Spring Comes to Foothills

“The children are eagerly planting strawberries, tomatoes, banana peppers, bell peppers, Asian lettuce, eggplants, and ornamental red and white cabbage …”


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Spring Comes to Foothills

“The children are eagerly planting strawberries, tomatoes, banana peppers, bell peppers, Asian lettuce, eggplants, and ornamental red and white cabbage … The apricot tree in the garden is waking up from a long winter’s nap. Our artists are painting what they see, and their artwork is hanging in the tree! What a beautiful sight for moms and dads to see!” — From Ms. Val’s Outdoor Classroom Blog



See pictures on Ms. Val’s blog (FMS Parents only).

Teaching Creativity

A recent New York Times article titled “Learning to Think Outside the Box: Creativity Becomes an Academic Discipline” spotlights a new trend in education: teaching students the art and science of creative thinking.

This is a departure from the standardized, compartmentalized approach that has dominated both secondary and higher education systems for the past century. Many colleges across the country are beginning to offer certificates, minors, Master’s degrees and even PhDs in creative studies, and transdisciplinary studies (the fusion of seemingly unrelated subjects such as, say, art and engineering) are becoming more prevalent.

Education is seen by many as preparation for the job market, and in this instance, the new wave of campus brainstorming sessions is being driven by market demand. The article cites a recent IBM study that surveyed 1,500 chief executives from 33 fields. What was the number one factor they considered critical to their success? Creativity.

“Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status,” remarks Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education expert. His 2006 Ted Talk “How Schools Kill Creativity”, currently the most-watched Ted Talk of all time, argues that schools are doing a vast disservice to children, society and humanity as a whole by not cultivating this powerful innate capacity for inspiration and innovation.  He has said that “all kids have tremendous talents — and we squander them pretty ruthlessly” and laments that we are “educating people out of their creative capacities.”

The importance of creativity seems obvious, especially in such a dynamic, fast-paced and challenging civilization such as ours. As technology becomes more advanced, it threatens to overtake many of the more left-brained occupations that has powered our growth throughout the 20th century. Pundits and government officials stress the importance of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and indeed these skills will continue to be vital and in high demand in the decades ahead. On the other hand, for someone to invent “the next big thing” and to thrive despite the increasing demands, fast-paced change and global competitiveness of a 2020 world, they will have to be much more than a head full of facts, figures and formulas. They will have to be someone who dreams.

Teaching Creativity

Should schools teach creativity? 

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Thank You Parents

Last week, the FMS PTO and FMS Parents showered teachers and staff with treats, gifts and other tokens of thanks throughout Teacher Appreciation Week. Needless to say, we felt more than appreciated — we felt cherished. Thank you so much for all your kind words and gestures and for all that you do throughout the year to support our efforts. You are appreciated as well!

From the P2 Blog:

“When Natricia (Ava’s mom), began escorting our children to the multipurpose room for a ‘special project’ (for the teachers), we had no idea how beautiful, funny and meaningful that project was until each of the teachers received their own memory book. Looking at our work through the eyes of the children is a poignant reminder of how important it is. You never know how one lesson or another leaves its mark on each individual child. Last week was filled with wonderful treats from our parents. The collective appreciation that we feel for the outpouring of love from our parents is profound. We know that every day we are entrusted with the great responsibility of being with your children; guiding them with their development of self. The moments of witnessing a child getting a concept, zipping up a zipper, laughing in delight, are treasures beyond measure. We are grateful for this time we share together and appreciate the dedicated support we feel from all of our parents.”

Ellis Island Escapades

Middle School Students reenacted the experience of going through the Ellis Island checkpoints as if they were 19th century immigrants. Student Keller Mack writes:

Not having a clue what to expect, we were whisked into a line by people yelling in all different languages. We were each handed a name, occupation and immigrant number, which was going to be our identity for what felt like hours. Each of us stood in line, waiting to be yelled at in foreign languages by the two angry people at the front. While I waited in line, the guards came by, asking for bribes to get whoever would pay past the checkpoint, and sometimes not even asking before taking the amount they wanted.


Once I had passed the first checkpoint (with only a little bit of bribery), I was shoved into yet another line where I would wait for my medical, mental and citizenship tests. Despite being detained about seven times, I finally managed to complete all of the tests and continue to the next checkpoint. Out of all of the things that would get me deported (such as getting into arguments with other immigrants, cutting in line and stealing anything that wasn’t nailed down), what really did me in was that I was Russian, and they were “sick of Russians.” Luckily, I was able to steal a ferry ticket and illegally get to New York City.

This empathy assignment was excellent for helping me to better understand what it was like for the people who actually came through Ellis Island so that they could get to our country. This was definitely the kind of experience that you never forget.

Thank you to all of the parents who helped with this event. Even Ms. Erica’s mom came to role play!

Read more on E1’s classroom blog (FMS Parents only).

Environment of Beauty

“The child should live in an environment of beauty.” — Maria Montessori

Pennies and Dimes

Elementary students learned about adding pennies and dimes by creating their own store called “The Montessori Food Department.”


From their blog: “Our first graders are practicing adding dimes and pennies. They decided to name their store The Montessori Food Department. They worked together to make their ‘store’ where they could buy items and count money. It was a great success!”

Read more on the E4 Blog (FMS Parents only).