Art Sale Celebrates and Sustains Child-Centered Education in Centerport

As Featured by Lucky to Live Here Realty

Art Sale Celebrates and Sustains Child-Centered Education in Centerport

Nestled into the woods on Long Island’s North Shore, there is this quiet school called Love of Learning Montessori. As spring explodes into color and the osprey family returns to the nest discernible from many classroom windows above Centerport Bay, the parent association prepares for their annual Spring Gala and the 14th Annual Art Auction on Sat. May 12th to benefit the school.

Originated as a humble art auction in a church basement, powered by parent and student volunteers, the annual event has blossomed to into an elegant evening featuring a live auction and gallery of over 75 original pieces curated from the work of local artists. For the first time, their 1-night event now expands to include a gallery show for the entire month of May.

Titled, Labor of Love, the 2018 event will be a celebration of the school’s Co-Founders and Co-Directors, Sheldon and Camilla Thompson, on the anniversary of their 40 years in Montessori education.

But there is more to celebrate for this tight-knit community of parents, teachers, staff and friends. The Labor of Love art auction and gallery will include amongst its unique selection of professional paintings and photographs, several works by one of their own. Emma Halperin, 14, attending her first year at Northport High School, is the first Love of Learning alumna to be selected by the auction curators for inclusion in the auction. Her work is quiet and grounded in the rich, emotive natural environment showcasing a mastery and passion nurtured and encouraged during her early education at Love of Learning Montessori.

Maria Montessori from “The Discovery of the Child In a Montessori Environment”:

"The human hand, so delicate and so complicated, not only allows the mind to reveal itself but it enables the whole being to enter into special relationships with its environment... man 'takes possession of his environment with his hands.' His hands, under the guidance of his intellect transform this environment and thus enable him to fulfill his mission in the world."

Montessori education regularly make used of open-ended art activities that help children explore and use their creativity, as well as giving them a means of self expression and a satisfying avenue to develop their fine motor skills.

Halperin writes of her series of studies on the wooded, waterfront campus,

"My hope is to capture the memories and emotions of the Montessori experience… It was at Love of Learning that I discovered my love of art and especially being surrounded by nature; the woods specifically. It’s amazing how a single moment in nature can make someone stop and feel a thousand emotions and thoughts at once. This is the Love of Learning experience… I made sure the mediums matched up with the feeling of the scene itself. I used oil paint, ink, and charcoal to express each image."

The public is invited to attend a free reception to view the gallery, mingle with artists and celebrate the depth and variety of talent right here in our local community.

Event Details: Facebook Event 

Learn more about Love of Learning Montessori and the Labor of Love Gala on May 12th at:

New Safety Protocols for Love of Learning Montessori School - Effective 3/05/18

(The information below was also emailed to all parents on Friday, March 2.)

As we examined our operation protocols over the last few weeks, we formed a deeper understanding of what it takes to retain a balance between freedom and security.  It is a balance our country on the whole works towards everyday.  Having an open campus at Harborside and a century-old building at Top of the Hill means our children get the great benefit of history, nature, free play and physical activity everyday.  The new Love of Learning Montessori School policies included below will help us continue to flourish in that environment while adding additional safety measures beginning Monday, March 5, 2018.

For All Parents:

1.  Dismissal at Love of Learning takes place at 2:50 pm and 3:00 pm depending on your child’s campus.  We understand, however, that there are times when children need to be picked up early, be picked up instead of taking the bus, take the bus instead of being picked up or have someone other than yourself pick them up.  We are more than happy to accommodate these requests if they are received via email or text to the school phone by 2:30 on the day of the change.  Changes in pick up must now be emailed to, or texted to the school phone number (631-629-5599); any other form of communication (such as phone call or note) must be followed up by an email or text message.

2.  Whenever your pick up your child, please make sure to sign them out.  This is a joint effort between staff and parent to make certain that our children are safely accounted for at all times.

3.  If your child receives either prescribed, OTC or Holistic medication, please properly label that medication with instructions and leave it with their teacher or in the Main Office.  Medication should not be kept in backpacks or lunch boxes.

4.  All children will receive a safety review when we return from the break.  This review will include the basics of bus etiquette including following driver instructions, using inside voices and wearing seatbelts.  We will gently remind older children to set examples for younger ones as they do in the classroom.  Additionally we will introduce new guidelines such as fire safety, the buddy system, recess parameters and golf cart usage during this review. 

5.  If your child attends Harborside, please walk children up/down the North side of the Retreat Center - the side where the loading dock is located - during drop off or pick up.  

6.  If your child attends Top of the Hill, our classes commence at 8:50 a.m.  Please be prompt.  While we will extend a 20 minute grace period, our doors at TOH will be locked at 9:10 a.m. for safety but also so our teachers can begin focusing on the class in its entirety without interruption.

For All Parents, Teachers & Staff:

1.  At Top of Hill, we will be locking our Hall door at 9:10 a.m.  The front door will be locked after all buses are received for the morning.   

2.  At Harborside, if you arrive after the 20 minute grace period, please bring your child to the Main Office and we will escort them to their classroom.

3.  During recess and gym classes, the gate to the gravel road at Harborside will be closed.  Please drive in/out using the main driveway. 

4.  At recess our staff will be assigned zones, so they will be sufficiently spread out to cover the field and wooded areas.   Children will be reminded to only enter the parking lot or other side of the fence when in the company of an adult.

5.  Children will be paired up when moving about on both Campuses including going to the Main Office, the restrooms, other cabins or other areas such at Wesley Hall at Top of the Hill.

6.  While we all love Brother Larry and his golf cart, children are not allowed on the cart without an adult.  The key to the cart will be carried by a staff member at all times.

The information we’ve shared above can always be positively reinforced at home.  We encourage you to use this list to have conversations, draw pictures with littler ones and share stories about similar expectations when you were a child.   We also encourage our student body to refrain from any and all exposure to news outlets which tend to show violent images and promote fear mongering.  Our children have tremendous inner work to do as they develop and this work at such early ages need not be ever disturbed by information that is neither useful nor developmentally appropriate.  

We appreciate your sincere attention and cooperation.

Thoughts on Enrollment for Next Year

First some quotes from Thomas Friedman’s book: The World is Flat:

“What is really necessary is for everybody to wake up to the fact that there is a fundamental shift that is happening in the way people are going to do business. And everyone is going to have to improve themselves to be able to compete…

…when I was growing up, my parents used to say to me, “Tom, finish your dinner – people in China and India are starving.” My advice today is: “…finish your homework – people in China and India are starving for your jobs.” And in a flat world, they can have them, because in a flat world there is no such thing as an American job. There is just a job, and… it will go to the best, smartest, most productive…wherever he or she resides.”

A few pages further on in the book, Mr. Friedman quotes from a letter he received from a 5th grade teacher commenting on parent teacher conferences he had just concluded at his school in the State of Washington. He was struck by how much conferences could be such a cultural study. In his conferences with immigrant parents, they all complained their kids were not getting enough homework and that the course work was not challenging enough. In contrast: “Sadly, many …white, American, middle class parents told me that the 5th grade work was too hard on their kids. They couldn’t possibly complete it and have time to “be a kid.” Soccer, gymnastics, music lessons and dinner out squeezed their education time… In an academic sense we lost our hunger...We’re complacent and headed for trouble…”

Montessori education challenges and stretches your children to become the vital, thinking individuals with the creative mental stamina needed to complete in the world they will find themselves in. These are challenging times for young families and there are no easy answers as to the best path you choose to follow for your child’s education. We appreciate the fact that so many of you are choosing to reenroll your children for the 2018 - 2019 school year so that they can continue having the daily mental exercise needed to become the successful, joyful, accomplished individuals they are meant to be. We remind you that this Friday, February 2nd is the deadline for the early bird special rate for returning children. We are not apt to have much space left after Friday, if any. Please be in touch with us this week if you need more time or have questions regarding making important educational decisions about your child’s education for next year.

Sheldon Thompson


A School Tradition Lives On...

The Pajama & Blanket Drive for foster children started as a one-time school project by Nick Sidorowicz, when he was a student at Love of Learning. Nick, who is now a senior at Northport High School, turned this project into an annual tradition that he led for 11 years. Each year Nick continued to reach back out to his LOL community for support. 

Noticing the Nick is a senior, the Rose Family reached out to adopt the work that Nick started. Bravo to first grader, Renita Rose, and her family for taking on this worthy cause to help children from the Suffolk County Child Advocacy Center at the Pat and Mary Bagnato Place for Kids.

pj drive

A Special Message for the Season

The violence, hatred and destruction that convulse our world and Country today appear very impressive and unstoppable. But no matter how shocking and powerful it may appear, it is no match for the power of love. Love is our real default – it’s what we all long for, gravitate to and throughout history always come back to. The solution to the problems of our world begin with one individual, one family, one community saying “no” to violence, hatred, anger, and living the love that protects, comforts, guards and guides. Our Montessori community is a daily work in progress, proving that children and adults from all faith traditions, including Muslim, Judaic, Christian, and those of no religion can live together in happiness and great joy!

Some years ago we received the following email story from Ed Carilli – one of the original members of our Love of Learning Montessori family - that he read in Reader's Digest:

Under a cultural exchange program, my family was host to a rabbi from Russia at Christmas time. We decided to introduce him to a culinary treat that was probably not available in his country: we took him to our favorite Chinese restaurant.   
Throughout the meal, the rabbi spoke excitedly about the wonders of our country in comparison to the bleak conditions in his homeland. When we finished eating, the waiter brought the check and presented each of us with a small brass Christmas tree ornament as a seasonal gift.  
We all laughed when my father pointed out that the ornaments were stamped “Made in India.” But the laughter subsided when we saw that the rabbi was quietly crying. Concerned, my father asked him if he was offended because he’d been given a gift for a Christian Holiday.   
He smiled, shook his head and said, “Nyet. I was shedding tears of joy to be in a wonderful country in which a Buddhist gives a Jew a Christmas gift made by a Hindu!” (from Readers Digest)

Working with children in Europe during the terrible times of the first half of the 20th Century, Maria Montessori got a vision of peace for the world.  The life force that brings us all together is always active.  Loving answers are available to every situation we find ourselves in.  She had been given a seemingly impossible task – educating and civilizing a group of children who were destroying their apartment complex while their parents were at work in the San Lorenzo District of Rome, Italy.  By observing the children and giving them activities that addressed their needs they were transformed and became the foundation of her educational method, which she characterized as …”an aid to life.”

As the little story shared above illustrates, gradually the deep divisions in the affairs of mankind are eroding away.  Opportunities to divide, separate, be angry with one another, present themselves at every turn in the road, especially when it comes to dealing with children.  As the stories from the various religious traditions – Muslim, Judaic, Christian,  illustrate, there is always a way out, there is always a loving solution that brings us together, life goes on and prospers.

We wish you all the best in your family’s adventure of finding the loving solutions that keep you happy and together at this joyous time of the year.