A Stalwart Bridgeview Community Proponent: Sophia

A Stalwart Bridgeview Community Proponent: Sophia

As she explains in her graduation speech, Sophia joined us when she was just 2 years and 9 months. She left us after a few years only to come back to join our Elementary II. Her experience gives her a unique perspective through which to talk about our community of learners. During our Elementary Graduation, Sophia was able to articulately explain what makes us unique. We will miss Sophia and her mom and dad!

Pictured above: One of Sophia’s Sixth Year Art Projects.

An Artist and An Inspiration: Willa

An Artist and An Inspiration: Willa

This is Willa’s self portrait in cool colors created in her Sixth Year. Willa established herself as a gifted artist with her own unique point of view from the beginning.

Willa and her family joined our community five years ago, and their impact has been palpable. From Willa and her older sister being extraordinary role models, bake sale enthusiastic bakers, artists and welcoming faces to all new students to parents who volunteered for everything and consistently supported our annual fund, this family will be sorely missed as they head off into the world outside of Bridgeview Montessori. Their impact is significant. Enjoy Willa’s graduation speech.

Community Voices by Parent Leslie Dominguez Santos

Please enjoy our first blog post written by a Bridgeview Montessori parent, Leslie Dominguez Santos. Our hope is that other members of our community will be inspired to submit blog posts that celebrate children, learning, Montessori education, parenting.....whatever inspires your voice. Thanks in advance for sharing.

Thanks to Leslie for being our first voice!

I worried about my son, Tony, completing his Sixth Year Project. Intensive research, lots of writing, and the creation of a year-long masterpiece all sounded really challenging for my son who doesn’t always love schoolwork.

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Yet, this Thursday, Tony will present his fifteen-page research paper and perform his Sonatina in G Major, Opus 1, composed in the Baroque style. It is an amazing feat, and yet another reason for me to be grateful to Bridgeview Montessori School.

Tony has always loved music. His EI teacher, Melissa, quickly realized that he focused better if he was allowed to play on the piano for a few moments in between works. Courtenay realized that following the lead of this child meant giving him musical challenges like performing for peers, at the Winter Concert, and with the All-State Choir. His private piano teachers have nurtured his passion. Kathleen and Jolie knew that studying Baroque Music was a perfect topic for his Senior Research Project.

In true Montessori fashion, his teachers helped Tony devise a work-plan for his project. They broke down the project into very manageable pieces. There was the right combination of hand holding and firm pushing. Sources were gathered. Research began. Interesting tidbits about Baroque music revealed themselves to him. His enthusiasm for what he was learning brought him to new studies in his piano lessons.

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Perhaps the most amazing part of the experience for Tony was the interviews. Tony worked hard to identify a Baroque-style musician, a composer and a conductor to interview. The simple act at Bridgeview Montessori School of teaching children how to shake hands and look someone in the eye was invaluable for these experiences. And, the Montessori confidence of speaking up and representing yourself was on full display in his interviews. Stars grew in his eyes with each interview. After each interview, his dreams grew: conduct an ensemble, compose music, play the harpsichord.

One of Tony’s interviews was with the international harpsichord, Ian Watson. The interview went incredibly well when Mr. Watson realized that Tony not only played the piano, but truly understand (thanks to copious research) how the harpsichord worked. At the end of his concert, Mr. Watson invited Tony on to the stage of Jordan Hall to perform on the harpsichord. Big dreams were made.

Tony’s final project is his Baroque-style composition. Were it not for this project, Tony would not have delved into the world of composition. He realized how challenging composing is. Yet, he also realized how enormously satisfying it is to take the music he hears in his head and shape it in to something. The project was a gift.

I write this, in many ways, as a thank-you. Tony will soon graduate from Bridgeview Montessori School. He is well-prepared, enthusiastic, resourceful and determined as a result of his years at Bridgeview. Follow-the-child worked for him: starting with Melissa letting him do spelling with tiles because he refused to write and ending with an E II presentation of 15 pages of research and writing. Thank you for letting Tony lead his way through his Elementary years. Thank you for nurturing his passions, letting him learn from mistakes, guiding him in time management and patience, and teaching him how to learn. I know that graduation isn’t until June; but, the completion of this projection and the founding of these new passions – that is his true graduation.   

 

 

 

Bridgeview Montessori Students Recogized for Peace Poetry

Cape & Islands Voices of Peace Poetry Contest

For close to 10 years now, Bridgeview Montessori student poets have been entering their peace poems in the Voices of Peace Poetry Contest sponsored by the Veterans for Peace, Cape Cod and the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod.

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Once again, Bridgeview Montessori students fared well in this competition. Please enjoy these award-winning pieces. Thanks to all of our students for participating in this event.

And, a special thank you to the teachers who supported our poets, Melissa Berbine, Danielle Gaskill and Jessica Germain.

Feelings of Peace

 Amelia, Second Year

Peace looks like a puppy crawling in the snow on a winter day.

Peace sounds like a kitten purring on your lap as you pet it.

Peace smells like cookies baking in the oven on a rainy day.

Peace tastes like fudge swirl ice cream in a bowl at my birthday party.

Peace feels like a baby chick in my hand at a farm.

Embrace Peace

By Ben, Third Year

Peace is precious

not to be taken advantage of.

It should be embraced

for everybody to feel, hear and be.

And together we can keep the world a better place.

For every man, woman and child.

Bunny

Caleb, Second Year

Peaceful bunny sleeps

Dreaming that he is flying

A bed-head bunny

Sensing Peace

Maggie, Second Year

Peace looks like a sparkling waterfall splashing in the autumn light.

Peace sounds like light and flowing lullabies in a cozy bed.

Peace smells like lavender mist floating in the air.

Peace tastes like warm gooey cookies right out of the oven.

Peace fells like a warm cozy fire on a cold winter night.

Playing in the Garden

Cassidy, First Year

I'm playing in the garden

Smelling the flowers and playing with the birds

I lay down in the light breese

I dream about flying with the birds

Well, what do you know?

Some dreams do come true

And this one did

I'm flying with the birds up above the tree tops

Then I go to sleep

Tomorrow will be another day

And it will be a good one

Bridgeview Montessori Science Fair by Jolie Drury, Elementary II Co-Teacher

What is all the hype about STEM?

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Lately it has become a catch phrase for schools to prove they are on the “cutting edge.” The combination of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math is not a new thing, however. Maria Montessori incorporated these into her programs even for the youngest children. So many of the classic Montessori lessons involve the tenets of scientific practices: from the precision of pouring, the construction of the pink tower, the evaluation of length with the box of sticks, the classification of vertebrates, the organization of animal life cycles. Montessori believed in cultivating the scientist in each child through curiosity and structured activities.

    By the time students make their way to our Elementary II classroom (traditional grades 4 to 6), they have had countless lessons to develop their skills of formulating questions, observing, evaluating, categorizing, experimenting, and expressing ideas. They are ready for further opportunities to follow the scientific procedure, guided at first until they achieve independence. The annual Science Fair at Bridgeview Montessori is a celebration of this goal, as much as it is a work in progress.

    Every year the Science Fair unit is different. Teachers cannot prepare for this unit as they do for others. Though we have organized our expectations differently throughout the years, the projects and the enthusiasm must be student-driven. If the students are to create the hypotheses and conduct the experiments, collect the data and make the graphs, then they must feel invested in the topic. In the past few years, we have moved from expecting the majority of the project to be done at home to helping them complete the project at school. Due to the restraints of space and materials, some procedures are still conducted outside of school, but a minimum of two class periods per week are dedicated to the scientific process in the months leading up to the Fair. Discussing theories and researching the scientific terms involved in each experiment gives the students the background knowledge to feel confident speaking with others about their projects. In the weeks leading up to the fair, many students carry out their procedures at home and return to school with data to compare with their partners. When they use this data to create graphs and to write about the results, they realize how much they have learned over the course of the project.

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    Science Fair day is both exciting and nerve-racking. The day starts with an open house for parents and school community members to wander through the classrooms examining the posters and speaking with the students about their projects. Soon, upper class students from Falmouth Academy arrive to act as “judges,” giving our students a feel for the more formal atmosphere of a science fair. One or two judges visit each project to listen to presentations prepared by our students. As they interact with the students, the judges fill out feedback forms that we have designed for them.

Later in the morning, we have the opportunity to hear from the Falmouth Academy students in a forum style meeting. They share their own experiences with Science Fair projects and answer our questions about the process, the things they’ve learned and how they’ve struggled. It is rewarding and inspiring to hear about the work of these young scientists. At the culmination of the day, what once felt like a daunting task, the many repetitions of one experiment and the weeks of study, feels like a great accomplishment.

A Bridgeview Montessori Love Letter by Suzanne Lawson

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At Bridgeview Montessori School, we have full faculty meetings the first Tuesday of every month. On the subsequent Tuesdays, our faculty meet in small groups to discuss curriculum and also work in their classrooms. We feel fortunate to have this time to collaborate and prepare our learning environments.

This past Tuesday at our full faculty meeting, Sandy, our Head of School, asked us to share one thing we each love about our work. She clarified and asked that we find an answer other than THE CHILDREN ….. of course, we all wanted to say the children!

Anyway, here are some of our responses:

“My co-teacher is just the best. She is an amazing teacher, and our collaboration makes for a wonderful learning environment for me.”

“I am so thankful that I can have an authentic relationship with my co-teacher. We can be ourselves with each other.”

“Children’s House recess! At what other job would I be able to go outside and play for 40 minutes a day.”

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“My very favorite is teaching early readers. Being present as they first start to put it all together is like witnessing a wondrous miracle.”

“I love thinking about my planning for a one on one lesson with a particular student. For me, finding just the right process with just the right materials is rewarding ….especially when that child has an ‘ah ha’ moment.

“I love how surprised I feel by the work Children’s House students are capable of. They are incredible.”

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“Planning for math lessons is my favorite. Watching students make connections as they begin to understand the different operations is awesome. I think it may be because I was not a good math student in elementary school.”

“I feel like I can be totally myself in my classroom and with my co-teacher. We come from different sides of the Cape, but I am convinced we think about the same things on our drives in… when we arrive, we often share our thoughts on the same subject…. And we are always on the same page.”

“Having students for three years in the Montessori three-year cycle is wonderful. I love the relationships I am able to create with not only students but families. We really know our families.

“Watching the joy of learning that exists when a child is working with Montessori materials is my favorite. The work is brilliant.”

“Having lunch with my Children’s House classroom students is my favorite. Spending this relaxed time with them is great. They are so engaging, smart and funny!”

I hope you have enjoyed this Bridgeview Valentine!

 

Celebrating Student Initiative by Suzanne Lawson

One of the many things I love about Bridgeview Montessori School is being able to watch empowered students see their creative ideas come to fruition. We have a pajama day because a student proposed it a few years ago.  We  had a school store at one point because of the initiative of two students. This year I have seen two brainchildren come alive.

HOT OFF THE PRESSES!

Most recently a Second Year student wanted to start a school newspaper. His boundless enthusiasm was contagious, and his staff, made up of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Year students, fell right into place. With an eager teacher to support the effort, we have a newspaper. Please enjoy this inaugural edition of Montessori Mingle.

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ALL THAT JAZZ!

Another amazing activity that we now have because of a 5th Year student's initiative is a a Jazz ensemble. Thanks to this student, with the support of our Head of School, we now have a parent volunteer who leads the group during Friday recess. Our students decided that giving up their outside time was well worth it. Click to check them out!

How lucky we are to work together in a school where every voice matters.