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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 10:10 pm | Fair 56º

 
 
 
 

Santa Barbara Montessori School to Mark Montessori Education Week

Festivities will include a coffee chat with the head of school and a 'mini-Madonnari' festival

Thousands of Montessori schools throughout the United States and around the world will be celebrating Montessori Education Week, Feb. 28 to March 6.

Maria Montessori opened her first classroom in Rome in 1907, making this year the 104th anniversary. Locally, Santa Barbara Montessori School is joining the celebration with a variety of activities during Montessori Education Week.

The school will host a “Coffee with Jim” discussion from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

“Earlier in the week we’ll have several different activities going on in the classrooms with the children, but the ‘Coffee’ is open to parents who may have questions about Montessori education,” said Jim Fitzpatrick, Santa Barbara Montessori School’s head of school.

As a Montessori teacher during the past four decades, Fitzpatrick brings a certain perspective to any discussion about Montessori education. A 1972 graduate of the International Center for Montessori Studies in Bergamo, Italy, he and his wife, Frances, founded Santa Barbara Montessori School after teaching in Montessori schools in San Francisco and Whittier.

“The ‘Coffee’ will be an informal discussion, with a brief introduction focusing on Montessori’s relevance in today’s ever-changing world of different approaches to learning,” Fitzpatrick said. “We’ll have coffee, tea and wholesome treats to enjoy while considering the finer points of Dr. Maria Montessori’s discoveries and the development of Montessori schools around the world over the past 100 years.”

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, March 6, the school will host a “mini-Madonnari” celebration at its campus, 7421 Mirano Drive in Goleta.

“We’ve participated in the ‘I Madonnari’ festival year after year,” Fitzpatrick said. “The Memorial Day festival held at the (Santa Barbara) Mission is a fundraiser for the Children’s Creative Project, and we’re excited to now bring a scaled-down version to our own campus as a way to celebrate Montessori education. It’s an Italian thing! Children and their families will have this opportunity to practice their chalk-painting skills.”

In addition to the school’s version of a sidewalk chalk-painting festival, there will also be a “Backyard Harvest” booth, and the school’s own “Farmers Market” with organic vegetable seedlings available to take home for transplanting.

“The ‘Backyard Harvest’ is a new project for us, too,” Fitzpatrick said. “Children will be picking fruit and vegetables from their backyards and then bring them to the ‘market.’ In addition to avocados, oranges and lemons, the children have also planted 173 tomato seeds with the intention of giving away a tomato seedling to anyone who would like to transplant it to their own garden.”

Santa Barbara Montessori School’s “mini-Madonnari” event is open to the public; those attending will be provided chalk pastels and encouraged to join in the fun of coloring-in a sidewalk design.

“Those families or individuals with their own design can reserve a space to ensure they’ll have the opportunity to color their own design,” Fitzpatrick said. “Artists are welcome to bring their own chalks and can reserve squares (6 feet by 6 feet), rectangles (4 feet by 8 feet) or rhombi (6-foot base x 4-foot height). There’s even the option of reserving an equilateral triangle (6-foot base or 12-foot base).”

For more information or to reserve a chalk-painting space, call 805.685.7600.

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