The Holiday Spirit

Now and throughout the year, Foothills Montessori students learn about a variety of holiday traditions celebrated by FMS families and people around the world.

“FMS is incredibly fortunate to have a diversified community lending to the enhancement of our cultural curriculum,” says Karen Kolb, Executive Director. “The holiday season is a wonderful opportunity for students and their families to share traditions and customs with their classmates.”

In P2, they learn about Las Posadas, a nine-day celebration which originated in Spain, and Diwali, a five-day “Festival of Lights,” in addition to family and cultural traditions surrounding Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Christmas and Hanukkah. E3 also learned about Diwali as well as another Hindu holiday called Raksha Bandhan, which commemorates the bond between brothers and sisters.

“At the end of our continental units, we like to celebrate the culture of the region we have just studied,” says Marian Rusche, Support Teacher in E1. “After sharing our projects on South America in early November, we had a feast for Dia de los Muertos. One of our moms made authentic Pan de Muerto (a delicious sweetbread), and we tried different drinks and cookies made in Mexico while listening to Latin music. We are studying Africa now and will have an African holiday celebration when we complete the unit just before winter break.”

April Dane, E4 Head Teacher, says: “In December we traditionally ask the parents to come in and share their family traditions. They may share the symbolism of lighting the Menorah or of decorating a Christmas tree. We may eat latkes, read books, or sing songs. During the year we celebrate traditions of the children in our class.  When we studied India this year we had our parents from India share traditional songs, religious traditions, food, history and culture. We usually  have quite a variety of cultural traditions and the children learn a lot.”

E6 enjoys similar activities. Says Head Teacher Amy Nhaisi: “Before Thanksgiving, parents make berry tarts and the students write letters of thanks. During Hannukkah, parents come in to share traditions and make latkes. Before Christmas, we discuss family traditions and parents come in to make gingerbread houses. We participate in a gift-giving collection for the needy and students make holiday gifts for parents.”

Ms. Danna, Head Teacher in E5, remarks: “These past two weeks have been pretty amazing! In observation of Thanksgiving we have conducted two service projects, one that is still in progress. Students went to Cashman Center and gave out clothes to the homeless community of Southern Nevada. It was an all-day event and they served thousands of people. Additionally we have been raising money for Bead For Life and had a booth set up during our PTO Holiday Bazaar. We raised over $500 for the women of Uganda and their families. We will be selling our beads until winter break.”

Whatever your holiday traditions now and throughout the year, Foothills Montessori wishes you health, happiness and lots of good cheer.

Learn more about holidays around the world.

Photo Credit: (“Diwali: One festival, many customs“)/AFP/Getty Images

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]