All School News

List of 17 news stories.

  • AMS Community Update 5/27

    Dear Austin Montessori Community:

    After considerable planning and deliberation, Austin Montessori School has decided to reopen our campuses on June 4, 2020, for all-day, all-year students, and as previously scheduled, on June 8, for summer camp students. Reopening AMS campuses entails some increased risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus for all concerned because attending school involves daily human contact among children and staff, who will then be in contact with others in their own homes. Our decision to reopen our campuses recognizes that (1) for AMS families and staff, that risk is balanced against the educational, social, economic and other costs of remaining closed, (2) our school must reopen with many new health and safety protocols to do everything we can to mitigate that risk to the extent possible, and (3)  each family and staff member must decide how to balance those risks, and whether to return to campus.
     
    Our classroom environments are designed to harness the developmental forces of each plane of a child’s development for the child’s own optimal self-construction through experiential interactions with the environment. Our ability to guide that development is diminished in the absence of a face-to-face learning environment. By reopening our campuses, we are aiming to fulfill the mission of Austin Montessori School, which is to guide the intellectual and character development of each child along a path towards his full and unknown potential, in ways that honor the complementary needs of the individual and the group.
     
    The AMS Operating Plan for Summer 2020 explains the policies and procedures we are employing to mitigate COVID-related risks at school. That approach is built around intensive new health monitoring and screening procedures, as well as new classroom/school day procedures designed to reduce the number of contacts during the school day and limit the group size and interactions. These procedures will not require young children to wear masks in the classroom (though guides will wear masks most of the time) or to observe the social distancing rules expected of older children and adults. We do not believe it is possible to enforce those restrictions with our younger children. Nevertheless, we believe reopening with these new protocols represents an important first step in responsibly living with this virus.
     
    In sum, AMS has concluded that reopening our campuses under these conditions is in the best interest of the community and that each AMS family will make its own decision about the balance of risk, and what is best for their children. The information in this document will provide clarity around the practices and procedures AMS has established to minimize exposure to our community but in no way warrants that COVID-19 or other communicable disease infection will not occur through participation in our programs. 
     
    As always, the health, safety, and well-being of our children and families are our utmost priority and we hope you will see that reflected in our new practices.  Please reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have.  

    Kind regards,

    Grae Baker
    Head of School
  • AMS Community Update 5/8/2020

  • Community Update 4/1/20

     
  • School Closure Extended Through April 10th

    Greetings, AMS community:

    In light of yesterday's "Shelter In Place" declaration by the city of Austin and Travis County which runs until April 13, Austin Montessori School is extending our school closure through Friday, April 10, 2020.  We are planning for and anticipate being closed for longer and will continue to evaluate the situation on an ongoing basis.  
     
    Best regards,
    Grae Baker
    Head of School
  • Austin Montessori School Home and Distance Learning

    Greetings, AMS community:
     
    I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during these unprecedented and trying times. At Austin Montessori School, we put our families at the heart of everything we do and we're committed to providing you with the support and partnership you need to aid the development of your children at home during this period.  This has been a very different week for us as we move into a new world of remote learning, living, and working.
     
    Our teams have been working diligently through remote collaboration to develop our Home and Distance Learning programs.  This work will continue in partnership with you for the foreseeable future.  Today we are publishing the Austin Montessori School Home and Distance Learning Handbook.  This guide will provide you with a framework and orientation for supporting learning and development in your home environment.  This handbook provides information for parents of all ages but is specifically targeted to families from our Youngest Children's Communities through Upper Elementary.  Separate orientation information and guidelines are being sent to our Adolescent Community families.  
     
    Later this week and into next, you will be receiving more communication specific to your level, classroom, and individual child from your guide.  We are also working to set up and Home and Distance Learning homepage on our website for you that will be continually updated with new information and resources for you to use in consultation with your guide.  We are also working to create online community forums for families to be able to connect, share resources, and commune with one another.  Staying connected with each other is one of the most important things we can do as a community right now.   
     
    Please know the expectation is not for you to replicate the developmental laboratories that are a Montessori prepared environment.  Learning and development will take a different form, at a different rhythm and pace, within the context of the needs of everyone in the family during this time, and that's how it should be.  Your guides will be connecting with you in partnership consistently through the Zoom virtual platform in the coming weeks.  For our older children, the guides will be connecting with them virtually too.  
     
    This new program at Austin Montessori School will be iterative, adaptive, and will evolve over time through open dialog and partnership with our children and families.  We ask that you stay connected to us to the extent you can and we will do everything we can to be available to you.  All of us must find a balance between our personal and professional needs and obligations right now.  Our hope is that we can work together to gracefully find that balance.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to your Guide, Level Director, or me with any questions you may have.  Take care of one another.
     
    Warmest regards,
     
    Grae Baker
    Head of School
  • COVID-19 - March 18 Update

    Dear Austin Montessori Community:
     
    I’m writing today with an update regarding Austin Montessori School’s status and actions going forward regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.  Yesterday, the city of Austin officially moved into Phase 5, its highest level of response for the COVID-19 virus.  Austin Montessori School is now at Risk Level 4 of our Risk Evaluation and Action Matrix.  
     
    School Closure
    As of now, our school is officially closed through Friday, April 3, 2020.  Our staff will begin working remotely on Monday, March 23, 2020.  We are preparing for a likely much longer closure (at least through May 1) and we recommend our families plan for this eventuality.  For clarity and consistency, we will evaluate our closure status regularly in consultation with our local health officials and AISD.  
     
    All school events are canceled through Friday, May 1, 2020.  This includes the AMS Gala, Grandparents Day, all parent gatherings, etc.  
     
    Home and Distance Learning
    Our guides and administrators are meeting (virtually) next week to continue planning and preparing for the weeks ahead. The school will send out information on Monday, March 23, with guidance about ways to support continued learning and development at home during the week of March 23-27.  We will send out information later in the week about our more structured AMS home and virtual learning programs.
     
    Social Distancing
    We strongly recommend that all members of the AMS community practice prescribed social distancing measures.  An excellent resource for these measures, including considerations around playdates, visits with elderly relatives, etc., can be found here.
     
    In addition to our home and distance learning programs, we are brainstorming other ways for our community members to connect with one another and the school.  More information will be forthcoming about those possibilities.  
     
    We hope that everyone stays safe and connected during these unprecedented and difficult times.  We thank you for your patience, flexibility, and resilience. Times like these call upon the best of the human spirit.  We’ll all get through this together.
     
    Warmest regards,
     
    Grae Baker
    Head of School
  • COVID 19 - March 15 Update

    Dear Parents,
     
    Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we navigate this uncertain time together.  Our Risk Management Team has been in constant communication preparing for the possibility of a school closure and how to best prepare our staff and families.  In light of the measures enacted locally and the CDC’s changing their global travel advisory to Level 2, which recommends social distancing if traveling at all, the school is now in Risk Level 3 of our Risk Evaluation and Action MatrixTherefore, we have made the decision to close our All-Day/ All-Year communities next week and extend the Spring Break for the children in all programs through March 27th.  
     
    Our guides and administrators will be meeting the week of March 23rd to continue planning and preparing for the weeks ahead.  The school will send out information early next week with guidance about ways to support continued learning and development at home during our extended Spring Break.  If we remain out of school beyond March 27th, we will move to a more structured home and virtual learning program, a contingency for which we have already been preparing.  We are actively collaborating with Montessori schools in Texas and around the country who have already made this move.  
     
    We realize the additional burden this may place on your family and we do not take this decision lightly.  Austin Montessori School will continue to hold the safety, health, and well-being of our community as paramount in any decisions we make.  We are hopeful that we will all be back together soon. 
     
    Kind regards,
     
    Grae Baker
    Head of School
     
  • COVID-19 Risk Management Update

    Dear AMS Community:
     
    As the impact of the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States and Texas, the Austin Montessori School administration and Board of Trustees have been working diligently on a COVID-19 preparedness/action plan.  Please know that we are continually monitoring our local, national, and global resources including Austin Public Health; Travis County Health Department; Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS); Centers for Disease Control; and the World Health Organization for updated information, recommendations, and mandates as circumstances unfold.  
     
    AMS Risk Evaluation and Action Matrix
    Please reference the comprehensive AMS Risk Evaluation and Action Matrix.  Austin Montessori School is currently at Risk Level 2, though that is subject to change as new information becomes available.  
     
    Current AMS Social-Distancing and Mitigation Measures
    Based on the CDC’s recommendations for schools for ongoing mitigation, AMS is putting in place measures designed to minimize cross-community contact within the school. These measures are effective immediately and will continue through March 31. They will be continually reevaluated and are therefore subject to change.  
    • All school events, with the exception of core programming, are canceled.  This includes parent gatherings, parent workshops, coffees, and PA events.
    • AMS will not host any outside visitors including observers, trainees, practice teachers, etc.
    • The Adolescent Community Service Day scheduled for Friday, March 27, 2020, is canceled.  This will now be a regular school day for all Adolescent Community students.  
    • AMS parents may still observe but only in their child’s classroom community.  
    • The next scheduled 4-week module of our Parent/Infant class is canceled.  
    • Elementary Spring Break camp is canceled.
     
    Please note:  Our All-Day/All-year programs will be in session next week.  The cancellations currently in effect are in accordance with the CDC’s current recommendations regarding social distancing and cross-community contact.  We are making no changes to our core programming at this time.  
     
    Travel
    Austin Montessori School fosters a community wherein everyone is consciously responsible for the health and well-being of our community.  In this spirit, we are asking community members to fill out our travel questionnaire.  We are collecting this information proactively so that we can make the most informed decisions possible regarding measures the school should take to ensure the health and safety of all.  Thank you in advance for your attention to this.  
     
    Going forward, the school will send weekly updates regarding our Risk Level status and any additional health and safety measures we may be taking.  The website will be updated with any status changes.  
     
    Prevention
    Remember, the best preparation is prevention.  To help stop the spread of any illness, the CDC recommends that we follow everyday preventive actions such as:
    • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
    Children and staff must stay home if they have an oral temperature of 100 or above, and cannot return to campus until they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.  We encourage everyone to consult with their healthcare professional if they’re experiencing any symptoms associated with COVID-19.
     
    Please visit the FAQ below and the CDC’s Coronavirus web page for more information.  If you have any further questions, please reach out to me directly.
     
    Best regards,
     
    Grae Baker
    Head of School
     
    Frequently Asked Questions
     
    Will families be notified if an AMS staff member or student is diagnosed with COVID-19?
    Yes, we will follow the guidelines of Austin Public Health and the Travis County Health Department ensuring everyone in the community is aware of potential risks.
     
    What is being done to address the loss of instructional time if schools close?
    We are preparing contingencies for this situation that include alternatives for instruction and developmental work that can occur outside of the classroom.
     
    Will school events (field trips, social events, etc.) be canceled?
    All school events (outside of core programming) are canceled through March 31, 2020.
     
    What can I do to ensure the safety of myself and others?
    Follow the guidelines outlined in the messages above, courtesy of the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services.
     
    Are additional cleaning measures in place?
    Yes, we are taking elevated measures to clean, disinfect, and sanitize our environments daily. 
     
    My child has a compromised immune system. Should I send them to school?
    Please consult your medical provider for guidance.
     
     
  • Grandparents Day 2020

    We are excited to welcome our grandparents on campus at our annual Grandparents' Day. Since there are grandparents with grandchildren on more than one campus, each of our campuses' will welcome our special guests at a different time. 
     
    Kindly use the links below to RSVP on behalf of your child's grandparent(s). Please note that we will not be sending separate invitations to grandparents and will be communicating any information regarding Grandparents' Day through you.
     
    Great Northern Campus Grandparents' Day: Thursday, April 30th from 9:30 am - 11:30 am. Grandparents will enjoy a light breakfast, a short presentation, and a visit to their grandchild's classroom. Register here
     
    Gaines Creek Campus Grandparents' Day: Friday, May 1st from 8 am - 10 am. Grandparents will enjoy a light breakfast prepared by and served by the adolescents, and a tour of the campus. Register here.
     
    Sunset Trail Campus Grandparents' Day: Friday, May 1st from 9:30 am - 11:30 am. Grandparents will enjoy a light breakfast, a short presentation, and a visit to their grandchild's classroom. Register here
     
    As we would like to get an accurate headcount to facilitate a memorable event, please register no later than April 1st.   If you have any questions, please reach out to Sveta Pais at svetap@austinmontessori.org.
  • Parenting Workshop "Siblings Without Rivalry" ~ Begins March 25th

    Austin Montessori School is pleased to offer a six-part parenting workshop, "Siblings Without Rivalry," led by Sveta Pais and Dawn Michal. This workshop is based on the work of Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, authors of 'How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk.'  See the Weekly Bulletin for more details and to register.
     
    Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
    Location: 5002 Sunset Trail
    Dates: March 25th, April 1st, April 8th, April 15th, April 22nd, April 29th
     
  • Start of School Dates - Traditional School Year (Not All-Day/All-Year)

    Monday, Aug. 17:    All Returning YCC; Full-Cycle Children’s House, Early, and Upper Elementary
    Thursday, Aug. 20:  Mid-Cycle Children’s House, Early, and Upper Elementary
    Monday, Aug. 24:    Beginning-Cycle Children’s House, Early, and Upper Elementary
     
    Gaines Creek Adolescent Community
     
    Wed., Aug. 19:    Full and Mid-Cycle Adolescents
    Friday, Aug, 21:  Beginning-Cycle Adolescents
     
  • Annual Fund - Thank you!

    A sincere thank you to everyone who participated in this year's Annual Fund Drive. The drive ended strong with these final numbers:
    • 89% Parent Participation with 231 out of 260 current AMS families participating.
    • $118,048 in Funds Raised, surpassing our goal of $110,000!
    • 100% Staff & Board Participation - Go Team!
    While the campaign has concluded, the school will continue to accept gifts toward the Annual Fund.
  • AMS Adolescent Community featured on KXAN

    Click the link below to see the story that ran on KXAN yesterday featuring our Adolescent Community students and their partnership with Whole Kids Foundation.  Our students were charged with creating a new vegetable seasoning by the foundation, thus "Love and Veggies" was born.  Last Friday our students, in partnership with the Whole Kids Foundation, presented their new product at Whole Foods Corporate headquarters.  The link below contains the story from KXAN and the documentary our students made about their experience.  Enjoy!
     
     
    "Love and Veggies" is available for purchase for $3 in the main office!
  • Shop AmazonSmile and Benefit AMS

    Did you know if you shop smile.amazon.com you can help support Austin Montessori School?
     
    AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.  
     
    Please keep AmazonSmile in mind during your holiday shopping. To date, AmazonSmile has donated a total of $1,688.25 to Austin Montessori School.
     
  • AMS Noonday Benefit ~ Shop this link to support fair trade and give back to AMS


    Shopping for the holidays? Look no further! Support handmade and fair trade by purchasing your gifts through this link: AMS Benefit Noonday Collection

    All purchases made through this link will support artisans in developing countries and 20% of all purchases through this link will be donated to Austin Montessori School. Since November of 2018, we have raised $736 for Austin Montessori School.

    Questions?  Contact Noonday Ambassador and AMS Parent Amreen Rajabali at arajabali@gmail.com.
  • AMS T-Shirts Now Available from the AMSPA

    The AMSPA is selling T-Shirts on the AMS website. The T-Shirts feature the AMS mandala created over 20 years ago and are available in men, women, youth and toddler sizes. If you would like to see sample shirts or check sizing, stop by the main office.  Each shirt is $20 with proceeds going to the AMSPA. Order your shirt online today!
     
  • Children’s House Gift Giving Guide

    The leaves are falling and the cooler weather is hinting of the holiday season approaching.  During this time of the year, parents of children who attend Montessori schools find themselves researching engaging and enriching items for gifting during the holidays.  Searching for toys that support the child’s development can be an overwhelming exercise for parents. We would like to offer AMS families a few ideas to use when selecting items for children’s gifts.  

    Holiday Gifting by Jinny Gonzalez, AMS Early Childhood Coordinator
     
     
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