Spring Library Update

Spring Library Update

Weeding is an essential component of library management. It is an ongoing part of collection development, a planned and thoughtful action that will ensure library materials are current and enticing. This process ensures the removal of regularly outdated or irrelevant library resources and allows room for new materials!

We have been working all year to weed through our library. During this process, we have removed 1,400 books from our collection. All weeded materials are donated to Veterans of America. New materials are added continuously throughout the school year to meet the needs of our community. As we build our collection, we choose materials that are high quality, age appropriate, current and accurate, and a reflection of community, cultural exploration, and global understanding. Here are some great resources for you to explore:

When students walk into the library, they immediately see resources that allow them to connect to the larger world around them. Books, materials, resources, and programs that introduce cultural exploration, foster global understanding, and facilitate language learning are showcased throughout the library.

The Greenspring Montessori School Library is committed to creating an inclusive environment by promoting curiosity and inquiry in our students and the research habits needed to find great information and a love of reading. All materials are chosen to enrich and support the curriculum of Greenspring Montessori School and the educational, emotional, and recreational needs of the users.

The Library is open during school hours and families are welcome to visit during those times. Come on by and see some of our newly acquired books!

New Books in the library:

The Name Jar, Yangsook Choi
Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it—Yoon-Hey.

Jabari Jumps, Gaia Cornwall
Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.

Over and Under the Pond, Kate Messner
In this gorgeous companion to the acclaimed Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal bring to life a secret underwater world. In this book, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the pond is a hidden world of minnows darting, beavers diving, tadpoles growing. These and many other secrets are waiting to be discovered…over and under the pond.

Don’t Touch My Hair, Sharee Miller
It seems that wherever Aria goes, someone wants to touch her hair. In the street, strangers reach for her fluffy curls; and even under the sea, in the jungle, and in space, she’s chased by a mermaid, monkeys, and poked by aliens…until, finally, Aria has had enough!

SAY SOMETHING! Peter H. Reynolds
In this empowering new picture book, beloved author Peter H. Reynolds explores the many ways that a single voice can make a difference. Each of us, each and every day, have the chance to say something: with our actions, our words, and our voices. Perfect for kid activists everywhere, this timely story reminds readers of the undeniable importance and power of their voice. There are so many ways to tell the world who you are… what you are thinking… and what you believe. And how you’ll make it better. The time is now: SAY SOMETHING!

I AM HUMAN: A Book of Empathy, Susan Verde
From the picture book dream team behind I Am Yoga and I Am Peace comes the third book in their wellness series: I Am Human. A hopeful meditation on all the great (and challenging) parts of being human, I Am Human shows that it’s okay to make mistakes while also emphasizing the power of good choices by offering a kind word or smile or by saying “I’m sorry.” At its heart, this picture book is a celebration of empathy and compassion that lifts up the flawed fullness of humanity and encourages children to see themselves as part of one big imperfect family—millions strong.

These Bees Count! Alison Formento
How do bees count? The bees at the Busy Bee Farm buzz through the sky as one big swarm, fly over two waving dandelions, find three wild strawberries dripping tasty nectar… As the children in Mr. Tate’s class listen, they learn how bees work to produce honey and make food and flowers grow. Bees count—they’re important to us all. Alison Formento’s gentle message is illustrated with Sarah Snow’s bright, realistic papercuts.

Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring, Angela Cervantes
Paloma Marquez is traveling to Mexico City, birthplace of her deceased father, for the very first time. She’s hoping that spending time in Mexico will help her unlock memories of the too-brief time they spent together.
While in Mexico, Paloma meets Lizzie and Gael, who present her with an irresistible challenge: The siblings want her to help them find a valuable ring that once belonged to beloved Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Finding the ring means a big reward — and the thanks of all Mexico. What better way to honor her father than returning a priceless piece of jewelry that once belonged to his favorite artist! But the brother and sister have a secret. Do they really want to return the ring, or are they after something else entirely?

The Parker Inheritance, Varian Johnson
When Candice finds a letter in an old attic in Lambert, South Carolina, she isn’t sure she should read it. It’s addressed to her grandmother, who left the town in shame. But the letter describes a young woman. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding its writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle. So with the help of Brandon, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert’s history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter’s promise before the answers slip into the past yet again?

Successful Spring Grounds Day

Successful Spring Grounds Day

Thank you to all of our amazing volunteers who braved the weather to join us on Friday, April 12 for our Spring Grounds Day! We so appreciate all of the faculty, staff, parents, and children who rolled up their sleeves to help us create beautifully prepared gardens, grounds, and outdoor learning environments. With the help of over 40 volunteers, we filled raised garden beds with soil for our students to begin planting vegetables, planted flowers in our decorative gardens in front of the school, moved logs and natural elements into our classroom outdoor environments, built picnic tables and outdoor furniture for our classrooms, and removed invasive ivy from our trees.

Take a look at the photographs from the event in our gallery below.

Greenspring Awarded the Ursula Thrush Peace Seed Grant

Greenspring Awarded the Ursula Thrush Peace Seed Grant

The American Montessori Society Peace Committee has awarded the Ursula Thrush Peace Seed Grant to Greenspring Montessori School and a partnering parent group to fund a project that promotes peace education.

This grant was created by the American Montessori Society Peace Committee to honor the memory of Ursula Thrush.  Dr. Thrush’s extraordinary dedication to fulfilling Maria Montessori’s vision for peace through children inspired many Montessori educators to include peace education in their classrooms and communities.  Among her numerous achievements, Ursula founded the Maria Montessori School of the Golden Gate in San Francisco and helped establish The Science of Peace Task Force and the Montessori Peace Academy.

Greenspring Montessori’s grant submission was prepared in partnership with a group of Greenspring Montessori parent volunteers who have been gathering to discuss their own challenges and aspirations for their children as it concerns diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging.  In addition to supporting one another, the parent group felt called to support the school in providing whatever education, resources, materials, and open dialogue was needed to support Greenspring in becoming the embodiment of peaceful society Maria Montessori and Ursula Thrush envisioned.

“The Peace Seed Grant Committee is impressed with the originality of your project and the deep thought that has gone into it.  We are pleased to award this grant for a project that is consciously working toward understanding and further Social Justice among the many teachers, parents and students at your school.  We are also impressed with the 19 different languages that are already a part of the school.  The timing of this project is excellent!”  -Award letter from Lesley Nan Haberman, Sonnie McFarland, and Judi Bauerlein

The Ursula Thrush Peace Seed Grant will support the school to:

1. Provide an introductory professional development workshop for Greenspring Montessori School staff to clarify what diversity, equity and inclusion is, how it is relevant to their work, and to begin to explore why diversity, equity and inclusion learning is critical to deepen their understanding of and ability to provide proper support for the varying needs of Greenspring Montessori School’s diverse student base.

2. Offer a workshop to Greenspring Montessori staff and parents on identifying and combating unconscious and implicit bias.

3. Offer a workshop to Greenspring Montessori staff and parents on age-appropriate best practices for talking with your children about race.

The grant activities will begin in fall of 2019 and will be complete by January 2020.  These activities are a small subset of a larger body of work in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging that the school is committed to carrying out in the years to come.

Religious Studies in the Adolescent Community

Religious Studies in the Adolescent Community

The Adolescents at Greenspring Montessori School are nearing the completion of their insightful six-week study of religion and belief. Students have learned a wealth of information about Catholicism and Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Daoism, Buddhism, Islam, and more, through in-house presentations, research trips to places of worship, a panel discussion with members of our community, Socratic seminars (?), and both fiction and non-fiction books.

The research began with a panel discussion, featuring Spanish Enrichment Guide, Marcela Daley, Jeff Daley, Lower Elementary Guide, JR Devallon, Lower Elementary Guide, Sarah Prunier Law, Upper Elementary Guide, Brad Choate, and Carolyn Choate, where students asked questions about their own personal experiences with faith, religion, and traditions. You can watch the full panel discussion here.

Students traveled to the Baltimore Basilica to study Catholicism, Kadampa Meditation Center to study Buddhism, Beth El Congregation to study Judaism, and Sri Siva Vishnu Temple to learn about Hinduism. Sonia Sabarikanth, parent and trained Montessori Guide, also visited the classroom to talk about her knowledge of Hinduism.

During this time, the Adolescents read the book Life of Pi, a novel that references Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. Students discussed and debated religious concepts in the book and its dramatic conclusion with Humanities Guide, Mr. Jim. They also created lesson plans on religion and belief systems to share with their classmates. Adolescents presented a variety of lessons, from a mock Quaker wedding to a game of Mormon Jeopardy to the reenactment of a Haitian vodou ritual.

Montessori Model United Nations at Greenspring

Montessori Model United Nations at Greenspring

This week, a group of our 5th and 6th grade students are in New York City for the Montessori Model United Nations Conference. They have been working for several months to research real United Nations topics and they will be presenting their speeches to students from other Montessori schools around the world. Watch the video to learn more about their big work.

Montessori Model United Nations is an international group that seeks to empower young leaders through research, cultural studies, critical thinking, and problem-solving. MMUN works directly with the United Nations and implements elements of the Montessori Method to create an enriching experience for students and faculty. Like other Model United Nations programs, the students are given real countries and real topics to research and come up with resolutions. However, MMUN also incorporates many Montessori principles, keeping it in close alignment with our values around Grace and Courtesy, Peace Education, independence, and autonomy. We find that MMUN is a great compliment to our Upper Elementary Montessori curriculum.

To learn more about Upper Elementary at Greenspring Montessori School, please visit our Programs page.

Community Service in the Elementary Classrooms

Community Service in the Elementary Classrooms

Every year, students at Greenspring Montessori School emphasize the importance of service and stewardship through community service projects. However, we approach service a little differently than other schools. Instead of requiring a set number of hours of service or having a top-down approach (such as a teacher or administrator planning a coat drive and then getting students to participate), our students actively organize their own service projects based on the needs they see in their community.

Just before the winter break, two of our Elementary students organized a holiday drive for Paul’s Place, a community center in Baltimore City. Our school community contributed an amazing total of 146 brand new gifts including toys, clothes, books, personal care, jewelry, and appliances. The staff at Paul’s Place was very moved and acknowledged our contribution in their morning meeting for staff and volunteers.

During the month of December, Upper Elementary students also collected donations for people facing homelessness and the Humane Society. Our students and families truly embraced Greenspring’s commitment to service during the holiday season!

A group of third-year Lower Elementary students visited Pickersgill Retirement Community before the break as well. Students performed holiday songs and worked with residents on making holiday cards. It was a pleasant surprise when the residents chose to make cards for the students themselves! You can enjoy photos from their visit here. A group of students is already planning the next trip to sing additional songs and do more craft activities together.

At Greenspring Montessori School, when our students see a need, they respond with kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness. It’s one of the things we love most about our community!