Education in Living Color-Keep the Future Bright

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Montessori is education in living color. Alive. Bright. Real.

For 40 years, Mountaineer Montessori School has brought learning to life, offering a hands-on, real world, world-class education that inspires children to discover and become who they were meant to be. Year after year, alumni and current students tell us that their MMS experience made a profound impact on their life, instilling a love of learning, self-confidence and leadership that carries with them wherever they go.

With your help, MMS not only met last year’s annual fund financial goal but exceeded it! As a result, we were able to:

  • Increase the number of financial aid awards by 18 percent.
  • Provide training for faculty to provide Parenting with Positive Discipline sessions to our school community and beyond.
  • Continue our commitment to staff excellence by sponsoring training and professional development for faculty and staff.

ilcEducation in Living Color is our 2016 campaign to fund our rich academic and arts programming and ensure excellence in the year ahead through:

  • Enhancements to primary outdoor classroom environment.
  • Guest artists and additional musical instruments for elementary students.
  • Expanded middle school creative and physical expression opportunities.
  • Continued growth of our financial aid program and the Dana Gilliland Memorial Scholarship.

This year’s goal is $25,000. The campaign is off to a very bright start with a $12,500 anonymous matching pledge to MMS.  Now is the time for our school community to come together to help us reach our goal.  With the matching funds, every dollar donated will go twice as far.  We need 100 percent participation to meet our goal and every gift of every size counts.

As MMS enters its fifth decade as a “sanctuary of learning,” we invite you to sustain our special tradition for students today and beyond. Let’s color their world together!

Make your online donation today!

 

Learn how MMS has colored the worlds of:

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Emily Beal, Ethan, Arie Spitz, Owen, Ellen and Tom Beal

“MMS gave me a wonderful foundation for my education and a love of learning.   Throughout my life, I have talked to people from many states and countries and different backgrounds, and I cannot name one person who had a better elementary school based both on happy memories and good education.” Emily Beal, PhD.

Read Emily’s story

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ukiah Cordell

“MMS is a place that I can be myself without worrying about judgment.” Ukiah Cordell, seventh year student.

Real more about Ukiah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yasin, Bettina Werner, Dr. Ali Shams and Amin

“The most important decision parents make in their life is how to provide the best education for their children in order to make them happy and successful individuals. After doing extensive research we decided that a Montessori school was the best choice for us. Montessori schools keep the curiosity and the love of learning that every child is born with alive, and help them become happy individuals by showing them there are no limits to what they can do.”  Ali Shams, M.D.

Learn more from the Shams family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

kahwash-sisters-c2“Montessori influenced my education by reminding me the point of why I go to school. It’s easy to get lost in the point and grade system, so having the background of Montessori helped me not lose sight of learning.” Deema Kahwash, senior, George Washington High School; National Merit Semi Finalist, Beta Club.

“… although Montessori has greatly influenced my success in academics, the most important things I learned there were not from a book. The teachers treated me and all of the students as equal and did not dismiss opinions and concerns just because of the age of the speaker, but listened and took every child into consideration. I learned, through my experiences, to respect everyone, especially those who share vastly different opinions than me. I learned to appreciate diversity and the value of knowing people from different backgrounds and learning from their stories.” Jenna Kahwash, 10th grade, George Washington High School; Beta Club. 

“Montessori has influenced my education and interests in an amazingly positive way. It has helped me think deeply about situations and analyze them differently.” Leana Kahwash, sixth year student

Learn more about Deema, Jenna and Leanna

 

Tysean Lynch, Samantha Van Den Berge-Lynch, primary guide, and Xavi, second year student

Tysean Lynch, Samantha Van Den Berge-Lynch, primary guide, and Xavi, second year student

“The Montessori difference is that the education the child receives is for the whole child and that it is such a personal path. I think that one of my favorite components of the Montessori approach is the concept of ‘following the child.’ I think it’s such a beautiful opportunity for children to take the lead and show the guide what resonates most with them. As I think of my son growing up, I hope most that he will always be engaged in the direction his life path goes that is what he has learned and continues to learn at Mountaineer Montessori.” Samantha Van Den Berghe-Lynch, Primary II Lead Guide

Read Samantha’s story

 

Make your online donation today!

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Education in Living Color: Emily Beal

Love of learning

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Emily Beal, Ethan (primary student), Arie Spitz, Owen, and Ellen and Tom Beal

How did Montessori influence your own education and career?

MMS provided with me with a strong foundation in all disciplines.  At MMS I learned grammar and language, math, science, history, art, and music. I learned that wondering and questioning are good things and how to research to find the answers to my questions.  I learned to love learning.  In high school, I studied abroad in Austria for a year.  I left my home in WV not knowing who I was going to live with or the language in the country I was to live in.  The independence and the strong foundation I had from going to MMS allowed me to tackle the language and learn it quickly and helped to give me the strength to know that I could do it.

In college, I majored in astronomy/astrophysics with a minor in international studies.  I switched fields for my PhD.  I received a dual degree PhD in geosciences (with a focus on geomicrobiology) and astrobiology.  The strong foundation, the independence, and the love of learning that I had from MMS helped me to pursue these studies.  When I decided to switch fields for my PhD, I was a bit nervous to enter a field about which I knew almost nothing.  However, I had learned a very important thing from MMS — the ability to teach yourself and answer your own questions.  Without the education I received from MMS, I do no think I would have had the courage or the confidence to pursue many of the things that I have.”

 

emily-beal-ice-cream-cDo you have a favorite Montessori memory?

“I have so many wonderful memories from MMS, it is almost impossible to pick one.  I have many great memories from primary.  I remember making butter.  I remember learning to write my letters and numbers and being excited that I could do it.  I remember the first day I zipped my jacket on my own.  I remember getting into the loft to read.  I also have wonderful memories from elementary school.  I remember making up songs about sentence analysis and square root problems.  I remember going on wonderful field trips – spending the night in a museum, camping (in the snow when the boys tent fell over!), wonderful classes at Carnegie Museum, eating astronaut ice cream while at the museum.  I remember making imaginary islands (learning about biomes, coastlines, island formation, naming our islands and making a world map with all of them).  I remember listening to Mary read to us in the afternoon.  As an adult, I have enjoyed talking to upper elementary about my PhD research and seeing they excitement and curiosity.  The first day I sent my eldest son, Ethan, to primary was very nostalgic. Throughout my life, I have told many friends how great my elementary school was and how many great memories I have from going there.”

 

What makes MMS special to you?

My primary teachers Nancy (Johnston) and Joe (Rice) and my elementary school teacher Mary (McKown) are all very special to me.  You are taught to respect your classmates and your teachers at MMS, and your teachers respect you.  It is very special that young kids can have such a wonderful relationship with their teachers.  I have told Mary many times she taught me all I needed to know.  MMS gives one a wonderful education, but allows one to keep being an individual.  Kids are not supposed to fit into a mold with one way of learning at MMS.  You can explore things in your own way and are not told that you are wrong.

Why did you choose MMS for your own child?

MMS gave me a wonderful foundation for my education and a love of learning.   Throughout my life, I have talked to people from many states and countries and different backgrounds, and I cannot name one person who had a better elementary school based both on happy memories and good education.”

 

Professional/Personal Achievements

Exchange student to Austria my junior year in high school

B.S. Astronomy, University of Illinois;  Minor in International Studies

Dual degree PhD in Geoscience (focus in Geomicrobiology) and Astrobiology, the Pennsylvania State University

Mother of two boys – ages 1 and 4

Read more MMS stories here.

Make an online In Living Color contribution to keep the future bright at MMS

 

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Education in Living Color: Samantha Van Den Berghe-Lynch

Follow the child

Tysean Lynch, Samantha Van Den Berge-Lynch, primary guide, and Xavi, second year student

Tysean Lynch, Samantha Van Den Berge-Lynch, primary guide, and Xavi, second year student

What is the Montessori difference? How has it impacted your students and your son?

The Montessori difference is that the education the child receives is for the whole child and that it is such a personal path. I think that one of my favorite components of the Montessori approach is the concept of “following the child.” I think it’s such a beautiful opportunity for children to take the lead and show the guide what resonates most with them. As I think of my son growing up, I hope most that he will always be engaged in the direction his life path goes that is what he has learned and continues to learn at Mountaineer Montessori.

How is MMS special to you?

Mountaineer Montessori is special to me because each year, each new class, is an opportunity to continue to grow and learn, not just for the children, but for me as well. I cannot articulate how much I have learned from the children. I have never felt a feeling of stagnation, there is always something shifting and evolving. Each group of children has a different energy, they inspire me to try something new and different whether it’s developing games to help internalize more complex concepts or using recycled materials to build and create. I am so grateful to be able to adapt the way I do things based on what the children show me is most exciting and enticing to them.

samantha-cTell us about your training:

My training was a two year program at Virginia Center for Montessori studies in Richmond, Virginia. The first summer consisted of eight weeks on site, subsequent to that, I commuted to Richmond once a month for seminar weekends. My training include internal and external observations, written and oral exams, practice hours with all of the materials, and field consultant visits to observe my classroom. In addition, I prepared curriculum albums for each curriculum area.

Favorite Montessori quote:

“Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.”

 

 

 

Read more MMS stories here.

Make an online donation to the In Living Color campaign to keep the future bright at MMS!

 

 

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Education in Living Color: Ukiah Cordell

 Be myself

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“I have been in MMS since I was five years old, and I have learned so much and made so many amazing friends. It is the kind of place in which everyone knows everyone. The teachers are all kind, and have their hearts set on making the MMS experience just like it is supposed to be. Everyone can go at their own pace, and that in itself makes MMS special. I have been able to understand things because of the time they put into their lessons, and if I don’t understand something, they take the time to help me. MMS has helped me become excited by learning. My favorite part of MMS, however, is the people. There are so many amazing people from so many different places. I have made so many lasting friends who have stuck with me since the beginning. MMS is a place that I can be myself without worrying about judgment.” Ukiah Cordell, seventh year student

Read more MMS stories here.

Make an online donation to the In Living Color campaign to keep the future bright at MMS!

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Education in Living Color: The Shams Family

No limits

Yasin (seventh year), Bettina Werner, Dr. Ali Shams and Amin (fourth year)

Yasin (seventh year), Bettina Werner, Dr. Ali Shams and Amin (fourth year)

Why did you choose Montessori education for your family?

“The most important decision parents make in their life is how to provide the best education for their children in order to make them happy and successful individuals. After doing extensive research we decided that the Montessori school was the best choice for us. Montessori schools keep the curiosity and the love of learning that every child is born with alive, and help them become happy individuals by showing them there are no limits to what they can do. They do this by allowing the children to determine their workday with guidance, by individualizing their studies and tailoring the them to their interests, all of this while making sure they also excel at contents of the curriculum mandated by the board of education.

The social structure of the three year block of the Montessori classroom provides the conditions for the children to relate to other age levels and to teach or learn from each other. The teachers are proficient in the principles of positive discipline that fosters a sense of value and self-esteem which leads to creativity and independence. When children learn to think critically and independent of bias, when they learn to discuss issues respectfully and be tolerant of others, to do meaningful research and present a case effectively, they will become valuable members of society.” Ali Shams, M.D.

How do you think MMS has influenced your children?

“MMS has been like a big family to us and our children. We feel very comfortable talking to the director and the teachers at any time and it is as if we are friends with them and all the parents and children. Our children have developed strong relationships to adults and children at school. They are happy and confident individuals are inquisitive and love to learn. They feel like they are going to ‘work’ and are having fun. We are impressed by their personal, academic and social development. Our children truly understand and trust the Montessori philosophy.”

Do you have a favorite “Montessori moment” that stands out?

“I think every morning when the children jump out of the car happily and sprint to enter the school is a Montessori moment and sign of success. But one particular moment was the the end of last year when Yasin finished upper elementary. They have a tradition at MMS when the children present their sixth year project. Then the teachers speak to the children in front of the parents. Juli (Taylor) and Jason, expressed their love and appreciation for the children, describing each child’s special characteristics and achievements individually. It was truly a special event for the children and their parents where the culmination of completing and presenting the project which they worked on through the whole year was combined with quite an emotional speech by the teachers which brought tears to the eyes of many who were there. The presentations were outstanding  and what followed was proof of the close personal relationship created by using the Montessori culture and philosophy effectively.”

 

shams-chesscWhat makes MMS special to you?

Amin (fourth year): “You have freedom and choice. You can decide what you want to work on and set your own goals. I have my own space in the classroom and I can find different ways to do one thing. The teachers are kind and encouraging and they want to make me the best I can be.

Yasin (seventh year): “Through individualizing the approach to every student, each child is educated at their own level and pace. I like the classroom because it is peaceful and promotes valuable social interaction. I love the fact that there is great emphasis on the creative process and the atmosphere allows me to concentrate well. My teachers are enthusiastic about their work. They prefer to encourage independent work and only intervene when absolutely necessary.”

 

Read more MMS stories here.

Make an online donation to the In Living Color campaign to keep the future bright at MMS!

 

 

 

 

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Education in Living Color: Deema, Jenna and Leana

Respect

Deema, Leana and Jenna Kahwash

Deema, Leana and Jenna Kahwash

“Montessori influenced my education by reminding me the point of why I go to school. It’s easy to get lost in the point and grade system, so having the background of Montessori helped me not lose sight of learning. My interest in math education, and education reform is heavily influenced by Maria Montessori’s curriculum, and I hope to eventually earn Montessori certification.

MMS is special to me because, not only does it represent how I personally fell in love with learning, but it’s also quite admirable that it stands, as a gift from Mary (McKown) to West Virginia, available to provide a new way of life to the children of our state. I find that so powerful, especially when I see where it has taken students who otherwise may have been stifled by the monotony and control of a ‘traditional’ education.” Deema Kahwash, senior, George Washington High School; National Merit Semi-Finalist, Beta Club. 

 

 

 

Jenna, Leana and Deema Kahwash

Jenna, Leana and Deema Kahwash

“Montessori has influenced my work ethic and my value for education. I was taught the skills of time management and that I was, and am, responsible for my own education at a very young age. Personally, I believe that although Montessori has greatly influenced my success in academics, the most important things I learned there were not from a book. The teachers treated me and all of the students as equal and did not dismiss opinions and concerns just because of the age of the speaker, but listened and took every child into consideration. I learned, through my experiences, to respect everyone, especially those who share vastly different opinions than me. I learned to appreciate diversity and the value of knowing people from different backgrounds and learning from their stories. I learned to think rationally, to analyze situations and find solutions.

I learned to ask questions about everything and keep an open mind. These are the lessons that I value the most and continue to carry through every aspect of my life.” Jenna Kahwash, 10th grade, George Washington High School; Beta Club, national second place team, American Chemical Society exam.  

 

 

annual-appeal-2016-077“Montessori has influenced my education and interests in an amazingly positive way. It has helped me deeply think about situations and analyze them differently.

The community of MMS is very loving and kind. It feels like a great big family. At MMS you get to know everyone so quickly, and you learn something new about them everyday. MMS makes me feel very confident in myself.” Leana Kahwash, sixth year student

“We became part of the MMS community 12 years ago. The most wonderful thing was watching my three daughters going to school with a big smile every morning. Throughout the years, each member of the MMS community contributed in their growth to become independent thinkers and avid learners.” Zeina Hadar, M.D. 

 

 

Read more MMS stories here.

Make an online donation to the In Living Color campaign to keep the future bright at MMS!

 

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Celebating kindness, gratitude: MMS to dedicate “Buddy Bench” on Nov. 22

At a time when schools and communities are seeking to build unity and a culture of kindness, Mountaineer Montessori School, 308 20th Street, will dedicate a student-built “buddy bench” with a special ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at approximately 11:30 a.m.

measuring-croppedA “buddy bench” offers a safe spot for children to gather when they are looking for a friend or someone to play with. The motto of the buddy bench movement is “make buddies, not bullies.”

The bench was built from repurposed and new wood under the direction of Chad Cordell, an MMS parent volunteer. Students ages 3-14 honed math skills, learned carpentry and made new friends from all age levels in the process.

Well-known local artist Charly Hamilton worked with the children to add colorful touches to the finished bench. Students chose symbols that represent friendship, happiness and kindness to them.

Plus Program faculty Karen Kelly and Susie Newhouse coordinated the planning, construction and painting of the bench.

The MMS buddy bench will stand as a symbol of unity, friendship and thankfulness to all who visit the school, and hopefully spark a “buddy bench” movement throughout Charleston to build bridges among all sectors of the community.

artist-at-workThe Tuesday event will also kick of the 2016 MMS Giving Tuesday Annual Appeal, “Education in Living Color.”

For more information, contact:

MMS Director Jennifer Carriger: 304/342-7870, jcarriger@mountaineermontessori.org or

JoEllen Zacks, 312/622-3008 (cell-text), marketing@mountaineermontessori.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tim Tebow law: Every child, every opportunity

Every child, every opportunity

Every child, every opportunity

A grassroots movement is underway to pass a “Tim Tebow” law in West Virginia. Named after the home schooled football star who played on a local high school team, the bill would allow home- and private school students to participate in public school sports and other extra-curricular activities. About 31 states already allow access to extra-curricular activities to students outside the public school system.

Over the years, many MMS parents have expressed strong interest in exploring public school sports opportunities for their students.  A special information session on the status of a WV Tim Tebow bill was held on October 21 with Dr. Heather Clawges, a Lewisburg physician and mother of four, who has been spearheading a citizen effort to support such a law.

 

 

 

Dr. Heather Clawges, MMS Director Jennifer Carriger, David Carriger and JoEllen Zacks

Dr. Heather Clawges, MMS Director Jennifer Carriger, David Carriger and JoEllen Zacks

MMS is committed to exploring every opportunity for our students to succeed, and will continue to monitor progress and share updates with our community. Please watch for opportunities to get involved in this campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information resources:

SB 105, a bill to open access to sports for home- and private school students, passed the WV Senate in 2016, but died in the House Education Committee.

SB 105, a bill to open access to sports for home- and private school students, passed the WV Senate in 2016, but died in the House Education Committee.

State map of Tim Tebow laws

Tim Tebow Law FAQ

Local mom, doctor, pushing sports access, Mountain Messenger, 11-15-15

Support a WV Tim Tebow Law Facebook page

WV Tim Tebow Law i-petition

Op-ed: Tim Tebow Act supports future leaders, Charleston Gazette, 2-18-16

Tim Tebow Act “dead,” WV Metro News, 3-28-16

Tim Tebow Bill Alabama website

 

 

 

 

 

 


MMS presents six-week ‘Parenting with Positive Discipline’ series

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MMS is proud to present a six-week series of “Parenting with Positive Discipline” classes for our parents and caregivers. Classes will be facilitated by Susie Newhouse and Samantha Van Den Berghe-Lynch, both of whom hold AMS certification in early childhood education and have completed specialized Positive Discipline training.

Positive discipline is a time-honored approach for helping children develop a sense of belonging and contribution, responsibility, respect for self and others and problem-solving skills. PD teaches important social and life skills in a manner that is deeply respectful and encouraging for both children and adults (including parents, teachers, childcare providers, youth workers, and others).

Recent research tells us that children are “hardwired” from birth to connect with others, and that children who feel a sense of connection to their community, family and school are less likely to misbehave. To be successful, contributing members of their community, children must learn necessary social and life skills. Positive Discipline is based on the understanding that discipline must be taught and that discipline also teaches.

The six week session will be held on Mondays from 5:30-7:00 p.m. on November 7, 14, 21 and 28 and December 5 and 12.

Cost: $120 per family (up to two participants per family)**

Registration includes: a copy of ‘Positive Discipline’ and the ‘Positive Discipline Workbook’

To register: Call or email Beth George in the MMS office at 304-342-7870 or bgeorge@mountaineermontessori.org

Childcare available: $10/child per evening, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
You may bring dinner for your child to eat in Plus.

**Funds are available for free or discounted registration. Please see Beth for details.


MMS Tint Sprint to benefit classrooms, financial aid program

JurneeMMS students will run, walk, skip, roll, crawl, jump, climb, somersault, cartwheel, hop and hula hoop their way around Triana Field to raise money for classroom materials and financial aid at our “Tint Sprint: 2016 MMS Race for Education,” to be held Friday, October 14.  The action will include a “color run” obstacle course and other fun to as part of our school’s year-long “Education in Living Color” celebration.  Sponsorship will be accepted up until race day…and after the event. To support Education in Living Color, please call the MMS office at 304/342-7870.

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