Happy Holidays from MBTS!

The children of Montessori By The Sea marked the start of the holiday season with three community giving projects for their fellow children: the MBTS Christmas Wishing Tree, which benefitted Cayman’s ARK, a student vote that led to Feed Our Future being chosen as the school’s children’s charity, and the Literacy is for Everyone (LIFE) Book Drive sponsored by the MBTS Parents’ Guild.

From November 23rd to December 8th, MBTS students granted Christmas wishes to families in need. Children and parents selected paper ornaments on the MBTS Christmas Wishing Tree, with each ornament corresponding to a particular child, a single-parent family, or a special holiday wish for essentials like clothing or groceries, and returned the decorated ornament filled with a gift voucher for the recipient. Gift vouchers were recommended by Cayman’s ARK, as they allow recipients to make the best choices for their families or themselves.

Ms. Tara Nielsen, Director of Cayman’s ARK, visited MBTS on December 11th to pick up the donations, along with additional funds raised by a Dress-Down Day for Cayman’s ARK. “ARK is delighted to receive these fantastic gift certificates from all the children at MBTS; they will be personally given to families and children impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic who are unable to purchase gifts for their children due to unemployment,” said Ms. Nielsen.

During their last school assembly for 2020, Upper Elementary students led a school-wide vote to choose a special children’s charity for the school’s 20thanniversary. Children ages 5 to 12 years old listened to presentations by the older students on three charities – LIFE, the Children’s Garden at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, and Feed Our Future – and cast their vote at polling stations also created by the children. The candidate charities were selected because they all benefitted fellow children, and students presented persuasive skits on how each one helped fellow children in Cayman. Students tallied the votes and applied skills in graphing and data to analyze and display the results.

Feed Our Future emerged as the winning charity, and will be the recipient of half of the proceeds of special MBTS 20th Anniversary fund-raisers taking place between January and June 2021, including a school bag project and a gala raffle draw. The other half of the proceeds will go towards funding a planned outdoor education space at MBTS. “It was such a delight to read about this initiative, what an inspiring idea…. we love when children support each other,” expressed Ms. Stacey Van Develde, Chairwoman of Feed Our Future, upon being informed that the children of MBTS had chosen Feed Our Future as its 20thAnniversary charity recipient.

This year, the MBTS Parents’ Guild once again conducted its very successful LIFE Book Drive, which collected gently-used children’s books for young readers across the island. In just five days, MBTS families amassed boxes of books filled to the brim with the gift of reading. Ms. Erin Galatopoulos, Coordinator of LIFE’s Book Donation Programme, along with Mr. Paul Schreiner, Chairman of the MBTS Parents’ Guild, dropped by the school on Dec. 14th to collect and load the donations.

“We are deeply grateful to the Montessori By the Sea community for, once again, organising a successful Book Drive in support of LIFE’s mission to significantly improve literacy levels in the Cayman Islands. All donated books will be making their way into public school classrooms or into the homes of underprivileged children to create print-rich environments that encourage a love of reading. Literacy is empowerment, so I cannot think of a more wonderful gift to give this Christmas,” said Ms. Juliet Austin, Executive Director of LIFE.

The MBTS Wishing Tree and the student-led vote on the school’s 20thAnniversary children’s charity are just two of twenty special projects that Montessori By The Sea has planned to commemorate this milestone school year. Along with the Parents’ Guild LIFE Book Drive, these philanthropic initiatives reflect MBTS’s firm belief that education should not just nurture, develop and inspire the child as a curious learner, but also as a caring, compassionate member of the community. 

We wish you all Happy Holidays, a Blessed Christmas, and a Prosperous, Joyful New Year!

See you in January 2021!

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