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Good-for-you Pumpkin Seeds

Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone! 


Remember to compost your Jack O' Lantern or feed it to your livestock after all the fun is done! 

And, don't throw out those pumpkin seeds! They are not only delicious, but also are high in zinc, other minerals, amino acids, and vitamin K. As a Practical Life exercise, roast some in your classroom...or at home! 




  • preheat to 350 degrees
  • rinse seeds in strainer under cold water (compost the stringy pieces)
  • place seeds in bowl
  • add 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp cumin (mix well)
  • spread out on baking sheet
  • Bake 15-20 minutes (until golden brown and crunchy)
  • Cool before eating (alone as a snack or add to trail mix or salad)



Pondering the Pumpkin Picking Process

Choose your words very carefully when conversing with a toddler!

"Look at all the pumpkins. You may choose any one you want!"


Little Awa  is very serious when she says, "I want this one."  

Time for a quick diversionary tactic. "Oh look! Let's choose this one. It's just the right size."

"No! This one!" ...fully determined, she attempts to lift it and take it home.

Lesson learned.

Happy Autumn Everyone!


Amazing Halloween Snacks

Halloween is soon upon us. In fact, less than a week away!

We totally agree with Montessori schools that choose not to "celebrate" Halloween in the classroom. But let's face it...Halloween is a historical tradition, especially in the USA.  Given that, here are some fun, healthy snack alternatives, for those AFTER SCHOOL parties.

You can always incorporate some of these creative snacks into your classroom "anatomy" theme, right? Click on photo and enjoy!!



Wise Words

...for both parents and educators:



Toddler in the Home...

What to do with a toddler in the home? The possibilities are endless! Trudy and John Shepard, co-administrators of UMA, enjoy time in the kitchen with their 2-year-old grand daughter, Awa Shepard Thiam. Be sure to read about the developmental benefits at the bottom of the page!





Scooping, Wiping:

The Joy of Bubble Beating!


So what's happening here, besides a whole lot of FUN?!

Direct - Development of... 

  • Independence
  • Concentration
  • Hand-eye Coordination
  • Large/small motor movement
  • Order
  • Self confidence
  • Joy of learning through exploration

Indirect - Understanding of..

  • Spatial relationship
  • Size and volume

Preparation for... 

  • Math (measuring)
  • Writing (muscular control)
  • Reading (eye-hand coordination)
  • Vocabulary (empty, full, wet, dry, squeeze, pour...)

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

You don’t have to spend a fortune on educational activities for the classroom. Create your own! Many supplies can be found around the house (magazines, kitchen cupboards...) or in thrift stores. Just make sure that everything is clean and in beautiful condition. (A laminator is important for protecting cards, labels, and posters.)

Share your own ideas and photos! Email:

Vivian Thomas Shi, UMA student and owner of Learning Tree Montessori School in Seattle, WA invited us to come to her Open House this Saturday. Her lovely school is located in a home in the area of Columbia City. We took a few photos of some of the hand-made items in the classroom, which Vivian is happy to share with the UMA Montessori community.

Below is a Sensorial activity- a basket of "smelling bottles" filled with interesting spice scents:

Signs of nature abound in any authentic Montessori classroom. Vivian holds up a yam that the children can watch grow both roots and leaves:

Vivian has a well-stocked Science area. Here is a bowl with various objects to be sorted into two categories- “living” and “non-living” (you can also make a chart with “organic” and “non-organic”):

Also found in the Science area- matching animal objects to picture/word cards:

And in the Science/Geography area-  matching a clear glass jar of soil, of air, and of water to the AIR, WATER, and LAND control cards. Included were separate cards for Air, Water, and Land identification.

Hopefully this blog post will inspire you to create some of your own projects for the classroom or home. Share them with us!


UMA Infant-Toddler Program

Exciting news!

Due to the enormous number of requests over the years, and realizing the great need for such, UMA has been working diligently the past 12 months on developing a top-quality Montessori Infant-Toddler Teacher Training Program. We are in the final phases of the curriculum development and plan to offer this AMAZING new program in the Spring of 2012. We are extremely proud of this most comprehensive, well-balanced program of study and look forward to providing you more updates in the near future. Stay tuned!



Adventure on the Playground!

You are never too old to enjoy your "inner child!"

Yesterday, three of us at UMA took a "field trip" out to Bainbridge Island, WA (John Shepard-UMA Administrator, Laveeta Sweeney-UMA Evaluator, Trudy Coumou Shepard-Director of Ed)... On our journey, we discovered a most amazing children's playground at Battlepoint Park. Being true Montessorians (!) we, of course, HAD to experience for ourselves the joy of climbing, crawling, exploring, discovering, and playing with other children...

I'm sure Maria would have approved! Enjoy the photos...we highly recommend that you try this yourself active participants and not just passive observers...that you may, too, may re-discover the joys of childhood!

Last but not least, this street sign on Bainbridge Island is named after John Shepard's grandfather, the island's one doctor who owned the island's first automobile - a fun historical fact! 



Montessori & Sign Language

Daphnea Solomon, UMA graduate, and her school, Tupelo Children's House Montessori School, were shown on the local news in Tupelo Mississippi. Watch this great video on how the school uses sign language throughout the year!

  Click image: 



Summer Announcements!

SPECIAL GREETINGS from the staff at UMA! We hope that you (in the Northern Hemisphere) have all been enjoying your summer. Here in Seattle, we are finally starting to see some sunshine! 

A REMINDER: The UMA scheduled Summer Break is August 15 - September 15.   

  • Existing UMA students are welcome to send in assignments (no more than one per week), however, they will not be evaluated during this month off. 
  • New UMA students with a starting date of September 15th must wait until then to submit their first assignment. 
  • Applications for teacher training will continue to be accepted and reviewed.

If anyone has any questions, please ask. We will do our best to get back to you within a reasonable amount of time…keeping in mind that we are on our break.

ANNOUNCEMENT: We are excited to introduce our newest staff member (student evaluator), Sylvia Muccillo. Please go to the STAFF page on the UMA website to read more about her background. Sylvia, UMA graduate, is the owner/director of beautiful Peachtree City Montessori School in Georgia. This is what she says about her own experience with UMA:

“I feel the most valuable and unique training I received from UMA was the internal preparation work I did to prepare myself to work with children on a one-on-one basis in a Montessori environment.  This training was invaluable and I feel it is a life long process for any adult working with children in any capacity, either teaching or parenting.”  

ANOTHER EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT: UMA has been working hard over the past year on developing a Montessori Infant-Toddler Curriculum for teachers in training. Laveeta Sweeney, UMA evaluator, has spearheaded this extensive undertaking and we hope to have it finalized and ready to offer by the first of the new year - 2012.

John and Trudy Shepard (UMA adminstrators) are especially eager to see this program put into place, as they have just welcomed their second grandchild into the world, little Montana Rae! Another Montessori baby, getting a head start in life! 

Blessings to you all, our Montessori "family" around the globe...

See you in September!

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