Saturday, January 6, 2018

Keeping your Child Healthy during the Cold Weather Season

Staying healthy during the cold weather season may require small changes to your daily routine. At this time of year, paying close attention to your child’s individual needs will help keep your elementary age student happy and healthy.

Keeping Your Child Healthy in Colder Weather
Colder weather brings lots of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Keeping your elementary student healthy during this time may require some extra effort.

1. Staying Warm
Children lose body heat faster than adults. Keeping your child warm and comfortable is necessary to avoid frostbite or hypothermia. When your child is outdoors, monitor the time. Colder weather may require you to shorten outdoor times. Or you may need to drive your child to school to avoid waiting outdoors for a bus, for example.

Layer clothing items with appropriate-sized coats, hats, gloves, and boots to help keep your child healthy. Keep a close watch on the temperature schedule for the day or week. Changing temperatures may necessitate different clothing choices. For example, frigid temperatures may require extra sweaters or sweatshirts to help ward off the cold.

2. Getting Enough Rest
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, elementary age children should get 9 to 12 hours of sleep. Getting enough rest helps your child stay healthy. Setting a regular bedtime pattern sounds easy, but busy schedules often get in the way of a good night's sleep.

3. Eating Healthy
Eating healthy meals and snacks provides the proper nutrition to fight off germs.
  • Encourage healthy lunch or snack choices at school.
  • Minimize fast food or takeout meals.
  • Prepare well-balanced meals with food items from the recommended food groups.
Along with proper meals, staying hydrated is necessary to stay healthy during the cold season. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water, milk, or juice throughout the day. Avoid sugary drinks or sodas with little nutritional value. Building up your child’s immune system is critical for fighting off infections.

4. Encourage Hand Washing
Sitting next to a sick classmate increases your child’s risk of being exposed to germs, viruses, and other bacteria. Practicing proper hand washing techniques decreases the chance of getting ill. Washing hands should occur:
  • Prior to eating meals or snacks
  • After using a restroom
  • After sneezing, coughing, or wiping one's nose

5. Regular Checkups
Make and keep regular doctor appointments. Seeing a doctor provides you a chance to learn about any health issues you may not notice. During the visit, you can address any of your concerns regarding your child’s well-being. Do not hesitate to ask your doctor if your child needs vitamins or other nutritional supplements to help stay healthy during the colder weather.

As a parent or guardian, you know your child better than anyone. Keeping track of your elementary student's daily needs will help you focus on specific areas. Getting plenty of sleep, eating properly, and avoiding the spread of germs will help increase the chances of your child staying healthy during the cold season.  At the Montessori School of Pleasanton, we care about your elementary child as a whole, including their health.  Contact us today to schedule a tour and meet with our elementary teachers and staff.

Teaching your Toddler Manners

How you can Teach Your Young Child Manners

At a young age, your child will strive to do what he or she feels is the right thing. Maria Montessori firmly believed all young children have a sense of dignity instilled in them which guides them into pleasing the adults around them and behaving in proper manners. There are techniques you should follow to help your child know what is considered proper manners. Montessori has set some guidelines for you that will enable you to teach your young child at home what is regarded as appropriate toddler manners.

Opportunities to Practice Manners

Role-playing is an excellent way for you to show your child manners. Greeting others can often be a difficult action for toddlers, and by role-playing, you can show them good ways to meet others. Pretend you've met a friend at the store and go over how he or she can say 'hello' nicely.

Repeat Lessons that are Difficult

If your child has a difficult time greeting others, don't push them. Repeat lessons whenever they appear to make your toddler feel uncomfortable. They will find their way and time on how to greet respectably as long as you continue to demonstrate proper etiquette yourself.

Lessons on Specific Manners

If you've decided to teach your toddler about manners, you should approach each lesson separately. Learning how to greet others, expressing thanks, or when not to interrupt, for example, should all be separate lessons. If you've decided to use the role-playing method, you should only go through one of the manners at each play time.

Be Specific with your Praise

After your child nicely greets another, be specific with your praise and let them know how happy it has made you. Tell them, "I am so happy with how nicely you said hello to Mr. Johnson." It is an excellent idea to reinforce their good behavior by stating precisely what they've done and how it has made you feel. Acknowledge that it was a friendly greeting and let your child know how it pleased you when they spoke so nice.

Do Not Criticize

Do not criticize your child if you feel they've not greeted another properly. Embarrassing them in public or in front of others will not teach them proper etiquette techniques. If you think they are acting incorrectly with purpose, a gentle reminder on how to greet would be appropriate, but criticizing, especially in public, is never advised.

Practical Life Activities

Practical life activities help your child develop order, coordination, independence, and concentration. By implementing these activities with your child, you will provide them with graceful movements and the inner discipline needed to conquer proper etiquette skills and manners.

Your child needs to feel secure and loved and in return will learn how to use self-control and good manners. Children learn what they know from those around them. Know that how you conduct yourself and use good manners will be mirrored by your child.  The teachers and staff at the Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnyside Campus understand the important role they play in leading and guiding students through their daily lives, both inside and outside of the classroom.  Contact us today to schedule a tour!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Strategies to help your Elementary Child Focus

Everyone can get sidetracked now and then, but children, especially the younger ones, also have short attention spans. In order to help your child focus on the projects at hand, try out some of these tips to help put those projects into perspective, making them easier to pay attention to. Not only will these tips help your children focus better, they may assist you in your daily routines as well.

Minimize Distractions

It is far too easy to get caught up in the moment and lose yourself in more enjoyable functions. One of the best ways to have more focus is to reduce the number of distractions. For elementary children, this means more than just technology, too. It also means creating a quiet environment that allows greater concentration, with all the materials necessary close at hand. With less stuff getting in the way of making progress, it will be easier to get each job completed.

One Goal at a Time

Multitasking is great, but it is much easier to focus on a single thing at a time. Teach children to tackle one task and complete it before moving on to other projects. Similarly, break large projects down into smaller parts. This allows the child to put more concentration into the job at hand, in addition to giving them a sense of accomplishment each time another portion of the project reaches its conclusion.

Take Breaks

There is no shame in needing to take a break. Encourage children to take a short break every so often, so they can get their thoughts organized. The key is that a break is just that - an interval between bursts of concentration - rather than an invitation to put the project aside and move on to other activities. The timing for breaks should correspond to the attention span of the child, which means more frequent, short breaks for the smaller children and longer periods spaced farther apart for older kids. Taking breaks may be especially helpful for special needs children, such as those with attention deficit conditions.

Communicate About Pending Tasks

A lack of focus and enthusiasm may have underlying causes which need to be addressed. If you notice your child having more difficulty concentrating than usual, it could be because something else is on their mind. Communicating with your child is more than a good way to help them clear their mind, talking out potential problems is a great way to build confidence and a sense of importance for children.

A cornerstone of Montessori learning is making the educational process more enjoyable, and parents can adopt this approach at home. Turning a project that seems to be moving slowly into a more exciting prospect will help children find more energy and interest in the subject. Look for ways to combine exciting activities with the lessons at hand, and show your children that you are excited by the progress they make.  

Elementary students at the Montessori School of Pleasanton are taught these strategies and more to help them focus on different projects throughout the learning cycle.  If you are looking for ways to help your child focus, consider enrolling them in a Montessori school, where teachers are able to provide a more individual approach.  Contact us today to schedule a tour!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Preschoolers Learning about Calendars - days, weeks, months - oh my!

The preschool years are a great time for kids to start learning about the calendar. Many parents have wondered how teaching preschoolers about the calendar impacts their learning. The good thing to know is that your preschooler will benefit from opportunities to learn more about days, weeks, and months.

How to Introduce Calendar Time
One way to introduce calendar time into your child's routine is to make a calendar, either using poster board or felt or wood for greater durability. Asking your child questions about what day of the week it is, was yesterday or will be tomorrow is a great way to generate interest in the days.

Going With an Interactive Option
Instead of focusing on individual weekdays, you might prefer to use a calendar that focuses on the numerical dates. This is an interesting way to help spark your child's interest in numbers and make sure they recognize them easily. This method is a fun way for your child to learn to count down the days til their birthday or a holiday.

Take Advantage of Dry Erase Options
A dry erase board is a fun way to make a calendar that is fully customizable. Your child will enjoy filling in the squares with activities they're looking forward to for that day. Don't be surprised if he or she takes the initiative and starts filling in the calendar out of their own initiative.

Use the Calendar for a Matching Game
This option works best if you have the calendar filled out and have index cards with matching numbers handy. The object will be to have your child match the card numbers with the numbers on the calendar. Your child will be able to identify and match the numbers with total ease after a few tries.

Use Pictures for Greater Impact
Drawing pictures inside the calendar boxes helps put activities into the proper perspective. For example, pictures of pizza and ice cream can help remind kids that going out for these treats is part of the day's fun. Drawing a house with the name of one of your child's friends next to it can be a playdate reminder.

Even though specific days may be a vague concept for preschoolers, using a calendar will make it easier for them to put everything into perspective. Your preschooler will look forward to fun events in his or her life and learn from their anticipation.  Using an interactive approach to teach your child falls right in line with the Montessori Method that our teachers use at the Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnyside Campus.  Contact us today to schedule a tour and see how incorporate interactive and hands-on learning into our daily curriculum.

Creative Preschool Holiday Party Food Ideas

The holidays have officially begun, and that means it's time to start passing around the snack plate. So if you have a party for your preschooler coming up, here are some fun and creative ways to celebrate with festive food and snacks.

No. 1 - Snowman Juice Boxes

If you're looking for something simple, fun, and creative – these snowman juice boxes are perfect for you.
Here's what you'll need:
  • Juice Boxes
  • Thick Construction Paper
  • Sharpie
  • Buttons
  • Glue Gun
  • Ribbon for Scarf
Once each juice box is dressed up for the occasion, simply pack them up and enjoy watching all the happy faces once you reveal them to the party.

No. 2 - Rice Krispie Christmas Trees

Turning Rice Krispie treats into Christmas trees is the perfect snack to bring to your preschooler's party. And best of all, they are easy and fun to make with your kids who will love adding the frosting for garland and candy for ornaments.
Here's what you'll need:
  • Rice Krispies Cereal
  • Butter
  • Marshmallows
  • Green Food Coloring
  • Miniature Reese’s Cups
  • M&M Minis
  • Candy Stars
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Milk
  • Corn Syrup
For a full tutorial on how to make these Rice Krispie Christmas tree snacks, click here.

No. 3 – String Cheese Snowman

For something super fast but still festive, try making these cute string cheese snowmen with just the supplies you have laying around the house.
Simply draw on the snowman's face and buttons with a sharpie, use a small piece of ribbon for the scarf and then some black scrap paper for the hat. And because it's such an easy holiday snack, your kids can join in on the fun when creating them!

No. 4 – Snowflake Oreo Cookies

Who doesn't love Oreo cookies? But when you add sparkling white snowflakes on them with a blue background, these ordinary cookies turn into something extraordinary - with little effort on your part.
To make this yummy holiday snack, you'll need:
  • Oreo cookies
  • White chocolate
  • Edible white pearls
  • Sparkling sugar
  • Marshmallow fondant
  • Corn syrup
  • Paintbrush
  • Circle cutter
For a full set of instructions on how to create these snowflake Oreo cookies, click here.

No. 5 – Fruit Grinch Kabobs

If you want to bring a healthier snack to your preschooler's holiday party without being boring, try making these colorful fruit Grinch kabobs.
Just round up the following ingredients and shape them into the adorable Grinch kabobs you see here.
  • Green Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Toothpicks

The truth is, you don't have to spend a ton of time or money to create fun and festive snacks for your preschooler's party. The holiday snacks on this list are quick and easy, but they're still sure to bring a smile to everyone's face.  The teachers and staff at Montessori Children's House encourage parents to work with their students in creative activities outside the classroom, including being creative with food!  Schedule a tour of our Montessori classrooms before the winter break! 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Fun Map Activities to teach your Preschooler about Basic Geography

Geography is a challenging subject for many school-age children, and part of it may be not being taught enough of it at an earlier age. Perhaps because so many adults find geography difficult and unexciting, they're unlikely to find fun ways to teach it to younger children.

Here are a few ideas for making geography memorable for your preschooler, not to mention fun for both of you!
  • Puzzles: There are many geography puzzles that make geography easier and more fun to learn. For instance, you could get a floor puzzle of the United States to help kids learn where all the states are, or even a map of the world to help teach the locations of major countries and give your child a sense of scale of the world we live in.
  • Geography Bingo: Make or buy Bingo boards with states, countries, rivers, mountain ranges, or other features. For younger kids, you can randomly call out the names on their boards, or even make their boards the pictures or shapes of the states instead of the names. For older or more proficient kids, you can make it more challenging by making it into a memory game. For instance, you could call out the capitals, and they would have to choose the corresponding states on their board.
  • Geography Twister: Get an old flat sheet at a thrift store or repurpose one from your own closet for this fun game. Using a permanent marker, draw a map of the US or the world on the sheet. Your preschooler will love to help by coloring in or painting the states or countries. Also make a deck of cards with the names of states or countries on them. Shuffle and draw the cards one at a time to tell your kids where to put each hand or foot.
  • Hopscotch: Grab some sidewalk chalk and head outside to play this fun game! Draw a simple map of the United States, the continents, or whatever other geography you want to teach. When your child plays hopscotch on the map, they have to name each state they hop in.

Learning geography doesn't have to be either boring or difficult. These fun games will help your child better remember basic geography such as the US states, European countries, or continents. At the Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnyside Campus, our teachers incorporate hands-on and interactive learning techniques throughout the subject areas, including geography.  To find out more about how our Montessori program works, contact us today to tour our school.

What to Expect: Parent-Teacher Conferences at a Montessori School

Most Montessori schools hold periodic parent-teacher conferences, under one name or another. Each conference is a short, personal dialogue between parents and classroom staff, aimed at improving the performance of the children, or working out a plan to incorporate the home environment into the Montessori method. Neither you nor your children are on trial, and the meeting should not be thought of as any sort of mark against your kids. The idea is to keep you informed and in the loop.

You’re On The Same Team

Before you even head out the door for your first parent-teacher conference, remind yourself that you and the classroom staff are both interested in the best outcome for your children. Before you become defensive, take a moment to hear out the instructor and consider what they are trying to say. Having a united front between the parents and teachers provides children with an example that education is an enjoyable part of life.

Communicate and Inquire

The student guide, as teachers may be referred to, is going to spend around 15 minutes or so with each parent. During that time, the goal is to communicate to you any strategies being looked at to assist your child, and you have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have in a formalized setting. Keep in mind that your children are the focus of the meeting, and prepare yourself accordingly.

The Montessori Environment

If the meeting is held inside your child’s classroom, the teacher probably had to bring in a piece or two of adult-sized furniture. You will notice that most of the room is designed around the perspective of a child. The idea of meeting in a child-centered classroom is to allow parents to experience the way the room is designed around the children’s activities rather being built to adult scale with a few child-sized items. Feel free to ask about any of the items in the class, and how they can be used to teach various lessons.

Your Child’s Strengths and Challenges

The Montessori method is a total life-skills approach to education. During your conference, the teacher will talk with you about the perceived strengths your child has exhibited, and discuss challenges that may need to be addressed. The subject of the conversation may include many different topics, including your child’s behavior, dietary concerns, areas of special achievement, and more. This is a good time to share insights, and ask pertinent questions.

Parent-teacher conferences help you establish a direct involvement in your children’s education. They are a good time to talk about any worries or joyous occasions related to Montessori method. The idea is to keep parents and teachers on the same page, and lay the groundwork for future educational strategies.  To schedule an introductory meeting and get a better understanding of the Montessori method as a whole, contact the Montessori School of Pleasanton today.