Students Celebrate the Chinese New Year

sheepUnder the direction of Mrs. Leung, the MSLF students have been learning about the Chinese New Year. Based on the Chinese Zodiac, this is the “Year of the Green Sheep (or Goat).” This year follows a tumultuous “Year of the Horse” and brings a more calm atmosphere. The Sheep is kind, tender and sympathetic. Sheep are also creative and elegant. Because of their softer side, they are symbolic of peace and harmony. If last year was the Horse’s year to gallop and take off, this year will be the year for contemplating and appreciating what has already been accomplished, to think about bringing goodness to others, to take a deep breath and calmly look at what lies ahead. A steady path, generosity, and keeping the peace are this year’s mantra.

To celebrate the New Year, each student is making a traditional red envelope, which children typically receive from adults and contains money in certain amounts that reflect good luck and honor. Students have watched a video to experience a traditional Lion Dance and to see a celebration of fireworks from around the world. Mrs. Leung has taught the Primary Students a traditional Chinese New Year song, and the Elementary Students how to write the Chinese character for sheep.

MSLF Parent Gulden Mesara-Dogan publishes her first book

mommygoesMSLF Parent of Selin and Sarper, Gulden Mesara-Dogan published her first book: Mommy Goes to the Office. After unsuccessful attempts to find a book to answer her own children’s questions about what she does at work, Mesara-Dogan wrote her own book in the effort to explain a typical work day to her children.

Mommy Goes to the Office is a picture book which is designed to improve communication between a working parent and his/her child. The book tries to help young children understand what happens in an office setting and how a parent spends time at work. The narrative is told from the perspective of a young girl as she describes the different tasks her mother does throughout the course of her professional day and how she makes time to spend with her family, too.

Mesara-Dogan is a senior executive at a Fortune 200 company and has been a working mother for 9 years.
Mommy Goes to the Office is available at

Congratulations to Gulden!

An Inspirational Message from One of Our Very Own…

winterToddler Directress Kristin Caldwell shares an inspirational message to the Toddler 1 Families in the class’s monthly newsletter, and we wanted to extend her sentiments to the entire MSLF Community:

“It is indeed a form of love that gives children the faculty of observing in such an intense and meticulous manner the things in their environment that we, grown cold, pass by unseeing. . . This active, ardent, meticulous, constant absorption in love is characteristic of children.”

~Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood

Welcome winter! One of the great joys and privileges of working with toddlers is the opportunity it affords to observe and emulate the young child’s effortless and beautiful ability to be truly present. Our adult lives are filled with distractions, time-crunches, multi-tasking and screen-time-and as a result, we are often oblivious to our current situation or state of mind, choosing instead to mentally jump ahead to the next item on our endless to-do list. Children, however, have much to teach us in this regard; they want nothing more than to fully experience the present moment, in all its richness. If we provide them with an environment that calls to their senses, with activities that allow for movement and experimentation, they will take full advantage of the opportunity to engage and the learning that results will be of the highest quality possible. Indeed, it will be the type of authentic education that aids the child in construction of the self.

We can think of the winter season as a time of respite; a time to slow down, take stock, and rededicate ourselves to being present. Rather than wishing away the cold weather and counting down the days until spring, we can embrace the beauty of snow-covered earth, the clean feel of the wind, and appreciate the coziness there is to be found in gathering together. And rather than always hurrying our children along to the next task, or impatiently anticipating their next milestone, we can embrace the special gift they have to offer us each and every day, if we will only slow down enough to notice-the gift of being fully, authentically, inspiringly present.

— Kristin Caldwell, Toddler 1 Directress