The Duluth Montessori School

Established 30 years ago, The Duluth Montessori School is fully accredited by Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), the organization established to protect and maintain the integrity of the Montessori principles. We educate children 14 months to 15 years of age. Fully accredited by Association Montessori Internationale (AMI)

Contributions for St. Croix Montessori

We all know someone who has been affected by the recent hurricane disasters, and when it’s one of your own, it truly hits close to home.

St. Croix Montessori is near and dear to The Duluth Montessori School.  This school is cherished by our own teacher, Ginger Kleiber, as it is her mother’s life work.  In addition, our Adolescent students hold fond memories of their visit last spring when they studied ecology, marine biology, botany and the island’s native culture.

Hurricane Maria ravaged homes, hospitals, schools and communities on St. Croix, and the re-opening of its schools is crucial to rebuilding and returning to a normal way of life.  St. Croix Montessori is one of the first to re-open, and serves as a beacon of light, pride and hope for the island.  In addition, students from neighboring St. Thomas and St. John will need to relocate to St. Croix, so it must be ready to accommodate them as well.

We are collecting contributions from our families to meet the school’s immediate needs.  To make your donation, please make your check payable to the Edith K. Overholser Foundation, indicating in the memo portion “St. Croix Montessori Hurricane Relief”.  Kindly send your check to either school office by Friday, October 6.

Your donations will:

  • Support the replacement of damaged school supplies
  • Restore roof and other campus structures
  • Provide counseling for children and families
  • Secure generator power for the next six months
  • Support scholarships for children whose families’ jobs were lost
  • Support the cost of day-to-day operations

Thank you for your generosity in supporting the larger Montessori Community.  We are all in this together!


Phillip D. Willingham
Head of School

The Realistic Look At The Family Dinner

In today’s fast paced lifestyle it is very often that the first casualty of family life is family dinner.  Parents working late, along with children’s extra-curricular activities may force us to overlook the very traditions that keep our families grounded in our values and connected in ways that nothing else will.  Instead of sharing valuable time together around the table, we find ourselves looking to fast, convenient and many times, not-so-healthy foods that we can grab and eat on the go.  It is a challenge to prioritize meals together as a family when we are all so busy, however the benefits are invaluable!


Communicating With Your Child

Saying “please” when you want someone to do something is good manners. However, to say “please” to a child when he has no choice but to obey is not a clear and concise directive and the child will not often readily comply.

Parents today may be too concerned with having their children avoid unhappiness by making life as easy as possible. This does not prepare children for the future, or even for current everyday experiences. Children like limits because they know what to expect and offer a sense of security. They can operate in this sensible environment freely with the understanding they are being cared for. Children appreciate and feel more secure with parents who are confident and firm. They are happier and ready to respond to parental instructions when parents have clear expectations and limits.

Commands formed into questions are not direct and clear and appear to give the child a choice to respond or not to respond when there is really no choice. It is much more respectful of the child to give clear directives. For example:

communicating with childrenQuestion

“Are you ready to come for dinner?”

“Please pick up your toys.”

“It’s time to go, OK?”

“Are you ready for bed?”


“Come to dinner.”

“Pick up your toys.”

“It’s time to go.”

“It’s bedtime.”


Here are a few other suggestions for communicating with your child:

  • To avoid battles at bedtime, have your child choose two books to be read. This makes going to bed a happy time.
  • “We are going out to eat and we want you to be “nice”.   “Nice” is vague and does not tell the child what you expect. Give clear expectations, “We are going out to eat in a restaurant.   At the restaurant stay in your chair and talk quietly.”
  • “How many times have I told you not to run?” Parental whining and nagging will encourage children to stop listening. A directive implying disgust is degrading and unacceptable. Instead, “Remember to walk in the store” gives a clear message in a positive way.
  • Having trouble making a child stop doing something you have told him not to do? Use one word, “STOP!” or “NO!” This is more effective and clear than a lengthy lecture.
  • “If you come now we will get an ice cream later.” Bribing children lessens the respect they have for authority.   A better approach is to say, “It’s time to go, get your coat.”
  • When and then statements are very effective as well. “We have an hour to do something fun. When you clean up your toys, we will go to the park.” There is no need to nag until the toys are cleaned up. If it takes so long that you run out of time for the park simply state that. “Our hour is up so we don’t have time left for the park today. Maybe we can go tomorrow.”
  • “Please eat your vegetables.” Many children are very picky about foods. This is an age-old problem and it doesn’t make sense to worry about how little a child eats as long as your doctor is not concerned. If healthy food is introduced, you have no junk foods around, and there are no other options, the child will eventually eat what is offered. Hunger is a good motivator. Certainly, it isn’t worth a nagging session during a meal.

Children bring much pleasure to the family and to the world. Real effort should be made studying successful ways to communicate. There need not be a continuing struggle in the family. Presenting children with realistic expectations and clear limits will ensure that your time together is filled with joy.

By Edith K. Overholser, Owner

A Week in a Big Chair

A father once came to observe his son who had very recently entered the classroom. The child was very shy and introverted, almost painfully so. For the first week, the boy would come in with his head hanging very low almost in tears. When approached for a lesson, the boy would simply shake his head “no” and walk over to the classroom’s observation chair that was placed in the corner of the room at the time. I was fully aware, that in due time, this child was going to come out of his shell – as I knew the building of this child’s character would be his own achievement and not mine nor his father’s.

old wooden chairThe father came another day – this time I joined him in the observation window to have a chat about what he was watching. The father was distraught. “It’s like no one even cares”, he said.   In this father’s eyes, his son was being unnourished and neglected –also that he was not learning.

All I could do was to assure the father that this behavior will change and cannot be forced. I could not quite explain to this man that his child was absorbing a completely new physical and social environment – that his son was not just a lost helpless unloved child sitting in a big chair. What I really knew was that this child was experiencing a new chapter abundant with new sights, sounds, tastes and smells that were going to set his dormant soul on fire and bring to surface a new alive, unafraid human being – a child.

The boy was passively observing. This was his way of taking in this strange new exciting world, making sense of it all then finally, trusting it. I knew that the time in that chair was a valuable and precious time for the boy.

I was aware of the power that this boy held that sadly; many adults are unable to grasp – The Absorbent Mind. I knew that the Absorbent Mind of a child is limitless and that it was working the entire morning – in the chair or out of it.

What could a mind possibly be absorbing in a chair??

black capped chickadee A child counting to 100 with a friend, the phonetic sounds of the alphabet, the names of the continents, older children helping the younger ones with the buttons on their aprons, a child runs across the room and another politely reminds her to walk in the classroom, children excited about learning the names of the trees from the leaves that they have found outside, children cleaning up the paint from the easel, birds being fed in the back, a spill being mopped up, oranges being squeezed then ingested with a smile while gazing cheerfully at the black capped chickadee that eats seeds from the snack window feeder and a child identifying the bird with excitement!

The boy, after a couple of weeks – on his own, came out of the big chair and began to participate full force! After the day out of the big chair, I really got to know this child – which I knew I would. He was the boy who could not stop talking! He arrived every day with a huge smile and a very long story to start off my day. I gave him his first Sandpaper Letter lesson in which he knew five sounds already!

This particular story is a lesson – a lesson teaching all of us adults who know it all, that all it takes is a little love, patience and an abundance of faith in the child and his underlying potential even if we are unable to see it at first! It is there.

-by Ashley W. Johnson

The Donald M. Overholser Memorial Fund Raffle

How does FREE TUITION and supporting a GREAT CAUSE sound to you? Pretty nice right?

Stop by either of our offices ASAP and buy a raffle ticket for $20 or 6 for $100. On January 15th, the winners will be announced.
1st Place $1000.00 Tuition Credit, 2nd Place $500.00 Tuition Credit and 3rd Place $250 Tuition Credit! (Must be currently enrolled in our school to participate in raffle)

All proceeds will benefit The Donald M. Overholser Memorial Scholarship Fund, providing DMS Scholarships to qualifying students.

Thank you for your support!

Don Overholser

Did Someone Say “Wine?!”

Yes!!! And we’re not talking about the kind that our children like to do when it’s time for bed.

Please join us for our annual Apogee Scholarship Fund discussion and Wine and Cheese Social!!

This exciting event not only provides an excellent opportunity to mingle with your fellow DMS parents and staff, but also brings awareness to a spectacular opportunity for the school, your tax dollars, and most of all, the children who are much deserving of a stellar Montessori education. Apogee representatives will be on hand to give you the run down on the way the program works for you and to answer all of your questions.

So get a sitter for the evening, grab your spouse or a friend and join us for a great event!

Thursday, October 15, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. at our Sugarloaf campus

R.S.V.P. Amy –


wine and cheese

30 Year Anniversary Gala

Duluth Montessori 30 Year Anninversary

The Duluth Montessori School is proud to announce that we are celebrating our 30th Anniversary! In honor of our founders, Don and Edith Overholser, we will be hosting an Anniversary Gala on May 2, 2015 on the Duluth town green and we would like to invite all our family, friends, alumni, and current families to celebrate with us. Please visit our Gala Website at for more information about the event, tickets, and how you may support the gala through sponsorships and donations. We hope to see you there!

Musical Mathematics

Ms. Feather’s class enjoys a musical twist to their mathematic lessons and wanted to share the songs they sing.  Enjoy!

The Two Song:

I told the witch doctor I could not count by twos

I told the witch doctor she told me what to do

She told me

2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20.

2, 4, 6, 8, 10 bing, bang, walla, walla, bing, bang!


The Three Song

To learn to count to threes

Is as easy as can be,

if you sing along with me.

3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30…whisper fade out and repeat

24, 27, 30, …Start over very loud.


The Four Song: 

(put out a finger for each number)

4, 8, 12, 16 and 20 

Counting by fours is so easy it’s funny 

24 let’s do more 

28 this is great 

32 we’re not through, 

36 it’s you who can count to 40 

CHHHHHhhHHhH (whiggle all fingers


The Five Song:

Watch my feet come alive,

I’ll do the dancing you count by fives

5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 


Watch my feet come alive

You do the dancing I’ll count to fives.

5, 10, 15 …..


Watch my feet come alive

Boys do the dancing Girls counts by fives.

Those with shorts do the dancing. Those with pants count to fives. Etc.


The Six Song:

6,12,18,24, 30 

6,12,18,24, 30 

6,12,18,24, 30

6,12,18,24, 30






The Seven Song:

I met a little boy from outer space,

with a big purple cape and a little green face.

He’s the smartest boy I ever did meet,

And he told me his name was count EZ.


He said I collect sevens I put them in a box,

I hide them in a drawer with my marbles and my socks.

I love collecting sevens they give me lots of luck.

I give them lots of rides in my tractor and my truck.

Bum ba dum ba dum ba dum da


I can make a seven from a 3 and a 4

They stack real neatly and they are easy to store.

I love counting sevens they give me lots of luck.

I give them lots of rides in my tractor and my truck.

Bum ba dum bad um bad um



7, 14, 21, 28

Keep on counting 35 can’t wait

42, 49, 56, 63

Wouldn’t you like to count to seventy with me.

Bum ba dum ba dum ba dum da


I can make seven from a 5 and a 2

The two is green and the five is blue.

I love counting sevens they give me lots of luck.

I give them lots of rides in my tractor and my truck.

Bum ba dum bad um bad um



7, 14, 21, 28

Keep on counting 35 can’t wait

42, 49, 56, 63

Wouldn’t you like to count to seventy with me.

Bum ba dum ba dum ba dum da


I can make a seven from a six and a one

But counting by sevens is the very most fun

I love counting sevens they give me lots of luck.

I give them lots of rides in my tractor and my truck.

Bum ba dum bad um bad um


I love counting sevens with count EZ


The Eight Song: (A call and repeat song.)

 8, 16, 24, 32 

 8, 16, 24, 32 (repeat)

Doesn’t this sound familiar to you?

40 (call)

40 (repeat)

48, 56, 64, 72

48, 56, 64, 72

Counting by eights is so easy to do.








The holiday season is filled with wonder. The sights are bright, the smells are luscious and the sounds are beautiful. Giving your child the gift of tradition is one of the great joys of being a parent. Holiday traditions ground us to who we are and the values of our childhood and passing them on to our children help to keep the child in us alive.

Every year as we head into the winter break we think about the children that came in the door just a few short months ago and how they have changed and grown in the classroom. The children are moving with confidence, toileting independently, changing their own clothes when needed, as well as enjoying community meals where they set the table and feed themselves.

This holiday season as you travel, shop, cook, attend and/or host parties, remember that your child needs a consistent routine. Toddler aged children especially need for their days to be as normal as possible. Try to plan for naptime and mealtimes to remain the same and remember that the toileting process is especially important for your toddler.

Your child is making great strides in becoming independent, so you will want to allow him to practice these new skills over the break. Commit to keeping your toddler in cotton underwear over the time away from school. You can purchase underpants that have a protective outer layer to safeguard holiday clothing, but avoid using diapers or disposable underpants, as these will hinder your child’s progress. Be prepared for public settings and travel by packing extra clothing, a small travel potty and a bit of extra time. Also, remember to stick to a schedule and remind your child to use the toilet if he is not yet asking or telling you that he needs to go.

Remember, this is a very short window of time that you will need to be this diligent in protecting your child’s routine, but the benefit is immeasurable. This toddler stage of development is where foundations are laid and the stronger that foundation the more confident and self-assured your child will become. As the adults in the child’s life, our job is to prepare the environment for him to have the best possibility for success. There has been much hard work in the Toddler Community thus far and your child truly deserves continuity and support as he moves into the New Year.

Happy Holidays!

Traci Gagnon