The Grapevine

Woodinville Montessori School
Weekly Newsletter, Aug. 29, 2018

LEARN self-respect, compassion and commitment to community | GROW academically, socially, emotionally, creatively and intellectually | BECOME world citizens who have a voice and make a difference.

WMS homeGrapevine photo galleryToddlerEarly ChildhoodLower ElementaryUpper ElementarySecondary siteFamily Alliance

Welcome back! School opens on Sept. 5

Head of School

Head of School Sunita Pailoor opens Prep Week 2018. New and returning staff reported for work on Aug. 27, ready for Prep Week meetings and preparing the classroom environments for optimal Montessori work. See more photos in this week’s gallery.→

School opens on Wednesday, Sept. 5, and it’s a regular, full school day. Join us first thing after drop off that morning for:

Prepared environments are key to Montessori classrooms

Read about why our teachers are devoting so much time and effort to meticulous classroom preparation this week.


By Head of School Sunita Pailoor

As Montessori teachers and staff, we often use the term “prepared environment” to denote classrooms. The two words sum up the key difference between a Montessori environment and other teaching environments. There are three aspects to a prepared classroom: academic, social and psychological.

In a prepared environment, every item in the class is intentionally and mindfully placed in order to foster independence in a student. Teachers place materials on the shelves on trays, or in boxes that students can take off the shelf independently. They know that once students have been given lessons, they can then work with materials as long as they need to in order to master that concept. From academic work on the shelves to placement of hooks for jackets, decisions are made after asking the question, “Can students do this without adult help?” There is a great deal of planning that goes on in preparing the classroom for students. Students know how to learn by interacting with the environment around them.

A prepared classroom is not just about academic work or independent learning. It is about thinking deliberately about the social emotional needs of the child. How can students socialize in the classroom, does the set-up of the classroom encourage focused work? The balance between group and individual work spaces is another important consideration when teachers intentionally create work spaces in their classrooms.

The last aspect of a prepared classroom is creating a safe psychological space for students. In Montessori classrooms teachers intentionally demonstrate that making mistakes is part of learning. Students learn to deal with conflict and resolve them in a peaceful manner. A Montessori classroom embraces diversity and respects each person for who they are: it is not passive acceptance but a deliberate plan made to seek and celebrate diversity. Every Montessori student knows that they have a primary responsibility that comes from being human, they have to take care of themselves, others and the environment.

At WMS, we can proudly say we have prepared the environment for students and are ready for the First Day of School!

Meet our new faculty & staff


Let us introduce you to our new staff members, from the top left.

Alexa Boss, Lower El Spanish teacher, will also teach High School Spanish.

Christina Clements returns to North Creek after several years away to work in Club House and as YMCA Chaperone.

Amanda Freerksen is a new teacher in Cypress, Upper Elementary.

Berton Herrlinger will teach French in EC, and is EC Camp Coordinator, Parenting University Coordinator and Club House Assistant.

Carrie Holder is a new North Creek Early Childhood program assistant.

Labiba Khan is assistant to Admissions Director Julie Schwarz.

Matt Long will co-teach in Cedar.

Carter McCoy is our Secondary Program Director.

Tiffany Miller is an EC program and Club House assistant.

Emily Murray joins Laura Webb in Hawthorn as a co-teacher intern.

Alli Remily is a new Woodinville campus EC classroom assistant.

Amber Russell is a substitute Toddler and EC Club House assistant.

Alison Stern will co-teach in the Magnolia classroom with LeeAnn Brown.

You can read more detailed descriptions in “Mary says goodbye and announces additional staff,” in the June 22 Grapevine.

Prepare to be amazed at all the improvements

CH study hall

Facilities Manager Tim McQuery has led an incredible transformation of many of our building interiors this summer. We have a brand new Lower El classroom (Hawthorn), conjured out of a pair of offices, the former staff lounge and kitchen. You will also notice bright, clean, new vinyl floors in Building 1, and a new staff lounge and improved Head of School Conference Room.

Still to come: a completely renovated front lobby at North Creek Building 1. While it is already much improved, it still awaits new furniture, due to arrive in late September. Please bear with us while it’s in transition.

Students in Elementary Club House also have a bright and cheerful new place to study (in photo). The former EL Club House Conference Room has been transformed into a study hall/library.

Meanwhile the crew moved several Admin offices. The Business, HR and Communications Departments are now located in suite 125, a newly-opened section on the northeast side of Building 2. A wall was opened up to extend the first floor hallway into that new section. The Development Department and an office for Family Alliance are on the southwest corner of Building 2.