Camassia News Archive


From Robert, February News

Dear Camassia families,

What a treat it was to see so many of you for our annual student presentation day! This is a favorite event for us all and it comes with much anticipation and hard work. Thank you for supporting their development and honoring their process. In fact, it is much harder to present the work than it is to do the work with a friend on a regular day. Thank you all for understanding their effort and for being such a great group of parents- it is much appreciated!

This short month has been quite busy (last month was no different). On top of the normal busy schedule of lessons, classroom meetings, social discord, and social harmony, huge work (often in tandem with huge messes), we have completed an auction project, taken many observations and accepted a practice teacher from our local training center. You may have seen Cory, our practice teacher in the hallways or even in the classroom. He’s been executing lesson plans I have given him and the children seem to enjoy him. This week is his last week and we will miss him.

We’re also happy to welcome a new student who joined us this month, Luke Beyer! The children have been very welcoming and eager to show him how we do things in the Camassia. Please be sure to welcome Luke and his parents, Sarah and Ben.

Looking ahead, in March we will be happy to celebrate Spring and I’ll be meeting with all of you for conferences, and we will also be having a special ceremony on March 17th, honoring our beloved Camassian, William Magee and a beautiful mosaic we made in dedication for him. Many staff members, including myself and Danielle, have contributed pieces for this lovely mosaic of shells, glass, and rocks, in an arrangement of a landscape with trees, a castle, birds, and dragons. I think about William every day and feel a little comfort knowing that he would really like this mosaic.

Lastly, to all of you who have your children packing their own lunch, great job! To all of you who are working on it, fight the good fight! Doing this important work with your child will not only improve their independence now but it will help in the later years. Keep it up! Also, whenever there’s Pizza Friday, please remind your children if they have it or not. Many of your children don’t know if they even have lunch packed or if they are signed up for pizza. This will alleviate much stress for all. Thank you so much!



We hope you will all join us for the Sunstone Gala and Auction on Saturday, March 14th. It really is so much fun and a wonderful way to support the school. The theme this year is 80’s prom night. You don’t have to dress up but why not?!! Many of you have already purchased tickets (thank you!), but we would love to get 100% attendance! The classroom with the most tickets sold will get a pizza party hosted by the gala committee. Sounds awesome, right?! As of earlier this week, Camassia had more tickets sold than the other classrooms. Let’s keep up the good work and get our kiddos a pizza party! If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, here is the link.

From Room Parents – Staff Appreciation Sign Up

Hello Camassia families,

We hope you’re enjoying the weekend.

This is a friendly reminder that the Camassia classroom will provide a potluck lunch for all Sunstone staff this Friday, January 31st. Many of you have signed up to contribute items (thank you ❤️), but we still need a few more items to make our taco bar complete 🌮🌯 . If you haven’t signed up already and would like to contribute, here is the link to sign up.

On the morning of January 31st, drop off all goodies at the main building. Molly or Carmen will direct you where to put the items. And also, if using your own plates/dishes/serving utensils, please label them so we can return them to you. The staff really look forward to this and it really brightens their day (and tummies), so thank you in advance!

If you’re having trouble with the google doc, just let us know and we’ll add your name to it.

Thank you so much,
Ashley and Kelly

From Robert – Reminder Rain Gear and Math Timings

Dear Camassia families,

I just wanted to take a minute to gently remind you all to encourage your children to come to school prepared for the rain and mud (a rain jacket with a hood is the minimum). We don’t mind if your children have some “just in case” clothing in their hallway cubbies for muddy situations. Yes, we do have some emergency clothing at the front desk but the Camassian’s have been depleting the source. Oops!

I also wanted you to know that we have begun our next wave of math timings! You may have heard some grumbles at home but no worries. Your children need to practice their math facts and this is one way to prepare them for the inevitable test they may take some time in the future. I will still give them a variety of lessons with the material. I ask that you please encourage them to practice their math facts at home. Their confidence in math will rise with more practice!

Thank you all for your support!


From Room Parents: Staff Appreciation, Gala, and Upcoming Events


We hope everyone had a wonderful break and that you’re feeling settled back in.

The Sunstone calendar is pretty packed over the next few months and we want to let you know of the many things coming up.

Staff Appreciation Potluck Jan 31

First and foremost, the Camassia classroom will provide a potluck lunch for all Sunstone staff on Friday, January 31st. Each classroom takes turns doing this over the school year and January is our time to shine. We’ve gone with a taco bar theme and would love your support in pulling this off! Here is the link to sign up.

Sign up to bring one of the items on the sign-up sheet or suggest something that you would like to bring. On the morning of January 31st, drop off all goodies at the main building. Molly or Carmen will direct you where to put the items. And also, if using your own plates/dishes/serving utensils, please label them so we can return them back to you. The staff really look forward to this and it really brightens their day (and tummies), so thank you in advance! We will send out another reminder as we get closer.

Journey and Discovery

The Journey and Discovery will be held on January 24th and 25th. This is a wonderful event that we highly recommend attending. Attendees spend time exploring each classroom and learning the lessons the children receive (children’s house through upper elementary). It’s a well-spent few hours on a Friday evening and Saturday morning. Plus the food is provided. If you have any questions about this event, please feel free to reach out. Here is the link to register.



(check the Tuesday Communications or School Calendar for a complete list of events)


January 20: NO SCHOOL, MLK Day

January 24 & 25: Parent Education – Silent Journey and Discovery

January 31: Camassia provides potluck lunch for Sunstone Staff


February 5: Parent Education: The Upper Elementary Cycle + Night with a Graduate

February 14th & 17th: NO SCHOOL

February 20: Elementary Student Presentation Day

February 21: Bingo Night


March 14: Sunstone Auction and Gala – 80’s Prom Night

Thank you,

Ashley and Kelly

From Room Parents – Winter Solstice and Gifts for Guides

Dear Camassia families,

The holiday season is upon us! We hope that all of you will be able to attend the Winter Solstice Celebration on Friday, December 20th. During this celebration, in addition to the winter sing, each classroom offers crafts for parents and children to do together in the classrooms. In the Elementary classrooms, there are typically five or six craft stations.

Please look at the list below to see if there is anything you can contribute to the craft supplies needed. If you can donate, please sign up through SignUpGenius here. Please bring the items to the collection box at the front desk in the Commons beginning Monday, November 18th. All donations are needed by Monday, December 16th.

Craft Supplies Needed for Winter Solstice:

  • 2 sheets of orange felt (9″x12″)
  • Decorative ribbon of all sizes and colors (this can be scrap ribbon brought from home, or purchased in a store)
  • Green construction paper (50 sheets)
  • 5×7 white card stock and envelopes (about 30)
  • Mini red puff balls/pom poms – 5mm (1 package of 80)

Gifts for Robert and Danielle

Additionally, we would like to thank Robert and Danielle for the amazing support and enrichment they offer our children every day. Starting Monday, November 18th, we’re collecting funds to purchase a group thank you gift from all of us. This is a voluntary donation and please donate as much as you wish, as there is no recommended amount. Everything we collect will be compiled to purchase gift cards for Robert and Danielle. A portion of our collection will be contributed towards a group gift for the support staff: Mariana (Spanish teacher), Andrea and Angelina (in-house subs), Kristen (Outdoor Program Specialist), and Jason (Food Cart Chef).

Donations can be placed in the black file box located in the commons in the main building. Please put your donation in the white envelope in the Camassia folder. Cash or checks (made out to Ashley McConnell Vanderjagt) or Venmo (@Ashley-Vanderjagt) are accepted. Let us know if you have any questions about this.

Even if you choose not to participate in the group gift, please sign the thank you cards for Robert and Danielle, as well as the cards for the support staff (also in the black file box in the commons).

Donations are due by 3:00pm on Monday, December 16th. We will present the gift cards to Robert and Danielle at the Winter Solstice Celebration.

Thank you for supporting the Camassia Room Community and we hope to see many of you at the Winter Solstice on December 20!


Ashley and Kelly

From Robert- October News

Greetings Camassia Families,

I loved seeing some of you at the Fall Mixer and the Fall Festival! October has been great and this past week we welcomed a new student, Scarlett, to our community. Her parents are Emily and Mike and her brother is Anders. Anders is in the Sunflower. When you see them introduce yourself, I know they are eager to be a part of this community.

Soon Halloween will be upon us. In some regards it already is. Ha! Yes, I have been hearing all sorts of excitement from your children. As you know, we save costumes and other related tricks and treats for off-campus. Thank you for supporting your child’s learning by keeping the candy home and helping your child get enough sleep.

Now that the weather has changed, I wanted to remind you that your child should bring a raincoat to school. We will still go outside when it’s raining, so set them up for success.

The classroom has been buzzing with activity and there are even Going-Outs in the works already! There is so much work happening right now and I am excited for the coming weeks.

Before we all know it, conferences will be here and I look forward to that as well. See you soon!


From Robert – September News

Dear Camassia Families,

The crisp, cool mornings of fall are here and we are just passing the one month mark.  Children are learning how to tell time, they’re forming new relationships, and they’re understanding new and old expectations.  Every once in a while, as they work, they listen to a short and sweet storytelling podcast.  This time of year is full of lessons, one of the biggest ones being “what is follow up work”  which is a keystone of the elementary.  We’ve talked about the creation of the universe and the formation of the earth, and the coming of life — which tracks organisms from the first cell all the way to humans.  It’s a wonderful story and you can see their imaginations popping as they hear about their amoeba-like ancestors.

Meanwhile, I’m already seeing progress in children tracking their work journals, choosing work independently, and getting used to contributing to their community.  There’s much ahead!  I hope you’ve been enjoying the photos that we take in the classroom.  I love capturing some of these moments of collaboration, concentration, and discovery.  There’s a lot of joy in this room.

A quick reminder: please still have your children pack a snack if they’re opting for Pizza Friday.  Clear communication really helps in this process.  If you’re able, let your child physically pay for the pizza, handing over the check or money themselves, because this adds to accountability and helps them know when or if they ordered it.

Thank you for reviewing the guidelines for how pick-up protocol works at the end of the day.  Keeping the movement and flow of traffic is so helpful for all of us.  We appreciate it!

See you at the Fall Festival this weekend!


From Robert – First Week

Dear Camassia Families,

It’s been nice getting to know this lovely group.  I’ve been watching all the children being so sweet and caring as they welcome the nine new faces to our room.  Last week we spent a lot of time orienting ourselves to the classroom and to each other and this week we begin diving into the Montessori curriculum.  As the first full week of the year, expect your children to be tired and exhausted by the end, especially for our newest classmates.  This means going to bed early, getting your rest, and I encourage you to help your child pack extra snacks in their lunchboxes.

Nut Allergies

NOTE:  We have severe tree nut and peanut allergies in our room this year, to keep everyone safe we ask for no nuts of any kind.  Thank you.

Finger Knitting

For finger knitting during read aloud, you may help your child select a softball size ball of yarn to bring to school in a small canvas bag or sack.  There’s a lot to take in they learn about our many systems and customs.  To orient you to these customs, please join me at the Back to School Night this Thursday.  



From Room Parents – Welcome Letter
Dear Camassia Friends,From Robert – First Week

Welcome new and returning families! We wanted to take a moment to introduce ourselves as room parents (Ashley, mom to Harrison & Kelly, mom to Gabriel). As this year’s room parents, we’re excited to spend time with you and to help make the 2019-20 school year a great one for our children, Robert and Danielle, and for the school.

Room parents play a variety of roles at Sunstone. Most importantly, we are here for you.  We will facilitate time to get to know other families with Camassia gatherings, help find ways to knock out those volunteer hours, and coordinate the winter solstice celebration and spring gala class auction project.

Speaking of volunteering, here are links to some current opportunities:

Camassia Laundry & Flowers

Fall Festival

Campus Cleanup

Over the course of the year, you’ll receive messages from us alerting you to upcoming events and/or asking for your help via the Camassia email distribution list. There are a lot of exciting events happening soon and we hope you’ll be able to join us for some or all of them:

  • Camassia Gathering, Saturday, September 7 from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Spend time with other Camassia families at Williamette Park. We’ll bring the coffee, donuts and water.
  • Elementary Orientation Visits, Thursday, August 29 from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. This is a great opportunity for your student to visit Camassia before school begins. While you’re at Sunstone, maybe you can spare a little time to help with Campus Cleanup!
  • Campus Cleanup, Thursday, August 29 from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Take some time to help spruce up the campus before the new school year begins.
  • Back to School Night, Thursday, September 12 from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. After a brief welcome from Cathy and the Board, we’ll head to the Camassia classroom to hear from Robert. Childcare is available but you need to RSVP.
  • Family Camping at Oxbow Park, September 21-22. Please email Rich Wildman (dad to Muir in Lupine) or Shawna Williams (mom to Eloise in Sunflower and Holden in Camassia) if you are interested. More details coming soon.
  • Fall Festival & Free Electronics Recycling, Saturday, October 5 from 10:00 a.m – 2:00 p.m. Join us for our Annual Fall Festival on the front lawn. Enjoy bobbing for donuts, the bounce house, bean bags toss, face painting, glitter tattoos, henna and live music.

If you have any questions about these events, please reach out.  To keep up to date with school announcements, please look out for Tuesday’s Sunstone Weekly Communications and add to your email address list.


Ashley McConnell Vanderjagt (mom to 1st year, Harrison),, (973) 517-6830

Kelly Nguyen (mom to 3rd year, Gabriel),, (503) 737-9461

From Robert – Welcome Letter

Hello Camassia Families! Welcome to the 2019-20 school year. Whether your child is new to the community or returning for their 2nd or 3rd year with us, I am looking forward to another great year together. I had a glorious time exploring and relaxing with my children and now I’m gearing up for the fall. I can’t wait to dive in!

The First Day & What to Bring

The first day for returning Camassia students is Tuesday, September 3. Children who are new to Sunstone and/or the Camassia (including all first-years) join us on Thursday, September 5.

Here are a few items that your child needs for school:

● A regular-sized mug (no plastic, please). Please label the bottom of the mug with your child’s initials.

● We have nice quality journals available in the office. They are affordable and perfect for what they need in class. You can pick them up with your child on the Elementary Open House day (*see below for date and time) or when school starts.

● Indoor shoes are required. Please provide your children with a rubber-sole type of indoor shoe. Crocs are acceptable. We have found the slipper type of shoe makes it difficult for the children to move safely in the classroom and they typically do not last very long. Flip-flops are discouraged as well.

● Consider having a raincoat to keep at school for the year, labeled with initials/name. Your child has a place to hang it in his/her cubby, and it is important for our unexpected recess showers.

Elementary Open House, Campus Cleanup & Back to School Night

*There will be an Open House for new and returning families joining the Camassia community on Thursday, August 29 from 9:30-11:30. You are welcome to stop by to see the progress that we have made and, perhaps, meet another Camassia student/family. Please feel free to have your child bring his/her items listed above, while I briefly tour the new children around the classroom. There is also a Campus Cleanup, led by Kristen, taking place this same morning; you and your child can volunteer on a job together to help get our outdoor environments prepared for the children and for the new year. You will also receive community participation credit so be sure to sign up.

Please also plan to have at least one parent attend our whole school Back to School Night on Thursday, September 12 at 5:30. Be sure to reserve childcare if you need it. I look forward to seeing you there!

See you soon!