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Month: January 2016

Open Positions!

Open Positions!

Parker Woods Montessori Parents and Families,

The PWM PTO is looking to fill a few key leadership positions. These positions currently have volunteers, but they are looking for backup help or an apprentice to take over for next year. Please read the description and reach out if you feel this is a way you could help improve your child’s educational experience! You can respond to for more information.

TREASURER / ACCOUNTANT: Our Treasurer has been maintaining and cleaning up our records, but due to a tight schedule is not able to be as involved as he was in the past. We are looking for someone with accounting experience who can help organize the records, provide public accountability, breakdown the budget into more specific fundraising goals and maintain the paperwork necessary for our non-profit status. Time commitment: 1-2 monthly hour long meetings, consistent email responses and online presence.

SECRETARY: Our secretary has been wonderful, but she is not always able to attend every meeting. We are looking to support her with an assistant who can alternate note taking and transcribing notes online. Time Commitment: 1-2 monthly meetings, periodic email correspondence.

PRESIDENT/VICE PRESIDENT: Our co-Presidents have been working hard to organize and grow the PTO and are ready to share the experience with new leadership. The individual committees have become more stable, but we continue to search out fresh ideas and approaches on how to grow and maintain our volunteer base. This position does not need to be too time consuming, but requires consistent communication and involvement. Please respond for more details on these positions.

Thank you,

Parker Woods Montessori PTO

Winter Movie Night Volunteers

Winter Movie Night Volunteers

Calling all volunteers!  Our Winter Movie Night is in need of volunteers for event set-up, selling/distributing food, adult supervision (PIE activity) and clean-up.  In addition we will be collecting donations of food including side dishes, fruit, vegetables, and desserts to be sold along with the pizza, popcorn, and snow cones on site.
Events like this can only happen with your help!  There are a couple of ways to sign up as a volunteer or for a food donation:
  • Fliers will be sent home in Wednesday folders that will include a portion that can be returned to the school for both volunteering time and/or food donations.
  • You can up direction as a volunteer and/or with food donations through this link:  Winter Movie Night Volunteer Sign-up
  • Volunteers or people who donate food can also communicate directly with the fundraising committee by emailing or by phone at (267) 571-1029.
Please take a moment to volunteer where you can for this event and we will be in touch to confirm your participation.  Again, we can’t make this happen without YOU!  Please make sure to include your preferred method of contact so we can get in touch.
Thank you for all that you do and being a part of this great community building event!
-The Fundraising Team
Montessori Coalition Meeting

Montessori Coalition Meeting

The Montessori Coalition will meet on Tuesday, February 2nd at 6:00 at Gamble Montessori in their Community Space.

Gamble Montessori is located at 2700 Felicity Place, 45211. Take the second driveway off the circle and park.

The agenda includes a presentation by Pat Neal-Miller from the CPS Family Engagement Office on the enrollment/registration process for Montessori schools at Pre-K / K and at 7th grade. Additionally we will discuss Montessori certification for teachers and accreditation for schools.

The Montessori Coalition is comprised of CPS Montessori Principals, LSDMC Chairs, and PTO/PTA Chairs.

PTO Meeting – January 2016

PTO Meeting – January 2016

NOTE: The PTO Meeting has been rescheduled from January 20 to January 27 due to the Snow Day.

Please join us for the
Parker Woods Montessori Parent Teacher Organization
January PTO Meeting
Wednesday January 27, 2016, 5:45-7:00 PM, Media Center
Child Watch (3 and up) and Pizza Provided

The Difference in a Montessori Education

The Difference in a Montessori Education

April 5, 2011, 10:57 AM ET

By Peter Sims

It may seem like a laughable “only in New York” story that Manhattan mother, Nicole Imprescia, is suing her 4-year-old daughter’s untraditional private preschool for failing to prepare her for a private school admissions exam.

But her daughter’s future and ours might be much brighter with a little less conditioning to perform well on tests and more encouragement to discover as they teach in Montessori schools. Ironically, the Montessori educational approach might be the surest route to joining the creative elite, which are so overrepresented by the school’s alumni: Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, videogame pioneer Will Wright, and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, not to mention Julia Child and rapper Sean “P.Diddy” Combs.

Is there something going on here?  Is there something about the Montessori approach that nurtures creativity and inventiveness that we can all learn from?

After all, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison were famous life-long tinkerers, who discovered new ways of doing things by constantly improvising, experimenting, failing, and retesting.  Above all they were voraciously inquisitive learners.

The Montessori learning method, founded by Maria Montessori, emphasizes a collaborative environment without grades or tests, multi-aged classrooms, as well as self-directed learning and discovery for long blocks of time, primarily for young children ages 2 1/2 to 7.

Montessori graduates showed up in an extensive, six-year study about the way creative business executives think. Professors Jeffrey Dyer of Brigham Young University and Hal Gregersen of globe-spanning business school INSEAD surveyed over 3,000 executives and interviewed 500 people who had either started innovative companies or invented new products.

“A number of the innovative entrepreneurs also went to Montessori schools, where they learned to follow their curiosity,” Mr. Gregersen said. “To paraphrase the famous Apple ad campaign, innovators not only learned early on to think different, they act different (and even talk different).”

When Barbara Walters, who interviewed Google founders Messrs. Page and Brin in 2004, asked if having parents who were college professors was a major factor behind their success, they instead credited their early Montessori education.  “We both went to Montessori school,” Mr. Page said, “and I think it was part of that training of not following rules and orders, and being self-motivated, questioning what’s going on in the world, doing things a little bit differently.”

Will Wright, inventor of bestselling “The Sims” videogame series, heaps similar praise.  “Montessori taught me the joy of discovery,” Mr. Wright said, “It’s all about learning on your terms, rather than a teacher explaining stuff to you.  SimCity comes right out of Montessori…”

Meanwhile, according to Jeff Bezos’s mother, young Jeff would get so engrossed in his activities as a Montessori preschooler that his teachers would literally have to pick him up out of his chair to go to the next task. “I’ve always felt that there’s a certain kind of important pioneering that goes on from an inventor like Thomas Edison,” Mr. Bezos has said, and that discovery mentality is precisely the environment that Montessori seeks to create.

Neuroscience author Jonah Lehrer cites a 2006 study published in Science that compared the educational achievement performance of low-income Milwaukee children who attended Montessori schools versus children who attended a variety of other preschools, as determined by a lottery.

By the end of kindergarten, among 5-year-olds, “Montessori students proved to be significantly better prepared for elementary school in reading and math skills than the non-Montessori children,” according to the researchers.  “They also tested better on “executive function,” the ability to adapt to changing and more complex problems, an indicator of future school and life success.”

Of course, Montessori methods go against the grain of traditional educational methods.  We are given very little opportunity, for instance, to perform our own, original experiments, and there is also little or no margin for failure or mistakes.  We are judged primarily on getting answers right.  There is much less emphasis on developing our creative thinking abilities, our abilities to let our minds run imaginatively and to discover things on our own.

But most highly creative achievers don’t begin with brilliant ideas, they discover them.

Google, for instance, didn’t begin as a brilliant vision, but as a project to improve library searches, followed by a series of small discoveries that unlocked a revolutionary business model.  Larry Page and Sergei Brin didn’t begin with an ingenious idea.  But they certainly discovered one.

Similarly, Amazon’s culture breathes experimentation and discovery.  Mr. Bezos often compares Amazon’s strategy of developing ideas in new markets to “planting seeds” or “going down blind alleys.”  Amazon’s executives learn and uncover opportunities as they go.  Many efforts turn out to be dead ends, Mr. Bezos has said, “But every once in a while, you go down an alley and it opens up into this huge, broad avenue.”

Perhaps it’s just a coincidence that Montessori alumni lead two of the world’s most innovative companies.  Or perhaps these Montessori graduates of can provide lessons for us all even though it’s too late for most of us to attend Montessori.

We can change the way we’ve been trained to think.  That begins in small, achievable ways, with increased experimentation and inquisitiveness.  Those who work with Mr. Bezos, for example, find his ability to ask “why not?” or “what if?” as much as “why?” to be one of his most advantageous qualities.  Questions are the new answers.

Peter Sims is the author of Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries.

Popcorn Fundraiser Orders are Due on Monday, January 11th

Popcorn Fundraiser Orders are Due on Monday, January 11th

Hello Parker Woods Montessori Families!
Our first ever regular popcorn fundraiser with The Popcorn Factory is about to close and we need your help!  We are in need of volunteers to collect order sheets and money on Monday, January 11th at the school and then to help with distribution of orders at the Winter Movie Night event on Friday, January 29th.
Volunteers will be collecting money and orders from families, and reminding families that if they didn’t get their orders in that they can still purchase popcorn online with a 10% discount using the promotion code: 10PW.
Remember, this promotion code is not only for PWM families but for anyone so please share with everyone you think might be interested.
Volunteer needs are as follows:
Monday, January 11th 
  • Drop off Time (8:30-9:15am)–  We need 2-3 volunteers for the front/main entrance and 1-2 for the preschool entrance.  Some volunteers will be collecting orders, others passing out reminder fliers for families who may have forgotten but can bring back completed order forms at pick-up.
  • Preschool pickup (11:30-12:15pm)–  We need only 1-2 volunteers at the preschool door to collect any late orders from preschool parents/families.
  • Pick Up Time (3:15-4pm)–  We need 2-3 volunteers at the main entrance/main sidewalk collecting orders
Friday, January 29th
  • Winter Movie Night (6pm-8:30pm)–  We need 1-2 volunteers in 1/2-1 hr shifts to distribute orders.
We thank you for your time and help with this great fundraiser and don’t forget, popcorn is available for purchase year round with our promotion code and $0.15 of each dollar spent goes to fund activities and events at PWM.  Keep an eye out for volunteer requests for our upcoming movie night in the next few weeks as well.
Please send an email message to if you are interested in helping make this event a big success.
Have a great day!
The Fundraising Committee PWM PTO
Join the Dialogue about Northside Neighborhood Schools

Join the Dialogue about Northside Neighborhood Schools

For the last year due to increased enrollment, CPS has been discussing expansion of seat capacity and diversity of programs. In January, the CPS Administration will share the beginning of a multi year plan and community input will be requested. In order for Northside to be prepared, it would be good to meet and have a conversation around this question: How can CPS make the neighborhood schools look more like the neighborhoods and the magnet schools look like the District itself? Conversations around this subject will be taking place in several neighborhoods this month including College Hill, Madisonville, Clifton, OTR and others throughout the coming spring.

Please join us to begin the dialogue.

A facilitated focus group will be held in Northside at Chase Elementary School to get your input on what we can do to make Chase more of a neighborhood school and what kinds of programs and initiatives in particular would draw parents to send their children to Chase.

WHEN: Thursday, January 14, 2016 from 6-8 p.m.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Chase parents and family members, residents with pre-school children, any one who has an interest in the future of Northside schools.

Food, drink and babysitting will be provided.

Questions: Contact Sue Wilke, Chair of the Northside Education Committee at