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!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Self Esteem and Your Toddler: How to Instill Confidence from an Early Age

Children begin to build on an awareness of “self” from the moment they are born. Enabling a child to feel confident and successful will stick with them for as long as they live. In a million little ways, parents and teachers can foster self-esteem in toddlers, and help them become productive students and successful adults.


Avoid Comparisons

Every child is different, and rightly so. One child may immediately grasp a complex concept while another struggles with it for longer periods. For the teacher, trying to match developmental milestones with specific individuals is far more important than attempting to impose those milestones on all children equally.


Children Imitate Authority

Parents and instructors are vital to a child’s self-esteem. When a parent shows an interest in the projects or playtime fun of a child, it encourages them to do more. In contrast, a child that is told how their time is not being used wisely is more likely to be insecure and introverted. For those in a position of authority over a child, encouraging that child to shine is one of the best gifts that can be given.


Confidence and Motivation

If a child believes that they can accomplish a goal, they are more likely to actually do so. Little encouragements, even something as simple as saying, “You can do it!,” give a toddler the confidence to try. And when that child has tried, confirming their attempt, whether it was successful or not, is critical in building self-esteem and future attempts at the same or other goals. If a child believes they can, they will, and the opposite is also true.


Confidence and STEM

It is never too early for a child to begin learning about science, technology, math and engineering (STEM). A common problem in American education education is that children, especially girls, are taught that “math is hard.” In reality, the only real barrier comes from a falsely reinforced inability. Instead of reinforcing the misconception that math or science are too hard, spend more time encouraging those subjects as fun ways to understand the world and tools for accomplishing goals.


Build on Uniqueness

Every child can learn to play the piano, but there has only been one Beethoven. Helping children focus on the things they have a natural ability for will instill confidence. Trying to force them to become something they are not will cause them to lose faith in their ability to grow and learn. Recognizing the differences in aptitude and focusing on building those strengths is a large part of Montessori education, and should be practiced at home as well.


Children do not start out with insecurities, they learn them from people in positions of authority, and adopt them as facts of life. The best way to teach a toddler confidence is to offer praise and encouragement every time an opportunity presents itself, both at home and in the classroom.  The Montessori Method encourages and supports children to learn through self exploration at their own pace.  The teachers at Montessori Childrens House work with children from an early age, teaching them to be confident in who they are as individuals. Contact us today to schedule a tour.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Apps for your Toddler: Fun and Age Appropriate

When choosing an app for your toddler, you need to keep in mind how they learn at this age. Choose ones that focus on open-ended play and exploration. Extend your toddler's knowledge through digital media that helps them grow by learning about matters that relate to real life. Playing with your child through these apps will increase their desire to learn and make an enjoyable time for both of you.


Fun and Age Appropriate Apps for your Toddler

Computer time doesn't have to be a waste of time. Many worry our young are spending too much time with computers; however, many educational apps are fun while helping your toddler to learn. A great feature with the educational apps is they are often free, so you don't have to worry about spending a lot of money. If you are not sure which apps are appropriate and fun, check out our list to help you choose.


Baby's Musical Hands

Baby's Musical Hands is designed for toddlers two years of age and older. This app is a music-making app designed to be navigated easily by your toddler. Your child will love the musical sounds and the colorful starbursts that display each time they touch the screen. There are 15 squares producing piano, guitar, and percussion sounds with the iPad version. The iPhone and iPod Touch will provide your child with ten instruments as these versions exclude the percussion sounds.


Busy Shapes

Busy Shapes is an exploring-to-learn activity based on a theory of cognitive development. It will give your child a digital playground to explore with many features that will make it easy for even young users to navigate. It uses artificial intelligence, so your toddler will continue to be challenged and will keep a record for you to check on the concepts they've explored. This app is designed to teach how objects relate to one another and their impact on each other versus a name learning activity.


One Touch Reveal

The One Touch Reveal App is designed for your preschooler as an educational tool to teach them words and concepts all in a fun learning environment. Your child will be able to practice and learn about time, shapes, and have two different games to play. The material in this app will keep your child busy for hours. It is loaded with educational value with a touch of fun to make learning exciting for your toddler.


Montessori Approach to Technology and Apps

Montessori's approach to teaching is the philosophy that young children's education should be aimed at recreating their natural observations. It is believed they should be encouraged to self-direct their learning experiences, so developers are using this aspect by creating apps for toddlers to use both in and out of the classroom.


These apps and others are excellent educational tools that will give your child a wealth of information as they practice and learn their shapes, numbers, colors, and more. These apps are both fun and appropriate to make learning enjoyable.  While the Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnyside Campus focuses on teaching the child through hands-on learning, they encourage parents to incorporate a variety of learning tools, such as apps, into their child's at-home environment.  Contact us today to see how the Montessori method encourages children to learn through various forms of exploration.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Appropriate, Interactive, and Educational Websites for Preschoolers

Kids all want one thing from their educational experiences, and that is to have fun while learning. When you present your preschooler with an interactive exercise, you'll be able to capture their curious mind and help them learn with enjoyment. These are appropriate and interactive websites your preschooler will enjoy that have educational value.


Educational Websites for Preschoolers that are Appropriate and Interactive

Many worry about children having too much access to computers. When the time is limited and spent on material with an educational purpose, computer time can be beneficial. Choosing a website with high educational content that is both age appropriate and interactive is often offered for free or a small subscription fee. These are some that you and your preschooler can interact with to make learning fun for both of you.


National Geographic for Kids

National Geographic for Kids has the answer to all those questions your preschooler has about animals. On this website, you and your child can watch videos, learn about nature and the animal world, and play games. This site will increase your child's knowledge about their world.


Agnitus.com

Agnitus.com is designed for use on a tablet or other touch-screen device. This website gives your child an actual learning experience as it asks them to "touch" objects. Your child will be invited to trace numbers and letters, learn about colors, consonants, and explore size relationships. There is a reading section included to expand your child's reading interests. Agnitus.com offers a free trial for you to explore its benefits.


PBS Kids

If you remember characters from your early years such as Elmo, Curious George, and others who appeared on PBS TV, you'll appreciate how your preschooler can now interact with these same friends online. A great feature on this website is how you can customize flashcards to your child's age and interest area. Pull down menus make it easy for you to select which subjects you want to explore with your child and includes fun activities you can complete anytime and anywhere.


ABCmouse.com

ABCmouse.com is an ideal site for children 2 to 7 years of age. This website is one of the most comprehensive learning sites on the web today. You and your preschooler can listen to books, music, color, and play games. It will even allow you to keep track of your child's progress. There is a free month trial after which you pay less than $8 a month to continue.


Montessori Schools and the Internet


Montessori School of Pleasanton teaches the student as a whole.  While the Montessori Method focuses on hands-on and interactive learning, we still believe that technology, and specifically, the internet can be used in a educational way.  Websites are are age appropriate, interactive, and educational, such as PBS Kids and ABC Mouse, are great supplements to a student's classroom learning.  Contact us today to schedule a visit in our Montessori classrooms.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Science Activities for Elementary Students

Presented in the correct perspective, science is a fun and entertaining subject. It also gives instructors the opportunity to get the students involved, inside the classroom as well as at home or in the great outdoors. Montessori learning is well-suited for science activities that give your child a hands-on, exciting look at science and how it affects our everyday lives.


Biology: Frogs and Butterflies

Life is a fragile thing, both beautiful and sometimes tragic as it begins. Classroom activities could include an aquarium of tadpoles maturing into frogs (and transitioning from aquatic creatures to land-based organisms), or a collection of butterfly, moth, and other insect larvae that matures into majestic flying creatures. Introducing the early stages of life makes a great starting point for deeper investigations into life and the world around us.


Climate: Linking Weather and Biology

The success of every living thing depends on its ability to adapt to the surroundings in which it lives. A classic activity uses sealed containers with frogs or insects and the presence or absence of living plants to demonstrate the importance of oxygen. The converse is true as well, so plants require a steady supply of carbon dioxide. From there, students can experiment with variables such as heat, light, and the availability of water - factors that can be easily tested using mushrooms, bread mold, or ordinary pond water.


Learning the States of Matter

Three of the four states of matter can be easily demonstrated in the classroom using only water, a beaker, and fire. Start with ice cubes for the solid state, then allow it to melt into a liquid state. Once the ice cubes have completely melted, transform the water into a gas by applying heat. To demonstrate the plasma state of matter, the fire used to heat the water is a great example of plasma, which can only exist under constant conditions of energy transfer. Fluorescent and neon lights are other examples of this elusive state of matter.


The Joys of Chemical and Elemental Magic

Learning about the basic states of matter allows a transition into the atoms, molecules, and elements that comprise them. While the science is very complex, it is easy to experiment with the basic concepts. Household chemicals and other ingredients can be used to demonstrate many facets of chemical and elemental reactions and interactions, including such ideas as:


·        Specific gravity (solids and oils in water)
·        Natural separation of fluids (oil, water, and alcohol)
·        Sedimentary properties (sand and water)
·        Chemical reactions (vinegar and baking soda)
·        Erosion (dripping fluids on soft clay)


Maximizing Montessori Method


Keeping children immersed and active is a basic tenet of the Montessori Method. The field of science is an ideal subject because indoor and outdoor activities can show real-world examples of how science affects our lives, right down to explaining how the environment is impacted by the things we do.  The Montessori School of Flagstaff Switzer Mesa Campus teaches students ages 6-12 the importance of learning science, especially in today's society. Starting students off with a solid foundation using the activities above will only help our students as they continue throughout their education and adult lives.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Why Reading with your Child at Home is Important

Reading is a crucial part of our daily lives. Our language permeates everything we do with written signs, notices, and, perhaps most importantly, literacy introduces the method by which knowledge can be transferred from one person to another. In order to give your child the best start on education, the importance of reading to them cannot be overstated. One of the worst mistakes, where education is concerned, is to leave your child’s education entirely up to people outside the home.


Building Vocabulary and Pronunciation

Reading builds vocabulary. The average 3 year old has a vocabulary of around 300 words, but reading to them at home can increase this number dramatically. Additionally, reading to your child teaches them to pronounce words correctly and introduces them to the rules of the language. Once the rules of the language have been learned, the sky's the limit when it comes to what your child can learn.


Establishing a Knowledge Base

We use the written language as a method of storing information. Reading to your child encourages them to want to read as well. In this way, reading aloud to your child teaches them the importance of language as a tool for communication, and gives them the tools to learn about anything that interests them.


Imagination and Creativity

Reading to children teaches them to be imaginative and creative. Picture books encourage kids to think about what is going on behind the scenes or to anticipate what is about to happen. This leads to both critical thinking skills and the ability to know reality from fantasy. Reading to your kids and discussing the words being read instills the power of language and helps them use it to their advantage.


Literacy and Education

Books are the most common method of imparting knowledge on young minds. Teaching them that reading is the key to knowing why the sky is blue or learning about the ingredients in ice cream empowers children to find out more about their world. Just as importantly, most of your children’s education will be spent learning from books, so giving them a headstart on the written language is equivalent to helping them do well on every knowledge test they ever take.


Reading Encourages Writing


Reading to your child encourages them to enjoy a good story. Enjoying a good story leads to wanting to share their own experiences. And since the written language can be used for sharing information, the eventual outcome is a child who is better able to express themselves in a manner that can be passed from one person to another.

Day Star Montessori incorporates reading from the beginning of a child's enrollment at the school.  While it is mostly teacher led, children are able to hear adults reading to them, learning about vocabulary and different story types. Once they learn to read on their own, they are able to think creatively and use their skills from reading in all facets of their education and beyond.  In the Montessori environment, as students learn through peer interaction, they can be taught additional reading skills by their fellow students and families at home.  Contact us today to see how reading is incorporated into the Montessori curriculum.