Music Mondays


If you have spent any time at Webster Montessori School on a Monday morning then you know what a special time that is.  Some people return distracted from weekends spent with family enjoying fun times together.  Or, perhaps return extra tired from late nights and busy days trying to fit it all in.  But, just enter the building on Monday and you hear music.  A sampling of traditional children’s tunes, an assortment of recent Disney songs, all of the holiday favorites, and even some iconic classical selections.  Thanks to our very own Mrs. Winbush, we gather each Monday while waiting for school to start and enjoy the beauty of music. 

So much of what Maria Montessori asked of us as parents and teachers is reflected in our Monday music.  She asked that we allow children to experience the world.  She asked that we treat children with respect.  She asked that we be at peace.  She asked that we share in knowledge and art and music.  She asked that we create a space of simple beauty.  What more than a school brimming with music could we ask for each Monday morning?

A few things you need to know about Mrs. Winbush.  First, she’s a seasoned Montessori mother whose own children attended Webster Montessori School.  Her youngest is a talented musician in the high school.  Second, she has led our chorus for over 10 years.  Elementary students of today and yesterday have benefited from her tireless guidance and patient inspiration.  And, she rarely uses printed music.  Song after song, she plays from memory.

So, make some extra time next Monday.  Come a little early.  Sit and enjoy the beauty of what Mrs. Winbush shares.  Say hello and thank her for all she does.  Let the peace and joy help you begin your week a little brighter.  May the memory of the music carry you on through the week.  May Webster Montessori School not only be a special place for your children, but you. 

Thank you Mrs. Winbush for your gifts you share with us week after week; year after year.  We are blessed by your talents and your heart.

Tender Little Offerings

Schools across the country celebrate teacher appreciation the first Tuesday in May.  Webster Montessori School is no different.  Children here are encouraged to bring in a single flower for their teacher; something found in their garden. 

These tender little offerings of each child arrive clutched in those often still chubby hands, wrapped in wet paper towels, and sealed with crumbled up aluminum foil.  Flowers arrive with children who come with parents and also emerge from too hot bus rides tucked in pockets of backpacks wilted from the rigors of travel.  Each child’s offering joins their classmates.  Flowers of every shape, size, and type come together to create beautiful bouquets.  Like the class full of students of every age, gender, background, experience, shape, and size coming together to become our family at school.  Separate items making up a glorious whole.

Some children come with cards too.  Full of bright colors made with crayons and pens and pencils and markers and paint.  Covered with stickers; or drawings of rainbows and hearts; dinosaurs and trucks.  This is the children’s language of love.  “Here, I made this for you.”

These tender little offerings are just that.  Sweet sentiments.  Simple gestures.  Kind thoughts.  They need be no more.  Teachers don’t expect big and fancy.  They do not want extravagance.  Teachers are here because of the children.  They gain satisfaction from guiding growth and learning and marveling at accomplishment.

Thank you for your offerings.  The humble sharing of hearts and flowers and love.

We appreciate you just as you appreciate us.

Celebrating our 50 Year Anniversary

Rachel Cordaro created this special painting to commemorate WMS's 50th Anniversary.

Rachel Cordaro created this special painting to commemorate WMS's 50th Anniversary.

Our Roots Run Deep

Webster Montessori School is celebrating its 50th Anniversary! We have roots in the community and in the lives of families, and they run deep.  We have educated hundreds of children. We have touched the lives of thousands of children, families, parents, grandparents, staff, and community members. We have children enrolled here whose parents attended Webster Montessori School a generation ago.  The roots of our school family are deep and that is something to celebrate!

Our Branches are Strong

Our roots are our legacy.  They support the branches of our tree.  Those branches are strong.  We are bigger than ever.  We have more students, more families, and more staff in our community than we have had in 50 years.  Our branches reach wide as our alumni spread all over this state, nation, and world.  Our branches represent our school.

Our Leaves are Abundant

It is our deep roots and our strong branches that give us the most important part of our tree: its leaves.  This tender new growth appears each year.  It is those new leaves that rely on the rest of the tree.  They are vibrant and tender and seem as a small miracle.  They start so fragile and tiny and unfurl themselves majestic and glorious.  They are like our children; ready to learn and grow and follow their path.  And like the leaves on a tree that require strong branches and deep roots, our children require parents, and schools, and communities to help them grow.  They are the most important part of the tree.

It is all these parts that make the whole. Our roots and our branches are our legacy. They can help us shape and guide the next 50 years. Our leaves are our future. Together we will support the next generations of children. Together we celebrate their growth and development. Together we celebrate their opportunities. Together we look to the next 50 years.

Our Roots Run Deep -- Our Future is Unlimited

To our community, our students and families, and our staff, we say, “Thank you for all your support!”

2017 Montessori Week

MONDAY - Every year, schools all over the world celebrate Montessori Education Week the last week in February.  This is our opportunity to join with over 5,000 other Montessori schools and celebrate an educational approach that has stood the test of time.

This week Webster Montessori School will be sharing videos and articles about Montessori.  A few minutes of your time each day will enhance your appreciation and understanding of this strong foundation you are providing your children.  Actually, just a few minutes of your time each day will remind of you of how exciting it is that your children have the opportunity to experience a Montessori education. Please feel welcome to share with your friends, family, co-workers, etc.  

Let us begin with a short video about who Maria Montessori was:

You can also learn more about her extraordinary life here:

"It is not true that I invented what is called the Montessori Method... I have studied the child; I have taken what the child has given me and expressed it, and that is what is called the Montessori Method."  -- Maria Montessori

TUESDAY - On Tuesday of Montessori Week, we think about what a Montessori education is.  This is a short video that summarizes the educational approach.

"We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being."  -- Maria Montessori

WEDNESDAY - It is a special year for Webster Montessori School.  We are celebrating our 50th anniversary.  The school began in 1967.  Attached is an article written in the year 2000 by Felicia Chiella one of the school's founders about our school history.  

“It is true that we cannot make a genius. We can only give to each child the chance to fulfill his potential possibilities.” -- Maria Montessori

THURSDAY - Today we have another opportunity to learn more about Montessori education.  We often tell parents the educational approach is developmental, but what does that really mean?  The following article provides a nice summary of how children learn differently as they grow and how Montessori changes to meet their needs.

"If education is always to be conceived along the same antiquated lines of a mere transmission of knowledge, there is little to be hoped from it in the bettering of man's future. For what is the use of transmitting knowledge if the individual's total development lags behind?" --  Maria Montessori

FRIDAY - Thanks for following along this week as we have considered all things Montessori.  From the life of Maria Montessori to the story of our school to what Montessori is all about.

I often reflect on the legacy of Montessori education.  Children have experienced Montessori classrooms around the world for over 100 years and here in Webster, NY for 50 years.  There has not been an ever changing "theory" about how to educate children. 

Today's video briefly reviews why Montessori education has a legacy and a future.

I also encourage you to read this brief article which summarizes the topic so well.

And, this longer article for when you have time is excellent.

"If an educational act is to be efficacious, it will be only that one which tends to help toward the complete unfolding of life. To be thus helpful it is necessary rigorously to avoid the arrest of spontaneous movements and the imposition of arbitrary tasks."
-- Maria Montessori

I invite you to continue to celebrate Montessori not only this week but throughout our own 50th celebration.

--JJ Griebel, Head of School

Just a Handshake?

It all started with a handshake; your Webster Montessori School experience.

We greeted you for a tour, welcomed you for a visit, and congratulated you upon your decision to enroll. Your children have started and ended each day with a handshake. In fact, Montessori children around the world shake hands.

But, what is a handshake? Did you know people have been shaking hands for thousands of years? Archaeological ruins and ancient texts show that handshaking was practiced in ancient Greece as far back as the 5th century BC. The handshake is thought by some to have originated as a gesture of peace by demonstrating that the hand holds no weapon.

Did you know you would have to shake nearly 20,000 hands in one day to break a world record?  On August 31, 1987 Stephen Potter from St Albans shook 19,550 hands at the St Albans Carnival to take the World record for shaking most hands verified by the Guinness Book of records. The record has since been exceeded but has been retired from the book. Stephen Potter still holds the British and European record.

And, you’ll need to put in a lot of time to break the world record for longest handshake?  At 8pm on January 14, 2011 the latest attempt at the longest hand-shake commenced in New York Times Square and the existing record was smashed by semi-professional world record-breaker Alastair Galpin and Don Purdon from New Zealand and Nepalese brothers Rohit and Santosh Timilsina who agreed to share the new record after 33 hours and 3 minutes.

My search of the internet shows most cultures across the globe are hand-shakers. Some cultures prefer a firm grip; others a weak one. Some offer a short shake; others continue on and on. Some add in a kiss to the cheek and others include the hug-handshake by using the other hand too. The Boy Scouts shake with their left hands and other groups have developed secret handshakes to help identify one another. The handshake comes in many varieties. It’s global, like our own community here.

Our children understand the grace and courtesy associated with a handshake. They offer their right hand (mostly). They achieve a grip. They make eye contact. Some even smile. And, while this is most often seem as charming and cute coming from a two or three year old, a handshake is an important part of our culture.

Coming from a teenager or 20-something, a handshake is impressive. It should be expected, but these days it’s impressive. As adults, we utilize a handshake to greet those we know and those we are just meeting. It can signal the start of a relationship, the agreement of a deal, and the end of a meeting.

Certainly, around this building we shake a lot of hands. Has your child been here three years?  They have shaken hands nearly 2,000 times. I’d venture to guess many of us adults have not shaken hands that many times in three years. We have some expert hand shakers here.

Seriously, a handshake. It’s our custom and tradition. It started with a greeting. It became our daily welcome. And now, for some, it’s a goodbye.