Hello, Fig Tree community!
Autumn (and sometimes winter, it seems) is actually here! We’re cruising along as we watch the leaves finally changing color, and the season has marked a time of depth and progress in our busy beehive.
Thank you for spending time with me in early November at parent conferences. I am appreciative of our time together; I firmly believe that we are teammates in service of your child, and our collaborative discussions to share ideas and observations are so valuable.
And Fall Fandango was fun--and not too cold this year, yay! I enjoyed seeing and talking with so many of you on such a lovely night. Our art auction pieces were also a hit, and I’m grateful we had such a successful fundraiser!
Thanksgiving Break was a lovely time as well. We celebrated by having hot apple cider and writing gratitude poems before enjoying a slightly longer read aloud. Over the break, a lot of you had such restorative staycations and fun adventures outside of Austin! It was a delight to hear all the fun memories the children had made with your loved ones over the break.
New students are continuing to hear the Great Stories, which are the scaffolding of the curriculum in an elementary Montessori classroom. Recently new students heard the story about just how long (long, long, long,...) it took for the earth to be ready for life and for human beings by unrolling our tremendous “Black Strip.” They also heard about the special gifts of human beings, and they heard another story about the history of humans, unwritten and written. Next, we’ll explore how our alphabet came to be, followed by how our numbers came to be! It’s so sweet to watch their enthusiasm absolutely light up as they listen with wide-open mouths. Every year these stories are some of my favorite moments in teaching.
Thank You’s, High Fives, and “Mad Props” !
We send out “Three Cheers” for Jessica Watkins! Hip, hip, hooray! Thank you so much for assisting us with our art auction piece. It was fun, it turned out beautifully, and we couldn’t have done it without you! She even incorporated a lesson she overheard about bar graphs, y’all!
Also, a shout out to Julie Yioutas for being “on call” to lend a hand with this project!
Thank you also to Maya Diaz for supporting us through conducting “concentration curves,” a form of data that she learned in her ongoing Montessori teacher training. These scientific observations of students and their work helps me to see concentration trends in individual students and in the class as a whole, which is so valuable to our community. Thank you, Maya!
Reminders and Sign-Ups
If you’re interested in learning to knit, or you just want to relax with fellow parents and grab some “me time,” I highly recommend Ms. Pat’s knitting classes. She offers them every Tuesday night in the elementary library. First time is free, and after that it’s $10 per class. Wine is served, we have a lot of fun, and you couldn’t find a better handwork guru! It’s a fun way to get some holiday gifts made, too! If you’re interested in giving it a try, contact her at email@example.com.
On December 12 we’ll be attending Act II of the Nutcracker by Ballet Austin. It’s a performance exclusively for citywide schoolchildren, and we thoroughly enjoy this excursion every year. Be sure to hand in your ticket money and sign the permission form!
Our Holiday Bonfire for all elementary families will be on Wednesday, December 19. More details will come from the office, but mark your calendars! This is one of the best family events of the year, and a great way to connect, relax, and enjoy this amazing community. Kids and adults alike have a BLAST.
Remember that school lets out early on December 20 for the winter holidays--notice, that’s on a Thursday this year!! Enjoy your winter holidays, everyone!
Thank you for all the support as we continue our adventures together!
“The rain came down/
the rain came down/
It rained all over the town, town, town/
It rained all over the town!”
What a wet October!
To me, rain calls to mind the themes of restoration and transformation, and we definitely had both in Fig Tree during this rainy month. What gifts!
First, we want to warmly welcome Jean Bolling! Most of you know her from her years of dedication in the Primary office, and we’re excited to have her back on campus. The students adjusted smoothly to the change in our classroom, and Jean dove in with both feet, so we’re off and running. Thanks, Jean!
After about one more week of continuing to calibrate to these changes, our classroom will be open for observations. Typically observations open mid-October, so I appreciate your patience as we make sure we’re nice and steady before bringing in another new element (visiting parents!). In November, you may contact the office to schedule your observation.
Fig Tree also started working with Kizzy Hannibal, a fellow Cedars parent who has years of experience in fostering community through her work with children. She assists our class once a week with exercises and lessons in communication, personal growth, leadership development, community building, kindness, and compassion. Students really enjoy her interactive, hands-on approach to practicing such valuable life skills. Welcome, Kizzy!
I want to thank all of you who came out for Silent Journey. My hope is that your evening was full of useful information and transformative experiences as you entered your child’s world for a night. Join us on this journey again next year--it gets richer every time!
And thank you for such a strong turnout to the Positive Discipline workshop series. As you could probably tell, I love, love, love sharing this information with parents as a way of “paying it forward” for all the help I’ve received over the years. I’m convinced that it can change a family’s legacy, so I’m happy to support you in any way I can with this important work of fostering even healthier relationships with your children. Please consider me as one of your resources if you have any more questions about Positive Discipline.
And ohhh boy, even though some Full Cycle children sang, “Rain, rain, go away…” so that we could go camping, alas, it didn’t work! Yet the Full Cycle children were very resilient--and very excited!--when our camping trip became a day trip to Enchanted Rock. We had a blast! Those kids hauled up that 425’ rock in 30 minutes (!!), we had a windy lunch on top, we hiked back down, we played some fun team-building games, and then everyone returned safe and sound! :)
...And we are going to ROCK that spring camping trip!! Let’s get these kids swimming in a river, knitting around a campfire, and then sleeping in some TENTS!
Finally, be sure to join us for Fall Fandango in a few days….not only is it a blast for parents and for kids, but our art auction piece is coming along, and well...no spoilers, but….it’s gonna be awesome. ;D
Don’t miss it!
Thanks for signing up for Parent Conferences. I look forward to our time together.
Please be prompt so we can get all of your allotted time into it.
At the conference, you will see examples of your child's work and receive a packet of their work-to-date to take home. See you then!
Our Fall Fandango is coming up! This is a family friendly event at Stanely's Farmhouse Pizza on Thursday, November 8 from 5:30pm - 9:00pm. Dust off your dancing shoes (or flip-flops--it IS Austin, after all!) to join your kids on the dance floor with music by Two Hoots & a Holler.
In addition to supporting our school, your ticket includes Stanley's artisan pizzas, garlic knots, salad, and cookies, along with craft beer or wine, root beer, and lemonade. Please pre-order gluten-free meals.
See you there!
When practicing telling time on analog clocks with younger children, use the accurate terms “hour hand” and “minute hand” [not ‘short’ and ‘long’] to reinforce the mental process required to read time.
Also, if your child needs the support, help them count by 5s whenever it feels fun and natural...on car rides, in the store, etc. Once they master that, move onto 2s and 10s.
Then 4s, 6s, 8s….!
Then do the same for math facts. Make it fun, keep it light, and do it often!
Thank you for sharing your children with me. It’s an honor to work with them.
What a start!
We opened the year with something brand new, a tradition that Cedars hopes to continue: all three elementary classes gathered to celebrate our larger community on Dr. Montessori’s birthday, August 31. Each elementary community contributed something to the celebration, including songs, a guided meditation, a review of her life story, and a (huge!) closing circle. We finished by singing “Happy Birthday” to her--in Italian!
The First Great Story was told very early in the year to all students who are new to Fig Tree, which integrates them into our community and helps them to realize just how different elementary is from Primary. The tale is the first stone laid on the path of Cosmic Education (which we’ll explore more in an upcoming Parent Night). This story is one version of the formation of the Universe and of Earth, and students were excited to comprehend the vast coldness of space and the speed of light, to hear about the properties and behavior of different states of matter, and to see how the earth’s layers settled according to weight. It is one of my favorite moments in teaching, seeing their big eyes and open mouths during the Great Stories.
A couple of weeks later, we shared the Second Great Story. This special lesson describes the coming of Life after eons of the earth’s preparation. The students were full of excitement, even gasps! Their enthusiasm translated into jostling about in order to see the Timeline of Life, with many Mid- and Full-Cycle students joining in to see this special material again. They love hearing about cephalopods (they had feet on their heads!) and learning who had the first voice on earth (can you guess?!). Afterward, students examined and discussed many different forms of life in earth’s history, and several immediately began work that extended this lesson by drawing and labeling various creatures, or working to recreate the Timeline of Life from a blank slate.
Weaving, knitting, and crochet really took off this year! Hooray! I introduced a new way to weave--without a loom! Can you imagine??--and Ms. Pat comes by weekly to offer support with these projects, as well as embroidery and sewing. The handwork has been so productive and prolific this year. It’s beautiful to watch children building their concentration with something that also regulates emotions, helps with right-left brain integration, and develops fine motor skills that directly translate to writing and reading improvement. All with the benefit of beautiful art at the end!
Wilderness Adventure class is underway too, and the kids love it. Mr. Braden said that this class is “all about three things: having fun, getting connected to the outdoors, and challenging ourselves.” He describes it this way: “This year Fig Tree will spend time outside to feel safe and comfortable anytime we're in nature (even outside of school), and having lots of fun doing it. Time will be taken to find, track, and sign to learn about the animals that live in the clearing when we are not present, and the edible and medicinal plants that share the campus with us will be explored. We will continue to work to develop competency and safe practices with fire, knots, and shelter building concepts. As the year progresses and winter ends we will begin to include the ropes course as part of our journey as well. Our work there is to learn to reach one step (or more) beyond our comfort zone, and how to encourage others who are going through that process. All in all, we have a really great year coming up, and I'm excited about it. I think the kids are too!” We’re so grateful for Mr. Braden!
We’ve really been enjoying nature this month. Such a lovely amount of rain!! We are looking forward to the days--which don’t seem too far off now--when we can open the windows and doors during the school day. Our classroom is at its finest in those mild months when we can open up the old windows and hear and feel nature as we work. In the meantime, children have been discovering some neighbors! Just this month (!) the students have enjoyed befriending, observing, and/or releasing a frog, a few geckos, a banana spider in her huge web, and a couple of praying mantises. We also watched a checkered garter snake cruise by the porch, which was exciting!
You are in for a truly memorable evening.....Silent Journey!! October 4th!!
Silent Journey is a powerful event for many parents. Since many parents did not attend a Montessori school as a child, they seek to learn about it by reading about Montessori philosophy, attending Parent Nights, and observing the classroom. Even with these investments, it can be difficult at times to deeply understand the experience that their child has every day at school. Silent Journey provides an opportunity for parents to explore the entire continuum of the school and to experience firsthand, just like their children, the amazing things that an authentic Montessori program has to offer.
You will want to experience this.... Even if you have attended one before, there are always new insights--with more materials to explore, new discussions with fellow parents, and a truly special night to deepen your understanding of Montessori by *experiencing* it as your child does...there is nothing else quite like it.
We hope that you can attend. You won’t regret it.
Another big event coming on October 18th--our Full-Cylces’ first Camping trip!
In Early Elementary, we have two single-night camping trips for the Full-Cycle students of both Fig Tree and Mountain Laurel. The first trip is on Thursday, October 18th! If your child is in their third year of elementary, please attend the Parents’ Q&A on October 2nd at 3:30. Mark your calendars (for your date night!).
Please make sure that your child can tie shoes. This is a work that is standard in all Primary classrooms, but some students could still use some practice. Now’s the time! Support them with opportunities--and time--to practice at home.
Interested in taking something off your “to do” list? Permanently?? By early elementary, students are able to pack their own lunch. I promise!! If you haven’t enjoyed this liberation yet because you feel your child will take too long to pack it, consider it an investment--for you and your child. Once the process is established, you enjoy one less responsibility, while your child benefits from a significant boost in self-esteem, not to mention a lunch s/he is more likely to eat.
To accomplish this, Dr. Montessori emphasized “taking the time to train,” so don’t choose a harried moment. Many families find success by packing lunches at night, instead of adding it to an already busy morning. Two kids, so that’s too much?...One could bathe while one packs lunch, then switch. You can begin by teaching your child about the four basic food groups and that a lunch should have at least one healthy item from each. Another method is to slowly remove yourself from the process: first, your child watches as you model each step clearly; second, you stand with your child as S/HE prepares the lunch; third, you are in the room as the child prepares it; last, the arrival point--a packed lunch while you are tending to something else, anywhere in the house!
To support your child in this task, have your child’s lunch containers within their reach, as well as lunch foods and snacks handy and visible in the pantry and fridge. Each day after school s/he can load their dirty containers into the dishwasher and pack lunch for the next day.
Getting there is a process, but it is SO worth it.
Thank you for the start of another great year together!
Hello, Fig Tree families!
We enjoyed a month of such lovely celebrations!
On the 7th we enjoyed our outing to see an adaptation of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”--performed entirely by just two actors!--at Zach Scott Theater. Students noticed characterization happening through the actors’ changing voices and different accessories, and they had several discussions about how the setting changed by use of visual cues, special effects, and props. Some of them even got to sit right next to the wardrobe, and some volunteered to help with pre-show magic tricks! The actors thanked us as we exited, and you can imagine the interest, questions, and gratitude coming from all these enthusiastic Montessori students crowding around them!
We had a fun Valentine’s Day, too. In the afternoon, the children celebrated by decorating “mailbox” bags and delivering valentines. Every year, students really enjoy this ritual of seeing what others made for them! And some of them “toiled away in the kitchen” all morning long (and loved every minute of it!) making the tasty treats that we all enjoyed at the Family Tea that afternoon.
We had such a huge turnout for our Valentine’s Family Tea this year! Thank you!! We had a packed house filled with parents, siblings, even grandparents, and we all enjoyed fresh scones and hot tea before a massive “playdate on the playground.” Thanks again for all of you who could make the time to come out and join us!
Here’s to a fun (and warm, I hope!) spring!
Parent Conferences are coming up on Friday, March 23 and Monday, March 26 (with a few extra weekday afternoon options). Please make arrangements to attend one of the scheduled days. An email with a link to sign up will come out in early March.
Full Cycle parents!! Mark your calendars and get ready for a busy spring!!
On March 29th at 3:30, Ms. Michelle and I will be hosting a Camping and Testing Q&A.
Full Cycles will participate in standardized testing in mid-April, followed by a night of camping in late April (tentatively April 26th). It’s a fun and rich time!
In the mornings, please arrive as close to 8:10 as possible; lessons or student conferences start happening every day at 8:20. Having ten minutes before her/his morning work period really helps your child feel ready and oriented to work, which is the best setup for a successful day.
Thank you for all the ways that you support this community. It’s a pleasure to be among you!
That month blew by!
We rolled right in…
...to school at the end of winter holidays, and the students returned with a renewed sense of work, growth, and partnership. Students who are new this year to Fig Tree have really stepped into the routines, the work, the expectations, and the responsibilities, and their growth is evident as we returned to school. The Third Year students are stepping up to a new level as well, gathering their momentum during this last semester, preparing for their final launch!
Then we glided back out…
...for a few icy days, giving us some long, juicy weekends! One sign that the students are really cruising along now is how well they adjusted to a couple of unusual weeks!
Then we stepped back in…
…to work and play and explore and help and learn.
Several Goings Out are in the planning stages, ranging from the local public library to (perhaps!) a trip to NASA in Houston. Several students are undertaking weekly baking projects, from planning to buying ingredients to baking and serving their creations. Other explorations include: studying Line in art, exploring methods of seed dispersal by plants, observing numerous specimens in our brand new microscopes (yay!!), practicing money and coins, refining their musical ear by matching and grading Bell tones, reading lots of poetry books (elementary kids love that Shel Silverstein!), acquiring new traditional handwork skills, conducting experiments on the plasticity of solids, reaching abstraction with a variety of math operations and topics, and cracking macadamia nuts that traveled with a classmate all the way from Hawaii!
Reminders and Sign-Ups
We’re seeing “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” at ZACH Theater on Wednesday, February 7th. The children are really looking forward to seeing a live performance of the sequel to our previous read aloud book, Magician’s Nephew. The entire play is performed by two actors “and a lot of theater magic,” so your children will probably have a lot to share with you about traveling through the wardrobe into Narnia!
Students are encouraged to make a set of 23 valentines at home to bring and share with their friends. Your child can make ANY style of valentine, from the very simple to something more complex. It can be easy and cheap--provide paper, pencils, stickers, or crayons, and let their imagination fly. They are expressions of friendship, not entries for a Martha Stewart magazine. ;)
We simply ask that they not have media characters or candy, and that your child signs his/her own name. Please do not put a specific recipient’s name on them; leaving them blank eases distribution.
Last year for Valentine’s Day, we hosted a Family Tea, and it was such a hit that we’re going to do it again! Mark your calendars for Wednesday, February 14th at 2:45 to join us for tea, baked goods, and community time!
Keep reading to your kiddo at home! You can consult the Parents’ Handbook for a list of fresh ideas to read aloud to your child as you snuggle up on a wintery day.
As always, it is such a joy and honor to assist your children in their growth and learning. Thank you for the opportunity to be with them.
Here’s to another great month!
What a fun December!
On Friday, Dec. 1, students held a performance of the play “Three Little Elephants.” It was a cute and funny play that they discovered, and we sure had a laugh at the elephants’ antics as they confronted their fears and faced the Big Bad Mouse.
And dismissal was a HOOT on the 7th, as some students saw SNOW for the very first time! The energy and shouts of unbridled J O Y and elation were so fun. Some parents waiting in line at pick up said that even from inside their car they could hear the students erupt!! What a treat!
On the 14th, Fig Tree and Mountain Laurel attended Act I of the Nutcracker ballet at the Long Center. A docent from Ballet Austin had visited our classes one week prior, accompanied by a ballerina in classical tutu. They shared the history of ballet, the story of the Nutcracker, led us in learning positions one through five, and did a show-and-tell about pointe shoes. After the live performance, the children were full of stories and keen observations, with many favorite moments being shared. It was such an exciting day!
Sarah and I also held a Parent Education Coffee Talk about parenting through connection. Thank you for all who came out that morning. I feel like we just scratched the surface, so if any of you want a second round, especially if you couldn’t attend the first, I’d definitely make it happen again. Let me know if there’s enough interest for a reprise/part two!!
And thank you for all who came out for the Holiday Bonfire in the Clearing. It was a fun night with a big bonfire and kids playing in the woods as parents got to chat, visit, and meet more families. Thanks for an evening of good food and good friends.
We finished the calendar year with Fig Tree’s annual Pajama Palooza and Board Game Bonanza! The kids had a blast playing games with friends, sipping hot cider, making crafts, and even bopping around in a spontaneous dance party! What a fun way to start the holidays--celebrating with pure fun!
Reminders and Sign-Ups
Remember there’s no school on Monday, January 15 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Please sign up if you can help our snack teams get to HEB each Monday at 1:30. Thank you so much!!!
Big hugs, and stay warm!!
Hello, dear families,
It’s with a grateful heart that we share all the events from another very full, busy month together!
We started our new month by celebrating Dia de los Muertos and learning about the traditions, symbols, and rituals connected to this meaningful holiday. Many students shared about departed loved ones, and we created an altar filled with paper marigolds, mementos, and photos to honor them. Students were attentive and compassionate as they learned about each other and our families.
We also enjoyed each other’s families at the Fall Fandango! Thanks for all of you who came out! It was laid-back and a good time. It was also very successful as a fundraiser. Fig Tree offered artwork in which students had “drawn with scissors,” inspired by the work of Henri Matisse, and it raised $250! Thank you for every generous bid!!
We also had our fall parent conferences, which I really enjoyed. I think of sitting with each of you by that big, open window, talking about your child and learning about each other. Thank you for your partnership and your support.
I also appreciate how many of you came to observe in our classroom in the weeks surrounding conferences. I recommend it for anyone who hasn’t joined us yet, or anyone who’d like to see us again. Fig Tree has an open door, so let the office know whenever you’d like to drop by for a visit.
You also showed your support for Fig Tree’s first ever Talent Show! It was an endearing performance on a sweet and sunny afternoon. The students were so excited! And we are so grateful for all the love you shared with us that day--from purchasing tickets, to buying baked goods and handmade gifts, to shouting out your love and support for all of our children. And it was really somethin’ to see the variety of all their talents and joys: we have magicians, martial artists, dancers, gymnasts, comedians, musicians….it was such a delight to see so many of them sharing so much of themselves.
And it was a tremendously successful fundraiser too! All together our community raised over $200 that afternoon, which will be donated to help the animals at Austin Pets Alive. Thank you!
Music is filling the classroom in other ways, too. Fig Tree shares a set of Montessori Bells with another class, and from now on we get to house them in our room! That means that students can--and do!--use them anytime (perhaps I should say “all the time”!). Students are learning more about pitch, matching tones, and notes moving up and down the scale. They are being exposed to the chromatic scale as well as the tones of the C Major scale, and we incorporate movement as much as possible. Everyday someone enjoys filling the air with music, and it’s so wonderful to have this material that allows such exploration and expression.
One afternoon some students also enjoyed a lesson in which we listened to Smetana’s “Vltava,” an orchestral tone poem about a river traveling first as a mountain stream, then a large river through the forest, then finally down through Prague and under Charles Bridge before joining the Elbe. The many students who chose to attend this lesson sat with rapt attention, and hands flew up at its conclusion so that they could share what they heard, imagined, saw, and noticed. Your children are so inspiring.
Reminders and Sign-Ups
So many of you have done so much to support us--we really appreciate it. Even with all the help so far, we could still use a few more volunteer drivers to help our snack teams get to HEB each week. If you have some room in your schedule this winter and spring, or if you want a first-hand look at an elementary Going Out, please use this sign up to volunteer if you can. Thank you!!!!
On Friday, Dec. 1, come see some Fig Tree students in their performance of the play “Three Little Elephants.” It’s a cute and funny play that they discovered, and you’re sure to enjoy it just as much as they did in independently casting, rehearsing, and staging this show. See you at 2:30 at the stage!
On the 14th, Fig Tree and Mountain Laurel will attend Act I of the Nutcracker ballet, performed at the Long Center by Ballet Austin. It is a rich cultural and musical experience that the children enjoy, whether it is a familiar favorite or a dramatically new experience. We prepare students by telling them about the history, plot, and characters of the story, as well as etiquette as an audience member so that they realize the theater is a shared experience between the performer and the viewer. This year, our preparations will also be supported by a docent visiting the class one week before the show. Attending the Nutcracker is a personal highlight for me each year, observing Fig Tree’s children as they experience the beauty and wonder of a live performance.
Don’t miss the Holiday Bonfire for all elementary families! It is a joyful night with a potluck, a bonfire, holiday lights, and kids playing under the stars while parents kick back with their community. Join us for good food and good friends on the evening of December 14!
Thanks you for all you have done to make this November and all our events so fun and prosperous!
Wowsa! That was one full month!
The lemonade stand in September was quite a success! The girls (and you!) helped to raise hundreds of dollars that were donated in early October to the Children’s Shelter, Austin Diaper Bank, and Austin Pets Alive in a relief effort for those who suffered through Hurricane Harvey. They delivered the toys and donations with the tremendous satisfaction that comes from true and real service. Thanks again to all of you who came and supported this effort (and enjoyed those homemade snickerdoodles!).
We loved seeing so many of you at Silent Journey, which is typically one of my favorite events of the year. It was a delight to share the lessons in area, checkerboard, and fractions, which resulted in gasps of delight and discovery from parents! So fun and inspiring! Please do come again next year to this always-rich event.
The Full-Cycle Campout in the Clearing was also a success, even if it was a bit cold once the front moved through! [Thank heavens it wasn’t the next night, though, when it plummeted to freezing temperatures!] We had the largest group to date for our Clearing campout, and it went so, so smoothly--not one squabble!! Many of the nearly 2 dozen students were camping for the first time, and being on familiar land was helpful and fun. Students built a fire in the evening and again in the morning, and we enjoyed cooking over it and gathering around it for warmth. Some students saw an owl, and of course all of us heard the nearby roosters, too. Students were *wiped out* the next day from all the fun the night before--it was so funny to see them sprawled across their belongings the next day while waiting during pick up. ;)
We also enjoyed the great outdoors as a whole class when we went hiking together at McKinney Roughs. A highlight to me was when we hiked one section in total silence, using signals to help others notice what we were observing. Students noticed so many things--their wonder is so moving.
We continued our trajectory along fun events by preparing for November’s Fall Fandango. We had several lessons and stories about the artist Henri Matisse, particularly regarding his later life when he began what he called “drawing with scissors.” The students then created organic, abstract shapes that will be assembled into our art auction piece for the Fandango. Mark your calendars!
And of course, what is October without Halloween?? Two full-cycle students initiated, organized, and executed a celebration for students that day, including a hilarious rendition of “Pin the Stem on the Pumpkin,” a scavenger hunt on the playground, and, of course, Silly Hair Day. It was a fun, lighthearted day for the community.
Reminders and Sign-Ups
Conferences are coming up! I look forward to seeing you on November 3rd or 6th!
FALL FANDANGO! DON’T MISS IT!
Our Fall Fandango is our fall fundraiser for the school. It’s a blast! We eat pizza and garlic knots, kids run through the field or dance on the dancefloor to Two Hoots and a Holler, parents relax and laugh under the twinkling lights in the barn. Get your tickets and join us at Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza!
We’ll be seeing Act I of Ballet Austin’s “The Nutcracker” downtown at the Long Center. Each year we see an act of the ballet, and the kids always return to Cedars full of stories about the costumes, the music, the dance, and the scenery. In addition to the cultural and musical benefits of experiencing a ballet, students also learn the story of the Nutcracker and receive grace and courtesy lessons about attending a live performance.
We’ll be sending you permission forms and more detailed information in the coming weeks.
Thank you for being such a supportive, rich community!
Whoa! What a strong start!
We are humming along in ways that I haven’t observed so early in the year before. I’ve never seen a group dive in so fast with such Big Works--it is very inspiring! In addition to snack teams’ Goings Out to HEB, students have already planned and executed Goings Out to public libraries and the Botanical Garden. Students also created a service project for Hurricane Harvey relief, and another service project is underway for our local animal shelter. In addition, a play is under production, students completed a baking project with its own Going Out, and two additional classroom events for October are being planned by different groups of students. And that’s not even mentioning some of the truly epic-scale academic works that are taking off in all directions in geometry, art, science experiments, and math. This group certainly has vision and momentum, and I’ve never seen those qualities with such force this early before!
I’m gonna buckle my seatbelt with this crew….!
Our class held a very successful bake sale and lemonade stand to raise money for Hurricane Harvey survivors. They raised over $210!! They are so excited to provide that money to the Austin Animal Shelter and to Austin Diaper Bank. Toys were donated, and the children will deliver them to the dropoff point for the Children’s Homeless Shelter. Thank you, Fig Tree community for making such a difference!!
Reminders and Sign-Ups
Fall portraits are coming up on October 4! It is still a standard school day, so if your child comes ‘dressed to the nines’ for his/her picture, consider bringing a change of clothes for them to romp around in later at recess.
Observations will open soon. The office or Fig Tree will update you as this becomes available. I strongly urge all of you to come see Fig Tree in action!
Remember to sign up for your Parent Conference in early November.
If the students’ planning is successful, Fig Tree might be having its first-ever Talent Show! Some students would like to host it as a fundraiser for a local animal shelter, so we’d love to have your support! Details, as they are finalized, will be sent to you in a flyer and/or email.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS for the DON’T-MISS EVENT: Silent Journey. This is such a special evening...Parents often share stories decades later about how moving and important this night was to them. Come to Silent Journey and experience for yourself what it’s like for your child to make discoveries and direct their own education. It’s the best opportunity to use and understand the materials that your child is always talking about. You get to feel the progression from Primary through Upper Elementary, and you get a much deeper sense of how it all fits together. Join us for a quiet, reflective, insightful, and powerful night together on October 12.
The next morning, on October 13, we’re going to get these kids out into Nature together! We’re going on a community hike at Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. It will be a relaxed exploration together of the beautiful (and hopefully cooler) surroundings.
One of my favorite topics is coming up for Parent Ed! Please join me and director Sarah Critchfield as we discuss Freedom & Responsibility: Parenting from Connection. We will briefly cover the science and psychology of child development, and then we'll dive deeper into the discipline models based on that science. We will explore boundaries and limits, authoritarian parenting vs collaborative parenting, and positive discipline, among others. Best part: you'll walk out with actual *tools* based on this research that you can start using immediately (and for years to come). I am so, so excited to spend some time discussing these topics with you, shared from Sarah's and my perspectives not only as Montessorians but also as fellow moms who use the teachings of Ross Greene, Jane Nelson, Faber & Mazlish, Rudolf Dreikurs, and more--in our classrooms and in our own homes. Join us in mid-October; official date and time to be announced.
October 26 brings a fun ritual: our autumn Full-Cycle Students’ Camping Night at the Clearing! Full Cycle students from Fig Tree and Mountain Laurel will spend one night in the Clearing after pitching our tents and cooking supper together. It’s such a fun way to practice our camping skills before our Spring trip, enjoying time outside on the familiar grounds of Cedars.
Your child can pack their own lunch--I promise! Provide time for training and skills, be on hand at first, and then over time watch the beauty unfold as your child packs healthy food they’ll actually eat and you are freed to tend to other things! Ask me for tips if you need support in making this shift for your family. You’ll be glad you did!
Thank you for all of your support. This community is such a gift!!
Fig Tree Cottage