Monday, August 31, 2015

What Sets a Good Montessori School Apart?

Perhaps your child is nearly school-aged or your child is already in school and you're considering switching from a traditional classroom to a Montessori program. Regardless, knowing the key components of the Montessori philosophy will help you choose a good preschool.

It is Officially Recognized 

When looking for a quality Montessori school, consider if the school is part of a professional organization, like the American Montessori Society (AMS). The membership level in which the school is able to join is a reflection of how many classes are led by teachers who have earned credentials from a program that has been accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education. If a school is a full member Montessori school, the head teacher in each class has earned these credentials. 
Generally a good Montessori school for children under kindergarten age is licensed by either a local agency or state agency. This license indicates that basic standards have been met, like teacher training, safety, and health. Ask about a potential school's licensing and make sure it's current. 

See the School Firsthand

Before selecting a Montessori preschool, check it out yourself and look for the elements that set a good school apart from the rest. You'll want to look for classrooms that are mixed-age, have a full selection of Montessori materials, and are led by teachers who function as a guide. 

Inside the Class

An efficient classroom should be organized in a manner that encourages the children to be independent, with all items easily accessible. It should be clean and uncluttered, with spaces for the children to work as a group or alone. Rather than desks look for rugs and couches. For older students, you’ll find tables where the students can work together. Also, look for select areas for each part of the school curriculum, such as an area for math, one for art, and so forth. Each area should be clearly defined with appropriate Montessori materials. Nature should also be central in the classroom, such as a display of shells, live plants, or flowers. 

Students

The students in a classroom at a good Montessori school should span three years. Older children should serve as role models for the younger ones, and also assist them, as needed. The children should be able to move about as they wish, talk to other students, and choose which activity they would like to do. Respect of school materials and other students is also central to the Montessori method and should be seen. 

Teachers

Good preschool teachers should be observant and thoughtful, guiding the students to help them learn. An awareness of each student's academic level, interests, and learning style is central to guiding each child through the curriculum. Teachers should move about the classroom and demonstrate respect and kindness.

If you're looking for a good Montessori school, contact us at Montessori School of Pleasanton and schedule a tour to see our school! 

What to Do With All of Your Children’s Artwork?

Most parents start out wanting to keep physical evidence of all their children's preschool activities, but as you'll quickly find, that's not always practical. Here are a few ways you can deal with the surplus of artwork that comes home with your child.
  • Store. Memorable artwork can be stored as keepsakes from preschool activities, for you to enjoy now and eventually to be passed on to your child. Plastic storage containers are perfect for storing artwork, especially anything bulky. Small, flat artwork can be preserved in scrapbooks. Another option is to roll up flat artwork and store in mailing tubes.
  • Digitize. Some artwork you'll want to keep in original, tangible form, but other pieces can be digitized to reduce clutter and storage space. Scan the artwork in and save as a Jpeg file with your other pictures and memories, or check out one of the many apps available to help you digitize and organize your child's artwork. This is a perfect solution for kids who don't like to get rid of anything, and someday your child will appreciate having tangible memories of their many preschool activities.
  • Decorate. Decorating your kid's room with their own artwork will undoubtedly delight them. Frame the really special pieces for a more permanent display, but even the lesser quality pieces can be displayed for a time before going into storage (or even the recycling bin). Teachers often display artwork from preschool activities on the walls of the classroom and hallways at school. You can also make a rotating "art wall" in your child's room by running a clothesline or ribbon across the wall and hanging artwork on it with clothespins or clips.
  • Share. Your child makes enough art during various preschool activities to go around, and there are surely family members and friends who would love to have this surplus shared with them. Choose artwork to send to grandparents, aunts and uncles, and anyone else who would like a keepsake of your child's preschool activities. Better yet, enlist your child to help choose what should be sent to whom, and help them to write a personal note to go with the keepsake.
  • Recycle. Kids don't need to keep memories of all their preschool activities. Sort through their artwork, pulling duplicates and anything that is less significant. If you have a child who is convinced they need to keep everything they make, you might have to wait for them to forget about it and quietly make it disappear. You could also use this as a lesson on recycling and reusing, and enlist your child to help sort through his or her own artwork. Recycle the old artwork or harvest the materials for reusing or upcycling.

Are you looking for a school where your child is challenged to learn, create, and grow with fun and educational preschool activities? Contact us today to schedule a tour of a great Fremont school, and we'll show you how our school and philosophies can make an impact on your child's early education.

Daycare and Its Positive Effects on Children

A good daycare program provides a wonderful opportunity for children and can be beneficial starting at a very young age. However, many parents wonder whether or not it's a good choice and often feel guilt about the idea of having someone else watch their kids. If you're apprehensive about sending your child to daycare, you're not alone. However, the benefits of daycare are numerous and proven. Below are just a few of the positive effects daycare has on children. 

Social Skill Building 

At home, even if children have several siblings, building social skills is still an area for development. The social skills children use with their family is different from the skills required to meet, get to know, and form friendships with children they don't know. Additionally, it’s good for kids to become accustomed . Daycare provides children the opportunity to build social skills in both of those areas, as well as others, and prepares them for a lifetime of positive social interactions. 

Educational Foundation

Another great benefit daycare has to offer your child is the educational foundation they learn while in daycare. Montessori schools are far more than babysitting centers. Daycare ensures your child is learning the building blocks of math, reading, writing, and even cultural studies. These are skills they can use for the rest of their educational career. 

Educational Exploration 

Not only will your children be able to learn the fundamentals necessary to be successful throughout the rest of their educational career, but they'll also learn what matters to them. Montessori schools include the prepared environment, an environment in which children can explore and learn what it is they're interested in, subjects they'd like to pursue, and what they want to know more about. Teachers are there for guidance and to move children up a level when it's time, but the activities and materials are designed in a way that allow children to learn independently. 

Foundation in Independence 

Above all, your child will be able to foster a sense of independence. Most of the materials at Montessori schools are designed to allow children to learn independently, something that puts them ahead of the game for their futures. Leadership skills are fostered, as well, meaning your child learns how to help others, lead, and be good examples for younger children. 


Schedule a tour of Montessori Children's Center for more information about the program, environment, and what Montessori daycare can do for your child.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Preschool: Why is it Important?

The benefits of preschool have been undervalued in the past. Misconceptions about what preschool is and does were once plentiful. But now people are becoming more aware of the benefits of preschool and what it can do for children. The first five years of a child's life are crucial for growth, learning, social awareness, and many other aspects of a child's developmental process. Preschool is an integral part of this process. Below are three benefits of preschool. 

Developing Social Awareness

One of the most important, but often overlooked, aspects of child development is social awareness and interaction. Making friends, knowing how to interact with others, and understanding that teachers have authority are all crucial in order for children to excel in school. However, without preschool some kids struggle with these concepts.

Testing and Teaching Basic Skills 

Counting and learning the alphabet aren't just activities for play; they teach children the basic fundamentals of reading, math, and other skills they'll have to learn and use throughout their educational career. One of the benefits of preschool is learning these skills early. By getting a jump start in preschool, parents can find out if there are any areas of concern (such as possible learning disabilities), and can help their children begin kindergarten preparedness. 

Teaching School Rules 

Among the many benefits of preschool, this one is among the most beneficial as it applies to an educational setting. There may be rules at home, but lining up, listening for the bell, walking through the lunch line, and other similar activities are unique to school. Preschool is a great time for children to learn these rules so they're not overwhelmed on their first day of kindergarten.

The benefits of preschool go far beyond the three listed here. Preschool challenges kids to think, expands their learning capacity, introduces them to new friends, and gets them excited about school. It also helps to aid the transition into a full school day by having limited hours so separation anxiety isn't so traumatic on the first day of kindergarten. 

Considering preschool is an excellent step that parents can take for their children.

If you’d like to learn more about our preschool in Fremont, please contact us today.

Montessori Preschool: What Sets the Standard?

The Montessori preschool is a special environment designed to allow children to learn at their own pace, discover what it is they want to learn about, and obtain social and cultural awareness and skills at the same time. In a traditional classroom, all the children are taught the same lesson at the same time, and they progress in a group. However, the Montessori method sees each child as an individual and understands that every child learns at his or her own pace. 

The Prepared Environment 

One standard of the Montessori preschool is the "prepared environment", a term used to describe the learning environment used at Montessori schools. In this environment, children will learn and work on different things at the same time. One child might be working on multiplication or letter recognition, while another may be learning about cultural music from a particular country. The Montessori preschool teachers will "follow the child", a Montessori phrase used to describe the process of taking the child's lead as far as what he or she wants to learn, and recognizing when that child is ready to move up a level in a certain subject. This environment allows children to learn at their own pace, discover what interests them, and develop skills they will continue to use for the rest of their lives. 

The Leadership Model 

Another defining feature of the Montessori preschool is its emphasis on leadership. Dr. Maria Montessori devised a learning environment in which older children tutor and help younger children while younger children model successful behaviors of older children. This helps both the younger and older child and helps each become more self-reliant and compassionate members of society. 

Montessori Materials 

The Montessori preschool is full of specific materials designed for the Montessori program, including beaded cubes that can be manipulated and are scaled appropriately so that the hundreds cube is ten times larger than the tens rod, and so on. This provides the child with a foundation for future math lessons while learning the physical implications of math in the real world. 

Your child is unique and deserves to follow the path on which he or she learns best. This will help your child flourish. A Montessori preschool is designed to provide enough guidance to ensure education and safety, but enough freedom to allow your child to become the person he or she was born to be. 


If you’d like to learn more about our preschool program, contact the Montessori Children’s Center in Fremont today.