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An Independent School in Littleton, MA serving Students Ages 15 Months–Grade 8

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Report on the Back-to-School Parent Event this past Wednesday

Report on the Back-to-School Parent Event this past Wednesday

By Jay Scheurle |

Oak Meadow parents attended the Back-to-School Event this past Wednesday. The event began with a parent social hosted by the Oak Meadow Parents’ Association (OMPA). This was followed by presentations made by Jay Scheurle (head of school), Marie-Pier Tremblay (OMPA president), Eileen Williston (member of the board of trustees, representing the annual fund), and Mike Matthews (board chair). Following the presentations, parents had an opportunity to visit the classrooms and get to know the parents in their child’s classes. Here are the comments shared by the head of school:

Supporting a strong school and family partnership is at the heart of what makes our school special. One way we do this is through school communications and events. Here are some examples:

  • Parents and teachers. There are meetings and programs at school, classroom newsletters, parent conferences, and many other touch points throughout the year. Please communicate by email in advance if you would like to meet with your teacher, or notify the front office if there is something that requires immediate attention. Please do not come to school to meet with your teacher without setting up a meeting in advance.
  • School communications. You will receive a weekly communication on Friday, eHighlights. This newsletter is mostly reminders about upcoming events, follow-ups about things going on in the community, and resources and links that are useful to our parent community.. Special announcements or communications about specific topics of importance are sent through eBlasts, as needed.
  • Oak Meadow Parents’ Association (OMPA). On behalf of the school, OMPA sponsors engaging community events throughout the school year, as a way for you to engage and participate meaningfully in your child’s school life.

OMPA officers: Xiaole Sun, Jena Roth, Michelle Lauria, and Marie-Pier Tremblay

Making sure parents are informed and engaged is important to the unique education we provide, requiring parent partnership. I ask all parents to carefully read what you receive from the school, and always let us know if you have a question or suggestion. If you do not read the school communications, you will likely miss important things happening in your child’s school life. We’re always working to improve in our efforts to make sure communications are clear and succinct and helpful.

The quality of the relationships between teachers and students, and between teachers and families is a differentiating feature of an Oak Meadow education. Teachers embark on a journey to really know your child. They know your child’s strengths and areas for growth. They are experts in knowing your child’s unique journey as a learner. We’re always working to improve relationships, because we know that our school’s commitment to knowing your child as an individual, and working in partnership with parents, is critical to the learning process.

There are several other differentiators about Oak Meadow. I’d like to highlight just two of them.

Experiential learning

Students of all ages learn best through hands-on experiences; when their minds, hearts, and hands are engaged; when they seek to gain new knowledge, attitudes, and skills; when they develop a deeper understanding of the abstract through the concrete, tangible, and experiential.

Working on the trinomial cube

Montessori is based on scientific research about how children learn best. The trinomial cube is an example of a concrete, hands-on material in the classroom. The trinomial cube is made up of 27 wooden cubes and rectangular prisms that all fit neatly together within an attractive and color-coded wooden container. Children are attracted to the beautiful simplicity of the material, and have a natural curiosity about how it works. Typically children start exploring this material in the second year of Children’s House, at around age four. The teacher models one simple method for how to remove each cube from the container, one piece at a time, and also to put each piece back in the container so they all fit! Children are immediately engaged because it is a puzzle to solve.

And something much more profound is happening cognitively as children work with the material over and over again. They begin to notice the different shapes; some are cubes of different sizes, and some are rectangular prisms of different sizes. This material, designed by Dr. Montessori, is quite ingenious because each individual shape actually correlates exactly with the formula for the trinomial cube. The formula for the trinomial cube is (a+b+c)(3). When that is expanded, it explains the length, width, and depth of every cube and rectangular prism that fits in the trinomial cube container. Here is the expanded formula:


The children are exploring the actual formula for a trinomial cube with their hands (sensory) and their brains (cognitive). Similar to all Montessori materials, children are exploring, at a very young age, complex and abstract concepts through carefully designed concrete experiences. The concrete understanding becomes clear to the child, and as a child continues to develop through the elementary years, they are able to understand much more clearly how abstract concepts are derived. Rather than just memorizing abstract concepts in school during the elementary school years, students have developed a much more fully-developed understanding of the origin of these abstract concepts, including the origin of mathematical formulas.

Social-emotional skills development 

Jay Scheurle, Head of School

Another key differentiator of an Oak Meadow education is the way social-emotional skill developed is integrated into the curriculum and daily school life. Students improve their academic outcomes, motivation, and social-emotional well-being by having meaningful opportunities to work in collaboration; develop their skills in listening and empathy; become effective team members; and benefit from multi-age classrooms where mentoring and apprenticeship are norms. Research shows that SEL is directly related to:

  • Improvement in academic performance
  • Greater social and leadership skills
  • Better performance in school

Throughout the school year, I will be holding program-level coffees and meetings with parents. I look forward to getting to know all of you better, and engaging in conversations about how Oak Meadow will continue to build on its strengths, and on what our families value most, in defining our vision and strategies for the future.