Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Preschool fall fun in the Bay Area

There is no doubt know that the Bay Area is a fun place, but may not have realized how many options are there for preschoolers. This area is filled with attractions that will arouse even the littlest ones' natural curiosity. Taking your preschooler to visit one or more of these attractions is a great way to give them something to do this fall and help them learn something new in the process.

Children's Discovery Museum

There is a wealth of fun for your child to experience here, with over 28,000 square feet of space. The exhibits are a mixture of both traveling and permanent options, and the museum's website even lists related activities that you and your child are likely to want to do at home. This museum introduces children to the subject of the exhibits through experiments, manipulation, exploration, and touch. Just a few of the highlights include a fire engine kids can play inside, block-building, and experiments featuring bubbles and water.

Randall Museum

This museum is very popular with preschoolers and their parents because of the number of hands-on opportunities it offers. Some of the subjects your child will learn about include natural history, science, and arts and crafts. Arts and crafts workshops are offered for several age groups, with preschool classes of particular interest. Some of the other highlights include a scale caboose model, exhibits related to California wildlife, and an earthquake refugee shack replica.

Habitot Children's Museum

This children's museum is of particular interest to parents of preschoolers because of its scaled-down size exhibits. These exhibits are designed with the youngest children, including infants and toddlers, in mind. Some of the highlights include:
  • A Wind Tunnel, providing an authentic experience with wind
  • Little Town Grocery & Cafe, where kids can mimic grocery shopping
  • Waterworks exhibit featuring a water table, river ramp, and pumping station
All of these exhibits combined help create a sense of curiosity in even the youngest preschooler.

Lawrence Hall of Science

One of the things that attracts many families to this museum is its selection of exhibits designed for preschool children. The exhibits are designed to encourage natural exploration, be as hands-on as possible, and also encourage learning about cause and effect. Highlights include a planetarium, a gravity wall, and a place to design raceways. Exciting workshops will keep your little one wanting to come back.

All of these attractions are some of the best places for preschoolers in the Bay Area. You can be sure they will arouse your child's curiosity and spark their imagination.  At Montessori Children's House, we teach the Montessori Method through hands-on learning.  We encourage parents to take their children to interactive and exploratory museums to further foster the Montessori Method outside of school.  To learn about the hands-on activities we incorporate into our curriculum on a daily basis, schedule a tour today.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

What Nature can Teach your Elementary Student

As a parent, it is up to you to teach your children. While they will learn plenty at school, they need to learn at home as well. This means more than working with your children on their math, spelling, and reading. You should also be teaching your child about nature. There are plenty of benefits of your elementary student learning about nature and the outdoor world around them.

Learning About Nature Helps Your Children Appreciate the World
Most kids are curious. When they see a bug or a caterpillar on the sidewalk, they squat down to get a closer look. When you take your elementary student outdoors and teach them about nature, they will realize that when they interact with nature, they are a part of it. Over time, their love and respect for nature will grow. When your children grow up, they will want to protect the world around them.

Learning About Nature Encourages Scientific Study
When your children study nature, they will be curious. They will want to explore the world and learn more about it. This is the foundation that your child will need later on when they are in an advanced scientific study class. When your elementary student starts studying nature early, it will benefit their education later on.

Nature Study Gets the Kids Outdoors
In today's technological world, it can be difficult to get your children to put down their electronics and go outdoors. When you teach your children about nature, it is the perfect opportunity for this to happen. Your children will put down the video games and go outdoors. Not only is this good for their mind, it is also good for their bodies.

Nature is an Easy Science
When you teach your children about science, you won't need any special equipment or books. Everything that you need is right outside your door. Your children will learn by observing different animals, insects, and plants. This is one of the easiest sciences to teach.

Studying Nature Will Make Your Child Want To Learn
When your elementary student studies nature, they will want to learn more. For example, if you are taking a nature hike and your children spot animal tracks, they will want to find out what type of animal created the tracks. Nature is full of mysteries that your children will investigate and solve. When your children solve the many mysteries in nature, it will make them want to learn more. This is a great way to instill a love of learning in your children at a very early age. This love of learning can help them through their entire lives. A child who loves to learn will grow up to be a successful adult.

Teaching your elementary student about nature is just as important as teaching them to read and write. You want your children to grow up to love and respect the planet. You also want them to understand science and find the fun in solving scientific mysteries in nature.  Montessori education at the Montessori School of Pleasanton is meant to teach your elementary student as a whole, incorporating nature into daily lesson plans.  Contact us today to schedule a tour for you and your elementary student to learn more about the Montessori method.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Activities to Build your Elementary Student's Self Esteem

Self esteem is an important aspect of Montessori education. Children who are confident in their abilities are also willing to take on new tasks and encourage other students. Activities which build self esteem in elementary students give them a foundation for success. They become more interested in doing things and being part of the group. By instilling self esteem during the elementary years, we give children the building blocks to get involved and to examine new ideas.


Activity Suggestions

Giving children the opportunity to play a part in classroom and home activities is a great way to build self-esteem. In some instances, play could be exactly what the children are doing, but the day is filled with opportunities to provide self-fulfillment while you make learning fun.

In the Classroom
Everything which takes place at school could help to build self esteem, whether it is discovering new things about the world or playing a game to build coordination. For instance, any of the following activities is a chance to build confidence and self esteem:
o   Playing and interacting with others students.
o   Speaking to groups or the whole class
o   Displaying successful projects
o   Drawing or coloring
o   Helping the teacher

Activities at Home
Almost any activity can help build self esteem
if it is treated with respect and acceptance. Whether your child is doing chores, putting together a project, or playing a favorite game, it is important that every child receives positive encouragement and a sense of accomplishment. Some general ideas to give a child more confidence include:
o   Build a birdhouse
o   Measuring and cooking in the kitchen
o   Packing for a trip
o   Hobbies and crafts


Giving Feels Good

Any activity which includes helping others will help build self esteem and confidence. Being nice to others and offering a helping hand makes everyone feel good about themselves and gives them a sense of fellowship and well-being. The activity can be something as simple as taking a refreshing beverage to someone feeling ill or reading a story to a sick friend or relative. The important thing is that the contribution is noticed and positively reacted to.


Performance and Recognition


Every child enjoys being the center of attention, whether it is doing well on a science project or learning how to play music. Giving him the opportunity to display his talents helps build self esteem. Showing enthusiasm and respect for his accomplishments gives him the confidence to tackle new things, take on new responsibilities, and take pride in his accomplishments. Even if your child is not perfect in every subject, being enthusiastic about his efforts encourages him to exhibit determination and strive for success.

Montessori elementary students at the Montessori School of Pleasanton are encourage to explore and learn at their own pace, being guided by both the teacher and older students. We understand the importance of building a child's self esteem and work with our students to ensure they are successful in their education.  To see the Montessori method firsthand, contact us today to schedule a tour.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Teaching your Preschooler Great Dental Habits

Good dental habits are important for both children and adults, and helping your preschooler establish a routine early on can make a huge difference in their oral health for the rest of their lives. Often kids resist simple hygiene efforts such as brushing their teeth, so how can you set your child on the right path? Here are a few tips for creating lifelong dental habits.


Start Early

The key to lasting habits is starting as early as possible. Even before your baby's first tooth appears, you can gently clean his gums with a soft cloth or a piece of soft gauze. Once the first tooth appears, generally around six months, you can start brushing with a small, soft toothbrush and non-fluoride toothpaste.

Speaking of the first tooth appearing, this is also a great time to take your child to the dentist for the first time. Many children are anxious about visiting the dentist, so starting before your child's first birthday can help get him used to it early.


Make It Fun

As your child gets a little older, finding ways to make dental care fun can go a long way toward helping to create lasting habits. Themed toothbrushes, flavored toothpastes, and fun handheld flossers can all help, and you can also create rituals of brushing your teeth together with your child. Be creative and think of some fun games to play, such as seeing who can spit closest to the drain.


Reward Good Habits

It's important to also reinforce good habits with praise and rewards. One way is to have your child show you their clean teeth so that you can tell them they've done a good job. If you want more of a reward system in place, create a chart to hang on the bathroom wall and dole out stickers or gold stars for brushing and flossing on a regular schedule.


Encourage Age-Appropriate Independence

Of course, one of the hallmarks of the Montessori method is encouraging independence in children, so we'd be remiss if we didn't mention how you can encourage children to manage their own dental care. Many preschoolers love to attempt to brush their own teeth, even if you have to finish up the job. Set a timer or buy a lighted toothbrush to help kids know how long they need to brush. Electric toothbrushes and handheld flossers can make the job easier as well. Once kids get old enough to spit, they can graduate to fluoride toothpaste.


How Montessori Teaches Good Habits


Because the Montessori method values children's independence and promotes self-directed behaviors, it provides an excellent framework for learning all kinds of habits, including dental habits. The Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnyside Campus works with students to encourage hands-on learning, including those skills that are learned both at home and at school.  For more information on our program, please contact us today for a tour of our school.

Monday, September 11, 2017

What is Required to become a Montessori Preschool Teacher?

The Montessori educational model was developed in the hopes of creating a functional and innovative learning process for kids of all ages. Because of its success, many would-be traditional school teachers are flocking to Montessori jobs because of the diversity, freedom, and flexibility they provide to both students and teachers. Here's an overview what is required to become a Montessori preschool teacher.


No. 1 – Earn a College Degree (if possible)

While there are sometimes associate level certificates available in Early Childhood education for people without a college degree, holding a Bachelor's degree (or higher) will allow one to be eligible for a wide variety of Montessori training programs at centers across the country.

The good news is that one does not necessarily need to major in education or any related field. Montessori teachers come from diverse educational backgrounds such as the social sciences, engineering, art and design, the humanities, and more.


No. 2 – Find and Complete the Right Training Program

The first step to finding a suitable training program is knowing which certification one eventually wants to earn. One could specialize in Infant & Toddler education (0 – 3 years old) or Early Childhood (2.5 – 6 years old). The skills and techniques acquired will vary greatly depending on which certificate is pursued.

Also, it's important to budget for the training program one is interested in. Montessori training can vary in final costs with the more expensive programs costing a small fortune. However, the more affordable programs typically cost about $2,000 in total.


No. 3 – Find a Teaching Position in Your Area

Once one has completed a Montessori training program, they will be fully certified and ready to lead your students toward success. While on the job search, they should make sure to utilize any and all tools available.

However, using an online Montessori job finder tends to be the most effective solution these days. New teachers are still encouraged to hit the ground running and exhausting other options such as contacting local schools about possible openings.


No. 4 – Adapt to the Montessori Method

Since most of us grew up attending traditional schools, it might be a bit of a shock to an individual coming into a Montessori teaching position. Luckily, their training will provide a solid foundation to build on while the teacher becomes adjusted to giving children freedom in their learning experience.


A Bright Future


Becoming a preschool teacher in a Montessori program is rewarding, fulfilling, and gives individuals the opportunity to help shape many generations to come. While it might take a lot of hard work and dedication, it will be well worth it to become part of the Montessori teaching family!

At the Montessori Children's House in Fremont, California, our school is an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) with an AMI Director, in additional to all of our head teachers being AMI trained. Contact us today to schedule a meeting with our teachers to discuss the Montessori teaching model and how it can benefit your child.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Montessori Elementary Education: The Valued Difference

A Montessori elementary education is one of the most valuable types of education you can give a child. Many people are unaware of Montessori education being offered beyond preschool and are pleased to know this is an option. There are some great benefits to Montessori schools that include:
  • A style that encourages active learning experiences
  • A flexible curriculum suited to what each child is ready to learn
  • Projects perfect for the self-paced approach used
  • Group activities and schoolwork


Active Learning Experiences

Most classroom settings involve children learning in a more passive manner. Usually, they are listening while the teacher talks. Student contributions are usually guided by the teacher's approach.

A Montessori classroom involves active discovery that is both self-motivated and hands-on. Because kids take a lead role in discovering the information they're learning, the lessons and activities are more relevant. The overemphasis on testing and memorization that happens in a traditional school is absent from a Montessori setting.


Flexible Curriculum Options

Montessori teachers have more of a coaching or guiding role, as opposed to teaching at an established pace that uses a one-size-fits all approach. Children are able to escape both being left behind by lessons and having lessons they can't keep up with.

In Montessori classrooms, students learn in smaller groups, with lessons guided by the observable needs of the class. The child can learn at his or her pace. Students have both the option of taking as long as they need on a lesson and advancing sooner.


Project-Based Approaches

Because traditional elementary schools focus on benchmarks, many of the lessons are not as intensive as children would prefer. The teachers are also expected to exclusively measure their students' progress. Kids have less involvement in tracking their progress.

In a Montessori setting, students have easy access to hands-on materials. There are also textbooks and other supplemental reading material designed to help increase their understanding of the subject. Children can take a lead in tracking their progress with a form tailored to their individual learning plan.


Group Activities and Schoolwork

Students in a Montessori classroom will perform more of their schoolwork as part of a group than their peers in many traditional school classrooms. Working in groups is the norm, rather than an exception. However, kids can work individually if they prefer, making the experience easily adaptable.

When students are in a Montessori classroom, they learn in a setting that actively encourages learning and caters to individual needs. For many children, this approach is their path to success throughout life.  The Montessori Elementary Program at the Montessori School of Pleasanton is designed for students to work together, being guided by teachers throughout their day and journey of learning as a whole.  Contact us today to schedule a tour and see the Montessori difference first hand.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Which is Right for your Child: Time-Ins or Time-Outs?

Time-out is an approach that has been used for decades, but discipline can be fairly controversial with all of the research and ever-changing attitudes toward child-rearing. If you like some of the ideas behind time-out but want an approach that improves upon the concept, "time-in" might be worth looking into.


Time-Out and Its Flaws

In the classic idea of time-out, children who misbehave are removed from the situation, usually to a corner, a chair, or a "naughty step" to cool down and think about what they've done. Modifications have been made over the years to make time-out more effective, such as the rule of limiting it to one minute per year of the child's age.

But even with those modifications, time-out has its flaws. Instead of giving children time to cool down and reflect upon their mistakes, time-out can make them feel resentful, confused, and abandoned. They may need help understanding what they did wrong, why it was wrong, and what they can do differently next time. Most importantly, they may need help calming down, rather than sitting by themselves and feeling upset.


What Is "Time-In" and How Can It Help?

"Time-in" has developed as an alternative to a disciplinary method that has good intentions, but not always the best practice. Yes, it's important for children to have an opportunity to calm down, understand what they did wrong, and figure out how to do it differently next time. Time-out just doesn't always achieve those things.

Think of time-in as a guided version of time-out. You still want the child to calm down, understand what they did wrong, and realize how to prevent it next time, but with time-in you help the child achieve these goals.
  • Instead of simply banishing the child to a time-out spot, go with them so the two of you can talk.
  • Discuss what happened and why. If the child is younger, you might tell them what was unacceptable and why. An older child might already know this and be able to tell you with some prompting.
  • Talk about how to prevent it next time. This is the most important part, because it promotes better awareness of their behavior, and helps them to understand how to make changes in a way that sitting on a "naughty step" can't do.
  • Determine whether they need additional time to cool down. Again, younger children might not know the signs that they need some time away, whereas older, more experienced kids will be able to tell you. You might choose to sit with them a little longer, or explain to them that they need to do a quiet activity for a little while.


Finding the Right Approach


Every child is different, and what works well for one might not for another. Likewise, as a parent or a caregiver, it's important to use an approach that feels right to you. Whether you choose time-outs, time-ins, or some combination of both, what's most important is that you are raising a happy, well-adjusted child.

At the Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnyside Campus, our teachers and parents work together to determine the best disciplinary approach for your child.  Montessori education involves the teacher guiding the student, which aligns with the idea of time-ins.  Contact us today to schedule a tour and the Montessori method first hand.