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Montessori School of Greater Lafayette Blog


Insights and inspiration from our Montessori classrooms.rss


 

     1996 - Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics this year and Prince Charles and Princess Diana were divorced. Dolly the sheep became the first mammal to be cloned. The first version of the Java programming language was released, HotMail started providing free email service, and just over 10 million people were using the internet. 

     Do you know someone who attended MSGL in 1996? You just might find them here.

 

Parent/Infant Class

 

Toddler Class

 

Preprimary Class A

 

Preprimary Class B

 

Preprimary Class D

 

Preprimary Class E

 

Extended Day Kindergarten

Thanks for reading. I hope you have been able to go sledding in all this snow. Have a terrific Wednesday!


 

     One full year before MSGL acquired the property that is now our campus, the Calvary Baptist Church invited us to hold an open house for our families. These photos, from September 24, 1999, show lots of familiar faces and a campus without ramps, fences, or the 10 inches of snow that is on the ground today. 


 
 Suman Harshvardhan and Joy Kane.

 Mary McKay and Karen Hoagberg.

 The predecessor of the toddler playground.

 The future campus as it looked in September, 1999.

     I can't bear to throw away a good opportunity for a photo comparison, but we don't have a current photo taken from the same perspective. Here are two beautiful photos that offer an idea of what this view looks like today.  

 Thank you to Dave Wegiel for this photo from November, 2013.
 Thank you to Lena Atkinson for this photo from August, 2013.

      I hope you were able to enjoy seeing some green grass and leaves on the trees. And I promise that Spring will come exactly when it's supposed to. Until then, thanks for reading and have your best possible Wednesday! 



 

     On September 21, 2000, Montessori Parents, Inc. officially closed on the purchase of the property at 2552 Soldiers Home Road that would become the new campus of the Montessori School of Greater Lafayette. To celebrate and prepare for the next step, the board of directors and some staff and parents met that evening in the sanctuary of what was the former Calvary Baptist Church. Board president Craig Lamb offered a toast with champagne served in paper cups. 

 
 Board members, staff, and parents celebrate the beginning of the construction of the new MSGL campus.

     The next morning, demolition of the buildings began. MSGL parent Tony Harvey coordinated the building project. His father, Donald Harvey, was the general contractor.


 
 
 Don and Tony Harvey

     These are photos of the front of the sanctuary that is now the northwest corner of the Catalpa Room. When asked about these photos, Tony said that the gold walls on the left were part of the room that lead to the baptistry. "If you came to Calvary Baptist Church and you wanted to be saved," he explained, "you had to go through that room."

 
 
 Tearing out the walls of the former sanctuary to create the Catalpa Room.
 
 Just for perspective, this is the same wall four months later with new heat/ac, drywall, and paint.

     This was just the beginning of 5 months of hard and dirty work by many dedicated staff and parent volunteers. Three generations of families came together for one common goal. True friendships were forged. A lot of those people are still involved with MSGL today. I look forward to sharing the few photos and many stories of that time here on Wayback Wednesdays. If you were part of this amazing project and wish to share your stories, please add them as comments to the bottom of these posts or emaill me and I will be so happy to include them in an upcoming post. Of course, any photos you share will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for reading! Have a terrific Wednesday.


 

 

    I had the great pleasure of working in my former classroom today and it reminded me of why the three-year cycle in Montessori classrooms is so beneficial, not least of all, to the teachers.

     Our Montessori preschool classrooms are composed of a mixed-age group of children who remain, ideally, in one classroom for three years. A child starts at age three and stays through her Kindergarten year. This is called the three year cycle. Each of those years brings new and unique learning opportunities for the child. As a three-year-old, the child observes her older peers and benefits from their experience. As a four-year-old, she starts to see herself as one of the “big kids” and expands her social circle. In her Kindergarten year she is recognized as a leader and takes pride in helping others.

      It’s easy to see how the three-year-cycle benefits children, but it is also a tremendous opportunity for personal and professional growth for early childhood teachers. Few other settings offer the experience of observing and interacting with a child for half of that child’s life!

   
  When I took a sabbatical at the end of the school year in May, I left behind children who had been in my classroom for one or two years. I was able to catch up with many of those students today when I visited the classroom. I observed that two of “my” third-year students, I’ll call them S and K, were part of what Montessorian John Chattin-McNichols calls a “roving pack of 5-year-olds.” They were wandering around with some other boys and mixing it up a little. I knew these two boys when they were just barely three years old. I knew them before they could consciously control their bodies at group time and even before they could dress themselves successfully. Now, here they were - big, bold 5-year-olds and I was curious to see who they had become eight months after we last worked together.

    Angie, my dear friend and the lead teacher of my former class, shared with me that S and K had been working on the squaring and cubing chains in the math area, so I asked them about those activities. They were eager to show me what they had already done and tell me what came next. Within a few minutes, they broke off from the pack and were ready to master the 10 cubing chain.

    The 10 cubing chain - or 1000 chain - is a concrete representation of 10 cubed. It’s made up of one thousand pea-sized beads organized into bars of ten. The bars of ten are attached at the ends to make a chain. Children are ready for this work after they have mastered the 1 - 10 squaring chains and the 1 - 9 cubing chains. This video from the DuPage Montessori School in Naperville, Illinois provides a good overview of how the squaring and cubing chains are presented in the Montessori classroom.

    The 10 cubing chain is nearly 30 feet long so it must be laid out in the hallway outside the classroom. So, off to the hallway we went.

    S and K divided up the tasks between themselves. One carried the rolled-up mat and the other carried the chain. We established the space we would use in the hallway and K unrolled the mat while S went back into the classroom for the number tabs. We discussed how they would sort the tabs on the tray and move it down the mat as they worked.

    S found the 1000 tab. He knew it went at the very end of the chain but he left it on the tray. There was a pause before they started and I asked what number they would start with. S said, “We have to count them all.”

    That is certainly one way to do it. But when a child is ready for the 1000 chain, he is generally ready to complete it without counting every number because he can now count by tens and hundreds. Once you trust that 10 is ten, you don’t have to count it again.

     I asked if they thought they could first put tabs on the hundreds. Yes! They were sure they could. Together, we counted the bars as 10, 20, 30 and so on until we got to 100. S got the 100 tab and marked that spot. K quickly grasped the system and immediately went to work sorting out all of the hundreds tabs in a separate group so that S could place them. This was my cue to find something else to do. I went back inside the classroom to assist Miss Angie while the boys marked off every 100th bead on the chain with the appropriate tab.

    They repeated the process, stopping after each bar of ten. K was the sorter, S was the placer. “150! I need 150,” S said. K had it ready. There was never any disagreement, that I heard, over who would do which task. They just got started and they each found their niche as they went. And they were really digging their work.

    They started the cubing chain work at 9:45 and I checked in with them every few minutes. They finished at 11:00. One of them stopped to use the bathroom then went straight back to his work. Other children would step into the hall to see what was happening and then go back inside to their work.

    Sometimes I checked on S and K without speaking and other times I acknowledged their progress. Once, I said I would be back to check on them in a bit unless they needed some help. “We need some help,” S said. They could not find the tab for 590. I suggested they leave a space for that number and they could put it there when they found it. They never found it, but they were able to move on without hesitation.

    As they got to the very end, S picked up the 1000 tab and started to place it under the 1000th bead. K said, “Hey! We decided we would put that one on together!” And so they did. That’s when this photo was snapped.

 

    If you had asked me three years ago if these children were developing normally and if they were going to learn to read and write and grow up to be compassionate humans I would have responded, “Of course they will!” But in the back of my head there would have been a tiny voice saying, “What if they aren’t? What if they are never able to sit in a chair for more than 8 seconds? What if they never learn to put their shoes on by themselves? What if they show no interest in reading? What if they always write six as 9?”

    That doubtful voice is a familiar one to parents because most of us only get to experience the development of one or two children. We fear we will do something wrong and our children will not achieve their potential. Preschool teachers should know better because we get to observe hundreds of children over the course of our careers, right? But sometimes, even with years of experience, we forget that our job is simply to prepare a nourishing environment. It is the child who must do the work of building the man.

    In 1949, Maria Montessori offered us some guidance in our quest to relax and trust that each child will reveal himself as a competent and confident being in his own time. In The Absorbent Mind she wrote, “...for while, in the traditional schools, the teacher sees the immediate behavior of her pupils, knowing that she must look after them and what she has to teach, the Montessori teacher is constantly looking for a child who is not yet there.”

    Dr. Montessori also implemented the three-year cycle in our classrooms to give us enough time to look for that child and see him before he moves on to primary school.

    I am not at all surprised that S and K can count to 1000 by tens and hundreds. I am not surprised that they can recognize 3-digit numerals or that they can prepare, complete, and put away their work. I am not even surprised that two 5-year-old boys willingly work together on a math material for 1 hour and and 15 minutes with only a bathroom break and very limited guidance. I’ve seen it before.

    I am surprised at the sense of joyous relief I feel each time children reveal themselves in this way. It's an experience that never gets old. I suppose that’s the ultimate reward of being a teacher.


 

     January of 2000 saw the beginning of the beginning for our current location on Soldiers Home Road. The architects at Schwarz Associates in Lafayette began designing our new space. This is the architect's rendering of the exterior of both buildings. 

 

The photos below were taken over a year later in October, 2001.

 

Here is the current head-on view from 2013.

   

 

Thanks to non-acrophobic parent and board member Mary Mckay for taking those aerial photos in 2001. Parenting is not for the faint of heart.

 

Happy Wednesday! Thanks for reading. 

 

 

 

 
 
 The Duck - portrait by Harriet.

He could have landed anywhere. A bathtub in Chicago or maybe a swimming pool in Des Moines. But this rubber duck found a home inside an Illinois photographer’s toolbox. And for the past 30 years, he and his person, Harriet - a.k.a. “The Ducky Lady” - have traveled around the Midwest photographing school children.
The Duck’s job is to draw a smile from the child just before Harriet makes the portrait. He does this by “tickling” the child’s nose or Harriet’s nose. Sometimes he sits on her head and waits for the child to “blow” him off. It’s theater, really. Ducky theater. And it’s wildly successful. The Ducky Lady’s school portraits are the best because the children’s smiles are real. They’re smiling because they are laughing at the goofy antics of this dynamic duck duo. Harriet explains her tactics.
“In order to get the smile I am looking for, I try to make them feel comfortable,” she said. “For a second they forget they are supposed to smile and they just smile.”
If you have been a student or teacher at MSGL you have smiled for The Duck and The Ducky Lady - probably many times. They have been taking photographs together at our school for 20 years. And, like me, you probably have questions about The Duck and his amazing person that you were too timid to ask. This year on picture day I was able to hang out behind the camera with The Duck and Harriet. They agreed to an interview for our blog.
The first question I had to ask was, is this really the original Ducky? Is it the same one I smiled at 15 years ago?
“Oh, that's the original one,” Harriet told me. “He’s thirty years old. He doesn't squeak anymore and he's glued all over.”
So why doesn’t she just get a new duck?
“This is the only duck I really like,” she explains, “because it’s perfectly flat and it sits on my head.”
This is one lucky duck. He gets to see the world and he makes thousands of children smile every year. He is quite possibly one of the most famous rubber duckies in America - second only to the one in Ernie’s bathtub on Sesame Street. Over the course of his career he and The Ducky Lady have traveled to schools in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. He took to his career like, well, like a duck to water. But does he miss the water?
That brings up another sensitive but important question. Why is he so dirty? Harriet explains that people think The Duck is dirty, but his feathers are just worn from years of being in show business. Getting picked up and placed on Harriet’s head every day has caused discoloration that won’t wash off.
“I wash this duck every single day,” she admits.
Just for fun, here is a photo of one of The Duck's siblings that was hatched at about the same time. Sure, he looks great but he hasn't spent his life on the road like our story's handsome hero. 

   

I should mention that there ARE other ducks in the toolbox. They are small ducks that fit in Harriet’s pocket when she carries her camera and tripod to the classrooms to take group photos. But The Duck only works the main room. There is also a rubber frog that sometimes gets called up on the rare occasion that The Duck can’t get a child to laugh. Harriet’s experience tells her which toy to try.

 
 The Duck and friends hanging out in his custom toolbox.

The Duck and the Ducky Lady do this show all day long. From September through November they are on the road 7 days a week. But Harriet is not complaining. She accepts her schedule with a smile.
“I used to travel the entire winter, spring, and fall,” she says. “I don't care much for winter.”
Now she spends the winter months doing freelancing work close to home. She also used to photograph weddings but discovered that her heart wasn’t in that business.
"I just love children, so that’s what I do,” she says.

 
 Sometimes only your big brother can get you to smile.

Harriet’s love for children shows in the way she works with them and sees them as individuals. She visits the same schools and remembers the children from year to year.
“I do remember kids,” she says. “For some reason its easy for me to remember. I don't remember names but I remember behaviors, you know. And I remember the faces.”
Harriet is one of the few photographers who still takes group photos inside the classroom. Most photographers today create a composite class photo made up of individual student photos. Harriet believes you can see more of the child’s personality when he or she is standing with their classmates. She also does all of the photo proofing and editing herself.
“I have to because I know the children," she says. I know a child from the moment I started to work with them and no one can make this decision but me. For someone who has never interacted with the child it’s impossible because they don't know. I insist on doing this, always."
Sometimes parents are frustrated when their child gives a cheesy grin in a photo or refuses to smile at all. The Ducky Lady has excellent advice for parents looking to get a nice photo of their child. She explains that children cannot really control their smile before the age of 5 or 6.
“There is an age after that when the kids can control their smile. They want to look the way they want to look,” she says.
Until then, we have to find ways to encourage them to be themselves. That’s why The Duck is so important. It’s practically impossible to say “Hi, silly ducky” and not smile. (Go ahead. Try it. See? Practically impossible.)

She also encourages parents to let their children wear something comfortable on picture day. “Don't overdress them because children don't act the same way if they are overdressed,” Harriet suggests.


  
 Lena and Ian had VIP passes to meet The Duck backstage. Ian brought along his star-struck friend.


It was great to spend picture day with Harriet and get answers to all of my (and your) questions about The Duck. But I had to confess that up until a few years ago, I didn’t even know she had a first name. I had always known her, as we all do, as “The Ducky Lady.” That seems to be how she likes it. But she was willing to share just a few personal details.
Although The Duck doesn’t spend much time in the water outside of his daily bath, Harriet enjoys being outdoors when she’s not behind a camera.
“I go kayaking and hiking. I belong to a kayaking group. That's what I do when I don't photograph," she says.
A few years ago, our school director Suman invited Harriet and some friends from school on a trip to India. For Harriet, that was a dream come true. One favorite memory is of riding on an elephant with her friend Beth.
“That was nice," she says, smiling. "India was my dream country. That's where I always wanted to go. I wanted to go there before they lose their saris and all the colors and become jeans people."
At the end of picture day as Harriet packed up The Duck to leave MSGL, Lena and Anita made sure she got one of our tie-dyed school t-shirts. The shirt made Harriet really happy and I asked her why.
“It’s yellow and orange,” she exclaimed. “My favorite colors!”




 

Winter is upon us and the staff of the Wayback Wednesday department is preparing to head south for the season. (The staff certainly wishes this was true.) Okay, we're not really going anywhere but we have discovered a treasure trove of awesome photos. We will be scanning them and organizing them over winter break. When everyone returns in January you can look forward to the beginning of "Building MSGL." It's the story of how our families built the MSGL campus that we know and love today.

To whet your appetites I am posting one photo from that winter of 2000. Look at this photo and see if you can figure out where in the school it is. The first commenter to get it correct wins a free Wayback Wednesday t-shirt. (The staff certainly wishes this was true.) Okay, no t-shirt but you can still be first. Have fun guessing!

 

Have a terrific Wednesday and an awesome winter break!


 

This week we look back at some photos from 1998. 

Anita McKinney, our first executive director, was leaving MSGL to live closer to her family in Florida. Her MSGL family held a farewell reception in her honor just before the winter break. These are photos of some of the children wishing her well.

 

 

 

Anita started working at MSGL in July, 1991 when the parent-owned school decided it needed a full-time. Up to then, the office staff coordinated with the Board of Directors. This next photo is actually from about 1996. It shows Anita with Beth Nichols, who was then the office manager, in the teeny, tiny office at Morton Center.



Beth is still with us and now works as our accountant. Anita has been working with Florida's Duval County Extension office since 1998. She is currently teaching personal financial management in Jacksonville. She is retiring in January and will start another "job" taking care of her twin grandchildren Dominic and Danica. She is excited about this new chapter in her life and told me, "They will be three by then , so I will start my own little Montessori home-school with them. I am looking forward to this next step!"

Best wishes, Anita! And happy Wednesday to you, faithful readers.

 


 

Somdatta and Felicia of the Canoe Birch Class and Cathy and Mary of the All-Day Program invited the children to tell who and what they are thankful for and then wrote their answers on leaves. Each class has a paper tree by the door displaying the children's gratitude. As this Thanksgiving Day draws to a close I thought it would be nice to share the gratitude of these 3, 4, and 5-year-olds with all of you. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

 

 

 


 

Today's Wayback Wednesday comes from March, 2000. The children in Room B were treated to a science presentation by a group of MSGL parents.

 

 

 



 

 

 

These parents must have been SO COOL! We are thankful for all of the Montessori parents and grandparents who have shared their interests and their time with our children over the past 41 years. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 


 
Check out our new Book Review page

MSGL now has a Book Reviews page. 

Click here to visit the Book Reviews Blog. We welcome reviews of recommended books from staff, parents, and children. 

Contact me at: heather@msgl.org if you would like to submit a book review to our site.

 

 

 


 

We're keeping things simple on Wayback Wednesday this week with a short and sweet little collection of photos from October, 2002. Teacher Judy West took the children of the Red Oak class on a nature hike to Purdue's Horticulture Park to enjoy the crisp morning, collect leaves, and hug some very deserving trees. 

 
 Berries for collecting, not for eating.

 
 

 
 Making a bark rubbing.

 

 
 

 

 
 Waiting for the chipmunk to make an appearance.

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

 
 

Do you have favorite photos you would like to share on Wayback Wednesday? Please contact me at heather@msgl.org. Have an outstanding Wednesday!


 

Today is school picture day! 

 
 Harriet tries to convince Ian to blow that silly ducky off her head.

When Harriet and "the ducky" show up to take our pictures, you can bet that the children are well-dressed, the snack is no-mess, and the staff is slightly stressed - for two whole days. Sometimes there are tears and pouty faces, but never in front of the children :)

These teachers from 2004 look pretty happy. Enjoy this week's Wayback Wednesday photos from 2004.  

 
Spruce Toddler class 3-day and 5-day 
Teachers Cheryl Whiteman, Lena Schurr, Karen Bernier,

 
 Spruce Toddler Class 2-day and 5-day
Teachers Jennifer Tyrell, Cheryl Whiteman, Lena Schurr, Karen Bernier.

 
 Red Oak Preprimary Class
Teachers: Erica Wallskog and Judy West.

 
 Willow Preprimary Class
Teachers Ana Orizondo, and Jessica Burdge,
 
 Catalpa Preprimary Class
Teachers Ginny Meyer and Revati Nemani.
 
 White Oak Preprimary 2-day and 5-day Class
Teachers Judy West and Janice Schuster,
 
 White Oak Preprimary 3-day and 5-day Class
Teachers Judy West and Janice Schuster.

 
 Globe Willow Bilingual Preprimary Class
Teachers Ana Orizondo and Veda Chandrasekar,
 
 Catalpa Pods Kindergarten
Teachers Ginny Meyer, Angie Shamo, and Heather Harvey.

 
 Hickory Elementary Class
Teachers Linda Bolam, Linda Teller, and Kelly Haley,
 

 


Smile, silly ducky! And have a terrific Wednesday.


 

The MSGL photo archives are a bit disorganized and I usually have to sift through them to come up with a Wayback Wednesday post, but this week the work was already done. After leading the toddler families on this field trip to Lafayette's Columbian Park Zoo in the Spring of 1998, teacher Suman Harshvardhan put together this little photo album for the children. 

 
 Look who's ready for a ride on the Columbian Park Express!

 

 
Suman makes sure everyone has a snack. The old Big Dipper slide can be seen in the background. The slide was dismantled when the park was renovated in the early 00's. Here's a photo of the slide in it's glory days...


 

 

 

 
 

 


 

 

These kiddos are college freshmen (or nearly) now. Thanks for reading and have a great Wednesday!



 

 


 

We're really reaching back here for Halloween gold - all the way back to 1989. Back in the day, the whole school had a costume parade in the Morton Center gymnasium. It was a big year for bunnies, clowns, and superheroes. 


 
 1989 costume parade in the Morton gymnasium.



 
1989 costume party in Room D.


 
1989 - Long-time teacher Durga Desai and Room A's costume parade.


 
 1990 - An apparently fabulous convocation with art, pumpkins, and puppets.

 
 2000? - Briana Hinds scrubbing a pumpkin in Cathy Stier's ADP class.


 
 2000? - Toddler class Halloween party. Mason Arndt facing camera.


 
 2001? - A Halloween tradition - Ginny Meyer greeting the children dressed in her spider costume.

 
2003 - Becca and Tessa Farmer, Grace Harvey, Catherine Chua, Hannah Hawkins & friends at a Montessori family Halloween party.

The classrooms don't dress in costumes as much anymore, but they usually go on field trips to the pumpkin patch.

 
 2004 - Miss Jennifer and the Toddler class carving a pumpkin.


 
 2004 - Darby B., Hannah D., and Bridget O. on a field trip to the pumpkin patch with Ana Orizondo's Willow class.


 
 2004 -Zoe with her treasured but kind of icky pumpkin.


 
 2005 - Revati Nemani helps a friend with the parts of the pumpkin work in Catalpa.



 2008 - Dana Adamson carving a pumpkin with River Birch children.


 
 2009 - Heather Harvey carving a pumpkin with River Birch class the following year.


 
 2010 - Elementary class goes to the pumpkin patch.


 
 2010 - Emma and Zach scoop out the pumpkin guts.


 
 2011 - Ashton's big haul from the pumpkin patch trip with Canoe Birch.


 
 2011 - Anita Trent helps carry Red Oak pumpkins from the patch to the bus.


 
 2012 - Willow class friends share a special fall party treat.


I hope you have enjoyed our first-ever Halloween edition of Wayback Wednesday. If you know anyone in these photos and want to share their names with us (or our website with them) we would really appreciate it. Have fun tomorrow and I hope you get lots and lots of candy - or not. Whichever you prefer :)

 

First, I will start with what I saw this week. This was my favorite moment. 

 
 “Trees are much like human beings and enjoy each other's company. Only a few love to be alone.” - Jens Jensen, Siftings, 1939

 

Another photo. If you are familiar with Humans of New York, the book and website by Brandon Stanton, then I know you can relate. If not, I know you can relate.

 

 
This week in microfashion. Did she choose the paint or did the paint choose her?

 

Children dress so fabulously and so beautifully because they have not yet learned that other people are judging their choices. They wear what they like. I want to wear what I like but I feel childish. How old will I grow before I truly understand that being childish is the truest way to be?

 

 

And, one more photo.

 
 What does it feel like the moment just before your mom wraps her arms around you?

 

 

 

And now, for what I heard.   

 

1. I erroneously asked a child how she was enjoying her Kindergarten year at MSGL. She responded, "I'm not IN Kindergarten. That's why I'm HERE!"

 

2. "That's a small story."

 

3. A friend was reading me a note from his lunch box. "Look! Look it! It says I'm going to my grandma's house. And I think I'm gonna get a Spiderman hat when we go to the store."

 

4. "Yeah. Let's do our maps."

 

5. "Where's the damn lizard?"

 

 
 File photo.

Rest easy. That darned lizard was found. 

 
What did you hear this week at MSGL? We hope you'll tell us.
 
Have a terrific weekend!

 

 


 
Do you recognize anyone in this photo of the MSGL staff from 1992? We have grown from a staff of 12 in 1992 to over 30 today, 21 years later. 

Montessori School of Greater Lafayette Staff, 1992

 
 Back, l to r: Suman Harshvardhan, Toddler class; Nakhat Ahmad, Class D; Karen Weddle, Toddler & ADP; Mary Sue Reutebuch, Class E; Durga Desai, Class A; Vicky Carswell, Early Arrival. Front, l to r: Linda Swain,  B & Extended Day; Ginny Meyer, Class B & Extended Day; Anita McKinney, Executive Director; Maureen , Class A; Cathy Stier, ADP. Not pictured: Judy West, Class D.


Here are the year's class photos. If you recognize any of the children, all should be in their mid-twenties now, consider directing them here. We would love to hear from them and from the teachers.


Class A - Morning Preprimary, 1992

 
 Teachers Maureen Northacker (L) and Durga Desai (R).



Class B - Morning Preprimary, 1992

 
 Teachers Linda Swain (L) and Ginny Meyer (R).

 

 


Class D - Morning Preprimary, 1992

 
  Teachers Judy West (L) and Nakhat Ahmad (R).

       

 

Class E - Afternoon Preprimary, 1992

 
Teacher Mary Sue Reutebuch 



Class C - 3-day and 5-day Toddlers, 1992

 
 Teachers Karen Weddle, Suman Harshvardhan, and Prafull Rathore.

 

Class C - 2-day Toddlers, 1992

 
 Teachers Karen Weddle, Suman Harshvardhan, and Prafull Rathore.



Class - Extended Day Afternoon, 1992
 
Teachers Ginny Meyer (L) and Linda Swain (R). 

Thanks for reading and have a great Wednesday!


 




 
Winter Clothing Alert!

The s-word is in our forecast this week. I don't know anyone who is happy about the October SNOW except for my allergy-suffering friends. With the snow come cold temperatures and at MSGL we play outside year-round, so it's important for children to have warm and practical clothing to wear every day. For the past 12 years I greeted the children on the playground at 8:30 am, snow or shine. To help you prepare for this week and the next six months (it hurts me to say that), I have compiled for you:

Miss Heather's Top 10 List for Child Comfort and Parent Happiness: Winter Edition

1. Check the forecast. Every class - Toddler through Elementary - goes outside when the temperature is 20 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Check the weather forecast each day before leaving the house to make sure your child will have the appropriate cold-weather gear for that day.

2. Go with the low. Consider the time of day your child will be outside. The forecast may call for a high temp. of 63 degrees, but the temperature at 8:30 am might only be in the 40's. Some classes start outside, some go out at 10:15, some at 11:00. The afternoon and Elementary classes go out at varying times throughout the week. Provide clothing for the day's low temperature and your child should be well-prepared.


3. Layer, layer, layer. Imagine your child as a cute, rosy-cheeked onion and help her dress in layers. Being hot and sweaty outside in the cold is just as uncomfortable as shivering. If your child can take off a sweater or push back her hood and unzip her coat, she will be able to regulate her body temperature and still enjoy the time outside. 


4. Listen to your child. Trust your child to make decisions about his comfort. The only way we can learn if we are too cold is if we are allowed to feel the cold. If your child doesn't want to wear his gloves, don't sweat it. Make sure he knows his gloves are in his locker and that he can go get them if he gets cold. The same goes for his snow pants and his bulky winter coat. An active child dressed in layers with warm shoes and a hat can generally enjoy himself outside without danger of getting too cold, even in winter. If your child is listening to his body instead of chafing under a "mitten mandate" he is more likely to develop a true sense of how to dress for the weather. My friend "Z" always told his dad he didn't want to wear his coat or his snow pants or his gloves, but 10 minutes after dad left, Z would ask to go get them. 


5. Start a discussion. Talk with your child about the day's weather and how to dress. Remember that the ultimate goals are safety and independence. You might say something like, "It's 30 degrees Fahrenheit. You definitely need to wear something on your hands, but you can choose if you wear your Spiderman gloves or the mittens Grandma made for you." Or try, "It's going to be 45 degrees when you go outside today. What should you pack for school?" Young children can learn to speak three languages at once. They can also learn to make clothing choices based on the outdoor temperature. 

 

6. Get a move-on. Remember that your child is most likely playing actively outside. We might feel very cold walking from the car to the school door in a suit or a skirt and heels, but a child riding a balance bike for 10 minutes heats up very quickly.

7. Consider cold pants. Snow pants or snow suits are essential when there is snow on the ground, but some children (and some preschool teachers) like to wear them as soon as they can see their breath outside. Think of them as "cold pants" and let your child keep them in his locker from October through April.


8. Label everything. Speaking of lockers, our lockers are small. When two children share a locker it's nearly impossible to fit snow pants, coats, book bags and lunch boxes inside. PLEASE make sure every article of clothing you send to school has your child's name or your family's last name written on it where it's easy to read. All black snow pants and all Spiderman gloves look the same when there are 24 children getting dressed in the hallway. If you forget, your child's teacher will be happy to loan you a Sharpie and some masking tape. 


9. Embrace the terrific outdoors. Spending time outdoors is important for everyone's health and well-being. We do not have a gym and children may not stay inside by themselves. If your child is recovering from an illness and you don't want her to be outside, please make arrangements to drop her off late or pick her up early, depending on the class schedule. 


10. Stock up. Have extra winter clothing on hand, if possible. The first Snow Day of the year is much less fun when your child has left her snow pants at school. And plan to lose at least one set of gloves. If you buy three identical sets of gloves, odds are you will have at least one matching set at the end of the year. Just in case, the Lost and Found box is in the office.

If you recently moved to West Lafayette from somewhere warm and lovely, I am so sorry! But seriously, you can stock up on all the clothing your family needs to get through your first Indiana winter at J.C. Penney, Sears, Target, KMart, or Walmart. You can purchase gently-used childrens' outerwear at Once Upon a Child in Lafayette.

Below are some examples of items your child will need.

  Winter coat 
  Snow pants - OR - 
   Snow bib overalls
  Waterproof gloves - OR - 
  Waterproof mittens 
  Waterproof snowboots
  Soft, warm cap

Thanks for reading and bring on the snow! 



 


 
Wayback Wednesday: 1998 - Peter Cottontails and Banana Bombs

1998 was a big year for MSGL because we announced our expansion so we received lots of media coverage. This week's Wayback Wednesday post features another story from the Lafayette Journal and Courier. On July 7th, a story about our summer camp cooking class filled the 4 Kidz Only page. (I love that the J&C embraced phonetic spelling!)

The photos are beautiful and the children's quotes, especially about date math, are really sweet.

Featured teacher, Revati Nemani is still with MSGL today in the Catalpa class. The children featured in this article are now in college. Are any of them studying to be chefs? We would love to know. If you know Alie Magnante, Daniel Plesniak, Asher Bogdanove, or Andrew Staiger, please pass this along. It would be great to hear from them.

And maybe you and your young ones will give one of these recipes a go? We would love to hear about that, too. 

 

 


 

..and this was its steeple.

 

 
 Don Harvey and Tony Harvey ready the steeple for removal. 

When we remodeled the former Calvary Baptist Church in 2000-2001 to become our Montessori school, we had to replace a few fixtures. The steeple was detached from the roof and lowered by crane to the parking lot below.

  

 

    What do you do with a second-hand steeple? We gave it to a church down the road. 


     The demolition crew also removed the fiberglas baptistry by cutting it into pieces. All of the beautiful wood pews were sold. You can see one being used today in the school office. The colored windows were eventually replaced with clear glass. 


     This is what Building B looks like today. 

Have a great Wednesday!