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Jun 05
Spanish and Drama

Both ​Ms. Luz, the Spanish teacher and Ms. Rachel, the Drama teacher, provided information about the work they've been doing with your children. Ms. Rachel compiled the book list at the request of the children, who learned to love the characters in the books she brought for story drama. Enjoy finding new friends at the library!


Spanish in May

Dear families,

During May the children learned about zoo animals. They really enjoyed this unit and loved the story/song of five little monkeys teasing Mr. Crocodile " cinco monitos molestando al cocodrilo", and the elephants on a spider web song.

After interacting and working with different materials the children were able to name all of the zoo animals by themselves, and this was a big accomplish for them.

New words:

Elefante – elephant, jirafa – giraffe, cebra – zebra, oso – bear, mono – monkey, tigre – tiger, león – lion, serpiente – snake.

We continued practicing  arriba, abajo, grande, pequeño, tengo calor, tengo frio, tengo sed, tengo hambre.

Thank you,

Ms. Luz

Drama Book List

Dear Families,

It was a pleasure working with your students this past year during Drama. Here is a list of favorite books requested by both classes! Feel free to look for these books or other books with these same characters at your local library. Enjoy!

Ms. Rachael (Drama Teacher)

Where is Home, Little Pip? By Karma Willson

Don't be Afraid, Little Pip By Karma Willson

Sophie's Window By Holly Keller

Clark the Shark By Bruce Hale

Chick 'n' Pug Meet the Dude By Jennifer Gordon Sattler

Pass it on! By Marilyn Sadler

A Home for Bird By Philip Christian Stead

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! By Candace Fleming

Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale By Marcus Pfister

Oh Dear Geoffrey! By Gemma O'Neill

Kidogo By Anik McGrory

Quick, Slow, Mango! By Anik McGrory

Doug-Dennis and the Flyaway Fib By Darren Farrell

Jun 02
Science News--Physics, Earth Day and Birds

Hello parents!

Last month we started a unit about physics and explored different concepts.

During the first lesson I introduced the science of physics, Isaac Newton, and some of his laws. We learned what a force was. We experienced with objects of different shapes and weight trying to either push or to pull them in order to initiate a movement. We also found out that these objects stopped after a while and defined what a friction force was. We experimented with boards that were rough or smooth and saw how the fiction force depended on the surface. We also talked about gravity that pulls us to the ground and imagine what it would be to be in space with no gravity. Then we talked about velocity and mass and experimented with 2 balls of the same appearance but different masses and concluded on the force needed in order to roll them on the floor.

Later on we moved to the study of the magnetic force. We began by observing and feeling the magnetic force between 2 magnets and a magnet with a magnetic object. We saw iron powder and thought about all the objects around us that contain iron that makes them magnetic. Then we made our own magnets by rubbing needles against a magnet and observed the earth magnetic field by letting our "needle-magnets" float in bowls of water. We compared our results to the compass that they have available in the classroom.

At the end of April was Earth day. So we did a unit about our planet Earth; what it was made of, its different layers, and its atmosphere. And we followed by a discussion about what should we do in order to protect our planet. I read a book about garbage and we talked about the 3 Rs; Reuse, Reduce and Recycle. We imagined what we could do on our everyday life, at school and at home, in order to improve our waste management. I imagine that you have heard about our discussions at home since the week that followed this lesson we have noticed a huge decrease in the amount of Ziploc bags that were sent in the lunch boxes. Thank you so much for following up at home!!!

The past 2 weeks were all about birds and bird watching. When spring arrived, the children noticed that birds were building nests in our amazing playground. Some in the trees, some under the roof and even inside the tree house! I had selected some pictures of our most familiar backyard birds in the area and we worked together on how to differentiate and recognize them. We also listen to the most common bird songs.Then it was time for a field trip! We went outside, did our best in order to be quiet and still, and started observing and listening. Amazingly, even with the construction on its way on the neighbor's lot, we were able to spot between 4 and 6 different species of birds with each classroom. We mostly saw Juncos, Towhees, Robins, Swallows, Crows and heard Chickadees and Robins.

This lesson was the last one with all the children. In June I will focus mainly on the kindergarteners and their science fair. Each classroom will have its own project. They already have strong opinions on what they want to study and I will assist them on applying the scientific method on their ideas (question, hypothesis, material and methods, results, conclusion). They will then create their own presentation boards and show their results to their classroom's peers and answer questions during our regular science circle. Their work will also be presented during the end of year celebration party. Please take a moment to look at their boards and ask them questions if you have some!

To conclude, I would like to thank you for sharing your amazing children with me. It was such a pleasure to work with them and to witness their never-ending curiosity every week.


Ms. Aurelie


Jun 01
Looking Forward

​The school year is coming to an end, but there is still so much to be done! The children are confident and capable, working diligently and taking on new challenges. We're having moments of "I will miss you next year," with the kindergarten children. Graduation practice begins later this week!

Contracts for 2015-2016 School Year

Over the past week Ms. Kim has sent out contracts for next school year, based on enrollment applications submitted earlier this year. With the contract she sent PDFs of the family handbook, child health plan, and any forms needed to complete your child's file. To confirm your child's spot for next school year we ask for a deposit (one month's tuition) and a material fee.

In the handbook two things have changed--dress code and childcare-only days.

  • During April conferences many of you were asked about your preferences regarding a dress code or school uniform. After lots of listening and conversations the decision was made to have a dress code rather than a uniform. The point of a dress code is to make what's inside a person more important than what's on the outside. To that end, the dress code is: all personal belongings be text, graphic and image free (exception 2 square inch or smaller logo). Instead your child may wear solid-colors, stripes, dots, florals or plaid/checks. We also ask that lunch boxes, backpacks, shoes, slippers and socks also be character-free.
  • Children who are signed up for before- and after-school childcare will be automatically signed up for childcare-only days. If your child does not attend both before- and after-school childcare, you'll still need to sign up child up for each childcare-only day. Should you sign your child up for the day, then not use the day your account will still be charged for the day. However, if you cancel 48 hours in advance your account will not be charged as that spot can be filled by someone on the wait list.

Kindergarten Graduation and Potluck--June 16

The next big event is kindergarten graduation, followed by a potluck. Marching and speeches begin at 6:00pm, and the feasting usually begins by 6:45. Please remember that the nut-free policy even extends to potlucks. Family food assignments by classrooms are as follows:

  • Main dish--Nest, Cottage

  • Fruit or salad--Loft, Garden

  • Dessert--Sprouts

As with the holiday program in December, we'll meet at Pine Lake Covenant Church (1715 228th Ave. SE) in Sammamish. We look forward to celebrating the end of the school year together!

Summer school

This summer the overarching theme is dinosaurs. The teachers have been collaborating on summer curriculum, going through materials from the attic and creating new materials. For the first time we'll have two classrooms for early childhood students--Loft and Nest. The toddlers will remain in Garden as always. In summer the schedule is a bit different, with everyone eating lunch at school, and half-day dismissal at 1:00pm. The first session is full for early childhood students, but spots remain in sessions 2, 3 and 4.

May 18
Spanish and a Triathlon

​It's a quiet week, a calm week, a short week. The primary children are studying Egypt, the Nile River and pyramids. New this morning, is an outdoor work area for the toddlers, behind the Garden building. Now they'll be able to work both indoors and outdoors during work time. We're excited to see how they use this new space!

Spanish with Senora Luz

Dear families,

During May the children learned about zoo animals. They really enjoyed this unit and loved the story/song of five little monkeys teasing Mr. Crocodile “ cinco monitos molestando al cocodrilo”, and the elephants on a spider web song.

After interacting and working with different materials the children were able to name all of the zoo animals by themselves, and this was a big accomplish for them.

New words:

Elefante – elephant, jirafa – giraffe, cebra – zebra, oso – bear, mono – monkey, tigre – tiger, león – lion, serpiente – snake.

We continued practicing  arriba, abajo, grande, pequeño, tengo calor, tengo frio, tengo sed, tengo hambre.

Thank you,

Ms. Luz

Issaquah Triathlon

Arbor Montessori Schools, our sister school, puts on the Issaquah Triathlon each spring as a fundraiser. This is the 15th year for the event. It takes place on June 6 this year, at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah. One of my favorite parts is the Kid's Tri--watching small people on small bikes (some with training wheels) going as fast as they can. This year they've added a Kid's Du--running and biking, but no swimming.

Volunteering is great fun--helping with packet pick up or set-up on Friday, or a myriad of tasks on Saturday, starting at 5:00am. For information about participating or volunteering: http://www.issaquahtri.com/.

May 13
Thanks for Coming--Here's What's Next

Mother's Tea

  • Thanks for taking time to come to tea last week! We loved seeing the children put to use the grace and courtesy skills they've been practicing. The much-requested date cake recipe can be found at: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/7828/sticky+date+pudding.
  • We'd like your feedback regarding the event as an evening event after a school day as compared to previous years, when it was a morning event followed by the rest of the day off.


Memorial Day Weekend

  • In following the Issaquah School District calendar, there is no school on Friday, May 22. It's a childcare-only day for both toddler and primary children. As of today all the available primary spots for the day have been filled, however we still have three spots available in toddler.
  • Monday, May 25 is a federal holiday, so the school is completely closed.


Looking Ahead to June

  • The next big event is on the evening June 16--Kindergarten Graduation followed by an all-school potluck. Once again we'll use the space at Pine Lake Covenant Church in Sammamish. Please plan to join us for this fun evening--details regarding food will be published closer to the event.
  • Our last day of school is Wednesday, June 17. The teachers are planning something special in the classrooms in the morning, and at the end of the morning we'll have a whole-school gathering. That's the day that items from the cubbies, collages and Father's Day gifts will come home too.
  • June 18 and 19, Thursday and Friday, are childcare-only days. Please contact Kim to reserve a spot for your child.
  • The first session of summer school begins June 22. Two half-day spots are available. Ms. Jessica and Ms. Mercy are the lead teachers in Nest and Loft respectively. Ms. Katelyn is leading out in Garden.
May 04
Mother's Tea

The smells of baking and the sound of "Mothers Are Forever" fill the primary classes…it's all about Mother's Tea this week. To have fewer days off in May we're trying Mother's Tea as an evening event this year. We've split the campus, with Cottage, Sprouts and Garden celebrating on Tuesday evening, and Loft and Nest on Thursday evening. We realize that there will be conflicts for families with more than one child in the school--to that end we invite you to send another caring adult, and perhaps switch classrooms part way through the event. We're also offering complimentary childcare to siblings who have tea on the opposite evening, RSVP Ms. Kim. To accommodate as many cars as possible please park nose-in rather than parallel. Here's the plan:




Photos with Katya begin in Loft


Childcare available in Nest


Tea begins in Cottage, Sprouts, Garden




Photos with Katya begin in Cottage


Childcare available in Sprouts


Tea begins in Loft and Nest


This celebration is always a memorable event--we're so excited to have you come for tea!


Dates to Remember:

May 22

Memorial Day Weekend--no school, childcare available

May 25

Memorial Day Holiday--no school or childcare

June 16

Kindergarten Graduation and Potluck

June 17

Last Day of School

Apr 27
Thanks, a couple details and listening

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Thanks for taking time to come to the April round of Parent-Teacher Conferences. It's always good to have in-person conversations about your children. At the end of June you'll get a final report for the year in your email inbox, and as always, you can schedule a meeting with your child's teacher should you have questions regarding the content.

No Vacancy

As the school year has progressed more children have added afternoon class and after care to their schedules. We've now reached capacity every day in all the primary afternoon classes as well as primary after care. We ho longer have the flexibility for added afternoons or after school care.

Pink Eye in Loft

A child in Loft was diagnosed with pink eye on Friday, and received treatment over the weekend.

Bottle Caps

The kindergarten children are in the planning stages of an art project using plastic bottle caps. Please send clean plastic bottle caps to Loft, Nest or Cottage…collection is ongoing.

Talk Less, Listen More
by Maren Schmidt

When I asked one of my elementary students what he didn't like about his life he told me that it was when people started to sound like blah-blah-blah. 

Too often our good intentions of telling our children what to do, how to do it, where to do it, when to do, and why to do begin to sound like unintelligible garble.  In the process we get tuned out, sometimes for life.

One of Stephen Covey's seven habits of highly effective people is "seek first to understand and then to be understood."  Too often we want our children to understand us first, and we stop there, never trying to see from their point of view.

What do we do too many times when we try to listen and understand our children's behavior?

Instead of listening for understanding we offer advice. We give our opinion. We tell a story of how we went through a situation that was even worse. We blame. We insult. We criticize. We punish. We make judgments and diagnose. We interject our own needs, emotions and values into the scenario.

In the process, we block and most likely destroy any opportunity for true listening. All our children need is for us to listen to them without judging, criticizing, complaining or evaluating.  Our children want us to be interested in them. Conversely, when it is our turn to talk, we want to be listened to in a way that makes us feel understood.  We have to prime the pump.

Asking questions is our most effective way to talk less and listen more.  As a listener we need to be calm enough to be able to hear and to process what we are being told.  We don't have to own the problem (at least not at the time of our listening).  As we listen, we refrain from advising or defending our point of view.  As a listener we provide a safe environment for our children to speak. We seek to understand and ask questions to clarify our perceptions.

A simple technique to help us avoid the pitfalls of judging, criticizing, complaining or evaluating is to only ask questions. 

Asking question after question with no statements helps us sidestep those listening obstacles.  Also, if we sit kindly and patiently waiting for an answer we provide that safe environment. 

Our session might go something like this:

Why did you hit your brother?  I was bored.

Why did you choose to be bored?  I dunno.

Do you realize you have a choice about how you treat other people?   Yes.

Would you tell me why you would choose to hit your brother instead of doing something else?  I guess I just wanted to have him do something with me. I was bored.

Can you think of how you might have gotten your brother to do something with you?  All I really needed to do was ask him.  I guess I just hit him so he wouldn't be able to say no.  If I hit him he'd hit me back and then we'd be doing something together. 

What do you think you can do in the future to get your brother's attention?  I can just ask him to do something with me.  And if he says no, I can ask him why.

Do you have anything you'd like to ask me? 

Are you beginning to see how a few questions might be a way to help our children effectively learn another way of behaving?


Apr 20
Birds and Bees and Tea and Bloomz

Birds and Bees

It was so good to so many parents at the meeting with Amy Lang last Thursday evening! If you want more information, Amy's website is: BirdsAndBeesAndKids.com. She's got a great list of resources to help you talk with your children about their bodies, your family values and sexuality.

Mother's Tea

This year, based on feedback from last year, we're experimenting with Mother's Tea as an evening event. One half of campus, Cottage, Sprouts and Garden, will have tea at 6:30 on Tuesday the 5th. The other half of campus, Loft and Nest, will have tea at 6:30 on Thursday the 7th. Any way we group the rooms we end up with sibling schedule conflicts…please send a father or other relative with one sibling, you can switch classrooms part-way though the event if you'd like. It is a dress up event. Ms. Katya will be available to photograph family groupings.

Bloomz Concerns

Through the process of adopting Bloomz as a communication several concerns have come up. I passed the collection of concerns on to Chakrapani Appalabattula, the founder of Bloomz, and asked him to provide clarification. He's done just that, his response to each concern follows:

1. Account info - we do indeed record the name, email address and password of the person who signs up for an account with Bloomz, this is necessary for us to provide the service.  Know however, that passwords are encrypted before being recorded and are only transmitted via secure HTTPS protocol.

2. Access to contact information - the Bloomz app does access email contact information stored in a user's phone, but this is only initiated by the user him/herself when they want to invite another person to use the app.  Other than their email address, we don't record any other information that may be stored in the phone.

3. Use of contact information - as explained above, Bloomz only accesses email contact information when a user sends an invitation.  We don't sell any personally identifiable information to any third parties and we strictly abide by our privacy policy in the use of this information.

4. Location - the Bloomz app accesses a users' location to provide relevant information to the user, for instance to show the schools in the vicinity of their location when signing up for an account, or when creating or joining a class or group.  This information is only accessed on these specific occasions, it is not continually recorder and is not used to track a user's movements.

5. Contents on the device's storage - The Bloomz app doesn't read, modify or delete information from the device.

6. Audio and Video recordings - The Bloomz app doesn't currently have any voice or video recording capabilities.

7. Selling of information - We don't sell a user's information to any third party or partners.  We do however, work with third parties in direct connection with our services and the operation of our business.  As an example, we have an analytics provider that pulls information from our database to provide insights as to how our customers use our product (examples of this information could be the time of an event, how a user came to our site, what search engine and search keywords users may have used to get to our site, information about the device a user is on such as their Operating System, and browser, as well as the city/country location of the user, and others).  No personal identifiable information is shared with these providers though, and this is all outlined in the above mentioned policy

We understand that parents want to ensure their information is protected, and we want to assure you and them that we take privacy very seriously.  In addition to the above, the teacher or school/class administrator has control as to who can join the community, ensuring no unintended individuals have access to the information shared in it.

While we are confident we are taking the necessary security and privacy measures, we respect a parents' decision not to sign up for a Bloomz account.  For this reason, Bloomz will still send all the communications from the teacher via email all the members that the teacher has invited.  So, if for any reason a parent doesn't sign up for a Bloomz account, they will still receive the teacher's communications via email.

Apr 13
Birds, Bees, Meeting and Movement

Parent Connections

We're thrilled to welcome Amy Lang back to Issaquah Montessori School! She'll share tips for talking with your young children about the birds and the bees; she tackles this tricky subject with straight-forward information, passion and humor. Complimentary childcare is available by prior arrangement with Kim.

RSVP to Ms. Kim (kimberlyd@issaquahmontessori.com) for both children and adults attending on Thursday evening. The current count is two children and zero adults; we're hoping for a much larger response.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

The final round of conferences is Friday, April 24. If you've not yet signed up for a time to talk with your child's teacher, the sign-up sheets are in your child's classroom (Cottage, Sprouts, Garden) or on Kim's desk (Loft, Nest). It's a childcare-only day; please contact Ms. Kim if your child needs care other than during your conference. Primary childcare is in Loft; Loft conferences take place in the office above Sprouts. Cottage conferences occur on other afternoons as arranged with Ms. Marcia.

Dates to Remember:

  • Mother's Tea—Cottage, Sprouts, Garden—May 5, 6:30pm
  • Mother's Tea—Loft, Nest—May 7, 6:30pm

Allowing Opportunities for Movement

Written by Maren Schmidt on March 8th, 2015

A kid's got to move.  Observing a few minutes at a playground will attest to that.  You don't see children sitting around if they have the chance to run, jump, climb, or skip.  Children are in a sensitive period of development for movement from birth to about age five-and-a-half.

Around age four-and-a-half, children have a growth spurt where their legs may grow over an inch per month.  During this time, it is difficult for children to sit comfortably.  They will squirm or refuse to sit in their chairs at the dinner table.  They will appear to wander aimlessly about in their preschool classes.  At this time, it is important to allow lots of opportunities for movement such as long walks and other outdoor activities.

Because of this leg growth, children need additional calcium.  Many children suffer from leg cramps at night, don't sleep well and end up being very cranky.  Be on the look out during this growth spurt.  Children can't tell you about their legs cramps because they don't have the language experience in most cases.  Additional calcium supplements, stretching and massage will help children (and parents!) get a good night's sleep, and restore pleasant dispositions.

Children love to walk on stonewalls, balance beams or lines drawn on the floor. At a playground observe all the different activities children do.  Every movement is fulfilling a basic developmental need.  Give your child opportunities to move and learn at the same time.

The need for movement, though, should not be a license to run wild in the house, stores, or restaurants.  Purposeful activity needs to direct children's movements.

We need to give activities that engage all the senses of the child and therefore help him or her direct energy for a positive outcome.

For example, folding laundry is a purposeful activity.  Children can fold laundry and make many trips to put the laundry away. Send them off with one towel to put away and have them come back and get the next one.  It may take twenty trips, but they'll love it, especially when a big pile has disappeared.

You can also incorporate movement while sitting and waiting.  The preposition game is a quiet game for a restaurant or doctor's appointment. It's simple to play with two objects.  In a restaurant I'll use a napkin and spoon.  Ask the child to do things such as:

  • Put the spoon under the napkin.
  • Put the spoon next to the napkin.
  • Put the napkin under the spoon.
  • Put the spoon near the napkin.
  • Put the napkin around the spoon.

Switch roles and let the child give you directions.

In a situation that allows more movement, use a book and table in the same manner. "Put the book under the table.  Place the book near the table."

Change the prepositions using words such as over, above, near, through, far, around, between and for the more adventuresome, adjacent, tangent, perpendicular, horizontal, vertical, intersecting.  Dig out that old geometry book!

This game helps the child learn that certain words (prepositions) show the relationship between two or more objects.

Have a good time and laugh at all the funny relationships you can describe for the objects.  Each request is a walk across the room and directs movement in a purposeful manner.

A key to a happy child, and thus a happy parent, is using purposeful activities to allow movement that aids development.  Household chores and word games give children purposeful movement.  You children will have chances for movement along with learning responsibility for a cheerful home life.


Mar 30
Film and Happy, Healthy Smiles

A Film About a Montessori School

​Ms. Katya's film premiered on February 20 at the Arbor Montessori Schools auction. She's provided us with a bit of background as well as the link to the entire 32 minute film.

Dear Friends of Arbor,

You may know me as Ms. Palladina, the art teacher and photographer at the  Arbor Montessori Schools in Sammamish. 

Since moving to the United States from Russia in 2001 and enrolling my younger daughter in second grade at Arbor, the school became our second home away from home. I learned to speak English while volunteering as a parent, and also discovered the Montessori philosophy of "following the child".  Later in 2004, I began to teach art to the 1st through 9th grades.  As a parent, I witnessed first hand the success of the Montessori method and became an enthusiastic supporter. As an artist and teacher, I draw inspiration from working with children; sometimes I feel that they teach me more about life and art than I teach them!
Arbor Schools celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2013. I thought it unfortunate that no one at the time had made a movie about it in honor of the anniversary.

Arbor's history is rich in inspiring personalities and stories that exemplify Montessori principles. I feel that now is the time to create a short documentary film about Arbor and preserve school history.

I work full time, and all of my spare time recently has been taken up in arranging interviews, filming, and editing this film for its planned premiere during the Arbor Auction in March 2014. So far the project has been met with great enthusiasm from Arbor staff, teachers, alumni, students, and parents, and I have enjoyed their full cooperation and support. It is definitely a "labor of love"! Completing this film however required more than just my time and effort. As you can imagine, filmmaking comes with significant expenses, including the purchasing of music licenses, acquisition of editing and color grading software, data storage, and video and audio recording equipment rentals. Any contribution to help offset these expenses would be greatly appreciated!"

Thank you!




Happy, Healthy Smiles

Today a dental hygenist from Eastside Pediatric Dental Group came to talk with the primary children about oral health. In addition to showing them how to brush their teeth, she talked about the importance of flossing, avoiding sugary foods (especially sticky, sugary foods) and drinking lots of water. Use this information to your advantage :-). Each child received a purple paper bag with goodies--a toothbrush, toothpaste, a coloring book and a couple other smile related items.

Spring Break

Next week is spring break. Please let Ms. Kim know if you need care for your child; at the moment we have a few spots open at both levels for every day of break.

Looking Forward:

  • April 16--Kindergarten Field Trip to see Goodnight Moot at Seattle Children's Theatre
  • April 16--Parent Connections with guest speaker Amy Lang
  • April 24--Parent-Teacher Conferences--sign up in your child's classroom
  • May 5--Mother's Tea--Cottage, Sprouts, Garden
  • May 7--Mother's Tea--Loft, Nest 


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