Maple News Archive

From Melissa – February News

I hope you all are enjoying the weekend.  This last bout of sickness has been strong and long-lasting, with many children experiencing symptoms for a week or longer, so wash those hands often, eat well, and find some time for relaxation.

Even though, Punxsutawney Phil predicts an early spring, please continue to bring rain gear (including rain pants, coats and rain boots) every day.  Also, please keep your child’s extra clothes bins stocked with dry pants and socks so that your children can splash in the abundant puddles on the playground.  The clothes bins are located in the North bathroom.

This Thursday, February 6 is Parent-Child Sharing!!  you are invited to join your child in the Maple Room between the hours of 4-6 and follow your child in their work.  Remember that this is your child’s chance to lead you through their space, so please be a gracious observer and engage in whichever work they are interested in showing you.  The children talk about and plan for his event all week, so please give yourselves ample time to experience all that they want to share.  If you have multiple children’s classrooms to visit, I suggest arriving at the youngest child’s classroom first, before the hunger and fatigue of the evening set in.  Of course, you are welcome to bring siblings to any of the classrooms.

From Room Parents – Maple Auction Project

Dear Maple Classroom Parents,

You’ve probably heard that every classroom is asked to contribute an auction item for the annual Sunstone Gala. The idea is for the auction item to be a group project involving all of the kids. Our classroom project is a colorful finger painting where every child contributes to painting Mt. Hood with their finger prints.

We started on the painting project this morning and plan to be finished by the end of this week. The art work will be auctioned at the Sunstone Gala in March. I’ve attached a few pictures of the classroom art session this morning so you can see how the project is coming along. I can’t wait to see the finished project. I think it’s going to be just beautiful and a really lovely keepsake for a Sunstone family. If you haven’t already purchased your tickets, we encourage you to do so soon! I hear it’s a really fun time and Randy and I are really looking forward to it!! Here is a link with more info:

Maple Room Parents – Julie, Jody, Jessica, Randy & Denise


From Melissa – November News

Thank you all for coming to the fall feast for grandparents and special friends, it was such a wonderful gathering. I appreciate the opportunity to connect with you all and share some of the music and poetry that we enjoy in the classroom.

The children returned from the Thanksgiving break with a renewed focus and ready to work. This week has kept me very busy as I attempt to keep up with all the new lessons and challenging work that your children have been diligently attending to. At several points this week I also had the pleasure of sitting and simply observing the children at their work and I would like to share what I saw…

Jai is working with word study cards that match animals with their group names. We all learn that a group of fish is called a school, but did you know that a group of butterflies is a flutter?

Ella is practicing reading and cursive writing while making a book of phonetic words from a set of cards in the classroom.

Minka is practicing division with the Stamp Game. Minka has learned that division means “to share equally,” what a simple and lovely sentiment.

Elanor is working on an embroidery project. She is using fine hand-eye coordination and movements to ensure that each stitch of her bumblebee is uniform. The color combination is beautiful and unique to her work. This embroidery square may be used to make a pillow or a quilt, we shall see.

Penny is making an intricate metal inset design by tracing a triangle, moving the shape and tracing again, repeatedly around her paper. The result is a beautiful, mandala-like design which she is carefully filling with rainbow colors.

Carmela is exploring the visual and tactile differences in thickness as she works with the brown stair; a set of 10 rectangular prisms that incrementally increase in two dimensions of size.

Elliot is using the gentlest of touch with a cotton ball soaked in water to wash the leaves of a classroom plant. This work helps to take care of our environment, an integral part of the Montessori curriculum.

Sylvia is building the cards and counters on a rug. This work requires her to recognize the numerals 1-10, place them in order, and then build the quantities using small red circles.

Sam is using small labels to count the 100 bead chain. The bead chains build a foundation for skip counting, a powerful tool for learning math facts in later years.

Robin is exploring the binomial cube. For Robin, this is simply a 3-D puzzle that is carefully built using wooden cubes. He will learn in Elementary that the binomial proves the cube root equation (a+b) cubed.

Katie noticed that one of the work tables had pencil marks on it so she independently chose to get the materials for table washing. This is another way the children help to care for our environment.

Jackson is making designs using the graded geometric figures. This work includes 3 different boxes of shapes; circles, triangles, and squares. Each box of shapes has 3 series of 10 shapes that vary in size by 1 cm; one series in red, one in blue, and one in yellow. It is one of my favorite materials in the classroom because the options for designs are truly endless and I always enjoy observing the children while they work on this.

Preston has almost finished building the decanomial, a 2-D puzzle that color coordinates with the bead cabinet and all of the colored beads in the Math materials. The work requires patience and attention to detail, but the finished project is immensely satisfying. Preston is simply building a work sensorially without knowing that it is setting the foundation for later work in geometry and algebra.

Emiilia is building the teens boards, a tactile way of learning the strange nomenclature of the teens- I mean, who came up with the name “eleven,” shouldn’t it be ten-one?!

David is matching the shapes of the geometry cabinet over the long-distance of the classroom. This exercise is similar to trying to build a puzzle with the frame in one room and all the pieces in another room. David is building his visual sense and working memory as he manages all of the distractions in the classroom to find the exact shape that he needs and transports it back to his rug.

Evan is practicing one to one counting using the spindle boxes. This work helps Evan build a tactile memory relating numbers to quantity by experiencing how 1 spindle feels compared to 9 spindles. This work also introduces the number zero which means “no spindles.”

Juliet is practicing her cursive handwriting on a small chalkboard at a work table. The chalkboard is a great tool for practicing because it allows the child to repeat a letter or number as many times as needed in a short time without drawing a focus to the erasing as a pencil and paper does.

Raymond is using small red beads in a board with dimples to build multiplication equations. He is currently working on 5×7, which requires him to repeatedly place 5 beads for seven rows. Raymond will count the beads reinforcing the 5 times table until he reaches 35.

Orion is using constructive triangles to explore the multitude of shapes that can be formed from various triangles, including other triangles, parallelograms, trapezoids, etc.

Salter is exploring the trinomial cube, another 3-D puzzle. In Elementary, Salter will learn how the cube represents the trinomial equation (a+b+c) cubed.

Andrew is challenging his auditory sense by matching the sound cylinders. The cylinders include two sets of 6 cylinders each. One set has red tops and one set has blue tops. Other than the tops the cylinders are visually alike, however, each of the blue cylinders has a matching red cylinder that can only be determined by listening to them. This work requires high levels of organization, patience, and auditorial discrimination.

Ingrid is slicing a banana. This work first requires Ingrid to gather a list of tools; a cutting board a knife and a plate as well as a banana. Then she must slice up the banana, offer it friends, and finally, clean up the materials. This is a short version of what we all do to prepare meals for our families each day and is an important first step for Ingrid in preparing meals for herself and others.

Morgan is building a biology puzzle of a flower at his table. This puzzle provides Morgan with a tactile experience for learning the names of the parts of a flower and later the definitions of all those parts.

John is building a list of words that rhyme with “-and” using a set of small letter cards. He is systematically placing a letter sound in front of the “-and” to determine whether it makes a recognizable word. For example, “band” is a word, “dand” is not.

Coralie is enjoying the “flow” of the knitting fork work as she repeatedly wraps yarn around the tynes of a wooden tool to make a long yarn creation ready for giving to a friend or family member.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the Maple Room this week. I feel abundantly thankful for the time that I get to spend with your kind, generous and hard-working children. They fill my days with joy and peace. Thank you for sharing your families with us.

I hope you all have a restful, wonderful weekend,


From Room Parents – Winter Solstice & Gifts for Guides

Dear Maple Room Families ~

Winter Solstice and Holiday Gifts

Friday, December 20th at 1pm.

PART I- Winter Solstice CRAFTS

For those of you new to Sunstone traditions, families gather in the Commons at 1pm for a performance by the Children’s House, after which everyone is invited back to Maple room for a few crafts designed for parents to do with their children.  After starting in their room, families are welcome to move to other rooms to complete additional crafts (we ask that each child is accompanied by a parent as they branch out from their room).
For Maple room, we have planned 2 crafts this year. Please look at the list in the SignUpGenius link below, dig through your craft stashes and see if there is anything you can contribute to the supplies needed. If you can donate, please sign up through SignUpGenius below:

Click here  for Winter Solstice Sign Up

Items can be brought to the collection box at the front desk in the Commons as soon as tomorrow (November 19). You will also find a Maple Amazon Wishlist on the SignUpGenius link — you are welcome to purchase these items (which will be mailed directly to us) OR purchase a similar item from a brick-and-mortar store OR provide what you already have at home.

You are also welcome to look through other classroom’s lists and see if you can provide any of their needed items from your stashes at home.
All donations are due by Monday, December 16.


Each holiday season we ask our community to thank Melissa, Brenda, Emma & Morgan for the amazing support and enrichment they offer our children. Their thoughtfulness, kindness and patience is present each day in the classroom. As always, contributions of any amount are welcomed and much appreciated. Everything we collect will be carefully and anonymously compiled to be given to Melissa, Brenda, Emma & Morgan. Per tradition, a portion of the donations from each classroom are combined and used to purchase gifts for the support staff as well.

Donations can be placed in the black “Donations Box” at the front desk in the file marked MAPLE.  Cash or checks payable to JODY TATE. Venmo or PayPal also works, find Jody at

Also in the MAPLE file you will find cards for Melissa, Brenda, Emma & Morgan. Please take a moment to sign these cards. Even if you do not participate in the group gift, we still encourage you to share your words of appreciation. Please also sign the cards for the support staff!! They are located in the same box, marked SUPPORT STAFF.

Appreciation Gift Donations are due by MONDAY DECEMBER 16.

Thank you, in advance, for supporting the Maple Room Community. Please feel free to email us with any questions.

Kind Regards,

Denise, Jessica, Jody, Julie & Randy

From Melissa – Classroom Sharing Photos

Hello Maple Community!

It has been so nice to spend extra time with you all lately!! Between the Fall Festival, Fall Mixer and Parent-Child Sharing I feel like our community is coming together beautifully. These events and opportunities that bring us together scaffold the friendships that are built in the classroom, and I appreciate you all taking the time to get to know each other.

I’m sorry that the Maple Parent-Child Sharing photos didn’t make it into the Sunstonian. Parent-Child Sharing is an amazing opportunity for the children to become leaders in their space, and in these photos I can see the children’s pride and independence while showing their work. Thank you all for sharing our children with me each day.


From Melissa – Back to School Recap and ASQ

Hello Maple Families,

As I shared at Back to School Night, we have a wonderful screening tool called the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) that we are going to begin using in all of our Toddler/Primary classrooms to help identify social-emotional and developmental strengths, as well as concerns.

Here is a recap of all we discussed, for your reference and for any parents who were unable to attend.

There are two questionnaire formats, both of which we’ll be using. The ASQ-3 tracks developmental milestones from birth through 5½ years, while the ASQ-SE: tracks social-emotional development from birth to 6 years. Using these tools will give us a quick check of your child’s development, and will be a great opportunity for deepening our partnership in the service of your child!

Screening tools like the ASQ are used in early childcare settings all over the country in order to:
• Help teachers and parents see and celebrate areas in which the child is developing on schedule
• Identify children who would benefit from practice and/or support in specific areas
• And identify children at risk for developmental delays who should be referred for further evaluation.

Here’s how it’s going to work.  Twice a year, we’ll send home the 2 questionnaires (ASQ:3 and ASQ:SE) for you to complete. The precise questionnaires you receive each time will depend on your child’s exact age at the time you complete the questionnaires, so PLEASE complete them within the window of time we designate.

The first round of questionnaires will be sent home in your child’s family folder on Thursday, October 3. We will give you ample reminders to return them to us no later than Thursday, October 10.  I will score the questionnaires and send results home within two weeks.

Completing the questionnaires is easy. It takes about 15 minutes per questionnaire.  Look at it as an opportunity to spend some quality bonding time with your child! in mind that your child will likely be able to do some, but not all, of the items.  Here is a sweet video from a parent sharing his experience with the ASQ process.

If your child is developing on schedule, great! I’ll give you a list of activities to continue supporting your child in their development, and we’ll have the opportunity to discuss more at fall conferences (Nov 7-8).

If your child is in the “monitoring zone” for any developmental domain, I will invite you to come in to meet with me right away, if you’d like, so I can share resources for activities you can try at home to help your child practice skills in specific developmental areas. If you’d rather just wait and discuss at conferences, that’s okay too. Either way, we’ll re-screen in 1-2 months to monitor their development a little more closely.

If there are any areas that suggest that further evaluation would be helpful, I’ll share that with you ASAP, along with further resources.

No matter what, the ASQ will give us a helpful glimpse into how your child is doing and let us know what we can be doing to provide the best support possible.

We’ll repeat this process again in March, before spring conferences.

Thank you for partnering with me; you are such an important part of this process! You know your child best, and your unique knowledge of your child’s interests, behaviors, and interactions in various settings is key to giving us a full picture of their development.

Your answers help me to get to know your child better and let me know how I can better support him/her in the classroom.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and be sure to check your family folder on October 3.


From Melissa – Fantastic First Week

Hello Maple families-

What a fantastic first week of school!! It feels so amazing to be back in the room with all of the materials and shelves looking clean, reorganized and beautiful. The children were so happy to see the return of their favorite Montessori materials, and the room was abuzz with numbers, letter sounds and geography floating throughout the days. As we have discussed, I think the summer program supports a much needed change of pace, with more exploration outdoors, and extended projects including baking and artwork. Additionally, I think the summer program further built up the children’s excitement and joy as they returned to the classroom this fall. Their immediate dive into challenging work last week is unlike what I have seen the past two years.

New Friends

I would like to celebrate three new students joining the Maple Room. David Pruett and Carmela Droppers joined us, both of whom have older siblings that were Maple students last year. We are so excited to have them and to continue our relationships with their families. We also welcomed Ella Gorman and her sweet family. Ella and her twin brother Matthew (in Sunflower Cottage) have joined us with bright smiles each day. When you see new children and families in the hallway, please take a moment to introduce yourselves, it is an easy first step to building our strong community.

Back to School Night

A reminder: This Thursday, September 12, from 5:30-8:00 is our Back To School Night. We will gather in the Commons of the main building for a welcome from Cathy and a short overview of the Board and then disperse to our classrooms. Back To School Night is a fantastic opportunity to connect with the Sunstone community, especially our Maple families, new and old. Even if you have attended Back To School Night in past years I encourage you to come on Thursday. Please come support the new families with your valued experience over the last year(s) and also come find out about a brand new, exciting tool we will be using in the Primary and Toddler environments!! Childcare is provided at $5, a fabulous deal, and will be hosted by the assistants that your child is already familiar with. Here is the link to sign up for childcare:

As always, please contact me if you any questions or concerns,


From Room Parents – Welcome Letter

Dear Maple Classroom Community,

Welcome to all new and returning families!  We wanted to take a moment to introduce ourselves as the Room Parents in the Maple classroom – (Denise Dallmann & Randy Zeller (Katie’s parents; Jessica Dominguez, Juliete’s mom, Jody Tate, Jackson’s mom, & Julie March, Coralie’s mom).  Our responsibilities as Room Parents are varied and we would like to take the opportunity to let you know what we do and how we might be able to help with questions, support, and ideas that you might have.

  1. Volunteer Opportunities – We help communicate volunteer opportunities within the classroom.  If families are needed to sign up for flowers/laundry, classroom wish list items or to volunteer at Solstice, you may hear from us.  Some are able to give their time, others would rather offer donations.  We encourage you to volunteer in a way that is right for your family.  You can check out a list of volunteer opportunities on the parents portal of the website.  Please let us know if you have questions about any of the opportunities.
  2. Gifts and Staff Appreciation – We coordinate gift giving efforts for the Guides and the support staff during the holiday season and at year-end.  We also coordinate a staff appreciation meal once a year. For staff appreciation each classroom chooses one month during the year to provide a meal to honor the whole school staff and show our appreciation for all that they do for our children.  Meal ideas include breakfast goodies, brunch, or serving homemade soups and baked goods for lunch.  If you have any ideas or suggestions, we welcome your input!  We will let you know when our selected month is and send out more information at that time.
  3. Winter Solstice Activities and Class Auction Art Projects – We help plan and procure supplies for the Winter Solstice craft activities as well as the classroom art auction project, so if you have any special talents or can volunteer your time, please let us know. You will also see donation sign ups in the Tuesday Communications as these events near.
  4. (Classroom) Community Events – We organize special events for the (classroom) community.  In addition to the whole school Fall Mixer on October 10, we will be planning a (classroom) community get together this fall and another in the early spring so watch for those details.  There will also be an end of year picnic. The date is yet to be determined for that but we’ll keep you informed.

Class communication

Throughout the year we will use this listserv, (classroom), to communicate to you information regarding all of the above items.

We highly encourage you to read the Tuesday Communications each week and check out the classroom page link while you are there.

School Directories

Directories can be found on the parents portal of the website under Directories – Password: Sunstone. The classroom rosters will be published there shortly.

Be sure to mark your calendars for the upcoming Back To School Night on September 12 @ 5:30pm. We look forward to sharing a new school year with all of you!


Denise Dallmann,

Randy Zeller,

Jessica Dominguez,

Julie March,

Jody Tate,

From Melissa – Welcome Letter

Dear Maple Families,

I hope that you are all enjoying your summer, I simply cannot believe that it is August already!!  This summer has been filled with fantastic weather, beautiful artwork, music, games, bubbles and dancing. Summer families, please remember that Sunstone will be closed from August 22nd through September 2nd to allow for whole school professional development and to prepare our classroom environment for the school year ahead. I encourage everyone to keep an eye on the weekly Tuesday Communications throughout August for Back to School information, important dates and upcoming events.

On Tuesday September 3rd we will happily welcome the returning children back to school. We will begin drop-off in the classroom again on this day. It will be helpful for you and your child to establish a short but loving routine to support your child’s independent entry into the classroom. It is important that they walk through the building on their own feet and carry their own belongings. I will be at the Maple Room door with a smile and a handshake or hug, and ask that all parents remain in the hallway for drop-off between 7:30 and 8:10am. If you arrive between 8:10 and 8:25 please use the drive-through drop-off.

We will welcome new children on staggered start dates. New families, I will be contacting  you in late August to set up a time for you to bring your child for a visit before their first day.

All children will need to bring the following on their first day or during their visit just before they begin.

  •         A pair of rubber-soled, slip-on shoes to be left at school and worn indoors. Please do not send slippers.
  •         A complete change of clothes including socks and underwear. No characters, please.
  •         A small, child-sized cup or mug for drinking water. No plastic or characters, please.

For additional information regarding drop-off and pick-up procedures as well as a multitude of other important topics, please read the Tuesday Communications and attend Back to School Night on Thursday September 12th at 5:30pm. I hope to see you all there! Sunstone provides childcare for this event. We welcome all students enrolled in Children’s House and Elementary at $5/child. Reservations are required. You can reserve your childcare here.

I am eager to begin my third year in the Maple Room, but first, let’s enjoy these last weeks of summer! As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns:

Sunny hugs,


Maple Room Guide