Welcome Back! News, Notes, Supplies

 “Little children, from the moment they are weaned, are making their way toward independence.”
“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”     ~ Dr. Maria Montessori

August 2012

Dear Montessori Parents,

What a welcoming note are Dr. Montessori’s words! You are part of the Montessori Borealis community where we are all here to support our children as best we can while remembering that from the moment they are no longer physically dependent on an adult for sustaining their own lives, they are free of us. Our children are on the mysterious road to a future we cannot know but for which we can prepare them as best we are able. That is the mission of a Montessori school. We work for your child, with your child, and with you to provide your child opportunities to develop themselves to reach their individual potentials – whatever those are – in their own time.

That is the key and the secret that is so easily forgotten in these days where society seems bent and driven by numbers to measure a child’s worth. Instead, if we raise a gaze a little higher and deeper then we may get to glimpse into our children’s futures where their value derives from the contributions they make, the work they do and the relationships they have.

In a Montessori school children have the opportunity to:

• uncover their passions,

• develop skill and compentencies,

• grow and use their work ethics, and

• reveal their strong social relationships and sense of responsibility to others.

When children have these opportunities nothing short of a better humanity grows in the world, bit by bit and child by child. Our aims are not insignificant nor easy to achieve. It takes every adult in a child’s life to help “prepare (them) for life” as Dr. Montessori said nearly a century ago.

Some of your fellow Montessori parents have found this to be true in their own personal ways.

I am glad there are fantastic non-Montessori schools out there and we went to one for a while. It was not ideal for what I wanted for my children, we wanted something very different for our children. I wanted a place that builds up concentration (not just tries to entertain or tests the kids most of the day), that focuses on working peacefully in a real society (learning how to talk through problems instead of being completely ruled over by a teacher when disputes come up), and develops an intrinsic love of learning (as opposed to grades, offering rewards, etc.). What sold us though, more than academics, was lunch! The children are taught to be together in a civilized society. Who does that these days? Well, we found it in Montessori. ND

Another parent told us:

The…Montessori program has great value. I appreciate the tremendous respect for the child and the way independence is encouraged and a love of learning is nurtured. Even today, when she is a teenager, I see the benefits of the Montessori philosophy and approach to child-led learning. LC

And yet one more…

At first it was… all about academic gain – but it wasn’t in the end. My son became much more focused, calm, aware of his surroundings, paid more attention to detail. I value those aspects of Montessori more than the academics although I certainly appreciate that too. MW

Whatever your experience with Montessori – a veteran or a newcomer – welcome! You will find here a group of professionals and parents who are working side by side in the sometimes messy work of raising up children. Join us. There is no better work in the world than spending time with children all day long, witnessing their discoveries, and supporting their individual paths toward passion and independence. This kind of work is the most rewarding and most needed for the future of our planet. Let’s dig and get to work!

All the best for a great year together.


Chris Trostel                                                                                                                     Montessori Borealis

Beginning of the Year Information

• Online resources

Look to our blog and the Juneau School District website for supply lists and other useful details.

Subscribe to this blog for updates and information. No fuss! No muss! When you enter your email on the top left of the page, blog entries will be automatically sent to your email address.


The Juneau School District website (bus routes, start times, etc.)


Montessori Borealis information is found under “options programs” links.

• School begins on August 20rd at 8:30 sharp and ends at 3 pm. This is different than other elementary schools but the same as middle schools.

• Class lists will be posted by August 17 on the blog and the front doors of Marie Drake.

• Registration: If your child is new to Montessori Borealis OR the Juneau School District s/he MUST register for school prior to the first day to be allowed to attend. All elementary (1st-6th grade) Montessori students register at Harborview school. All adolescent students (7th & 8th grade) register at DZ. Register beginning August 9.

• Bus Riders & Before/Afterschool Care

All children may attend the Harborview before/afterschool RALLY program.

If your child does not ride a school bus to/from school please make sure you have made arrangements for pick up in front of the school at 3 pm. There is no afterschool care provided for non-school bus riders in Marie Drake, but all children may attend RALLY at Harborview. Your non-bus riding children may not wait in the gym for pick-up.

Please research and send your child’s BUS NUMBERS and YOUR CONTACT PHONE with them the first day of school – in their lunch boxes. Please write it down for their teachers.

If your child lives on a bus route, s/he will 1. take his/her neighborhood bus to their local elementary school and then 2. shuttle bus to Marie Drake in the mornings (see the blog or district website). In the afternoons, all Montessori Borealis students 3. ride the high school buses home. High school buses leave about an hour after the end of our day and school bus riders only will be allowed in the building and supervised in the gym.

If your child does not ride a school bus to/from school they will not be allowed to wait for pick up, upstairs or in the gym. Children will wait outdoors in front of the school for pick up, please be timely.

 • Parent Orientation Meeting 1st week of school 5:30 pm               (date will be announced)

This is an important parent-only event. We strong urge and encourage at least one parent from every family to join us for vital information to reinforcing your child’s experience in Montessori.  You are essential in guiding and supporting your child’s work and this meeting is the place to begin or further your understanding of what we do. Our unusual homework, the adolescent “odyssey”, other trips, our occasionally peculiar routines and procedures, and more will be discussed and you will have the opportunity to ask questions.  Please let your child’s teacher know if you are unable to attend.

• Wisdom Day, August 20, 8:30 a.m.

Finally, our first day of school always opens with a short and unique ritual called “Wisdom Day”. All families and friends are welcomed and encouraged to join us. All children and their guests meet on the turf field in front of Marie Drake at 8:30 for this 15-20 minute welcome. It is traditional for children to bring flowers. Flowers from home gardens, fireweed, dandelions, wildflowers, anything will do!

We hope you will join us for this beautiful and symbolic opening to another special year in your child’s life. 



• Please do not hesitate to contact a teacher if you have a financial need. We will make sure your child has what s/he needs.

• Recycle! Use supplies left over from last year when possible. You need not buy these things new if you have them from previous school years.

• Please bring these items the first day of school. Remember that “more” rarely means “better” for your child –

Enough is as good as a feast.

A couple of notes here from a Montessori point of view:

1. There is always temptation for the latest-greatest-newest thing. There is a created desire for getting

supplies slapped with the faces and icons of media-driven “heroes” – the hottest young teen throb, the superhero movie guy, etc. Imagine for a moment, a world for your child where we help them identify heroes/heroines who are “real” – the cop down the street who saved the drowning boater, the neighbor who gives up some of her paycheck and time each month to feed the hungry at the Glory Hole. We want our children to emulate the real heroes and remove obstacles to healthy development from their developmental paths. This is the work we do.

A plain folder or composition book is a canvas awaiting the palette of the child’s imagination. It is an opportunity for growth not distraction. There is no doubt, that these kind of items are distractions.

2. We strongly request that you please purchase ONLY the items on this list and avoid the temptation of fancy and/or extra items (such as fragrant markers or markers at all, glittery glue, and special pencils) that often distract from the educational experience and your child’s independence. Together we can avoid an environment where some children perhaps feel deprived if they do not have the “latest” school supply – and we can avoid situations where attention is often on the thing rather than the work.

3. The elementary pools many supplies in the community as well – so make sure your child is not attached to any particular pencils or other items because they will be shared.

4. Finally, we value the items that are gently used and can be recycled from last year. No need for the fancy, shiny, or new if you have some recyclable items from last year.

We thank you in advance for your cooperation on these important matters. 

Lower Elementary (1st/2nd/3rd grades)

• 4 PLAIN NON-SHINY folders with a pocket across the bottom of each side. 

• 2 boxes of 12 colored pencils: We need multiples of particular colors for grammar work.

• 1 box of Kleenex

• 1 pair of Fiskars-type sharp point scissors

• 2 dozen number 2 pencils Ticonderoga are the best!

• 2 pink bar erasers

• 3 glue sticks

• 1 small bottle Elmer’s Glue

• Indoor and Outdoor shoes: 

Outdoor shoes are worn to and from school & at recess Indoor shoes STAY AT SCHOOL and are worn in the classroom & double as gym shoes.



• 3 PLAIN NON-SHINY folders with a pocket across the bottom of each side. 

• 2 boxes of 12 colored pencils: We need multiples of particular colors for grammar work.

• 1 box of Kleenex

• 1 pair of Fiskars-type sharp point scissors

• 3 Mead-type bound “Composition” books:

Wide-ruled. Please get the plain kind with the card stock cover (not plastic) – nothing fancy. Costco is carrying 10 for just under $8 or $9 – Go in with another family or 2 and save!

 • 1 glue stick

• 1 mini bottle of Elmer’s glue

• 1 package of pencil eraser caps

• 1 geometry protractor

• A 12” ruler with inch & cm marks

 • 1 geometry compass OR a “Safe-T Compass” It is worth the expense to buy a very good metal compass or inexpensive SAFE-T compass. The knobs invariably break off the cheap standard compasses and they become useless when the pencil slides – this is very frustrating for your child and not usable.

 • 1 SMALL CLOTH or SMALL PLASTIC supply POUCH – supply boxes won’t fit in our storage area. Colored pencils, scissors, glue stick, pencil sharpener, protractor, compass should all fit in the pouch.

 • Indoor and Outdoor shoes –  Outdoor shoes are worn to and from school & at recess Indoor shoes STAY AT SCHOOL and are worn in the classroom & double as gym shoes.

In addition, upper el. students please bring these items:


• A 1 1/2 inch binder (no bigger, no zipper)

• 5 notebook binder dividers The notebook will be used for homework, declamation, and ancestor project work (e.g. essay lessons, drafts, evaluations, and final copies). It will travel back and forth between school and home.            Not needed the first day of school.


• 4 packages of 1 inch wide HARD PLASTIC Post-it or Avery type “TABS” These are not the flimsy flags but wide, stiff, and sturdy –  used for dividing sections and can be written on. 


• Please bring a package of “gel” pens.


AMP/Adolescent Students  (7th and 8th graders)

• Red Pens x3

Pencils Several Costco-sized packs

• Pens You may decide how many you will need

Scissors that cut well

• Erasers

Metric ruler

• Highlighters (4 colors)

Colored markers (Sharpies are great) OR Colored Pencils

• 2 Packs of index cards

One small bottle of hand sanitizer

• 6 Glue Sticks

Personal 3 hole punch Small one that fits in a binder

• 25 binder dividers

One hard cover composition / journal for journal writing

• Package of loose leaf lined paper

2 packs of graph paper or graph notebooks

• Pencil box that can store supplies

• Indoor & Outdoor Shoes

• 2 boxes of tissues

1 flash drive / jump drive / thumb drive

• Package of 1 inch white binders minimum of 4 – can be found at Costco

Large durable binder with a zipper around it reuse last year’s unless new to program


Another ending…

Summertime, and the living is easy…

We have a few short days left together before the year wraps up and we scatter across the summer season. Here’s an update of our final upcoming events. Make sure to check with your child’s teacher with questions.

• Thursday May  24      BEACH DAY!

Parents are welcomed and encouraged to join us for this wonderful day at Point Louisa. This is the point at the very end of Auke Rec. Join us for a great day looking for whales, sea stars, double uglies, and hanging with great friends in a great land. We’ll leave school by bus at about 8:45 am and return by the end of day. Please join us.

• Friday May 25              Fun Run

We’ll be joining our friends from Harborview on Friday. This is a staggered start and we don’t have exact start time yet but generally younger  children begin earlier than older children. Saunter or sprint with us along Glacier Avenue.

• Monday May 28         Memorial Day – No School

• Tuesday May 29         Passage Ceremony

This is our wonderful sending off of children as they move from childhood to adolescence (6th graders!), while the 3rd graders will take a”Walk About” on their way to upper el. and the 8th graders will commence – a leaving of Montessori and a beginning of their older teenage years. Everyone is welcomed and invited to attend. Festivities begin at 1 pm in the Marie Drake gym for this sweet occasion.

• Wednesday May 30  Last Day of School for Montessori Borealis

Our elementary and adolescent students end school on Wednesday. Other elementary schools end on Thursday – but this is because they took a a “teacher work day” in November while we did not.

• Thursday  May 31 Teacher Work Day NO SCHOOL

• Friday June 1 Teacher Work Day NO SCHOOL

“The play’s the thing” and Our Great Land

• Join the upper elementary tonight for their end-of-year performance in the Drake gym. Call for actors is 6 p.m. The play begins at 6:30. 

Please – no adults upstairs before the play.  Find your seats and anticipate the wonderful work of the children!

Smoked salmon, fiddleheads, blueberries, raspberries, salmon berries, Nagoon berries, rhubarb, black cod, sushi, seaweeds, miners lettuce, wild wood violets….

Tomorrow is our local food day. All the classes will be preparing a local food to eat  and share – BUT  – we are inviting the children to bring a local food for lunch as well.  Tuck a few frozen berries from last year’s harvest into some good yogurt, smear some creme cheese with your smoked salmon or cod or halibut, pick a few yummy fresh fiddleheads, or wild violets and toss with miners lettuce for a small and tasty fresh local salad… The value and taste  of our local foods is beyond all measure.

Play and Partake!


Thursday and Friday our own adolescents are performing the Hamlet Thrillameggedon. Come on by for a parody and all good fun. They have organized the whole event from top to bottom! 


Upper el. is requesting any baked goods you can send in tomorrow or Friday. The children are raising money during the AMP intermissions to support their performance next week!


Remember the 4th and 5th years are “Going to College” tomorrow/Thursday!

Be an Elder in the Room

Walking in our ancestors’ footsteps (and their clothing!)

It’s that time of year when we round to the end near where we began. The wisdom of the first days of school culminates with the experiences and shared history of the 12 year olds as they share their Ancestor Projects.

Please join us for this always special and inspiring event this Thursday, May 3  at 5:30 pm in the Montessori Borealis Commons (and AMP space). Your presences and support for these growing humans is kindly requested and encouraged.

Our children need us.

Flower (& Fruit) Power!

Purple and Pink and Peach and Plum and Pumpkin and Puce and Pine…Oh, My!

It is time for our Montessori community Pansy and Viola Sale!

Order beautiful flowers for your garden, for Mother’s Day, for the Pioneer Home or for a secret May Day gift (remember the tradition of secretly giving a neighbor or friend flowers on their porch or door on the first day of May).
Flowers come in 4inch [pots, are local and hardened off. The cost is $2.50 per pot. Order forms went home last week with your child, but you can also order on line at: http://www.juneaumontessori.org/PansyFundraiser.html

Rhubarb and And Jams… Oh, My!

All year the elementary and adolescent students have been at work with two grants aimed at helping us understand botany, good eating habits, and gardening.  We are nearing the conclusion of these projects but…have run out of enough local goods to help us with our last project: baking a shared edible.

Will you check your freezers for last season’s rhubarb and any berries? We are also looking for local jams, jellies, and syrups that can be used in this project.

If you have any of these wonderful goods – please send them in with your child. No contributions too small!


Monday April 23 is an Early Release Monday.


Save the date: The Ancestor Project is coming up next week – Thurs. May 3 at 5:30.

We hope to see you there at this cool and amazing evening presented by the 6th graders and it will be a remarkable evening!

Spread the Word! This Week!

Concentration. Responsibility. Freedom. Intellect. Heart. Respect. Work. Humanity. Life.

Remember when you were interested in Montessori for the first time? These words or others like them were likely some of the reasons your attention was turned our way. You are our best ambassadors for this special school experience for your family.

This Thursday and Saturday we are hosting  our annual public information meetings for prospective Montessori Borealis families. If you know a family interested in Montessori education for their elementary or adolescent child – please invite them to one of our meetings this week to learn if Montessori Borealis is a good fit for their families.

The meetings will address Montessori philosophy, curriculum, enrollment procedures, questions, and observations. We are excited to share our passion for this work with children.

Help make these words live in all children.

Thursday March  29 5:30 pm                                                         the Montessori Borealis Commons

Saturday March 31 10 am                                                                 the Montessori Borealis Commons

This is an adult-only event as we want to give parents our undivided attention.

For more information have folks call the Montessori Borealis office at 523-1848 or contact Chris.

Help Spread the Great Word about Montessori as a choice for all families!