Leelanau Montessori’s

Nurturing a Lifelong Love of Learning - Quarterly Newsletter No. 2 - Winter 2015


Peace Pole

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”

Desmond Tutu

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

choose it.

- 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

Montessori tradition!

working towards a future in which

goodwill towards others is not

something you plan, it is something

you do.

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






Leelanau Montessori’s

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.

Donation options

Online payment:

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

3. Spread the word to other Montessori Alumni you know!

Thank you


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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The secret of getting

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Where good friends and

great food meet!


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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!

•Art Supplies

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original art

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•Office Supplies •Greeting Cards (NOW Spanish too)



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Working on a project for school, home or work? We can help take your ideas and turn

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Leelanau Montessori

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

Qualifying Families


www. ~ 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.

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