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Talking Respectfully to Children

Talking Respectfully to Your Children

By Jane M. Jacobs, MA


If you have observed a Montessori class, you may have wondered: How does the teacher manage 20 or more children when I have trouble with just one or two? If only I had her skills and patience! Having taught for several years before I had children, I was astonished to discover that my Montessori classroom experience did not prepare me for parenthood. Though Maria Montessori believed in extensive training of the teacher, few parents receive
useful preparation. Fortunately, I found a book that helped me translate Montessori theory into more effective parenting: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. The following ideas from this valuable book might be helpful as part of your parenting tool kit. The bonus is that these tools will work for you in any setting—and with everyone, not just children.

Learn to look and listen

Montessori stresses the importance of carefully observing a child as he goes about his work. This is one of the ways we can show respect for the child, another major premise of the Montessori philosophy. We often jump to conclusions and step in without taking into account what our child might be doing, thinking, or feeling. Put down the phone, turn off the television, watch, and look into your child’s eyes when you speak.

  • Practice observing and staying quiet first.
  • Listen to yourself as well as your child—if your immediate inclination is dismay or anger, write down what you would like
    to say, but don’t say it.
  • Try not to fix anything or problem-solve—just be with your child.

Name the feelings

It’s easy to be anxious when your child is upset. As a result, we may minimize children’s feelings or attempt to protect them from disappointment. In the long run, it is more productive to help children identify and learn from their emotions. Just as Montessori materials help children learn concepts and nomenclature, thoughts and feelings can be defined for our children. Adapt the style or phrasing to suit your child’s age.

  • Listen to your child as he or she talks, offering feedback such as:
    “Oh…”; “Mmm…”; “I see.”
  • Recognize and name your child’s feelings: “You seem upset (or angry, or happy).…”
  • Resist asking and then answering questions that are rhetorical or accusatory: “What were you thinking?” “Who drank the milk?” “How many times have I told you…?”
  • Try to understand from your child’s perspective and describe, perhaps with fantasy: “Sounds like you wish you could eat cookies for every meal.”
  • Show respect for your child’s struggle: “I see that it’s hard for you to…”
  • Describe the dilemma your child is facing: “Even though you know…” “The problem is…”

Engage cooperation

Keeping the family on schedule—and making certain everyone is fed, clothed, bathed, etc.—is no easy task, especially as children often have timetables, needs, and desires different from adults (and often from each other). Montessori believed that children, when given tasks appropriate to their abilities, delight in their accomplishments. Organize your home so children needn’t rely on adults for everything, and give them the time and the direction they need so they can become independent and successful in contributing to the family. You may find you don’t have to resort to
demands or reprimands.

  • Acknowledge feelings first: “You’re cozy in your bed this morning.”
  • Offer a choice: “Do you want to wear the red shirt or the green shirt?”
  • Be playful: “If you were a magician, you would already be dressed!”
  • Rather than reminding, describe what you see: “This table needs to be set.”
  • Say it with information: Use a word or short description, rather than a nagging, repetitive demand: “Shoes, backpack…”
  • Write a note: “I’m hungry” on the dog’s collar or “Hang me
    up!” on the jacket.
  • Take action without insulting: “Let’s clean up, put the paints away, and go outside.”

Be patient as you learn these new skills; it takes time and practice—and will pay off. As Faber and Mazlish state: “We want to demonstrate the kind of respectful communication that we hope our children will use with us—now, during their adolescent years, and ultimately as our adult friends” (1982, p. 88).

JANE M. JACOBS, MA, is a licensed marriage and family therapist and an educational consultant at Montessori Services. She has taught children ages 2 to 7 in Montessori schools, Head Start, and at a preschool for children with developmental challenges. She is AMS-credentialed (Early Childhood). Contact her at



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Step Up for Students is now accepting applications for reading scholarships

Applications Available for Reading Scholarships


Step Up for Students is now accepting applications for Reading Scholarships

Who is eligible? Students in grades 3-5 that scored a Level 1 or Level 2 on the FSA ELA in third or fourth grade are eligible to apply for the reading scholarship.

Reading scholarships will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.  

*This post was published on 09/23/2019. Original post here.


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Back to School Packet Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year

Back to School Packet

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year!

Ignite the Light:

Join us as we explore what it means to be a leading light that illuminates others around us.

School Hours and Visitation

  • Office hours are Monday – Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.
  • Student school hours are Monday – Friday from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm.
  • All visitors must sign in at the front office window with a valid identification card. At this time, we will be limiting visitors on campus for the first quarter.


  • We utilize ParentSquare as our main source of communication. Make sure you set up your account and
    download the app to your cell phone.

Car Line

  • Tune in to CMCS Radio at 107.9 during morning and afternoon Car Line for updates.
  •  You MUST have a school-issued car sign to pick up your child in Car Line – hang car signs for all students being picked up from the rearview mirror.
  • Do NOT use your cell phone, iPad, or any technology device while in Car Line.
  •  Morning Car Line
    o 8:05 am until 8:30 am
    o If you arrive after Car Line has ended, you must walk your child to the front office window.
  •  NO students will be able to be checked out of the office between 2:45 pm and 3:15 pm.
  • Afternoon Car Line:
    o Lower Elementary (without UE & MS siblings): 3:00 – 3:15 p.m. (12:00-12:15 pm for Noon
    Dismissal Days
    o Upper Elementary & Middle School (including LE Siblings): 3:15 – 3:30 p.m. (12:15-12:30 pm for
    Noon Dismissal Days)

Snack/Lunch Time

  • Please contact the Front Office if you’d like information about our breakfast and lunch program. Even if your
    child participates in our hot lunch program, you will still need to pack a snack.
  • Please pack healthy snacks and lunches for your student.
  • Due to the normalization process, we will not be accepting lunch visitors for the first quarter.
  • Lunch items to bring DAILY:
    o Washed and labeled cloth/fabric placemat that will fit inside the lunchbox
    o Utensils & napkins
    o Water bottle (for use all day) – ONLY water can be put in water bottles. No juice, sports drinks, etc.
  • Microwave Guidelines (most classrooms):
    o Maximum of 30 second heat up
    o Not allowed: Easy Mac, popcorn, frozen dinners


  • If your child needs to take any medication while at school (over the counter or prescription), please contact
    Ms. Devon in the Front Office

Parent-Teacher Communication

  • Telephone messages/emails will be checked daily before and after school hours, not during teaching times.
  • Please make sure all teachers’ names/emails are included in all communication.
  • Teacher emails can be found on the CMCS website (under the Teams tab).


  • CMCS follows the guidelines of Pasco County Schools and Department of Health related to COVID-19 protocols.
  • CMCS also follows Pasco County School’s guidelines and closures related to severe weather and storms.


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COVID-19 Updates 2021-2022

COVID-19 Updates 2021-2022
Parents & Students

Health and Wellness

  • Masks are optional in Pasco County Schools. However, the CDC continues to
    recommend the use of masks. Since CDC guidance is subject to change, we
    recommend visiting the CDC website for the latest guidance.
  • All district employees, students, visitors, and volunteers will review a health
    self-screener prior to reporting to work or school each day. The screeners will be
    posted at the top of our website.
  • We will not be doing temperature checks upon arrival at this time.
  • Staff and students will be encouraged to practice social distancing when and where possible.

Facilities Maintenance

  • Enhanced cleaning will continue.
  • Touch points around the campus will be disinfected throughout the day.
  • Tables, sinks, drinking fountains, and light switches will be disinfected daily.
  • AC filters will continue to be replaced with greater frequency.
  • The use of one-way traffic flows inside buildings is encouraged where feasible to improve social distancing of students and staff.
  • Cleaning resources (hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes, soap, germicide) will be
    regularly replenished.

Positive Cases

Students or staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be able to return to school
or work when the following criteria have been met:

  •  At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, AND
  •  At least 24 hours have passed since the last fever has passed with the use of
    fever-reducing medications, AND
  • Symptoms have subsided.

Students and staff may return in fewer than 10 days with the following:

  • Students and staff may return in fewer than 10 days with the following:
  • Verified medical documentation of alternate diagnosis as the cause of symptoms,
  • Documentation of a negative PCR COVID-19 test.


  • The Department of Health will determine which individuals need to quarantine
    due to close contact with a positive case. Close contact is defined as within six
    feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more.
  • The Department of Health will review each case and make a recommendation.
    Students and staff who have been fully vaccinated may not be required to
    quarantine unless they exhibit symptoms.
  • Individuals who need to quarantine will be notified via a letter from the
    Department of Health, which will be sent to the individuals by the school.
  • Students who must quarantine or isolate will be marked as an excused absence during the quarantine period.


  • Students have two options for instruction, including in-person, on-campus
    instruction as an enrolled CMCS student and the Pasco eSchool/FLVS virtual
    option. For the Pasco eSchool/FLVS option, students would have to withdraw
    from CMCS. The state has not approved our continued use of the innovative
    option that was offered last year – CMCS Online.
  • Each quarantine situation will be unique and CMCS will work with families to
    develop a plan to ensure instructional continuity.
  • Concurrent teaching and Zoom classes are not the expectation when students are out on quarantine.

Visitors and Volunteers

  • Meetings involving visitors will be conducted virtually when possible.
  • At this time, CMCS will not have visitors on campus for at least the first quarter.
    We will continue to use the walk-up window for visitors.
  • All visitors and volunteers will review a health self-screener prior to visiting the
    school campus. The screeners will be posted on our website.

Field Trips & Enrichment

  • CMCS will not have field trips or enrichment for at least the first quarter.


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Pasco County Schools

Dear Parent/Guardian,

In Pasco County Schools, student success includes academic content, behavior success skills, and social emotional skills. Each of these are necessary in order for students to learn at high levels. Success for our system is directly connected to the ability of our school teams to deliberately plan and set goals for academic content, academic behaviors, and social emotional norms and skills. We use Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) to ensure students achieve success in grade-level expectations.

All students are provided strong core instruction (Tier I) in grade-level standards and their learning is monitored and assessed throughout the year using a variety of measures such as NWEA-MAP, mid and end of module assessments, DIBELS, FSA, etc. When student assessments and/or work product demonstrate a need for additional support, students are provided “just in-time” supports (Tier II) to reteach and reinforce their learning. Many students access Tier II interventions at some point throughout the school year as student learning can develop at different rates. When on-going assessment data demonstrates that students are experiencing significant difficulties, meaning they are more than a year behind in literacy and/or math, they receive intensive interventions (Tier III) and supports in the areas of need. When students who fall into this category, the teacher notifies the family and all parties work collaboratively to create a progress monitoring plan (PMP). This plan includes specific interventions and supports that will be put in place in order to intervene, remediate and catch students up to grade level expectations.

Previously in Pasco, students receiving Tier II and Tier III supports received a PMP and some type of intervention was put in place to support students. The reality is that many students will need Tier II support at some point throughout the year. Very few students master new content the first time, every time and a certain amount of reteaching and reinforcing will always be necessary. The reteaching and reinforcement
for Tier I and Tier II occur in the classroom through differentiated instruction and can also occur through other second-chance learning opportunities such as test corrections or retakes. The on-going nature of these interventions and the rate at which students move in and out of needing Tier II supports is not conducive to establishing a formalized individual student plan.

If your student is eligible for a Progress Monitoring Plan, their teacher will send home specific information along with an invitation to join them in the co-development of a plan to support your student and improve their areas of struggle. You will then receive monthly communication from your child’s school with information on their progress and next steps for learning growth.

If your student is not eligible for a PMP it does not mean that they will not receive additional supports that they may need throughout the year, it just means that at this point in the year, their assessment data does not indicate a significant deficiency in grade level expectations. Students are continually monitored and
assessed with interventions being put in place for students when need is demonstrated. Additionally, progress is routinely monitored and communicated to families via Progress Reports, Quarterly, Semester and Year-Long grades.

If your student previously had a PMP in place and are not identified as needing the intensive layer of supports, they will not continue with their PMP, however, Tier II interventions will be provided as needed, their progress will continue to be monitored and a plan can be initiated any time that achievement data and/or grades demonstrate a significant need.

Pasco County Schools