Deb Kelleher

Terie Alvarez

Cardinal Room is a Lower Elementary classroom for levels 1-3 on the Toledo Campus. Terie Alvarez and Deb Kelleher are the classroom’s co-teachers.


A Wonderful Opportunity to Practice Handwriting 

cardinalWe will be celebrating Valentine’s Day on Friday, Feb. 12. We will celebrate by exchanging Valentine cards with classmates. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to practice using their neatest handwriting, so please have your child sign their own cards. The children can make a decorated box or bag at home to put their Valentines in.  Check your child’s backpack for a class list to address each valentine.

Thank You,
Deb and Terie

100-day1The 100th day of school is Wednesday, Feb. 3. We have many engaging activities planned for this day. In order to help us get ready, please encourage your child to make a 100th day collection. Your child is to collect 100 of something and bring their items to school on Wednesday. We will be sharing these items together during our morning meeting.

It’s always amazing to see the wonderful ideas each child comes up with such as a 100-piece Lego sculpture, 100 pictures on a poster, 100-piece puzzle or a 100 cotton ball snowman.  Have fun!

100th Day Breakfast

We would like to start off with a yummy approved 100th day activity. We would like your child to bring to school 100 pieces of their favorite cereal in a personalized resalable plastic bag. We will have breakfast with a smile that day. Now that’s a tasty way to start the day!

How to Raise an Independent, Responsible, Cooperative Child

Does your child follow the ground rules at school, but constantly challenge your expectations at home? Join West Side Montessori’s Goldfinch Teacher, Natalie Fisher, and Elementary and Middle School Education Director, Jenn Schoepf, for this four-week session of Parenting the Montessori Elementary Child.

The class will be held at the Toledo Campus on Thursdays starting Jan. 21 from 3:45-5 p.m. Class dates are Jan. 21, Jan. 28, Feb. 4, and Feb. 11.

Click here to print a registration form or call (419) 866-1931 and ask for Jenn Schoepf.


On any given day while looking through a lower elementary observation window, you may see a student using a stamp game to solve a multiplication equation, a child at a rug acting out verb command cards, and another youngster tracing and coloring a timeline of life. Movement is a key component in every Montessori classroom.

MovementMaria Montessori was ahead of her time when she declared:
“One of the greatest mistakes of our day is to think of movement by itself, as something apart from the higher functions…Mental development must be connected with movement and be dependent on it. It is vital that educational theory and practice should become informed by this idea.”(1967)

Maria Montessori was so passionate about this idea that she incorporated movement into every subject.

What Maria Montessori declared decades ago, current research is now confirming. Studies have supported the notion that movement and learning are closely intertwined. Studies have reported that judgment, social cognition, and memory can be greatly improved when movements are aligned with what they are thinking about and learning. Movement stimulates the brain and improves the encoding of details into the brain. (Stoll-Lillard, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius).

In Montessori classrooms, movement is at its core. The Montessori math curriculum materials such as the golden beads and stamp game begin very concrete. As the child moves through the operation, the materials, like the small and large bead frames, become less concrete, moving the child to the point of abstracting math operations. In language lessons, grammar symbols and lessons use movement to teach nouns, verbs, conjunctions, and so on. With the phonics materials, students carefully lay out their work and record it. In culture lessons, students work with geography puzzle maps, use nomenclature cards to learn the parts of an animal, read directions to complete an experiment and then produce a record of learning from tracing and labeling a map, to painting an animal and naming its parts, to recording scientific experiment data. All of these movements of the hand are making the learning connection.

Come visit a Lower Elementary room and observe six to nine year old students practicing purposeful movement. You will see how movement is helping us develop independent workers, confident helpers, and explorers of the world.