Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Value of Make Believe

Children are born with a wild imagination and ability to play make-believe. They can take simple objects around the house and yard and transform them into just about anything they can dream up. Pots and pans become a drum set, furniture can become rocks in a sea of lava, and rugs have magical powers to fly them to anywhere in the world.

As your child learns to control their environment, a game of make believe is a way to expand their surroundings in a safe way. You may frown on their game that involves jumping from the furniture into an imaginary pool of water or their ability to jump from the top of the porch steps onto the grass below but to your child, these are a way to experiment both physically and mentally in a relatively safe way.

Make-believe can also take the form of inventing stories or scenarios. Your child can describe fantastical situations that would never happen in real life - fights with dragons, playdates with princes and princesses, walking on the moon and so much more.


Does Playing Make-Believe Help Your Child Academically?


You might think that rough and tumble games or pretending a large box is a boat floating around your living room are just for fun, but they offer so much more than that. Your child learns through play and exploration. Make-believe games give them the opportunity to develop hand and eye coordination, dexterity, depth of vision, balance, etc. It also stimulates their mind and emotions.


Using Play to Encourage a Love of Learning


You never have to ask your child if they would like to play. It is something that comes naturally to them. They learn as they play. The more they practice the better they get. The Montessori Method capitalizes on this. Each child grasps concepts at a different speed. Some things come easily, others take longer. By encouraging children to explore the world around them and asking them questions, rather than telling them the answer, they will learn intuitively.

Encouraging free thinking and allowing your child to explore and dream gives them the freedom to push the boundaries to escape into a world where anything is possible. It fosters self-confidence and a higher level of independence.

If you would like to learn more about the Montessori Method and how we nurture your child's inquisitive nature through play and exploration, contact the Mission Valley Montessori today to take a tour of our school. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Celebrate Columbus Day with Your Montessori Child

Columbus Day celebrates major European settlements in North America, and is also an interesting time to learn more about the cultures that these explorers first encountered. Your child is likely to enjoy these hands-on activities that celebrate the importance of multiple cultures.


Native American Object Trays


Object trays featuring handmade crafts, dolls and similar objects are a good art project for kids and also help them learn in a more hands-on way. Labeling each item is helpful, and your child might also want to create a written narrative about the objects they have chosen. Some examples of objects to include miniature versions of:
  • Spears
  • Hammocks
  • Open shelters used by the Arawaks
There are many historical drawings and even photos going back to the late 1800's that show what life was once like for these tribes. Contrasting how life was for these tribes before European arrival adds dimension to this activity.


Continent Boxes


Continent boxes help make learning about the world's continents come to life. For boxes about Columbus Day, you will want to focus on individual trays or baskets for Spain, where Columbus sailed from, to the islands of the West Indies, where he landed. Items you might want to include:
  • Maps that plot out Columbus' journey
  • Postcards featuring the islands of the West Indies
  • High-quality photos of museum exhibits that show replicas of the ships used
  • Dolls featuring Spanish costumes of the time or dressed as Arawack Indians
One of the most exciting things that kids enjoy about these boxes is that they are easy to add to at any time. Kids often find that the longer they study a subject, the more they want to know about it. These boxes provide the perfect opportunity for kids to make the learning experience completely their own.


Singing About Columbus


Younger kids are likely to get a lot out of learning about Columbus in song. One of the major advantages of teaching kids fun songs is that they will remember names and dates more easily. Fun songs include:
  • Singing "Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria" to the tune of "Three Little Indians"
  • Singing "Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue" to the tune of "The Ants Go Marching"
  • Hiding pieces from a puzzle of the North American continent and searching for the pieces while singing "Sail, Sail, Sail Your Ship"
These musical activities will help keep everything lively and fun for your kids.

Our Montessori Children's Center in the Bay Area will keep learning exciting for your children. Call us today to schedule your tour and learn about how the Montessori Method incorporates hands-on activities into the learning environment for your child.