A Dress Rehearsal for Life

_SJP8863By Katie Edde, Dean of Students

How do we teach children to learn from failure? As a parent of two Prep students, I know the temptation to rescue my girls from situations that may lead to failure or disappointment. I don’t want them to be hurt. Rather, I want them to grow up to be self-assured, resilient, independent, and hardworking. As dean of students in the Middle School, I want the same for the growing young people in our teachers’ care.

Someone once told me middle school is a dress rehearsal for life, and it’s true. As students mature and change during these pivotal growth years, they experience challenges that prepare them for adulthood. Bad grades happen, friendships aren’t easy, teams come up short, tempers flare, and tears fall. Educators know to look past the mistakes and see the shining light within each child.

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An Egg-cellent STEM Egg Drop Challenge

By Emily Tucker, STEM Specialist

stem1Prep’s 6th Annual STEM Egg Drop Challenge was a huge success with nearly 50 teams, 40 additional entries, 18 student volunteers, and at least 12 staff members!

Discovery Place Science museum graciously provided tickets to the IMAX Dome Theatre for our contest winners. Students tested their contraptions on the four challenge levels: The Over Easy (picnic table), The Sunny Side Up (6 ft. ladder), the French Omelette (mezzanine window), and The Ultimate Scrambler (Middle School balcony).

As each student successfully navigated a challenge level, they received a sticker. After completing all challenges, participants were awarded a certificate and their choice of a variety of egg-themed prizes.

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Purposeful Play


By Sharon Vanella, Head of Early School

One of the most critical aspects of Montessori education is the relationship that this educational model has to child development, and really, to the neurology of the developing brain. Children are naturally inclined toward discovery and play. Beginning in infancy, babies delight in games like peek-a-boo, and once mobile, they begin reaching out to discover the world around them using all their senses. Picking up an object from nature or the space around them, children imagine the possibilities it contains by experimenting with it—banging on something, putting it in their mouth, and manipulating it in a variety of ways. These experiences begin to develop the neuro-pathways within their brains, thus initiating the process of learning.  

Montessori classrooms are sometimes criticized for being “too limiting”—not allowing for imaginative play. However, as Maria Montessori herself discovered, children gravitate toward realistic objects that allow them to explore their world with purposeful play. Make no mistake, there is imagination happening here, but at the same time, the children’s play is actually laying the groundwork for their future learning. Continue reading “Purposeful Play”