Preparing for Christmas!

2016-abe-and-fr-john 2016-ben-and-austin

Dear Saint Ann Families,                                                                                                            
Mark your calendars!  We hope you will make time on Wednesday, December 21st  to join us to hear Guest Speaker, Delvina Christian, speak on:
Making the Most of the Elementary Years

How Catechesis of the Good Shepherd combined with Montessori
Nurtures the child’s God-given nature to:

  • Joyfully seek the Lord

  • Strive to learn and grow

  • Share God’s love with others

  • Discover one’s unique gifts

Delvina Christian brings with her over thirty years of experience working with children and families.  She currently teaches and coordinates the Elementary Program at St. Helena Montessori School, a Catholic Montessori School, offering a classical education since 1981.  Mrs. Christian is trained in all three levels of The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.  She received her Montessori training at The Ohio Montessori Teaching Institute, Association Montessori Internationale, 1981.  With a Masters in Learning Disabilities from Northwestern University and an Undergraduate Degree in Speech and Language, Mrs. Christian did diagnostic work in both clinical and school settings for 13 years before pursuing Montessori and The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.  She saw the richness of these two approaches in nurturing the whole person, body, mind and soul.  The students continually draw from a deep and joy-filled faith as they pursue knowledge and apply it within a caring community, looking for ways to serve according to their unique God-given gifts.  Mrs. Christian has had the opportunity to help families develop Elementary Montessori programs in Illinois, Georgia, Pennsylvania and California.

December 21st, 4:00 pm

Followed by Dinner
St. Ann Church Social Hall

Childcare provided in the Family Center

This event is open to the Public
Please invite anyone who might be interested

Snow Days

If Gull Lake Schools are closed, so will St. Ann School and Church Office be closed.  Mass will be celebrated regardless of the weather; thank you, Father John!  You can sign up to be informed of Snow Days as well as other important updates from Miss Heather through Remind.  Handouts with instructions are available in the school office.

Counting Down to Christmas

Thank you to all who contributed to our Family Gathering in Honor of the Feast of The Immaculate Conception, especially Stephanie Flach, Charlie and Leslie Young, Ms. Megan, Ms. Mary and Ms. Tracy.  The children had a grand time making muffins and serving the Breakfasters.

Children had to hunt to find their shoes on Dec 6th.  When they found their shoes, there were goodie bags of candy canes and chocolate coins in them.  Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Thank you for involving your children in bringing in food to help stock the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.  True Vine students will take our collection to the pantry on December 19th.  Mrs. Marge Robbe will meet us and explain to the children how the St. Vincent Paul Society works to help those less fortunate.

Students will also be putting together Care Packages for members of the Armed Services here in our community.  Sue Reynolds who works with the homeless through the VA Hospital will see that the children’s lovingly wrapped packages warm some needy hearts.

December 16th – Merry Christmas, from us to you!!!!

The St. Ann School Staff is offering 3 hours of childcare
to families,
 4:00 – 7:00 pm                                  

Children will enjoy pizza, popcorn and a wholesome movie with their teachers.  Please send sleeping bags and pjs to make the event festive.  Please RSVP with names and ages of children, so appropriate staffing can be arranged.  Older siblings who would enjoy assisting, please let us know!
Please sign-up on the clipboard on the table in the school entryway.

December 23rd Cookie Exchange before ending at Noon for all students

Week of November 1st


Thanks to MANY HANDS, a fabulous feast was enjoyed on All Saints’ Day by our St. Ann School Community.  The Primary children had a great time decorating tables, making pies and green bean casserole.  The Elementary delighted in peeling potatoes, making corn muffins, serving and clearing.  Thank you for sending in all the ingredients to make our meal possible.  I want to especially thank Heather, Mary, Megan and Tracy who carried on this lovely tradition that Pat Vanderpool has orchestrated in the past.  And a big thanks to all of you who assisted on Monday and Tuesday in preparing and cleaning up! (Leslie Young, Sue Reynolds, Erica Senchuk, Steve Mollison, Virginia Michael, Sephanie Flach, Jule Smith, Hillary Ulbrich, Sandra Sherwood, Kim Clancy, Brenda Kacznowski, Please let us know if we left your name off the list; snail-mail thank you’s are being made by the children.)

We want to say a special Thank You to Leslie Young who has taught PE to our students for the last 2 months.  We are looking for someone to “take the baton” from Leslie.  What this entails is 45 minutes with the Elementary students and 30 minutes with older Primary students once a week.  This time has been on Tuesdays, 2:15 – 3:45 (but this can be flexible.)  Former PE teacher, Mrs. D. can give helpful hints as to how to follow the Standard PE Curriculum.

Other Thank You’s:
Kim Clancy who will be sharing her gift and experience as a Science Teacher with the Elementary Classroom
Layne Hakman who designed and helped the children build a playhouse for the yard

Looking for Additional Help
As the cold and flu season approaches, we are looking to add to our list of people who might help us out if we are short-staffed.  If you know of anyone who loves children and is interested in assisting in our Catholic Classical Montessori School, please pass his/her name along to Lisa Smith,

Safety Upgrades
Father John has had security cameras installed around the church and school campus to help ensure safety around the facility.  Deacon Mike has purchased a cell phone for the school.  Please make note of the school’s direct line:  269-203-6808.  Miss Mary is able to carry the school cell phone with her when she needs to walk away from the office.  She can also see the security camera views from this cell phone.

Cold Weather is Approaching–If girls are wearing a jumper or dress, they may wear knee socks, tights or leggings underneath.  The Primary-aged girls may wear slacks.

Picture Day – Nov. 17th
Primary Students – please dress in school colors:  tops – white or blue; bottoms – navy (kaki if no navy)
Elementary students – please wear dress uniform (Mass):
Boys – dress shirt, belt, (tie – optional)
Girls – blouse and jumper

Field Trip:
Next Friday, November 11, the extended day and Elementary friends are attending a performance of  “The Man Who Planted Trees”  by the Puppet State Theatre company.  The production will be presented at Comstock Community Auditorium, and begins at 12:15 pm.  As with field trips in the past, families are responsible for transporting their child, or making alternative arrangements with another family so your child may attend.  Please meet us for lunch in the social hall at 11:15 am. We leave St. Ann by 11:45 am to make our way to Comstock by 12:10 pm to find our seats. Please RSVP to Mary by Wednesday ( so we can order pizza for lunch (donations gratefully accepted), and let her know if you have made arrangements for your child’s transportation.

Learn more about Education for the Arts:
Learn more about the story:
Learn more about the Puppet State Theatre:

For those friends that end their day at noon, dismissal will be as usual.  While in the past, we have encouraged all families to come and bring their children, the content of this performance is for an older audience.  The program runs 60 minutes in length, which is a little long for our younger friends. We are sharing learning around puppets and telling stories in each atrium, in which every child is delighting.

The new school year is well on its way!

From the Primary Atria

During the morning the children have been enjoying apples, exploring them with their five senses, polishing them, reading stories about them and making apple sauce.  “There is nothing in the intellect which was not first in the senses.” (Aristotle)
In the afternoon the students have been learning about land, air and water, a song about oceans, having conversations about activities they are doing each day and developing longer work cycles.

From the Elementary Atrium

You may have heard or seen the signage that the True Vine Community is polishing to raise funds to buy a guinea pig.  For 25 cents, a pair of shoes will be shined.  For $1.00 silver, copper or brass will be polished.  The students are very excited about this venture.  (And inadvertently developing fine motor skills, concentration, perseverance, fellowship, marketing skills – we really need to work on that one – they are more like a bunch of excited golden retriever puppies than polished (excuse the pun) sales people. Grace and Courtesy is part of our curriculum, and thank you for your patience during our practicum.)  We have added to our daily routine, starting each morning with Math Fact Practice and each afternoon with Silent Reading.

From the Great Outdoors

We are enjoying these late summer/early fall days, romping in the early morning dew. (You might chat with your child about shoe apparel that is best suited for this, as well as send extra socks.) Some days we get out after lunch; some days we wind up the day in the great outdoors.  In addition to many imaginative games going on, the garden is a place of exploration and harvesting.  We have been finding cosmos, green beans, cherry tomatoes, a toad, a snake and a rainbow.  Two young boys cut through tall grass in the center of the garden as if it were the great Serengeti of Africa.  I am not sure if it was a planned plant or a volunteer, but we could use some green-thumbed volunteers to assist the children in tending the garden.  We are very grateful to Layne Hagerman who is kindly addressing the poison ivy.


A Visit from Officer Judd

Deacon Mike arranged for Police Officer Judd to pay a visit to the school.  After explaining his gear and answering questions, he showed the students his vehicle, complete with flashing lights, but no siren, thank you.


May is flying by!


June 7 is the last day of school.  We invite families to celebrate another wonderful academic year coming to a close with a picnic at noon! Families bring a dish to pass. St. Ann will provide hot dogs, buns, dessert, lemonade, water and tableware.  The teachers will have games and activities to enjoy after lunch.

Recent Testimonial

I have a few teacher friends and every Friday my Facebook wall is covered with pictures of random people running away from schools. St. Ann’s School is building an environment which makes you want to park your car and have a picnic with your family. An environment where your child is the adult and can lead you through their lessons… you can see their expressions of confidence and comfort, it’s amazing! The Montessori Method kind of bridges the gap between public school and home school, children are learning in small groups from each other while an instructor is there to guide in the learning process. Learning is done at the speed of the child, not the class. The children are learning together, from each other, different lessons at different times and in the end, everyone has learned all the lessons… It’s fascinating and we are thankful to be a part of it.
– The Hagerman Family

If you would like to write up something that we could share to promote our school, simply reply to this newsletter or email it to

Week of April 25th


Working across the Curriculum


St. Ann’s students have been learning about the countries of Europe. Last week they heard about Norway and the Northern European Countries. They saw how to make a Norwegian treat and some even helped Miss Beth’s parents make them. They touchedsmelled and tasted the delicious treats.

The picture above was taken during music class. Music is very helpful when trying to commit information to memory. The process moves faster and lasts longer when movement is added. These students were pretending to be Vikings rowing from Iceland to the Faroe Islands, and on to the Scandinavian countries. The students tapped a rhythm, used speaking voices to introduce the song, rowed (Reach, Pull) their pretend boat, all while staying together as a team using a steady beat. Next, the students used singing voices to learn a high and low melody about the journey across the Norwegian Sea to “Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland too.”

Snow, Snow, Everywhere!

Deacon Mike shows the children how to use your coat as a sled!

A child is mysterious and powerful

and contains within himself the secret of human nature.

–Dr. Maria Montessori

Montessori teaches to deeply respect children, not interrupting when they are concentrating, allowing them to discover their own mistakes rather than pointing them out, observing without judgment. However, the ability to transform old habits and apply Montessori philosophy can be challenging.  Sometimes, whether aware of it or not, we can make veiled demands and pressure children to do things they don’t want to do, because somehow we ‘know’ what the child needs, because we are older; wiser; have more experience.  We sometimes have to check ourselves — are we giving the appearance of choices?  Or are we really asking the child to do what we want them to do?  Are we inviting a child into a lesson, or are we demanding their attention?   When we allow a child to continue working rather than joining the circle, we respect his need to continue his ‘work’ and value his need to concentrate.  When we understand that wandering is part of a child’s need for movement, we value the mystery that lives within them that we cannot see.  This matters to us, and while we may make mistakes, we know that we are guided by that mystery as well.