of the class, but drive-thru is your child*s first lesson each day.

4.  A minute of the teacher*s time in the classroom first thing in the morning is a very valuable commodity.  The teacher*s primary responsibility in the classroom is to look after the children; the teacher handling drive-thru retrieves children and takes messages.  This is where staff/pupil ratios come into play--60 seconds is a long time, especially if the delay causes congestion on the road.  At busy times we have up to five or six cars on the driveway that could compound into a five-minute delay in drive-thru.  We try to keep the traffic moving, but we need your help too.

5.  Early pick-up prematurely ends the afternoon work cycle.  Just as the beginning of the day sets the tone for the day, so the ending of the afternoon work cycle naturally completes the school day.  The children need to wind down, sort completed work, label unfinished work, and put away materials so they are ready for the next day.  If you come early because you happen to be nearby, you are sending a message that what the child needs to do is not relevant.  Obviously, we are not talking about early pick-ups for doctor appointments and the like.  Please read the included "Your Child*s Day."  Staff will not bring children to the office between 2:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.; they are needed in the classrooms.


1.  Classes start at 8:15 a.m. for the elementary/middle school and 8:30 a.m. for the preschool/kindergarten; your child is considered tardy if he or she arrives after these times.

2.  Drive-thru is the accepted way of entering school each morning.  Please use it.

3.  The drive-thru teacher will gladly pass verbal messages to a specific teacher, or you are welcome to write a note that can be delivered by the drive-thru teacher.

4.  One of the goals of the Montessori method is to move the child towards independence.  You, as parents, have spent a great deal of time and effort researching and selecting a program best suited to your child*s learning style, as well as choosing a program that respects the integrity of your child.  The Montessori prepared environment provides a balance of interest for the child between home and the world.  This balance is essential.  The seed of his or her reasoning power--the ability to control his or her own behavior, which aids the development of intelligence--begins here.  A personality is created; and personality has four sides:  physical, intellectual, social, and emotional.  All four sides are interconnected.  Your child needs your support to gain confidence and independence as he or she enters our school to begin his or her work.

5.  Late arrivals and early pick-ups will be marked on the report cards.

For those of you who would like to read more of Dr. Maria Montessori*s theories on child development, we recommend the book The Secret of Childhood.  We hope this has addressed your questions and concerns.  We thank those of you who have been following the preferred procedures.  If we can be of further assistance please feel free to contact us.

Your Child*s Day at Maitland Montessori School (Preschool/Kindergarten)

7:30-8:00 a.m.

Early drop-off (parents walk into school) and sign-in with staff

8:00-8:30 a.m.

Drive-thru drop-off (Staff help children from the car and children go inside, put away their lunch boxes, socialize, and find work.  The children*s first lesson on independence is to walk confidently into school.)

8:30 a.m.

Gates close.  (Parents dropping off after 8:30 a.m. need to enter by way of the pedestrian gate at the east side and sign in at the main office.  The children are walked to class by staff.  It does affect your child*s day if he/she arrives late; remember, we are setting patterns for future growth.  It matters if you are late!)

8:30-11:00 a.m.

Children work with materials; staff give lessons.

11:00-11:30 a.m.

Children have group circle.

11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Half-Day children outside to play from 11:30 to 11:45; 11:45 to 12:00 they snack by security gate.  Pick-up/drop-off takes place through pedestrian security gate.  (If raining, the gates are open for drive-thru pick-up.)

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Full-Day children eat lunch in their classrooms:
*Have you packed containers your child can open independently?
*Have you given your child a spoon if he needs it?
*Does your child have a cloth napkin on which to unpack her lunch?
*Staff will return uneaten food so you may monitor your child*s likes and dislikes.

12:15-12:45 p.m.

Children play outside.

12:45-1:00 p.m.

Washing hands and circle time (Children come together as a group and discover new ideas, usually from the cultural area.)

1:00-2:30 p.m.

Work cycle (Children pick work independently.)

Between 2:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. the children put away work and prepare the classroom for the next day.  They take pride in this.  For this reason, no children for walk-in pick-ups will be brought to the office after 2:00 p.m., so staff and students may conclude the day relaxed and organized.  All pick-ups will be through the drive-thru.

2:30-3:00 p.m.

Drive-thru pick-up (Each classroom has a helper to bring the children outside.  Staff do not buckle children into car seats.  Children are in a group while they wait for your arrival.)

3:00-6:00 p.m.

After-school pick-up (Parents walk into school and sign out.  Parents are charged after-school care charges according to the time they sign out.)


On Wednesay, kindergarten students have P.E.  On Thursday, pre-k students have P.E.  Please make sure your child dresses appropriately for his or her P.E. day (shoes for running, shorts, etc.).

Manners Maketh the Man

Our title is taken from the motto of Winchester College and New College Oxford, and originated from William of Wykeham (1324-1404).  Manners may be a very old idea, but it is one that cannot be replaced no matter how far we progress or how much technology infiltrates our lives.  Politeness is acting in a way that shows respect and consideration for the feelings of others.  Having used the drive-thru and had the opportunity to socialize, the children are ready to build the respect necessary for working as part of a cohesive group.  And so we will begin emphasizing the indispensable niceties.

The number one rule with manners is to treat others the way you would like to be treated; practicing and using good manners, every day and all the time, helps to make them a part of our normal behavior.  Eventually, manners should become as natural as a reflex response.  Our students will have the opportunity to practice and gain confidence in using routine expressions of politeness.  They will participate in many hands-on activities to reinforce the use of manners.

We will focus on using:
*Good morning
*Thank you
*May I...?
*Excuse me
*I*m sorry

Our "Good Manners Days" will begin at drive-thru drop-off.  As staff members open the car doors, w will say, "Good morning."  And we will expect the children to respond.  Please talk to your children and help them understand this is probably the only time in their school career that their teachers will act as "valet greeters"!

So, in drive-thru we will:
*Open the door
*Say "Hello" or "Good morning"
*Expect your child to reply and get out of the car

We will also spend time exploring the special relationship that exists between classmates.  Many activities will be planned to help the children develop the skills and vocabulary they need for interacting with others on a daily basis.

Blue, Red, and Yellow Room News

The children are all settling into their classroom routines and making new friends.  They are enjoying lessons in the classroom and practicing their handwriting for pre-k and kindergarten.

We began our school year by studying our solar system--the planets, the sun, and the moon.  We sang "The Planet Song" and investigated the layers of Earth.  We discovered the importance the sun holds for all life.  We also learned the phases of the moon.

The children enjoyed a visit from "The Reptile Man," who brought snakes, skinks, turtles, tortoises, and even an alligator!

The children are learning about dinosaurs and like to sing "The Dinosaur Song."  They are also learning the seven continents and five oceans through a song (we like to sing!).

Every Friday afternoon, preschool and pre-k students participate in a Culture Wheel which includes Spanish, art and art history, drama, and music and movement.

Mrs. Becerra, Mrs. Beresheim, Mrs. Bertizlian, Mrs. Bhatnagar, Mrs. Brightwell, Ms. Concepcíon, Mrs. Crosby, Mrs. Manthe, Ms. Sanchez-Barre, and Ms. Williams welcome all the new students and look forward to a great year of learning.

Kindergarten Leadership

Our kindergarten students look forward to each Friday*s Kindergarten Leadership class, "Passport Around the World."  "Is it Friday yet?" is a question asked throughout the week.

Every year we focus on the seven continents.  This year we will also "visit" our 50th state, Hawaii, during our study of North America.

We will study music, too, highlighting percussion instruments around the world.  For science, we will get up close and personal with the insect world.  Mrs. Bertizlian and Ms. Williams look forward to a great year of learning and fun.

After-School Care

Welcome back, returning students, and welcome to our new friends in after-school care!  We are excited to see all of you.  We*ve had a fun start this year in after-school care.  Mrs. Becerra discovered an opportunity for an art presentation at the Maitland Public Library.  In after-school care, our preschool/kindergarten students created many beautiful pushpin punch-outs in the Culture area.  Upper level after-school care students provided many colorful examples of their own lessons, and two elementary/middle school staff members, Mrs. Peña and Mrs. Dunkle (under the name of Bladen), contributed fine art.  The display ran through the month of September, so we hope you had a chance to stop by and peruse it.

This school year we will incorporate Spanish with Mrs. Becerra.  As always, we have many of our favorite manipulatives like LEGOS and Melt-a-Beads.  After-school care is a nice time to share fun activities and enjoy being with our friends.


*Show and Tell is every Monday.
*Books can be shared any day.
*Label clothing, especially coats and jackets for cold weather.
*Replace changes of clothing when clothing is sent home.
*Kindergarten P.E. is every Wednesday; pre-k P.E. is every Thursday.
*Kindergarten Spanish is every Monday; pre-k Spanish is every Friday.

Remember, our door is always open and we look forward to an exciting school year.  Thank you for sharing your children.  They are wonderful, and we know they will thrive and amaze us as the year progresses.

Mrs. Becerra, Mrs. Beresheim, Mrs. Bertizlian, Mrs. Bhatnagar, Mrs. Brightwell, Mrs. Crosby, Ms. Sanchez-Barre, Mrs. Manthe, Mrs. Owens, Ms. Williams

Parents* Night Out

Thank you to all of the parents who brought their children to the first 2015/2016 Parents* Night Out on September 18.  Everyone had a great time!  The funds generated from these events are used by the teachers, who work the events, to pay for conferences and continuing education.  Our American Montessori Conference this year is March 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Below is a list of the Parents* Night Out dates from now until December 2015.  Remember, these are convenient times to plan your date nights and holiday shopping:

Friday, October 16, 2015, 6:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
Friday, November 13, 2015, 6:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
Friday, December 4, 2015, 6:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 12, 2015, 5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

Sign-up forms will be available for these events by logging into your family account at and clickling on "Resource Documents."

Again, thank you for your participation and for sharing your children with us!

Elementary/Middle School

Butterfly Garden

Our butterfly garden continues to thrive.  We designed the garden to be a complete habitat for butterflies.  We planted many attractor and host plants.  The western courtyard side is now mature.  The attractor plants provide nectar for flying insects, including butterflies.  This is where many caterpillars choose to make their chrysalises too.  The butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed, the host plants.  Hatched caterpillars then eat the milkweed.  Once they grow large from all their munching, they become a chrysalis.  After about a week a butterfly emerges; it dries for several hours and then flies away.  Since we started recording this spring, we have seen 27 caterpillars enter the chrysalis stage and emerge successfully as monarch butterflies.  The hungry caterpillars eat so much, though that we recently ran out of milkweed and needed "emergency" replacements!  Eleven more milkweed were added to our garden, thanks to Mrs. Pettis and the PTA.

The garden on the east side of the courtyard is grwoing in.  We are targeting swallowtails in that area of the garden with host plants of parsley, dill, fennel, and also milkweed.

Elementary/Middle School - First/Second/Third Grade

Mrs. Flanagan/Mrs. Mathis/Mrs. Babinchak

Our students are so eager to learn, and we enjoy watching as they work together and become a cohesive community.

We can*t emphasize enough how important this is:  our students each require a pencil that is labeled with his/her initials.  As they work through the weeks, the students* pencils get used up and need to be replaced.  Please make sure the replacement pencils you buy are already labeled with your child*s name or initials before the pencils are brought to school.  We are grateful for your support; the matter of pencils may seem like a small issue, but it actually makes a big difference in your child*s ability to work successfully!

Friday "specials" consist of P.E., Art, and Science.  In Science, the children participated in experiments with matter, classifying solids, liquids, gases, surface tension, types of liquids, and rising hot air.  In our once-a-month Chemistry, we studied the nitrogen and the water cycles.  These experiments are fun and easy to do; your child may even want to help recreate them at home!

We practice handwriting weekly.  First graders work on correct letter formation, spacing, and correct use of capitals.  Second graders work on transitioning into composition books and notebook paper, including the use of margins, titling lessons, punctuation, spacing, and capitalization.  Second graders are itching to start cursive in the spring.  Our third grade group is well into the cursive alphabet and enjoys building words with the letters we*ve learned.  Soon we will move on to upper case letters!

"Show and Tell" is a fun and educational way for your child to share experiences with the class.  This year Show and Tell will allow enough time for everyone to share and not feel rushed.  Please check your monthly calendar to see when your child*s Show and Tell week is, and assist him/her in picking something educational.  A place visited where something new was learned, a collection to show, an experiment or project completed at home, a book to read a page from--these are examples of appropriate things to share.

We enjoyed returning to our plant studies in Botany and working with the middle school students in the garden.  We pulled weeds from our planting beds, worked new compost into the soil, and planted broccoli raab seeds (we learned that broccoli is a great cool season crop).  Mrs. Babinchak brought in cuttings from her own garden for first graders to study the parts of the plant and parts of a root.  Second graders are reviewing ways to identify leaves.  Perhaps you can ask yours to find some leaves at home and tell you what kind of veins the leaves have!

Mr. Owens/Mrs. Prado

The first quarter has flown by and the children are really starting to hit their stride.  Our room runs like a well-oiled machine.  Our new students have adjusted well to their new environment.  Together we have covered the early sections of "The Timeline of Life," with the third graders researching specific life forms in more depth.  As a group, and to varying degrees of difficulty, we have done some problem solving and word problems work.  The students love these lessons because they have figured out that they can get a math and a reading lessons signed off on their work plan; they call it a "work smarter, not harder lesson."  We*ve reviewed place value concepts.  In geometry, we are continuing our study of triangles, naming them by sides and angles.  Other geometry terms, such as "point," "line," "surface," "ray," "parallel," "intersecting," and "perpendicular," have been discussed.  The first graders continue to work through the parts of speech and learn how to formulate complete, well-organized sentences.  We*ve also been working on four-square writing.  In science we*ve covered the first "great lessons" and the experiments that accompany them.  We covered the water cycle, as well as the nitrogen cycle.

Please help your children memorize the math facts.  They should practice for about ten minutes a day, a few days a week.  Memorization will help the children immensely in moving through the math lessons and being exposed to more advanced concepts.  Remember to review the family message journal frequently and to check the "mailbox" in your child*s binder on a regular basis.  Students who are reading and participating in AR need to have their AR test done by the end of the month.  Don*t forget that spelling tests will be done on Wednesday this year.  First graders will choose eight words per week, second graders 15, and third graders 20.

Students are welcome to bring in "Show and Tell" items on Wednesday; please make sure the item they would like to bring is appropriate (i.e., educational).  Participation ribbons and lost teeth do not make for the most interesting Show and Tells.

Please let us know if you would like to visit the room during a work cycle to see your child in action.

Thanks for all of the support and cooperation!  Please never hesitate to e-mail us if you have any questions, ideas, or comments.

Mrs. Talbert

We began with a bang.  The children experienced the "First Great Lesson," which is based on the universe*s formation and scientific principles.  We studied nebulas, where stars are born, and stellar nucleosynthesis, or the life cycle of a star.  We studied our sun, which is white due to its emission of all colors of the light spectrum and our atmosphere refracting the lower spectrum light.  Soon we will investigate the formation of the solar system, and specifically Earth.  The children show an interest in constellations as well.

The children work in all areas of the classroom and a natural rhythm of work is developing.  We began our sewing skills with an "apple cozy."  Sewing builds the fine motor skills and concentration.  Be on the lookout for future projects.

The natural habitat of our butterfly garden has inspired much writing this year.  The children enjoy writing from the perspective of an animal.

Practicing math facts is an important homework activity.  Consider purchasing "Math War," a fun card game for addition and subtraction facts, from School Zone on  A multiplication version is also offered.  Another way to practice is to call out problems and answers while traveling in the car.  "Holey Cards" are available from online retailers as well.

Please be sure your child reads a minimum of 20 minutes every night.  Younger students benefit greatly from reading out loud.  Students need to study their spelling words too; spelling tests are given each Friday.  Practicing at home for weekly spelling tests by having your child spell words out loud, write them on paper, draw them in the air with a finger, or use letter tiles or magnets.  The method does not matter as much as the amount of practice with the words during the week.

Keep in mind as children complete their chapter books, they can take an AR reading comprehension test on the classroom iPad.

The children write regularly in their "Family Message Journals."  Please be sure to respond to your child*s writing.  The students enjoy corresponding in writing and become discouraged when there is no response to what they have written.  Asking about the day*s favorite lesson or an upcoming family event are great conversation starters.

If you have something interesting, please share it with us.

Elementary/Middle School - Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grade Students

Mrs. Peña/Mrs. Serbia

The students are transitioning nicely to fourth grade, to a new classroom, a more detailed work plan, and to math homework on the computer.  We are all adjusting to the new schedule for enrichment classes and trying to organize our time for work plans and lessons.  It is important that you discuss the work plan with your child, review it, and return it signed each Monday.

The math homework on IXL coincides with the lessons the students have received in class or that they need to practice.  We have increased math practice to two hours per week; the week begins each Monday and ends each Sunday.  Weekly, we receive a report on student usage, performance, and progress.  As parents, you are welcome to check on your child*s progress.  The returning students gave IXL a "thumbs up" and prefer it to the math books.

We have also registered our students for IXL language.  Students are assigned language activities and should practice for 30 minutes weekly using IXL.

The vocabulary books provide excellent practice and really narrow down the definitions with specific synonyms and antonyms, multiple meanings, and so much more.  We have used these books for years, and find they prepare the students well in vocabulary and word study.

Vocabulary tests will be given every other Friday.  On a Friday when there will be no vocabulary test, we will give a short math quiz.  Please practice the multiplication tables at home with your child.  Remind him/her of the commutative property of multicplication, so if he/she knows "2 x 8," then he/she also knows "8 x 2."  Soon, division facts will be tested.

The children enjoy writing different types of poetry--for example, shape, ABS, and autobiographical poems.  We are also using the four-square method to construct and write essays.

Spelling tests are every Monday.  If we are off from school on a Monday, please remember that a spelling test will then be given on the Tuesday we return to school.

Our environment is in constant motion, with many levels of understanding, achievement, and abilities.  Our goal as teachers is to introduce as many new concepts as possible within this most important academic, social, and cultural plane of development.  The seeds were sown in the primary and our job as upper lementary teachers is to make sure those seeds germinate and explode into knowledge.

Elementary/Middle School - Seventh and Eighth Grade Students

Mrs. Shivji

The school year is well on the way, and the seventh and eighth grade students have now settled into their new routine.

Our community service program is in full swing.  The sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students listen to the preschoolers read every Wednesday.  This year, students are encouraged to also serve in the community outside of school hours.  The fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students have written letters to their friends in Uganda, and we hope to hear from them in return in October.

The fundraising for the overnight field trip to Camp Wewa began this week with our first Sub Wednesday.  Thank you for your support!

In the classroom, the students are concentrating on world history and the rise of early civilizations.  In order to promote class discussion and informed citizens, the students are studying current events.

Going out into the community is especially important for the middle school students and, therefore, this year we plan to utilize the SunRail as much as possible.  Our first off-campus field trip was the Cornell Museum at Rollins College.

Elementary/Middle School - Enrichment Activities

Mrs. Peña/Art

Upper elementary students had a great start this school year.  They are eager to try new techniques and activities in art class.  We reviewed and explored two elements of art--color and line--through games and art-related activities.  We reviewed terms for colors like "primary," "secondary," and "tertiary."  We incorporated the use of lines through drawing a still life.  The middle school students are keeping a visual journal.  We worked on paintings that we will submit to the Rotary Club of Apopka.  If selected, these paintings will be featured in the 2016 Community Calendar.

Mrs. Serbia/Art

The students have transitioned nicely to my being their art teacher this year.  We*re reviewing important concepts of art--color, lines, value, and shapes.  The students are using these concepts to create their own masterpieces through different mediums.  I*ve incoporated everyday classroom amterials such as the geometric cabinet and materials from the Sensorial and Practical Life areas into our lessons, and the students are enjoying exploring their creativity.

Mrs. Suazo/P.E.

My goal is the development of physically educated students, ones who know the benefits of involvement in physical activity, who value physical activity and its contributions to a healthy lifestyle, and who have learned the skills necessary for performing a variety of physical activities.

The students are now familiar with my class expectations.  Ask them what they mean and how they can show they understand them while in class.  My expectations are:  Be respectful.  Be in control.  Do your best!

Everyone can participate, challenge themselves, and be successful at their own level.

Mr. Little/Music, Recorder, Band

Thank you, directors and staff, for welcoming me so warmily into your ranks.  I have appreciated your kind support.  Mrs. Vache was offered a full-time position at another school and accepted it.  We wish her all the best in her new endeavor!

From as early as I can remember, I*ve always had a great fondness for music.  That love grew throughout the years, compelling me on to college for music and to become a career professional musician and educator.  One of my goals as the music teacher is to bring to your children experiences that will engender that same love of music.

Music class for Grades 1-3 is going well.  We worked on entering the class in a focused, orderly way.  We clapped basic rhythms by rote and by reading them.  We learned note names on a musical staff and as traditional Solfege (do, re, mi, etc.), and we*ve sung Solfege too; these are all preparation for reading music.  I*ve asked students to sing more around the house, and any song they like.  Songs from musicals usually have good melodies, such as songs from "The Sound of Music," "Frozen," "The Lion King," and so on.  This singing practice will prepare them for our December music concert.  With videos and discussion, we*ve investigated the different instruments and families in an orchestra.

Third grade Recorder class is off to a great start.  We*re learning recorder fundamentals to produce a clear, pleasing sound.  We*re using school recorders and books in class.  All third grade Recorder students should also have a recorder at home for practice; they should practice each day at home.  Even five minutes is enough to help.  Parents, ask your child what are the most important things in playing recorder so you may prompt his/her memory of class discussion.  Students should practice the three notes we*ve learned.  We*re looking for long tones that are clear and stable, and changing between notes without any high, squeaky sounds or other anomalies.  Your child may need your help in making sure this happens.  I would certainly appreciate it!

Band I is in the process of learning the fundamentals of sound production and technique.  Proper technique allows for consistent growth.  We want to establish everyone*s basic playing technique correctly (embouchure, hand/finger positions, posture, etc.).  We learned our first three notes and are practicing different songs with those notes.

Band II is up and running, and also working on sound production and technique.  Musicians of all levels frequently return to the fundamentals, thus strengthening their technique to meet the demands of the music they play.  You could think of it as "sharpening the knife."  In a few week we*ll move into more band arrangements.

Lastly, I am a professional musician and have my own band that*s sort of a funky, jazz fusion quartet.  We play every Friday night from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort*s Bluezoo Lounge.   There*s no cover charge.  If you*re out and about on a Friday night, we*d love to see you there.  And sisnce it*s connected to the restaurant, you*re welcome to bring the whole family.  Be sure to stop by and say hi!  For more information visit

Mr. Sibbitt/Computer

Welcome, students, new and old!  Are you ready for some new and exciting things?  Open Office and Google Docs are going to be our primary productivity software.  We are moving forward on coding to expan on last year*s introductory courses, and will delve into design software such as Blender, Unity, and Inkscape.  We will cover the "traditional" areas such as Windows basics, GIMP, and typing.

For typing, we will continue to use Typing Master Online.  This program is available anytime for our students, so please encourage typing at home to help your child advance in this important life skill.  Nothing has changed for returning students regarding user names and passwords.  Please contact the main office at (407) 628-0019 to receive the link with our special school code.

Please contact me if you need your child*s login and password.

The Accelerated Reading program is continuing through Renaissance Place.  Parents, if you would like e-mail notifications regarding AR testing don*t forget to sign up through Renaissance Home Connect.  Please contact the main office for the link.

Also, don*t forget to make sure your books are actually AR books by checking on

Here are some useful downloads and links:  GIMP,; Blender,; coding,; Open Office,

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

In Spanish, the children are being introduced to basic nouns.  The children are using adjectives in conjunction with the vocabulary and constructing simple sentences.  We have learned vocabulary for animals and fruits.  We are reviewing dates, months, days of the week, and seasons.  We will continue to study how to ask someone*s name and how to give our name, and how to ask how someone feels, and how to answer if someone asks us the same.

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

Spanish 2:  The fourth graders are getting used to our smaller group class and weekly follow-up assignments.  They are enjoying the new setting and the conversational class.  Fourth and fifth grade students have been reviewing the following concepts:
Basic classroom commands
Dates (months, days of the week)
Spanish-speaking countries
Articles, nouns, and adjectives
Building sentences

Spanish 3:  The middle school sixth and seventh grade children started the school with a Spanish textbook.  Each chapter introduces a Spanish-speaking country for us to learn more about; Chapter 1 was all about Spain, its traditions and customs.  We have been working on greetings and goodbyes.  Some grammar has been introduced too.  We will continue to study 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 middle school eighth grade children started the school year in Chapter 4 of last year*s textbook.  In this chapter, we learned about Costa Rica, its culture and customs.  We will also learn to use indefinite articles and cuánto, mucho, and poco; use the verbs tener and venir, and learn a few of its idioms.  We will also learn how to:
Say what you have and what you need
Talk about school supplies and school subjects
Talk about plans and give invitations
Use ir a + infinitive
Form -er and -ir verbs in the present
Use hacer, poner, saber, traer, and ver
Use de with salir and sabe

Elementary/Middle School - After-School Activities

Mrs. Becerra and Mrs. Talbert/Robotics Club

We started this semester*s Robotics Club with the acquisition of new extension kits, WeDo sets, and three laptop computers.

We meet on Wednesday with the Ev3 group (4th-5th grade students) and on Friday with the WeDo group (1st-3rd grade students).  The WeDo teams are divided into beginners and advanced groups.  Both groups are strong builders and they are grasping the programming skills quickly.

The Ev3 groups are building a rover and are improving their navigation skills.  At first, our mission was to make them knowledgeable about navigation and about each sensor so that creativity could run its course.  But the creativity and teamwork we saw in our second session was more than we expected.  In our second meeting, when they were about to build a second rover, the students realized that they did not have all the pieces to stabilize the brick, that is, the "brain" of the rover.  They immediately improvised a solution and made the robot stable with their own design.  Our children did this as a team; each member of the group explained their ideas.  We witnessed their determination, optimism, and good sense of humor.

We are so pleased with the enthusiasm and maturity of the team members.  That is what robotics is about--having a place where the students can apply principles of math, physics, and logic as a team.

Famous People Who Chose a Montessori Education for Their Own Children

Stephen J. Cannell, TV Writer/Producer/Director
Patty Duke Austin, Actress
John Bradshaw, Psychologist and Author
Yul Brynner, Actor
Marcy Carcy, TV Producer
Bill Clinton, Former President and Hillary Clinton, Former Secretary of State, Former New York Senator
Michael Douglas, Actor
Shari Lewis, Puppeteer
Yo Yo Ma, Cellist
Jennifer Granholm, Former Governor of Michigan and Daniel Mulhern

Elementary/Middle School General Information

Elementary/middle school parents, please note that students who are in attendance on any given school day less than four (4) hours will be marked absent.

Please be sure to sign your student in at the main office if your elementary/middle school child arrives to school after 8:15 a.m. or after 8:30 a.m. for your preschool/kindergarten child.  Also, sign out if your child leaves before 2:30 p.m.

Please be sure to contact the main office at (407) 628-0019 before 9:30 a.m. if your child will be tardy or absent.

As always, we greatly appreciate your cooperation.

Reminder:  Your child should spend ten minutes per grade level a night on homework.  For example, a fourth grade student should spend 40 minutes on homework.  An additional 20 minutes should be spent reading.

We all know how brutal the Florida heat is.  In trying to combat this, on P.E. days we ask that your child bring a water bottle labeled with his or her name.  We want to make sure the children stay well hydrated during P.E.

Building Strong Readers

Building a love of reading will support our students throughout life.  It will provide confidence in learning, the ability to have stimulating conversation at all stages of life, and an avenue for relaxation.  We encourage choosing a wide range of books and magazines your child can enjoy and that will stimulate his or her curiosity.

To help build fluency, children need to read a minimum of 20 minutes each day.  For those who are not reading fluently, there are several options.  You can read to them or "echo" read, that is, you read a word or sentence, then your child repeats after you.  This can build to taking turns with paragraphs.  You can stop as you read and review the words your child may not understand.  Then, discuss what happened at the beginning, middle, and end of the section that was read.


Important Information for Our Parents

Parking, Stopping, and Waiting for Drive-Thru

PLEASE, please, please do not park in front of Valle Jewelers, or the driveway to the back of the jewelers, or behind the jewelers in the Maitland Winter Park Plumbing parking area, or in the Horatio Professional Building parking area.  You may only take a few minutes but we want to be good neighbors.  Instead, park on the Publix side of North Swoope or in front of our old elementary/middle school building at 200 North Swoope or even in our spaces behind the two-story elementary/middle school building.  Please be respectful of the plumbers* and the jewelers* assigned parking spaces.

Signing Out Children After 3:00 P.M.

We have great after-school programs and are happy that your children are enjoying drama, yoga, pre-ballet, chess, gymnastics, robotics, and art, however, we have concerns about the signing out of children.

You will not be charged after-school care while your child is in an after-school program (as listed above).  Specialty class teachers must hand over the children to the after-school care staff.  The children will collect their lunch boxes, etc. from the after-school care room.  The after-school care staff will acknowledge a parent has picked up his or her child.  The children who are not immediately picked up at the end of a special class will be placed on the after-school care list.

We must know at all times which children are on our school premises and who they are with; safety demands it.  Please cooperate with school procedures since we consider (and we are sure you will agree) your child*s safety is paramount.

Famous and Successful Montessori-Educated People

Peter Drucker, Management Guru
Larry Page, Co-Founder of Google
Sergey Brinn, Co-Founder of Google
Jeffrey Bezos, Founder of
Katherine Graham, Owner/Editor of the Washington PostAnne Frank, Author of The Diary of Anne Frank
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize Winner for Literature
T. Berry Brazelton, Pediatrician and Author
Julia Child; Chef, Star of Many Cooking Shows, and Author
Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Austrian Painter and Architect

"Tidbits" from Your PTA

Here*s the PTA News for the Month!

Did you know there*s a weekly play group?  They meet after school every Thursday (weather permitting) at the Maitland Community Park at 1400 Mayo Avenue.  It*s only four minutes from school and it*s a Montessori favorite.  Come check it out!  You*ll be glad you did.

"Pizza Fridays" have begun!  Did you know that Francesco*s is a Maitland Montessori family and they use only the absolutely best ingredients?  Children love the pizza and parents love the break from making lunch.  See Ms. Leslie or Mrs. Dunkle in the main office for an order form.  Please remember that your orders are due by Wednesday of the week in which you would like to order pizza.

We still need volunteers.  If you would like to get involved, sign-up sheets are available in the main office.  Many of our events simply need a few helping hands.  A PTA member chairs each event and will let you know how you can help.

Save These Important Dates!  Mark Your Calendars!

Chili Cook-Off and Halloween Party
Thursday, October 22, 6:15 P.M.-8:00 P.M.

Cook your favorite chili recipe and enter to win fame and glory!  Or just bring your appetite and sample contest submissions and potluck donations.  Trick or treat and parade in costume. Last year there were a few teachers we could barely recognize...

Monte-Soirée:  Party on Park
Saturday, November 7, 6:00 P.M.-10:00 P.M.

This is THE event of the season:  live rockin* music and an awesome spread from 4Rivers & The Coop in Downtown Winter Park.  Get your dancing shoes on and join us for this all-out fun, adult evening that mixes raising funds with raising glasses.  Come connect with everyone in our Montessori community--parents, teachers, and staff.  Please note that we are collecting donations now for the raffle and auction; simply contact Rachel Stewart at  And we will be bringing back sponsorships!  E-mail for information.

Contact the PTA at

Check out the latest calendar information at

We LOVE our volunteers!
Thanks for all your help and time devoted to our schools!