From Robert 3/22

Camassia Families,
Thank you all for your lovely thoughts you’ve shared these past few days.  Here in the Camassia, we continue to put one foot in front of the other.  Going slowly we are getting our work out, still writing memories down, still talking about our best memories of William.  Usually in our classroom it is a rule that we don’t go into one another’s cubbies.  However, I gave the children permission to go into Wiliam’s drawer cubby because I told them that I have been doing it and how it brings me great comfort to see his things.  I hope it does the same for the children who have chosen to do it. Most of them have.
I want you to know that I have also approved a child’s request to use William’s snack magnet.  Children move their own magnets that have their initials on them on our metal board to have a snack.  They usually have their snack in pairs.  I have noticed children pair their snack magnet with William’s and have snack alone.  It’s pretty sweet.
At this morning’s gathering, we talked about some sayings we have here in the Camassia. You may have heard your children say them at home.
“Once a Camassian, always a Camassian.”
 “We are a family, away from your family.”
I really do believe these sayings and it makes me feel very proud to hear the children say these sayings and use them in their lives.  I know William did.
With all that is going on, we have been getting back to our work because, as Maria Montessori put it, work normalizes.  Math, research, recording in journals, finishing projects and finding a place to go for a going-out were activities witnessed today.  Smiles and laughter were as well. We are working to normalize ourselves and it may take some time.

Robert Salazar

From Robert 3/20
Dear Camassia families,
A lot of people asked me today how I was doing and my answer?
Terrible.  I am so heartbroken at the loss of our dear William.
However, today we played music-the music we have all seen William dance to.  We listened to stories that were William’s favorites.  The children did a lot of finger-weaving with yarn, made art with Ian and Danielle, wrote precious memories and placed them in a memory box dedicated to William.  They even began decorating the box–such a nice tribute to their classmate.  It was good to see them take care of each other and to connect through handwork.
The counselors were there to help and some of your children went to talk to them. They will be there tomorrow as well for a bit.  I had the fortune to meet one of the counselors alone in the hallway while all of your children were still in the Camassia.  I explained how we were processing our feelings.  As she peeked through the window and saw what your children were doing in honor of William, she cried.  Your children are amazing and extraordinary.

From Robert 3/19
You already know the script that Cathy sent to you all.  I used this to communicate the heartbreaking news to your children. There was a mixture of emotions from shock to tears.  Children began to ask questions and offer appreciations as well as memories of our dear William.  They saw Danielle and I weep and we let them know that it is ok to cry.  As a class, we are going to keep his drawer, his work, his nametags and his folders here and continue to celebrate the loving and joyful person that he was.
It was very moving to have you all join us and your children at the end.  So powerful.  William loved our gatherings and I know he would be so happy to know we sat together like that in his honor.
One of William’s favorite poems that he read as a blessing numerous times is by Helen Keller.  I believe it was a favorite of his because he understood the profound meaning.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt with the heart.”
With more love than you can imagine,
Robert and Danielle

From Robert – Jan/Feb News

Dear Camassia Room Families,

In January, for my birthday, I was lucky enough to be celebrated with an elaborate display of affection from the children of Camassia. They had worked with Danielle for weeks to gather written affirmations from classmates, staff, even admin from the office. They built math chains to decorate the entire room and when I got to school I felt overwhelmed with the generosity of your children.

Music is an important part of life and the children know that music can set a mood or change your emotions. We play music in the classroom a lot and the children are used to dance breaks mid-morning. Recently I’ve been giving lessons on finding the beat and rhythm in a song. I helped them to feel it in their feet, in their hands, and then to take that beat and find a way to move just how the music sounds. The result is that now when we play a song for the whole class you can see the movement and passion ripple through the classroom. Many times it is through the arts that we are able to witness the human soul and I have been seeing it every day expressed through movement and dance.

January also marked the raising of expectations in every facet of our classroom. I believe the children are ready for this! It has been wonderful to see them rising to the new expectations academically and socially. February has been a successful continuation of this important notion. There’s follow-up work after every lesson, the children have elevated their journaling by beautifying, specifying and quantifying what they are doing. There’s a higher expectation to work with a variety of people and to complete work that they begin.

There is dynamic work going on consistently. Children have been happily studying the Ancient Egyptians and making dioramas, there have been children discovering equivalent fractions, following up the main function of a leaf, there have been written interviews of each other, discoveries in long multiplication on the checkerboard, water coloring the parts of the stem, transforming 26 squared into a trinomial, making a geography bee and composing songs on the tone bars. The children have also been doing research on Vincent Van Gogh, finding and recording words for a spelling bee, performing long division on paper and practicing the adverb grammar box, to name a few. We are buzzing with activity every day.

Elementary Presentation Day-February 21

I should also mention that this coming Thursday 2/21, we will be hosting our annual Student Presentation Day. Last week, some of the children practiced how to give a presentation and all of us will be working on them all week. The Lower Elementary classrooms will both be open from 2:00-3:00; the Lupine Room will open to visitors starting at 1:00. See you then!”

Best regards,

From Robert – December News

Dear Camassia families,

It is hard to believe we are so close to the winter solstice and our winter break. The Camassia has been a very busy community for the last month or so. We have read many chapter books, had many lessons, begun huge projects, had a couple of math timings, hosted young children from the Primary classrooms, had many observers, had many heart-to-heart conversations at our gatherings and welcomed a new student to our class.

Our gatherings are so important. A myriad of subjects come up and lately, we have been talking about how to be peaceful and what is pride in oneself and the classroom. Its been really sweet and eye-opening for the children. I feel very fortunate to hear what they have to say and to hear how much they care about their community is priceless.

In other news, we welcomed our new Camassia community member in the first week of December. Her name is Genevieve and she is 7 years old. She is finding her way nicely and making new friends. She has a twin in the Trillium and we are so happy to have her and her sister!

Later this week, on Friday, we have our annual Solstice celebration. There will be crafts galore! Please let me know if you won’t be attending so I can support your child in the best way possible. I look forward to seeing you and if I don’t, have a fantastic and cozy winter break!


We have realized it is pertinent to revisit the rules regarding morning drop-off. As part of our partnership with the neighbors in this community, we have agreed that, in order to ease congestion during peak arrival times, all arrivals between 8:10 and 8:25 must occur on the blacktop via the drive-through drop-off lanes. Please do not park and walk your child to the front door during this window of time. It is imperative that we abide by this rule; recently we have received complaints from neighbors about this issue. Thank you for working together with us to keep us in good standing with our neighborhood agreement, and for helping us maintain a smooth, orderly drop-off procedure!



Hello Camassia Families!

It was wonderful seeing most of you at Back to School Night.  Here are a few points I may have forgotten and few points I thought were worth mentioning again. I emailed you two articles that I spoke of the other night.  The article by Allyn Travis is my Montessori trainer.  Its a lengthy but very useful piece she wrote, I hope you appreciate it.  The other article is the one I cited during Back to School Night.  Enjoy!



*The best way to get in touch with me is via email:

Also there are a variety of ways you can find out what’s going on at Sunstone and specifically the Camassia Room:

  • Read the weekly Communications (Tuesdays) and the Sunstonian (Fridays)
  • Check your email; I will sometimes send out an email to all of you, a group of you or directly to you.  If you send me an email first, I will do my best to get back to you with a response within 48 hours.


We offer parent-teacher conferences twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring.

Monica will put a link to sign-up in the weekly Communications approximately 3 weeks in advance.

Sign-ups are first-come, first served, however, families with siblings in different classes will have a chance to sign up first. Childcare is available during your child’s conference slot. Just check yes on the sign ups.

I look forward to this opportunity to check-in, celebrate your child’s development and discuss was we can work together to better serve your child’s needs.


We will continue to have P.E. on Fridays.  Please make sure that your child wears foot ware that suits running and jumping.  Slip-on sandals and clogs, for example are difficult to run in.

Lunch and Snack

I would like to encourage you to facilitate your elementary aged child in packing his or her own lunch for school.  This is a developmentally appropriate step towards greater independence.


Clothing with cartoons or TV/video game characters is not appropriate for school.  Similarly, please do not send your child to school with expensive jewelry or flashy shoes.

Bringing Items from Home

All toys, games, money or electronics should be left at home.  If your child has a special item (a rock, a fossil, a seashell) that she or he would like to share, please send in a note first so that we can arrange an appropriate time for your child to bring this item.

From Robert – Great Start!

Hello Camassia Families,

The year is off to a great start. I stood at the rug with all of the children and played a game where I prompted them with statements – “walk across the rug if you have a younger sibling” “walk across the rug if you’re born in April.” By the end I said “walk across if you like making friends” and they all walked across, meeting each other’s eyes and smiling.

It takes time to build and form a community. For many, the beginning of the year just means familiarizing themselves with a culture they already know, and getting back to to the work they love. For our new children they are doing the hard work of assimilating to new customs, rules, as well as getting used to new friends. Especially in these early fall months, your child may need more sleep than usual, they may be exhausted after school, so give them loads of love, chores, and send them to bed early.

I look forward to seeing all of you at Back to School Night so you can know me better and get some insights on what your child’s day is like.

Check out this picture. I’m sorry I didn’t make them into a heart shape. I really missed that opportunity!



Dear Camassia Room Parents,

Its so wonderful to see your children again!  We spent the morning sharing stories of our summer, reacquainting ourselves with our classroom and old friends, finding the 16 rivers that our tables are named after in atlases, conversing about our daily routine and rules, and how to help the incoming first years.  The first day of school is so much fun and I look forward to having the rest of the Camassians here with us on Thursday!

Here are a few points for your informational needs:

-The Camassia is a nut free room.  We have two children this year that have severe allergies to tree nuts and peanuts.  If you are looking for alternatives, Danielle and I highly recommend sunflower butter.  It is so good!

-Please help your child pack snacks as we do not provide them for the elementary children.  The children are welcome to sign up for snack from the moment they walk into the classroom until around 11 o’clock.  They will be very tired getting back into the school routine, so please encourage them to pack plenty of healthy snacks.  They are welcome to have extra snacks in the afternoon too, I just don’t broadcast this piece for logistical reasons.

–If you haven’t already, please read the Sunstone Community Handbook.

-Your child should have a raincoat with a hood.  When it is raining, we require the children to wear them outside with their hoods on.  If they don’t have a raincoat at school, we have them go under our covered areas, which is not always fun.  Please help them to remember to bring one to school or to keep one here all the time.

-Please remember to discourage your children from wearing potential distracting items such as jewelry, perfume/cologne or hair accessories.  You’d be amazed how much time they spend fiddling with jewelry or taking off their hair accessories and tracking them down.  Also, their noses are extremely sensitive, so you can imagine if a couple of children come into the classroom wearing perfume or cologne how much distraction this may cause.

-If your child wears a watch my request is that it is an analog watch.  Many children are learning how to tell time and it is helpful for these children to learn without the digital answers all around them.

-Next week your child is invited to bring a small canvas bag with one ball of yarn for finger knitting if they would like to (we will show your children how, if they don’t know already).  If your child already knows how to knit, she/he may bring knitting needles.  This is not a requirement for all children.  It just serves as bonus hand work during our read aloud time.

-Look for chores for your child to perform at home and have them participate in making their lunches.  Thanks again!


From Room Parents – Welcome Back!

Dear Camassia Friends,

Welcome to all new and returning families! As this year’s room parents, we’re excited to spend time with you and to help make the 2018-19 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.  Already there are a lot of exciting events happening and we hope you’ll be able to join us for some or all of them:

  • Camassia Gathering, this Saturday, August 25 from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Spend time with other Camassia families at Williamette Park. We’ll bring the coffee, donuts and water.
  • Elementary Orientation Visits, Thursday, August 30 from 9:30 a.m. – 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 30 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 13 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. After a brief welcome from Cathy, we’ll head to the Camassia classroom to hear from Robert. Childcare is available but you need to RSVP.
  • Family Camping Trip, the weekend of September 22 and 23Join us for an afternoon of fun on September 22 or pitch a tent and stay the night at beautiful Oxbow Park. RSVP Family Camping at Oxbow
  • Fall Festival & Free Elctronics Recycling, October 6 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.

Lauri Wooley (mom to 3rd year, William M) –  503-388-7226

Laura Stensland (mom to 2nd year, Leah) –  503-896-4261