Enrichment programs at CTMS begin at the toddler level with yoga, music, and art activities held in the classroom. Enrichment continues and becomes more challenging as the students grow. In primary classrooms students have a movement room adjacent to their classrooms, receive foreign language lessons, and go to the studio for martial arts, circus arts/yoga, and art classes.
Elementary students also participate in enrichment for foreign language, circus arts, yoga, and fine arts in the studio, as well as “Going Out” into the community at least once per week for educational field trips, library and snack shopping.
The enrichment program is held in the afternoons at CTMS and is included in the cost of tuition.
Not only does our weekly art class compliment the curriculum and what the children are currently studying, but art history is also touched upon. Each project is thoughtfully planned to work within the children’s skill set, while increasing dexterity.
The art class is led by Mali Dwyer. Ms. Mali has had an interest in becoming a teacher since she was a child. And with a great appreciation for art and beauty, and a deep passion for working with children, she and her two children joined the CTMS community in the Fall of 2018.
Ms. Mali grew up in Madison, graduated from DHHS, and went on to study Human Development and Sociology at Boston College. Ms. Mali enjoys traveling and lived in a remote area of Hawaii for 8 years. She also enjoys yoga, singing, gardening, reading, and spending time with her family at her home in Madison.
In addition to the weekly fine arts class, the children rehearse and perform songs at the winter celebration before the holidays, and for the graduation celebration at the end of the school year. Throughout the year songs that correlate with the curriculum are often sung during circle times in the classrooms.
Yoga & Circus Arts
The children take circus arts and yoga once per week. Why yoga for children? Ten years ago, that question was most likely asked about martial arts. Now there are classes for children at martial arts studios around every corner. And, like martial arts, yoga develops many wonderful qualities in children.
In addition to the obvious benefits of exercising the physical body, yoga sharpens the child’s ability to focus and give self-confidence and self-discipline. And yoga, practiced regularly, helps children become aware of themselves from the inside out. From this awareness, children can change and grow in new and positive directions.
The weekly yoga and circus classes are led by Jen Taylor from OmFly Circus School. She has been teaching and directing circus arts and yoga for over a decade. Ms. Jen studied aerials with LAVA, and circus with Circus Minimus & Circus Yoga. She has a degree in Philosophy and studied engaged Buddhism with peace activist Thich Nhat Hahn.
As part of their physical education, the children are learning martial arts one day per week. This program teaches not only self-defense, but self control, focus, team work, courtesy and respect.
The martial arts class is led by Lena Pacheco. In addition to serving alongside Ms. Ashley as an Elementary Teacher in the Willow Room, Ms. Lena is an accomplished martial artist with approximately twenty-five years of experience. She began training Kenpo Karate at the age of six, and was promoted to Black Belt at the age of seventeen. She has since earned her Second Degree Black Belt and is certified by the New England Martial Arts Teacher’s Association.
In recent years, she has expanded her training to include more functional self-defense tactics. She has received her Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as well as her Level One Instructor Certification in Jeet Kune Do under Professor Roy Harris of Harris International. She was featured in Knack Self-Defense for Women in 2011 and co-owned the Modern Self-Defense Center in Meriden, Connecticut from 2011 – 2014, serving as the Director of Children’s Programs.
In foreign language class children have fun learning French through songs and games! Young children learn culture, basic phrases such as greetings, as well as words for topics like colors, animals, food, and more. The elementary students have opportunities to explore French language and culture through projects, such as cooking and baking, sewing, and making crafts for French holidays.
The French class is led by one of our primary teachers, Bethany Kanfer. Miss Bethany has had a lifelong love of all things French. She began formally studying the language when she was 12, going on to earn a B.A. in French. She is excited to share this passion with CTMS students.
In addition to enrichment, The Children’s Tree Montessori School’s elementary education relies heavily on “Going Out”. Exploring the world beyond the classroom is an essential component of the Montessori elementary experience, offering real-life experiences. The elementary students at CTMS go out at least once per week for educational field trips, snack shopping, or to the local library. The Kindergartners are invited to participate on some of the field trips that pertain to their studies as well.