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“...weaving together social mores, cultural practices and multiple ways of understanding to create a tapestry that tells our story.”


Don’t miss this year’s back to school BBQ hosted by RMF and YOUR River Guides.


The importance of attendance and of punctuality.


Just what exactly does the Board do anyway? It’s not all manis and pedis!

RiverWear is back!



Message from our Executive Director Dear River Montessori Families,


UNIVERSITY C o mmunity Education Night

Oh, how lovely it is to see you this new school year!

It is always so uplifting to

see the children so very enthusiastic and “open” as they welcome and embrace all the newness and possibilities of a new year. We are inspired by their curiosities, interests, and adaptability and look forward to another year of supporting your children in their growth and contagious love of learning!

AUGUST 29, 2013


Don’t miss Jonathan Wolff as he returns to RMCS for another highly revered workshop on parenting thoughtfully! River Crew will be open for this special event. Please RSVP.

For details call 707.778.6414

It is common in Montessori circles to start meetings with acknowledgements and appreciations. So I will begin this letter with sincerest appreciation and gratitude to you, our dedicated families. The community spirit in our school is unparalleled. In addition to donations of time, supplies, and monthly sustaining support via the River Bridge the Gap campaign to help with state funding cutbacks and deferrals, our families volunteer on a regular basis in and out of classrooms, from home and on campus over the weekends, and are unprecedented in kind words, encouragement, and support to each other in our special community of peace. This sets a beautiful example for our children and we can take pride in demonstrating what a thoughtful, nurturing, and supportive community looks and feels like. With such an experience, the children will easily be able to assume their roles as caring adults in the world in a familiar, reflective, and selfreliant way!

I invite you to learn more about our Montessori program to support your child, classroom, and school. Plan to observe this year to see the classrooms in action; nothing speaks to the potential of education better than a Montessori work period! Be sure to take time for the information available for you on the web, from guides, in newsletters, emails from administration, the occasional Friday form or packet. The River Flow provides helpful guidance regarding where to go with a question. Community Conversations are monthly meetings with our highly experienced Montessorians to answer questions about Montessori philosophy, school, and parenting. We hope to see you at

“The last, if not the greatest, of the their

human own

freedoms: attitude



to any

choose given

Bruno Bettleheim, child psychologist

a Board of Directors’ meeting and all the fun events with our River Montessori Foundation – we all benefit from the collaboration in our community! So here’s to beginning anew. Let’s allow the children to set the example for us this time as we welcome and embrace all the potential and possibilities of another school year! Peace, peace, Kelly

GRATITUDE Many thanks to: The Pace Family for cleaning the campus driveways and parking areas. Brian Holiday for repairs, maintenance, and general facilities help! River


Foundation for a great new look and logo that so speaks to our Montessori philosophy & community! Stacey Byrne for lending her



28 July 2013

nursing expertise for training and health requirements. Ginny Hautau for




template. Abby Calvert, Nancy Feldstein, Maria Rodriguez, Elizabeth

Berkowitz, Gamez,


KirvEn, and Ginny Hautau for all your help in the classrooms in preparation for the new school year. Olivia Potter volunteering high school service hours to the office. Olivia Zimmerman, Justin Su, Larissa Kiefer, Alexandra Osborne volunteering for their alma mater in various capacities!

Wish List

THANK YOU! Patio umbrellas Patio furniture Picnic tables Tree stumps Area rugs Carpet samples Roomba vacuum


Artists, Alchemists, & Advocates


Oryn, Gretchen Martinez, Maricela

In Praise of Montessori Teachers:

When we speak of the fabric of our society, no one besides a child’s family has the power and potential to transform a child’s life like a teacher does. Teachers perform the essential role of weaving together social mores, cultural practices and multiple ways of understanding to create a tapestry that tells our story. This work is an everexpanding creation, made newly rich and complex as each one of us - students all contributes our experiences and perspectives. Montessori teachers are artists. They express their love for life and living through the content that they teach – in both the method and materials they share. In an ever increasing search to meet the needs of each child, they transform the classroom environment and the content they study so that everyone might have a personal and meaningful relationship with learning.

“THEY ARE CHAMPIONS OF JOY AND ENGAGEMENT.” Montessori teachers are alchemists. They constantly balance the needs of one child with the needs of another; they cater to each individual, in service of all. Throughout the day, opportunities are made available, and prescriptions are given. In each action resides the scaffolding for more and more complex educational options. Their compass is the warmth and growing light of excitement which we all feel when working with passion and delight.

Montessori teachers are advocates. They greet children with their hearts before they do so with their minds. To move too quickly, to rush head-long into the delivery of content, is to create a space where the teacher is merely performing - dispensing information, regardless of its relevance to or resonance with the children. They work to know both the head and heart of each child. This connection allows for the deep and purposeful exploration of our universe, powered by a trust and faith in each other. A Montessori teacher’s work, and the work of their students, is not static or passive. Rather, theirs is a rich and vibrant world, one where originality and creativity put young thinkers on the edge of new understandings. They are champions of joy and engagement.

Back to School

River Montessori Foundation

River has Heart As we start our fifth year, there’s so much to be proud of at RMCS: We are blessed with amazing guides and assistants who provide our children with a Montessori education that will be the foundation of the amazing people into which they are evolving, the RMCS family community is growing stronger each year, evidenced by the growing support, volunteerism and fundraising successes we’ve seen in the past few years. To reflect this River spirit and community, the River Montessori Foundation has launched its “I am River” campaign for the 2013-2014 school year.

and it’s this collective spirit that makes it so unique and special. So when you put a “I am River” sticker on your car, when you wear your new River Wear t-shirt, you’re not only taking part in a celebration of our community, you’ll expose RMCS to a broader audience who may very well be looking for the same education experience for their child. Thanks in advance for everything you do to support RMCS and all that you will do in this new school year. Together, we can do great things. Together, we can make a difference. Together, we are River. --------------------------------

BBQ Hosted by RMF with YOUR River Guides SATURDAY, August 10, 2013

4pm to 7pm @ RMCS

Don’t miss this great opportunity to catch up with the River community, and meet new families - especially those of our new students! Enjoy a free and delicious barbecue dinner, bid on something delicious at the Dessert Auction and find out more about how you can contribute to our incredible school!

Matt Hautau has been chair of the Foundation for just 32 days. Be nice to him.

You’ve probably noticed the large “I am River” signs in the arrival and dismissal car line, or maybe you saw it on the Welcome Packets (seriously – how cute were those?) … well, you can plan to see it on a bunch of other “swag”, including buttons, stickers, RiverWear shirts and bags. The RMCS community is incredibly vibrant and supportive of our school and of each other,

Committee Chair: Erik Ott e r i k @r a i n m a k e rc ap . c o m

ROWING WITH RIVER CREW Fall Break and Thanksgiving Join the fun in River Crew as we host some of the best play dates in Petaluma! In the Montessori spirit, children are given their choice of activities within a peaceful, joyful, and inspiring environment. At any given time you’ll find an individual child or a small group of friends playing games, cooking, playing outside, conducting science experiments, building structures and engineering, or simply enjoying a good read. Regular Hours: 7:00a.m. - 8:00 a.m. Monday - Friday 3:15p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Monday - Thursday 12:15 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Friday

Meeting Dates Fall Break: Fall Break River Crew to explore Famous Inventors with special guest speaker, Local Inventor, Susan Ross who inventor of the board game Quirkle. THANKSGIVING Break: Join the River Crew Rock Hounds as we go on mineral and rock quests and learn about gems and crystals over the Thanksgiving Break.

RMF NEXT MEETING: Thursday, August 15, 2013 from 7-8pm Meetings are typically held on the 3rd Thursday of each month, but please check the RMF web site for any changes or additions.


Attendance Awareness From the California Department of Education School attendance and timeliness is mandatory and all public schools are required to ensure compliance.

What is important for the children Presence, punctuality, consistency, and responsibility are integral for individual success during the elementary plane of development. Your children receive lessons at school and when they miss them, they are at a disadvantage.


Shape Housekeeping, Reminders, Community Work Days

Arrival, Dismissal, & Traffic

Consistency and routine is very important to children. They may roll easily with changes and aberrations but consistency, routine, familiarity, and ritual calms and gives room for big thinking and great work.

We’ve made it through the first days! Much like the classroom, it takes a few days for everyone to get into the swing of things. Thank you for keeping all of our children safe with:

Children develop character traits and skills at a personal level and then achieve abstraction by understanding and mastering their own needs balanced with needs of the group and a larger community.

• Taking advantage of the car-line and practicing grace and courtesy with the children • Using inner curb lane for car-line & outer lane for moving traffic

Timely presence is required for such development.

• Exiting and entering onto the landing strip in the car-line (driver’s side only)

• Speed limited to 5 mph on campus

• Crossing on crosswalks only


RMCS families

outdo themselves every year. Thanks for all of your time in helping River Montessori provide a beautiful experience for the children. If you have the time, here are the latest needs… 1. Picnic table repair 2. Getting tree stumps @ Sonoma Compost


• Staying with your children when they are in the driveway and parking lot

• Using the Tributary Entrance and crosswalks when walking in/out of school (parking in back of campus frees up the traffic up front for car-line and neighboring cars) • Leaving a space for parking cars to pull through if you are waiting to pull into car-line on campus • Informing school in writing of authorized persons to pick up your child well in advance. Same day additions must occur before 2:00 p.m. so we can ensure that all staff is notified.


Calling all Painters Do you like to paint, talk, meet new friends, or just work quickly to see a job finished beautifully?

WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK.... WHISTLE WHILE YOU PLAY... Then Painting Day is for you! On August 24, 2013, we will finish all the unfinished walls, touch up the bumps and bruises

in our current paint jobs, and generally freshen the aesthetics of our school campus. If you can’t make it, we’d love some paint or gift certificates to Petersen’s Paint. Kelly, a few guides, board members and others will be on hand to chat as we work- come enjoy the fun as we make a difference for the children’s environment!



RMCS Board of Directors Just what does the Board do, anyway? For many people the Board may seem like an elusive entity, when in reality it is an accessible and transparent governing body. One of our goals this year is to reach out to the parent community about the role of the Board. A school board’s primary responsibilities are the governance of the school, oversight of fiscal viability, and, in the case of RMCS, charter compliance. School boards are tasked by the state to create and implement various policy – from fees to required State curriculum directives. The RMCS Board is comprised of seven members, four community members (elected by the Board), and three parent representatives who are elected by the RMCS community, of which I am one. Being a parent Board member has given me a deeper understanding of the business of public education. Our school being not only a charter school, but also a school dedicated to the Montessori pedagogy creates a unique set of challenges and opportunities. The work of the Board is always interesting. In the two years I have served, I have watched the Board go from an organization in its infancy to a sustainable body which has developed appropriate policies vetted by legal and state compliance. As

the long, long hours and not-so-glamorous work has mostly subsided, it is exciting to look forward to the future of RMCS. In an effort to recharter this year, we are currently leading the work of the long-term strategic plan for the school, including facilities, growth and state responsibilities. This has naturally allowed for the creation of a stronger body of committees, such as Fund Development, Facilities, Finance and of course, Board Development. Which brings me to... this October when the term of Parent Board Member and Secretary, Beth Laurence will expire. Beth has graciously stepped up for the role of Treasurer for RMF, where she will undoubtedly be an asset over the next year. We will have our annual opening for a parent member to serve a new threeyear term. The board is always looking for expertise in finance and for local leaders in the Petaluma civic scene. I would encourange anyone, whether interested in joining the board or not, to attend a Board meeting. -------------------------------Ginny Hautau has been a fan of River from the beginning, volunteering to serve in ANY capacity. Someday she will learn the word, “no.” Clearly, today is not that day.

Our River Heart: In memory of our friend


Julie Parnow, Community SECRETARY

Beth Laurence, Parent MEMBER

Norman Lorenz, M.Ed., Community MEMBER

Julie Peterson, Community MEMBER

Ginny Hautau, Parent MEMBER

Milagros Ott, Parent COMMUNITY MEMBER

Know a good fit?

Meeting Dates

BOD NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, August 20, 2013 at 6:30pm

We would like to extend our deepest condolences to Alexander and the entire Sigworth Family in the passing of Alexander’s father, Bruce Sigworth. The Sigworth family has been a supportive member of our school community since the founding and we are saddened by the news. A service is being held at Unity of Marin on Saturday, August 3 at 11:00 a.m. It is the request of the Sigworth family that the service remain lighthearted and casual in both atmosphere and attire. To support Alexander and our fellow RMCS family, contributions may be made to the Alex Sigworth Education Fund.


Meetings are typically held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, but please check the RMCS web site for any changes or additions. Donations may be sent to: Hamilton Federal Credit Union 11 Digital Dr., Suite D Novato, CA 94949

September 10 October 22 November 12 December 10 January 16 February 11 March 4 April 8 May 13 June 17


“It is necessary to give children the possibility of developing according to the laws of their nature, so that they can become strong, and, having become strong can do even more than we dared hope for them.” - Dr. Maria Montessori

River Montessori CHARTER SCHOOL

August Calendar AUGUST 5 Board of Directors Finance Committee Meeting 7:00 p.m. AUGUST 6 Pasta Tuesday AUGUST 8

Parent Orientation Night 5:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. Lower El 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Upper El Burrito Thursday

AUGUST 10 RMF Back to School BBQ 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. AUGUST 13 Pasta Tuesday

In the next River Current:


• Alumni Spotlight

AUGUST 19 Pizza Monday

• Guide Interview

AUGUST 20 Board of Directors Meeting 6:30 p.m. Pasta Tuesday AUGUST 22 Burrito Thursday

• Out of the Mouth of Babes • Class Favorite Recipe • River Critter Corner

Community Conversation 6:00 p.m. River Montessori Foundation Meeting 7:00 p.m. Burrito Thursday

AUGUST 24 Painting Day 9:00 a.m. AUGUST 26 Pizza Monday AUGUST 27 Pasta Tuesday


AUGUST 29 Parent University Night: Jonathan Wolff 5:45 - 7:45 p.m. Burrito Thursday

Montessori C H A RT E R S C H OO L 3880 Cypress Street Petaluma, CA 94954




Monthly Newsletter of River Montessori Charter School Petaluma, California

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