Parent Education


Watch Me Grow – a free class open to the public at Keystone Montessori for Mom or Dad and their child, ages 15 mo. – 24 mo. Four Tuesdays from 9 – 10 am beginning November 6, 2018. Please email Ms. Laura at to be put on the waitlist for our Fall Session – space is limited!

Articles & Links



Odyssey of the Mind

Many of you have been asking about getting their child to participate in Odyssey of the Mind(OotM) and getting it started at Keystone Montessori. This has a great deal to do with our students already exhibiting many of the characteristics that make a good OotM teammate: creative problem solving, organized, respectful to others’ ideas and suggestions, and critical thinking. Attached are this year’s five problems and a primary problem for your perusal.

Who can participate and how are teams organized?

Primary (non-competitive) is only for K-2 grade and the other problems are for traditionally 3rd-12th grades, but any capable student in K-2 can participate in the other competing problems. The older student on the team dictates the division the team will be required to compete in during the competition. Division I is for 5th grade and below, Division II is for 6th grade to 8th grade, and Division III is for 9th grade to 12th grade. Again, as an example of how a team is classified for competition, the student on the team in the highest grade dictates the Division the team will be place to compete. So if you have one 6th grader on the team of mainly 5th and 4th graders, then the team will be placed in Division II due to the 6th grade member.

In terms of school membership, a school can have one team per problem per division. So if the school has teams in Division I, II, and III, then they can have up to fifteen teams, one per each problem (five problems all together). The one exception is primary; there are no limits to how many primary teams a school sends to the competition. The membership cost for the school is $135. The competition cost is $150 for the first team and $50 for each additional team. There is no cost for primary.

The easy part of this program is that it is student initiated and driven. They pick their teammates (maximum is 7 members per team) and recruit a coach/mentor, they do the research to solve the problem, and no adult can offer any assistance or offer any suggestions. So the coach/mentor plays a role of keeping them on task and safe. There is a coach training on November 4th during the morning at Arredondo Elementary School in Tempe, AZ for those who would like to be a coach/mentor to a team.  I know this is the same day as our Fall Festival. If there is a significant number of teams from Keystone, I can see about requesting a separate coach training. This will depend of the availability of the person doing the coach training.

What is the goal of a team?

The main goal is to solve one of the problems in a creative manner and present their solution at the regional competition on March 3, 2018. The other part of the competition is solving a spontaneous problem that won’t been known to the team until their scheduled spontaneous problem time at the regional competition.

How do I get my student involved?

Have them look over the problems and recruit another six classmates and a coach. Again, it is imperative that the coach not be one who likes to offer suggestions or solutions. As an experienced judge, I can guarantee that just by asking certain questions during the competition of team members, the judges will clearly know if the solution was their idea and not an adult’s.

Once I get my student ready to start a team, who do I contact?

First, the school usually has a point person who assists in getting the school and teams registered (parent or volunteer). I suggest that once the number of teams per division is established, that the school membership and those going on to competition share the cost. I’ll be happy to assist with getting the school and teams registered.

The regional director of the program, Deanna Wingate, has offered to give a small presentation and answer any questions, if there is interest in having this program at Keystone. I have been involved with this program since 1991 and have judged in competitions in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Texas and Arizona. Currently I sit on the AZ Odyssey of the Mind board as the Spontaneous State Captain. I organize and manage the Spontaneous part of the competition for both the regional and State competitions. Due to impartiality and conflict of interest, I am unable to coach/mentor a team.

Please don’t hesitate to call me with any questions at (617) 875-7750.

Thank you for your attention and consideration to this wonderful program.

-Jess Morales Ruan

2018 Problem 5

2018 Problem 4

2018 Problem 3

2018 Problem 2

2018 Problem 1

2018 Primary Problem

Families Reconnecting

Dis-Connected – Impact of Excessive Screen Time on Kids:

Dr. S Sudhakar, Founder of SchoolCues and GLTYR, spoke on this subject at our Community Meeting, January 12, 2016. Scientists are just now beginning to flush out the effects of excessive electronic engagement on kids. Too much screen time may be linked to an increased incidence of risky behaviors. More social network activity also appears to correspond to mood problems among teens. But there’s good news, too. Moderate use of technology may be associated with the development of some cognitive, motor and social skills.

Dr. Sudhakar’s “Call to Action – Reconnecting” for all parents and staff is to identify one small change you would like to make in your daily life which would empower kids to be more active and to have more quality interaction and engagement with parents, friends and family. If you have any ideas you’d like to share, please send your recommendations to Ms. Laura at

Kids and Screens: What Can We Do? – Kenneth Barish, Ph.D.

Parent Submissions

  • We will sometimes go for family walks after dinner (when it doesn’t get dark so early).
  • We do family game nights.
  • One of us will lay with our eldest for 10 minutes at bedtime, in the dark, so she can talk to us…she seems to open up the most during this time.
  • We have a rule that the kids must get a least 1 hour of exercise a day…we usually go to the park, play outside, etc.

    – Anonymous
  • We stopped watching any TV during the week. Makes it harder some days, but ultimately makes for a happier house. And TV is a special treat, not the expectation.

    – Alexander Family




  • We plan to incorporate this (above idea) when our kids are a bit older.
    -Holm Family
  • We have a “no technology” rule at the kitchen table, for all meals.
  • We have a “no technology” rule whenever we have visitors. The only exception is if sharing pictures or videos of a recent event/activity. We need to be socializing/interacting with company.
  • Just as another parent shared, at bed time after reading to each other, we turn out the lights, snuggle down, and talk about our day and what the plans are for the next day. So much more gets shared at that time than the typical “how was your day” after picking her up.
    -Goodrum Family