Dear Parents, August 22, 2016
This is the week your child will be choosing an option for his/her Year-Long Project. We have spoken about these projects in class, so your child should have an understanding of the commitment he/she is about to make. This handout is for you, so that you as the parent understand the importance and significance of the Year-Long Project to your child’s Montessori education. Hopefully it will also address some of the questions you may have!
WHAT IS IT? An important part of Montessori education is that students realize that they are part of a community and can impact the world around them in positive ways. The Year-Long Project (YLP) is a service project that is required for all students in Upper Elementary at ECMCS. Your child should commit himself/herself to a cause (or causes) that helps the community, makes the world a better place, or benefits the Earth. We have had children collect food for homeless shelters, volunteer at the SPCA, collect litter at the beach, write letters to soldiers overseas, build bat houses to help with natural pest control, visit retirement homes to provide entertainment for the residents, and collect stuffed animals for domestic abuse victims. The possibilities are endless!
WHAT DOES MY CHILD NEED TO DO? Each student must actively participate in a service project for a minimum of 10 hours per semester. This year, there are four options for participation in a Year-Long Project:
OPTION 1: Students may choose or develop a community-based service project that they are interested in and participate in that activity 10 hours per semester for the entire year. First semester: August to Jan. 12/ Second semester: Jan. 13- April 7th= 20 hours
OPTION 2: ECMCS will sponsor and promote a school-wide project each semester that your child may participate in. These events will be posted in Office Notes each month.
OPTION 3: Students may choose different projects during the semester and document their participation in that project. For example, one month they may feel led to clean up the beach and the next month they may decide to participate in the school-wide project, or do something different. If they choose to do the same project for two or three months, that is fine, too!
Option 4: Students may participate with a group of students to complete a project. For example, Boy Scouts, Green Llamas, or perhaps just a group of like-minded students who want to work together on a common goal.
In addition, students must provide documentation of their service each semester, no matter which type of project they choose. This will be turned in at the end of the semester to their classroom teacher, along with update sheets for each activity. Documentation may include, but is not limited to: photos, flyers, verification from community members, thank-you letters from recipients, newspaper or newsletter articles, copies of letters written, or any other ways in which the activity might be documented. Students will need a 3-prong folder/binder
**Please note: For the final project in May, students will be asked to display some type of measurable data that represents their project(s). For example, amount of time spent on each project, pounds of trash collected, number of letters sent, etc. They should think about this and keep a record in order for them to easily tabulate and put this on their display in April.
WHAT DOES MY CHILD NEED TO HAND IN? The last week of the semesters (Jan.) (April) students will turn in their portfolios to their teacher. They must include documentation for their participation of ten volunteer hours as well as fill in the update sheet which will be provided for them. Then, a final, culminating project will be due in May. This project will be a visual display (such as on a tri-fold backboard), and will be displayed for viewing by all Upper El students.
WHERE AND WHEN DOES THIS TAKE PLACE? The YLP is done during the student’s free time after school and on weekends. Parents, please be aware that if your child needs transportation to a site where the project takes place, you are responsible for making that happen. It might work well to have a group of friends commit to the same project, and have the parents take turns car-pooling to the site. In this case, every child would write his/her own report, but the presentation board and presentation can be a group project. If transportation is an issue, please discuss this with your child before he/she picks a project that requires commuting across town.
Please do not ask for donations for a specific cause to be dropped off at the school. If we allowed everyone to do this, we would have boxes of donation items in every hallway. If you are collecting specific items (i.e., gently used shoes, old cell phones, canned goods…), please include this information in the appropriate space on the attached commitment sheet. We will make a list of people who are collecting specific items and will send it out so everyone knows whom to contact to make donations.
We are looking forward to seeing what your child can come up with this year! Many children choose to stay with the same activity year after year as they form relationships with other people involved in the process. Please take some time this week to meet with your child and discuss this process before committing to a cause.
ECMCS YEAR-LONG PROJECT: 2016-2017 COMMITMENT CONTRACT
Student’s Name: ________________________________________________________________
Select a Year-Long Project Option: (check one and fill in if needed)
_____Option 1: I will set up and complete my own year-long project.
Title of Project: _____________________________________
Brief description of project: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
_____Option 2: I would like to participate in the monthly school-wide Year-Long projects. If this does not meet the ten-hour commitment per semester, I realize that I may need to participate in another activity to meet this requirement.
_____Option 3: I would like the option of selecting a different projects during the semester.
_____Option 4: I will be participating in a group activity (examples: Girl Scouts, Green Llamas, etc).
With whom will you be participating? ____________________________________________
What do you plan to do with this group? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
**Note: If you decide to change options during the year, simply let your teacher know on the update form!
I, ______________________________, understand that I am committing to my Year-Long Project from now until April 2017. I realize that I must engage in my activity for 10 hours per semester, fill out a monthly report sheet, and submit documentation (1-2 photos, flyers, copies of letters, etc.) each semester in my 3-ring portfolio binder. I am aware that a final presentation will be due in May. I have talked to my parents about this commitment and have their support.
Student Signature: ______________________________________________________________
I, ______________________________, have talked to my child about his/her project. I will support my child in his/her endeavors, and I commit to providing transportation when needed.
Parent Signature: _______________________________________________________________
Teacher approval: ____________________