21st Annual Christmas Program

We celebrated our 21st Annual Christmas Program – It’s a Small World – with over 300 guests. Children organized performances representing the seven continents. The Langham Creek High School Madrigal Choir kicked off our show with classic Christmas carols, and our children welcomed their families with the Pledge of Allegiance. Our Toddlers became penguins representing the continent of Antarctica and a Kindergartner recited the story of the Gingerbread Man Down Under. Our Primary students performed folk dances from Austria Mexico, and Japan and later recited a folktale from South Africa. Our children ended the night performing as a band and singing a Peace anthem, sung by Montessori schools around the world. Santa arrived with two alpacas courtesy of Bluebonnet Hills Alpaca Ranch, and children took professional photos courtesy of Alumni parent Susan McLeroy, Realtor. Thank you to our amazing families who brought cookies and treats representing over 30 different countries.

International Doll of the Month: The Philippines

The International Doll of the Month for October 2017 represents The Philippines. One of our favorite Lolas (“grandmas”) visited our children to share her memories of The Philippines. Children explored the island archipelago, known for its beautiful beaches, tropical climate, and food reflecting its diverse local heritage and colonial influences. We even learned a few words in Tagalog, one of the official languages of the country.

Discussing the Solar Eclipse in the Early Years

Americans last saw a total solar eclipse two decades ago. This Monday, on August 21, 2017, we will be able to see a solar eclipse for the first time in decades. This is also the first solar eclipse to move from coast to coast since 1918.

The eclipse is an ideal time to engage your child about the solar system and inspire awe in our universe. The eclipse will occur between 11:46 – 2:45 PM Central. The maximum eclipse is visible around 1:16 PM  Central.  In Houston, at 1:16 PM, we will be able to see a Partial Solar Eclipse. This is not the same as the total solar eclipse, which will be seen across 14 other states.

Below are our favorite resources to help guide a conversation with your child about the eclipse:

  • Explaining the Eclipse

We recommend discussing an eclipse with children who understand that (1) the earth is a planet composed of land and water (2) a moon revolves around the earth and (3) a shadow is formed when an object blocks light. Here are some fun songs and visuals to guide your discussion of the eclipse:

From 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, enjoy the Solar Eclipse Viewing Party at the Children’s Museum of Houston.  Children can take part in various museum activities, including a “Pinhole Viewer Workshop” ($5.00) and enjoy special activities exploring the solar system.

Watch the solar eclipse from the comfort of your own home (without the special glasses!).

Safety first. Don’t forget to use special glasses when viewing the eclipse. Don’t have the glasses? No worries! Make some!

Never photograph the eclipse when the Moon is directly covering the sun without safety precautions.

The Burke Baker Planetarium will offer a special schedule featuring six 15 minute shows about the eclipse. These will run at 12:00, 12:20, 12:40, 1:00, 1:20, and 1:40, and tickets will be $4. The 2:00 show is a special Starry Night Express featuring a live feed from Casper, Wyoming, with Museum staff in the path of totality.

Photo © NASA

One Student at a Time

Education, although a local issue, affects both economic and political issues nationally and globally. Harvard Graduate School of Education Ford Foundation Professor of Practice Professor Fernando Reimers recently released the book One Student at a Time: Leading the Global Education Movement, which profiles 60 global education leaders and their journeys in education, including our Director of Innovation and Global Strategy Mr. Kevin Kalra.

The book discusses how best to improve the world through education and summarizes professional challenges faced by leaders from around the world in improving education quality. The book also shares ten lessons to engender change in education globally including leading ethically and collaborating across sectors.

On writing the book, Professor Reimers said, “I am persuaded that the global expansion of the opportunity to be educated, which has taken place since education was included as a universal human right seventy years ago, is a remarkable achievement which constructed a shared experience for humanity. This shared experience is rooted in the aspiration to expand freedom and equality, the tenets of a global project that gave rise to democracy, public education and the modern university.”

Kevin’s chapter discusses his journey into Montessori education – and his work in publishing the UN’s first guide on business engagement in education. Formerly working with companies engaged with the United Nations on education, Kevin advised global CEOs and their philanthropic leadership on social investments in girls’ education and refugee education – all issues directly affecting US programs and investments.

Arne Duncan, former US Secretary of Education said, “This is a highly valuable read and useful study of the challenges and opportunities that those advancing education for all around the globe face. A must read for all education leaders interested in freedom and justice.”

Wendy Kopp, CEO and co-founder of Teach for All, said: “This book is a testament to the power of intentional efforts to cultivate educational leadership — leadership with the values, mindsets, skills, and understandings to effect transformation, leadership that is both locally rooted and globally informed…”

Buy the book: http://amzn.to/2ujyGk5

Huffington Post OpEd by Professor Fernando Reimers: http://bit.ly/2vJCaRx

Towards Independence: Drop Off and Pick Up

One of the most critical learning outcomes in a Montessori environment is independence.

Here are our top 10 tips for Drop Off/Pick Up that encourage independence:

TIP 1: Send positive vibes. Before going to school, remind your child that school is an exciting new experience. Include a friendly note in their lunch bag.

TIP 2: Drop Off/Pick Up is not Parking. If you need time to speak with our Montessori Directresses, please park in our parking lot and not in front of the school. Avoid speaking about your child in front of them. They are aware of the conversation.

Parents are most welcome to stay and observe the cameras or drop in later during the day. We recommend observing at least one week after the child’s first day to allow time for a child to settle into class. Please drive slowly. Remember to be courteous to parents in the driveway and be aware of children.

TIP 3: Model social graces. It’s important to say goodbye and hello to your child during drop off/pick up. These pleasantries mark a transition from home to school as well as model good social behaviors. We will prompt your child to do the same.

TIP 4: Arrive on time. Tardiness can create anxiety for children. They also miss opportunities for leadership in the classroom. If you’re running late, please let us know. Our school day begins at 8:30 AM.

TIP 5: Be quick and cheerful. We recommend a prompt drop off and pick up. Lengthy drop off/pick up can cause confusion and anxiety and disrupt other children in the classroom. Allow your child to walk independently to their classroom.

TIP 6: Do not walk into the classroom. An adult’s presence may upset other children.

TIP 7: Greet your child respectfully. We recommend giving your child your full/undivided attention. Phones can be a distraction when greeting your child. Meet your child’s enthusiasm to see you with a calm voice. Speak softly and encourage normal behavior.

TIP 8: Engage your child about school. Help your child open up about learning by asking good questions.  Avoid open-ended questions like: What did you do in school today? Ask specific questions requiring reflection such as: What made you laugh today?; Did anyone wear a funny t-shirt?; What is a good thing that happened at school today?; Did you cry today?; and Who is your best friend? Why?

TIP 9: Always Sign In and Sign Out. Don’t forget to sign in on the sheets on the Hall Tree.  Follow the same procedure for pick up. This is required by law. Please ensure an authorized adult is signing the document. And remember, it’s not a children’s coloring book 🙂

TIP 10: Encourage walking indoors. Encourage your child to walk. Walking is one of our ground rules in the Montessori classroom, and it promotes safety, concern of others, and a sense of calm in the classroom. Of course, we have fun and run outside!