Tell us a little about your family.
My husband, Nate, and I both grew up in this area, and although we went to high school together, we did not know each other well back then. We met again during the planning of our high school reunion, and before I knew it, I was head over heels. We now have two boys, Nolan (6) and Avery (4), who look and act just like Nate. Before I met Nate I graduated with a textile degree from University of North Carolina at Greensboro, worked for Ralph Lauren and then as a buyer for a mail order company out of Charleston, S.C. I now work part time at Nate’s information technology company, Cypress Networks. Nate started the company 17 years ago, and I hope one day one of our boys will take over (because I’m already looking forward to retirement).
What brought you to Greensboro Montessori School?
Taking into account our own dispositions as children and how we were raised, we liked the gentle, respectful approach of Montessori. We took the GMS tour and were amazed by the independence we witnessed in the classrooms. We also loved the amount of time the kids spend outside the classroom, not just playing but learning, and in the gardens working. But one of my favorite Montessori tools is practical life. It has been helpful that some of the skills learned at GMS are used at home as well (not so much the putting their toys away after they’re done playing with them, but we’re working on that).
Tell us how you got involved in the GMS Community Association.
Two years ago I was a room parent in the Half-Day Toddler class, and I made play-dough for Marie and Shannon. I’ve been told I’m famous for that. Last year, I was a room parent for Primary 3 and also the Primary Division Coordinator. When I started attending GMSCA meetings, it opened up an entirely new perspective on the school as a whole. I was getting a glimpse of what was to come for our family, and it was really very exciting to hear about what was going on throughout the school, and not just in our division. This is my first year as lead coordinator, and I’m excited to share my play-dough making knowledge with everyone.
Why do you choose to stay at Greensboro Montessori School?
It’s not just a school anymore. We’ve known a lot of these families since our first year at GMS and it’s really special watching all of our kids grow up together. It is a very unique community, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.
Tell us a little about your family.
We are a retired Air Force family with six children (five girls and one boy), two grand boys, and a fur baby. We enjoy spending time with family and traveling to beaches throughout the country.
What brought you to Greensboro Montessori School?
We heard about GMS while speaking to a teacher at a local school. After completing research, we realized the culture of GMS is a direct reflection of our own. After one visit, we knew there was no other place we desired for our youngest daughter, London, to begin her education.
Tell us how you got involved with the GMS Community Association.
My husband, Marlon, and I were pleased to volunteer for the Fall Festival last year. Andi Bogan asked if I would like to be part of the process this year, and I was more than happy to do so. I enjoy being part of the community that provides such great care and guidance to our daughter. When the staff of GMS say they share in a stimulating and nurturing education experience, it shows, and it is emphasized in the GMSCA.
A very Happy 2019 to you all! I wanted to send a personal note of thanks to each and every one of you for your contributions to our School. Whether you donate your time, your talent, or your treasure, every gesture is appreciated and celebrated.
As our children are busy doing their important work in their classes, the GMSCA is also doing our important work cultivating and supporting a vibrant and engaged parent community. Looking ahead, we will have many opportunities to get together to support our children, our faculty, and each other. Keep a look out for these upcoming events - we hope you'll find there's something for everyone!
- No matter how old your children are, everyone is welcome to attend any of our School's extraordinary stage productions. Upper Elementary just produced and performed "Back to Families Feudal," the 17th annual Fare Faire. Primary students will take center stage for their Winter Singalong on Friday, February 8 at 9 a.m., and Lower Elementary will celebrate customs from around the world in their Festival of Lights on Tuesday, March 5 at 6:30 p.m.
- On Friday, February 1, join us in the Gym from 4 to 7 p.m. for our second annual community volleyball tournament. Parents vs. staff vs. alumni vs. students will compete to see whose volleyball skills reign supreme..
- The GMSCA Basketball Jam is Saturday, February 9 from 9 to 11 a.m. This family-friendly event will offer plenty of games for kids, a three-point contest for adults, snacks for the whole family, and more.
- Later in February, we'll invite you to donate snacks for our teachers to enjoy between their parent-teacher conferences on Thursday, March 7 and Friday, March 8.
- Our next GMSCA Family Dinner is Monday, March 11. Join us anytime from 5 to 7:30 p.m. for a a casual, family-friendly dinner together at Cugino Forno.
- The Spring Community Garden Workday is on the books for Saturday, April 6 at 9 a.m. Come one, come all and enjoy the beauty, fun, and flavors of our blooming gardens.
- Join your fellow parents for a night out at the Green & White Bash on Saturday, April 13 in the Gym. This annual gala and silent auction promises to be a night to remember!
See you in our community, whether we're enjoying a student performance at school or breaking bread together at a local restaurant!
GMSCA Lead Coordinator
To my fellow GMS Families,
Welcome to the 2018-19 school year!
The Greensboro Montessori School Community Association (GMSCA) is excited and honored to welcome families joining our school community for the first time. We’re also proud to welcome back our returning families for another wonderful year at GMS!
Our hope is that every family will find value in the GMSCA. Our mission is focused on building and sustaining community. More specifically, "the GMSCA is a dynamic, inclusive organization that strives to enrich the school experience for all. We foster a vibrant school community, and serve to bridge and connect home and school while supporting the mission and goals of Greensboro Montessori School."
Unlike many public and private schools, membership in the GMSCA is automatic and free! We don't ask for or require dues. Nor do we ask you or your children to sell anything. Instead, our activities are funded through other ways, with our primary source of income being the School's fall and spring Scholastic Book Fairs. We also raise funds through initiatives like Harris Teeter's Together in Education (link your VIC card to #1849), General Mills' Box Tops for Education, and AmazonSmile.
The most visible way you will see the GMSCA in action is through GMSCA-sponsored events, teacher appreciation initiatives, and community volunteering.
- Events: The largest event we plan every year is the Fall Festival, a family-centered Sunday afternoon featuring dozens of activities for our entire student population. (Don't miss this year's event on Sunday, October 14 from 2 to 5 p.m.) We also organize the School's International Fair, an annual celebration our community’s cultural diversity through music, food, art, and fun. We also host coffee socials on campus and community gatherings at local businesses.
- Teacher Support and Appreciation: The GMSCA supports designated room parents who work directly with your teachers and help coordinate other parent volunteers needed to plan and execute many of the fun and educational activities our students love. Throughout the year, we also provide organized opportunities through which families can express appreciation for our professional educators.
- Community Volunteering: Our School partners with BackPack Beginnings to help fulfill this local nonprofit's mission: to deliver child-centric services to feed, comfort and clothe children in need. In addition to coordinating food drives, we also sponsor Peeler Open Elementary. Parent volunteers make weekly deliveries to Peeler students who need child-friendly, nutritious food to fill the weekend food gap.
We invite you to connect with us. Whether you join our private Facebook group, volunteer at the Fall Festival (details coming later this month), or contribute in your own way, we appreciate every gesture of kindness and community-building. Most importantly, know you don’t need to attend a meeting, host an event, or take a day off work to volunteer to be an essential member of our school community.
We’re looking forward to an amazing 2018-19 for our School, our families and, most of all, our children.
See you at school!
GMSCA Lead Coordinator
To my fellow GMS Families,
Welcome to the 2017-18 school year!
The GMS Community Association (GMSCA) is excited and honored to welcome our many new families joining our Montessori community for the first time. We’re also proud to say welcome back to all of our returning families, with a special "hats off" to those pioneering families joining our inaugural ninth grade class. Finally, a special welcome to our new Head of School, Kevin Navarro, and his family. We are excited about the enthusiasm Kevin has already put into building the partnership between our parent community and our administrative and teaching staff. It’s a wonderful time to be at GMS!
Our hope is that every family will find value in the GMSCA. Our mission is inclusion; inspiring an engaged community of friends who support and encourage each other as parents. We also strive to recognize the diversity of contributions we collectively bring to our school.
Unlike most other schools, membership in the GMSCA is automatic….and free! We ask for no dues and we do not ask you to sell anything. Our activities are funded through a variety of ways, mainly the fall and spring book fairs. We also raise funds through initiatives like the Harris Teeter Together in Education VIC Card Program, so please let’s get those cards linked to our school (link to #1849)!
Perhaps the most visible way you will see the GMSCA in action is through the events we plan and support throughout the school year. Three of the largest are:
- The Fall Festival - a free family-centered weekend event with dozens of activities for kids of all ages.
- The International Fair - an amazing event highlighting our community’s cultural diversity through music, food, art and fun.
- The Green & White Bash - an adults only social event that gives us the opportunity to get to know each other better and raise some money to support our school.
Beyond events, we also provide opportunities for you to participate in the overall experience for your children. The GMSCA supports room parents who work directly with your teachers and help coordinate other parent volunteers needed to plan and execute many of the fun and educational activities your children love. The GMSCA virtual community page on Facebook is available to all parents to connect from home, the office or after hours. We also host social opportunities like morning coffees and Parents’ Nights Out.
In closing, thanks so much to the many parents who participate in the GMSCA. We’re always looking for more parent and community involvement and would love to have your talent on our community team. You don’t need to attend a meeting, host an event, or take a day off work to volunteer to be an essential member of our community.
Here are a few ways you can contribute right now:
- Attend our first Community Garden Workday on Saturday, September 16. We will have a variety of needs that day as we reimagine our Upper School Garden. All ages and abilities welcome!
- Plan to volunteer one morning or afternoon for our Scholastic Book Fair October 6 through 13. The monies raised from the book fair go directly to the GMSCA and allow us to fund things like the Fall Festival and Teacher Appreciation Week celebrations.
- Look for the sign-up genius coming soon with opportunities to volunteer at the Fall Festival on Sunday, October 8. It takes a village to have a successful and fun event. And this year the GMSCA will be purchasing all of the supplies so we are simply looking for donations of your time.
We’re looking forward to a wonderful year for our school, our community and, most of all, our children.
See you at school!
Karen Kelly, 2017-18 GMSCA Lead Coordinator
If you stroll through our school gardens on any given Monday afternoon, you are likely to find Marcia Jones volunteering alongside our lead environmental educator, Eliza Hudson. As a retired educator, Marcia looks forward to her weekly gardening class with our Primary students, and with her 31 years of experience as a kindergarten teacher in Guilford County, we look forward to all she has to offer the children and the school. In a recent interview, Marcia shared with us how much she loves teaching young children the value of tending the earth, especially her four grandchildren including Foster, who is enrolled in our Primary program.
In addition to helping in our gardens on a weekly basis, Marcia supports several other community gardening projects in and around the Greensboro area. She uses her green thumb to tend the gardens at the Wentworth Museum in Rockingham County, the Guilford College Community Garden and Jones Elementary School. “Gardening helps me relax,” Marcia shared, "and its so nice to be able to see the product of all your effort. I think that’s especially true for young children." Many years ago, she started a gardening program with her kindergarten students at Sedgefield Elementary School. “The children loved it. We grew a wide variety of vegetables from seed, including squash, radishes, potatoes, peas, and pumpkins. The children especially liked the pumpkins because they would grow all summer and could be harvested in the fall,” she shared.
With her family’s roots in this area of North Carolina, Marcia is deeply connected to the land, and her knowledge of farming is much greater than what her humble demeanor might initially suggest. She grew up working on her family's farm in Rockingham County just north of Greensboro and she has many fond memories of driving the tractor out in the fields. “My sister and I were working on the family farm up until two years ago. Over the years, we’ve grown tobacco, corn, wheat, soybeans and apples.” Even with those years of experience in her back pocket, Marcia continues to express her modesty about having a green thumb and loves learning new gardening techniques from those around her. “Lately, I’ve been learning more about which herbs to plant around my vegetable garden to deter deer and other wild animals,” she told us.
We recently had the pleasure to do a personal interview with our GMSCA outreach coordinator, Rebecca Sheridan. Becca is such a down to earth and approachable person, and we are eager for you to meet her, in case you haven’t already. We also wanted to learn more about how she is enjoying her first year working with the GMSCA cultivating the Outreach Committee!
In this GMSCA interview, we invite you to meet Sophia Dubrovsky, Alex Trestman and their sons, Luka and Ethan, ages four and two, respectively. This interview was conducted by Amy Blanton, GMSCA Communication Coordinator, and fellow Montessori mom.
We were excited to recently catch up with Sophia and her family to learn more about them! It was such a pleasure to interview Sophia as she is a beacon of kindness, warmth and light. You may recognize Sophia from the GMSCA Events Team. Last year she led the effort to organize our school's International Fair which is an annual event held in late January.
GMSCA: Hi, Sophia! Thank you for being our first GMSCA feature family for 2016. We are so excited to chat with you! Tell us about a bit about your family!
Sophia: We moved here from Connecticut and remain in Greensboro mostly due to the community we've found at Greensboro Montessori School. Alex works for Honda Jet, and I have my own consulting company called Plant Based Made Easy. Luka started at Greensboro Montessori when he was 18 months old and is now in his second year of Primary in Isabelle and Gail’s classroom, and Ethan just started his first year in Toddler with Skye and Marie.
GMSCA: How did you end up at Greensboro Montessori School?
Sophia: We toured the School when Luka was just 14 months old. I immediately felt at home, especially in the gardens. I knew instantly that this is where I wanted my kids to spend their days. I love the exposure to the outdoors, and the opportunity they have to develop into their own people. It is a very lovely, cozy environment that I felt would allow Luka (and later Ethan) the freedom to explore. Greensboro Montessori is not a cookie cutter program; it gives children the opportunity to mature into their own interests. That was important to our family!
GMSCA: Tell us about your involvement in the GMSCA.
Sophia: Being part of the GMSCA has been wonderful! All of our family and friends live in Connecticut. It wasn’t until joining the GMSCA that I felt like I had found my tribe. We love how community-focused the School is, and it has given us a reason to grow roots in Greensboro. Volunteering is a great way to meet other families. You can volunteer as much or as little as you want. I’ve loved being a room parent for Luka's and Ethan’s classrooms; it’s a great way to be involved with the life of the school and support the teachers. Last year I was the chair of the International Fair and it was an incredible experience reaching out and learning about all the different cultures represented at our School. If anyone is looking for a way to get involved with the community, show up to our next monthly GMSCA meeting.
GMSCA: We can’t wait to see what is in store for this year’s International Fair in January! Tell us more about your sons, Luka and Ethan.
Sophia: Luka and Ethan are both adventurous and charismatic boys, and Greensboro Montessori has been instrumental in Luka’s growth over the last four years. I love that he has a place to explore without the pressure of workbooks or homework. Ethan just enrolled this fall and the toddler program is a great outlet for his strong desires for gross motor play.
GMSCA: You mentioned you run your own consulting firm. Please give us a window into your work with Plant Based Made Easy.
Sophia: I am passionate about nutrition and sharing with the community about how easy and monumental a plant-based diet is for your whole family! I offer cooking classes, consultations, and I frequently post reviews and recipes on my blog.
GMSCA: Thank you so much for your time and for sharing about your family, your work and your deep connection to our School!
Meet the Walkers! A trio of poets, musicians, educators, bee-keepers and world travelers. Allison, Scott and Ada Walker are GMS’s own renaissance family. We were thrilled to catch up with Allison by phone and she shared some fun details about herself, her husband Scott and their lovely daughter Ada.
GMSCA: Hi Allison! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. Tell us a little about the Walker Family!
Allison: We’re Greensboro natives: Scott and I have known each other since high school! We both have advanced degrees in poetry and literature. We’re published poets and teachers – both working at High Point University. Scott also teaches at NW Guilford High School. One interesting footnote about us: we lived in Anchorage, Alaska for 5 years. Ada was born in Alaska but we moved back to North Carolina to be near family and an abundance of babysitters. We settled first in Asheville and then Greensboro. Strangely, Ada is completely unaffected by cold. We think it’s the Alaskan origin.
GMSCA: What an adventure, tell us how you arrived at Greensboro Montessori?
Allison: Ada has been at GMS since she was 3 and Montessori was a conscious decision. We come from a family of educators, our parents worked in the public school system and we wanted to explore other options so we did our research. Montessori fit our mindset. We explored the school, moved nearby and it’s been Ada’s home from the start. She’s now in sixth grade.
GMSCA: Tell us more about Ada….
Allison: Ada is our happy wood sprite; she loves to be outdoors. She gathers all the neighborhood kids together and teaches them different forms of imaginative play. Our neighbors benefit from the Montessori approach, too! Ada is independent and loves to tackle challenges. She’s also been a musician since she was 4, studying violin and filling our house with music. Animals are a passion of hers as well – she loves cats and volunteers with the Feral Cat Assistance Program. And, we care for bees! Our beekeeping grew out of a Montessori assignment, actually. Our family wouldn't have bees if it weren't for the fabulous Upper Elementary teachers who encourage kids to tackle an interdisciplinary summer project of their choosing and the gardening and environmental education program that makes our kids so mindful of the earth and our impact on it. We pay attention to politics and current events so Ada is very aware of her power to change the world. She also loves Harry Potter.
GMSCA: Music, bees and Harry Potter!? Ada is fabulous. So, as a parent, tell us what surprised about you the transition to Middle School!
Allison: We love it! The Middle School program is amazing. We love watching her perform and her thrill of learning is infectious. It reminds us why we chose to be teachers. Both Scott and I bring “Montessori” to our own students based on what we learn from Ada’s experience.
GMSCA: If you could gaze into a crystal ball… what do you see for your family?
Allison: Ada’s passion, gift and talent is music. The arts are for everyone but Ada really tells a story with her music so we see that in her future. She also loves spending time on the university campus with me. Scott and I would like to do more partnered writing – potentially screenplays. I see us carving out time as family for artistic collaboration; we’re starting to write music as a family with poetry, guitar and violin. Maybe that would turn into something more….
GMSCA: With such talent in your home, we’re certain it will. In the nearer future, are there any wonderful adventures coming your way in 2016?
Allison: Last year we toured Europe with Ada’s violin ensemble. That sparked a desire to mix travel with our art and work. So, this July we’re spending time in London and Paris. We’ll visit Oxford and also plan to go to the reconstructed Globe and see Shakespeare. We love Shakespeare.
GMSCA: We think Shakespeare would love the Walker family – he’d fit right in with you all. Before we go, is there anything else you’d like to share with our GMS community?
Allison: Just some encouragement…. It’s such a gift for all of us, as parents, to give our children a Montessori education. With each step, we see more and more the value and benefit of the GMS experience. This year, Ada loves Middle School and arriving to a leadership role. We watch this group thrive as collaborators, creative thinkers and problem solvers. Montessori gave them these tools! Everyone talks about the ‘broken education system’ but if I could do one thing to fix it, I’d put every child in Montessori. The students remain curious because they aren’t only worried about grades or external motivation. The foundation is so strong and pays off in unexpected ways. I’m encouraged seeing a group of middle school students who are so comfortable in their own skin! They are open to new ideas and experiences and they celebrate the differences in their friends. Because the program takes such beautiful care of the whole child, our kids are able to thrive during a period of adolescence that is typically very challenging.
Thank you so much for sharing your family and GMS experience with us! We look forward to watching Ada perform with the Middle School Music Ensemble at the Green & White Bash on Saturday, April 23.
Katherine Gwynn grew up in Reidsville, NC. As the daughter of a talented artist, I think it is safe to say Katherine had the artist gene from the beginning. She has been inspired by nature for as long as she can remember and has always had an eye for beauty.
Katherine attended UNC Chapel Hill, where she studied art and UNCG where she studied social work. She worked as a counselor at Hospice and, after transitioning back to work from being a stay at home mom, started started an after school art program called CREATE where she traveled from school to school exposing students to an array of creative art experiences.
Katherine’s right brain artistic talents are balanced well by her husband’s left-brain CPA talents. Don Gwynn is the CFO at Well Spring. The couple has four children – two boys and two girls, ages: 13, 16, 19, 21).
Three years ago, Katherine worked part time for GMS, but left after a year to accept a full time position teaching art for Guilford County Schools. Her teaching style is very similar to the Montessori methods, so both she and the school were overjoyed when she came back to call GMS home.
GMSCA: How is the art program at GMS different from other places you have taught?
Katherine: I appreciate the freedom to pursue interests that are led by our students and not to be locked into a lesson or subject that holds no interest. GMS students are engaged and eager to learn, and that makes teaching a joy!
GMSCA: What piece of art or artist has had the most profound influence on your life?
Katherine: My favorite artist is an American painter named Mary Cassatt. I love the light color palette and loose brush work of her Impressionistic style. I am especially fond of her paintings of mothers with their children.
GMSCA: Can you tell us about the work you are doing with decorations to prepare for the Green & White Bash? Anything, in particular, that you think attendees should get excited about?
Katherine: I am so excited about the event! We are using a photography theme and the event is called “Through a Child's Eyes.” Our students have been taking extraordinary photographs with very artistic perspectives. The primary students have captured some very unique shots. These photographs are beautiful and will be the basis of our decorations. They will be for sale the night of the event. I already have my eye on a couple pictures I want to buy. Staff members are also auctioning some unique experiences that will be auctioned that night. I am personally offering two art experiences – after school art lessons for a month and a home visit where I will help your child create something (their choice) out of cardboard. This has been a favorite in the art room!