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MCS Celebrates Autumn with Harvest Picnic

Montessori Center School’s elementary play field was transformed last weekend into a fall wonderland as it celebrated its annual Harvest Picnic.

Offering a two-story-tall inflatable slide, face painting, hair coloring, pumpkin crafts, carnival games, sports games, glitter tattoos, a sleeping giant’s cave with treasure, bake sale and catered dinner, this year’s picnic was a huge hit with both children and parents.

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While the inflatable slide had a line over 20 children long, others were petting chickens or watching a giant turtle walk about! Parents laid out blankets on the field and soaked in the perfect Riviera weather as music played relaxing tunes.

There was food aplenty with baked goods generously cooked at home by MCS parents for sale featuring cookies, chocolate, baklava, pies and cakes. Dinner was catered by Country Catering and Meat Market of Goleta serving up its famous tri-tip, grilled chicken and vegetarian lasagna.

Picnic goers were encouraged to purchase lemonade that was hand squeezed by volunteers from lemons brought in from home trees. Students and parents volunteered at activity booths, which provide children a view into running a small operation.

The picnic gave MCS students freedom to play and the whole event really represented what the school stands for — the generosity of the entire Montessori Center School community coming together to work and play together. This was a great way to start off the school year.

Special thanks to the Harvest Picnic committee chairs Michelle Taylor and Christina Ryan, along with committee members Annie Braunheim, PJ Carmean, Diane Gulotti , Gaile Haslem,  Danae Liechti, Laurie Montee, Erin Neil, Peggy Polos and Rashmi Sethi.

MCS Celebrates Peace Education and United Nations

Last Friday, Montessori Center School students gathered to celebrate world cultures and peace as part of United Nations Day.

This is one of the most colorful traditions at MCS where the children are greeted by flags of many countries displayed all around the perimeter of our beautiful garden campus.

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The children and staff came to school dressed in traditional outfits, some of which were worn by their own ancestors. Toddlers to sixth -graders joined hands and sang songs of peace, learned greetings and phrases in other languages, and danced together to world rhythms.

The celebration lasted much of the morning with a special presentation featuring a musical and dance performance by the World Dance for Humanity group. The festivities continued into the afternoon, culminating with an international potluck luncheon featuring delicious offerings from all over the globe. Families enjoyed “traveling” from continent to continent, sampling a wide variety of dishes.

“The Montessori philosophy starts with a deep commitment to fostering cross-cultural understanding by emphasizing common human needs across the globe," MCS Head of School Dr. Patricia Colby said. "Children grow to appreciate the commonalities and celebrate cultural differences not only with other countries, but also within their smaller classroom communities. At MCS, we nurture strong independence, encourage freedom within limits, and have respect for the child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. Today’s ceremony very much honors the tradition of peace education emphasized by Dr. Maria Montessori.”

The day was a huge success with the ideas of peace, global community and understanding alive and well at Montessori Center School!

Montessori Center School, on Fairview Avenue in Goleta, has provided students ages 18 months through 12 years old with creative and compelling education in a supportive, nurturing environment since 1965. MCS implements the internationally renowned Montessori Method of teaching and works to ensure that the school flourishes for today’s children and for generations to come.

Montessori Center School Students Have a ‘Peak’ Experience at Yosemite

Last week, more than 60 of Montessori Center School’s fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students set out on a voyage spending five days at NatureBridge Institute located within the majestic Yosemite National Park.


As part of the school’s unique approach to educational outings, MCS Upper Elementary students (fourth through sixth grades) rotate between attending three camps during their time in the program. The students alternate between Astrocamp, Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI) and NatureBridge Institute located in Yosemite, at the beginning of each school year. This has become a well-loved tradition at MCS, which the teachers and students alike look forward to.

NatureBridge Institute, located in one of nature’s greatest classrooms, Yosemite National Forest, focuses on science education giving students rich learning opportunities that cannot be obtained in a regular classroom setting. Students are provided with dynamic hands-on activities among ancient sequoias with one of earth’s most dramatic geological landscapes as their background.

Most importantly, students are given the opportunity to study human impacts on nature and learn about ways to become environmental stewards. The focus on working collaboratively in labs and during projects and games creates a great deal of team building amongst the children.

All of the camps are specifically designed to inspire students towards future success in their academic and personal growth, which is very aligned with the Montessori approach to learning.

MCS Head of School Patricia Colby has this to say about the camp experiences, “Participation in outdoor learning activities with teachers, youth workers and peers reinforces a positive attitude towards education as well as to becoming environmentally conscience citizens. We really believe these types of outings contribute greatly to the general ethos of our school community. Experiences like this stimulate and reinforce learning across many areas of the curriculum, and the use of the outdoors encourages young people to take greater responsibility for their own learning and acquisition of knowledge, which Montessori is a great proponent of.”

Montessori Center School, located on Fairview Avenue in Goleta, has provided students ages 18 months through 12 old with creative and compelling education in a supportive, nurturing environment since 1965. MCS implements the internationally renowned Montessori Method of teaching and works to ensure that the school flourishes for today’s children and for generations to come.

MCS Congratulates Denise Mabardi

Thank you, Denise, for 38 years of exemplary service to Montessori Center School. MCS will be hosting a retirement party in Denise’s honor. For more information, call (805) 683-9383

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Montessori Students Pay It Forward by Donating Books to School in Costa Rica

Montessori Center School upper elementary students (children in grades 4 through 6) recently donated 70 copies of the beloved bilingual children’s book Vuela, Vuela Mariposa (Fly, Fly Butterfly) to Escuela Catie, an elementary school in Costa Rica.

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During his visit, Pedreros gifted each of the students with a donated copy of his book. In turn, the children decided they wanted to continue the cycle of giving and pay it forward. By spending student-raised funds they voted to purchase nearly 70 copies of the book for children at Escuela Catie. Each of the students then composed a letter in Spanish that was included with the books.

“There is a deep value in Montessori philosophy placed on the role education plays in the development of world peace and global understanding,” MCS Head of School Patricia Colby said. “Maria Montessori firmly believed there were universal tendencies in humans which, if properly nurtured would give rise to a more peaceful and enduring civilization. We at MCS want to nurture and uphold the belief that children can make a difference in the global community. It is our hope that experiences like this will foster a lifelong habit of civil responsibility.”

Since 1965, Montessori Center School has implemented the internationally renowned Montessori Method of teaching in the Santa Barbara area.

— Alyssa Morris is the admissions director for Montessori Center School.

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