Trillium News Archive

From Jennifer – February News

Happy Leap Day!!

The Trillium has been humming along these days with many lessons from our practice teacher, Helen, and lots of big research projects. Helen just completed her three weeks with our class and now returns to Montessori Northwest to complete her training course. She is from China, and during our weeks together she shared many cultural stories, songs, and pictures. She inspired the children to learn Chinese characters and practice music appreciation. We really all benefited from her warm energy in the class.

The Oregon Dog Rescue donation was successfully delivered! Thanks to a going out chaperone/driver and our three steadfast students, Natalie, Nate and Camilla, the shelter received a large number of new toys, food, and treats. Next up, we have a duo going to a Winterhawks hockey team practice! And, we are sending a group of turtle researchers to the zoo on their first going out. If you have time to take the training and be added to our list of chaperones – it’s really delightful to receive phone calls from our young adventurers and get the chance to escort them into the wider world. Contact Francesca,

Many thanks to Carolyn, Declan’s mom, for organizing and creating our auction project; it’s in the commons if you have time to peek. Thank you!!!  Warhol-inspired printmaking has become ongoing work and the children can now print thank you cards with original designs. If you’d like to be a room parent next year… step-up early and we can ask Carolyn and Emily to share their knowledge. 

Here are the logistics of late… if you find white-handled SILVERWARE in your child’s lunch, please return it to Trillium. We are missing spoons and forks 🙂 Also, the FOLDERS we send home are intended to be the responsibility of your child – ask your child to keep track of the folder placement in your home and bring them back for refilling each Friday.

Upcoming events –

  • Gala Auction! I hope to see you on Saturday, March 14th, at the 80’s Prom auction (a theme that hits very close to home).
  • 3rd year overnight trip to the Audubon Society’s Marmot Cabin – May 19th – 20th. Details and permission slips will come in April – I just want to be sure your calendars are marked.

Thank you for your participation in Student Presentation Day and for all of your contributions to our class. We have an active Amazon wish list and we are ever-grateful for the clean laundry and flowers.

My best to you as we enter March!


From Jennifer –

Happy February, Trillium families!

Lately, our community of children has been enjoying peaceful work periods, PE games together, and visits from friends in other classrooms. Children are planning “going out” adventures to a hockey practice and a dog shelter (thank you for the donated items!). We’ve held class meetings and celebrated the great work of our classmates. Finishing a journal is always cause for compliments and we’ve been cheering for many friends!

Our class is hosting a Montessori Northwest student from the AMI elementary training. Helen has been observing this week and will offer lessons to children in the coming two weeks. She has a calm presence and is loving the camaraderie of your children.

This Friday through Monday I’ll be attending the AMI Refresher Course in Seattle with fellow guides from Sunstone and friends from around the country. The topic this year is focused on connecting our children with nature; I look forward to the presentations, as well as the time spent with guides from far away places.

From Jennifer – Rain Gear and Books

Hi Trillium Families,

THANK YOU – you’ve already fulfilled our Amazon wish list! We are grateful for your generosity and very quick responses.

RAIN… We are still getting outside for fresh air and a cleansing shower each day. If your child could be sure to bring back any borrowed school clothes, we are running low. And, they are welcome to bring a change of clothes to keep in their cubbies with a bag (for taking home wet things).

Hope to see many of you on Friday for the Silent Journey!

~ Jennifer

From Jennifer – Upcoming Events

Happy Friday Trillium Families,

Welcome to the new year and decade! We have many January and February events coming up that I hope you can be a part of.

The Journey and Discovery is a wonderful way to be up close and personal with our Montessori classrooms. On Friday, we journey through the levels from toddler through upper elementary and return on Saturday to explore materials alongside the guides. It’s a great way to feel the experience of your children. The event is January 24th and 25th.

Thursday, January 30th, we elementary guides are hosting a talk about Montessori Elementary, from 4:15 – 5:15pm. Robert and I will go into the broad scope of the curriculum and the developmental characteristics of children in these elementary years.

Wednesday, February 5th, we are hosting a parent event with guides and graduates to talk about the richness of the graduate year in Montessori. It is the crowning year of leadership and mastery, and I see personally how perfectly appropriate this year is for our children as they enter adolescence.

Last, but certainly not least – the GALA auction event!  I hope you’ll join us all on March 14th for an evening of celebration of our school community. It’s a chance for socializing with parents and staff, dressing-up, and showing our gratitude for this special place. You can find more details and purchase your tickets here.

In terms of classroom notes… we are thrilled to welcome Rebekah and her family, brother Jude and parents Natalie and Barry. Rebekah has seamlessly joined our class and it feels like she’s been with us all year. We are glad to welcome them as they move into town and settle into the Sunstone family.

Our Amazon wish list has been updated with a few new titles of interest. We are really grateful for the books gifted to us over the holidays. Thank you for your generous donations to our library – the children get very excited about new chapter books and research volumes.

My best wishes to you,


From Jennifer – 

Dear Trillium Families,

Happy holidays!! I hope you are enjoying this winter break and getting time for a few extra fun activities together.

I thank you all so much for your kind words and holiday gifts. This work is rewarding; I am lucky to build relationships with children and families over multiple years, not just months. Each of you enriches my life in so many ways. Thank you for your support and generosity.

I’m attaching a few photos from solstice week. We were fortunate to have Neil’s mom, Anjum, offer a solstice lesson! She is an astronomer and the children were very interested in her knowledge and demonstrations. We also enjoyed photos and stories that Neil shared in honor of his 9th birthday. And, I cannot describe how long the children were rapt by a Hannukah story told by Amit. The special moments we have together as a class become familiar to me, but upon reflection, they are quite a gift.

Sending my warmest wishes to each of you!!

See you in the new year,

From Room Parents – Winter Solstice & Gifts for Guides

Hello Trillium families!

The holidays are just around the corner! The Winter Sing and Solistice will be on Friday December 20 from 1-3PM. There will be carols followed by crafts in each classroom, it’s a really wonderful event and we hope to see you there! Watch the Tuesday Communications for more details. Trillium will have craft stations set up and we are asking for 2 parents to help with setup and 2 parents to help with cleanup. The sign-up list is available here.

Additionally, we would like to invite you to give thanks to Jennifer and Matt who spend each day with our children, providing them with an environment in which each child can flourish! They are truly amazing individuals! There is a black box by the front desk where you will find a holiday card for each guide. This is a voluntary donation, please give as much as you wish. Please remember to sign the thank you cards!

Checks can be made payable to Emily Neuhaus or Venmo Emily-Neuhaus-2
Funds will be collected at 3 PM on December 16.

Funds collected will be used to purchase gift cards for Jennifer and Matt. A portion of our collection will be contributed towards a group gift for the support staff. Please sign the thank you cards for the support staff! They are also located in the black box at the front desk.

Quick recap!!

  • Solstice Crafts – sign up.
  • Thank you cards for you to sign for Jennifer and Matt along with a donation envelope are at the front desk. Checks payable to Emily Neuhaus or Venmo: Emily-Neuhaus-2. Due by 3PM December 16.
  • Please remember to sign the support staff cards as well!


Emily and Carolyn

From Jennifer – Chaperones Needed for a Play at the Children’s Theater

Hello Trillium families,

Matt and I have been working for quite a few weeks on a plan to take our class to see a play! The pieces have come together and we will take a charter school bus on Thursday, November 14th, to see  Me…Jane, an Oregon Children’s Theatre production about Jane Goodall. We are joining forces with the Camassia, so all lower elementary children will attend together.
We are inviting four parent chaperones to join us, which is a great way to gain community participation hours. We will board a charter bus at 8:30am and be back by about 11:45am. If you are interested, you can find the sign up here.
Permission slips are going home today! We are looking forward to this adventure together – your children are ready!

With thanks,

Jennifer and Matt

From Jennifer – October News

Happy late October Trillium families!

What a beautiful stretch of weather we are having. The leaves have been a focus at recess as well as running in the wind. Your children have been studying leaves, practicing a good deal of math, exploring polygons and reading a lot. They’ve been perfecting their cursive writing and giving one another pop-up spelling lessons. We’ve been hosting a student from Montessori Northwest, the teacher training center in Portland. She’s been observing and infusing our class with a few knitting lessons. We are glad to open our doors to future Montessori guides and she’s been a pleasure to have.


Pizza forms are meant to come home the first Monday of each month. We missed sending them yesterday, so they went home today (Tuesday) – apologies! If you could send the completed forms back with payment by Wednesday, October 30th (yup, tomorrow) that would be great. The graduates tally the orders for the month and place the pizza order by Thursday, so our quick turn around is important. Also, please note the dates when pizza will be served because it is not always every Friday.

Be sure your child has a jacket for these blustery and even rainy days. And, refrain from sending even parts of costumes to school or candy. We will surely be talking about the joys of Halloween, but it is less distracting if we keep the treats at home. Thank you!

Conferences are next week on Thursday and Friday, November 7th and 8th. I look forward to collaborating with each of you and celebrating the growth of your children.

A reminder that the bulk of our paperwork goes home in the Friday folder. Each child received one and can be responsible for emptying it at home and returning it each week. Thanks for supporting this slice of responsibility.

In closing – here are a few of the Trillium virtues we have added to our tree so far this year… Trustworthiness, creativity, understanding, self-discipline, and patience. Your children enjoy complimenting one another when they observe virtues in action.

Thank you and Happy Haunting!



From Jennifer – Fall Mixer, Third Year Trip

Dear Trillium families,

I am looking forward to seeing as many of you as can make it next Thursday, October 10th, at our Fall Mixer!  We’ll be based in the Butterfly, Camassia, and Lupine classrooms, but all of the guides will be here. It’s a social event and I look forward to having the chance to converse with you.

Thank you Emily and Carolyn for your recent email with upcoming events. The Fall Festival is this Saturday and it’s always a wonderful time. Conference sign-ups will come out soon and I look forward to spending those two days collaborating with each of you. Conferences are November 7th and 8th. If you’re considering joining the team of Trillium room parents – let us know!

Here’s a reminder… There is NO PIZZA tomorrow – Friday, October 4th. The Lupine class is returning from their four day camping trip that afternoon. And, there is no school next Friday, October 11th.

This week, we’ve been exploring parts of speech through the grammar boxes, working with decimal fractions, modeling the layers of the earth in clay, and embroidering geometry figures.  We also heard a story about “The Paper that Sees and Speaks” – a fable about a boy discovering the magic of reading and writing.

Your children are rapt by stories – I hope you fully enjoy these years when telling true stories about your lives intrigue them deeply and they love to be read to aloud. This year, we’ve read Rickshaw Girl and Good Dog, McTavish, and now we are beginning Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.

THIRD YEAR families – we have a date!  Our annual overnight trip for third year children is scheduled with the Audubon Society for Tuesday, May 19th – Wednesday, May 20th. I look forward to this every year – Robert and I take all of the graduating lower elementary students out to the Audubon Society for a camp-in night of science and celebration. They are an amazing group of leaders and hard workers. It will be a joy to recognize the completion of their lower elementary years and upcoming graduation together.

The attached picture shows two of your trusty leaders running a class meeting.

With thanks,


From Jennifer – Week Two

Dear Trillium Parents,

Thank you for carving out the time to attend our back to school event last week. It was lovely to sit with you and talk about the flow of our days in Trillium. We covered details like having your child bring a labeled snack container, the open work periods in our days and PE, Spanish, and birthdays.

In our classroom, your children are falling into sweet routines and helping one another. We have had PE together and Spanish lessons began on Monday. Mariana will offer each child a small group lesson during the morning on Mondays and participate in our gathering. We are also beginning nature explorations with Kristin this week, in which she takes a group of children outside in the afternoon to care for the plants and gardens on our campus. She always includes a good amount of information in her lessons that can extend into classroom work, as well.

When your child has a birthday, we invite them to bring in a small timeline with a photo from each year of their lives. It’s great if they mount them in timeline form and can speak to the activities pictured. We sing to them, make a card and offer appreciations.

I am grateful for your support and for the days we spend with your wonderful children. Let me know if you have any questions or comments to share!


From Jennifer – First Week

Dear Trillium families,

What a wonderful first week! The returning children have reunited with one another and our classroom materials, and they’ve welcomed our new friends with grace. Our new Trillium friends are smoothly learning routines and are jumping into work choices and friendships. We’ve had lessons on math, the months of the year, songs and games, and journaling. I am sincerely looking forward to this year together.

Back to School Night This Thursday

I hope to see you on Thursday, September 12th, at 5:30pm for our Back to School Night. We’ll begin together in the commons and then break into classrooms. If you have children in more than one room, you can send a parent to each room or split your time. We’ll gather in Trillium to meet one another and talk about the details of our classroom. I’ll do my best to answer your questions and share a picture of our daily life in the class.

Stay Informed

You should be receiving a Tuesday Communications email each week and the Friday Sunstonian email. These two resources help us stay informed about events and classroom news. You are also welcome to email me directly.

Thank you for this lovely beginning – I look forward to collaborating with each of you and supporting your elementary children.

With thanks,

From Room Parents – Welcome

Dear Trillium Room Community,

Welcome to all new and returning families!  We wanted to take a moment to introduce ourselves as the Room Parents in the Trillium Room – Carolyn McDonald, (Declan 3rd year), and Emily Neuhaus, (Liam 3rd year).  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.

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 page of the website.  Please let us know if you have questions about any of the opportunities.

Gifts and Staff Appreciation – We coordinate gift giving efforts for Jennifer, Matt 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.

Winter Solstice Activities and Class Auction Art Projects – We help plan and procure supplies for the Winter Solstice craft activities as well as the Trillium Room 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.

Trillium Community Events – We organize special events for the Trillium community.  In addition to the back-to-school picnic held in August, we will be planning other classroom gatherings for some of the in-service days so watch for those details.  There is also an end of year picnic which is typically planned in conjunction with the Camassia Room.  Date to be determined as well.

Class communication:

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

We highly encourage you to check out the Trillium link under “From the Classrooms” in the Tuesday Communications each week.

School Directories can be found on the parents page of the website under Directories – Password: Sunstone. The classroom rosters are found here as well.

Upcoming Events:

Campus Cleanup is August 29th. Come help spruce up the campus! This is the same day as the Elementary Orientation (see below) so come drop off school items, help clean up the campus and then join us for a casual picnic on the front lawn!

Elementary Orientation is August 29th. Yes, the same day as campus cleanup! Bring a lunch and join us for a casual lunch on the front lawn afterwards. This is a great time to reconnect with friends and meet new families!

Back to School Night is September 12th.

Sunstone Campout is September 21st. See the school communications for more details!

Carolyn and I are here if you have any questions! Enjoy the rest of summer and we look forward to seeing you all soon!


Emily Neuhaus –

Carolyn McDonald –

From Jennifer – Welcome Letter

Dear Trillium Families,

Welcome to your class and our upcoming 2019-20 school year!  I hope you have enjoyed this summer and gotten some time to explore and maybe even travel.  I spent time in Northern Michigan with family and treated myself to walks in the woods and kayaking on the lake.

After that refreshment, I am working with Matt to prepare the classroom for our new year.  We are very much looking forward to welcoming your children and families back to the halls of Sunstone.

What to Bring

Here are a few items your child can bring to the Trillium Room on the first day or during the informal Elementary Open House on Thursday, August 29th, between 9:30 and 11:30am.

  • A small mug with name labeled on the bottom.
  • Indoor shoes, such as lightweight sneakers or Crocs.
  • A raincoat, labeled, to keep in his/her cubby.
  • A journal. We have lovely ones, perfectly suited to our needs, available for purchase in the Admin office.

First Day of School

I look forward to welcoming returning students on Tuesday, September 3rd.  During those first two days, we’ll prepare to warmly welcome the first years and those children new to Sunstone on Thursday, September 5th.  In preparation, your child can practice packing his/her own lunch (possibly avoiding items that need microwaving to ease their lunch process).  Your child will also be bringing a healthy (protein) snack each day in a separate container.  Please, label his/her individual containers and lunchbox.

As we begin our school year, we all need time to adjust to the schedule and rebuild stamina for our days together.  Please, be sure your child adapts to earlier bedtimes and consider fewer after-school activities during September.  I am happy to go over more ideas and share the structure of our days during Back to School Night on Thursday, September 12th at 5:30pm. Be sure to reserve childcare if you need it.

I look forward to this beginning and the building of community with each of your families.

See you soon!