Action Alert! Call Gov. Cuomo in Support of Bill S6089

 

Dear Parents and Community Members:

We need your help. Right now there is a bill on Governor Cuomo’s desk that we urgently need signed. Every year we receive a grant for $35,000-$45,000 for the mandated services we perform, things like taking attendance and reporting to the State Ed department. This year it is tied up in political wrangling and may not come about unless Governor Cuomo hears from those affected. 

Bill S6089 assures that non-public schools receive necessary funds for providing state-mandated services to students. Any school’s budget would be devastated without these sorts of grants, but, as Love of Learning is a small non-for-profit with low tuition, it would be especially impacted. 

You can help! Please call Governor Cuomo’s Office before December 17th and urge him to vote YES!

A simple message such as “I am calling, emailing etc, to request that Governor Cuomo vote YES on Bill S6089, to ensure the survival of small non-profit schools like the Montessori school my child attends” would suffice. 

Contact by phone (most effective):  

1-518-474-8390

Office hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm

Contact by email:

governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form

Contact by mail: 

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building

 

Thanksgiving Perpsective

Despite the prevalence of such divisiveness and lack of civility in the news right now, in the long arc of history, we see that the divisions and scars of wartime and social upheavals are eventually healed.  In the end, good does prevail.  At present, the good now so evident in our children, family and school provides much to be grateful for. 

At this season of Thanksgiving I’m reminded of a book entitled, Made for Goodness by the South African Anglican archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu.  In it the author writes:

“One of the most important things is reminding people that we are actually made for goodness.  We are so…overwhelmed.  The media tend to inundate us with rather unpleasant news.  We have the impression that evil is on the rampage, is about to take over the world.

We need to keep being reminded that there is a great deal of good happening in the world.  Ultimately, good prevails….  contrary to all appearances, we are in fact made for harmony.  We are made for togetherness.  Ultimately, we are family. “       

Dr. Tutu arrived at his realization that we are all “family” from looking at life with a religious perspective.  Maria Montessori came to similar conclusions with the observant eye of a medical doctor.  For her, all of life was one web of interdependency.  No matter how independent we may feel, closed off in our suburban isolation, we are incredibly interdependent with each other.  We must go forward together.  This togetherness is something we are always stressing with the children in the months to come.       

On Tuesday, all the classes on both Top of the Hill and Harborside campuses will be coming together to celebrate our sense of family that has been developed during the Fall.  Each class will have prepared some snack item to share with the rest of the school.  It’s the preparations and sharing, and having fun doing activities we have traditionally done on this occasion for over 30 years that’s the essence of this holiday for us. 

It’s important to be mindful that the cares of preparing your Thanksgiving feast not become so focused on what is being eaten that you forget the simple joy of being able to share togetherness.

At this season of Thanksgiving we are so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of all the pushing, pulling and stretching of our web of interdependency by the children, parents and staff of the LOL Montessori family.  It’s such an adventure and, in the end, it’s always good

 

THANKS FOR EVERYONE’S GIVING!!

We wish you all a happy, healthy, safe Thanksgiving!

Screen Time

With the end of daylight savings time…

Now that the sun is setting an hour earlier and kids are moving indoors more with the cooler weather, the question arises as to how best to use that time in the house. We are reminded of a story in the paper several years ago, about some parents who sued the Disney Company because there was no evidence that watching “Baby Einstein” videos had made their children any smarter.  The letters to the editor in the Times a few days after the story appeared were interesting. We’d like to quote from two of them:

Baby Einstein is delivered via the nonresponsive television screen, providing canned information that includes abstract concepts, useless to the new minds it purports to “teach.” 

The videos don’t address the beautiful evolved, forming brains of babies, who should learn from the real, three-dimensional world.

From the arms and laps of their parents, grandparents and caregivers, from their strollers, as they crawl and toddle, babies should take in the sights, sounds and smells of their natural surroundings.

They should be sung to, spoken to and read to, with warmth and loving eye contact.

They need opportunities to explore and discover stimuli around them in the richness of the beautiful world that delighted and posed ineffable mysteries to Albert Einstein and other great minds through the centuries.

And another: 

Finally the voice of infants is heard-turn off the screens and talk to me.  Babies learn language in the context of playing, reading and talking with real people in real time.

Who knew?

Actually, we all did.

With the report that young children are watching more television than ever before it’s important to keep in mind that young children entering our school are primarily sense explorers. With all the things parents have to juggle in their daily routines sometimes putting the kids in front of the TV is the best option at a given period of time. Just remember, for the child, the less exposure to TV the better for their development. And when it isn’t necessary, turning it off is a good thing… 

PBS Newshour had a good piece on dealing with the increasing amounts of time kids are spending in front of screens of various sorts. Check it out here. 

- Shelly Thompson, Director

P.S. The Parent Association will be discussing Technology and the Montessori Child this week as part of their Montessori Enrichment program for parents. Check the school calendar for meeting details.  

Halloween, What a Treat!

The synergy was wonderful: so many members of our community, young, middle and old, all working together!  We felt it's so good for so many kids to be able to be in one place, and, for the most part not running around frantic, crazy, but engaged in constructive, fun activity.  The parent support that came in so many ways was deeply appreciated. The Spooky Trail put together by the Elementary kids was especially well done this year - thanks to the Upper Elementary for seeing that everyone got through without being overly spooked! And while icing their own cupcakes at the end of the event was certainly popular with the kids, it was also satisfying to know that almost 100 apples in the apple spooning event were retrieved by the children and eaten during our time together.

Now it's on to gathering all the UNICEF  boxes and counting the money collected for the benefit of other children less fortunate than our own.

- Shelly Thompson, Director

Our Perspective on Homework

At Love of Learning, homework starts in the Elementary Program.

There are some elements of homework that are controversial. With proper tailoring to the specific situation it does serve a useful purpose for the child. The keynote of Montessori is: “Help me to help myself.” It is the child’s task to do the homework. It is the adult’s task to prepare the environment: a place to work; an atmosphere conducive to learning; a time to work.

The children will have homework every day except Fridays. Homework will start on Monday, September 11th. Normally, we don’t expect assigned work to take more than 30 minutes for children in grades 1 - 3; 45 minutes to an hour for those in the upper grades. If it does take longer, you may tell your child to stop and let us know. Of course, if they want to keep going, that’s fine, too!  If homework takes less than 30 minutes, the extra time should be spent reading. Please let us know if your child has difficulty with the homework. Please do not correct your child's homework. It’s important for us to see how it’s done by the child; that means leaving spelling and math mistakes. If we are to help them, we need to know where the problems are.

It is expected that the child will develop the sense that homework is their responsibility.

- Shelly Thompson