GTMS Life > News September 1, 2022

PRIMARY ADM: Welcome to the 22/23 School Year

We are so excited to see old friends and to meet new ones next week! The intention behind this blog post is to provide a central location where you can see the important information pertaining to our classroom and the start of the year. Items needed for the first day Please bring the following items […]

We are so excited to see old friends and to meet new ones next week! The intention behind this blog post is to provide a central location where you can see the important information pertaining to our classroom and the start of the year.

Items needed for the first day

Please bring the following items on your child’s first day:

-2 complete labeled sets of seasonally appropriate clothes (shirt, bottoms, underwear, and socks- because space is limited, items should be easily stowable)

-A labeled blanket for nap or rest time (something light and compact)

-A pair of comfortable, indoor shoes (Here are just a few examples: 1, 23, or 4) *We have found that Tom’s and moccasin-style slippers are not safe indoor shoes for school.*

-2 labeled epi pens, if prescribed, with a doctor’s note and prescription attached and benadryl

-A labeled reusable water bottle to be sent home daily

-At least 2 extra labeled face masks (in case their mask gets soiled or wet)

-1 current family photo (can also be emailed to us)

**To prevent items being lost, please label all clothes, blankets, shoes, masks, and epi pens with your child’s name**

Because fostering your child’s independence is one of our primary objectives in a Montessori environment, we ask that the items you bring- extra clothes, lunch boxes and containers, and shoes- are easy for your child to use on their own. We want each child to feel a sense of self-confidence and self-determination when they dress themselves, open their own containers, or change their shoes.

Email and Communication

If you have any questions/concerns, please email Amanda and Maggie at and we will get back to you within 24 hours. We do not use our individual emails for parent communication because we want to make sure we both have the same information. Please note that teachers are not available for email communication during child contact times. We are always happy to schedule a time to speak on the phone or over Zoom.

If there are ANY changes in schedule: vacation, your child is sick at home, your child is arriving late/leaving early etc., please email both as well as the Administrative Assistant at


Please note that all children will be required to wear a mask for the first two weeks. Please provide child-sized masks for your child every day for the duration of those two weeks. After that period, masking will be optional. We recommend discussing with your child your family’s plans for masks. They may have lots of questions about why some people are still wearing masks and why some people aren’t. Please try to approach these conversations as factually and non-judgmentally as possible, as will we. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please feel free to reach out to us at

Arrival and Recess

This year we are going back to our schedule of having recess at the beginning of the day. This allows the children to move and socialize before the work cycle begins and reduces the stressful transitions in the middle of the day. We ask that your child arrives as close to 8:00 as possible to give them sufficient time to play outside in the morning. We will also have school-wide age-specific recesses in the middle of the day- Kindergarteners from 12:30-1:15, Second years from 1:15-2, and First years from 2:00-2:30. Our class will have an Outdoor Workcycle from 2:30-4:00.

Our Staff

Below you will find photos and short bios about each staff member that will be working with you child this year.

Ms. Maggie

Maggie McCaffrey (she/her): This will be my third year at Greene Towne as a Lead Guide in Primary ADM. I grew up in New York City but have lived in Massachusetts, Argentina, Minnesota, and now Pennsylvania. I started my career in education working in traditional preschools. I eventually landed a job as assistant in a Montessori Upper Elementary classroom. I was so inspired by the reverence and respect for children in a Montessori environment that I knew I wanted to become a Montessori guide. I also knew that elementary was not for me! So, I pursued an AMI Primary Certificate from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota in 2015 and received my MA in Early Childhood Education from St. Catherine’s University in 2016. Additionally, I hold a BA from Smith College with a major in Biology. I believe wholeheartedly in the Montessori method as a means of providing loving, respectful, and encouraging environments for children to develop a lifelong love of learning. Outside of school, I love to hike, sing, sew, and read. I am currently living in West Philadelphia with my partner, Ruth, and our two cats, Cookie and Geordi.

Ms. Amanda

Amanda Cunningham (she/her): Hello! I’m Amanda and I am thrilled to be joining the Greene Towne community as the Primary All Day Montessori Co-Lead Teacher this school year. For the past two years I worked in both preschool and toddler Montessori environments. I am very passionate about the Montessori method of teaching, and received my Montessori teaching certification from the North American Montessori Center. I grew up in Havertown PA, but currently live in South Philadelphia with my partner Joe. Outside of work I love dedicating time to creating art through drawing and painting. I also enjoy practicing yoga and traveling whenever I have the opportunity. I can’t wait to get to know, and continue growing along with everyone this school year!

Ms. Allison

Allison Wiedman (they/them): Many of you know me already as I am going in to my eighth year here at Greene Towne but I’m so excited to meet so many new friends, coworkers, and for my new role as well! Starting this school year I am working in a dual role of both assistant teacher in Primary ADM and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) coordinator for the whole of GTMS. I look forward to using my 13+ years of experience in both Art, Museum Education, and schools around Philadelphia to help serve our community in this way. Outside of my time at school I am a scare actor during the Halloween season, love taking long walks with my rescue pup Trixie, going thrifting, and visiting museums of all sorts.  

Ms. J

Jamie Gillette (she/her): I’m thrilled to return for my second year as an assistant in the Primary ADM classroom. I graduated from Bard College in 2020 with a B.A. in Creative Writing and a concentration in Gender and Sexuality Studies. After school, I moved to Philadelphia to teach writing in a public high school through an AmeriCorps program, and quickly developed a passion for working with students. This year I also completed my 200-hour yoga teaching certification. In my free time, I love to dance and share large meals with my friends. I am so grateful to have found a home in the Greene Towne community, where I learn and grow and laugh everyday!

Shawn Bankoff (she/her): I’m very excited to begin my first year at Greene Towne as an assistant in the Primary ADM classroom. I graduated last Spring from West Chester University with a degree in Early Childhood Education. I grew up in Bucks County, PA and just recently moved to Queen Village. I am a certified yoga and reiki teacher. In my free time, I enjoy painting, dancing, and seeing live music.

Ally Farrell (she/her): I’m thrilled to be joining the GTMS team this year as an auxiliary assistant. Prior to this, I nannied for a Greene Towne alumni family. Originally, I am from Northern New Jersey, but I have lived in Philadelphia for several years, and I graduated from Drexel University with a degree in Music Industry. Outside of the classroom, I like to read, and hang out with my cats, Bubble and Squeak, and my dog, Tucker.

Birthday Celebrations

We like celebrate children’s birthdays as close to the date as possible. We have a birthday circle in the classroom and you are invited to bring in a birthday poster with pictures of your child’s life so far. We have moved away from edible treats on birthdays. If your child would like to bring in a gift for the classroom, we ask for a book or a plant.

If you do not wish us to celebrate your child’s birthday at school, please let us know.

Phase In Schedule

Upcoming Events

  • 9/5: Labor Day- NO SCHOOL
  • 9/6: First day of Phase In
  • 9/20: Parent Workshop at Greene Towne 6:30-7:30
  • 10/7: Professional Development- NO SCHOOL
  • 10/10: Indigenous People’s Day- NO SCHOOL
  • 10/12: Primary ADM Parent Coffee 8:15-9:00
  • 10/22: Fall Walk at Rail Park
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