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.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

History Lesson for Preschoolers: Pilgrims and Native Americans

Even young children associate Thanksgiving with Pilgrims and Native Americans. However, are there ways to present the Thanksgiving story in a way that's culturally sensitive, accurate and age-appropriate? The good thing to know about this is that it is possible, and by taking these ideas into account when discussing Thanksgiving with your child, he or she will be more likely to have a better understanding of what the day is about.
Among other things that your child will learn, he or she will:
  • Learn a greater respect for those who differ from them
  • Appreciate the value of offering help to and accepting help from others
  • Have a greater understanding of the idea of giving thanks

Read Some Books About Thanksgiving

Two helpful, age-appropriate books for preschoolers are "The Story of Thanksgiving" by Nancy J. Skarmeas and "The First Thanksgiving" by Lou Rogers. Both of these books are age-appropriate and have colorful illustrations that help make everything come to life.

After reading the books, take some time to talk to your child about what he or she learned. Depending on your child's age and curiosity level, you might want to think about discussing why we use the term Native Americans, why the Pilgrims came, and how the local tribes might have helped them find food.

Make a Fun Treat

Preschoolers will appreciate learning about how Squanto taught the Pilgrims to plant corn, especially when taught using an edible example. To do this:
  • Put some chocolate pudding into small cups with crumbled graham crackers on top to represent dirt
  • Place a piece of candy corn into the cups to represent corn seed, with a goldfish cracker or Swedish fish to stand in for the fish used as compost
  • Cover the candy corn and fish with the "dirt", then serve

Discuss Thanksgiving Foods

A preschooler should be able to name the foods they like the most on Thanksgiving. As they name the foods they like, help them learn to categorize them.
  • Is it a type of meat? Explain how Native Americans and Pilgrims hunted for some meats because there were no stores.
  • Are certain foods fruits or vegetables? Tie this in with your earlier corn-related activity and explain that early Americans grew certain foods that we buy now.
  • Discuss certain Thanksgiving favorites that people like now that wouldn't have been present at the first Thanksgiving meal. This can be a good way to discuss the importance of traditions.

Taking time to discuss Native Americans and Pilgrims is a great way to help your child appreciate the significance of the holiday.  At Montessori Children's House, we teach students about every holiday using hands-on and interactive learning techniques.  We enjoy teaching our students through history and encourage them to learn more about holidays through their families own unique traditions.  Contact us today to see our hands-on teaching approach firsthand.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Using Instruments as a Preschooler: Is it too Early?

Childhood prodigies are extremely rare, but the only way to discover one is to give them access to instruments. Instead of pushing your child to be one, consider the benefits of having access to musical instruments, and allow natural talents to emerge on their own. There are other purposes for instruments at early ages, and using instruments should begin as early as possible.

Early Music Appreciation

For many infants, music is the equivalent of auditory bright colors. When a baby hears musical notes that they like, they may become more active, expressive, or even vocal in their own babyish way. Obviously, you cannot expect an infant to play a symphony, but allowing him to touch an instrument and associate that instrument with sound is an important way to encourage his enthusiasm. The goal is not so much to learn how to play the instrument at that age as to give the child a tangible association between music they hear and the instruments which make it happen. Just as children must learn to associate a face with a voice, they are also learning to identify sounds with specific objects.

Brain Development and Music

Few people realize the relationship between music and mathematics, even though the two are very closely entwined. Musical compositions rely on several types of mathematical functions, including timing, spatial concepts, and repetitive patterns which are easily detectable. Even a toy xylophone makes it easy for a young child to discover that identical patterns will produce different results based on the force and timing used to produce the sounds. A young child does not even need to be able to count to form an understanding of how these facets interact.

Learning Musical Concepts

Teaching a child to perceive the underlying concepts of music can begin as soon as the child is able to manipulate an instrument, regardless of their level of motor control. Pitch, timing, and rhythm are all concepts that can be learned, though probably not mastered, before children have learned to talk. Discovering the sounds associated with various instruments is a simple and entertaining game parents can enjoy with their preschooler - no talent required.

Introducing Musical Instruments

It is not necessary to start out with complicated instruments. Even simple bells are a great way to explore tones and help children grasp the link between size and sound, and then they can discover what sounds to expect from different types of instruments. A simple instrument such as a set of drumsticks will allow children to discover a wealth of information about patterns, music, and their own ability to manipulate one to create the other. The process can be very empowering.

Access to musical instruments is an excellent way to both discover natural talent and to assist development of the brain and fine motor skills. Giving a preschooler access to musical instruments is equivalent to giving them a headstart on many developmental skills, and should begin as early as possible.

The Montessori Method encourages children to explore and learn at their own pace, including diving deeper into areas that interest them, such as music.  Incorporating music from a young age can have a positive and lasting effect on students.  Give us a call and set up a tour of the Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnyside Campus today to see how our teachers encourage students to learn through hands-on, interactive learning.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Preschool fall fun in the Bay Area

There is no doubt know that the Bay Area is a fun place, but may not have realized how many options are there for preschoolers. This area is filled with attractions that will arouse even the littlest ones' natural curiosity. Taking your preschooler to visit one or more of these attractions is a great way to give them something to do this fall and help them learn something new in the process.

Children's Discovery Museum

There is a wealth of fun for your child to experience here, with over 28,000 square feet of space. The exhibits are a mixture of both traveling and permanent options, and the museum's website even lists related activities that you and your child are likely to want to do at home. This museum introduces children to the subject of the exhibits through experiments, manipulation, exploration, and touch. Just a few of the highlights include a fire engine kids can play inside, block-building, and experiments featuring bubbles and water.

Randall Museum

This museum is very popular with preschoolers and their parents because of the number of hands-on opportunities it offers. Some of the subjects your child will learn about include natural history, science, and arts and crafts. Arts and crafts workshops are offered for several age groups, with preschool classes of particular interest. Some of the other highlights include a scale caboose model, exhibits related to California wildlife, and an earthquake refugee shack replica.

Habitot Children's Museum

This children's museum is of particular interest to parents of preschoolers because of its scaled-down size exhibits. These exhibits are designed with the youngest children, including infants and toddlers, in mind. Some of the highlights include:
  • A Wind Tunnel, providing an authentic experience with wind
  • Little Town Grocery & Cafe, where kids can mimic grocery shopping
  • Waterworks exhibit featuring a water table, river ramp, and pumping station
All of these exhibits combined help create a sense of curiosity in even the youngest preschooler.

Lawrence Hall of Science

One of the things that attracts many families to this museum is its selection of exhibits designed for preschool children. The exhibits are designed to encourage natural exploration, be as hands-on as possible, and also encourage learning about cause and effect. Highlights include a planetarium, a gravity wall, and a place to design raceways. Exciting workshops will keep your little one wanting to come back.

All of these attractions are some of the best places for preschoolers in the Bay Area. You can be sure they will arouse your child's curiosity and spark their imagination.  At Montessori Children's House, we teach the Montessori Method through hands-on learning.  We encourage parents to take their children to interactive and exploratory museums to further foster the Montessori Method outside of school.  To learn about the hands-on activities we incorporate into our curriculum on a daily basis, schedule a tour today.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

What Nature can Teach your Elementary Student

As a parent, it is up to you to teach your children. While they will learn plenty at school, they need to learn at home as well. This means more than working with your children on their math, spelling, and reading. You should also be teaching your child about nature. There are plenty of benefits of your elementary student learning about nature and the outdoor world around them.

Learning About Nature Helps Your Children Appreciate the World
Most kids are curious. When they see a bug or a caterpillar on the sidewalk, they squat down to get a closer look. When you take your elementary student outdoors and teach them about nature, they will realize that when they interact with nature, they are a part of it. Over time, their love and respect for nature will grow. When your children grow up, they will want to protect the world around them.

Learning About Nature Encourages Scientific Study
When your children study nature, they will be curious. They will want to explore the world and learn more about it. This is the foundation that your child will need later on when they are in an advanced scientific study class. When your elementary student starts studying nature early, it will benefit their education later on.

Nature Study Gets the Kids Outdoors
In today's technological world, it can be difficult to get your children to put down their electronics and go outdoors. When you teach your children about nature, it is the perfect opportunity for this to happen. Your children will put down the video games and go outdoors. Not only is this good for their mind, it is also good for their bodies.

Nature is an Easy Science
When you teach your children about science, you won't need any special equipment or books. Everything that you need is right outside your door. Your children will learn by observing different animals, insects, and plants. This is one of the easiest sciences to teach.

Studying Nature Will Make Your Child Want To Learn
When your elementary student studies nature, they will want to learn more. For example, if you are taking a nature hike and your children spot animal tracks, they will want to find out what type of animal created the tracks. Nature is full of mysteries that your children will investigate and solve. When your children solve the many mysteries in nature, it will make them want to learn more. This is a great way to instill a love of learning in your children at a very early age. This love of learning can help them through their entire lives. A child who loves to learn will grow up to be a successful adult.

Teaching your elementary student about nature is just as important as teaching them to read and write. You want your children to grow up to love and respect the planet. You also want them to understand science and find the fun in solving scientific mysteries in nature.  Montessori education at the Montessori School of Pleasanton is meant to teach your elementary student as a whole, incorporating nature into daily lesson plans.  Contact us today to schedule a tour for you and your elementary student to learn more about the Montessori method.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Activities to Build your Elementary Student's Self Esteem

Self esteem is an important aspect of Montessori education. Children who are confident in their abilities are also willing to take on new tasks and encourage other students. Activities which build self esteem in elementary students give them a foundation for success. They become more interested in doing things and being part of the group. By instilling self esteem during the elementary years, we give children the building blocks to get involved and to examine new ideas.

Activity Suggestions

Giving children the opportunity to play a part in classroom and home activities is a great way to build self-esteem. In some instances, play could be exactly what the children are doing, but the day is filled with opportunities to provide self-fulfillment while you make learning fun.

In the Classroom
Everything which takes place at school could help to build self esteem, whether it is discovering new things about the world or playing a game to build coordination. For instance, any of the following activities is a chance to build confidence and self esteem:
o   Playing and interacting with others students.
o   Speaking to groups or the whole class
o   Displaying successful projects
o   Drawing or coloring
o   Helping the teacher

Activities at Home
Almost any activity can help build self esteem
if it is treated with respect and acceptance. Whether your child is doing chores, putting together a project, or playing a favorite game, it is important that every child receives positive encouragement and a sense of accomplishment. Some general ideas to give a child more confidence include:
o   Build a birdhouse
o   Measuring and cooking in the kitchen
o   Packing for a trip
o   Hobbies and crafts

Giving Feels Good

Any activity which includes helping others will help build self esteem and confidence. Being nice to others and offering a helping hand makes everyone feel good about themselves and gives them a sense of fellowship and well-being. The activity can be something as simple as taking a refreshing beverage to someone feeling ill or reading a story to a sick friend or relative. The important thing is that the contribution is noticed and positively reacted to.

Performance and Recognition

Every child enjoys being the center of attention, whether it is doing well on a science project or learning how to play music. Giving him the opportunity to display his talents helps build self esteem. Showing enthusiasm and respect for his accomplishments gives him the confidence to tackle new things, take on new responsibilities, and take pride in his accomplishments. Even if your child is not perfect in every subject, being enthusiastic about his efforts encourages him to exhibit determination and strive for success.

Montessori elementary students at the Montessori School of Pleasanton are encourage to explore and learn at their own pace, being guided by both the teacher and older students. We understand the importance of building a child's self esteem and work with our students to ensure they are successful in their education.  To see the Montessori method firsthand, contact us today to schedule a tour.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Teaching your Preschooler Great Dental Habits

Good dental habits are important for both children and adults, and helping your preschooler establish a routine early on can make a huge difference in their oral health for the rest of their lives. Often kids resist simple hygiene efforts such as brushing their teeth, so how can you set your child on the right path? Here are a few tips for creating lifelong dental habits.

Start Early

The key to lasting habits is starting as early as possible. Even before your baby's first tooth appears, you can gently clean his gums with a soft cloth or a piece of soft gauze. Once the first tooth appears, generally around six months, you can start brushing with a small, soft toothbrush and non-fluoride toothpaste.

Speaking of the first tooth appearing, this is also a great time to take your child to the dentist for the first time. Many children are anxious about visiting the dentist, so starting before your child's first birthday can help get him used to it early.

Make It Fun

As your child gets a little older, finding ways to make dental care fun can go a long way toward helping to create lasting habits. Themed toothbrushes, flavored toothpastes, and fun handheld flossers can all help, and you can also create rituals of brushing your teeth together with your child. Be creative and think of some fun games to play, such as seeing who can spit closest to the drain.

Reward Good Habits

It's important to also reinforce good habits with praise and rewards. One way is to have your child show you their clean teeth so that you can tell them they've done a good job. If you want more of a reward system in place, create a chart to hang on the bathroom wall and dole out stickers or gold stars for brushing and flossing on a regular schedule.

Encourage Age-Appropriate Independence

Of course, one of the hallmarks of the Montessori method is encouraging independence in children, so we'd be remiss if we didn't mention how you can encourage children to manage their own dental care. Many preschoolers love to attempt to brush their own teeth, even if you have to finish up the job. Set a timer or buy a lighted toothbrush to help kids know how long they need to brush. Electric toothbrushes and handheld flossers can make the job easier as well. Once kids get old enough to spit, they can graduate to fluoride toothpaste.

How Montessori Teaches Good Habits

Because the Montessori method values children's independence and promotes self-directed behaviors, it provides an excellent framework for learning all kinds of habits, including dental habits. The Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnyside Campus works with students to encourage hands-on learning, including those skills that are learned both at home and at school.  For more information on our program, please contact us today for a tour of our school.

Monday, September 11, 2017

What is Required to become a Montessori Preschool Teacher?

The Montessori educational model was developed in the hopes of creating a functional and innovative learning process for kids of all ages. Because of its success, many would-be traditional school teachers are flocking to Montessori jobs because of the diversity, freedom, and flexibility they provide to both students and teachers. Here's an overview what is required to become a Montessori preschool teacher.

No. 1 – Earn a College Degree (if possible)

While there are sometimes associate level certificates available in Early Childhood education for people without a college degree, holding a Bachelor's degree (or higher) will allow one to be eligible for a wide variety of Montessori training programs at centers across the country.

The good news is that one does not necessarily need to major in education or any related field. Montessori teachers come from diverse educational backgrounds such as the social sciences, engineering, art and design, the humanities, and more.

No. 2 – Find and Complete the Right Training Program

The first step to finding a suitable training program is knowing which certification one eventually wants to earn. One could specialize in Infant & Toddler education (0 – 3 years old) or Early Childhood (2.5 – 6 years old). The skills and techniques acquired will vary greatly depending on which certificate is pursued.

Also, it's important to budget for the training program one is interested in. Montessori training can vary in final costs with the more expensive programs costing a small fortune. However, the more affordable programs typically cost about $2,000 in total.

No. 3 – Find a Teaching Position in Your Area

Once one has completed a Montessori training program, they will be fully certified and ready to lead your students toward success. While on the job search, they should make sure to utilize any and all tools available.

However, using an online Montessori job finder tends to be the most effective solution these days. New teachers are still encouraged to hit the ground running and exhausting other options such as contacting local schools about possible openings.

No. 4 – Adapt to the Montessori Method

Since most of us grew up attending traditional schools, it might be a bit of a shock to an individual coming into a Montessori teaching position. Luckily, their training will provide a solid foundation to build on while the teacher becomes adjusted to giving children freedom in their learning experience.

A Bright Future

Becoming a preschool teacher in a Montessori program is rewarding, fulfilling, and gives individuals the opportunity to help shape many generations to come. While it might take a lot of hard work and dedication, it will be well worth it to become part of the Montessori teaching family!

At the Montessori Children's House in Fremont, California, our school is an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) with an AMI Director, in additional to all of our head teachers being AMI trained. Contact us today to schedule a meeting with our teachers to discuss the Montessori teaching model and how it can benefit your child.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Montessori Elementary Education: The Valued Difference

A Montessori elementary education is one of the most valuable types of education you can give a child. Many people are unaware of Montessori education being offered beyond preschool and are pleased to know this is an option. There are some great benefits to Montessori schools that include:
  • A style that encourages active learning experiences
  • A flexible curriculum suited to what each child is ready to learn
  • Projects perfect for the self-paced approach used
  • Group activities and schoolwork

Active Learning Experiences

Most classroom settings involve children learning in a more passive manner. Usually, they are listening while the teacher talks. Student contributions are usually guided by the teacher's approach.

A Montessori classroom involves active discovery that is both self-motivated and hands-on. Because kids take a lead role in discovering the information they're learning, the lessons and activities are more relevant. The overemphasis on testing and memorization that happens in a traditional school is absent from a Montessori setting.

Flexible Curriculum Options

Montessori teachers have more of a coaching or guiding role, as opposed to teaching at an established pace that uses a one-size-fits all approach. Children are able to escape both being left behind by lessons and having lessons they can't keep up with.

In Montessori classrooms, students learn in smaller groups, with lessons guided by the observable needs of the class. The child can learn at his or her pace. Students have both the option of taking as long as they need on a lesson and advancing sooner.

Project-Based Approaches

Because traditional elementary schools focus on benchmarks, many of the lessons are not as intensive as children would prefer. The teachers are also expected to exclusively measure their students' progress. Kids have less involvement in tracking their progress.

In a Montessori setting, students have easy access to hands-on materials. There are also textbooks and other supplemental reading material designed to help increase their understanding of the subject. Children can take a lead in tracking their progress with a form tailored to their individual learning plan.

Group Activities and Schoolwork

Students in a Montessori classroom will perform more of their schoolwork as part of a group than their peers in many traditional school classrooms. Working in groups is the norm, rather than an exception. However, kids can work individually if they prefer, making the experience easily adaptable.

When students are in a Montessori classroom, they learn in a setting that actively encourages learning and caters to individual needs. For many children, this approach is their path to success throughout life.  The Montessori Elementary Program at the Montessori School of Pleasanton is designed for students to work together, being guided by teachers throughout their day and journey of learning as a whole.  Contact us today to schedule a tour and see the Montessori difference first hand.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Which is Right for your Child: Time-Ins or Time-Outs?

Time-out is an approach that has been used for decades, but discipline can be fairly controversial with all of the research and ever-changing attitudes toward child-rearing. If you like some of the ideas behind time-out but want an approach that improves upon the concept, "time-in" might be worth looking into.

Time-Out and Its Flaws

In the classic idea of time-out, children who misbehave are removed from the situation, usually to a corner, a chair, or a "naughty step" to cool down and think about what they've done. Modifications have been made over the years to make time-out more effective, such as the rule of limiting it to one minute per year of the child's age.

But even with those modifications, time-out has its flaws. Instead of giving children time to cool down and reflect upon their mistakes, time-out can make them feel resentful, confused, and abandoned. They may need help understanding what they did wrong, why it was wrong, and what they can do differently next time. Most importantly, they may need help calming down, rather than sitting by themselves and feeling upset.

What Is "Time-In" and How Can It Help?

"Time-in" has developed as an alternative to a disciplinary method that has good intentions, but not always the best practice. Yes, it's important for children to have an opportunity to calm down, understand what they did wrong, and figure out how to do it differently next time. Time-out just doesn't always achieve those things.

Think of time-in as a guided version of time-out. You still want the child to calm down, understand what they did wrong, and realize how to prevent it next time, but with time-in you help the child achieve these goals.
  • Instead of simply banishing the child to a time-out spot, go with them so the two of you can talk.
  • Discuss what happened and why. If the child is younger, you might tell them what was unacceptable and why. An older child might already know this and be able to tell you with some prompting.
  • Talk about how to prevent it next time. This is the most important part, because it promotes better awareness of their behavior, and helps them to understand how to make changes in a way that sitting on a "naughty step" can't do.
  • Determine whether they need additional time to cool down. Again, younger children might not know the signs that they need some time away, whereas older, more experienced kids will be able to tell you. You might choose to sit with them a little longer, or explain to them that they need to do a quiet activity for a little while.

Finding the Right Approach

Every child is different, and what works well for one might not for another. Likewise, as a parent or a caregiver, it's important to use an approach that feels right to you. Whether you choose time-outs, time-ins, or some combination of both, what's most important is that you are raising a happy, well-adjusted child.

At the Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnyside Campus, our teachers and parents work together to determine the best disciplinary approach for your child.  Montessori education involves the teacher guiding the student, which aligns with the idea of time-ins.  Contact us today to schedule a tour and the Montessori method first hand.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tips for Preparing your Shy Child for Kindergarten

Kindergarten is the state of a fun time for your child. He or she will make friends and get into the school experience quickly. However, if your child is shy, you might need to do a bit of planning to better prepare them for the experience.

Set Up Play Dates

There's a good chance there may be at least one other child nearby headed to the same school. Getting a chance to play with soon-to-be classmates helps alleviate many of the jitters children might feel. If your child has a friend in the class, they are more likely to be willing participants in classroom fun.

Read Books About Kindergarten Together

Searching the children's section at your library will likely yield some fun books about kindergarten. While reading them with your child, talk about the activities depicted. Kids will gain perspectives on everything from finding new friends to learning what may go on during the school day.

Do Some Role Playing

Playing school can be a good way to help introduce your child to what kindergarten is like. You can use this as a way to introduce your child to the school environment, such as working from a table area and interacting with the teacher. You can also practice introductions to other children.

Be Reassuring

Your child should accept their own personality traits and realize it's okay if they aren't as outspoken as their classmates. This can also be a good way to teach tolerance of differences. One takeaway could be your child accepting their more extroverted friends' differences and treasuring them.

Get Involved

Set aside some time after school each day to ask your child about what he or she learned and a little about their friends. Show genuine interest in any classroom activities your child gets excited about. If the activity is something that fascinates him or her, you may want to try to bring the activity home by getting books or toys that relate to your child's new fascination.

Give Your Child Some Quiet Time

The first few days or even months of school might be overwhelming for an introverted child. Allowing some quiet time after school is a good way to help your child make the transition from school life back to home life. Let him or her talk about what they did at school when they're ready, and don't push before they're ready to talk. You want to make sure you hear about your child's actual day, not what they might think you want to hear.

A shy child will succeed as much as an extroverted child in school if allowed to adjust in a way that meets their needs. Given time, they will come to enjoy school and eagerly await their next school day.  At Montessori Children's House, we understand the challenges students face when attending school for the first time. Our teachers work with both students and parents to ensure the transition is smooth and enjoyable for all parties.  With the start of school approaching, contact us today to learn how to prepare your child for kindergarten.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Why is Preschool Important

Preschool isn’t mandatory, but that doesn't mean younger children should be left out of structured learning. While many assume that the “real” learning begins in kindergarten, early childhood education could actually be one of the most important parts of your child’s academic journey. Here are three of the most important reasons to consider preschool for your kids.

Preschool Prepares Kids for Classroom Settings

This benefit is pretty simple, but it’s important. When young kids spend time in a structured academic environment, they learn how to operate as students. They get experience with everything from following classroom rules and verbal instructions to ignoring distractions and paying attention. If some skills or rules don’t come easily, they deserve time to work on it before they’re expected to sit down and learn math or science. After all, children adapt to new routines and settings at their own pace. Early childhood education helps lay a foundation for a smoother transition to elementary school.

Preschool is the First Step toward Self-Sufficiency

Your preschool-age kids are probably “growing up too fast” already, and it’s natural to bristle at the thought of sending them off to school for the first time. However, your ultimate goal as parents is to prepare them for the real world, and it’s never too early to start learning independence and self-sufficiency. In preschool, kids are expected to contribute and engage in basic tasks for the first time, teaching them self-care and giving them a sense of accomplishment and independence. They must wash their hands, keep their stuff in their cubbies, contribute to classroom chores, and listen to their peers. These skills will make it easier for them to make independent decisions and take care of themselves later.

Preschool Exposes Kids to Language at a Crucial Time

Whether or not a young child is ready for reading lessons, they are constantly absorbing the linguistic cues around them. Vocal development begins before their first birthday, when they start producing and repeating syllables, and by age five, most children have learned thousands of words and mastered their language’s sound system. These early years provide the foundation for your child’s literacy skills later on, and preschool programs expose them to new letter and word patterns to encourage vocal development. As teachers read books aloud and kids sing or chant rhyming phrases together, their young minds begin recognizing crucial patterns and sounds, which could boost their reading comprehension and expressive language skills later.

At the Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnsyide Campus, we understand the significance of early childhood education. We believe that all children, especially our youngest and most “absorbent” students, thrive when they have the opportunity to learn at their own pace in a stimulating environment. That’s why we offer five different preschool and kindergarten programs for ages three to six, all emphasizing lessons and sensory experiences that enrich your young children's lives while developing a strong foundation for their future.  Contact us today to schedule a tour!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Teaching your Preschooler Responsibility through Age Appropriate Chores

One of the hallmarks of a Montessori preschool program is that children are expected to do many things for themselves, such as cleaning, pouring, and serving food. Older or more proficient children help the younger children or those who are new to the program. To an outside observer, the classroom at clean-up time or lunch time might look like a community of tiny adults, all doing their part to achieve a common goal.

The Benefits of Chores

Maria Montessori's philosophy was that children learn and thrive when given age-appropriate responsibilities and independence. Children can learn a sense of responsibility - to their duties as well as to others - from an early age.

You can bring her approach home by assigning age-appropriate chores, and helping your children learn to perform them independently. Assigning chores at home will allow you to:
  • Make your child feel like a functional part of the household. Children love knowing they help the household run smoothly. It can make them feel especially good to do chores such as helping to take care of household pets.
  • Help your child develop self-confidence. Accomplishing something makes you feel good, right? Children are no different. Doing a job well and receiving recognition for it will help your child develop self-esteem and a sense of pride in their work.
  • Teach your child life skills. Work is an important part of life. We all have "chores" we do on a daily basis, from necessary household tasks to our careers. Encouraging children to help out around the house and to take pride in their accomplishments will help instill a strong work ethic at an early age.

Age Appropriate Chores for Preschoolers

Many preschoolers want to do things themselves and assigning chores gives you an opportunity to take advantage of that natural eagerness to help. If your child has never done chores before, start with small chores, adding one at a time. Take the time to teach your child how to do things that are difficult for them at first, as it'll pay off in the long run.
Here are a few responsibilities that are age-appropriate for preschoolers:
  • Cleaning up toys
  • Feeding pets
  • Making their bed
  • Getting dressed in the morning
  • Getting ready for bed at night
  • Putting away folded clothes
  • Folding easy-to-fold clothes
  • Wiping up spills
  • Watering plants
  • Helping with cooking
  • Measuring ingredients for baking
  • Washing produce
  • Setting the table
  • Serving, pouring, etc.

Teaching Responsibility at Home and at School

Teaching your child to do chores at home will help teach responsibility, but it's only half the story. As much as we as parents like to think we control everything about our children's upbringings, don't forget that they spend at least half their day at school. The right school will reinforce the same values you emphasize at home.

At Montessori Children's House, students are encouraged to work together throughout their day, thereby showing them that each person is equally responsible in their own learning.  For more information on how our Montessori programs encourage responsibility, a love of learning, and other important life skills, contact us today to take a tour of our school.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Influence of the Montessori Elementary School

The Montessori classroom is a truly unique learning environment where children are encouraged to think outside of the box. Approaching the learning process with enthusiasm and providing real-life activities to supplement the classroom, children tend to thrive and reach new levels of understanding when attending a Montessori school. But that's just the beginning of the differences and influences found in a Montessori elementary school.

The Montessori Influence

Learning isn't something you do for good grades - it is a way of life at Montessori schools. With many students going on to become life long seekers of knowledge, this educational system proudly provides students with the learning abilities they need to be successful in their adult life.

Students are encouraged to learn at their own pace and style, which is what gives them the time to discover their own interests while still being guided by an instructor. It also gives the student a sense of autonomy that eventually translates into valuable time management skills, accountability, and so much more. Here are some ways Montessori elementary schools influence students, parents, and the community as a whole.

Respect and Understanding: Every student is treated like the unique individual they are at a Montessori school. And at the same time, they are taught – through a variety of activities – how to respect and value other people's differences.

Increased Creativity: When children are given free-access to explore the limits of their learning potential, they start to understand how beneficial and fun learning can be. This opens up their minds to new ideas and possibilities on a daily basis which nourishes both the intellectual and creative side of their personality.

Freedom within Limits: With classrooms, curriculum, and daily routines all built to support the emergence of self-discipline, restraint, and independence, Montessori students are taught to think for themselves and regulate their own time, with some guidance along the way.

The Montessori Difference

Montessori elementary schools help children develop skills that last a life time. Through independent learning, flexible schedules, and self-discipline, the child learns how to adapt and grow in response to a wide variety of real-life situations.

Social Development

Montessori schools also go to great lengths to build strong, small communities in every classroom. Social development is just as important as any other skill in life, but the student cannot explore this aspect of themselves unless they have an environment where they feel comfortable and welcome at all times. This kind of support increases a child's self esteem and builds the confidence they need to face the world as an adult.

Every moment in a child's life is precious. Montessori recognizes this by creating learning programs that focus on the big picture of life, rather than simply memorizing facts from a textbook. The goal is to help children become self-sufficient and self-actualized in all areas of their life.

The elementary school program at the Montessori School of Pleasanton embraces students' individuality and encourages them to work at their own pace, while being guided by teachers and peers.  Our students learn independence as they freely move about the classroom and explore on their own.  Contact us today to meet our teachers and schedule a tour.