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!”

It's a New School Year!

The 2016-2017 school year is off to a great start!! 

You may have noticed your children are more tired in the afternoon and evening.  This is to be expected as they now spend their days actively meeting new friends, trying out new work, and growing their independence.  It will be an exciting year for them!

It is also an exciting year for Webster Montessori School.  We will begin celebrating our 50th anniversary!  To start, we have updated our school logo to include recognition of this important milestone. We have a number of other exciting events being planned to help us celebrate our 50th anniversary.  You'll hear about these over the next year.

Another exciting project we are working on this year is our playground. We are thrilled to be working with Bears Playgrounds to design a new playground for the children. We will need to spend this year raising money to support this wonderful project. We plan to continue with our usual fundraising events including Dinners Out, Square 1 Art, and Gertrude Hawk Chocolates. 

There may be some additional fundraisers planned so that we can achieve our goal.  If things go according to plan, we expect to have the new playground in place in time for the Year End picnic.  You will see some details of this effort displayed in the school lobby shortly.

All in all, this is such an exciting time in the lives of your children and the school. Thanks for all of your support.

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.