IMA Ancient Greece Fair


Dear IMA families,

The Adolescent Community has been studying Ancient Greece for our History and Humanities seminar. We would like to present some of what we’ve learned to you at our Ancient Greece Fair, today, Friday November 18, 2016.

We will have poster presentations about the Gods and Goddesses, some of them made by Elementary students who’ve joined in our research, and other presentations about other aspects of Greek life. You can expect to see Greek costumes, read a “day in the life” story of a Greek girl, and enjoy some Ancient Greek snacks!

Feel free to stop by the Adolescent classroom starting at 1:00 pm; poster presentations begin at about 2:00. Everyone is welcome!


Ms. Allison and the Adolescent Class

PTO Winter Resale Shop



Dear Friends

The Isthmus Montessori PTO is once again sponsoring a Winter Resale shop in the Great Hall! Snowsuits, coats, sweaters, snow pants, boots, costumes, hats and mittens… oh my!

You can bring your gently-used winter gear to donate, and also see if there is anything that will work for your kids this year. All items are pay-what-you-wish. Please tag your items (to distinguish them from coats that are NOT for sale) and put your payment in the tuition mailbox (tags and envelopes are provided in the great hall). There is a bin for smaller items like hats and mittens.

All proceeds will go to help buy winter playground toys for our students! Anything left over after winter break will be donated either to our community garage sale or food pantry.

Silent Journey & Discovery at IMA


Come join us on November 4 and 5 for IMA’s Silent Journey & Discovery — the ultimate Montessori experience for parents and families! Engage all your senses as you learn about the materials and lessons your children use.

On Friday, non-students visit the classrooms in silence to view the classrooms as students would. You will walk around to silently observe the prepared environments of all the classrooms in the school, at all levels.

On Saturday, teachers present and discuss materials and lessons with visitors. You will receive lessons on the materials and gain a deeper understanding of the genius of Montessori.

Our Silent Journey & Discovery is for parents and people from outside of the existing IMA community. However, it is also a fantastic opportunity for families who are considering the next level for their children. This will be an event when you’ll really get to investigate each level.

We will provide beverages and snacks on Friday night, and we provide food and beverages on Saturday. Check out the event page, and please RSVP to Mr. Chet at!

Montessori Students Raise Chickens To Learn Business And Civics Lessons

IMA was featured on Wisconsin’s WMTV, NBC15 television station this week, in a story titled Montessori Students Raise Chickens To Learn Business And Civics Lessons.

The video features IMA adolescent student Sophie Griffith-Oh, and the story features Allison Bloom, IMA’s Adolescent Program teacher.

Allison Bloom, the teacher overseeing the project, says students are encouraged to explore and pursue their own interests.

“They’re learning all the basics of business,” she said. “A little bit about farming and biology and all of these things too.”

One of the biggest lessons of the project ended up being in civic engagement. While developing the project, students learned their school is in a zone that doesn’t allow chicken raising. The students had to work with city officials to get the city ordinance amended, so they could properly take care of the chickens on school property.

“The civics lesson was an amazing bonus to that because these students really feel if something needs to happen or they want something to happen, they feel empowered to do it themselves,” Bloom said.

School Spotlight: Chickens Provide Civics, Other Lessons for Isthmus Montessori Students


IMA was featured in the Wisconsin State Journal this week, in a story titled School Spotlight: Chickens Provide Civics, Other Lessons for Isthmus Montessori Students.

The story features Sophie Griffith-Oh from IMA’s adolescent class, Clarity Watson from IMA’s elementary class, and Allison Bloom, IMA’s adolescent teacher.

Allison Bloom, who works as a guide in the adolescent-aged room, said the hands-on experience taught students about biology, physics, husbandry, carpentry and diplomacy, and they will delve into math as the project evolves. It also included a lesson about death, since some of the eggs did not result in successful hatches.

The school has applied to become Madison’s first public Montessori school, and Bloom cited the chicken project as an example of what older students can achieve through its curriculum.

Family Fun Night at the Warner Park Recreation Center

Warner Park


Want to do something super easy (and fun) to support Public Montessori?

IMA is hosting a Family Fun Night at the Warner Park Recreation Center on Friday 10/14, and we need your family to show up!

Warner park hold these events monthly, and they are a great resource to the community. Because IMA supports this mission and because it is a fabulous opportunity for the school to increase support and relationships within our new Northside neighborhood, we have signed up to be the event sponsor this month.

How does this help with our goal of becoming a public school? Well, one thing we have heard over and over from the school district is that they are not sure that we have the community support and that we are community-supporting. By hosting this event, and by bringing as many families as we can, IMA hopes to make some new friends and connections, and drum up support, while at the same time beginning some conversations with our neighbors and exploring what types of events or services the community would like to see IMA provide.

What are we asking of you? Primarily that you plan to attend — as many members of your family as are available — and have fun, mingle with the community, and say something nice about IMA if it comes up. If you can wear your Race to the Finn! shirt or other IMA gear, that’s even better (tip: swap your mom-purse or diaper bag for your IMA “extra clothes” tote for the day). We would also like some adults to serve as “official” volunteers for part of your time there — there may be some very light set-up, clean-up, or assistance needed. Hopefully there will be enough of us there that we can watch each others kids while we fill in some of these duties.


  • Fall craft projects
  • Movie & Popcorn – Hotel Transylvania
  • Pottery Station
  • Bounce House
  • Imagination Playground
  • Game Room
  • Costumes optional

Cost: $5 per family. But if you can’t afford that, Fratney Miller will personally cover your payment — email her at If you can afford more, please consider paying double — or even triple-admission for your family. We know that each month some neighborhood families cannot afford the admission, and as the event sponsor, we’d love to be able to support their attendance.

First Monona Classroom Library / Grocery Store Trip!



Dear IMA Families

Hopefully this finds you well and dry!

I am not surprised and I am happy to report that the children have been working productively in the classroom, choosing work independently, helping others without being asked, responding to reasonable requests, and working, for the most part, with concentration.

By now I’m certain you have heard all about the library and grocery store trip tomorrow. The children will need their bus pass and their library card and any weather appropriate clothing. We will be riding the city bus, and walking a bit to get to the Lakeview Library and the Willy Street Co-op North. We will leave after lunch, and we shall return right before dismissal.

We have thoroughly discussed the purpose of our trip which is to check out books and do some grocery shopping for other classrooms as a part of our community service work. We are not there to use the iPads or to look at the screens.

The children may want to bring a bag they can use for carrying books. The children all know that they can use their library cards to check out books for themselves, and that they are free to check out as many books as they can carry!

Please remember this when the children prepare for tomorrow. They are quite capable. You may want to guide their morning routine with something like, “Hmmm, is there anything else that you may need today? Anything different that you may be doing at school today that would require additional items to bring to school?” This line of prompting may only be necessary for the first or second trip. After that, no prompting may be necessary.

I urge you to avoid taking care of all preparations with regard to bus passes and library cards and placing them in the hands of your children. The more independently connected they are with the process, the more likely they will take responsibility for the process, and the more likely they will gain a healthy confidence and sense of value for their work.

If you have not signed a permission slip for the library trips, please find me at drop-off so that I can get you that form.

Many, many thanks and looking forward to tomorrow’s adventure!

Ms. Melissa

Maria Montessori in The Writer’s Almanac

The Writer's Almanac

Maria Montessori is featured in today’s The Writer’s Almanac, hosted by Garrison Keillor and produced by American Public Media:

It’s the birthday of Maria Montessori (books by this author), born on this day in Chiaravalle, Italy (1870). She was a bright student, studied engineering when she was 13, and — against her father’s wishes — she entered a technical school, where all her classmates were boys. After a few years, she decided to pursue medicine, and she became the first woman in Italy to earn a medical degree. It was so unheard of for a woman to go to medical school that she had to get the approval of the pope in order to study there.

As a doctor, she worked with children with special needs, and through her work with them she became increasingly interested in education. She believed that children were not blank slates, but that they each had inherent, individual gifts. It was a teacher’s job to help children find these gifts, rather than dictating what a child should know. She emphasized independence, self-directed learning, and learning from peers. Children were encouraged to make decisions. She was the first educator to use child-sized tables and chairs in the classroom.

During World War II, Montessori was exiled from Italy because she was opposed to Mussolini’s fascism and his desire to make her a figurehead for the Italian government. She lived and worked in India for many years, and then in Holland. She died in 1952 at the age of 81.

She wrote many books about her philosophy of education, including The Montessori Method (1912), and is considered a major innovator in education theory and practice.

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