Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tips for Preparing your Shy Child for Kindergarten

Kindergarten is the state of a fun time for your child. He or she will make friends and get into the school experience quickly. However, if your child is shy, you might need to do a bit of planning to better prepare them for the experience.


Set Up Play Dates

There's a good chance there may be at least one other child nearby headed to the same school. Getting a chance to play with soon-to-be classmates helps alleviate many of the jitters children might feel. If your child has a friend in the class, they are more likely to be willing participants in classroom fun.


Read Books About Kindergarten Together

Searching the children's section at your library will likely yield some fun books about kindergarten. While reading them with your child, talk about the activities depicted. Kids will gain perspectives on everything from finding new friends to learning what may go on during the school day.


Do Some Role Playing

Playing school can be a good way to help introduce your child to what kindergarten is like. You can use this as a way to introduce your child to the school environment, such as working from a table area and interacting with the teacher. You can also practice introductions to other children.


Be Reassuring

Your child should accept their own personality traits and realize it's okay if they aren't as outspoken as their classmates. This can also be a good way to teach tolerance of differences. One takeaway could be your child accepting their more extroverted friends' differences and treasuring them.


Get Involved

Set aside some time after school each day to ask your child about what he or she learned and a little about their friends. Show genuine interest in any classroom activities your child gets excited about. If the activity is something that fascinates him or her, you may want to try to bring the activity home by getting books or toys that relate to your child's new fascination.


Give Your Child Some Quiet Time

The first few days or even months of school might be overwhelming for an introverted child. Allowing some quiet time after school is a good way to help your child make the transition from school life back to home life. Let him or her talk about what they did at school when they're ready, and don't push before they're ready to talk. You want to make sure you hear about your child's actual day, not what they might think you want to hear.


A shy child will succeed as much as an extroverted child in school if allowed to adjust in a way that meets their needs. Given time, they will come to enjoy school and eagerly await their next school day.  At Montessori Children's House, we understand the challenges students face when attending school for the first time. Our teachers work with both students and parents to ensure the transition is smooth and enjoyable for all parties.  With the start of school approaching, contact us today to learn how to prepare your child for kindergarten.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Why is Preschool Important

Preschool isn’t mandatory, but that doesn't mean younger children should be left out of structured learning. While many assume that the “real” learning begins in kindergarten, early childhood education could actually be one of the most important parts of your child’s academic journey. Here are three of the most important reasons to consider preschool for your kids.


Preschool Prepares Kids for Classroom Settings

This benefit is pretty simple, but it’s important. When young kids spend time in a structured academic environment, they learn how to operate as students. They get experience with everything from following classroom rules and verbal instructions to ignoring distractions and paying attention. If some skills or rules don’t come easily, they deserve time to work on it before they’re expected to sit down and learn math or science. After all, children adapt to new routines and settings at their own pace. Early childhood education helps lay a foundation for a smoother transition to elementary school.


Preschool is the First Step toward Self-Sufficiency

Your preschool-age kids are probably “growing up too fast” already, and it’s natural to bristle at the thought of sending them off to school for the first time. However, your ultimate goal as parents is to prepare them for the real world, and it’s never too early to start learning independence and self-sufficiency. In preschool, kids are expected to contribute and engage in basic tasks for the first time, teaching them self-care and giving them a sense of accomplishment and independence. They must wash their hands, keep their stuff in their cubbies, contribute to classroom chores, and listen to their peers. These skills will make it easier for them to make independent decisions and take care of themselves later.


Preschool Exposes Kids to Language at a Crucial Time

Whether or not a young child is ready for reading lessons, they are constantly absorbing the linguistic cues around them. Vocal development begins before their first birthday, when they start producing and repeating syllables, and by age five, most children have learned thousands of words and mastered their language’s sound system. These early years provide the foundation for your child’s literacy skills later on, and preschool programs expose them to new letter and word patterns to encourage vocal development. As teachers read books aloud and kids sing or chant rhyming phrases together, their young minds begin recognizing crucial patterns and sounds, which could boost their reading comprehension and expressive language skills later.

At the Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnsyide Campus, we understand the significance of early childhood education. We believe that all children, especially our youngest and most “absorbent” students, thrive when they have the opportunity to learn at their own pace in a stimulating environment. That’s why we offer five different preschool and kindergarten programs for ages three to six, all emphasizing lessons and sensory experiences that enrich your young children's lives while developing a strong foundation for their future.  Contact us today to schedule a tour!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Teaching your Preschooler Responsibility through Age Appropriate Chores

One of the hallmarks of a Montessori preschool program is that children are expected to do many things for themselves, such as cleaning, pouring, and serving food. Older or more proficient children help the younger children or those who are new to the program. To an outside observer, the classroom at clean-up time or lunch time might look like a community of tiny adults, all doing their part to achieve a common goal.


The Benefits of Chores

Maria Montessori's philosophy was that children learn and thrive when given age-appropriate responsibilities and independence. Children can learn a sense of responsibility - to their duties as well as to others - from an early age.

You can bring her approach home by assigning age-appropriate chores, and helping your children learn to perform them independently. Assigning chores at home will allow you to:
  • Make your child feel like a functional part of the household. Children love knowing they help the household run smoothly. It can make them feel especially good to do chores such as helping to take care of household pets.
  • Help your child develop self-confidence. Accomplishing something makes you feel good, right? Children are no different. Doing a job well and receiving recognition for it will help your child develop self-esteem and a sense of pride in their work.
  • Teach your child life skills. Work is an important part of life. We all have "chores" we do on a daily basis, from necessary household tasks to our careers. Encouraging children to help out around the house and to take pride in their accomplishments will help instill a strong work ethic at an early age.


Age Appropriate Chores for Preschoolers

Many preschoolers want to do things themselves and assigning chores gives you an opportunity to take advantage of that natural eagerness to help. If your child has never done chores before, start with small chores, adding one at a time. Take the time to teach your child how to do things that are difficult for them at first, as it'll pay off in the long run.
Here are a few responsibilities that are age-appropriate for preschoolers:
  • Cleaning up toys
  • Feeding pets
  • Making their bed
  • Getting dressed in the morning
  • Getting ready for bed at night
  • Putting away folded clothes
  • Folding easy-to-fold clothes
  • Wiping up spills
  • Watering plants
  • Helping with cooking
  • Measuring ingredients for baking
  • Washing produce
  • Setting the table
  • Serving, pouring, etc.


Teaching Responsibility at Home and at School

Teaching your child to do chores at home will help teach responsibility, but it's only half the story. As much as we as parents like to think we control everything about our children's upbringings, don't forget that they spend at least half their day at school. The right school will reinforce the same values you emphasize at home.

At Montessori Children's House, students are encouraged to work together throughout their day, thereby showing them that each person is equally responsible in their own learning.  For more information on how our Montessori programs encourage responsibility, a love of learning, and other important life skills, contact us today to take a tour of our school.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Influence of the Montessori Elementary School

The Montessori classroom is a truly unique learning environment where children are encouraged to think outside of the box. Approaching the learning process with enthusiasm and providing real-life activities to supplement the classroom, children tend to thrive and reach new levels of understanding when attending a Montessori school. But that's just the beginning of the differences and influences found in a Montessori elementary school.


The Montessori Influence

Learning isn't something you do for good grades - it is a way of life at Montessori schools. With many students going on to become life long seekers of knowledge, this educational system proudly provides students with the learning abilities they need to be successful in their adult life.

Students are encouraged to learn at their own pace and style, which is what gives them the time to discover their own interests while still being guided by an instructor. It also gives the student a sense of autonomy that eventually translates into valuable time management skills, accountability, and so much more. Here are some ways Montessori elementary schools influence students, parents, and the community as a whole.

Respect and Understanding: Every student is treated like the unique individual they are at a Montessori school. And at the same time, they are taught – through a variety of activities – how to respect and value other people's differences.

Increased Creativity: When children are given free-access to explore the limits of their learning potential, they start to understand how beneficial and fun learning can be. This opens up their minds to new ideas and possibilities on a daily basis which nourishes both the intellectual and creative side of their personality.

Freedom within Limits: With classrooms, curriculum, and daily routines all built to support the emergence of self-discipline, restraint, and independence, Montessori students are taught to think for themselves and regulate their own time, with some guidance along the way.


The Montessori Difference

Montessori elementary schools help children develop skills that last a life time. Through independent learning, flexible schedules, and self-discipline, the child learns how to adapt and grow in response to a wide variety of real-life situations.


Social Development

Montessori schools also go to great lengths to build strong, small communities in every classroom. Social development is just as important as any other skill in life, but the student cannot explore this aspect of themselves unless they have an environment where they feel comfortable and welcome at all times. This kind of support increases a child's self esteem and builds the confidence they need to face the world as an adult.


Every moment in a child's life is precious. Montessori recognizes this by creating learning programs that focus on the big picture of life, rather than simply memorizing facts from a textbook. The goal is to help children become self-sufficient and self-actualized in all areas of their life.

The elementary school program at the Montessori School of Pleasanton embraces students' individuality and encourages them to work at their own pace, while being guided by teachers and peers.  Our students learn independence as they freely move about the classroom and explore on their own.  Contact us today to meet our teachers and schedule a tour.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Change and your Preschooler: How to Transition from a Daycare to a Montessori Environment

Enrolling your child in a Montessori preschool program is exciting, but it could be quite a change. Here are a few ways to prepare your preschooler for their new environment.


Foster Independence

Montessori programs encourage independence. Children choose their projects, work, and clean up independently.

If your child is used to instruction in preschool or at home, you can help him prepare by encouraging independence at home as much as possible. Here are a few ways to encourage independence:
  • Easy & Accessible - Keep shelves and bits at child height and have step stools to make things like bathroom sinks and kitchens accessible.
  • Self Sufficiency - Encourage your child to do things for themselves, from getting dressed in the morning to getting ready for bed at night.
  • Big Helper - Ask your child for help with things such as cooking and cleaning. This teaches them valuable skills and provides a sense of ownership over their world.


Encourage Motor Skills

The emphasis on independence in the Montessori classroom also promotes strong motor skills. Through drawing, writing, cooking, and cleaning, children have a chance to practice their fine motor skills.

Here are a couple of suggestions to help your child practice their fine motor skills:
  • Cooking and Serving - Cooking and self serving foods offers another opportunity to practice fine motor skills such as spooning, pouring, and stirring.
  • Tracing, writing, drawing, and coloring - Drawing, coloring and tracing promote creativity and fine motor skills.


Set Up a Work Area at Home

A crucial part of the Montessori program is the prepared work environment, where children have everything they need to explore, create, and learn. You can set up a similar area at home.

Your child's work area can be anything from a corner of the bedroom to a designated craft room, but should include:
  • A child-sized table and chairs.
  • A rug for working on the floor and spreading out.
  • Supplies such as pencils, crayons, paints, lined and unlined paper, and scissors.


Follow the Child

One of the most fundamental principles of Montessori is that the lessons plans "follow the child." This means that kids learn by choosing their own projects and exploring their interests, under the guidance of the teacher. This principle of choice encourages a love of learning.
Here are a few ways that you can "follow the child" at home too.
  • Give your child plenty of unstructured time - Avoid the temptation to over schedule your child. Instead, allow him plenty of time to create and learn in his work area.
  • Explore the world together - Take trips together to parks, zoos, museums, and anything else that captures your child's interest.

Changing to a Montessori program can be an adjustment, but by making a few easy changes in your home, you can smooth the transition for your preschooler.  The Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnyside Campus works with parents and guardians to ensure the transition is a smooth one for everyone involved.  For more information on how Montessori's emphasis on independent learning can benefit your child, contact us today and request a tour of our school.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Incorporating the Montessori Method at Home

Walking into a Montessori classroom surprises many parents and caregivers - the environment is clean, calm, completely organized, and promotes child-centered learning. The Montessori Method encourages independent learning through a well-maintained, prepared environment. Incorporating the basic principles of the Montessori Method at home will provide you and your child with numerous benefits for learning.

At Home: Parents using the Montessori Method in daily life

Use Child-Friendly Furniture

Creating a child-friendly space allows your child to be responsible. Promoting accessibility, age-appropriate furniture and storage areas will create an order to your child's room and other areas of the home.
  • Low shelving, drawers, and closet rods with child size hangers provides the perfect opportunity for your child to put away clothes.
  • Low shelves with storage baskets for toys, educational materials, trays, and other essentials promote cleanliness in your child’s bedroom or play area.
  • Use small chairs and a table. Encourage your child to sit the trays or baskets on the table for play. When finished, remind your child to place items back in the proper space. After some time, the ritual will be part of the daily routine.
  • Use step stools with one or two steps in the bathroom area. By using the steps, your child may use the sink for handwashing.
  • In the kitchen, place healthy snacks, waters, and juices at your child’s level.


Promote Independence

Allow your child plenty of time to accomplish different tasks without interruption. After completing the task, your child will gain a sense of independence, accomplishment, and confidence. As time progresses, the completion of basic tasks will enhance further learning.


Teach Basic Skills

In the Montessori learning environment, children learn basic life skills. Implementing organization techniques, assisting younger children, and participating in everyday cleaning rituals are part of the daily routine. At home, use the learning techniques to help build your child’s self-esteem and confidence
  • Allow your child to wash up prior to a meal or snack.
  • Encourage your child to put away clothes, toys, and other materials after use.
  • Allow your child to wash off the table before and after use.
  • Place dishes in the sink.
  • Help with basic household chores.
  • Encourage your child to discard items in the proper place. Discarding trash and recyclable materials into proper bins provides your child a sense of accomplishment.


Incorporate Nature

Montessori teaching believes nature plays a major role in learning. Spending time outdoors promotes curiosity, imagination, and desire to learn about the immediate surroundings. When at home, create a nature space.
  • Set up different nature items for exploration.
  • Go for walks.
  • Allow your child to explore the outdoors without interruption.
  • Provide nature books.
  • Plant flowers.
  • Search for nature materials including acorns and rocks.

Incorporating different aspects of the Montessori Method at home provides your child with a chance to learn and explore. The small changes in your child’s environment provide a larger impact. As your child learns, a basic foundation develops for further exploration.

At our private elementary school in Pleasanton, CA, Montessori School of Pleasanton works with its parents to incorporate the Montessori Method at home, in order to supplement the learning environment their child is experiencing at school.  Contact us today to see our elementary school students working together as they learn through exploration and hands-on activities.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Preschool and Storytelling: Expanding Your Child's Imagination

Storytelling is the oldest form of instruction known to mankind. Through stories, prehistoric people passed down family histories, learned what to eat and what to be afraid of, and then the art of storytelling progressed into learning how to write down letters and leave a legacy for the future. For the preschooler, stories still fulfill all of those functions, and Montessori learning embraces storytelling as a vital tool in a young child’s education.
Using Storytelling to increase your Preschooler's Imagination


Building Language Skills

For small children, storytelling is an important step in building vocabulary and language skills. Simple stories using basic phrases and building on them with more colorful adjectives and adverbs teach the art of language and speech. Storytelling also helps children build a robust vocabulary, introducing them to novel words that they may not be exposed to on a regular basis. Encouraging preschoolers to assist in creating an exciting adventure prompts them to think-- and express themselves-- in new ways.


Every Picture Tells a Story

Giving a child an object and asking him to make up a story about it does more than build creativity. It also teaches him that everything has its own story, and that more goes into that story than may first be apparent. The object can be anything from a colorful picture to a leaf or pebble. And the story can be a fanciful history or imagining what will happen after the moment the object has been introduced. The important thing is to imagine and create, not to arrive at a predetermined outcome.


Tales of Long Ago and Far Away

Fairy tales and history lessons share a common trait: They both introduce a young child to something from the distant past and show them how it relates to a moral or physical understanding. Knights taming dragons may not seem to have any historical importance, but exposure to such stories may encourage a boy to learn more about feudal systems, ancient castles, or the ethics involved in honesty or personal virtue.


Imagination and Invention

All of the great inventions started out as imagination. Storytelling encourages children to imagine what could be, and that prepares them for a future where they may build the next great tool for modern living. Historical stories for preschoolers can be about all kinds of things, including the solar system, life beneath the seas, or how building dams creates electricity to power homes. Tickling the imagination to fuel the possibility of creating something new and wonderful will encourage the little ones to learn more, think more, and to use their own minds for things no one else has ever thought of.


The Montessori method uses tried and true educational tools to assist children in their development. For preschoolers, this includes the age-old method of storytelling, both creatively and historically. The idea is to use the best tools to garner the most progress, and this is one tool that has a long history of success. At Montessori Children's House, a private day care in Fremont, CA, our teachers encourage students to embrace their creativity and use their imagination throughout their learning. Contact us today to schedule a tour!