Friends of Cornerstone News

UE children at Camp Ihduhapi

Fall 2023 Newsletter


Give to the Max is Thursday, November 16th!


CMES Upper Elementary children are excited to look forward to an actual overnight experience at a local camp!  Our children have never done this before and these types of out-of-school experiences are an important component of Montessori education. Like most public schools, we rely on grants and gifts from generous donors to help us provide special programs for our children, so we are asking for your help in making this happen.


Dr. Montessori believed that at this stage of their development, children are ready to go beyond the classroom, using the skills they have acquired, to connect with the outside world. While this overnight is a full grade level trip, children also often plan “going outs” related to their interests and studies. A Going Out is similar to a field trip but relies on a small group of interested children doing the planning and participating. 


"To have our children choose and plan their own "goings out” is an entirely empowering process.  To have the opportunity to learn off campus provides fresh ideas and lessons about the wider world, their communities, and the natural environment that they may not receive in their normal day-to-day life.  I am grateful for how Cornerstone Montessori Elementary School fosters this sense of adventurous learning for my child!" - Parent of a CMES 6th grader


UE Going Out Bus Ride
UE Going Out Asian Market


We are using Give to the Max to raise the estimated $6,000 for approximately 20 children to do a two-night stay at a local camp.  The number of nights and number of children may be modified depending on the funds we are able to raise.  


Giving is super easy!  Click here for the CMES donation page on the GiveMN website.  And be sure to read about all the prizes that are available with each donation, starting on November 1 and running through the 16th!


Whether you give $5 or $500, we are grateful for your gift in any amount.  Thank you!


LE Going Out Chocolate Factory
UE Camp Ihduhapi
Graduation 2023


Happy Endings and New Beginnings


Has it really been only five months since we said a tearful goodbye to our sixth year children and sent them confident, independent and prepared for their journey into a new world???  We had a wonderful graduation ceremony, touching and truly meaningful for children, families, staff and visitors.  Using a larger facility this year, we could accommodate everyone!


As we welcome an incoming elementary class, CMES is fortunate to be more fully staffed than ever, hiring a new math teacher, Children’s House guide and Montessori trained assistant, Lower Elementary paraprofessional and Upper Elementary classroom assistant.  At this writing our enrollment is at 142 children.


Pond environment
CH1 Sunflower Seeds


Starting the 2023-24 School Year with Excitement!

The new school year always brings so much energy and excitement!  Here are just a few of the things going on in the first month of school, taken from the children’s monthly newsletter:

  • Plucking and learning about seeds from an enormous donated sunflower head (Children’s House 1)
  • Collaborating in the sandbox to create a channel system for pooling water (Children’s House 2)
  • Exploring nouns while discovering and relishing the joy of reading (Lower Elementary Pond)
  • Using the United Nations International Peace Day to explore the concept of peace (Lower Elementary Garden)
  • Dedicating all their energy to figuring out new routines, developing stamina for concentrated periods of work, meeting new people, and generally learning to live, learn and work in a community (Upper Elementary Forest and Marsh)


Pond Environment
Garden Environment


Families Get Involved


Families were used to being part of their children’s classrooms during COVID because their homes WERE their classrooms!  Now that everyone is back at school, we’ve heard a lot from parents and families wanting to know what their children are working on and what their day is like.  A new monthly newsletter created by the children and Guides from each class started last month and goes directly to the families.


Also, Head of School Alyssa Schwartz has gotten parent involvement back on track starting in August with the Back to School Fair, followed by Cornerstone Café, Parent Partnerships and a new Fall Festival.  And coming in November, CMES will host a Middle School Options Night for families of Upper Elementary classes.


It is great to be able to gather again.  Thank you to all the parents who signed up at the Back to School Fair to volunteer to serve on various ad hoc Board of Education committees and to help with events!  We are working to sort out what we need and when so we can contact those interested in helping out. 



UE exploration


Equity Initiative Update


Three staff members have completed the initial Embracing Equity Leadership Cohort 3-day training.  This cohort will bring back ideas and training for other staff members.  More specific information will follow in our next newsletter.


GTM 2023