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!”


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).

Breaking New Ground

Thanks to the vision, dedication and hard work of parents, students and staff, our new courtyard gardens are currently underway.

A special thanks to Phillip Fagan and his crew for landscaping and Lorin-Pierre Andre for building the planters.



Healthy Habits, Happy Children

When elementary teacher April Dane noticed the cupcakes and brownies piling up week after week, she knew something had to change. “We were having store bought brownies and cupcakes with pink frosting almost every day,” she says, referring to the treats brought in to celebrate the students’ birthdays. While she appreciated that parents were generous enough to bring in treats, she was getting concerned about her students’ health. At the same time, she had noticed her students’ enthusiasm for the outdoor classroom and courtyard gardens, and that some were showing an interest in anatomy.

“I wanted to bring more of an understanding to the children,” she says. “It was about incorporating nutrition lessons and learning about the human body and eating healthy snacks and learning about vitamins and minerals and vegetables and fruits, and maybe using our gardens more. When the children could taste a pepper, or a tomato, and make salsa, they became so excited to see that process happen. I thought it would be great if we could do more — if we could have more choices, and more soil, and have the kids be more involved. I wanted them to be able to pick things from the garden to use in our cooking projects and coordinate that with our curriculum.”

Over the summer, she began reading about Alice Waters’ The Edible Schoolyard Project and doing more research into school gardens and integrating nutrition into school curricula. She went to the PTO with a proposal to expand the gardens in the back and in the front courtyard. Once she got the green light, the next step was to get staff and parents on board. At an August in-service, she invited FMS parent and naturopathic physician, Dr. Maria Cavalle, to speak about the importance of nutrition for growing children. After a couple of garden committee meetings this past month, several FMS Parents have volunteered to help with everything from building planter boxes to teaching cooking classes.

“In the back gardens, we are hoping for something peaceful that incorporates seasonal herbs and flowers, lemons and grapes, and possibly fruit trees. In the front we’ll do vegetables,” April continues. “The next step is to build planters in the front and pull out existing sprinklers so we can start planting.”

Primary, elementary and middle school students are learning about anatomy and the importance of adopting healthy habits. Middle school students recently helped assess and research best planting methods and helped get the courtyard gardens ready for expansion. E3 went to a local farmer’s market and made a Friendship Fruit Salad. And many classrooms are enjoying healthy birthday snacks such as whole wheat muffins, yogurt parfaits, bagels and fruit kebabs.

In E4, children choose a healthy cooking project on their birthday to make and share with their parents and the rest of the class. “Everyone was really excited,” says April. “The difference between last September and this September is amazing.”

Want to help? Email Ms. April at [email protected]. Together we can help our children to grow up healthy and happy!

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

Helping Gardens Grow

FMS is getting ready to expand its garden area this year, thanks to the help of our wonderful staff, parents and students. We are planning to build new planter boxes (thanks to the gracious assistance of a few FMS fathers); fix the sprinklers; and start planting! One of our elementary teachers, Ms. April, is spearheading this exciting new development with the hopes of teaching the children more about nutrition, health and the natural environment. If you would like to get involved, please contact her at [email protected]. We really have some amazing, knowledgeable and proactive parents in our community and we can’t thank you enough.

This week, middle school students got involved by cleaning out the garden and researching best planting practices. On their classroom blog, E4 writes:

“Thank you to Middle school friends for researching and cleaning our garden! After finding out some facts about the plants in our courtyard boxes, they cleaned and cut back tomatoes, peppers, and sunflowers. Next, they provided us with a list of plant information. We are preparing to build more planters and add more sprinklers. Now we know we can always turn to our middle school students for knowledge and assistance! It was interesting to learn how to care for sunflowers and tomatoes. Here are some helpful hints:

  • We should use distilled or rain water for sunflowers because other types of water can be poisonous to the flower.
  • They need at least two feet of space to grow
  • They need to be watered every other day
  • If the flower is dead, cut the head off then uproot it
  • Tomatoes need deep soil so the plant’s roots can hold it upright
  • If you don’t prune tomatoes regularly, the plants will develop extra branches called suckers. Suckers take away energy from the plant.”

Stay tuned for more garden expansion updates!

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

Sunflowers and Dream Jobs

Last week, our middle school students explored different career options and spent some time in the gardens. Here are their thoughts:

Rochelle: This week I learned that sunflowers grow toward the sun, so if you put them in shade they will most likely fall over.

Ian: This week I found some tips on taking care of sunflowers, like putting them in direct sunlight and to water them with distilled water.

Olivia: I have grown an interest in architecture after doing my project, which was drawing a layout of a house and the rooms inside it.

Logan: I have always been interested in skyscraper architecture and during this assignment I was able to design my own skyscraper and learn how they are built.


Nicole: I chose interior design because I love decorating different kinds of things, especially rooms because I can make them my own.

Erin: After going to the optometrist this weekend, I began to have a sudden liking for the job. I made a graph about our class to see how many kids go to the optometrist.

Matthew: I tried doing a police officer’s job by checking fingerprints and learning about the crime rate in Nevada. I was surprised at how difficult it was finding out whose fingerprint was whose. Police officers have a hard job.

Benjamin: I chose microcomputer programmers because it has always interested me to create a new program for the computer. I coded a history quiz game for my project.

Paulina: I chose zoology because I really like animals and I thought it would be interesting. Some of the branches of zoology are shown in my project, including cetology, the study of whales and cynology, the study of dogs.

Hayden: I learned that plumbers would do water throughout the whole house. Anything that involves the sink or anything similar to that is what they fix.

Sofia: I learned about two careers, first the different types of photography and then dentistry. My collage shows the different types of careers in photography.

Kyla: I learned that once tomato plants are overgrown, it doesn’t make a difference if you trim them, and the ones we removed were hard to pull out because they had so many roots.

Brennan: I learned a lot of cool stuff about programming and I have always liked computers, so this is a career I might be interested in.

Maddie: I learned that if you don’t prune tomatoes regularly, the plant will develop extra branches called suckers that take away the plant’s energy.

Bella: I learned that you need to plant the plants in deep soil so that the roots can spread out and the plant won’t fall over.

Talia: With a love for styling, making the room of my dreams will be a project to remember.

Sondra: With the thoughts of a designer, I took the time to make the room of my choice.

Also, E1 Student blogger Bella explains about the upcoming FMS World History Day:

“Every year we have done International Children’s Day and it has been a great experience, but we wanted to try something new this year so we came up with World History Day. World History Day is instead of going into different states and countries the kids will go into a different time period. The same thing with the costumes: The kids still get to dress up, but this time instead of dressing up as a person from around the world their going to dress up from a different time era. The way it works is the younger kids are going to be doing the invertebrates to the age of mammals and then it goes all the way up to the middle ages in upper elementary. This is a way for children to learn about the timeline of history and get a feel of what it was like. I believe that is a great change for our school and it will help children develop and learn about the different time periods.

After World History Day is over all of Middle School is going to do a miniature parade in order. The kids are going to walk through and look at our booths and see such things as The Age of the Invertebrates, The Age of Fishes and Amphibians, the Age of the Reptiles, the Age of the Mammals, Ancient Egypt, Ancient China, Ancient India, The Middle Ages, and finally the Renaissance. At the end of World History Day I hope that kids will find a better understanding of history and what it has come to be since the beginning of life.”

Thank you to E1 for this blog — read more here! (FMS Parents only).

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

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!


Planting Flowers, Painting Rocks

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. — Albert Einstein

Spring is here! Okay, officially spring doesn’t start until March 20, but spring weather has come early to our outdoor classroom. Our beautiful trees are blossoming, and the students have been busy planting flowers, tomatoes, eggplants and all kinds of peppers!

Nature has also inspired artistic ventures such as our rock painting project. Our garden sure is coming to life — just in time for two new additions, CottonCandy and Cadbury. We are getting two new rabbits soon, and we hope they enjoy their new home!

Click below to see more pics!

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