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Welcome back everyone!

Lynn Fisher, West Side Montessori Head of School

Lynn Fisher
Head of School

School is well under way after just a few days. At the start of each new school year excitement and anxiety are both high. Many parents are scrambling to get their children to bed at a reasonable hour at night and make it to school on time in the morning. New West Side Montessori parents are practicing the intricate carline routes. Children are settling in to school routines. Teachers are adjusting to new students, teaching partners, and classrooms added at the last minute due to increased demand.

I’m always amazed at the personal time and energy our faculty invests over the summer preparing for your children. They engage in professional training, team retreats, curriculum workshops, making learning materials, and designing and creating their rich learning environments. When hundreds of new shoes step through the doors on that first day, a calm, gentle, focused, inviting, and challenging world awaits the children who proudly wear them.

Some of the things I’m looking forward to this year are meeting new parents and sharing the insights of an authentic Montessori education. I’m presenting this week’s First Thursday morning and afternoon programs designed for parents of children birth to 6 years old, titled, Montessori 101: Your Child’s Super Powers. On Tuesday, Sept. 16, I will present Montessori 201: Elementary Montessori, Sparking the Imagination. Parents, grandparents, caregivers, and friends are invited to any and all of our educational programs. Your understanding and support of our work is the cornerstone of our family-oriented mission and your child’s success.

All parents and friends are also welcome to join me at an informal Q & A after carline on Tuesday, Sept. 23, in the library for follow-up discussion, questions and feedback from your hallway window observations and/or West Side experience to date. I look forward to seeing you soon!

Warm regards,

Lynn Fisher
Head of School

P.S. See you at Sweet September Sundae on Sunday, Sept. 14, from 2-4:30 p.m. at the Toledo Campus!

Thursday, Sept. 4 • 8:30 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. at Toledo Campus

pink towerMontessori education is designed to maximize development of your young child’s brain power. How?

Join Head of School, Lynn Fisher, at September’s First Thursday as she unlocks the secrets of how an authentic Montessori program works. Little House & Children’s House parents are invited to attend this monthly program held at the Toledo Campus. This month’s event is Thursday, Sept. 4, from 8:30-9:30 a.m. and again from 3:45-4:45 p.m. Come and discover your child’s super powers!

First Thursday is a monthly parent education program presented by West Side Montessori faculty. Any family is welcome to attend! First Thursdays are opportunities for parents in our community to learn more about Montessori through the eyes of children, teachers, and other Montessori parents.

Make plans to come, meet other parents, and learn more about the Montessori method.

woods

Head of School Lynn Fisher walks on WSM’s wooded trails.

The urge for adventure, exploring outdoors, is one of the joys of childhood. This summer, in addition to the zoo and our 12 amazing Metroparks of the Toledo Area, take your children for a walk on the wild side to one of the more isolated nature preserves in the area. One of my favorites is Irwin Prairie located on West Bancroft Street just west of Irwin Road. A boardwalk winds through the wet woods to Irwin Rd. and then crosses the wet prairie to an isolated observation deck.  There you feel like you are in a remote location. There are no crowds, no thrilling rides, but if you stay very still and listen very carefully a blue damselfly might land nearby or a frog dive into the water.

Traveling farther west and north of Airport Highway, at 10420 Old State Line Rd, west of Eber Rd., Kitty Todd Preserve has one of the highest concentrations of rare species of any nature preserve in the state. Explore the low lying wetlands and sand dunes any day between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and you may see wild lupine in bloom and glimpse an endangered karner blue butterfly. Have you ever seen an earth star? Before you go, have your school-age children use their Internet savvy to research some of the plants and animals found in the Oak Openings area of northwest Ohio. Or take a side trip to your local library to discover what awaits you.

Travel doesn’t have to be at a great distance to open children’s minds and hearts. What matters is leaving the comfort of the familiar and introducing them to a world apart from their own. Cultivate a sense of wonder in your children by stepping out and into the natural world where their senses will be reawakened and mysteries revealed.

Don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray!

Lynn Fisher, Head of School

Lynn Fisher, Head of School

How will your children spend their time this summer? Riding bikes? Swimming? Playing with friends? Attending summer camps or classes? Relaxing and reading?

What about screen-time, the amount of time watching TV, playing video games or using mobile devices? We are in an era of accelerating screen-time for children of all ages. Current research shows an average of 7+ hours per day of screen-time for young children and as screen-time increases the amount of sleep-time decreases.

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) the use of media is the leading activity for children and teenagers other than sleeping and there is considerable evidence that a bedroom TV increases the risk for obesity, substance use, and exposure to sexual content. The AAP now recommends limiting screen time for children to 1-2 hours per day and discourages exposure to all screen media for children under age two.

Many child development experts are concerned. When children are physically engaged in a challenging activity, like learning to walk or ride a bike or skate, their brains are stretched; muscles are strengthened; coordination improves. Children’s brains are elastic and grow the most during the first 10 years of life through lots of physical and mental exercise.

Social and emotional development is equally important and is dependent on human interactions. Children learn to read body language and appropriate behavior from experience, trial and error. The less time children interact with peers and nurturing adults, the less time to develop life skills that determine success.

How are your children spending their time this summer? Encourage them to get outside and move, stretch their bodies and minds, develop friendships through play and shared experience, and savor summer with time to relax and rejuvenate. Come to think of it, we could all benefit from more outdoor play.

Fisher_picHow do you nurture a child to become his or her best self? Lovingly, tenderly, slowly, just like in nature. The transformation from baby to adult human being takes a full 24 years from birth to maturity. West Side Montessori capitalizes on the critical early childhood period of development through the tween years with insight and expertise by providing enriched learning opportunities as well as the time and opportunity for children to investigate their world so they develop the confidence to reach for the stars.

While exploring West Side’s 37 acres of woods, meadows, pond and swales tiny children may discover skunk cabbage or feel the velvety leaves of marsh mullein while older children collect and learn the parts of native prairie plants, classify those plants by phylum, study the ecology of the Oak Openings and plant reproduction, and tend their own gardens. By middle school the pond becomes their classroom again when students collect and analyze water samples in preparation for community involvement in our local Maumee River Watershed Watch program.

Our highly-trained and experienced Montessori certified teachers create enticing indoor and outdoor classroom environments full of abundant learning materials where children challenge themselves and ask for more. An atmosphere of shared learning creates a peaceful and purposeful learning community. At each age and stage of growth West Side Montessori students cultivate high level skills and develop creativity and leadership. Each child gains independence as natural curiosity blossoms into a love of learning at West Side.

Montessori students develop a high degree of self-knowledge and grow up to be creative problem solvers and leaders who face the challenges of the future with grace, confidence, and tenacity.

Come and see for yourself how your child can grow with Montessori.

Warm regards,

Lynn Fisher
Head of School