Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Fine Motor Skills Develop Strong Foundation for Handwriting

Written language is extremely important throughout life and has enabled the preservation of historical information as well as personal letters and stories. Handwriting involves an expression of thoughts combined with the manual dexterity of hands forming the letters. Enforcing these concepts as early as preschool can create a good foundation for your child.

A child learns how to express thoughts using graphic symbols. That is where the Sandpaper Letters and the Moveable Alphabet come in. In a Montessori setting, a child is introduced to the sounds of the letters of the alphabet before learning the actual names of the letters.

Sandpaper Letters

The Sandpaper Letters are letters of the alphabet cut out of very fine sandpaper and then placed on boards or cards. The child uses their finger to trace the letters. The sandpaper helps them feel the letter as they are forming it. At the same time they learn the sounds and learn how to use the letters in words.

Moveable Alphabet

Like the sandpaper letters, the Moveable Alphabet normally consists of vowels in blue and consonants in pink or red. However, these letters are cut out of cardboard or plastic and stored in a portable box. First the child learns the sound of each letter as he or she lays them out and then is taught to put the letters into meaningful words. That gradually progresses from single words to phrases, actual sentences and eventually into short stories, which is the beginning of creative writing.

The child learns how to correctly hold a pencil, make different strokes with pencil pressure, and make the hand ready for handwriting. The movement of making the letters is fascinating to the child, and learning to handwrite is a Montessori allows children to experience intellectual and creative growth and be able to learn and work at their own speed and capabilities in an atmosphere that is non-competitive.

The teachers are specially trained to offer lessons and activities according to the readiness of each child, and the teaching materials are unique as the child learns to be self-motivating.  


Come experience what Montessori has to offer by taking a tour with us today. At our preschool and kindergarten in Pleasanton you will fine the Sandpaper Letters, the Moveable Alphabet and many other Montessori-specific teaching tools to help your child learn and thrive.

Transitioning from Preschool to Kindergarten

Transitioning from preschool to kindergarten can be at once exciting and daunting for both you and your child. However knowing what to expect can help both of you ease into kindergarten gracefully. Here’s a look at what is expected in kindergarten, as well as changes you can prepare for:

What is Expected in Kindergarten

  • Your child will learn about letters and numbers, including how to do simple subtraction and addition, simple wording, and writing basics.
  • Expect your child to start using an array of worksheets, games and workbooks with a flurry of activities to get them engaged in their new learning experiences.
  • Your child will start tracing numbers and count up to 20.
  • Kindergarteners will learn how to write using the uppercase alphabet.
  • Your child will also be expected to grasp ending sounds and vowels.
  • Children will now be taught how to decipher various sight words.
  • Categorization is also learned here. You can assist your child with this learning activity by helping them categorize different objects in your home environment.
  • Your child will also be expected to gain insight via workbooks pertaining to life skills and social studies.

New in Kindergarten

  • The length of your child’s day and their starting time may change. Kindergarten tends to start earlier than preschool and their individual days may lengthen. Sometimes kids go to preschool for just 2-3 hours a day whereas kindergarteners go for 3-4 hours a day or even full days.
  • Your child will now be learning how to read so this would be a great time to get him his first library card. Being able to check out books in his own name and choose the books he wants to borrow will boost their early reading skills.
  • Kindergarten fosters more independence. Children in kindergarten are expected to do homework, turn assignments in at certain times and be responsible for their own desk.
The Montessori School in Newark, comprises a “prepared environment” where your child will become a proactive learner.

If you’re considering enrolling your child at a Montessori school, always ensure that it’s an authentic one. Our school, The Montessori School of Newark is authentic with accreditation from the Association Montessori International (AMI.) Contact us at your earliest convenience to schedule a tour so you can learn more. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

How to Prepare My Daughter for Kindergarten if She is Shy

Shyness is often seen as a negative trait, but it has its benefits. Most shy children grow up to be sensitive, problem solving adults. All they need is assurance and a great deal of time and patience until they feel comfortable to strike out on their own. Parents can be the key to helping a shy child succeed in school.  You need to accept them as they are and exhibit understanding when they are hesitant in new situations.

Kindergarten is a great equalizer in overcoming shyness. For the most part, all of the children are new to the school and don’t know each other. Some 5 year olds will be the first to volunteer for anything while others are just as likely to hold back and sit quietly by themselves.

How can you help your shy child succeed in kindergarten? If possible, visit as many different types of schools in your area. Find a school where your child feels most comfortable. Talk to the teachers or principal and be honest. Tell them your concerns about your child’s reticence and ask how they can help alleviate his/her nervousness about attending school.

After you have chosen a school, take a tour with your child so that they can become more familiar with their new surroundings. If possible, visit the kindergarten classroom and talk to the teachers. Practice the school routines during the summer. Know where to line up, what types of equipment are available for use and the route to the classroom. These things can help your child overcome some of their anxiety.

In a Montessori school you can find mixed age groups in one classroom. Older children help guide younger children. As a kindergartner, you daughter might draw wisdom from first graders while also sharing their knowledge with preschoolers. Both interactions have their benefits. Learning from another child can be less intimidating for a shy child. Having the opportunity to share with a younger child the things she has learned can be an empowering confidence builder.




At a school like Day Star Montessori in Milpitas, CA they take the time to get to really know your child, help relieve their anxieties and determine the level of guidance they need in this new situation. Set up a tour and see for yourself.

Infant Care Options

Welcoming a new baby to your family is an exciting time. If both parents will continue to work after the baby is born, you will be faced with the challenge of finding an infant care option that is safe, developmentally appropriate for the child, and fits within your budget. Trusting someone to take care of your baby is a huge leap of faith and trust.
Here are some infant care options available to you:
  • Home Care – With this option, a relative or a nanny comes to your home to care for your baby. One major advantage of this infant care option is that your child gets a one-on-one care in a familiar environment. If the care is given by a relative it is usually very affordable compared to a nanny. You may also decide to host a nanny-share. In this case, a nanny takes care or your baby and another infant at your house. This helps to reduce your family’s cost for the nanny.
  • Family day care - This is also referred to as home center. It is a popular program especially for parents with very young children. A caregiver may look after 2-6 children of different ages in her house with the help of another adult. This infant care option offers your infant care in a home setting that just isn’t your house. A good family daycare will also have written policies so everyone understands and follows the rules. Home daycares should be licensed.
  • Day care center - This is a more professional operation. Day care centers must be licensed and meet various government regulations and safety standards. Day care centers have professional staffs and they accept infants as young as six weeks old. There are many benefits in using day care centers. For instance, these programs are well staffed and they have curriculums aimed at fostering self-confidence, developing motor and social skill and bolstering intellectual development.

In order to access the best care option for convenience and development of your child in terms of confidence, respect and independence, make an appointment today to schedule a tour with Montessori Children's Center in Fremont.