Photos from the 2019 Harvest Festival

Photos from the 2019 Harvest Festival

Over 300 people attended the Harvest Festival! Parent volunteers partnered with the school to plan, set up, provide food for, host, and clean up this parent-led event. Adolescents hosted their microeconomy pop-up shop to sell their handmade Cleanspring products. Upper Elementary provided a spooky haunted house experience – for which there was consistently a line out the door! And children young and old enjoyed fall crafts, delicious food, and fun activities such as a bounce house, pony rides, Home Depot crafts, scarecrow making, face painting, pumpkin patch, mini petting zoo, Baltimore County fire truck, and the student-led haunted house. A sweet and spooky time was had by all.

Special thanks to Greenspring parent, Justin Tsucalas, and Greenspring staff members and parents, Sherry White and Tamara S. Balis, for taking such amazing photographs!

Becoming a Going-Out Chaperone

Becoming a Going-Out Chaperone

As part of the Elementary experience at Greenspring Montessori School, students often organize their own Going-Outs. Unlike a field trip, which is usually organized by the teacher and requires whole class participation, a Going-Out is organized by a student or a small group based on what they are researching. Once a student has exhausted the resources in the classroom and the school library, they may look into other community resources. Students pick a place to visit, a professor to meet, or an activity to do, then they research the cost, reach out to the organization to schedule a time, print out directions, and organize a parent volunteer to drive. The students are in charge of every detail of the outing, giving them true ownership of their work. Afterward, many students present what they learned to the entire class in a way that speaks to them. It could be a play, a formal presentation, a book that they create, or something entirely new!

If you are a parent, friend, or relative interested in volunteering, we encourage you to become a Going-Out chaperone. The parent volunteer is there to ensure safety, but leaves the logistics and execution of the trip entirely to the students, even if they make mistakes along the way. Being a Going-Out chaperone is a perfect opportunity for you to learn first-hand about our Elementary program through the work of the students.

To learn more about the requirements to become a Going-Out chaperone, please follow the steps below.

Requirements:

  1. Watch a recorded Going-Out Orientation video above.
  2. Complete this GoogleForm with your availability and other required information.
  3. Print, complete, sign, and submit via scan, mail, drop-off to the school (Chris Youngston Gray) a Motor Vehicle Record Permission Form with a photocopy of your driver’s license. 
  4. Bring your completed State of Maryland LiveScan Pre-registration application (Agency Authorization #9000034783), your state issued ID (drivers license, etc), and payment* to:

Absolute Investigative Services 

604 E. Joppa Rd.
Towson, MD 21286
410-828-6460

Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday 9am-4:30pm
Cash or debit/credit card only – No checks accepted Background checks (fingerprinting and childcare approval) total approximately $55 – if you would like to have the school reimburse you for your background check, please contact us and we would be happy to arrange payment for you.

To submit your paperwork or for assistance with logistics, contact:

Chris Youngston Gray, Advancement Assistant, 410-321-8555 x110 or cyoungstongray@greenspringmontessori.org

Next steps:

Once the requirements are met, you will be added to a list of possible chaperones. As needed, students initiating a Going-Out will reach out to the volunteer to request their assistance chaperoning.

Supporting Your Toddler’s Independence

Supporting Your Toddler’s Independence

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Greenspring Montessori School will earn a commission if you click through and purchase an affiliate resource. We take special care to recommend resources that worked well for us or came highly recommended. If you would like to increase the amount your purchase impacts our school, please make sure to select the Montessori Society of Central MD Inc. as the charity you are supporting when using Amazon Smile.

Watch on YouTube  |  Subscribe to us on YouTube

If you are interested in learning more about how to support your toddler’s growing independence at home, take a moment to watch this webinar with Greenspring Montessori School Toddler Guides, Allie Alexander and Michelle Donohue. Allie and Michelle have over twenty years combined teaching experience and they both have Montessori toddlers at home. They offer practical advice that is easy to impliment, as well as suggested products to aid in your child’s independence.

For a full list of products for your child, please take a look below:

Drinkware

We recommend that you wean children off of bottles and pacifiers once they are twelve months old. Current research suggests that bottles and sippy cups can be damaging to your child’s oral development, so we recommend starting with an open mouth cup, or if you are on the go, a straw cup with a lid or a child’s water bottle.
Cups with Straws
Children’s Water Bottles
Most water bottles found in the children’s section (not the baby section) will work well.
Ikea is also a great place to find inexpensive child-sized open cups, silverware, plates, etc. for when you are eating at the table. We recommend that parents avoid plates and bowls that suction to the table after 18 months.

Footwear

Soft-soled shoes are best for children learning to walk. Once your child’s dexterity begins to improve, we recommend shoes and boots that are also easy to pull on and off.

Target, Carter’s, and Kohl’s have soft-soled booties as well.
Many of these items can be purchased used on sites like Facebook Marketplace or at your local consignment shop if you are looking for some less expensive options.

We also recommend searching the For Small Hands website if you are looking for something specific for your child. They have a variety of child-sized materials for every area of the home.

 


Take a look at our Montessori in the Home series for more tips for toddlers and infants:

Faculty and Staff Professional Development

Faculty and Staff Professional Development

This year as we turn our focus to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, we have created a number of forums for faculty and staff to engage in discussion and learn from various professional development opportunities. Below, we have outlined more about what we will be covering in these sessions with our team.

Lending Library

Greenspring Montessori School’s library in the Main Building silos houses an array of resources for adults and children. Speak to our librarian, Sherry White, for recommended readings.



The Factuality Game
Natalie Gillard
Equity educator and creator of Factuality
August 2019

During Staff Week, the faculty and staff at Greenspring Montessori School participated in the Factuality Game. Factuality is a facilitated dialogue, crash course, and board game, all in one, that simulates real-life experiences in America. Factuality’s board game delivery creates a comfortable environment for participants to simulate structural inequality in America. Participants discussed and unpacked the structural limitations and advantages that coincide with various intersecting identities. Several staff members commented that this was their most meaningful professional development experience to date.


September 2019
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lunch with Leadership Team
Greenspring Parent DEI Committee

At the beginning of the school year, the leadership team invited an open dialogue with the members of the Greenspring Parent Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to brainstorm ways to best fuel the inspiration and learning around DEI for the year.  


Date TBD
Human-Centered Design Workshop
Monica Tanase-Coles
Certified Integral Coach and adjunct faculty at New Ventures West, Greenspring Parent
George Coles
Process LUMA-certified practitioner of Human Centered Design, member of the Greenspring Board of Trustees, Greenspring Parent

In this workshop, we will come together as parents, to actively share our experience on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) in the Greenspring Montessori School community, and then work together to generate part of the path forward.


December 2019

The Fundamentals of Race in Education
Britt Hawthorne
Equity trainer and Montessori educator

This introductory workshop launches educators into anti-racist practices through a historic context. Participants will explore the timeline of race and racism in education as a critical component for understanding racial inequities and structural racism. This interactive workshop is for educators looking to respond to biases with their learners in a developmentally-appropriate way.


December 2019
How to Talk to Your Children About Race
Britt Hawthorne
Equity trainer and Montessori educator

This family and community presentation seeks to dismantle the color-blind assumption and prepare children to work toward justice. This presentation shares concrete ways families can support and affirm their children’s developing racial, ethnic, and other identities, empower their children to celebrate differences, and help them learn to stand up in the face of injustice. This event is open to parents and staff at Greenspring Montessori School.


January 2020
Practical Implementation of Anti-biased practices in the Montessori Classroom
Tiffany Jewell
Anti-racist Montessori educator

Building on the previous workshop with Britt Hawthorne, Tiffany will offer practical anti-biased classroom techniques for Montessori educators.


June 2020
Reflection and Looking Forward

Staff will take this opportunity to reflect on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion learning thus far and identify the next steps in our learning going forward.

Parent Enrichment Opportunities Relating to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Parent Enrichment Opportunities Relating to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Photo c/o Britt Hawthorne

As part of our theme for the 2019-20 school year and ongoing work in the realm of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Greenspring Montessori School has put together a series of parent events around these topics.

Please take a look at the list below to learn more about our upcoming events.

Lending Library

Available year-round

Greenspring Montessori School’s library in the Main Building silos houses an array of resources for parents and children. Speak to our librarian, Sherry White, for recommended readings.


The Importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and reflections on Greenspring’s DEI journey

Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 6:00pm

Tamara S. Balis Head of School at Greenspring Montessori School, Greenspring Parent


Human-Centered Design Workshop

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 from 9:00-10:30am
Friday, November 8, 2019 from 4:30-6:00pm

Monica Tanase-Coles Certified Integral Coach and adjunct faculty at New Ventures West, Greenspring Parent

George Coles Process Process LUMA-certified practitioner of Human Centered Design, member of the Greenspring Board of Trustees, Greenspring Parent

In this workshop, we will come together as parents, to actively share our experience on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) in the Greenspring Montessori School community, and then work together to generate part of the path forward.


How to Talk to Your Children About Race

Monday, December 2, 2019 at 6:30pm

Britt Hawthorne Equity trainer and Montessori educator

This family and community presentation seeks to dismantle the color-blind assumption and prepare children to work toward justice. This presentation shares concrete ways families can support and affirm their children’s developing racial, ethnic, and other identities, empower their children to celebrate differences, and help them learn to stand up in the face of injustice.


Coffee & Conversation: How Privilege Impacts My Parenting and My Child’s Access to Opportunities

Friday, January 24, 2020 from 8:45-10:45am

Jeff Gray Founder of the Johns Hopkins Homewood Council for Inclusive Excellence, Greenspring Parent

Learn about and reflect on the many dimensions of privilege in this parent-led workshop. Encourages individuals to reflect on and recognize their own unearned advantages and disadvantages as parts of immense and overlapping systems of power and how that impacts their children’s education. Suggested pre-reading:

In addition to these events, our faculty and staff will also be receiving a number of professional development opportunities throughout the year on these topics. To learn more about the work happening among our faculty and staff, please click here.

What’s Wrong with this Photo?

What’s Wrong with this Photo?

We are already deep into our work this school year and seeing so many interesting things happening in all of our classrooms. From our toddlers learning the simple joys of being together in a community for the first time to our Elementary students exploring the history of the first civilizations, Greenspring is an inspiring place to be in the fall and all year round. We have a dedicated, caring team of faculty and staff committed to your child’s individual growth. As a team, we came together to discuss something of growing importance in today’s society – photographs.

In today’s world of smartphones and social media, it is hard for us to go a single day without taking a photo of something happening in our lives or sharing a cute video. Our children are inundated with adults seeking to document their accomplishments, their personalities, and their adorable moments. Child YouTube sensations are making millions. Those of us who intentionally do not participate in social media are few and far between.

At our first Faculty Gathering, our guides and administration had an engaging, in-depth conversation about photographing children at school (especially while working in the classrooms). Here are some of the main points we discussed around this important topic:

In favor of photographing children at school:

  • Powerful parent communication tool – as parents, it means so much to be able to see what/how our children are doing while at school. A picture is worth a thousand words!
  • Education about Montessori methods – Montessori education is widely misunderstood. We want each and every parent in the world to be able to better understand what Montessori is, how it works, and why it’s so beneficial for children. Photos and videos can be a great support with this.
  • Stimulates conversation at home – when children can see photographs in their classroom, they can talk more about their experiences, what they were working on, who their friends are, and how they felt throughout the day.
  • Precious memories – we all love looking back at the children’s photographs as they grow and mature over the years.

Reasons to minimize photographs at school (particularly during the work cycle):

  • Protection of the student’s work and concentration – when in the classroom, the work and concentration of each child is our number one priority. Often, pulling out a camera disrupts this important work, for both the child and for the adults.
  • Keeping the classrooms a safe place/sanctuary for the students – many children have become accustomed to having a camera on them at any given moment of the day. We find it important to offer them space where this is not the case. We do not want to hover.
  • Respect for the children – some students do not want their photo being taken at all, and we owe it to them to honor that choice.
  • It takes the adult’s attention away from the students – if the classroom Guides are focusing on capturing that perfect picture and sending it out to the world, it deters them from their top priorities of giving lessons and observing the children.

After much mindful discussion, thought, and debate around these points, we realized that the arguments for taking photographs in the classrooms generally meet the needs of the adult, while the arguments against taking photographs in the classrooms during the work cycle are generally aimed to meet the needs of the child. While both sets of needs are certainly important, our top priority here must always be the children. Being present with our children in their learning is fundamental to what we do here.

I’m sharing this with you to help you understand that in order to do the very best for your children and each student, you see a shift in the number of pictures of your children at school from your child’s Guide. We will continue to do our best to capture some precious moments and examples of academic works to be shared on our school-wide outlets – in email newsletters, on social media, on our website, and in printed materials such as the Memory Book, magazine, and calendar – because there are so many reasons for and benefits to doing this. Guides will share photos as they are able, without interrupting the concentration or their presence with the children. You will most likely see more photos of the children playing during recess, or of a presentation of polished work. Our partnership with you is so very important to us, and we constantly strive to maintain a balance of doing the very best for the students while also meeting your needs as parents.

If you have any questions about this, please feel free to reach out to me directly at bwimbrow@greenspringmontessori.org.