Trillium Room Blog

March 4, 2020: Let the gardening season begin!  Thank you to our recent parent volunteers for volunteering to work with small groups of students in the Trillium extension in preparation for the gardening season!  The students look forward to this time of year, and spending more time outside. It is also the time of year when we begin preparing for our overnight camping trip. We will be studying the Eras of Life and the desert ecosystem in preparation for our trip. 


January 16, 2020: Greetings from the Trillium Room!

Students have been busy with several research projects recently. In December, small groups of students each selected U.S. states to study. The groups created posters to display their knowledge, and then shared their information with the class during our weekly class meeting time.  

This week the children used a skill from our recent art lessons to create more accurate and realistic drawings using gridlines and perspective techniques. As part of a research on famous composers, the children created a portrait of the composer they were studying. Once this work is complete, the children will have another opportunity to share with the group.

On Friday, January 17, all Elementary students will begin a four-week theater workshop with the Northwest Children’s Theater. The children will work together, write a short script, and share it in front of their peers! The topic of the workshop is salmon.  


December 1, 2019: Fall is filled with many opportunities to gather. Thinking back to the Open House, your children did a fabulous job of sharing their classroom with you. It was a delight to see the smiles on your faces as they shared their work with you.

Conferences are wrapping up around campus.  It was a pleasure to share information about each child with their parents.  Conference time reminds me of how grateful I am to be in the classroom each day, witnessing your remarkable children learn and grow.  

Our Thanksgiving Feast was a huge success. Thank you to the volunteers that came in to support the classroom activities! During the morning, the children joyful prepared for the feast by arranging the tables, making and bringing in food, decorating the classroom, and organizing games. In the afternoon, the children enjoyed each other’s company and giggled with delight as they played Pin the Feathers on the Turkey.  It was a day enjoyed by all!

I hope you enjoyed your holiday time with friends and family. 


November 1, 2019: One afternoon a week, time is set aside for the children to participate in afternoon classes. Over two weeks, children will participate in a physical education activity, outdoor education activity, art activity, and music activity.

Here are some of the things we have been up to in each class.  In our music lesson, we have been studying rhythm and learning how to name and count 4-beat patterns. In art, the children learned about color theory. Using the color wheel, children learned about primary, complementary, warm, and cool colors. They also practiced creating tints and shades with the primary colors using paint. Outdoor Education (OE), began the year with a study of the food web. Children were given opportunities to learn more about the three levels of consumers by participating in a simulation where they had to find enough food and water to survive. Our study of the food web will continue throughout the year, with the next study being on a study of producers at MSB. During our Physical Education (PE) activity, the children have done many different skills and games. We always start with a warm-up of 3 short laps followed by skipping, grapevine, high knees, butt kickers, jog, and sprint. We’ve played Capture the Flag and Booyah (a game Gabriel taught Natasha). We have participated in yoga and skills such as soccer kicks, shooting basketballs, dribbling, throwing, and guarding in basketball. This week we’ve practiced relay races. Most of these focuses are on balance, teamwork, and good sportsmanship. 

The children  seem to enjoy these activities!


October 17, 2019: The fruit trees around the MSB campus are screaming to be harvested.  The elementary classrooms recently pooled their resources and purchased a food dehydrator.  The children will be picking and drying fruit. If you have any trees exploding with more fruit than you know what to do with, we would be happy to take donations of fruit off your hands. Please send donated fruit to school with your child through October.


October 1, 2019: Students were super excited to welcome our new class pet, a hamster. Names were submitted, and we decided to name her Pluto Rico Snowball, or Ms. Snowball if you prefer. The children love caring for her and observing her antics.

At the beginning of each year, children hear a series of stories to set the stage for Elementary Montessori lessons. The first story is titled The Universe Story, and it comes to life with experiments and a model of a volcano! It is followed up by the study of the states of matter and the properties of solids, liquids, and gases. The children begin to think about the earth and its creation. They use their imaginations to explore all of these ideas!


September 17, 2019: Life has returned to the Trillium Room. It has been a joyous two weeks as classmates have reunited and shared their summer adventure stories. This past Tuesday and Thursday, we welcomed new elementary students.  Energetic returning students greeted the smiling faces of new students, ready to show them the ropes of the Elementary.   

We didn’t waste any time jumping into our first study of the year, botany! Students have been learning that leaves are responsible for producing food for the plant. We have also been exploring and classifying the many varieties of leaves that we have on campus. We are learning the vocabulary used to describe these characteristics, and as part of our study of leaves, we will be visiting the Oregon Garden.   


May 28, 2019: This past Thursday, we finished up our two-week marimba workshop with a concert for students and parents.  The children have been swaying and humming to the music to the music for the past two weeks.  Even though the formal marimba workshop has come to an end, I expect the students will continue to practice what they have learned, and share their love of music with others.


May 12, 2019: Our camping trip to Camp Gray was a huge success. One of the highlights during camp was a squid dissection, and tide pooling along the coast where we witnessed seal birthing season and gushed over the cuteness of the pups trying desperately to keep up with their mothers.


May 9, 2019: With the warm days and sunshine, the ground in our garden is warm enough to plant our young seedlings.  Children have been busy weeding, composting, and learning the ins and out of preparing garden beds.   Music has been incorporated into the theme, as we have been learning a song about the six plant parts.  Perhaps you have heard this tune at home? Lani has been accompanying the children’s singing with her ukelele.  What a gift!


April 3, 2019: If there’s one thing we know about children, it’s that they love to move. That’s what this past week’s art lesson was all about, movement and the dynamic creations that result from it. Children in the Trillium class explored this element by utilizing a unique painting technique, appropriately titled a “dirty acrylic pour”. Once the paints were mixed to the preferred viscosity, the children chose their colors and poured their paints into one cup. They then individually flipped their cups onto their canvas and manipulated the fluid mixtures as they saw fit! Without a doubt, each pour and flip of the paint warranted “ooh’s,” and “aah’s” from the children as they watched each piece transform in front of their eyes. You can see these masterpieces in the MSB gallery, be sure to check out the beautiful descriptions of how your children interpreted their pours.


March 19, 2019: As we are head out of the short, dark days of winter and into the longer, warmer days of spring, it is the perfect time of year to begin a study of the relationship between the sun and the earth.  During this study, the children have the opportunity to hear stories, wonder why the phenomenon we experience on earth occurs, and through their own activity, the children begin to seek answers to their questions. They come to understand that the relationship between the sun and the earth is essential to our lives and they can make the same observations about the sun and the earth as people throughout time have observed. Some of the questions your child may be asking include: Why does the day follow night in an endless cycle?  What causes the seasons?  What are the objects that move in the sky, and why do they move?  Now, I wonder what your child has to say about some of the answers to these questions?


March 3, 2019: Storytelling is an essential aspect of the Elementary Montessori classroom. Each story is a link to the Montessori curriculum.  I often enjoy beginning and ending many of our days at the school with a story.  Stories captivated the children’s imagination and invite them to imagine life in a distant time or place. Most recently, we have traveled with Ferdinand Magellan, a Portegues explorer, who organized a Spanish expedition to the East Indies resulting in the first circumnavigation of the world.  Each story excites the children’s interest in a topic and links them to the many human contributions that have become our collective knowledge.


February 18, 2019: With spring around the corner, the students of the Trillium room will be preparing the garden in preparation for the planting season.  They will be planting seeds, composting and researching how to protect the tender plants from hungry predators!  There will be many opportunities for going out to gather the necessary supplies, and of course, lots of problem-solving.  

We are also excited to welcome Daphne to our classroom.  She is an elementary practice teacher from our local Montessori teacher training program.  The students have been very eager to join her lessons.  She will be practice teaching in the Trillium room through March 1.


January 30, 2019: Trillium room students have embarked on a journey through time to the ancient cultures of the Aztec, Inca, and Maya. Through storytelling and song, the culture and history come alive.   Small groups are forming and beginning projects that range from cooking tortillas from scratch to building models of ancient temples and homes and creating period clothing of colorful tunics and headdresses.  As we explore these cultures, it reminds us that no matter the time or place humans always fulfill the same basic needs.  


December 14, 2018: The Trillium Room students are bustling with activity from organizing a coat drive to planning small group outings, known as going-out, to deliver donations, visit a museum, seek information from the library and other resources of knowledge.  All of this activity comes from the children’s interest. I want to shout – out to the volunteers that are taking their time to respond to the children’s requests for drivers.   The elementary students could use more volunteer drivers for these small group outings. If you are interested in volunteering, send me a note by email at, and I will facilitate the process of adding you to the list of volunteers!


November 16, 2018: The Trillium Room community would like to thank our parent volunteers for transporting us to the Portland Art Museum. As a follow-up to our recent field trip, the students and I looked more closely at the artwork available in our classroom. The students particularly enjoyed telling their own story to go along with a piece of art. They also imagined speaking the those in the artwork and posing questions to them.  By far their favorite activity was when two of the students acted as artists and posed the other children to replicate the art. The trip also sparked student interest in painting with watercolor!


October, 30, 2018: Students of the Trillium Room recently enjoyed a presentation on felting using animal furs with a guest fiber artist Cindy Fowler!  Students were asked to think about how people first made clothing and the materials they might have used. Following the presentation, students participated in the process of making felt.  It was a fabulous morning to experience history hands-on!


October 10, 2018: What an amazing first few weeks in the Trillium Room.  The classroom is a busy hive of activity. The returning students are working to prepare for our upcoming day camp at Stub Stewart State Park on Friday, October 5th.  Look for an invitation from them in your email inviting parents to volunteer to drive the group to the park on the morning of October 5th.  They are learning to read maps and preparing the directions for the drive.  Other students are making meal and snack preparations and will be looking for volunteers to complete cooking projects in the next week.  We also have students working to plan and prepare for the activities, safety, a create a packing list.  Please join us at 5:30 for the potluck dinner a group sing-a-long.  We are all looking forward to this activity. 

Next Friday the Lower Elementary students will begin a square dancing workshop.  There will be four sessions in total occurring from now through November. We are looking forward to this new experience.

As for our newest students, they are getting acquainted with the classroom and the new expectations.  They are already participating in caring for the classroom.  Their excitement for elementary is contagious!

Creating a positive caring environment is something the students and I are mindful of each day.  We are learning how to be mindful and present in-the-moment and in our movements.  In our classroom meeting, we have discussed the virtues of flexibility and forgiveness.   We learn what the terms mean, what it looks like to see the virtue in action, and how we can evaluate our growth in practicing the virtues.  The children participate in giving and receiving compliments to each other. They are joyful, compassionate and remarkable children.  


Katy Carter

Katy Carter joined MSB in 2010, as the Lower Elementary Guide in the Trillium room. She has come to a deep understanding of the importance of a positive community that is united in supporting children in a patient, respectful, and caring environment. She grew up among the red rock mountains and desert landscape of sunny southern Utah. Despite the lack of year-round sunshine, she appreciates the beauty and diversity the Northwest has to offer. Katy and David are the parents of two children. Lauryn is an MSB alumnum, and Iain is a current student at MSB. She is passionate about kindness and genealogy and is a perpetual seeker of knowledge.

Katy earned her Elementary diploma from the Association Montessori International (AMI) training program at Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola College of Maryland and her AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Institute of North Texas. She also holds a Master’s degree in Education and a BA in Management. 


Lani Mertes

Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado I graduated a year early from high school to attend Northern Arizona University where I earned my B.S. in Psychology. During these years in Flagstaff my passions for psychology, environmental sustainability, mindfulness and meditation led me to the Montessori method. I have now completed the AMI Elementary training course and earned my M.E.D in Montessori education.