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Welcome to Physical Education

Steve Maas Welcome to the gym, I am excited to be a central part of your student's education during my 26th year at The Children's House. Please reach out to me if you feel there is anything I could do to support your child more. I'd enjoy hearing from you.

"The arts, sciences, humanities, physical education, languages and maths all have equal and central contributions to make to a student's education."  ~Sir Ken Robinson 

231-929-9325 x 39

Steve Maas, Physical Education, Della Terra
B.A. Spring Arbor University, Family Life Education
AMS Primary Certification

The Children's House experience (1992- present):
Primary Guide
Physical Education Specialist


May 24, 2018

I am looking forward to all of the activities that we have here  at The Children's House as we bring the school year to a close. There is an excited group of 4th year elementary students planning our field day. All of the elementary and junior high students are preparing for camp next week and of course we have Grandparent's day to finish out this week. Late spring is my favorite time here, the grounds never look better, the kids are excited and the weather is always fantastic. I hope I get a chance to see most of you in person over the next few weeks at one of the many upcoming celebrations. In case I don't see you, I sincerely want to thank you for a terrific school year with your kids! Have a great summer.

May 10, 2018

This past week I had the pleasure of attending the annual Gala with many of you and wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you! Whether you were at the event or not, you all contribute in some way to our school community. This school year it has been great fun for me to spend time with your children, from talking about character strengths such as kindness, grit and prudence to playing rugby, we have been very busy in the gym. I hope the last weeks of the year, with all of the busyness of spring, are fantastic for you and your children.

April 26, 2018

In the gym recently we've been working with a variety of activities involving throwing and catching various balls. Balls skills can be fun and help as students move forward in school sports. Maybe more importantly they help with bi-lateral skills, sequencing, hand eye coordination, concentration, confidence, and attention. It is my hope that our students build a strong base in these skills so that whether they pursue organized sports or not they have the had practice over the years they spend with me. The youngest children often work independently ans as they become proficient we can move into small group practice and later in elementary games involving throwing and catching. Maybe as the weather gets more spring like you'll have the chance to get out in the yard and have a catch, enjoy!

April 12, 2018

I've been talking quite a bit to my colleagues this year about the value of free play and especially recess. Recently the governor of Arizona signed a law mandating students in grade 5 and below be allowed two recess periods daily. We have begun to extend recess period each day by a few minutes and I hope that in the future we'll do even more. Recess may be the most important part of your child's day for social development, they have a chance to exhibit a wide range of social competencies including sharing, cooperation, and teamwork all of which are very important skills in adulthood. Play has been in the news a lot recently and I wanted you to know that we take it very seriously. 😉 If you are interested in more information on the value of recess and play both Stuart Brown and Peter Gray are great resources.

March 22, 2018

While I was in New York City last week with the sixth year students, I had the privilege of watching them discuss solutions to the worlds problems with students from around the world. On Saturday, the final day of our trip, we went to the United Nations building and presented the resolutions they had come up with in their committee. The Montessori Model United Nations is a treat for us fortunate adults and a payoff for all of the hard work the students have put in over the course of the school year. If your family is considering your children's future schooling, please take a look at the MMUN website and consider the benefits your child will receive when they are lucky enough to attend. I am not part of the marketing team here but this opportunity is not to be missed. The growth the students have through their work on this project is amazing.


March 8, 2018

Thank you for helping your children make our Jump Rope for Heart event a success. We had 12 students jumping simultaneously and raised $6130 for the American Heart Association. Congratulations to Rory for raising $701. I hope your child brought home a few things they learned about their heart and ideas for staying healthy. There have been several questions about when the thank you gifts will arrive. I expect to see them arriving the first week in April. When your child brings their gifts home please let me know if I've made a mistake on the ordering part, it's not my strength and it is simple to fix. Thanks again for your participation. I'm interested in hearing any feedback you may have.

February 15, 2018

Jump rope skills have been the focus the past few weeks. I hope all of your children have told you a bit about how much we've been jumping. Jump roping at a moderate pace is about the same as running an 8 minute mile and it's easy to do indoors in a small space in any weather. It strengthens leg muscles, increases coordination and in children can increase bone density. On Valentines Day we all gathered in the gym near the end of the day to celebrate our hearts and jump together. If your child does not have a rope at home please have them ask me and I'll be glad to set them up with one to bring and keep at home. Thank you for supporting the American Heart Association.

February 1, 2018

On February 14 all of the students k-8 will participate in a Jump Rope for Heart event. This will be our 13th year supporting the American Heart Association. I have told your children that there are three portions to this event. The first two, jumping rope and learning about the heart are required. The third portion, collecting donations is optional. I am not at all concerned with how much money we raise, I do want the kids to know a bit about their heart and to have fun jumping. If you have any questions about this event please stop into the gym any time or reach out through email or a phone call.

Each class will jump rope during their own physical education time and I hope that some of them will volunteer to come jump with other groups throughout the day. Your child should have shown you the donation envelope and spoken with you about this but if not maybe they'll bring it up soon. Here is a link to the JRFH web site

January 18, 2019

Last Thursday a group of parents and Children's House staff met for an hour to talk about raising adults. I would like to thank everyone that was able to attend and encourage the rest of you to join the conversation. I was in a break out group talking about how being a parent has become a strain and how our parenting style effects our stress level. I hope to continue this discussion and others around this topic of parenting. Recently I came across an idea for a project called Let Grow. The project involves kids choosing one thing they feel ready to do alone that for one reason or another they haven't yet done, walking the dog, make dinner, snow blow the drive way, play in the park... basically anything their parents did independently when they were the same age. I thought some may be interested in trying it out. Let me know how it works out.

December 19, 2017

As we head into a couple of weeks away from school I am reminded my favorite Maria Montessori quote "Play is the work of the child". Her words hold up well after more than 100 years, in the recent book by Julie Lythcott-Haims, How to Raise and Adult (Break Free of the Over-parenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success), an entire chapter is given to unstructured time and play. We will host a discussion on this book an January 11, please consider joining us. I hope that we all can enjoy a bit of unstructured time over the next days and I look forward to spending more time with your children in the new year.

December 7, 2018

For the month of November,I had the pleasure of watching two groups of 20 three and four old students ride balance bikes. The Norte! cycling group brought balance bikes and staff each Monday and taught our students not only balance but some of the rules of the road as well. This was all made possible because a generous Children's House family chose to sponsor their visits. I think the kids made a lot of progress in riding skills and will be looking forward to having some of them join me in the summer in a few years as we bike around the area with school age children. If you are not aware of Norte! please take a little time to check out some of the things they are doing to support cycling and kids in our area.   


November 2, 2017

A few of my coworkers and I recently have been reading a book by Julie Lythcott-Haims called How To Raise An Adult. On January 11th we will host a community education event using the book as a reference. I thought that some of you might be interested in reading the book or watching the TED talk the author gave a couple of years back. My youngest child headed off to college this fall and I still have plenty to learn. I've found the book very interesting and helpful, even if it comes a few years too late for me. Please share your thoughts via email or come in January and join the conversation.


October 19, 2017

Recently we've been playing games and talking about nutrition a bit in the gym. The younger students have been learning about food groups while the older students have been learning about the six basic nutrients. All of this is done mostly while playing running games and working in small groups. The work with food groups is mostly sorting and labeling and the nutrient work involves a bit more detail around which foods contain specific nutrients. I know that each family makes their own food choices and am careful not to label any foods as bad or poor choices. We do discuss the need to know which foods provide which nutrients in order to help us decide to eat. If you have any expertise in this area you'd be willing to share I invite you to get in touch, can come up with a time for you to present your knowledge to the students. I think it is good for children to hear information presented in a different way and I always learn as well.

October 5, 2017

All ages have been spending a lot of time working on catching and throwing recently. The three year old children play mostly with the adult the thirteen year old child spends their time involved in throwing and catching games but all of them are practicing the same skill. Dr. Montessori wrote quite a bit about the child's need for repetition. In her book The Montessori Method she said "To have learned something is for the child only a point of departure. When he has learned the meaning of an exercise, then he begins to enjoy repeating it, and he does repeat an infinite number of times, with the most evident satisfaction. He enjoys that act because by means of it he is developing his psychic activities". I think often it is easy to dismiss the need for repetition in favor of new and novel activities. When children repeat they are internalizing and refining, it is a habit to think of the act of knowing as something final. In order to really know anything fully we must repeat it many times, I hope to give your children that chance with many activities this year.

September 21, 2017

I am excited to begin a new school year with your children. As we begin, the elementary and junior high students have been working on classroom agreements for expectations. We aim to finish and sign these early next week, it's been fun to listen and help them to determine the exact wording that they can all agree upon. One of the benefits of the students writing and signing this document is that it takes me out of most disagreements, students can simply remind a classmate of the signed agreement and carry on with the day. This almost always seems to help both parties. The things on the list range from agreeing to be respectful of materials and others, agreeing to wear appropriate footwear and to participate to the best of their ability. Their agreement will be available to review and share anytime they need it and is intended only to help everyone have an enjoyable time each day in the gym. Stop in and join the fun anytime you are in the building. I always check my email several times a day so please be in touch if you have questions of comments. I look forward to seeing or hearing from you!

This page last updated on 5/23/2018.

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tch_icon.pngThe Children's House - An Independent Montessori School
5363 N Long Lake Rd. | Traverse City, MI | 49685 (p) 231.929.9325 | (f) 231.929.9384 | email: learn@traversechildrenshouse.org