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.

The Light of Our Community

One of the many wonderful things about Webster Montessori School is our community.  Families come to us looking for care and education for their children.  They make a decision to enroll based on what they expect to experience in the classroom, the hours we are open, and how far the drive is from home.  But year after year something really special also happens that transcends the children’s day to day learning.  Webster Montessori School becomes connected to your family.  It becomes a community to which your family belongs.

This starts with the first birthday party invitation or playdate.  Children get to know one another and naturally want to do more together.  As parents, you arrive at the party and meet one another.  Soon you find not only your children connect, but you connect with other Montessori adults.  One party becomes a playdate, a family get-together, even a parent’s night out.  One conversation in the school hallway becomes a book club still meeting 15 years later.  One moment in our school community becomes a support system you never expected to need.

Recently our school supported one family as they battled a four year struggle with cancer.  Our community provided hundreds of dinners, countless best wishes, and hours and hours of time spent in love and fellowship.  Deep friendships formed and the echoes of “what can we do” reverberated in our school hallways.

As the struggle has ended and our beloved family has suffered unbelievable loss, we have gathered.  Our community is ready with support and hugs and love.  The years have been marked by a zest for life and an inspiring positive attitude.  These days are marked by sadness and grief. Our community is still here, ready for whatever is required.  More dinners, more hugs, more understanding.  And your family is still here; ever grateful, focusing back on the Webster Montessori School community, making it available for more children through a memorial scholarship.  We are humbled by your grace and generosity.

We are all ever appreciative of a school that is so much more than a classroom.  This is our
Community.  May you all find your place here.

Saying Goodbye... Until We Meet Again

They say that life is a journey and of that I have no doubt.  My Google search revealed the definition of Journey: the act of traveling from one place to another.  If life is a journey, it is so much more than that.  It’s not just the place to place but all the adventure in between.

Each day brings a new step along our path.  Each moment brings something new and unexpected.  Planners like me are reminded that this journey can’t be scheduled in advance.  The road is not a straight one and many times you can’t see around the bend.  But the journey is certainly an adventure.

Everyone is our school community has a journey that has included time at Webster Montessori School.  For that we are all grateful.  For those of us that work here, our own journey lead us here.  For some staff that is a recent connection and for some of us we have been walking with WMS for many years.  Some staff have had a Montessori journey that led them to other countries.  And some staff have a Montessori journey that spans the generations.

As I think about each of the children participating in Moving Up this year, that is also true.  Some of you have only just found us.  We have spent just months together in this wonderful place.  It’s been a delight getting to know you and your family and we are blessed for each day.

For some of you today is a culmination of many years here.  Perhaps you arrived a couple of years ago, excited to discover this opportunity.  Perhaps you have been here a few years, each of them finishing faster than the last.   Or, perhaps, your family has been here for many years, so long in fact, you can’t remember the days without WMS.

Some of you have ventured along your WMS journey with one child.  Others have been through this path with two or even three or four children.  There are some who have been here with many children all at once and some who left and came back again.

And what comes next on this journey we have been doing together?  For some of you it’s another school.  And for many of you it’s simply another classroom here.  One thing I am certain is that whatever comes next, our journey together is not really over. 

As you venture out into the community, you will come across many families and staff that are familiar faces.  It may be during a quick run into Wegmans for milk or a seat at a high school orchestra concert.  I assure you, paths will cross, handshakes will be exchanged, and our journey together will continue just a little longer. 

As we sing at the end of every Moving Up Ceremony… Shalom, Until We Meet Again.

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