Parent Survey Results

Dear FMS Families;

A few months ago we sent out a survey asking for your feedback on various aspects of Foothills Montessori School. As you can see, the responses were overwhelmingly positive, with the average response a 4.4 out of 5 in every category across all grade levels. We enjoyed reading the comments from the “What do you like most about FMS” section, and made a word cloud which might show up on future staff T-shirts!

We want to thank you for taking the time to give your input. We are paying special attention to your suggestions for improvement and expansion as we prepare for the 2013-14 school year. Here are just a few of the areas we are focusing on:

1) Parent-Teacher Communication. Many of you expressed the desire, especially those with children in the Primary grade level, to receive more ongoing feedback about your child’s progress. As you know, Montessori students don’t leave much of a “paper trail” nor are measured as frequently with tests, grades and other rubrics like those in public school. This can make it difficult for you to understand in which subjects your child is excelling and in which he/she may be struggling. Also, younger children are sometimes unable to fully explain their day-to-day activities. We hope the teacher blogs have provided a window into their world and strongly encourage you to subscribe to their classroom blog (so you get automatic email updates when new posts are added) if you haven’t already done so. However, we understand that while the blogs can provide an overall snapshot of classroom activities, they do not provide individualized feedback about a particular child’s academic and social progress. Therefore, we have been working on a pilot program via Google Apps that will allow teachers to track and share information about your child that will only be visible to that child’s parent. We are experimenting with various ways technology can be used as a tool to communicate more information about your child’s weekly and monthly progress. We are also upgrading our email system and emphasizing the importance of one-on-one communication.

2) Technology. Technology in the classroom is a hot topic these days and one that is on the minds of FMS parents and staff as well. Survey responses showed that you are overwhelmingly in support of adding more technology into the FMS curriculum, especially at the elementary and middle school levels. Over the summer we will be updating our bandwidth capabilities as well as our hardware and software infrastructure as we move forward with this new agenda. Typing classes, MS Office basics, and Adobe programs are some of the new subjects we are considering integrating into the curriculum. We discussed this subject at length at our most recent in-service and are committed to moving forward in a way that will ultimately prepare our students for 2020 and beyond.

3) Parking/Drop-Off Issues. We encourage staff and parents alike to drive with courtesy and to not linger in the drop-off and fire lanes. We know there is limited parking and that the morning drop-off can be hectic as parents rush to get children to school on time and themselves to work. We are planning to have more staff members monitoring the parking lot during these times to keep traffic flowing and make sure everyone is safe and can continue on their way with a smile.

4) Safety/Security. After the unfortunate incidents that occurred in Newton last year, many parents were understandably concerned about school security protocols. We have an extensive safety and security system in place, which includes an alarm system with panic hardware and surveillance cameras. We also reviewed all safety and emergency procedures with our staff. Other options are also being considered.

First and foremost on our priority list is creating the best school possible for your children. As you know from last month’s State of the School Address, this has always been and always will be our utmost goal and the guiding principle on which all decisions are based. As we weigh options for improvement and expansion, your opinions are invaluable, and we hope to hear more of your ideas and suggestions in the future. Your commitment and involvement is integral to our mission and your input is always welcome.

We will be making more announcements at the start of the 2013-14 school year. Until then, we hope to see you around campus, on our website and Facebook page and at upcoming school events.

All the best,

Leanne Jorgensen

Head of School

Foothills Montessori School is a private Montessori school serving families in Henderson, Las Vegas and Southern Nevada.

Escape Education’s Death Valley

In a dynamic 2013 Ted Talk, Sir Ken Robinson outlines three ways we can spark an education revolution.


[button url=”” target=”_blank” size=”small” style=”cherry” ]WATCH NOW[/button]

Escape Education’s Death Valley

In a dynamic 2013 Ted Talk, Sir Ken Robinson outlines three ways we can spark an education revolution.


Westward, Ho!

Upper elementary students have spent the last couple months learning about (among many other subjects) Nevada and U.S. history.

In March they visited the Springs Preserve and Nevada History Museum and built wagon train models out of shoeboxes and canvas.


In April they visited the Eldorado Canyon Mine where they explored tunnels, panned for gold and played horseshoes.

They also held a Pioneer Day celebration where students dressed up in traditional outfits and had a blast line dancing, churning butter, quilling, making applesauce, playing pioneer-style outdoor games, making jumping jacks, creating thaumotropes, and more!

While learning about the exciting and action-packed Gold Rush era, students designed Gold Rush “trading cards” and advertisements to lure people out West; published newspapers with typical headlines of the time complete with ads, important events and classifieds section; and built sod house homestead replicas in the back garden, for which they received an authentic certificate of ownership.

Last week Elementary 5 students participated in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” Activity where they learned how to make crucial decisions regarding survival and success. Now they are creating a class book to teach others about this thrilling and challenging time period. Ask your students for more details, and be sure to check out the Elementary 5 and Elementary 6 classroom blogs for some great pictures!

Cadbury the Rabbit

Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. — Anatole France

An FMS Parent has kindly gifted us with a wonderful new addition: a sweet and handsome rabbit named Cadbury. Cadbury is living the dream life in the outdoor classroom, eating lots of carrots and hay and snacking on basil leaves and fresh strawberries.


The students were taught to treat Cadbury with respect and gentleness, and they love to give him soft pets and feed him treats. They are becoming the best of friends!

Many flowers, fruits and vegetables are in full bloom, making it the perfect place for both students and rabbit. The students are also learning about carpenter bees and other insects who have made the garden their home, and we have even spotting a hummingbird’s nest! Hopefully we’ll catch a glimpse of the colorful bird soon.

Elsewhere on the FMS campus, E3 is planting a beautiful backyard garden, E5 is growing herbs such as chives, basil and spearmint in old chinese takeout boxes for an “upcycling” project, and E4 has planted a salsa garden, complete with tomatoes, onions, garlic and cilantro! We sure do love to be outdoors!

See more pictures of Cadbury and the children and the outdoor classroom here!


A Weekend at Zion

Recently our lower elementary students, along with their parents and teachers, enjoyed a wonderful weekend sojourn at Zion National Park. We camped, hiked, built campfires, and enjoyed peaceful, quiet times admiring the beauty of nature.

Says Madison: “My favorite thing about Zion was the second year hike. We saw two frogs, a stink bug and a deer. When we walked a little farther, we saw the same deer again.  We skipped rocks, saw the Big Dipper and Orion’s belt. Cassidy found an owl!”


For some great pics and more stories, check out the E4 and E2 classroom blogs!

[button url=”” target=”_blank” size=”small” style=”coolblue” ]E2 Blog[/button]

[button url=”” target=”_blank” size=”small” style=”coolblue” ]E4 Blog[/button]

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

In honor of Earth Day (Monday, April 22), all of the FMS classrooms have been learning about ways they can take care of our planet and live in more sustainable ways as part of their units on ecology.

E5 students have committed to reduce their energy usage by taking shorter showers, recycling and unplugging electronics when not in use. They are also learning about the “Story of Stuff” and about how the mass consumption and throwing away of all of this “stuff” is hurting the environment.

They decided to do an “alternative birthday gift registry” as a way to reduce and reuse. Sometimes, new isn’t always better!


Next week, students are going to Whole Foods to learn about how our food gets to the grocery store and the logistics behind this process. They will also learn how to cut down on wasting food and food packaging containers.

E5 is requesting donations of old t-shirts as part of an “upcycling” project.

For more on what each of the classrooms are doing to learn about the earth and ways to protect it, check out the classroom blogs!



Ms. Val and Her Garden

“Children belong to nature, especially when they are young. Without the influence of nature the child misses an important basic instinct that is naturally a part of them. Keeping this in mind, we need to give our students as much exposure to their outdoor environment as possible.” — Ms. Val, FMS Outdoor Classroom Specialist

[button url=”” target=”_blank” size=”small” style=”cherry” ]Meet Ms. Val[/button]

Into the Rainforest

This month, primary and lower elementary students have been exploring South American geography and culture and learning all about the amazing biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest.

Many had the chance to meet two capybaras (the largest rodent in the world, indigenous to South America) and a grey parrot named Buckley. Students sampled delicious tropical fruits such as papaya, pineapple, mango and coconut. We danced the tango and played native instruments such as the zampona, jira, jicara and maracas. Many parents and students shared items from their journeys through these beautiful countries, and we thank you for your participation!


Students are also learning about the importance of “reduce, reuse, recycle” and how vital the rainforest and indeed all of nature is to our collective well being. P2 sewed reusable napkins so they wouldn’t have to throw away so many paper napkins and paper towels! We are enjoying learning about all the amazing plants, animals and ecosystems of South America and what we can do to preserve them for future generations.

Right now, primary and kindergarten students are enjoying a rainforest assembly to complement their studies of South America. We can’t wait to hear all about it!

Click the links below for more pictures!

[button url=”” target=”_blank” size=”small” style=”cherry” ]Primary 1[/button]

[button url=”” target=”_blank” size=”small” style=”cherry” ]Primary 2[/button]

[button url=”” target=”_blank” size=”small” style=”cherry” ]Primary 3[/button]

[button url=”” target=”_blank” size=”small” style=”cherry” ]Primary 4[/button]



Field Trips and Fun

Many students have been out and about on field trips recently, learning in a sensorial, hands-on way.

Primary and Kindergarten students went to the Natural History Museum, where they learned about dinosaurs, sharks, wild animals, fossils and more. They also recently visited the Estes McDoniel Marine Lab, where they explored the many creatures of our amazing oceans.

Elementary recently visited the Nevada History Museum and Springs Preserve. They have now built their own model wagon trains which are now on “a journey.”

Our middle schoolers are now in California at Pali Adventures, which is sure to be a truly unforgettable experience. We will have to wait until Ms. Erica and the rest return to hear all about it!

For more news and a TON of great pics, check out your child’s classroom blog!