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.

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.