Archive for the ‘Parent Memos’ Category

Hawks Over the Hudson: Oct 2 afternoon

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Hurry over to State Line Lookout in Palisades Interstate Park in Alpine NJ this Sunday for Hawks Over the Hudson.  At 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. you can get up close and personal with live hawks, eagles, owls, and falcons.
More information

For more earth science, on October 8th just head a little further north to Palisades, NY for Columbia U Lamont-Doherty Observatory open house.
More information

Science! Oct 8: Lamont-Doherty Open House

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

A great opportunity to introduce children of all ages (and adults) to the exciting science going on right next door.  In grade school Ms. Maria’s children loved the Lamont Open House, and her older daughter, Isabella, has been working on a research team at Lamont since 2014!


Final Winning Bid – K/1st Graduation Auction

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

$450 — Winning Bid!  THANKS from Friends of Montessori Foundation


OPEN — Monday February 9th

Monday, February 9th, 2015

The Montessori House is open today on the usual schedule.

Conditions vary locally.  Parents should use their judgment and feel free to keep children home, come to school late, or pick up early, as they see fit.

If children arrive late or leave early, please be patient, as it may take some time to respond to your request.


CLOSED — Tuesday January 27th

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Due to weather, The Montessori House will be closed Tuesday, January 27th.

We expect to re-open Wednesday, January 28th on the usual schedule

If our plans for Wednesday change, we will update our website, and our phone message.  Please note, if we lose power we may not be able to update the website.  For the latest information on Wednesday plans, please check our phone message after 7 a.m. on Wednesday  (201-816-8343). 

Finally, even if the school opens Wednesday, parents should evaluate their unique snow and transportation situation and should feel free to keep children at home.

We hope all families are safe.

2014-15 Preliminary School Calendar Available

Monday, May 19th, 2014

You can find our Preliminary 2014-15  School Calendar here.

Here are the days students are not at school from September 2014 to June 2015:

Sept 1 – 5
Sept 8 – 11 (see individual student phase-in schedule)
Returning students come to school Sept 12 only
New students come partial days this week
Sept 25 – 26
November 6 – 7
November 26 – 28
December 11—12 (Kindergarten/1st Grade half-day on December 11 &12)
December 21 – 31
January 1—5
January 19
February 13 – 20
April 2 – 12
May 25
June 4 – 5 (Kindergarten/1st Grade half-day on June 4 & 5)
June 11 Teacher Work day
June 12 (special Graduation Day schedule)

FRN Marketplace June 3

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

With more than 50 programs and services available for New Jersey residents living with epilepsy, autism, developmental disabilities and chronic illness, The Family Resource Network (FRN) and its affiliates have been affecting lives of thousands of families across New Jersey for the past 41 years.

You may know a family with members (adults or children) who could benefit from FRN’s programs for NJ residents with development disabilities.  At the FRN Marketplace, they can experience the programs and services FRN has to offer individuals with developmental disabilities in Bergen County:
June 3, 2014, Tuesday, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Maywood Library
459 Maywood Ave
Maywood, NJ 07607

Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

We thought parents might be interested in this public campaign on child development.

  • See milestones that children should reach from 2 months to 5 years of age, plus interactive tools to help keep track of the milestones.
  • Here’s the Families page (there are also pages for educators, health provider, etc.)

Here’s the program announcement we received:

As many as one in four children from birth to age 5 is at risk of developmental delay or behavioral challenges. To promote healthy development and early identification of these issues, several federal have partnered to launch a public outreach campaign highlighting the importance of universal developmental and behavioral screening, and support for young children.

The campaign’s mission is to:

  • Promote universal screening.
  • Identify possible delays and behavioral issues in any child setting.
  • Enhance developmental supports for children.
  • Offer resources for professionals working with children.

These resources include screening tools, user guides for different audiences (including behavioral health providers), and an array of online resources for providers and parents.

Learn More About Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!

“It’s a School Lunch, Not Quantum Physics” — WSJ, 10/22/2013

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

The Wall Street Journal had a fun article on school lunches, and how parents cope with the rules different schools have.  Several of the rules will resonate for Montessori House families whose children pack a lunch for school.   Some of our rules include:

  • No nuts — no ground nuts (e.g. peanuts) or tree nuts (e.g. walnuts, pecans, filberts, almonds, etc. )
  • No drinks (including drinkable yogurts)
  • No sweetened foods (no candy, cookies, cakes, fruit roll-ups, etc. )
  • We can reheat food (in a microwave), but do not cook food or thaw frozen food (in other words we microwave for no more than 1 minute).

We do take issue with the reporter’s endorsement of lunchboxes that come with many components — “bento-style” lunch “systems”).  We’ve found that these lunch “systems” simply occupy too much space.  Normally we have four (4) children  at a table for lunch, but when a child has an expansive “system” of boxes, etc. they require twice as much space, so at a table for four we can fit only 2 normal lunchboxes plus one lunch “system”, or only two children with such a lunch “system”.  Consequently we recommend parents stick with a regular lunch box or bag that requires a normal amount of table-top space.

Top 10 Tips for a Great School Year

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

We had a wonderful Meet the Teachers event at The Montessori House last night.  Thanks to all the parents who attended and all the teachers who were met!

Our Director, Ms. Maria, spent a few minutes welcoming everyone to the school for 2013-14.

Ms. Maria asked parents to keep in this thought in mind: a happy parent makes a happy child.

With that in mind, Ms. Maria offered her Top 10 Tips for a Great School Year (expanded version follows):

  1. Set a happy tone for your child’s day!!  Stay calm and smiling, and make a happy, quick, quiet exit at the front door.
  2. Dress your child in super easy clothing, including shoes.
  3. Be on time.
  4. Role model staying safe and following the rules.
  5. Find a friend.
  6. Be involved/make a difference for your child.
  7. Questions?  Please ask, but think about who and when you’re asking.
  8. Let school be school and home be home.
  9. Raise the bar, and be happy about your child’s emerging independence.
  10. Don’t ask them what they did at school.

Here’s the expanded version (each tip explained):

  1. Set a happy tone for your child’s day!!
    Stay calm, and make a happy, quick, QUIET (no excessive talking or promising) exit at the front door. Quick exits make for quicker happiness for the child at school.  Help your child: a quick kiss and hug before you child reaches the door and has the teacher shakes his her hand; a quick wave at the window and you walk away first (don’t wait for the child to leave – it won’t happen).  Remember, if you’re sad or anxious, you’re making your child sad AND anxious.
  2. Dress your child in super easy clothing.
    Anything with an elastic waist band is best.  NO belts, suspenders, or anything that ties, clips, clicks, or does anything to prevent or slow your child down when he/she is trying to go to the bathroom without having an accident.  The same with shoes – if the ties come undone even occasionally, double knot, or replace the shoes with Velcro shoes.  Also, don’t send clothing that distracts your child.  That super-hero t-shirt with the detachable cape — all we hear all day is the “rip” of velcro as the cape is attached and detached.  The same with shoes that light up — instead of school work, your child will “stamp, stamp, stamp” all day to light up his/her shoes.
  3. Be on time.
    Reduce the anxiety of having to walk into an already-working classroom.  Reduce the feeling of being the “last one” at dismissal – unless you’re in aftercare or an after-school program (in which case, they love to stay!)
  4. Role model staying safe and following the rules. MANY of the rules at school – inside and outside – are made to keep everyone safe.  But, to ensure safety, everyone has to follow those rules.  First, remember the parking rules – where to park; turn off the car; no drop-offs and no children walking alone.  Next, remember the walking rules – upon arrival, the children must be on the sidewalk (not the grassy area or the ramp) and in your control, and at dismissal, the children must be holding your hand until you put them in your car.  Remember the Trinity Lutheran Church’s rules – Montessori House  children on Montessori House spaces only – not on the rocks or by the trees in front of the Tween Tots playground, not in the woods, and not on the grassy front lawn (please go to a nearby park); no parking by either playground or in the spaces near Knickerbocker Rd.
  5. Find a Friend
    Take a look at the list of children in class with your child (each child has morning companions, lunch companions, and afternoon companions — so for some children this is a long list!).  Listen for those names and use the list and on-line directory to contact other families to make friends (both friends for your child and — perhaps — friends for you).
  6. Be involved and make a difference for your child.
    We have a variety of volunteer opportunities that suit all kinds of parent schedules.  We love to have parents come to the classroom to help on special occasions (like our Thanksgiving Feast or Fall Celebration), to make class presentations on holidays (Lunar New Year, Christmas, Diwali, etc.) or to share special knowledge or skills with the children (travel experiences, art, science, cooking, and more), or just to read to the children in small groups.  If you’d like to make a presentation, the teachers will help you set the right tone for 3 to 6 year old children.  If you’re not available during the school day, help Friends of Montessori with their Annual Dinner, or join the Gardening Committee, or make a booth or help out at our Montessori House International Festival in the spring.
  7. Questions?  Please ask, but think about whom and when you’re asking. Remember, whenever you see a teacher at school, she is either responsible for children at that moment (MOST of the time) or she’s supposed to be in a meeting at that moment, there isn’t time built into their normal schedules – except for teacher conferences – to meet individually with parents.  If you have questions, please e-mail them to Ms. Maria at; I’ll direct them to the appropriate teacher or answer the questions myself.
  8. Let school be school and home be home. School is the place for lessons and learning, and home is the place for Mommy and Daddy to be fun, play games, sing songs, but not to continue school.  Burning them out is not the way to get them ahead, it’s the way to have them lose interest in learning.  Also, Montessori has a very prescribed method for teaching things like reading and writing, or arithmetic.  Teaching an alternate method at home will most likely confuse and frustrate your child — at home and at school.  When they’re ready, your children will show you how much they can do, and how much they know – there’s no rush!  Often children read at school but don’t want to read to parents at home — they want you to read to them, and we encourage you to do so often.
  9. Raise the bar, and be happy about their ever-evolving independence. For instance, if you or your babysitter holds the fork or spoon for your child, let him/her do it alone – he/she will be very happy, and you should be too – they’re still your babies, and they still need you – but not for that!  Apply this notion to things like dressing themselves, buttoning their own buttons, putting on their own coats, getting their own things, wiping the tables, pouring their own cereal/milk from smaller containers, walking on stairs, swinging on the swing, etc.  They do all this at school (and more!), and a whole segment of Montessori (called Practical Life) helps develop these skills.
  10. Don’t ask them what they did at school. This is the very hardest thing to do, but it will make your child feel much better!  Listen to them tell stories, but don’t press them to talk about what they just did.  Maria Montessori said school to a child was like their secret treasure – a special place where they could be a different version of themselves, where they, their friends and their teachers had all sorts of activities.  They want to experience those activities, but they don’t want the pressure of reporting those activities and, WORSE, having someone drill them about it.  The drive home is a great time to listen OR tell your child stories about your day.

So, follow these 10 Tips and we’re sure to have a great school year!

Finally, a thought from Maria Montessori on why we want a happy child in the classroom:

” A child who has become master of his acts through long, pleasant and interesting activities in which he has engaged, is a child filled with health and joy and remarkable for his calmness and discipline. “