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Friday Packet, October 29, 2010

posted Oct 29, 2010, 1:35 PM by Unknown user
Calendar Reminder:

Oct. 18-Nov.1.........Parent-Teacher Conferences for Returning Students

Oct. 31, Sun………..Halloween Party, Julius Kahn Playground, 11:00-1:00pm

Nov. 1, Mon.............MCH Offices closed, just for the day

Nov. 3, Wed………...Coffee with Curt, 8:30-9:15am Bunny Room

Nov. 5, Fri................Oak Room Cocktail Party, 7:00-9:00pm

Nov. 6, Sat...............Family Park Play, Presidio Heights Playground (Clay Street Park)

Nov. 10, Wed...........2nd Kindergarten Workshop, 6:30pm, Redwood Room

Nov. 12, Fri..............Redwood Room Cocktail Party

Nov. 18, Thu............Book Fair at Books, Inc. @ Laurel Village, 6:00-8:00pm

Nov. 24-26...............Thanksgiving Holiday



From the Director’s Desk


It is always with a heavy heart that we say good bye to a family in the MCH community.  Henry Sowers and his family Dena and Charles are moving to Marin and Henry will be attending school closer to his new home.  This is a great opportunity for Henry and his family and we certainly wish them the best in this new phase of their lives.  We will miss them of course and hope they come back to visit us from time to time. I will miss greeting Henry every morning and sharing his excitement over something he wanted to share with his classroom.  His new school will be blessed to have him and his family in their community.


As your child’s motor skills grow, slowly allow him or her more opportunities to be involved in the daily life of your household.  For example, when your child appears ready for an exercise like flower arranging, show her in detail the activity and explain the limits (e.g. “The pruning scissors are used only for cutting the flowers.”).  Watch in a controlled environment as your child completes the work.  With new work comes new responsibility.  Make your child aware of this.  If your child is not able to take responsibility for the work in a safe and appropriate way, put it away until you determine that the child is ready (this may be weeks or months).  This increased participation will build his confidence, sense of self-worth and ownership in his environment and his family.

Arrival Time at MCH

MCH parents, we need your help!!!  I’ve noticed that parents are staying in the classroom past 8:30am and many families are arriving after 8:30am.  The Montessori activity time in the classroom begins promptly at 8:30am.   Adults staying in the classroom past 8:30am and children arriving after 8:30am interrupt the flow and focus of the Montessori activity time.  Children who arrive late also have a more difficult time integrating into the community of the classroom.  Please try to arrive before 8:30 and leave the classroom by 8:30am.  This will help us to maintain the best learning opportunities for our children.  Of course, if you must arrive late because of unforeseen circumstances take care of toileting and hand washing first then stand at the door or entrance to the classroom until a teacher greets you and your child and welcomes your child into the classroom. A teacher will assist your child in putting their possessions away with minimal disruptions to the activity time.  Thank you!

Kindergarten Workshops!

Last night we held the 2nd kindergarten workshop.  This workshop was lead by Carol Lei from Parents for Public Schools.  Carol took attending families through the new Student Assignment System for San Francisco public schools.  She answered questions and helped parents understand the public school system.  Carol was a wealth of information and an excellent presenter.  For those of you who couldn’t attend and would like the information she handed out, I have copies in my office.  I am available to answer questions too.

The 3rd Kindergarten Workshop will be held on Wednesday, November 10th at 6:30pm in the Redwood Room.  A panel of alumni parents will there to answer your questions and share with you their experiences of the application process and the schools of their choice.   This will also be a valuable time to share your own experiences.  Please join us.  A childcare sign-up will be up next week.

From Nina’s Desk

I will be out of the office next week

I have been blessed with another little granddaughter and will be helping my son and daughter-in-law for a week in beautiful and rainy Seattle.  Please send emails directly to Curt at curtchamberlain@mchsf.com         

This coming Monday Curt will continue his civil duties as a jury member and the office phones will be supervised by a parent volunteer in the morning.  Other than that, please wait until Tuesday with any questions or needs you might have.

Sibling Applications are due November 15

Please be sure to pick up an application if you have a younger child who will be ready to become an MCH student in September 2011.

The Best Holiday Gifts ever – MCH T-Shirts

The t-shirts are here in great styles and colors! The “hoodies” and the long sleeved tees are new this year and the MCH logo has replaced Houdini, at least for this year. You should already have the order forms. There are extra order forms in my office.

Please, place your order by Monday, November 1st in order for Kristina to get them ready for the holidays.

If you have any questions, please email Kristina at kristina@gigiandrose.com.

From Giuliana

Montessori’s Sensorial Materials and Piet Mondrian

At the end of last school year we ritualistically dismantle the Montessori classroom and we clean and put away all the materials used during the year. As I was cleaning every single piece of the sensorial, and specifically the binomial and trinomial cube I commented to Cheryl, my colleague, in the Oak Room, on how cleverly Montessori had brought to life these algebraic equations. These formulas had caused a challenge in my middle and high school days when I had to memorize and work with the abstract language of mathematics. The question of what inspired Montessori to create these materials had been my constant companion as I gave presentations after presentations to our students at MCH. What helped provide an answer was an article that Curt gave me that talked about the influence of Piet Mondrian on Montessori.

I did some research on this important artist of the late 19th century and first part of the 20th century. What I found was that Piet Mondrian and Maria Montessori were kindred souls. They were contemporaries and shared very similar beliefs.  While working as a painter he also wrote for the Stijl magazine. Through it he formulated his views on aesthetics which became the cornerstones of the abstract movement he named Neo-Plasticism. Its seminal ideas were later transported in the USA and influenced the 20th century art culture in this country. Mondrian in his art sought ultimate simplicity and abstraction. He was greatly inspired in his painting by the mathematician M.H.J. Shoenmaekers who was a neo-Platonist. For Plato, the great Greek philosopher of the 5th century BC, a perfect world of forms or abstract ideas imparts life and harmony in our physical world. In art and in life, Mondrian believed, we must strive to rise above our material and imperfect reality; we have to try to remain focused while in the midst of life challenges that would pull us away from our dearest and noblest ideals. He believed that in art and in life we have to always stretch the boundaries of the limiting self to achieve more depth, simplicity, beauty and perfection.

Both Maria and Mondrian witnessed the tragedy of two world wars so the idea of conflict resolution and peace were prominent in their work. Mondrian and Montessori were also greatly influenced by the newly emerged movement of Theosophy (New York, I875). Helena Blavatsky who spearheaded it, brought many ideas of the Easter Philosophies into the West; Ideas such as non-dualism and the resolution of all opposites as the guiding force of the Universe. This movement encouraged the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science and believed in universal brotherhood of mankind without distinction of race, creed, color sex or caste and also sought to explore the hidden potentials of human nature. It expounded ideas of universal love and unconditional forgiveness when mankind has progressed to the ultimate stage of pure consciousness or cosmic Self.

Montessori spent much of her intellectual energy to create materials that reflected the perfect world of Mathematics. Out of abstract formulas she created architectural designs that have infinite possibilities within the constraints of the cube. The formula (a+b) to the 3rd power can be expanded to (a+b+c+d+e,etc). Combining the proportions of the golden mean rectangle to these formulas she obtained aesthetically pleasing creations and made them accessible to children to explore, not abstractly but with their own hands. Mondrian reduced his palette to the three primary colors red, yellow blue, and black and white. He used perfect horizontal and vertical lines, symbols of expansion and ascension, in layers of planes that do not intersect thereby allowing each element to exist independently and unobstructed by other elements. With these elements he created rhythmical dynamisms in his art.

 Maria Montessori found this interpretation of art very congenial and by using Mondrian’s palette, she herself expressed the algebraic formulas of the trinomial cube, (a+b+c) to the third power, and binomial cube (a+b) to the second power. She created other physical manifestations of more advanced algebraic formulas to be used with older children.

I invite you to explore some of these materials in our classrooms.

There certainly was a meeting of the minds between these two intellectual pioneers of the 20th century. She enjoyed and appreciated his art and tried to impart the sense of beauty, clarity and simplicity he strove to obtain through his life and art in her own creations, thus leaving a legacy to be enjoyed by many. 

Because of the great love that Maria put in creating these materials I am reminded to use them with reverence and respect and I hope that our children will enjoy learning the hidden lessons embedded in them.


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 3 @7PM -- Walt Disney Museum Theatre in SAN FRANCISCO

John Medina, New York Times bestselling author of the new book, Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five, will be speaking in San Francisco on Wednesday, Nov. 3rd at 7pm and Thursday Nov. 4th at 7pm. Medina is a developmental molecular biologist and a dynamic speaker. The lecture is free and open to the public. To learn more about his work visit www.brainrules.net

Walt Disney Museum Theatre
104 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94129
Hosted by Bay Area Discovery Museum (BADM)

A sampling of topics in Brain Rules for Baby:

- Where nature ends and nurture begins
- Why men should do more household chores
- What you do when emotions run hot affects how your child turns out
- Why TV is harmful for children under 2
- Your child’s ability to relate to others predicts her future math performance
- Smart and happy are inseparable. Pursuing your child’s intellectual success at the expense of     his happiness achieves neither
- Praising effort is better than praising intelligence
- The best predictor of academic performance is not IQ. It’s self-control


Thursday, November 4, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, at Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS)

Raising Careful, Confident Kids in a Crazy World

Noted psychotherapist Paula Statman, MSW, author of Raising Careful, Confident Kids in a Crazy World, which received a Parents’ Choice Honor and an iMedia Award, will present “Helping Your Child Grow Up Safe and Strong” Thursday, November 4, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, at Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) in San Francisco, 2150 Post Street. Tickets for Statman’s talk, sponsored by San Francisco Parents Place, JFCS’ family resource center for parents and children, are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

During her talk, Statman will address effective and easy approaches that teach children personal safety, provide them with a strong sense of self, and give them the confidence to assume more responsibilities as they grow up.

A repeat guest on Oprah, Statman also serves as a resident expert on several parenting Web sites. She brings warmth, wisdom, and wit to her presentations. Parents and others who attend her November 4 talk will take away practical advice that they can incorporate into their own child-rearing approaches.

For more information about this event, contact us at 415-359-2455 or ParentsPlaceSF@jfcs.org; register online at http://parentsplaceonline.org/san-francisco/classes/statman


Unknown user,
Oct 29, 2010, 1:52 PM