March Spanish Lime Newsletter

Dear Spanish Lime Families,
For the past month, the Spanish Limes have been a busy community. We celebrated Friendship Day with our toddler friends, presented poetry projects, researched U.S. presidents, and dove deeper into our history of humans.

The class split up and joined the toddler classroom’s circle time for Friendship Day. The Spanish Limes created a photo book of the toddlers at work, and wrote a caption to go with each picture. In exchange, the toddlers made a wonderful salt scrub that we use for hand washing to keep those pesky germs away! As a group, we recited Light a Candle for Peace, exchanged Friendship Day gifts, and ended our time with a dance party!

The Fourth Great lesson, The Coming of Writing, was presented to your child. This lesson focuses on the introduction and importance of the human language. This story is divided into parts:
• The First Word is an origin story about the birth of human speech.
• The Ox and the House looks at the beginning of the alphabet, individualizing sounds and the introduction to pictograph and writing.
• The Piece of Paper that Sees and Speaks is primarily about the “magic” of reading.

These stories introduce all three components of language — speaking, writing, and reading — in a narrative way. In addition to these stories, the lesson discusses the different cultures, time period, and writings that were influenced. The Fifth Great Lesson comes soon after, and is about the history of our numbers, the underlying motivations for counting, and how our number symbols came to be.

Throughout the next few months, we will be keeping history simple and straightforward by highlighting major events, personalities, and national stories of the world’s culture. From the first nomads, to the rich lands of the Fertile Crescent, to ancient Egypt we will be immersing ourselves in it all. These stories will give us a small insight of what life was like long, long ago.

Ms. Sally and Ms. Sarka

February Spanish Lime Newsletter

Dear Spanish Lime Families,

The Spanish Limes came back from winter break with the same pizzazz and excitement when they left in December. We are working on slowing down, taking more time to reflect on our progress, observe more often, meditate, and find answers to our questions within ourselves before seeking the answers from others. Ms. Sarka has been leading our morning meditation since November. It has been a brilliant way to start the day and remind ourselves of everything we are working towards for ourselves: academically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

In the month of January we discussed the relationships between humans’ fundamental needs to the civil rights movement. Questions asked during group discussions were:
• How were people’s rights taken away?
• When human rights are taken away does this affect their material and spiritual needs overall?
• What happens when we are not given an adequate balance of our fundamental needs?
• Historically, what groups of people have had their rights taken away?
• What steps did they take to win them back?
• Who are these historical figures?

We first reviewed the fundamental needs, which include the need for shelter, clothing, transportation, defense, food, culture, religion, and vanities. Next, we dove into our own nation’s history, from when the Constitution was created, its meaning and the Bill of Rights, which explains the rights given to all American citizens. We read about how our country had not been abiding to these rights, and how these people who suffered inequality had their fundamental needs violated; which in turn sparked the civil rights movement and the other movements for justice throughout our own nation’s history. Our goal in mind was to create awareness of inequalities that occurred in the past, and how even present and when these fundamental needs are not fully met the quality and longevity of one’s existence can be affected.
For the month of February we will be celebrating friendship month with our toddler community. This year we will create a book filled with pictures of current toddler students at work (photo credit Ms. Liz and Ms. Dori). Each student will write simple sentences describing what is taking place in the photo. For example, “Karen is putting on a hat from the season’s basket.” The purpose is not only to share and connect with the toddler community but also to aid in expansion of vocabulary by personalizing the book with their own photo and their classmates as well!

Big thank you and shout out to those families who have donated to our classrooms Mystery Basket for the Gala Fundraiser. This is a great cause and every item donated makes our basket that much more intriguing! Your continuous dedication and support to our community is always noted and appreciated by every member; thank you.


Ms. Sally and Ms. Sarka

January Spanish Lime Newsletter

Happy New Year Spanish Lime Families,

I hope everyone had a happy holiday and a pleasant start to the New Year! Last month’s focus was on, introducing the Story of Humans and how humans have three great gifts that separate us from other living things: the hands, the heart, and the head. The gift of the hand (and the use of our thumbs) made it possible for us to be tool users. The gift of the head and our minds made it possible for us to reason, think, solve problems, and imagine. The gift of the heart and our ability to love made all the other gifts worthwhile. Love is transcendent in its own way because it makes us care deeply, and that is why we are together today, because we love and care for one another.

For the rest of the year the Spanish Limes are going to spend lots of time looking at the Human Timeline chart and read about people from each era, learn what early people did in different places and where they lived. When discussing the timeline in more detail the Spanish Limes will be thinking of three things: their hands, their heads and their hearts, and think about how these early people used their three gifts and how they use theirs today. In this way they are finding themselves in the story and finding where the story is in them.

Our next focus on the Human Timeline will be on The Fourth Great Lesson: The Story of Language. This story is divided into three parts. The first part discusses the birth of human speech; the second part looks at the beginnings of the alphabet and focuses on writing. The third part encompasses the subject of reading and how the invention of paper allows us to see and speak language. By using these three stories, all three components of language: speaking, writing, and reading are introduced in a narrative way!

The Children’s Schools Annual Gala is approaching on Saturday, February 1st. This event is the perfect date night that includes tasty appetizers, a silent auction, and a comedy show! Those that attended last year, you will remember that each classroom put together a themed based basket full of goodies to be auctioned off in our silent auction. This year our class is putting together a MYSTERY BASKET! This basket can be any item you feel worthwhile, while also keeping it wrapped and discrete for added suspense and wonder. I will send out a sign up genius if you would like to purchase/donate items for the basket. When you drop off your basket item, please attach a copy of the receipt so I can get an estimate of the total cost for the basket as a starting bid. Please let me know if you have any great ideas to add! Let’s make it a great auction basket! The more it is auctioned for, the more that is able to go towards The Children’s School Scholarship Fund!

The third years will be starting weekly visits to the upper elementary class every Thursday from 12:35-1:15. They will be working on STEM projects with Ms. Ashleigh and the Cocoplum students. Reading Buddies has been a huge hit amongst the Spanish Limes and Kindergarten students. They work in small groups practicing their active listening, reading, and comprehension skills for 30 minutes every day. We are excited to be doing more bridging between the programs this year!

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss


Ms. Sally and Ms. Sarka

December Spanish Lime Newsletter

Greetings Spanish Lime Families,

Everything that children have learned in the primary years comes together, now, in the elementary years. This foundation built in the early years gives children a readiness to take on new challenges. Students are shown familiar materials that they used in primary that are now used to deepen their knowledge in that subject area. They are developing an inner awareness of themselves, others, and where they fit in this world. Many psychological changes take place in the elementary child, and it is our job not to give them “just the facts,” but to create and provide an environment that allows their natural ability to use their cognitive skills to work through moral issues.

“When the child begins to think and to make use of the written language to express his rudimentary thinking, he is ready for elementary work; and this fitness is a question not of age or other incidental circumstance but of mental maturity.”
—Maria Montessori, The Advanced Montessori Method

Thank you for your participation in the first student-led conference this year. Why did I participate in these conferences? I want to re-share a paragraph from an academic article pertaining to student-led conferences.

“…this practice is the biggest breakthrough in communicating about student achievement in the last century. When students are well prepared over an extended period to tell the story of their own success (or lack thereof), they seem to experience a fundamental shift in their internal sense of responsibility for that success. The pride in accomplishment that students feel when they have a positive story to tell and tell it well can be immensely motivational. The sense of personal responsibility that they feel when anticipating what it will be like to face the music of having to tell their story of poor achievement can also drive them to productive work.”
—Rich Stiggins, Phi Delta Kappan magazine, November 1999

Student-led conferences focus on learning by goal setting (and buy-in by all involved: teacher, parent, child), which creates an authentic evaluation. Students are accountable to share their work in progress, what motivates them, and what is difficult at this time. It teaches self-evaluation through self-reflection skills and opens up communication between home and school. I always find the child is more accurate than not when evaluating themselves and setting goals (academic and personal) for the year. The home goals are meant to include families and role model goal-setting techniques. Thank you for attending this conference — a flourishing student is supported by involved parents.

The Spanish Limes have been digging deep into their unit studies of the Timeline of Life, and have focused their studies on The Plant Kingdom. As much as we love learning about animals, we found that animals would not have a place in this world if it were not for plants. Through photosynthesis, plants convert carbon dioxide and water into complex compounds and release oxygen. Animals use oxygen released by plants. Making those connections in the classroom has sparked research questions of all kinds, such as:
• What are plants functions/parts?
• What is the different between a vascular and non-vascular plant?
• How do seeds travel?
• How does capillary action (root absorption) work if gravity pulls everything towards the earth’s core?
• How do carnivorous plants digest their prey?
For the months of December and January, we will begin discussing similarities and differences not only of plants but also in animals and humans, and how we all share a global genetic language called DNA that guides us in how to grow an behave.

The third great lesson, The Coming of Humans, discusses how humans have three special gifts and how these gifts set us apart from other living things: the hand, the heart and the mind. Through understanding these gifts we will examine how early humans used these gifts, and how their spiritual and materials needs were met and have changed over 7 million years of our own human history.

“Obviously the love of order in children is not the same as that of adults. Order provides an adult with a certain amount of external pleasures. But for the small children it is something quite different. It is like the land upon which animals walk or the water in which fish swim. In their first year they derive their principles of orientation from their environment which they must later master.”
—Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood

Looking forward to celebrating this wonderful holiday season with you all!

Ms. Sally

Welcome back Ms. Ashleigh. In addition to the morning work cycle Ms. Ashleigh has returned to the Upper Elementary classroom in the afternoons to teach a second work cycle. Students will still enjoy PE, drama, and Spanish then have a lesson or recap/extension in: Math, Language, Science/STEM, Literature Circle, and Socratic Discussion.

November Spanish Lime

Greetings, Spanish Limes Families,

For the past two months, the Spanish Limes have been immersed in their afternoon enrichment studies. We have had several experts share their careers and passions with us. Community members visited weekly to share their cultures, language, and history. Your child has had an introduction to drama, and even put on an impromptu play for the primary students of the famous fable “The Tortoise and the Hare.” They learned from a professional photographer the history and evolution of cameras. Nursing students from the College of the Florida Keys gave demonstrations on myriad health topics, from bike safety to healthy eating. We are grateful to have such a variety of professionals share their expertise with us.

As we head into the month of November, we will begin to settle and normalize into a weekly enrichment routine:
Daily — we will begin making connections and meeting every day from 12:35 to 1:15 p.m. with our Kindergarteners for Reading Buddies. This is a great opportunity for the Spanish Limes to get to know their community and practice developing reading skills.
Tuesdays and Fridays, — Coach Paul continues to work with us on our coordination and give basic introductions to all levels of sports.
Wednesdays — Ms. Caroline returns to teach us Drama.
Thursdays —Ms. Jennifer offers Spanish as our foreign language curriculum.
We are still looking for an art or music teacher, on Mondays from 1:20 to 2:00 p.m., so if you know anyone in the community who may be interested, please contact me at

The Second Great Lesson was told in the beginning of October. This story is called “The Coming of Life.” It is accompanied by the Timeline of Life: a long impressionistic chart, printed in vibrant color, illustrating many of the events discussed in the story. We explored how life changed by having cells that compartmentalized. We discussed each period, what “era” means, and the animals that were dominant at that time. We looked at the armored fish that were slow and heavy, and the sea scorpion that could crunch through any armor with its claws. The fish evolved and grew skeletons inside their bodies, this made them quicker. Life evolved again, and amphibians appeared. They lived their lives on water and on land, but found fewer predators on land and evolved. Reptiles appeared, and they lived life mostly on land so they became dry and scaly. Reptiles got bigger and bigger, and one group developed with special hips: dinosaurs. Dinosaurs died out and the mammals took over; they were huge, like the wooly mammoths. They developed fur to withstand cooler temperatures. We talk briefly about humans at the end, as this is another story …

Parent-teacher conferences and student-led conferences are the 8th and 11th this month. Please sign up on SchoolCues, or email me personally if you need a different date. At these conferences we look at your child’s strengths and challenges, and set goals for the year. Looking forward to meeting with you all!

Ms. Sally and Ms. Sarka

October Spanish Lime Newsletter

Greetings Spanish Lime Families,

This is the first Spanish Lime Newsletter of the 2019-2020 school year. Newsletters are meant to provide insight on what is happening in the classroom and around the Children School community. I would like to begin by giving you a snapshot of what the Elementary Program looks like, what the Spanish Limes have been doing so far, and what to expect to hear in the next month from your child.

The Montessori Lower Elementary program is an extraordinary program for 6- to 9-year- old children. The children are at a time of their lives were they are very social beings, so the classroom is really their community, and is considered a “social lab.” There is a great deal of learning how to work through conflicts, how to negotiate friendships, and the tasks that are required for collaborative and independent work. Part of what works so well is that these students have typically been with their teacher and classmates for three years, so there is a great sense of trust with one another and with the type of learning that takes place.

The entire curriculum for the elementary years is “story-centered.” We present stories called The Five Great Lessons, which give the children a vision of the whole universe and how everything is interconnected. This allows them to focus on learning and to organize knowledge, while sparking their imaginations and desire know more. Using stories can make classrooms more progressive and more traditional at the same time. The progressive element lies in utilizing the child’s imagination as the driving force of education. With imagination captured, inner curiosity and questioning are activated, and education truly becomes a lifelong process. At the same time, classrooms that use stories become more deeply traditional. Storytelling extends our long, great human tradition of oral communication. Long ago storytellers were the educators, the keepers of tradition, and sometimes even the priest or shamaens. Modern storytellers carry forward that ancient tradition. Stories, like all art, open our minds to the strange and wonderful world that surrounds us.

This year has started with a bang the Big Bang that is. The first great lesson presented to your child was, “The Story of the Universe and How the Earth Was Created.” This story takes children back more than 14 billion years to the creation and development of the universe and eventually our planet Earth. The lesson includes work with specific impressionistic charts and experiments. Questions and research promoted by the students included space (planets, black holes, stars, astronomy, moon phases), volcanoes, rocks, oceans, inner and outer layers of Earth.

For the month of October, the Spanish Limes will hear the second great lesson, “The Coming of Life.” This story explains how life began as a simple single-cell organism, and transformed and evolved over a long period of time into other organisms such as plants, vertebrates, and invertebrates. Research on botany, zoology, and earth science stem from this unit study. Keep a lookout for photos and emails that give further details on your child’s studies.

We are looking forward to another great year learning and growing together!


Ms. Sally and Ms. Sarka

May Spanish Lime Newsletter

Dear Spanish Lime Families,

April was full of self-reflections and goal settings. The Spanish Limes did a tremendous job conducting their Student Led Conferences. I hope you all enjoyed that time absorbing where your child is today. I want to thank you all for full participation this year, the Spanish Limes feedback on their favorite part of the conference was sharing it with you!

As we head into the month of May many events are taking place. Mark your calendars: May 10th at 1:45 is the Parent Appreciation Music and Movement Concert! This will be take place on the front lawn. Cultural Immersion and Art Show is scheduled for May 24th from 5:30-7:00. This event will showcase individual art pieces and our class art auction items on the front playground. You will have a chance to tour all Primary and Elementary classrooms while viewing their research.

The Spanish Limes have been focusing on the continent of South America. Each student will have conducted research on a vertebrate and invertebrate animal, plants, famous landmarks, cultures, and countries! All research and extensions are completed in class. Most of the crafting supplies are recycled items that have been collected over a year from one household.

Every Tuesday for the month of May the Spanish Limes will be going on walkabouts and field trips in the afternoons. May 7th the West Martello Towers, May 14th the Eco Discovery Center, May 21st the NOAA Weather Station, and last week of school, dates pending, the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon (more information to come). This will be a wonderful time to get out into the community, learn about the experts and opportunities that encompass our island home.

Looking forward to a busy month finishing out the end of the year strong together!

“Growth is not merely a harmonious increase in size, but a transformation. Man is a sculptor of himself, urged by a mysterious inner force to the attainment of an ideal determination form. Growth may be defined as a seeking after perfection, given by an impulse of Life.” Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential


Ms. Sally and Ms. Nicole

April Spanish Lime Newsletter

Dear Spanish Lime Families,

I hope everyone had a wonderful, restful Spring Break and is ready to finish the year off strong! Standardized testing is completed! The students appeared to enjoy the testing experience and overall took pleasure in receiving the extra outdoor time. Our Toddler Community baked us bread and muffins to show encouragement during the long testing periods. These bake goods were well received by the children. Thanks toddler friends! During the testing period the first year children were invited to visit their previous primary classrooms to observe the environment and work alongside their former peers. Each afternoon they shared their observations and experience with the rest of the class. Overall, it appeared to be a great experience for all involved. They were complimented by the primary teachers on how helpful and inspiring they were to others and how much they have grown since last year!

The Spanish Limes enjoyed The Fifth Great Lesson: The Story of Numbers. It starts by addressing the underlying motivations for counting in a pre-counting human era. The story discusses how our number symbols came to be. Before counting began, it is believed that one-to-one matching, or pairing, occurred. In today’s world, a simple example of pairing would be matching yourself to an empty seat at a concert, or you car to a parking place. In ancient times, it may have meant matching a notch to a stick to something else. It would have been like counting by ones only. One, one, one, one, one, etc. This is not really counting as we understand it, but it was, and remains, an essential first step in human counting ability. The story goes on to how our number symbols came to be. Ask your child to retell the story of numbers!

Mark your calendars: Our second Parent Education night of the year is this Wednesday, April 3 at 5:30.  Childcare is available. We invited our current Kindergarten parents and next year’s 1st grade parents to learn more about our wonderful Elementary programs.  Come share your experiences, learn more about what we do and why, and asked the questions that you have been meaning to ask. Student Led Conferences are Friday, April 19th  from 2:00pm-5:00pm, located in the Spanish Lime Classroom. Parent-Teacher Conferences are Monday, April 22th from 8:00am-5:30pm. Look out for an email containing the sign up genius for these conferences.

May is just around the corner and that means my favorite school fundraiser of all time, Cultural Immersion Day and Art Show Fundraiser. Friday, May 24th from 5:00pm-7:00pm located at The Children’s School. It can be compared to a miniature version of Walk on White with student art hanging throughout the front lawn of our campus. Bring a picnic basket, blanket and tour all primary and elementary classrooms. Each classroom will have studied a particular continent, and have designed a visual of their animal research. This year our classroom will be studying South America. Each child will conduct elaborate research on an invertebrate, vertebrate, plant and famous landform/landmark of their choosing.

In order to enhance our cultural study, if any families have a piece of the South American culture that they can share; artifacts, photos, stories, books, art, food, etc. we would love to borrow them temporarily. Thank you all for your help and support.


Ms. Sally and Ms. Nicole

March Spanish Lime Newsletter

Greetings Spanish Lime Families,

For the past month the Spanish Limes have been a busy community. We celebrated Friendship Day with our toddler friends, crafted and sold items at the bake sale, and presented an in class assignments about American Presidents.

This year for Friendship Day we joined the Mangrove classroom’s circle time. As a group we recited Gandhi’s prayer of peace, sang, exchanged Friendship Day gifts, and ended our time with a dance party! The Spanish Limes created a photo book of the toddlers at work and wrote a caption to go with each picture. In exchange, the toddlers made a wonderful eucalyptus salt scrub that we use for hand washing to keep those pesky germs away!

The bake sale was a hit! Thank you to our wonderful volunteers who helped bake and sell items.  All proceeds go towards the Elementary programs. Thank YOU!

We have another enrichment added on Tuesday afternoons, Circus! David and Tobin from The Red Trouser Show instruct children to perform acrobatic skills. From tumbling, to juggling, to making human pyramids, the Spanish Limes are excited to get wrapped up in it all!

March 6th from 5:30-7:00 is parent education night on the Montessori Lower Elementary Classroom and Materials. Montessori classrooms are bright, warm and inviting spaces. They are filled with intriguing materials, fascinating models and colorful maps. The Montessori Materials provided in each level are tools that stimulate the child into logical thought and discovery. Come learn more about what the Lower Elementary classroom features and lessons given throughout the three year cycle.

If you plan to come and have a few lessons in mind you would like to see, please email me ahead of time so I can make sure it is presented and discussed. Hope to see you there!


Ms. Sally and Ms. Nicole

February Spanish Lime

Dear Spanish Lime Families,

Last month I had the opportunity to travel to Celebration Florida to undergo a 30 hour Comprehensive Training that provided me with an in depth understanding of the IMSE Orton-Gillingham methodology. This course focused primarily on how to teach phonological awareness, phonics, and basic literacy skills on a multi-sensory and sequential approach. This method can be incorporated into any literacy program and is catered for all types of learners. I look forward to integrating this knowledge into the classroom. Pamela Flowers has joined the morning work cycle as our schools reading specialist. She has been working closely with students teaching literacy and comprehension through a similar multi sensory approach. We are excited to have her join our community!

In observance of Martin Luther King Day the Spanish Limes were busy researching the Civil Rights Era, and the people that inspired change for African American rights. The Spanish Limes as a whole heard valuable lessons about tolerance and the importance of being unique. Everybody is different, and has special talents and qualities to offer the world. What a person looks like on the outside has nothing to do with what is on the inside! Students collaborated on small individual projects and a large Martin Luther King collage that was displayed in front of the school over the long weekend.

The Fourth Great Lesson, The Coming of Writing was presented to your child. This lesson focuses on the introduction of the human language. This story is divided into parts; The First Word is an origin story about the birth of human speech. The Ox and the House looks at the beginnings of the alphabet, focusing on writing. The Piece of Paper that Sees and Speaks is primarily about reading. By using these three stories all three components of language; speaking, writing, and reading are introduced in a narrative way. The fourth piece to the great lesson discusses the different cultures, time periods, and writings that were influenced.

Throughout the next few months we will be keeping history simple and straightforward by highlighting major events, personalities and national stories of the world’s culture. From the first nomads, to the rich lands of the Fertile Crescent, to ancient Egypt we are going too immersed in it all! We will discuss the rise and fall of Athens and the Barbarians that took control. The three Americas (North America, South America and Central America) and the Nazca’s that made sky drawings and the Olmec’s who built ancient temples and left giant stone heads of their rulers. We will be discussing democracies and monarchies and learn about the Roman consuls. These stories will give us a small insight of what life was like long, long ago.

“The hardest part about teaching world history is deciding what to leave out!”- Unknown


Ms Sally and Ms. Nicole