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.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

How to Make a Butterfly Habitat

Hatching butterflies is a wonderful science project that teaches kids about life cycles, as well as other skills such as research and responsibility. If you are interested in trying this with your child, here are a few tips to help you pull it off smoothly.

Planning for Your Butterflies

Researching and planning is a fun and important part of this learning experience, so be sure to use it to engage your child. Together you can research what butterflies are native to your area and where you can order them in the caterpillar stage. Be sure to also find out what they like to eat in each stage. You don't want to offer your guests the wrong food!

Building the Habitat

Mesh butterfly habitats are available for purchase, most of which are built with wire so that you can collapse them to save space when the project is over. If you want to involve your child with every step of the process, though, you might choose instead to build the habitat together.

Use a piece of plywood for the base. A frame for a simple cover can be built from slim pieces of wood. Others choose to make a teepee-shaped frame so that it can be collapsed once the project is over. Just make sure you make the frame big enough so that the butterflies have enough space! Use a staple gun to cover the frame in nylon mesh, keeping it snug so that there are no gaps where butterflies could escape and to allow you to see easily into the habitat. The cover can be lifted to allow you into the enclosure, or you can fashion an access panel that can be opened and closed to avoid disturbing any chrysalises attached to the side.

Preparing the Habitat for Butterflies

Prepare the habitat for your caterpillars by scattering twigs and leaves over the bottom. Be sure to include an upside-down lid with a little water in it, and spray the enclosure with a mist periodically. Before the caterpillars go into the chrysalis stage, they will need food, so be sure to research what leaves and grasses your caterpillars may prefer. About 10 days after they go into their chrysalises, just before they hatch, you can add an-upside down lid of sugar water, some fresh local flowers, and a few pieces of fruit to the enclosure for the butterflies.

Releasing the Butterflies

Once your child has enjoyed the butterflies for a couple of days, it's time to release them into the garden to let them breed and lay their eggs. If this project is planned enough in advance, you can be sure to have some tempting plants waiting for them in your garden.

Cultivating a Love of Learning

Engaging kids in fun, comprehensive projects such as researching and hatching butterflies, is a great way to inspire their interest in science and nature. Montessori education incorporates hands-on, self-directed learning into every lesson.  This allows students to engage with the subject being taught through an interactive activity.  For more information about the kinds of projects we do in our classrooms, schedule a tour of Mission Valley Montessori today.

Monday, March 13, 2017

STEM Activities for Middle School Children

Science, technology, engineering, and math are the major components of a middle school STEM curriculum. The idea is that students need to have more emphasis on these subject areas to make them more competitive in today’s increasingly technological society. Because a STEM curriculum often revolves around hands-on activities, these subjects are especially well-suited for the Montessori learning method. The kind of projects that may be restricted to science fairs in public education become daily experiments for individuals and teams in the Montessori learning environment.

Build a Sundial

Building a sundial introduces children to a different kind of clock. Since the only materials needed for a sundial are a stick, some markers, and a small space open to the sunlight, this project provides a great deal of educational opportunity without much, if any, expense. Among the lessons to be learned from a sundial are:
·        Affects of seasons on daylight hours
·        Understanding time segments
·        Sunlight variations based on geographic location

Variations on Volcanoes

Building a volcano is a popular and simple project that teaches children about earth processes, chemistry, and object modeling. The basic design uses a clay, paper-mâché, or other “volcanic” peak, and the eruptions can be created using combinations of household chemicals. There are a variety of ways to build an experimental volcano, each with its own unique properties to be discovered.

Experimenting with Water Filtration

Allowing children to work with different types of materials to create a water filter teaches them about the density and porousness of material, the importance of clean water, and the importance of natural filtration systems such as ponds and swamps. Basic filters can be designed with a plastic bottle, some moss, and ditch water, which makes an excellent jumping off point to learn about larger systems, reverse osmosis, and particle filtration.

Understanding the Block and Tackle

The invention of the block and tackle transformed the way people work by allowing them to accomplish more with less energy expenditure. Because pulleys are such an important part mechanical engineering and technology, experimenting and understanding the principles is vital to a well-rounded education. As part of an educational foray into horsepower and work potential, the block and tackle will give middle schoolers a fun and informative insight. Other important and basic tools in this category include the inclined plane and levers.

In Montessori learning, students are encouraged to investigate cause and effect, which in turn enables them to master the basic principles of the physical world. Everything from building sandcastles to designing a working soapbox racer are more than just fun activities - they are teaching children how science, engineering and technology, all of which are shaped by mathematics, make their world a more comfortable place to live in a way that is engaging and exciting.  

Middle school students at the Montessori School of Flagstaff Cedar Campus learn about STEM through activities in their daily curriculum.  This introduces students to wide variety of ways STEM is incorporated into their lives and could serve as inspiration for furthering their education in these fields once they have completed high school.  Call us today to see the difference of the Montessori curriculum.

How a Child Centric Model Works in Preschool

The child centric model is recognizing and making sure your child is first before anyone else. Any person who works with children from the nursery nurse, play worker, preschool teacher, or anyone directly in charge of a young child has a tremendous responsibility. It is their job to make sure each child they work with is safe. A child centric model is when your child is able to connect and communicate with the people working with them with an approach that makes it beneficial for them to learn.

How a Child Centric Model Works in Preschool

In the Montessori preschool environment, your child's individual needs will benefit along with the others. Each child is recognized as a unique person who will respond differently to certain approaches. Using the right approach for each child is important so their chances of success can increase. Children strive for respect and want their views to be heard, and they desire to attain a stable relationship with adults. This approach is the child centric model and what your child will benefit from in the Montessori preschool.

Definition of a Child Centric Model

The idea behind the child centric model is to allow your child to develop social qualities instead of just having them gather provided and general information. Your child is allowed to control his or her own learning. The teacher will support this learning, but your child will determine the direction and follow their natural curiosity, passion, and interests.

Choosing their own Interests

In the Montessori classroom, your child will be encouraged to pick different activities that interest them. Teachers do not choose what your child will explore. This independence helps your child think for themselves. The benefit of their choices is they can work independently and display their potential. Teachers will guide, but not decide for your child. Your child will investigate their world as the teacher observes their growth. When it is determined your child has mastered the material out for display, new material will be introduced so there is continued growth in knowledge.

Active Learning

Active learning is an approach to your child's education that looks to meet their needs on all levels. The social, physical, emotional, and cognitive levels are taken into consideration as the child centric model is implemented to track your child's progress. The active learning approach ensures your child stays mentally and physically active. They will be encouraged to use their whole body and all of their senses to learn about their world through exploration.

Play Time is Work

It may appear as though your child is only playing; in the child centric model, play time is work. During this period, your child will be questioning, testing, and planning experiments to construct. They will build on their knowledge of what they learn about objects, events, ideas, and people.

The child centric model implemented in the Montessori preschool will help your child become more independent, confident, and responsible.  At the Montessori School in Newark, our teachers focus on the child as a whole, fostering their learning and independence while allowing them to choose and explore items on their own.  To see the child centric model in action, contact us today and spend a day in our preschool classroom.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Taking Your Child to the Zoo? Read Our Tips for Every Age

The zoo provides a place of wonder for young children and adults. Going to the zoo can be a fun family outing at any age. Along with hours of enjoyment, a trip to the zoo is a learning experience. Viewing animals and their habitats provide inspiration for continuous learning.

Planning the Outing

Regardless of the age of your children, you should do a little research prior to going to the zoo. For your convenience, almost every zoo has a website. If you cannot find the website, you should take the time to call your local zoo to ask important questions. Planning your zoo outing will help make the day more fun. You should review the following:
  • Hours of operation
  • Price of admission
  • Exhibits of interest
  • Picnic area availability
  • Rules regarding food and beverages
  • Guidelines for strollers or wagons

Tips for a Fun Adventure to the Zoo

As a parent, grandparent or caregiver, you know the necessary essentials to bring to the zoo. Packing snacks, water, sunscreen, and hats are only a small portion of the needed supplies for a comfortable zoo trip. Remember smaller children may need extra diapers, wipes, bottles and a change of clothing to get through the zoo.

As you begin your day out the zoo, keep in mind to be patient. Allow your children the extra time to explore all of the senses. Do not forget to bring a camera. You will want to remember the experience.

Under a Year

At this stage in development, the trip to the zoo is more about the parents, caregivers, or grandparents. Many adults just want a day trip. Spending time with other mothers and fathers is a great way to build a lasting network. Enjoy the different sites and sounds of the zoo outing.

Toddlers and Preschoolers

Children who are two to four years old are curious about the world around them. Going to the zoo at this stage in development is a great way to introduce the animal world to children.
  • Point out the different animals
  • Use proper names
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Allow your child to touch and feel within the guidelines of the zoo
  • Visit the children’s area or petting zoo
  • Remember to simply play - almost every zoo has an animal inspired play area

School Age

At this stage of development, children thrive for more knowledge based on personal interests. A trip to the zoo provides a way to expand existing knowledge. Many zoos offer specific programs for children over the age of five. Enrolling your child in an hourly or day program is a perfect way to continue hands-on learning.
  • Watch presentations about the animals
  • Use guided tour options to allow your school-aged child to ask specific questions from a professional
  • Ask and discuss the animals, habitats, and programs

Continue to build upon your child’s personal interests with books and other educational materials relating to the zoo. Encourage older children to write about the experience in a journal. Create a scrapbook for a lasting memento of your trip to the zoo. 

In Montessori education, nature-based learning is incorporated into the daily curriculum. This includes teaching about animals, their traits, and their unique habitats.  Contact us today at Day Star Montessori and see how using nature-based learning is beneficial for your child.

Friday, February 17, 2017

What to Consider in a Montessori Elementary School

Making the decision to move from public schools to Montessori education requires careful consideration. For many parents, the fundamentals of Montessori learning are a mystery, while others have a lifetime of misconceptions that have to be overcome. When looking at a potential Montessori educator, here are a few things to ask about and be aware of.

Number of Students in Classrooms

Montessori classrooms are kept small for a reason. Allowing the instructor to dedicate more time to each student is the primary advantage. Each instructor is thoroughly trained in all of the subjects they will be teaching, which allows children to spend more time with a single instructor and less of their educational moving between classes. And since the classrooms have mixed ages, younger children are able to learn from older ones to build social skills and educational goals.

Self-Focused Education

The misconception that children have complete control over the learning process sounds intimidating, but it is not a correct picture of Montessori learning.  Children are encouraged to develop their own schedules, but class time is still divided into blocks, albeit longer ones, which give each child more time to spend on subjects and projects.  The environment is self-directed, but still follows a well-rounded curriculum. 

Montessori Curriculums

Montessori educators are not specialized in the way that public school teachers are. The subject matter being taught is nearly identical to public schools, such as math, language arts, history, and art. The difference is that Montessori education uses an integrated approach that ties the different subjects together. For example, learning about Egyptian pyramids ties to geometry, art, and other subjects. The integration of different subjects into a single process is fundamental to the Montessori process.

Gifted and Special Learning Needs

From the Montessori perspective, all children are gifted, but each in their own way. The Montessori environment allows children to expand on subjects that come more easily or spend a bit more time on the ones that are giving them a challenge. Having mixed ages in the classroom is especially helpful for gifted and special needs children because the older kids provide additional guidance and assistance.

Standardized Testing

Standardized educational tests are a requirement for all educators, including Montessori schools and homeschooling. These tests are used to determine both the educational level of students and the success of the institution. While Montessori children take the same tests, they are taught the materials in a different way that focuses more on integrated skills than rote memorization.

How Well Do Montessori Students Compare?

For years, the comparison between Montessori and traditional education was a difficult call to make. As research has progressed over the years, it has become apparent that Montessori students tend to learn as well or even better than traditional education students, including higher math skills and more complex vocabulary and writing skills.

At the Montessori School of Flagstaff Switzer Mesa Campus, our students enjoy mixed-age classrooms where they can work together and learn from their older peers.  The self-directed environment allows students to explore on their own, while still being guided by the teacher.  To see the Montessori difference firsthand, call our school today and schedule a tour.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Instilling Confidence from 1 to 6 Years of Age

Every parent wants to raise a confident child. The question is, in today's world of ever-increasing media exposure, how do parents and teachers successfully instill confidence in children?

The Montessori approach is a powerful antidote to the negative consequences of much of the challenges facing children and families today. Here are a few of the ways the program instills confidence in young children.


Your child's education isn't only important for his or her knowledge and capability. Learning to do things for oneself, from dressing oneself and potty training at an early age to educational projects as a child approaches school age, helps kids to feel more confident in themselves. That's why an early education program is so important for your child's growth, even as early as a year or two old.


The Montessori program is centered around the goal of fostering independence in children, which in turn promotes confidence. The work cycle allows children to pursue self-directed learning within some structure, helping children stay focused and on task while encouraging creativity and free thinking. This combination of hands-on learning and freedom of exploration, ultimately ending with the successful achievement of their goals, helps children to feel good about their accomplishments -- a basic building block of confidence.

Peer Teaching

Another hallmark of the Montessori program is the way it encourages older, more experienced children to teach and support the younger, less experienced kids. Traditionally, Montessori programs had mixed-age groupings that gave the older kids plenty of opportunities to help the younger ones learn new skills; however, even in modern classrooms where the children are often closer in age, the self-directed work environment still encourages the more capable kids to help those less experienced. The experience of children helping one another encourage confidence in both the teacher, who practices and demonstrates his or her competence, but also the child who is being helped by a peer to learn a new skill.


Children thrive not only when they succeed, but especially when they succeed at something they want to do. Their joy at getting a gold star on a routine worksheet may be fleeting, but when they achieve something they did by choice and were genuinely interested in, they gain a much greater sense of accomplishment. The Montessori method, with its extended work cycle and self-directed learning, gives children opportunities to make choices about what and how they learn, ultimately providing many more opportunities for building true confidence.

Confidence is a valuable trait that helps our children navigate school, peer relationships, and the world around them. For more information about how our program helps instill confidence in our young students, contact Day Star Montessori today for a tour of our Montessori school.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Toddler Turmoil: Terrible Threes or Frightening Fours?

The toddler years are an exciting time for parents and their kids, but they can also be some of the most challenging times as well. Children who are three or four often go through frustrating phases in their lives that can test the patience of even the most tolerant parent. However, knowing proactive, positive ways to reach your child during these difficult times will make life a lot easier for both of you.

A few tips that help:

  • Minimizing the yelling
  • Understanding what's going on
  • Know how to redirect
  • Set clear, simple boundaries
  • Don't fear timeouts
  • Be consistent with your child

Don't Yell So Much

Even though yelling seems like a good way to let out frustration, it is less likely to bring out better behavior. Too much yelling and other harsh measures can have a negative impact on how your child's brain develops. Taking a minute to calm down before disciplining your child can work wonders.

Understand What's Going On

If you're attuned to your child's needs, you can likely guess what may be going on at any given time. Understand why your child is acting out can help you take steps to resolve the problem. In many cases, better awareness helps you prevent problems before they start.

Redirect Your Child in Creative Ways

Redirecting a child in a positive way can help eliminate a lot of bad behavior. Try reading to a child who is whining or get a child who is being pushy or grabbing to do some physical activity. Redirection always needs to be done in a loving way.

Know How to Set Boundaries

All children need boundaries, but they need to be simple for better retention. Remind your child of these "house rules" every day. Make sure you praise your child when he or she sticks to the rules. Understand that this is an age where your child is likely to test out how much they can get away with.

Sometimes Everyone Needs a Timeout

A timeout, possibly one minute for each year, can distract your child from bad behavior and give them time to think. If the bad behavior focuses on a specific toy, consider giving your child a timeout from using the toy. Make sure your child has access to the toilet and doesn't have access to toys or games.

Consistency is Key

Make sure you address bad behavior consistently if you don't want it to continue. Don't expect your child to follow the rules one day and let them off the next. Above all, use positive methods to correct bad behavior.

At Mission Valley Montessori, our teachers work with children starting at the toddler phase. They continue throughout their elementary years, learning through play-based activities that are self-guided and self-directed.  To learn how to help your toddler through this challenging phase, contact us today to see the positive impact Montessori education can have on your child.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What Expenses You Can Deduct for Preschool

Getting the best tax return means finding deductions that you are eligible for. For parents of preschoolers, there are school-specific deductions available if you know where to look. In most cases, you will be required to complete an itemized tax return; additional forms or worksheets may be required. IRS Publication 503 contains a lot of useful information.

Federal Deductions

For the IRS Child Care Deduction, you will need to show your eligibility and file the necessary forms. To begin with, you cannot claim the deduction if you file Form 1040EZ. You must use either Form 1040 or Form 1040NR. If you are married, you must file a joint return for this credit. There are some other rules and forms which must be considered, including:

·        Child Qualification - Children under the age of 13 qualify for child care deductions.
·        School or Care Provider Information - Form W-10 contains important identification information. You need the school name, EIN number, and an invoice. If your child attends a home-based preschool, the care provider’s Social Security number and a Form W-4 should be used instead.
·        Proof of Earnings - For most families, filing a Form W-2 for each wage earner is required. If you belong to a faith which is opposed to Social Security, a Form 4029 is used to show your earnings.
·        Form 2441 - This form is where most of the care provider information will be collected.

State Deductions

If you live in a state with a state income tax, you may be eligible for deductions at the state level. Regulations and requirements for state deductions varies from one location to another. To find out whether you can file for a deduction in your state, contact your state’s tax agency.

School Oriented Donations

Purchasing sports uniforms for your child alone are not deductible, but making a donation to the school to help cover the cost of uniforms for all team members may be. You can also claim a deduction for other donations, including the cost of items used in the preschool classroom such as crayons, paper towels, and equipment. When documented properly, even cash donations made to the school can be deducted.

Using a Flexible Savings Account

Unfortunately, you cannot claim a tax deduction for preschool if your child’s tuition was paid in full or part through an FSA. Because of the nature of FSAs, the money is already tax-free, and therefore does not qualify for an additional deduction.

Preschool expenses must be claimed as a childcare expense rather than a tuition fee. Federal law does not provide deductions or exemptions for tuitions, but child care costs are covered in order to assist families of single parents or where both parents hold full-time jobs. If you have a home-based occupation, talk with an accountant to find out how your deductions may be affected.

Montessori School in Newark offers premium Montessori Education to children ages 2 to 6.  Our teachers highlight the values of a Montessori Education each day - self-discipline, self-motivation, independence, and instilling a love of learning in children.  Contact us today to learn about the Montessori difference and take a tour of our preschool!

Reinforcing the Importance of Diversity in Middle School

By the age of 11 or 12, adjusting to the diversity of life is a necessity for children. In America, we share cultural roots with every country on Earth, including racial differences, spiritual belief systems, and having different abilities in many ways. Human diversity is a fact of life, and addressing those differences in an important aspect of education in middle school.

Cultural Diversity

Whether your origins are English, Japanese, or Haitian Creole, your household has cultural customs that may not be practiced by your neighbors. In middle school, understanding the cultural heritage of many people helps students interact and be more accepting of others.

Ethnic Attitudes

At the core of many disputes in the world today are ethnic attitudes and bias against our fellow human beings. In middle school, children should be investigating the similarities of all people, learning how our differences in appearance and attitude have come to be. More importantly, focusing on how all of our ethnicities combine to make this a strong nation will add to the richness of classroom activities.

Spiritual Acceptance

A cornerstone of the United States Constitution is our separation of church and state. This does not mean that we should all practice the same faith system or ignore them all completely. It means that everyone’s spiritual beliefs should be accepted equally, and we must all practice tolerance for others. This is a difficult hurdle for many young people to cross, but doing so will open their minds to exciting new horizons.

Differences in Abilities

Most students are physically and mentally similar, but there will always be those who have special needs or difficulties. From dyslexia to missing limbs, the fact that some people are not as able bodied is a good place to learn about tolerance. The classroom is a good place to investigate ways to be helpful and courteous to everyone, even those who are different.

Addressing Bullying

The root cause of bullying lies with the perceive differences between one person and another. Whether it is because of silly differences such as height or weight, or more complex diversities such as cultural misunderstandings or physical disabilities, students need to learn to work together for the common good. It may be tempting to draw artificial lines between those who are like us and those who are different from us, but doing so is more likely to cause problems than to solve them.

The world is filled with diversity. That is what makes our planet an amazing and exciting place. Learning to understand and work within the bounds of our human differences will lead to a more satisfying and successful adulthood. By teaching middle school students the importance of caring and sharing regardless of aesthetic differences, you are enabling them to integrate better in society, and that is a lesson they will benefit from for the rest of their lives.

The teachers and staff at the Montessori School of Flagstaff Cedar Campus encourage students throughout middle school to accept diversity in its many forms. Teachers foster teamwork and focus on teaching the student as a global, well-rounded citizen. Call us today to schedule a tour and learn how our middle school can have a positive impact on expanding your child's understanding of the world.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

When should you enroll your child in a Montessori School?

As a parent, you want the best for your child’s future, including social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. The Montessori educational approach believes children have a natural curiosity for learning. The hands-on approach allows children to learn through self-directed activities, cognitive play, and building upon each child’s unique interests.

Ideal Age for Enrollment

Knowing when to enroll your child in the Montessori school really depends on your child. As a parent, you will be a major factor in determining the right age for your child to enter into a Montessori learning environment. Montessori school officials and highly trained teachers will be able to provide insight into the ideal for enrollment.

Generally, the Montessori program is ideal for children who enjoy being independent and working individually or in small groups. The ideal age for enrollment is around 3 years of age. During this specific time frame, children learn to absorb everything about the world around them. At this time, children learn valuable language development, vocabulary expansion, fine and large motor skills, and developing a sense of self. Knowing more about the Montessori approach will aid in your decision to enroll your child.
  • Montessori Learning Environment: A highly trained Montessori teacher will prepare a learning environment based on each child’s interests. By engaging children with specific learning materials, the teacher helps develop your child as a whole individual. As your child learns, the teacher will continue to build upon specific interests and personal curiosities to expand the thirst for knowledge.
  • Multi-Age Classroom: The Montessori approach incorporates students of multiple ages in one larger classroom. Generally, the classroom has an age range of about three years. Encouraging peer learning is the primary purpose behind the multiple age groups. Younger students tend to learn valuable skills from older students including positive social interaction, vocabulary usage, and acceptable classroom behavior. This, in turn, helps the older students develop leadership skills.
  • Non-Competitive Environment: Along with the multi-age classroom, Montessori believes in building a non-competitive learning environment. Allowing children to learn through more of a trial and error method, teachers do not issue rewards, grades or punishments. By not using a traditional grading or discipline approach, the students learn to develop positive coping skills for personal behavior and self-directed learning. Allowing for increased opportunities for learning, children will learn and develop at their own individual pace.
  • Block Hours for Learning: Depending on the age group of the classroom, 1 to 3 block hours are part of the daily schedule. During the block hour times, children engage in uninterrupted learning. The hours may include art, music, large motor skills, and other cognitive developing materials.
  • Calm Environment: Allowing children to be a self-independent learner, the Montessori teacher promotes a calm learning environment to inspire independence.

Visiting a Montessori school is the best way to determine the right age of enrollment for your child. Teachers and other school employees will be able to answer your questions concerning the ideal age of enrollment.

Montessori School of Fremont invites students and parents to tour the school, meet the teachers, and see the Montessori classroom firsthand.  While there, you will be able to observe the multi-age classroom which encourages students to engage in self-discovery and hands-on learning.