February Newsletter

Athena's February Newsletter
Athena Logo
When day comes we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid,
the new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we're brave enough to see it.
If only we're brave enough to be it."
-Amanda Gorman

Sync your calendars with our Google Calendar for Parents and stay tuned to important school events!

View the 2020-2021 School Calendar

February 1st

8th Tuition Installment Due

February 1st

First Day of Black History Month

February 4th
100th Day of School

February 12th
Beyond the Birds and the Bees
Parent Workshop

February 14th
Valentine's Day

February 15th

President's Day (School In Session)

February 17th

Community Call With Sera Bonds
You can learn more about Katie Malinski on her website here.
You can RSVP for the workshop here.

Books are a powerful tool for sharing timeless messages with our children. Please click on the links below to see some of our favorite Black History Month Booklists:

Student Birthdays
1/30 Frances S.- P5
2/2 Hadley P.- P4
2/5 Oliver A.- P3
2/6 Ayla C.- P4
2/20 Nelson J.- P2
2/27 Cannon C.- T1
2/27 Henry F.- T3
2/27 John F.- T3
2/28 Merit B.-T2
2/28 Leo K.- P2
Staff Birthdays
2/2 Arely- T1

Reflections From the Garden Fairy
by Janey Lake

Funny how these things work! The beauty of our philosophy of following the child today came into clear focus. As we walked by on our way to the garden a toddler was standing at the fence with Ms. Morgan, clearly missing her family as the tears flowed. The children spoke kindly and reassuringly as they moved by, smiling as they heard "The Wheels on the Bus". The next day on our return from the garden I called out for the children to slow down and startled the same child standing at the fence. Just as it looked as though the tears might once again flow the children began singing "The Wheels on the Bus", making up silly verses as the song progressed. Slowly the tears stopped and a smile began to appear on her face. Empathy has many guises. Those spontaneously created are somehow all the sweeter! It is a pleasure to work with your children......everyday.
New Website Launch
We are excited to announce the launch of our newly re-designed website. We have untaken a complete overhaul of the website and it is live! There are still many places we would like to edit copy and make gradual updates, so we would love to hear your feedback on the content, user friendliness, links and resources, and overall design of the new site. Please email IT@AthenaMontessoriAcademy.com with any constructive criticism you may have. We are all ears!

BIPOC & Women Owned Montessori Materials
  • Handcrafted Montessori materials that represent and affirm Black culture. Wooden toys and puzzles, Montessori inspired printables, black history activity packs and more. https://afrocentricmontessori.com/
  • Inviting children to discover nature through handmade, eco-friendly educational toys. 1 toy purchased = 1 tree planted. Based here in Austin!
  • https://www.austinnatureworks.com/
  • Family owned and operated toy company with a line of sustainable, engaging toys meant to inspire imagination and exploration through the Montessori outlook. https://www.merakimontessori.com/
  • Cooking tools designed for little hands. Their mission is to inspire, cultivate and nurture your little chef's curiosity in the kitchen. Everything they carry has been carefully curated not only from a chef's perspective, but also a parent's. https://littlechefandme.com
  • Line of leaning materials and toys that enable natural innate behavior of concentration and repetition. They use only natural and sustainable materials from their product to their packaging. Together with a non profit organization they employ individuals with disabilities to help finish and assemble their products. https://naturalplaybox.com/
  • Wooden toys all handcrafted here in the USA that are designed to encourage the child's creativity and curiosity. They bring complex concepts into a hands-on toy that will engage your learner on many levels.
  • https://www.mirustoys.com/pages/about
"Dear Mandy"

Do you have burning child development questions that you would love an answer to? Are you wondering how to get your child listen to you the way you see them listen to their teacher? Curious about how to get your child to eat their dinner without throwing their peas on the floor everyday? Just ask Mandy! Send your question to Admin@AthenaMontessoriAcademy.com and we will try to answer it in a future newsletter.
Want to
Leave Your Mark at Athena?

Get your personalized brick installed on the path by our breezeway.
A form will be sent home with your child in February. You can choose to include your name, commemorate your graduate, or celebrate a teacher. You can even include a custom signature!
Please return your form by March 12th to a member of the admin team at dropoff.

Mr. Drew and Ms. Janey and loveable June, the dog performed the song, The Green Grass Grew All Around this past weekend at Athena.

Thoughts from Leadership
As January has come to a close, we reflect on the highs and lows of the first month of the 2021 year. The past year has been filled with trepidation and opportunities that have led us to lean on each other. No matter what your political affiliation may be, the inauguration was filled with hope and celebration. As educators we revel in finding role models for our children. The children at Athena are often too young to fully grasp the peacemakers that walk amongst us and to truly understand the adversities they face, although, we do know that they are soaking up so much that is around them. They are fully aware of differences and are capable of understanding the undercurrent that not everyone is treated equally. This is why we must expose them to so many windows and mirrors--show them images of leaders that look like them and leaders that do not look like them.

We believe it is essential that our students and children everywhere see and celebrate Kamala Harris as our first woman of color Vice President. It is imperative that they see a woman of color standing confidently in leadership and we express our gratitude for her hard work to be where she is now.

Amanda Gorman is another peacemaker/leader that we want our children to know about. She wrote and presented the
Inauguration Poem. Again, the deeper layers of her message will be lost on our children, but it is vital that they see a young black woman stand up and claim her voice and hear her confidently share her wisdom. These are the lessons and conversations that we can have with our young children. Let them ask questions about how her melanin may be the same or different than theirs. Let them make observations about how her hair may look the same or different than their hair. Do not walk away from the conversation until they see her spirit that shines so brightly. Noticing differences is okay. If we hush our children from talking about differences then we shut down the opportunity to have conversations about race.  
As a school, our staff is reading and studying the book, What if All the Kids are White? by Louise Derman-Sparks and Patricia G. Ramsey. I would like to quote a section we just studied at our last staff meeting:

“Many of the issues come from the way White individuals have been unknowingly socialized about race-----taught not to notice, ask openly, or discuss issues around racial diversity. Many people don’t see any reason to talk about diversity with their children (e.g., “Why raise issues when they aren’t any?” “Don’t make waves.”). Many White adults vigorously maintain that young children do not notice racial or other kinds of differences and that talking with children about differences leads to prejudice. Many years of research about how young children absorb and enact race and racism make clear that the “color-blind” position is not accurate. It also serves to silence White children and adults and invalidate the ongoing racism experienced by People of Color. Some White families and teachers may believe that Anti Bias education leaves out White people because it only addresses contributions and life experiences of People of Color. …. However, Anti Bias education does not disrespect the dominant culture. Rather, it asks that, instead of taking center stage, it share the stage with other groups of people who also helped create the United States and continue to contribute to its well-being. - Derman-Sparks & Ramsey
We are a learning organization that prides itself on pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. For our families of color, we want you to know that we see you and value you. Our door is always open and we want to know if you feel that our school could see and/or support you better. As I close, I will leave you with just a few of Amanda Gorman’s words: “If we merge mercy with might and might with right then love becomes our legacy and will change our children’s birth right.”
In February at Athena we educate our learners on the powerful contributions of various black leaders throughout history. We share children's’ books and stories, lead discussions about these peoples’ lives during our circle time gatherings, and make items available throughout the school day for the children to explore independently. Each year the guides choose at least two individuals to focus on and introduce to the class.
While it is imperative that we continue to educate on historic figures throughout Black History Month (and the rest of the year as well), as a school, we also feel that it is equally imperative to feature and highlight current and lesser known contemporary Black leaders. This approach provides an opportunity for the children to learn about relatable people and ultimately, this instills an understanding that black history is an integral part not only of our history but also our future.
As a school, we want to take a moment to highlight the contributions of several contemporary black figures who are trailblazing in the United States judicial system:
Jasmine Twitty, age 25, is the youngest appointed judge in a municipal court in South Carolina. You can read an interview with her in Forbes from last year: Rebekah Bastian interviews Jasmine Twitty.
At 26, Janif Johnson is the youngest Magisterial District Judge in Pennsylvania. His term began in January of 2018. In 2017, he defeated Republican candidate Claude Phillips to capture 953 out of 1,300 votes or 73% of the total. You can learn more about him here: blackpast.org
Stay tuned to your classroom's Transparent Classroom page to learn more about who your class will be learning about this year.
Lastly, do you have individuals you think we should highlight? Send them our way!
Join us in celebrating
100 days of school on
Thursday, February 4th!
All classes will have a pajama day and many festive 100 themed activities.
We will also launch our school wide food drive that will run through the end of February.
Please bring your non-perishable food donations to dropoff and have your child place the items in the designated bin.

Tips and Tricks for Parents
Help! My child is resisting sleep/bedtime. Sleep begets sleep and is very important for children. Creating a consistent bedtime routine can help with the transition. Talk to your child about the plan during a stress free time such as play time, car ride home etc...
Be positive by playing up the activity! Limit transitions and conflict by picking out pajamas, books and lovies ahead of time. Choose activities and books and music that are calming leading up to bed time.
Limit liquids. Limiting liquids prevents the "I have to go potty" routine from starting. Allow your child to go potty one last time just before they climb into bed.
Stick to the routine. If you say that you will read two books, then read two books. This is for you and the child. Creating an agreement and sticking with it helps to create trust in the not only you but the process. Seeing your confidence around it will help your child know that the routine is an important part of their day.
If you are trying to help your child stay in their bed, creating a smaller cozy space can feel very safe and comforting. Consider hanging curtain rods on the ceiling around the bed with pretty curtains to make a "fort" that they never want to leave!
Last but not least; be consistent! Change can be hard at first as children are used to the way bed time has been. Commit to your plan and prepare yourself for resistance the first few days. After a couple weeks of consistency, bedtime will become a lot easier on everyone!

Cooking With Kids

Sandpipers Favorite English Muffin Pizzas
Pizza Sauce/Tomato Sauce
Shredded cheese
English muffins
Baking tray
2-3 Small bowls
Together, wash hands with soap and water.
Prepare all the materials ahead of time.
Cut the english muffins in half and place on baking tray.
Put the sauce and cheese in a couple small bowls. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Model how to place sauce on the english muffin using the spoon to spread some sauce on the top of an english muffin. At school, when we introduce a new lesson, we say, “I’ll show you how first, then it will be your turn.”
Invite your child to have a turn spreading sauce onto the remainder of the english muffins. Model how to sprinkle your shredded cheese on top of the sauce and let your child follow up with filling the rest with cheese.
Place english muffin on a baking tray in the oven until the cheese is melted. Let english muffin pizza cool down before serving.
Tips: While your child is waiting for their food to finish cooking, put them in charge of setting their place at the table! Place dishes, cups and napkins in the kitchen at their level, so they can carry the items to the table. You may need to remind them to bring items over one at a time.
For an added step, invite your child to use tongs when placing the cheese on top of the pizzas to add another pincer grip challenge. Use this as an opportunity to introduce new foods and add toppings like pepperoni, peppers, olives or pineapple and “create a Toddler Test Kitchen”. Sync this activity up with a friend via zoom and let your Tot have a Pizza party with a friend over the computer.

Do you know a creative young artist that enjoys tiny art, mail, and learning some things along the way?
Then treat that talented friend to a subscription to the First Annual POCKET PRINT OF THE MONTH CLUB FOR KIDDOS Series for 2021 created by Athena's own, Ms. Heather. Each month for an entire year, your young artist will receive a surprise LIMITED edition 5 inch pocket print, created exclusively for the club. With this purchase, they will also receive one natural wood gallery frame to showcase your ever growing pocket print collection and an activity sheet from the artist.
Sign up by visiting: Golden Hour Prints



Current & Newly Enrolled Athena families
Re-enrollment & sibling enrollment for next school year is almost complete. If you have questions or updates related to your child's enrollment for the upcoming school year, please contact Mandy@AthenaMontessoriAcademy.com.
Waiting Pool families
We have begun enrollment for children in our waiting pool for the 2021-2022 school year and will be prioritizing applications received prior to January 2021. Waiting pool applicants are considered according to space availability; our need to balance age, gender, equity and temperament in the classrooms; and date of application.
If you were already enrolled prior to the start of the pandemic and delayed enrollment, please expect more information coming from the admissions@athenamontessoriacademy.com email this month.
If you have a child who will be eligible for the Primary program (2.5 - 5 years old), we ask that you review our handouts Milestones for Primary Readiness and Tips for Toileting, also available on our website. As always, we encourage you to reach out with any questions related to your child's readiness.
A note to ALL families in our Waiting Pool
We highly recommend that you have a back-up plan in place in case you are not admitted into our program at this time. If your child is not offered a spot for this fall, they will remain in our waiting pool and will automatically be considered for any future openings for which they are eligible, including any unexpected mid-year openings, which are not uncommon. If you are offered a spot and choose to decline, you will remain in our waiting pool for future consideration unless you request otherwise.
Meanwhile, we request that you keep us updated with your current contact information, and stay tuned to our monthly newsletters for additional updates. Thank you for your continued interest, and please don't hesitate to contact us at Admissions@AthenaMontessoriAcademy.com at any time during this process.
If you are no longer interested in being considered for enrollment, we request that you assist us in streamlining our enrollment process by kindly letting us know that you would like to be removed from the waiting pool. Thank you!

Need labels? Oliver's Labels has labels for backpacks, shoes, clothes, lunch boxes, and water bottles!  Click on the image above to purchase customized labels and Athena will receive 20% of your purchase!

For Small Hands carries a wide variety of items for children, all child-sized, fun and developmentally-appropriate!  Use our code below, and Athena will get a percentage of the sale to apply towards materials for school.
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