Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Reading: 5 Diverse Books your Elementary Student should Read this Summer

Research has shown that allowing kids to break the education cycle during the summer months can actually set them back in their learning. Instead, experts are suggesting that children be encouraged to continue learning and experiencing. Here are a handful of books written about life’s diversity, written for elementary school students and dealing with everything from racism to being differently abled.

1.  Rain Reign By Ann M. Martin

o   Rose likes order and routine. And homonyms. Because people don’t understand Rose, she doesn’t have many friends, only Rain, her dog. This is the story of a girl having to overcome her own fears in order to help something she loves, told from the perspective of a high-functioning autistic girl.

2.  Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

o   Follow the adventures of “Maniac” Magee as he learns about the town of Two Mills. The boy encounters a range of cultural and racial stigma, yet steadfastly holds to his course. The backdrop is a racially divided town, and Magee is both alone and new in town.

3.  Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

o   CJ and his grandmother explore cultural and economic differences as they ride the bus home after church. This books examines some important questions about equality and looks at the mistake of being judgmental without having all of the information.

4.  The Hero Two Doors Down by Sharon Robinson

o   An 8-year-old Jewish boy in Brooklyn befriends Jackie Robinson and encounters the evils of prejudice. Based in 1948 and laced with historical information about Jackie Robinson, this book looks at the problem of being judged on the color of your skin.

5.  It’s Okay to Be Different By Todd Parr

o   Human diversity is at the very core of the colorfully presented book. The underlying title theme that it is okay to be or do things differently gets repeated often and in an assortment of concepts. The book does not address any of the considerations which are often used in discussing topics like adoption; rather, it merely assures the reader that being adopted is okay even if only a few kids are.

Don’t try to limit summertime learning to books, either. If your child enjoys math, then let them do some math problems, and if your son enjoys playing in the dirt, introduce him to geology and archaeology and all of the sciences related to our planet. The important thing is that every day has a healthy dose of physical activity and the opportunity to learn at least one new thing.

Learning doesn't stop when summer begins.  The list of recommended books above reflect the Montessori approach used at the Montessori School of Fremont - ensuring that diversity, understanding, and respect are taught at an age appropriate level.  Contact us today to schedule a tour.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Educational Games to Play this Summer

Your preschooler may have the notion that learning ends after the school year, but you know that summer vacation just holds a different type of learning for them. There are many ways you can extend their Montessori preschool experience and put together educational games throughout the summer for your child to play. They may not even realize they're educational! Here are a few ideas for educational games for your preschooler to play this summer.

Planning a family event
One day over the summer, have your child plan the family gathering they have always wanted. Let them explore their current interests and share them with the rest of family. It can be a helpful start to provide them a timeline for the planning process, such as a week, so that they have enough time to plan the events and prepare whatever they need. It's also helpful to provide some initial concepts to build on, such as a barbecue, family sporting day, or game night. The event itself might be a bit different than normal but get ready for some creative new activities. It is a great way for children to practice key planning skills such as imagining events that are exciting to them, organizing the steps to bring those plans to fruition, and explaining those concepts to others.

Sharing collections
Creating collections is a great way for children to organize their interests and understand what it is about individual pieces they find exciting. Whether it be leaves, rocks, toys, apps, or something else, the process of creating a collection involves some level of curation. The curation process is about understanding what one finds interesting and organizing pieces that showcase what they enjoy. Allowing children to present their collection and explaining why they valued one item over another and how each item fits into their collection is a terrific educational experience that aligns with the Montessori philosophy.

Word games
Word games are great activities that are quick and simple to do on the go. From playing together to find objects in sight that start with the letters of the alphabet in sequence, to each of you choosing a word of the same length and racing to see who can find words written around you that start with each consecutive letter in your word, there are many ways to play words games with young children. They help reinforce vocabulary as well as memory as you hold multiple words and counts in your mind to finish the game.

The teachers and staff at the Montessori School of Flagstaff Westside Campus encourage you to get outside this summer and have with your preschooler while educating them at the same time.  If you are looking for a hands-on, encouraging school environment for your child to learn, contact us today.

Friday, May 25, 2018

What to Expect: Courses in the BFA Design Degree from ENMU

It is an exciting journey on your way to becoming a graphic designer. Here are a few things to expect as a graphic design student working toward your bachelor's degree at Eastern New Mexico University. ENMU's Bachelor of Fine Arts - Design modern facilities feature state-of-the-art computer labs with 50 iMacs, loaded with the latest design software like Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes video editing, photo editing, and design apps, as well as 3D modeling and animation software programs. Additionally, ENMU's production facilities include a large green screen for filming, a darkroom, a video editing room, and many well-lit studio workspaces.

Graphic Design and Typography
There are several courses that cover the essential content of graphic design and typography. These include Graphic Design I, II, History of Graphic Design, and Typography. Here you will learn the language and toolset of graphic designers. Explore, discuss, and implement all the visual considerations that go into making a font and well-placed, readable words in typography. You will learn and practice utilizing the tools of a graphic designer, including several applications in Adobe's Creative Cloud such as Photoshop and Illustrator.

Web Design
In Web Design courses, learn about the elements that make web design possible. This includes learning about HTML, CSS, and Javascript, and how each of these languages specify what a browser renders on a users' screen. In addition to learning the programming languages that deliver web pages, learn web design best practices such as page layout, button design, and other on-page elements. This can also extend to begin learning about how to design great user experiences.

Digital Editing and Motion Graphics
These classes will teach you how to create stunning videos. Video editing and effects software tools today have incredible capabilities. Digital Editing and Motion Graphics courses include learning about video editing techniques such as transitions and sound mixing, and extends to animation techniques. From transitions to keyframes, these classes will provide you a foundation in editing and motion graphics that can propel you on your journey in graphic design.

Eastern New Mexico University offers dedicated faculty who are committed to academic excellence and emphasize liberal learning, freedom of inquiry and cultural diversity. With affordable tuition and flexible course schedules, ENMU offers an education that fits your lifestyle and puts your career goals within reach. Visit the ENMU website to learn more about how Eastern New Mexico University can help you be successful.

Cost of Graduate Programs and the Financial Aid Available at ENMU

The cost of graduate school is a crucial component of anyone's decision to pursue a graduate degree. As tuition costs continue to rise, prospective graduate students must also consider how a degree would facilitate their career growth. The 100% online Master's of Education Administration degree from Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) delivers affordability with outstanding instructors, and a degree that can help your career in a growing field.

Affordable education in a time of rising tuitions
The average public and private university tuition has increased 33% since 2005. With wages remaining relatively stagnant over the same time period, it is easy to see why affordability is increasingly important for prospective graduate students. ENMU has the third lowest public university tuition and fees in New Mexico and fifth lowest in the southwestern region of the United States. ENMU strives to provide the community with a unique educational opportunity and is proud to be able to offer a high quality, affordable education.

Financial aid availability
Some studies have shown that as much as 70% of ENMU college tuition are paid for in part by some sort of financial aid. Even though ENMU already has one of the lowest tuition rates in the southwestern region, ENMU still strives to help you get the education you need. Additionally, it is free to apply and ENMU's application can be filled out online or you can download and mail it in.

Career potential with a Master's in Education Administration
Education administrators work across educational levels in both the private and public sector. This includes assistant principal, principal, athletic director, federal programs director, special education director, assistant superintendent, or superintendent. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, education administrators on secondary and post-secondary earn a median salary of $94,390 and $92,360, respectively and have growth rates of 8% and 10%, respectively. As these positions require a master's degree, it is easy to see how ENMU's Master's in Education Administration is an outstanding opportunity to begin your new career.

Eastern New Mexico University offers dedicated faculty who are committed to academic excellence and emphasize liberal learning, freedom of inquiry, and cultural diversity. With affordable tuition and flexible course schedules, ENMU offers an education that fits your lifestyle and puts your career goals within reach. Visit the ENMU website to learn more about how Eastern New Mexico University can help you be successful.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Getting Creative with your Preschooler: Make at Home Learning Tools

It is exciting to bring your child’s learning home from school. While traditionally, this has looked like parents assisting with homework, the Montessori child’s education makes it easy for parents to extend their child’s learning more creatively. Using Montessori’s principles of self-directed learning, here are a few creative learning tools you can make at home for your preschooler.

Flash Cards
Flash cards are as relevant in graduate school as in preschool. The content will be different, but the learning method is relevant for a wide variety of situations and relate to the Montessori philosophy. Flash cards are easy to understand and also self-correcting, meaning that the process itself reveals to the participant what they have learned. These characteristics make them a useful learning tool for younger children because once the flash card framework is introduced, children do not need a lot of adult direction to learn. Flash cards can be created for history, spelling, plants, and any number of content associations.

Number games
Number games help children practice the association of numbers and arithmetic with real life situations. That provides an incredible amount of opportunities to create games at home for your child to discover the numbers all around them. This includes using a measuring tape to measure different items throughout your home or distances between different items.  Cooking is an activity full of numbers that also lends itself to games. Children can read a recipe and put together the right number of ingredients, or they can guess how many of each ingredient goes into a favorite meal. Another option is to have different items that can be placed into a scene. For example, you can have a bowl of plastic fish and a printed ocean scene. Your child can place the fish on the scene one by one, counting the total number of fish as they move them.

Map Games
Maps are representations of the world around us. Children can learn to use maps and create their own at home. This can include maps of the world or maps of the United States where children create their own labels, or they can create their own maps of their own spaces. For example, they can make a map of their house and create their own labels. They can even make maps of their school or town. Once the map and labels are created, they can then also practice placing the labels back on the map. While this is not self-correcting in the same way as flash cards, it can be good practice reading and understanding maps.

Educating your preschooler doesn't stop when the child leaves school - incorporating the Montessori method through learning at home with further enhance your child's love of learning.  To learn more about the Montessori method, contact the Montessori Children's House and schedule a tour today.

What is a Prepared Environment?

In Montessori education, the prepared environment is an important tool. From child-sized furniture to a colorful, exciting room decor, everything is arranged to make the child more comfortable and encourage them to be more open and interested in the process of learning and discovery.

Child-Sized Surroundings

The lack of adult-sized furniture is often the first thing a visitor notices when they enter a Montessori classroom, and for good reason. Everything about the class environment is tailored to the child, including tables, chairs, and bookshelves built to child scale. The idea is to make children the primary focus of the classroom, encouraging their participation by creating an environment that is just the right size.

Placement of Books and Activities

In addition to placing things at the child’s level, a prepared environment is designed to steer the child towards activity. The activities will differ from one child to the next, but generally include methods of fostering creativity, encouraging discovery, and helping the child develop both academically and socially. Even the mixed ages in a Montessori classroom are an intentional attempt at building social interaction by allowing younger children to learn from older ones. Despite the fact that the room is brimming with materials in a seemingly haphazard arrangement, you can rest assured that everything is in its place and being used to the maximum benefit of the child.

Including Nature in Education

Even the great outdoors is part of the prepared environment. Maria Montessori observed that children are inherently curious, and adapted her teaching method to include outside, real-world activities as part of the learning process. She believed that we all learn better by doing, and realized that allowing children to engage in hands-on activities helped them learn. From forest hikes to summer gardening, being active outside helps children learn to be more responsible, civic-minded members of their community.

The Prepared Environment at Home

The prepared learning environment should not end on school grounds. Parents are encouraged to create a prepared environment at home as well. This might be as simple as a corner where everything is scaled to child-size, but it can be expanded throughout the home as well. Make sure that your child's books are easy to reach, that all of the tools they need to be engaged and active are freely available when and where they need them. Think of the changes as making your child feel more included in the home. Because being accepted and included is one of the most important aspects of the prepared environment.

The prepared environment is much more than a particular set of textbooks, an assigned seat, or even a structured curriculum where the same subjects are studied for the same duration at the same time on any given school day. The prepared environment is making sure that your child has the tools and encouragement to follow their interests, to learn how to solve their own problems, and the self-confidence to share their experiences and discoveries with others.  To see a prepared environment in person, schedule a tour at the Montessori School of Flagstaff Westside Campus today.  Our teachers and staff welcome prospective students and parents to visit the school and learn about the Montessori difference firsthand.

The Foundational Lessons of a Montessori Elementary

In Montessori education, there are 5 “Great Lessons” which are used to establish the framework of the Montessori program and encourage children to take an active, interested part in learning. Each of the 5 lessons is meant to give children a foundation for learning and discovery, showing them their relationship to the world around them and inviting them to take an active role in shaping their own environments.

The First Great Lesson
This lesson is the foundation of all science and attempts to familiarize children with the origins of the world and the cosmos. This includes scientific things such as volcanoes, the states of matter and the composition of the Earth, but it also includes introducing children to stories about the creation of the Earth itself.

Lesson #2: Origins of Life
Once matter, energy, and the creation of the universe have been introduced, children will be curious about the origins of life. As with all Montessori education, the purpose is to encourage children to get involved and want to know more. This lesson will introduce life as we know it, and briefly examine how life came to be as well as the myriad forms of life which exist on our planet.

The Third Lesson
Human beings have their own lesson to teach children. The coming of humans aims to teach children about the rise of people, the variations of race and custom, and the importance of everyone working together to make the world a better place for everyone. The human story is a long and beautiful tale and helps children understand why we are all different while remaining almost exactly the same.

Great Lesson #4: Written Communication
Sometimes referred to as the history of writing, or simply called communication using signs, the 4th Great Lesson deals with the invention of the written word. The ability to create a permanent record has allowed humanity to achieve great things, and learning about how writing developed is an awe-inspiring project for children. This lesson begins with pictographs and proceeds through the written languages being used around the world today, reinforcing the variety of human imagination and how we communicate in different ways depending on where we live.

The Fifth Great Lesson
Discovering where numbers, counting, and arithmetic come from is similar to the story of communication learned in the 4th Great Lesson. Children are introduced to the concept of counting and the development of numbers and math.

Taken as a group of interlinked lessons, the 5 Great Lessons teach children about the universe from it’s beginning to our current place in time. It opens a child’s eyes to the wonders of the past, yet leaves plenty of room for the discoveries still ahead of us. Each lesson is an introduction to a greater body of knowledge and discovery and encourages children to want to know and experience more.  To see how these lessons are incorporated into the Montessori Elementary classroom, contact the Montessori School of Fremont and schedule a tour today!