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.