Highlights of Our Year

Our top moments from the 2013-14 school year — and what we are looking forward to in the few months ahead.


[button url=”http://foothillsmontessori.com/highlights-of-our-year/” target=”blank” size=”small” style=”cherry” icon=”” popup=”” title=””]READ MORE[/button]

Process Precedes Content

“As a child becomes familiar with the expectations in a Montessori classroom, they develop a sense of internal order helping them navigate through the multitude of decisions they make on a daily basis.”


[button url=”http://foothillsmontessori.com/freedom-within-responsibility/” target=”blank” size=”small” style=”cherry” icon=”” popup=”” title=””]READ MORE[/button]

Process Precedes Content


“As a child becomes familiar with the expectations in a Montessori classroom, they develop a sense of internal order helping them navigate through the multitude of decisions they make on a daily basis. Part of the core foundation of a Montessori classroom is ‘freedom with responsibility.’

“A Montessori student enjoys the freedom of choosing a variety of work, once they have learned the specific steps of using the materials and to work at the level matching their experience and abilities.

“Often, it takes time and practice for a child to use the materials in the way they were initially presented by the teacher. If a child is not engaging the materials in a concise way, it becomes vital for the teacher to continually model the way it needs to be done. The child needs a clear view of how something is done in order to achieve mastery of the skill.


“If the child is left with an unfinished impression of how to do something, they are not enjoying the higher level of confidence they could experience by following a process that is tried and true. Integrating a process of how something is done is the foundation for learning. We know that a sure, steady organized approach to a work is going to net a better experience for the child and increase the likelihood of them using the materials independently again.

“Even at home, it can be helpful to encourage your child to take their time with any tasks you might ask them to do. Maybe putting their toys away in an organized and consistent process could help foster the habit of slowing down and doing something with full attention.”

L1080590 (1)

From the P2 Blog

Middle School On The Move

Our Middle School Students are always doing and learning so much that it’s hard to keep up. And Middle School Head Teacher Ms. Erica chronicles it all every two weeks on her amazing blog — subscribe today to get posts by email.

Here are just a few highlights from last week:

  • Students visited Opportunity Village and had a blast singing, dancing, doing comedic improv and more. Student blogger Logan writes: “If there is one thing that I learned from this trip, it would be that it doesn’t matter where you come from, what you look like, how you talk, or the way you walk, every human on the face of this planet has something in common with everyone around them. So, all it takes to make a make a friend is to smile and say Hello.” READ MORE AND SEE PICTURES HERE (password protected).
  • E1 celebrated Pi Day with no less than ELEVEN different mathematical “Pi Stations,” including PiTunes, Pi-doku, Pi Graphs and Radial Radii. And of course, there was pie.
  • Students are learning all about Asia and are focusing on the geography, culture and architecture of the Middle East. From the blog: “This week we looked at pictures from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, and Armenia, which illustrated a little of the architecture, beautiful landscape, and cultural diversity of a region with both European and Asian influences. One seventh grader admiring the photos of Dubai said, ‘I want to go there. I want to go everywhere!'”
  • Students created a chronology of World War I that included biographies of key players and tracked American involvement. They even built their own “weapons”!
  • In Language, students are reading and analyzing various novels including Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. From the blog: “This novel first appeared during the era which historians label ‘the McCarthy period,’ the post-war political climate characterized by xenophobia, blacklisting and censorship. Many of the issues explored in the novel cannot be separated from the historical period in which it appeared. Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns. This novel commands lively discussion.”
  • Math studies included illustrating exactly why, as Pythagoras claimed, a^2 + b^2 = c^2!,.
  • “Middle schoolers are in the thick of the Circulatory System, and are anxious for our upcoming dissection of cow hearts! This dissection will give them a very clear picture of our recent studies: heart chambers, valves, the aorta, the vena cava, pulmonary vessels, the path of blood, and more! It doesn’t matter how many diagrams or books we have to share; nothing compares to holding an actual heart in your palms and learning through that type of hands-on experience. We hope you can join us for the big day!”
  • And finally, gardening: “Thank you to Marnie and Teri for helping us begin our new round of gardening! After the eighth graders’ trip to Star Nursery, the middle schoolers planted our basil and peppers on the outskirts of our box. Do you know what’s going in the middle?”

Phew! To read more and see more pictures, don’t forget to check out Ms. Erica’s E1 blog. And try to keep up!

*Don’t forget to stop by the Foothills Montessori School parking lot this Saturday from 8 AM to noon for a special sale to benefit Roos ‘n’ More, a local family-owned rescue-oriented zoo in need of donations. Student Maddie Hoggan writes: “Last semester, one of our field trips included visiting this zoo and it was one of the most memorable field trip experiences I’ve ever had. Two veterinarians that have a love for unusual animals own the zoo and they help provide care for animals that come there. Most of these animals, because they are so fond of humans, love to be held and played with. Recently, the zoo has been shut down in their transition to becoming a commercial property due to the size of their septic tank and lack of paved walkways. They will not reopen on site until they’ve raised the $300,000 necessary to address the issues. We hope our Parking Lot Sale can be a part of achieving that goal. We hope you drop by on the 22nd!”


Concentration in the Classroom

“It is the gift of the Montessori education that a child is methodically shown the process for doing a job, moving in the classroom, or taking care of their body …”


[button url=”http://foothillsmontessori.com/concentration-in-the-classroom/” target=”blank” size=”small” style=”cherry” icon=”” popup=”” title=””]READ MORE[/button]

Concentration in the Classroom

“Children are born with an amazing capacity for learning and interacting with their parents and their peers. It is the gift of the Montessori education that a child is methodically shown the process for doing a job, moving in the classroom, or taking care of their body (eating and washing hands, putting on a jacket).

“All of this attention to ‘how’ the work is done reinforces the idea that if you slow down and pay attention to the order of the task and to the way your work is laid out, then you will get it done with more ease and in a less stressful way.


“To the untrained eye, it may not be obvious why a teacher would sit one on one with a three year old and carefully watch them transfer items from one bowl to another. Yet the grasp of the item is important (as it leads to the coordination of holding a pencil, the fundamentals of writing). The transferring of the items from left to right is also important, as it trains the young student’s eyes and mind to move in the same direction they will be using when they read words on a page.

“We are also mindful of the way the materials are handled by the student; are they engaged with the specific task at hand or are their eyes wandering away from the job to look around at their friends? Can they develop the concentration to be fully present with the task at hand? All of these core behaviors create the template for learning, not only from an academic view; but for how all information is received and processed internally. It is a lens for living their lives.” — From the P2 Blog

Summer Fun at FMS

Our Summer Program has been redesigned to feature hands-on learning through Montessori materials, arts and crafts, cooking and music, and dynamic educational activities. Choose from among ten different sessions, or stay for the whole summer. Your child will enjoy stimulating academics and exciting activities built around ten unique themes — from Spanish Immersion to the arts and literature, from environmental awareness to animals, from science experiments to Writer’s Workshops, and more.

Primary sessions are open to ages 3-6 and elementary sessions are open to ages 6-12. You do not need to be a Foothills Montessori School student to attend; our Summer Program is open to the public. Invite your friends and make new ones as you enjoy a summer filled with fun and learning at Foothills Montessori.

Call 702-407-0790 for more information or click here to read about each summer session.

Early bird registration ends May 1.

[button url=”http://foothillsmontessori.com/summer-sessions/” target=”blank” size=”small” style=”cherry” icon=”” popup=”” title=””]LEARN MORE[/button]

Physical Activity Enhances Cognition

The Effects of Enhanced Physical Education on Academic Achievement


[button url=”http://foothillsmontessori.com/physical-education-enhances-cognition/” target=”blank” size=”small” style=”cherry” icon=”” popup=”” title=””]READ MORE[/button]


Physical Education Enhances Cognition

The Effects of Enhanced Physical Education on Academic Achievement

Schools around the country are reducing the amount of time devoted to PE. It is the predominate feeling among some administrators that physical education reduces the instruction time in core academic subjects. These administrators fail to see the connection between physical education and classroom learning. This month I decided to research this topic. Here are a few of the key findings:

Connection Between The Body and The Mind

Human and animal studies show brain areas involved in movement and learning are intimately connected, and physical activity could increase those neural connections (Uensen,1998; Shephard, 1997). Learning complex movement sequences stimulates the prefrontal cortex used in learning and problem solving, and this effect could improve learning. Neuroimaging data revealed changes in neural activity in the prefrontal cortex  corresponding to the benefit of exercise on executive function observed in the exercise groups.

A review of over a hundred studies concluded that physical activity is associated with selected advantages in cognitive function, specifically math, acuity and reaction time (Thomas, Landers, Salazar, & Etnier, 1994) .

Improving Grades

Statewide studies have found a positive relationship between FitnessGram (a fitness assessment and reporting program for youth) scores and performance on academic achievement tests. Another large and long-tern study was conducted in Trois Rivieres, in Quebec, Canada, beginning in the mid 1970s (Shephard,jeQuier, LaVallee, LeBarre, & Rajic, 1980; Shephard, LaVallee, VoIle, LaBarre, & Beaucage,1994; Shephard et al., 1984). Students in first through sixth grades received increased time for physical education and decreased time for other types of instruction. Improvements were reported, not only in fitness and psychomotor abilities, but in class grades also.

Improving Attention Span and Classroom Behavior

Physical activity might alter attention span through neurohormonal mechanisms, which could improve the child’s ability to focus in the classroom (Shephard, 1997). A summary of the fifty most rigorous studies exploring the relationship between indicators of physical activity and academic performance found 251 associations between physical activity and academic performance, representing measures of academic achievement, academic behavior, and cognitive skills and attitudes. Of all the associations examined, slightly more than half (50.5%) were positive, 48% were not significant, and only 1.5% were negative.


In a period when greater emphasis is being placed on preparing children to take standardized tests, these studies should give school administrators reasons to consider investing in quality physical education and vigorous activity programs, even at the expense of time spent in the classroom. Time devoted to physical activity at school  may actually improve academic performance.

The health benefits of physical activity are well-known. Therefore, the implementation of accessible, low-cost physical activity programs for youth should be pursued without delay.

These well-researched benefits are playing out everyday here at Foothills Montessori School both on the field and in the classroom. Our students are getting fit and staying healthy during PE. When they return to the classroom, the effects of exercise are enhancing the already incredible work our teachers are doing.