October Newsletter

Athena's October Newsletter
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"Early childhood education is the key to the betterment of society."
-Maria Montessori

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

View the 2021-2022 School Calendar

Friday, October 1st
4th Tuition Installment Due

Tuesday, October 5th
Parent Workshop with Jeffrey Swan

Tues, October 5th- Thurs, October 7th
School Photo Days

Monday, October 11th
Student Holiday 
Indigenous Peoples' Day

Thursday, October 28th
Nurtured Heart Class with Jeffrey Swan

Thursday, October 28th
Student Holiday - Parent/Teacher Conferences

Friday, October 29th
Student Holiday - Parent/Teacher Conferences

At Athena Montessori Academy, we honor October 11th as a day about and for Indigenous Peoples. Ongoing, we speak of and teach about  Indigenous cultures in the present. We normalize their contemporary existence. 

In early childhood education some of the problems we  encounter in available curriculum with regard to Native Peoples are erasure/omission, stereotyping, misrepresentation, and cultural insensitivity. Indigenous cultures are often completely omitted from 'multi-cultural' classroom education. When they are included, they are often pictured in ceremonial dress or living in tipis. Another negative way Native culture is maligned and misrepresented is through monoculturalism. Native peoples are lumped together into a monolith that never existed, instead of as the hundreds of distinct societies that actually exist. 

We adults at Athena Montessori Academy know that we operate on stolen land. Although it is not within our power to restore this land back to its rightful stewards, it is within our power to redistribute resources to Indigenous communities. We do this work through a partnership with Keres Children's Learning Center in Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico. It is within our power to make sure all the books in our school regarding Native peoples are authored by Native authors. We do this work through close scrutiny of our materials and education of our faculty. It is within our power to use our resources to purchase books such as the one pictured above. 
This Indigenous Peoples Day, our owner and founder Lisl Friday is gifting a copy of this book, Lessons From Turtle Island, to each of our nine classrooms. We know that equity work is a lifelong process and that the unlearning of the false narratives we were taught as children will be our ongoing work. 

It is our promise not to repeat the mistakes our forebears made. 

Meet our Primary 1 Teaching Team!
Tess, Rocio, and Eden
What is your favorite aspect of the 3-6 plane of development?
Tess -- One of my favorite parts about working with children during the developmental ages of 3 to 6 is witnessing the sudden smile on the child's face when they have an "a-ha!" moment or do something on their own for the first time. Maria Montessori said it best, "Help me to do it by myself."
Name something that people generally think very young children cannot do, but you have seen them do.
Rocio -- Woodworking. A lot of people immediately think it is too dangerous for children but if you show them step by step and show them how important safety is, they can do wonders!
Eden -- A sweet moment I've experienced this year was watching one of my more sensitive and homesick students go from being sad for most of the day to having now blossomed and having the biggest smile that will melt my heart throughout the day. She loves talking about her family and how much she loves them and makes art for them almost every single day and her love couldn't be more contagious!

To learn more about the P1 team, follow this link to the full conversation:
Athena Photo Days

Photo days are coming up the first week of October! While it doesn't feel safe to gather everyone for an all-school photo, we are excited to be able to take whole class pictures again this year! Check your email and class newsletter for more information.
Tips and Tools: Navigating Transitions 

Image Courtesy of Hichster, Flickr

Timing is everything for young children. With so much happening developmentally, let alone all the things that are happening in real time for them, it becomes very easy to get flooded with the onset of a transition, be it going to bed, leaving the house, or getting to the dinner table. Here are some tips to help you navigate supporting your child.
  • Prepare yourself and your child for what’s happening next before you begin transition.
  • Slow down.
  • Give them a five (or two) minute warning and set a timer. When the timer is up, gently, let them know it’s time to move onto the next thing. 
  • Offer choices that will take you to the goal like, “Do you want to walk by yourself or do you want to hold my hand?”
  • Acknowledge and accept your child’s feelings.
  • Communicate your routine and follow through.
Something important to remember is to pay attention and note any positive behavior too, for when things run smoothly. This sets the tone of your expectations for your child and allows them to feel confident in their role in your family and on your team. 
Student Birthdays
Riya S. 10/1
Graham G. 10/2
Charlotte O. 10/3
Wren F. 10/4
Cooper S. 10/10
Ettalyn B. 10/10
Logan K. 10/11
Adira B. 10/11
Adler S. 10/12
Cassidy P. 10/15
Camellia A. 10/17
Sawyer B. 10/18
Julia S. 10/20
Adrian M. 10/25
Wyatt K. 10/25
Staff Birthdays
Lisa M. 10/2
Lisl F. 10/12

Raising Culturally Competent Kids
Did you miss the workshop with Mindy Gulati last month? Don't worry!
Follow this link to view the recording:

Montessori Toddler
"A peek into the carefully curated world of the young child's classroom" by Heather Sundquist, AMS TOTs Program Lead
The Toddler Environment is curated with the intention of supporting the development of the child’s self identity as well as sowing seeds for a curious learner. 
The Montessori guides are trained in understanding the divine sense of order that toddlers possess and provide as many opportunities as possible for them to dive into the free exploration they crave to allow their curious minds to percolate. 

The materials found in the classroom (their work and play) and the leadership of the guides afford a rich stimulating experience that supports the child’s innate needs and fuels what Dr. Montessori described as the absorbent mind. Since this is often so many of the students' first time away from home, we begin the year by grounding the class community in comfort and familiarity. You will find smaller versions of things you’d see in a home, like furniture, dish washing bins, dust pans, squeegee and spray bottles in our Practical Life area. These “works” allow the children the opportunity to try out things they see being used at home.

This process sets the tone for what it is really like to be in a community, only in the case of the Montessori classroom, the size of the materials removes many of the obstacles that can frustrate or create distance between the child and the act. These materials lead to opportunities feed the child’s brain, introducing a deeper understanding of cause and effect. As the children develop, it supports their understanding of the importance of caring for others and and their physical environment. The guides focus on supporting each child where they are developmentally and use the first six weeks of their time together, to really learn what their verbal and nonverbal cues are, understand what makes them tick, and what drives their needs and interests. 
Every small experience in the Montessori room affords the child the opportunity to explore. Whether it is learning to take turns, learning to wait, or how to ask for help, these foundational building blocks are what the children build on and use to guide them as they begin to develop bonds with peers and the new adults in their lives.

As the children internalize both expressive and receptive language skills, and as their concentration deepens on tasks, we find the children more curious about understanding trial and error and even more playful games that involve their budding imagination. This engagement takes the form of mimicking things they may see. As they get closer to the age of three, their relationship with playing with others invites more experimentation with creative games and made up games. 

These new skills may feel very minute in the grand scheme of our complex relationships and creative brains, but for a curious toddler, these small steps take some time to internalize and foster the development of the individual. Providing as rich an environment as possible, including lots of vocabulary, expressive opportunities like art, music, and dance, all help build foundational skills that will allow the children to develop a positive relationship with  themselves, their friends, and their imagination. 

Now that we have reached the six-week mark at school, invite your toddler to show you what they know by providing them with the right tools! Enjoy cleaning your home together!  
Here are some resources to integrate some Practical Life activities in your home: 

The Montessori Notebook  Montessori Services For Small Hands
Mr. Sean's Music 

Hello musical families! We've had an inspiring beginning of the school year, with our friends showing us how they like to express themselves musically everyday! Songs, rhymes, and chants are part of every classroom, finding welcoming ears and the correlated responses of dance and movement. 

Of course, the more we share our intrinsic musical tendencies, the more our children respond in kind, showing us how much creativity is truly blossoming inside them. One of my favorite musical activities to share with children is improvisation. We all know that children's imaginations are boundless. Improvising with them gives them a chance to express this, and also encourages participation and flexibility in their expectations. 

A simple place to start is with a song or melody that is known to most people I'm playing music with, and change the words to fit what is happening in the moment. For example, I may change "Twinkle Twinkle" into a song about sprinkling sand, or make "A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea" into a song about submersibles and deep sea creatures! "Wheels on the Bus" is a great song for this, where you can ask what animals might be on the bus, and what sounds they make. 

You can invite your little one to give you ideas about what may happen next in a song, and where it might take place. "Old Joe Clark" is a fun, traditional song, about a character and nonsensical situations, which works well for improvising new verses that children can provide the ideas for. By the end of the verse, it doesn't matter if you rhymed, made sense, or came up with the perfect lyrics, as long as you had fun along the way!

Sean Kohler





Current Athena Families:

Thank you for a fantastic first few weeks of school! We are so grateful to have you in our community.


Waiting Pool Families:

January Enrollment: We will be reaching out to individual families as we learn of January openings. As a reminder, siblings of current students are given priority for enrollment, followed by the general waiting pool.

2022-2023 Enrollment: Enrollment for the 2022-2023 school year will begin with re-enrollment of current students in December 2021. We will move on to enrolling siblings of current and alumni students in January 2022, followed by general waiting pool enrollment in February and March 2022.


Our continued goal in the admissions process is to be as transparent as possible, and we strive to give you the most accurate information we can during each step of the deliberate process of enrollment. We respect that decisions related to your child's education are important and timely ones, and we will continue to send you general enrollment updates via this monthly newsletter. Thank you for your continued interest, and we encourage you to reach out with specific questions related to your child's enrollment at any time.

Please direct admissions & enrollment questions to Joy Jacobson.
You can email her directly 


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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