Nurturing a Lifelong Love of Learning - Quarterly Newsletter No. 2 - Winter 2015
LOC Mobile - Community Service - Harvest Feast
Annual Campaign - Alumni Feature
A Letter From our Head of School
This winter has been full of joyful activities, keeping our community
all a buzz. Students have enjoyed participating in LOC Mobile, serving
in many community service projects, and decorating jars for our Pennies
for Prosperity campaign. Our adult community is excited to embark
on developing a community 5K and working on primary playground
enhancements. Our Hickory students continue to manage the school
composting program (which is open to Leelanau Montessori families
as well!) In addition to all of these activities, we have also kicked off our
Annual Fund campaign! Leelanau Montessori’s Annual Fund campaign is
an endeavor that grew out of our Capacity Building Process in 2013. As a
result of a grant through Rotary Charities, our Board of Directors focused
on a multi-step process exploring our strengths and growth areas as a
school. One of the key growth areas this process identified was “How can
we be more financially solvent?” Many ideas and areas were addressed, and
a Strategic Plan was developed to answer this question.
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little
bits of good put together that overwhelm the world”
One of the strategies considered was the implementation of an Annual
Fund campaign. This type of fund raising strategy is commonly used in
schools and the non-profit world in general. The main purpose of the
Annual Fund campaign is to create a financial infrastructure that supports
our school during normal fluctuations in enrollment and state funding.
Having this ‘safety net’ in place allows schools like ours to thrive!
The purpose of the Annual Fund is grounded in our school’s 5
With a successful annual campaign, the organization can go on to bigger and
better things in addition to providing a steady flow of income for programs,
services, and activities it provides for the community.
-The Annual Fund: A Building Block for Fundraising-
The cornerstone featured in this newsletter is Goodwill. We see the
qualities of goodwill on a daily basis at Leelanau Montessori. This quality is
truly woven into every part of our school! It is in the spirit of goodwill that
we are reaching out to our past and present school community to support
these next steps in our long-term development. We continue to be grateful
for the goodwill shown by our school community, families, and friends. It
is in coming together that we create an amazing learning opportunity for
all children! Thank you for your support of this amazing community.
- Connie Laufersky
Creating a Culture of Goodwill and Generosity
The Roots of Goodwill: Laying the foundation for future acts of kindness.
Hunting Goodwill: Goodwill in Elementary
Goodwill is defined by the
Merriam-Webster Dictionary as
“friendly, helpful, or cooperative
feelings or attitude.” Goodwill is a
cornerstone of Leelanau Montessori,
and in my opinion, the Leelanau
County community. In fact, I believe
the producers of “Cheers” had the
epiphany for their program while
vacationing here (or at least the
epiphany for the line in their theme
song, “Where everyone knows your
name”). In contrast to the “Cheers”
theme song, however, at Leelanau
Montessori we take the time to learn
our community members’ stories in
addition to their names. I am proud
to be a part of this community where
everyone is so interconnected and
bonded through personal experiences.
This is a place where it is difficult to
pinpoint specific instances of goodwill,
as it seems to be continuously
practiced by everyone.
As the upper elementary assistant
teacher at Leelanau Montessori, I
watch the Hickory students practice
friendly, helpful, and cooperative acts
everyday. These acts are frequently
completed for the adults in the
classroom, the Hickory students,
younger students in our school
community, and the administrative
team. Sometimes I forget these
students are merely ten, eleven, and
twelve years old!
The acts of goodwill our students
engage in are rarely a one-time
occurrence. For example, if someone
drops or spills something, there is
always someone who helps pick it up.
If someone is having a bad day and
needs cheering up, there are always
several friends there comforting them.
If the teachers decide to try something
new or need feedback on how to do
something, there is always a whole
classroom full of
students with helpful and cooperative
attitudes and suggestions.
In our classroom, we acknowledge
each other’s acts of goodwill with
“goodwill cards.” These are small
cards given by the observer of the
act of goodwill to the individual who
completed the act. Let me tell you,
many days there aren’t enough cards
to represent all of the acts of goodwill
happening in the classroom! Every day
during our closing circle the students
are given the opportunity to share
if they gave or received a goodwill
card. The reasons students give each
other cards are always amazing. These
reasons range from holding the door
to helping each other complete or
understand work to supporting each
other in “being themselves.” I simply
cannot wait for our students to become
leaders out in the world!
With our students as our role models,
the staff at Leelanau Montessori also
excels at practicing acts of goodwill.
While I’ve only worked at Leelanau
Montessori for six months, there are
few colleagues that I trust and respect
more than my colleagues here. I
a reflection of their dedication to our
students and a consistent practice
ofgoodwill. These acts include taking
the time to celebrate successes,
checking in with each other after a
challenging day, bringing soups and
cookies to share with one another, or
a simple smile early on a bitter cold,
snowy Northern Michigan morning.
It is what often drives me to get up
in the morning…that, and coffee of
course! This continuous exposure
to and practice of goodwill by our
students and staff is something
unique and beautiful about our
- Abby Streitmann
The young Montessori environment
is a wonder. The way children move
around the room and interact with
each other is like a dance that has been
practiced to perfection, yet it changes
every day. The many layers that unfold
as you observe a classroom cannot
always be recognized or understood.
Sitting in a classroom you may wonder
how is it that these young children are
able to resolve conflict independently
and show such levels of respect and
goodwill to others? As adults we
often have so much trouble with
this same task. What is it about the
Montessori environment that creates
such consideration and trust of others
in a community? As a parent of a
child attending Leelanau Montessori,
as well as a staff member, I am always
inspired by the way the guides
gently incorporate goodwill in their
classroom. It seems as if it requires no
effort at all!
When a child first comes to Leelanau
Montessori he or she may not yet have
some of the skills that are necessary
to participate in this dance. The
child may need a little guidance and
understanding from the teachers and
students in the environment. Time
and again I see one child acting as a
guide for another child. Teachers as
well as students often help a newer or
younger child move towards being able
to communicate his or her feelings in
a constructive way. Opportunities are
presented for older children to assist
younger children throughout the day.
For example, helping a younger child
prepare to go outside, helping another
child with a work, or by assisting the
toddlers in the Sprouts room. In
this respect, the older children are
experiencing a readiness to help, a
willing heart and kind attitude as well
as an understanding towards learners
that are new and young.
The practice of goodwill is thoughtfully
built into each planned environment.
Every classroom has its own unique
peace area where you might find gift
making materials, kindness journaling,
or the peace rose that is used for
peaceful conflict resolution. By
making an intentional space in each
environment devoted to peace and
goodwill, guides are showing children
that it is a priority in the community.
Another way classrooms emphasize
goodwill is by simply discussing it.
A recent group that took place in the
Cedar room had the soul focus of
brainstorming examples of goodwill.
Acts of goodwill that were generated
from this group included being a
good friend, if someone gets hurt help
them, and helping a friend clean up.
Groups may also incorporate songs
about goodwill. Songs about kindness,
goodwill, and simple living resonate
with the children and remind them
that being good to one and other is a
joyful act. Creating space and time to
discuss goodwill is all accomplished
with a vision towards acts of goodwill
in the future!
In the classroom an act of goodwill is
celebrated. In the Sugar Maple room
the words understanding, kindness,
and forgiveness are written on 3 note
cards as a means of transition out
of group time, the children each
have an opportunity to choose a
note card and share with others
a time or situation when they
have practiced “understanding”,
“kindness” or “forgiveness”. Another
way that goodwill towards others
is acknowledged is simply by
appreciating and acknowledging
kindnesses that occur. The toddlers
in the Sprout room are always
recognizing each other’s feelings in
the most natural way. If a friend is
sad, they hug. If a friend is hurt, they
hug. If friend is thankful, they hug. If
a friend is happy, they hug. They are
loving, joyful, examples of goodwill
and they don’t even know it.
I often walk through my day in a state
of awe. Watching this dance take place
right before my very eyes. I witness
acts of goodwill that are done not for
praise but because it is the appropriate
response to a certain situation. One
minute you give kindness and the next
you receive it. It is a never ending
cycle that just keeps turning. Maybe
this is why Maria Montessori said
“Children are human beings to whom
respect is due, superior to us by reason
of their innocence and of the greater
possibilities of their future.” Every
day I learn through the example of the
children around me and I cannot help
but be humbled and grateful that a
Montessori education is accessible to
all families in the Leelanau area who
- Elizabeth Channer
LOC Mobile comes to Leelanau Montessori
The experience of place-based education
This winter Leelanau Montessori’s
lower elementary students and
their teachers ventured out into
the woods surrounding the school.
Facilitated by LOC (Leelanau
Outdoor Center) Mobile staff,
students broke up into teams and
built homes in the snow with only
natural materials that were available
to them in the surrounding area.
This team building exercise was
then discussed together with
students and staff.
Leelanau Montessori’s students
have been attending Camp LOC
for many years. In an effort to
further the Montessori whole-child
approach to learning,
they took this relationship with
Camp LOC one step further by
participating in LOC Mobile.
LOC Mobile bridges the gap
between classroom activities
and the outdoor environment by
creating a unique opportunity in
which their staff comes directly to
our school. Through team building
and outdoor activities, students are
able to connect with nature and
further develop a unique approach
to place-based education.
By using all of their senses
to connect with the world
around them, a lifelong
love of learning develops
within the students.
This kind of learning experience is
one that Leelanau Montessori feels
is central to the philosophy of our
Getting out and experiencing
the environment that surrounds
them gives children the ability to
explore and learn through trial and
error. By using all of their senses
to connect with the world around
them, a lifelong love of learning
develops within the students.
Leelanau Montessori believes that
every child begins life as a joyful
learner, and by collaborating
with Leelanau Outdoor Center
the objective is to deepen each
child’s connection between their
environment and their innate
natural drive to explore and learn.
The Practice of Goodwill
Student’s acts of goodwill reaches the greater community.
Each week Leelanau Montessori’s
Upper Elementary students are able
to choose a special Friday group.
These groups focus on the act of
community service. Some students
choose to head across the street to
Tendercare where they are given the
opportunity to walk the residents in
their wheel chairs, do art projects,
sing, or exercise with them. This
experience with residents is
mutually beneficial. Students are
providing a service while being
presented with a time to learn from
and appreciate all members of our
Another option for community
service is student’s soil study group
that. This group collects,
dumps, and cleans compost
buckets for both families in the
Suttons Bay community and our
own classrooms. Students are
inspired to take care of the land
around them as well as providing
a service to the surrounding area.
The soil study group is one aspect
of Leelanau Montessori’s effort to
instill a sense of stewardship of the
environment in students. Placing
an emphasis on local lands and
food sources is central to Leelanau
Montessori’s program. Not to
mention the joy composting brings
to our school chickens!
By creating an atmosphere
that emphasizes goodwill and
generosity Leelanau Montessori is
Harvest Feast : A joyful celebration of the seasons.
This November, Leelanau Montessori families gathered for our Annual Harvest Feast.
The Harvest Feast is a celebration of the transitioning seasons, an exercise in gratitude
and goodwill, and an opportunity for families to share their traditions with our school
community. Each family contributes a dish to share for their child’s environments unique
celebration. All families are welcome and encouraged to attend this yearly Leelanau
working towards a future in which
goodwill towards others is not
something you plan, it is something
Read more about Leelanau Montessori’s
Compost Program in the March 11, 2015
edition of the Record Eagle!
“Education can not be
effective unless it
helps a child open up
himself to life.”
Dr. Maria Montessori
Alumni Feature: Maggie (Spork) Koehler
I attended Montessori in Suttons Bay from age 2
through kindergarten and then again for grades 2-4 at the
Montessori Children’s House and Montessori Elementary,
respectively. I look back on this time as both formative and
magical. The teachers who guided us at these Montessori
schools were so loving, supportive, and creative. I am also
still in touch with several of my classmates from that time
including a few life-long, dear friends that I made during
my Montessori days. Montessori allowed me room for
creativity and growth in a way that was very natural and
powerful. I believe that it was my Montessori days that
helped foster my love for school and provoked a great
value of education in me. I truly feel lucky to have had this
unique educational experience when I was young.
Many of my fond Montessori memories are focused
around recess forest explorations, unique field trips, and
being a part of the “Dance of the Cosmos” where we
learned about planets and space not by reading about
them but by becoming them! Birthday celebrations took
on new meaning, a journey around the sun, literally, as the
“birthday” student carried a model of the Earth around a
burning candle which symbolized the sun, in a memorable
celebration of their special day. Helping to take care of
the many classroom pets was something I always looked
forward to. I was on the “Bird Committee” and helped
pick out the classroom cockatiel, “Tommy” who proudly
perched in his cage as we wondered over his perfect orange,
yellow, and white feathers. Some of my favorite classroom
activities were to work independently while mastering the
geography of pin maps and to sit in a corner on the floor
writing stories in my journal. I also loved to study the large
poster of the “history of life on earth” which illustrated
Earth’s various epochs and included noteworthy periods in
time such as what time various fossil organisms lived and
when humans evolved.
After my Montessori days I attended Suttons Bay Public
Schools for grades 5-12 and started to duel enroll at
Northwestern Michigan College during my senior year,
eventually earning an AA degree with a major in fine art.
I then attended Ferris State University earning BS degrees
biology and English Education, and from there I started
graduate studies in Botany at the University of Hawaii
(UH). I earned a PhD. in Botany with a specialization in
Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology in 2011.
Since then I have lectured at UH and at the Community
College in Honolulu. I am currently the State Botanist
for Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources,
Division of Forestry and Wildlife. I have an exciting and
challenging job as botanist and administrator for the State’s
Rare Plant Program. As State Botanist, I help to protect
and restore over 400 federally listed native Hawaiian plant
species that are found in Hawaii and nowhere else on
Earth. A recent accomplishment that I am most proud of is
being part of a team to discover and describe a new species
of plant from the Hawaiian Islands.
In my free time I enjoy spending time with my loving
husband, Tobias, and our two dogs Magic and Koa. I
dabble in cooking, botanical illustration, pottery, jewelry
making, yoga, running, and scuba diving. I love to travel
and stay active.
You Can Make a Difference
Cornerstones To Community Growth
Growth is never by mere chance it is the
result of forces working together.
- James C. Penney
How You Can Help
Our goal is to have 100% involvement from all members of our school community: students,
parents, faculty/staff, and board members.
Giving Period/Levels: Our giving period is from December 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015
Inspiring Charity - Matching Donor
Nurturing Leaders - $5000 +
Practicing Stewardship - $2500
Empowering Children - $500
Creating Culture - $250
Planting Seeds - ($1/day)
At the close of our Annual Campaign, a Level Giving Board will be displayed in the main entryway of our
school. Names of donors in each of the giving categories will be posted in this area.
Check: mail a check to Leelanau Montessori 310 S. Elm Street Suttons
Bay, MI 49682
Leelanau Montessori has begun an effort to reconnect with our alumni and build what we call our family
Montessori Family Tree. Alumni families are a meaningful part of our school history, and we are reaching out
because we believe each one of our former students is a valued lifelong Montessori community member.
As an alumni you can help us in on of the following ways:
1. Call the school at 231-271-8609 and leave your contact information.
2. Email us at email@example.com
3. Spread the word to other Montessori Alumni you know!
Electronic Funds Transfer: make a pledge to fulfill a donation over
time via electronic funds transfer (lump sum, quarterly, bi-monthly or
monthly options available)
An educational method which cultivates and protects the inner activities
of the child is not a question which concerns merely the school or the
teachers; it is a universal question.
Dr. Maria Montessori
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Where good friends and
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201 St. Joseph Street,
Suttons Bay, Mi
For All of Your Handyman Needs
Currently Offering Snow Removal
Now Enrolling for the 2015-2016 School Year!
Free Elementary Education for All Children.
Free Pre-School for Qualifing Four Year Olds.
OPEN Mon - Fri 8am-5pm Sat 10am-2pm
117 W. Broadway • Suttons Bay, MI 49682
231.271.4404 231.271.4438 fax
facebook: the Business Helper LLC
We are your Local store for all your home and business needs!
P R E S S
...it all started with
a teachers gift!
•School Supplies •Copies (including blue print size)
•Office Supplies •Greeting Cards (NOW Spanish too)
ART & DESIGN
+ image branding
website design +
social media management
for your business
To Schedule an Observation Call 271-8609 or visit leelanaumontessori.youcanbook.me
Raquel Jackson | owner + artist
Working on a project for school, home or work? We can help take your ideas and turn
them into a finished product! We have staff who can help or design your idea with:
Illustrator, InDesign or Publisher.
Stop in and always ask if you don’t see it - we have products in every nook...
P.O. Box 838 Suttons Bay, MI 49682
- Free Elementary
Education for All Children
- Tuition Based Preschool
- Free Preschool to
Qualifying Four Year Olds
- Financial Aid to
www. leelanaumontessori.org ~ 231-271-8609 ~ Find us on Facebook and Twitter
Leelanau Montessori is a charter school serving Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties from Suttons Bay,
Michigan. Our whole-child approach to learning nurtures the mind, body, and spirit in multi-age classrooms
guided by highly qualified staff. We offer tuition-free public elementary programs,
and tuition-based preschool programs.
The Future Looks Bright
March 18: Open House 5-7 Open to Public
March 20: Play Group 9:30 * Young Entrepreneurs Marketplace 10:30 * Community Sing 10:45 Open to Public
April 11: Spring Family Dance 4-7
April 14: Upcoming Kinders / 1st Graders Night 5:00 * Montessori Journey 6-7:30
April 15: Coffee and Conversation 2-3 * Young Entrepreneurs Marketplace 2-2:15
April 16: Spring FarmRaiser Begins
April 17: Play Group 9:30 - Open to Public
April 24: Play Group 9:30 * Young Entrepreneurs Marketplace 10:30 * Community Sing 10:45 - Open to Public
May 6: Spring FarmRaiser Ends
May 7: Elementary Presentation Night 5-6
May 8: Play Group 9:30 - Open to the Public
May 9: Evening of Art at V.I. Grill
May 20: Coffee and Conversation 2-3 * Young Entrepreneurs Marketplace 2-2:15
May 22: Play Group 9:30 * Young Entrepreneurs Marketplace 10:30 * Community Sing 10:45 - Open to Public
May 27: Dance of the Cosmos (rain date May 28)
Leelanau Montessori nurtures the whole child in a prepared environment based on respect, individuality, a
love of learning, and freedom with responsibility.