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Parent Education

WMS is a source of support and education for parents, as well as students. We believe that educating children requires partnership and trust among teachers, administrators and parents. With that in mind, we offer a variety of parent education opportunities throughout the year, including WMS’s program offerings, as well as discussion and education about other relevant and timely parenting topics. All parent education opportunities are open to the public, so you are welcome to bring a friend or spread the word.

Back to School Night.
Thursday, September 14 — 7 p.m.
Classrooms & MS Commons

Back to School Night is an opportunity to socialize with other families, meet the WMS staff and learn more about the specifics of your children’s classes. The evening begins at 7 p.m. with classroom visits. At 7:45 p.m. we invite everyone to join us upstairs in the Middle School Commons for drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Childcare is available. Please sign up at the front desk.

Internet Safety Presentation for Students.
Thursday, September 28 — 9:40 a.m. (Grades 5/6) 10:40 a.m. (Grades 7/8)
WMS Theater
Parents may sit in and listen with a parent Q&A at 10:45 a.m.
Scott Driscoll of “Internet Safety Concepts” will present two talks for students grades 5th and up. Parents are welcome to sit in on these talks to hear what Scott has to say to the students. Parents are asked to reserve their questions until after the students return to class.

Parenting the Positive Discipline Way.
Tuesdays, October 3, 10, 24 & 31—9-11 a.m.
(Please sign up. $50 per parent)
WMS Library
Positive Discipline of Connecticut introduces a program that will provide you with the tools and skills necessary to create a home environment built on encouragement, cooperation, communication and mutual respect. Join us in learning the Positive Discipline way.

Managing the Stress of Parenting Using Positive Discipline.
Thursday, October 5—6:30 p.m.
The Gunn Memorial Library in Washington
Many parents today feel like they have to push their children from a young age for them to be successful.  In this hands-on session, participants will practice using Positive Discipline tools to help parent from an encouraging, strengths-based perspective.  We will explore how to manage feelings, and the importance of modeling self-care for our children. Positive Discipline classes will be led by Carol Dores, co-founder and President of Positive Discipline of Connecticut. She has served as Co-Chair of the International Board of Directors of the Positive Discipline Association. Carol is a Certified Positive Discipline Trainer.

Parenting, Unplugged.
Thursdays, October 5-December 7 & January 11-February 22—8:45-9:45 a.m.
WMS Library
Whether our children are in YCC or applying to High School, they are our babies. We love them and we want to do our very best by them.  That much is always clear. What to do and how to do it, however? Sometimes … not so much! Whether it is the stress of big transitions or the day-to-day concerns of busy, multi-tasking parents (discipline, diet, device time, oh my!) or anything in between, we parents need all the support we can get.  It truly does take a village. Fortunately for us, at WMS, we have one! These sessions are simply a safe place to gather, unwind and talk. Whether you speak up, or just listen, there is much to gain. Last year, topics covered included everything from self-care to improving family communications, from clarifying expectations to instilling values to increasing the joy in parenting. And much, much more! Participating parents inevitably feel a sense of relief when they find that whatever it is they are dealing with, they are not alone. “Parenting, Unplugged” will be facilitated by WMS mom and Martha Beck certified life coach Tal Fagin. As a coach, Tal works with clients one-on-one and in group settings, helping others to pin-point and solve problems, and to devise and implement simple, time-tested strategies that help people live fuller, freer, more balanced and joyful lives.

Wednesdays at WMS. Montessori 101.
Wednesday, October 18—8:45 a.m.
WMS Library
Maybe you’re new to WMS or maybe you’ve been here for a few years.  Either way, are you curious about the purpose of practical life? Do you wonder what sensitive periods are or why classes are mixed ages?  Join Pat for a brief but comprehensive explanation of both the basics tenants and the value of Montessori Education.

Film Screening. “Screenagers.”
Thursday, October 19—7 p.m.
WMS Theater
An award-winning documentary, “Screenagers”probes into the vulnerable corners of family life-including the director’s own-and depicts messy struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through surprising insights from authors and brain scientists solutions emerge on how we can empower kids to best navigate the digital world. All Middle School students will be viewing this film during school. This event is free, but we are asking for parents to register if they’d like to attend. Click here to RSVP.

Parent Discussion: “Saving the Self in the Age of the Selfie” and “Screenagers.”
Wednesday, October 25—8:45 a.m.
Our kids are growing up with more access to screens by way of phones, iPads, computers, and television than any previous generation. As parents, we all face questions of how to monitor their use of screens and how to give them freedom to learn, make mistakes, and use these devices in a way that enriches rather than detracts from their growth and happiness. If you are asking questions about how to handle technology in your household, please join us for this important discussion. We will discuss the film “Screenagers” and the American Scholar article “Saving the Self in the Age of the Selfie,” which explores some of the problems that have arisen through our use of digital technology and some of the ways we might be able to reassert human control over our tools.

Amy Julia Becker, WMS parent and author, will lead the discussion. Copies of “Saving the Self in the Age of the Selfie” are available at the Front Desk and online. 

Family Night. LS, LE & UE.
Thursday, October 26—6:30 p.m.
Lower School and Elementary School parents and children are invited to visit the classrooms together. This night offers a chance to see what your children are doing in their classrooms, as they will have the opportunity to show you a few of their favorite activities.

The Voyage.
Saturday, November 4—8:30 a.m.-Noon
(Please sign up. Childcare available.)
The Voyage is a great way to learn more about the WMS curriculum – it is an opportunity to get your hands on our educational materials. For a half-day, you will play the role of a student, beginning at the YCC level and sequentially proceeding through Lower School, Lower and Upper Elementary and concluding as a Middle Schooler. All areas of the curriculum will be available. This experience is a very effective way to get a strong sense for our academic program. We encourage parents to attend The Voyage at least once during their children’s WMS careers.

Wednesdays at WMS. Montessori Math from LS to MS.
Wednesday, November 8—8:45 a.m.
WMS Library
Join Kerry Dorton, Assistant Head for Education and long-time WMS math teacher for a quick and enlightening overview of Montessori math from LS to MS.  Past participants of this talk have walked away amazed at what their children are learning and often with a new feeling about math themselves. Seeing the curriculum from a bird’s eye view offers parents the opportunity to understand the power of the Montessori method more deeply.

Level Information Nights.
Tuesday, January 9-Middle School—7 p.m.
Wednesday, January 10-Lower Elementary—7 p.m.
Thursday, January 11-Upper Elementary—7 p.m.
(Please sign up.)
The purpose of these meetings is to present our approach to teaching at each level and to help you, as parents, feel comfortable as you preview materials and learn about you child’s next step at WMS. The presentations are made by the teachers. Parents are strongly encouraged to attend the meeting if they have a child moving up, but anyone is welcome and encouraged to come to any and all of the sessions. These are a great way to see what lies ahead for your child, and to understand more about the continuity of a WMS education.

Youth Mental Health Training for Parents.
Friday, January 26 and Friday, February 2—9 a.m.-2 p.m.
WMS Theater
(Please sign up.)
Youth Mental Health First Aid Training is an evidence-based program designed to help adults and teen leaders recognize and address mental health problems among youth. YMHFA Training is for those interacting with youth ages 12-18. YMHFA Trainings are made possible through federal grant funding provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and are offered at no cost. The certification training is 8-hours long and teaches participants how to recognize the signs and symptoms of common mental illnesses and substance use disorders, de-escalate crisis situations safely and initiate referrals to resources available in the community. YMHFA Training is designed for those who do not have advanced education or training in the mental health profession. Youth Mental Health Training will be taught by Valerie English Cooper, a Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor, and by Amanda DelVicario, Project Coordinator of Project AWARE NW CT.

Wednesdays at WMS: Learning to Read at WMS.
Wednesday, January 24—8:45 a.m.
WMS Library
Martha Readyoff (long-time LE teacher and current Learning Support Tutor) and Pat will present a talk on reading at WMS. Supporting your child as they learn to read can be both exciting and stressful. From the moveable alphabet of Lower School to grammar boxes in Lower Elementary, there are many materials and activities that are used to help students as they learn to read. If you’re interested in gaining a better understanding of how WMS approaches reading, please join Martha and Pat for this discussion.

Adolescent Development Q&A.
Tuesday, February 13—8:45 a.m.
WMS Library
Our middle school teachers are experts in adolescent behavior; they’ve served as both formal and informal resources for parents for years. Tom and Kerry will be offering a discussion for parents curious about these tween years. While they’ll bring a few topics to the table, they are more interested in what you’d like to talk about, or questions that you want answered. We request that you submit topics/questions for consideration to Kerry ahead of time.

Parent Book Discussion: (Book TBD).
Tuesday, April 10—8:45 a.m.
WMS Library
WMS mom and author Amy Julia Becker will lead another parent book group. Book choice will be announced in weekly email.