August Update


"An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking: it involves the spiritual development of man, the enhancement of his value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live.” —Education and Peace, Dr. Maria Montessori


Dear Parents,

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year!

Ms. Janelle and I look forward to an exciting, interesting and productive year. 

The following are several things to know as our year gets underway:


Classroom Distance Learning Routine:

Daily Schedule

8:00-8:15 Logging into Zoom; updating work/record journal for the day 

8:15-8:45 Morning Gathering/Mindfulness Moment

8:45-11:30Work Cycle: group and independent work; lessons 

11:30-12:30 Lunch (offline) 

12:30-1:00 Group Read aloud and Handwork

1:00-2:45 Work Cycle: group and independent work; check in meetings; specials 

2:45 End of day; children submit photo of work/record journal for the day 

Lesson Schedule will be provided each Friday prior to instruction

Google Classroom

Your child is required to use a google account in order to access the Hawks' Google Classroom. There are two ways to join the class: #1. Signing in with a google email address to using the previously sent code or #2. Providing me with your child’s Google email address, so I can invite them to this address directly. Either way is fine with me. Your child should be signed up before Monday morning. 


We will be meeting on Zoom using the previously provided password and id

Workspace Guidelines 

Your child should have a defined area for working each school day that is set up as a virtual classroom. This is the place from where they will log in to both Google Classroom and Zoom, and where they can keep all of their supplies. They should also have a water bottle and a snack with them at the time we begin our day. 


Your child will receive a Keystone tote bag with supplies for their use throughout our distance learning. We will go over the contents of their bag on Monday during our first meeting. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if any issues concerning these items arise and please note, each item should return with your child when our on-campus learning resumes. Ms. Mia is also sending home a book for Spanish. 

Friday, July 30th 9:00am – 2:00pm Front Lobby 


Though we will be offline for this time, a regular routine of lunch and movement is highly encouraged. Your child should plan and maybe even pack her/his snack and lunch each day and should expect to take a snack break during the work cycle (if needed) as well as eat at 11:30 when we break as a whole group. The movement your child chooses to do may vary according to her/his choice; making time regularly for activity after lunch will promote a relaxed and pleasant afternoon work cycle. Some ideas for indoor movement include: 

Yoga: Define a movement space, if possible, have a mat available. Your child might need some guidance. Games like this one are great sold on or he/she can think of poses on their own. 

Distance Puzzle Game: Have your child select a moderately challenging puzzle to complete and a place to complete the puzzle. She/he will then find a distant location for the unplaced pieces and begin the work of crossing the distance to place pieces into the puzzle. 

Jump Rope: Have your child prepare a set of cards numbered with high, random numbers (such as 45, 76, 30, 100...). He/she will select a card blindly or by choice and will then jump rope while counting jumps until they reach the number indicated. 

Homemade Cornhole: Using two baskets and beanbags, set up a tossing space. Your child will take turns tossing beanbags from one basket to the other. For variety they can try using their non-dominant arm to toss. 

PE activities

Stretching/Hopping/Skipping/Jumping/Galloping/Sliding/Leap-ing/ Running/Dancing/Balancing/Dribbling a ball (bouncing with hands or kicking feet) 

Encourage safe practices at all times: breath consciously, move thoughtfully, and have fun! 

Please have your children pack healthy snacks and a healthy lunch. 

In addition to her/his water bottle and snack, your child may also like to enjoy tea during her/his work cycle. As in the classroom, we recommend limited use of sweetener and only one cup per work cycle. 

Specials Schedule:

These important opportunities will continue as normally scheduled while we are learning from home. 

Spanish, Music and PE: Tuesdays, 
Art: Thursdays


End of Day: 

Just as I would ask to review your child’s work/record journal during the normal school year, your child will be asked to submit a list of her/his work/record journal before going completely offline at 2:45 each day. This may be done by submitting a photo of his/her work journal, or by sending a note through Google Classrooms as an assignment. Our class will go over how each of us might do this using available technology. This is an important piece of your child’s overall experience here at Keystone and I am grateful for your support. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. 

Tardiness and Absences:

The school will continue keeping track of tardiness and absences even while we are meeting online. The following will apply: 

   Tardy: after 8:15am

   Absent: after 8:30am

Absences will be considered for excusal on an individual basis. Please reach out to me if you expect your child to be absent and wish her/his record indicate the absence was excusable. 


Freedom and Responsibility:

As always, it is important to consider the Second Plane characteristics of your child, and particularly while you are likely making an increased number of observations of her/his work day. These help us to frame behaviors we witness within a whole child perspective, which in turn supports deeper understanding of what we see. This is a brief list of each as identified by Dr. Montessori and her son, Mario Montessori, as they developed the plan of Cosmic Education for elementary-aged children: 

         Inclination toward physical expression; less sensitivity to injury 

         Attitude of detachment from the home; looking for wider social contacts 

         Deference for the small social group; enjoyment of her/his loyalty 

         Rebellion toward injustice; working to understand authority and 

         Admiration and worship of others; knowing about significant people 

         Use of imagination; recalling experience and forming or new ideas 

         Psychological resilience; independent thought (“the reasoning mind”) 

         Power in abstract thinking; creating universal concepts and/or ideas 

         Ability for large-scale work; finding challenge where possible 

          Sense of responsibility; finding the rightness or wrongness in one’s own 

The potential for your child to be responsible in the exercise of freedom is absolutely possible in the second plane! We ask the children to choose productive and constructive work at every opportunity! We look to see that he/she chooses to contribute to our community in meaningful ways on a daily basis. Our task as adults working with second plane children is to guide the child in realizing for herself/himself the activity that best supports a gracious contribution to our community, at home, at school, and beyond! 

Birthday Celebrations:

To celebrate birthdays in our class we always hope to prepare a small gift for each student to be delivered on or around their birthday. While we are at a distance for these events, we will continue with our compliment tradition: letters can be left in the school mailbox or mailed to the school (please mark clearly: “for Hawks Classroom”), or children can submit their writing via Google Classroom. A list of student birthdays will be sent out shortly.


Your child will be invited to share photos and stories on or around the actual day of her/his birthday. 

Goings Out: 

We are not encouraging any actual goings out at present. Virtual tours have been linked to our Google Classroom as a way to support exploration “beyond our classroom environment”. Your child will be encouraged to use these resources while we are learning from home. 


Mrs. Amie 

Ms. Janelle B

We are excited to be part of Keystone and to have the opportunity to share in the growth and development of your child! 

In peace, 

Mrs. Amie and Ms. Janelle


Cosmic Education 

Dr. Maria Montessori called her plan of education for the elementary age child “Cosmic Education”. Dr. Montessori considered this plan less of an education method than as an “aid to life”. It was her desire that the children who attended her Montessori schools emerge “equipped in their whole being for the adventure of life, accustomed to the free exercise of will and judgement, and illuminated by imagination and enthusiasm.” 

Here are some of the main characteristics of Cosmic Education:
Although definitely built on the child’s experience in the Children’s House 

(preschool) to the acquisition of culture (elementary). The elementary child is interested in who she is and how she relates to society. 

Lessons are presented within the context of the unfolding human story and in relation to one another. Exploration of language, mathematics, biology, music, etc. are fascinating opportunities to discover the interrelationships of people, the physical environment, and between people and their environment. 

Lessons are designed to appeal to the child’s sense of drama and imagination. In addition to the concrete Montessori materials, impressionistic stories, charts, timelines and demonstrations are used to spark the child’s interest and stimulate independent work. 

In addition to presenting elements of the required curriculum, the teacher strives to “sow as many seeds” of interest as possible. These type of lessons and stories are not typically found in a traditional elementary classroom, but are designed to inspire a sense of wonder in all there is in the universe and an eagerness to learn more. 

“Let us walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe, and all are connected to each other to form one whole unity.” 

-Maria Montessori 

Study Time Ideas for the Upper Elementary Student 

Creative Arts/Construction 

•   Learn a new skill: knit, crochet, spin, weave, sew, quilt, hook rugs, embroider, tie-dye, beadwork, paint, sculpt. You can even find classes that teach some of these skills at craft stores. 

•   Work with someone who knows how to build a fence, a bike ramp, a bookcase, a bench, etc. 

•   Find someone with a lot of tools. Interview that person and find out what all of the names of the tools are and what they are used for. 

•   Learn photography. 

•   Learn how to operate a video 

•   camera. Make your own movies. Document a week in the life of your family 
using a camcorder or camera. Write about each family member and what they will be doing. Mail the package to your grandparents or some other relative or friend who would like to receive the update. 

•   Practice your musical instrument. If possible, take private music lessons on your musical instrument. 

•   Take a trip to the public library where you can search through the fiction and nonfiction books. What types of media do they offer there? Do they have a card catalog? 

•   Interview your family and relatives. Start a family newsletter. 

•   Enter an essay, story, or poetry contest. Submit your work to magazines that 
publish student work. 

•   Instead of phoning, write letters to your friends and relatives. 

•   Practice telling stories. Think of a story you know well and try to tell it several 
different ways. Try the story with a different setting or from a different point 
of view. 

•   Read and write poetry. 

•   Memorize a poem. 

•   Put on some calming music (Bach, Mozart, Satie, Gregorian chant, sounds of 
nature) and practice making the most beautiful cursive or italic letters you 

•   Create a list of interesting adjectives and use them to describe a friend, 
relative, or place. 

•   Search the thesaurus for words to use instead of “them”, “said”, and “after”. 
Then use your newly found words in a story. 

•   Make a list of powerful verbs and use them to write about an event. 


•   Make a botany map of your backyard. Place each plant in its place on the map and label each plant with its common name and scientific name. 

•   Visit a zoo or aquarium and investigate an animal or family of animals – all birds, for example. 

•   Go on a hike and bring a notebook. Write down the common names and scientific names of the plants and animals that you see. 

•   At the library, look through the children’s books on science. Choose one that has experiments that you can do at home, such as books by Janice Van Cleave. Try some of the experiments at home. 

•   ***Try some of the activities from the San Francisco Exploration website at: /handson.html 

•   Explore the “Life on Earth” site at the University of California Berkeley at threedomains.html 
Community Service/Activism 

•   Keep a scrapbook of newspaper and magazine articles on issues you care about in the community or world. Write letters to elected officials or to the editors of the newspaper, expressing your opinions about issues you’ve read about. 

•   Participate in an environmental cleanup. This might be as simple as going to the park with your family or friends and filling up a big trash bag with all the trash you can pick up. 

•   Visit an elder. Look for opportunities to assist the elderly. Call up a retirement home and see if there is anything that you can do. 

•   Volunteer at a local animal shelter or zoo. 
Household Service 

•   Learn a new household skill like learning to wash clothes, iron, or polish silver. 

•   Be responsible for a family meal. Plan the menu, make a shopping list, do the shopping, and cook the meal. Try not to use the microwave oven when you cook!