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!


Backyard Rock Garden

Thanks to Maria Garcia, UMA student from Fayetteville, NC:

"I want to share these pictures with you. This is a rock garden that I built for the Child Care Center where I work. I'm so proud of it because I actually built it myself. Usually my husband is the 'handyman' of the house, but since he is in Korea, he told me how to do it and I did it myself."




How special to be able to create something with our own hands and be able to share this gift with our children! We envision children enjoying many hands-on hours exploring and manipulating these beautiful rocks found in nature. 


Science-Sensorial Experiment

Go to:… Enjoy a range of fun science experiments for kids that feature awesome hands-on projects and activities that help bring the exciting world of science to life! Example:


What you'll need:

  • A small piece of peeled potato
  • A small piece of peeled apple (same shape as the potato so you can't tell the difference)


  1. Close your eyes and mix up the piece of potato and the piece of apple so you don't know which is which.
  2. Hold your nose and eat each piece, can you tell the difference?

What's happening?

Holding your nose while tasting the potato and apple makes it hard to tell the difference between the two. Your nose and mouth are connected through the same airway which means that you taste and smell foods at the same time. Your sense of taste can recognize salty, sweet, bitter and sour but when you combine this with your sense of smell you can recognize many other individual 'tastes'. Take away your smell (and sight) and you limit your brains ability to tell the difference between certain foods.


Writing Before Reading!

Jillian McClendon of Central Kitsap Montessori in Bremerton, WA shares this wonderful photo of "Leighton" fully focused on spelling his words. Another beautiful Montessori moment. 


Green Crafter Ethics: Is it Okay to Collect Seashells?

Summer is here and we are seeing all sorts of interesting and fun craft ideas utilizing sea shells and other beach objects. Before you start picking up those photo for an informative article:



Locks and Keys

Thanks to Ann Lardizabal, UMA student from Santa Rita, Guam, who shares this original hand-made project - matching the key to the lock. 

Lock and unlock



Science Theme: Fruit, Vegetable and Herb Garden

Shana McCarty-Ebler, UMA student from Colorado Springs, CO, shares with us her Original Science Project, which incorporates all areas of learning in the classroom.

"My science theme is a “Fruit and Vegetable Garden”.  I have attached a few photos of a “Vegetable Seed, 3-D, Three Part Card” work that I had made at the beginning of "the Original Project Section" and had chosen to save for use with a science curriculum. (See above and below - Matching Seeds to Vegetables)

 We will work together to plant a garden with vegetables and herbs and tend to some already established raspberry bushes and two apple trees.  We will have a composter outside that we will add to and tend to and turn over with lots of red-wiggler worms."

Fruit, Vegetable and Herb Garden

Practical Life

  • Till the garden and turn some compost into the soil throughout the plot
  • Plant the seeds for lettuce, spinach, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini and yellow squash, radishes, pole beans, sugar snap peas, corn, and pumpkins.  We will put in tomato and pepper plants that have already been started.  We will also put in plants for the herbs – parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, sweet basil and lemon basil.  We will start the chives from seeds
  • Watering and weeding the garden and the fruit bushes and trees will be part of our daily activities
  • Pouring popcorn, pouring beans
  • Transferring dried peas with tweezers
  • Seed sorting
  • Soil transfer from one terra-cotta pot to another with a small garden shovel
  • Water pouring with a small watering can and a bucket
  • Slicing and serving zucchini, celery, apples and pears – save scraps for the compost in a separate bucket
  • Peeling  carrots for the compost bucket – put all of the peelings into the compost bucket
  • Shredding newspaper by hand for the compost bucket
  • The compost bucket is an ongoing project that we will add to the composter barrel outside each day


  • Seed matching
  • Fruit and vegetable mystery bag
  • Tasting fruits and vegetables – may use a blindfold
  • Smelling and feeling herbs
  • Colored fruit and vegetable pictures for sorting into a color wheel


  • Fruit, vegetable and herb – 3-part cards with their names and pictures
  • Seed - 3-D, 3-part card work (see attached picture)
  • Fruit and vegetable worksheets with dotted names for writing
  • Garden tool worksheet with dotted name for writing
  • Herb, vegetable and fruit booklets with dotted names for writing and pictures to color
  • Books to read at circle and to have out for reading – “And the Good Brown Earth” by Kathy Henderson; “Compost Stew – An A to Z Recipe for the Earth” by Mary McKenna Siddals; “Gardening with Kids” by Catherine Woran; “How Does Your Garden Grow? – Great Gardening for Green Fingered Kids” by Clive Nichols; “Grimy, Grubby Gardening – Kentucky Kids Dig It!” by Karen Angelucci


  • Seed counters with # 1- 10 and large seeds like pumpkin or beans
  • Calendar recording for seedling growth – measuring with a ruler
  • Matching memory game with quantity fruit and vegetable pictures with written numbers
  • Old hose cut into gradation lengths similar to the red rods, but shorter
  • Seed gradation work with seeds from very tiny - big and fat


  • Compost bin with red-wiggler worms
  • Helpful garden insects verses harmful ones
  • Bug boxes for studying different bugs found in the garden
  • Fruit and vegetable chart with nutritional qualities
  • Parts of the plant booklets
  • Books on how plants grow
  • Growing seasons for differing climates


  • Varying fruit, vegetable and herb plants found around the world in different regions and cultures
  • Differing gardening and growing practices from different parts of the world


  • Picture collage with cut out pictures from gardening and cooking magazines using scissors and glue
  • Seed and glue collage with water color painting
  • Print paintings made with print blocks made out of potatoes and apples with acrylic paints
  • Make garden stepping stones with colorful tile pieces and plaster in pie tins
  • Make vegetable and herb marking stakes for the garden with laminated artwork with veggie and herb names and glued onto a large popsicle stick
  • Make Scarecrows for the garden
  • Make wind socks from fabric scraps, ribbons, string and cut rings from used plastic plant pots and sticks for stakes


  • Make shaker instruments from small recycleables such as yogurt containers and toilet paper cardboard and seeds and beans
  • Make drums with various sized terra-cotta pots and sticks
  • Learn and sing songs like: Pete Seeger’s “Garden Song”; “Hot Corn, Cold Corn” from Jerry Garcia’s and David Grisman’s Not for Kids Only; and “Little Seed” from Woody Guthrie’s Grow Big Songs

Beautiful work, Shana. Thank you for sharing.


Math & The Isolation of Stimulus

Alexandra Sanna, UMA student from Rome, Italy, shares her original Math project. Come follow us on this wonderful Montessori journey of discovery and transformation with us!  

Photo #1:


  • Above (#1)...A plastic tray to hold the materials, a basket to hold the colored beads - 1 red, 2 green, 3 orange, 4 yellow, 5 blue, and a cardboard box to hold five colored block with dowels - red, green, orange, yellow, blue

Suggested changes: Provide a non-plastic tray (natural materials always preferred), non-cardboard box (needs to be sturdier material), reverse position of basket and box (so movement is L to R).   

Photo #2:

  • Above (#2)...Colored blocks are arranged in "numerical" order with the goal of matching the color of the bead(s) to the blocks. The number cards are placed underneath and, as a "control of error," turned over to reveal the matching bead color.

Suggested changes: Make a stand to hold the blocks in place. Rotate the cards so that the dots are vertical, rather than horizontal for visual accuracy. 


(1) The main purpose of this Math activity is to determine the sequence of quantity (1-5), rather than match the colors. Although the different colors allow for an additional "control of error," it is better to make all the colors the same.

(2) The beads are different shapes. Make them all the same, again, for visual accuracy when viewing the quantities side by side.

 Photo #3: 

  • Above (#3)...The plastic tray has been removed, the colored blocks with dowels have been replaced with a natural colored wooden stand without color coding, and the colored, multi-shaped beads are now all the same (blue and round).

Photo #4:

  •  Above (#4)...How visually appealing and easy to see the increase of quantity in equal increments, due to the isolation of stimulus. On the back of the dotted cards, there are corresponding numerals. Either side may be used, depending upon the age and ability of the child. 

Suggestion: Line up the dots on the cards in single verticle rows to match the beads on the dowels, rather than by two's. 


Alexandra Sanna, per our suggestion, did not let the original project go to waste! She has made a color-matching exercise with an equal number of beads on each color-coded dowel on its color-coded stand. This is now on her Sensorial shelf.

Thank you, Alexandra, for sharing your journey with the Montessori community. Beautiful job!


The Prepared Environment

An important consideration for the Montessori "prepared environment," whether at home or in the classroom... Get rid of those chemicals! (Plus save $.) Click image for an article to help you stock an EASY-BREASY, BREATHING-EASY CLEANING ARSENAL: 


The GIANT Number Roll

Jeanna Harris, UMA graduate and teacher at Cottage Montessori School in Silverdale, WA shares these amazing photos of a young boy's dedication to the Montessori Number Roll.

Meet 6-year-old Gabe Carpenter! 

"Highest any of my students have ever gotten...11,000!"

"It took him about 16 months total. We have had him in our classroom for 2 years, and now he is graduating!"

"Gabe is so motivated. Whatever he does, he gives 100%."

Way to go, Gabe! We'd all love to see what you're doing 20 years from now!

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