Friday, September 21, 2018

Montessori Work Stations


Montessori classrooms use materials chosen specifically to teach various concepts. Each resource, or workstation, is used over and over to learn different concepts. This means that the same resources may be used by different students of various ages for different applications. It can be difficult to separate the materials used by one age group or another.

Montessori Learning Resources

To illustrate how the Montessori method uses learning materials, we will look at two common resources: The Pink Tower, and the Golden Beads.

·        The Pink Tower
This is a set of ordinary building blocks of differing sizes. Colors are often used as part of the identification process because it helps children learn to identify colors and teaches them an important lesson about using descriptive vocabulary.
o   3 to 6 Years - During the early years of Montessori, the Pink Tower blocks are used as traditional building blocks, but they can also serve as a tool for counting, sorting, and more.
o   6 to 9 Years - Those same learning blocks can be applied to learning math, studying the laws of physics, or adapted for use in other projects such as tracing shapes.
o   9 to 12 Years - By the third stage of elementary education, most students have moved away from playing with blocks, but the Pink Tower can be applied to higher learning skills such as geometry and other abstract concepts.

·        The Golden Beads
This set of tools is composed of beads in 4 patterns: A single bead, a string of 10 beads, a square of 100 beads, and a cube of 1000 beads. These divisions are vital to the applications the resource was designed for.
o   3 to 6 Years - The younger children can use Golden Beads to learn to count, and the division of the beads allows children to quickly and easily grasp the decimal pattern of counting, where each new number bracket is composed of 10 of the previous division.
o   6 to 9 Years - The Golden Beads are perfect for learning the basics of multiplication, division, and comparison of sets.
o   9 to 12 Years - Those same beads transform into a tool for understanding spatial concepts, advanced patterns, and the intricacies of such ideas as calculating volume and calculating dimensions.

The Montessori resources discussed here are only two of the many workstations which populate the Montessori classroom. They were used to illustrate how simple learning toys can be used to teach a range of lessons at multiple age levels. As with all Montessori materials, they were carefully chosen to fill multiple roles while teaching children important educational concepts.  The Montessori School of Fremont invites families in to see the Montessori environment first hand.  Contact us today to schedule a tour.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Transitioning from Traditional to Montessori Education: Supporting your Child


For every child, moving from one school to another can be a challenging experience. It can also feel particularly difficult when that change is not just in the new classrooms, teachers, and peers, but also in the method of education, such as when a child transitions from a traditional educational setting to a Montessori educational setting. The good news is that this is a transition that many families have made, and there are several helpful things parents can do to support their child in that process.

Explore what Montessori education means
One of the strongest foundational steps parents can take in supporting their child as they begin their schooling at their Montessori school is to educate themselves about the Montessori Method and the eight principles that govern the learning environment. Familiarity with these concepts can then expand to include knowledge of the learning tools and language used in the classroom. There are many resources that are available to parents who wish to learn more about Montessori, such as books, blogs, and videos, and some schools may provide workshops or seminars for new families. Additionally, teachers or other parents of Montessori students can be a source of information on Montessori fundamentals, as well as the practices and norms of that particular school and classroom.   
Bring Montessori techniques home
Another helpful strategy for supporting a child as they attend Montessori school is to model and practice the Montessori methods of learning from the classroom in the home. Independence, self-motivation, curiosity, and choice are all important components of the Montessori style of education. Parents can help their child to practice these traits in small ways, like having their child choose which household responsibility they would like to help with for the week, or having them create a plan for the family’s weekend outing, or simply following along when their curiosity leads them to ask “How?” and “Why?”
Learn from your child
Lastly, unlike in traditional school settings, in Montessori schools, skills are not demonstrated through a test or grades, but through the student’s ability to use it both inside the classroom and out. Instead of bringing home a report card that can be hung on the refrigerator, children are encouraged to work collaboratively with their peers or their teachers utilizing the new material to problem solve or create a project. Importantly, children are also encouraged to mentor or teach other students who have not yet mastered the material, a role which further solidifies their grasp of the information or skill. Outside the classroom, parents can also occupy the position of mentee and have their child not only show, but teach them what they’ve learned.  

If you are interested in learning more about Montessori education, we invite you and your child to visit the classrooms and speak with the teachers at the Montessori School of Fremont. You will be able to experience the Montessori difference firsthand and see how students work together to enhance their learning.  Contact us today to schedule a tour!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Creative Kids: Learning through Art


Art takes an important role in early childhood development. The importance of creative art cannot be understated as it relates to many aspects of education and personal growth. Promoting creative kids and learning through art has many benefits which should be encouraged, including:

·        Improving Fine Motor Skills
·        Increased Language and Vocabulary
·        Abstract Skills
·        Innovation
·        Cultural Diversity


Dexterity and Coordination

Art is an appealing way to build fine motor skills. Drawing, painting, and even banging on a drum or dancing around the room helps children improve their balance and coordination. In a play-based learning environment, creative expression through art is a vital piece of the educational program and helps instill self-confidence.


Speech and Self-Expression

Even though a great deal of creativity is not verbal in nature, creative kids will increase their knowledge of language as an incidental benefit by talking about and explaining their art to peers and authority figures. As children explore new outlets for expression, they also adopt new terminology to convey their artistic intent. Educators can use the same tools used in children’s books to assist in building language skills, such as describing a child’s drawing in art-related or descriptive terms which refer to color, size, and perceived emotion, among other art-related terms.


Concepts and Imagination

Art in any form increases a child’s ability to understand things such as spatial concepts, patterns, and depth perception. Additionally, the act of being creative in itself helps kids to perform abstract thought, such as applying art as a function of self-expression. Where coloring a printed image helps with coordination, turning a blank page into a work of art teaches them that they have the ability to present something brand new to the experience of others.


Innovation and Invention

Creative kids find new ways to do things with existing tools. This can be as simple as discovering that blocks can be stacked in a way that forms a bridge, a tower, or even to resemble familiar objects such as people, trees, or animals. This innovation includes such ideas as learning to create mixed colors, develop their own designs, use new materials, and more.


Diversity and Culture

Art has a tendency to adapt cultural tradition and provides an excellent tool in promoting diversity and cultural acceptance. Through dance and music, for example, children learn that different cultures use both different styles and different methods of expression, such as the use of different stringed instruments, voice inflections, and body movements. Creative children can also be introduced to cultural acceptance and appreciation for how different cultures interact in positive ways and communicate through their unique traditions.

Encouraging creativity in a supportive manner gives children the incentive to be more productive and develop a higher level of self-esteem. Montessori education focuses on encouraging children to explore their creativity through play-based and hands-on learning experiences.  To learn more about Montessori education, contact the Montessori School of Flagstaff Westside Campus today.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Last Days of Summer: Fun Outdoor Games for Elementary Students


Before the summer comes to a close, give your elementary student a few last flings in the sun. All of the outdoor games presented here are kid-tested, and many can be modified for indoor play if the weather turns sour. The links provided here are not exact duplicates of the gameplay we describe, and we encourage you and your children to come up with even more variations.


Pirate’s Treasure

Hide some treasure and draw a map for treasure hunters to follow. Be sure to include fun activities as part of the map, like “lay down and roll over” and “hop 3 paces on one foot.” Another option is to choose a child to be the pirate, whose job it is to “hide the loot,” which can be anything from a small toy to tasty treats. The first one to find the treasure gets the prize and becomes the pirate for the next round. Dressing up in pirate costumes will make the game even more enjoyable.


Kid Casting

For this game, you’ll need at least one fishing rod & reel. Mark out the “deep holes” with hula hoops or a circle made from yarn at various distances from a chair designated as “the boat.” Inside the holes add “sweet spots” made of a smaller circle or even a large, shallow plastic dish. Instead of a hook, tie a washer or similar object to the end of the line. Not only is this game a lot of fun, it helps elementary students further develop fine motor skills and abstract calculation. If you want to get really fancy, glue a magnet to fish cut out of construction paper so there’s really a catch to be hooked.


Action Figure Paratroopers

This is another educational game for children of all ages. You’ll need squares of thin plastic or cloth, some toy action figures, and some pieces of yarn. Connect the toys to the thin plastic or cloth using 2 or more strips of yarn. Experiment with making the paratroopers until the kids have found a design that works, by wrapping the parachute around the toy so that it will unwind when tossed into the air. When the engineering is complete, the next stage is to let the paratroopers make a landing in a designated place in the yard. The child who gets closest on each round gains a point. Keep in mind that the parachutes do not actually have to work correctly for your children to have fun tossing them. Let them play!


Animal Imitation

Have each of the kids draw a few animals on different full-sized sheets of paper. Shuffle the pictures face-down, and let each child have a turn at mimicking the behavior or sounds of the animal on the first sheet on the stack. Before you know it, the whole group will be clucking and growling and prancing around like pets, farm animals, and even jungle beasts.

At the Montessori School of Pleasanton, our teachers guide students to explore and be creative on their own using the Montessori method.  To learn more about Montessori education and our elementary program, contact us today to set up a tour.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Quiet Time Activities


Infants and toddlers need quite a bit of sleep, and nap time is a common method to help them get it. As they get older, nap time gets phased out, often replaced by a similar method of working or playing for a while without disturbing others. Quiet time activities help them do that by giving children activities to do during the quiet period. We have listed a few quiet time activities for small children which can be easily modified to suit your needs and the educational level of your kids.


Books

Books with few words and many brightly colored pictures allow your children to entertain themselves. Keeping a child’s library of books suited for their abilities allows you to transform quiet time into “Silent Reading Time,” which is more appealing to children and provides an accurate description of what they are expected to do.


Puzzles

Puzzle solving is another age-old activity for small children. This is often a youngster’s first foray into developing problem-solving skills, and most kids enjoy manipulating puzzle pieces and watching a picture materialize through their own choices. Puzzles are available for all age ranges, including small children who are just beginning to develop fine motor skills.


Building with Blocks

Plastic or wooden blocks help children to quietly learn to manipulate objects with precision. As with puzzles, interlocking blocks and smooth-sided blocks are available for kids of almost any age and introduces the concept that all things are composed of smaller objects which are arranged in different ways.


Connect-the-Dots and Tracing

Connect-the-dot or picture tracing activities are another way to help reinforce fine motor skills. To give children more incentive to do these activities, keep a bulletin board nearby which contains their artwork. This makes it possible for them to share their projects with others. You can also staple a thin sheet of clear, hard plastic over the pages so that the slate can be wiped clean and the work repeated as often as the child prefers.


Letter and Number Workbooks

Preschoolers and kindergartners are ready to become engaged in the use of words and numbers. You can turn a spiral notebook into an activity book by creating work pages of letter, word, and number lists with a space to repeat the process below what you have done. Begin with the alphabet and number recognition, then progress to short words and simple arithmetic as the children advance through their learning.

The ideas presented here will probably lead you to other ideas for quiet time activities. The idea is to keep children quietly occupied and engaged, and the activity can be as simple or advanced as your children are ready to take on. At Montessori Children's House, we incorporate quiet time activities into the daily schedule.  To learn more about the Montessori method, contact us today.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Flexible Courses: Earning your MBA Online through ENMU


Earning your MBA is a great step to accelerate your career across the business landscape. ENMU’s online MBA is an exciting program to build your business understanding and help you make the next step in your career. ENMU’s MBA program, accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), is designed for the needs of working adults to deliver expert faculty and academic support, flexible courses, and affordable education to make an MBA accessible to all.  This general business approach allows graduates to pursue a wide variety of careers including entrepreneur, operations manager, marketing manager, finance officer, management analyst, human resource specialist, or business researcher. 


Flexible Courses
ENMU’s MBA program is designed to prepare students for managerial positions and in strategic and operational roles. The MBA program covers topics across managerial roles to understand the various cross-sections of business including business administration, economics, finance, information systems, management, and marketing.


Academic Support
To help you achieve your career goals, ENMU provides resources beyond a flexible curriculum. Faculty advising is available via phone or email to help you successfully complete your MBA. ENMU also offers several tutoring services, including the Online Writing Center, which is exclusively for distance learning students. The Online Writing Center is available to help you improve your writing and help you communicate clearly for written projects and assignments. As ENMU also has a dedicated distance learning librarian on staff, you will have the help you need to take advantage of library resources. Additionally, the Counseling and Career Services office offers free job placement assistance to all students, to help you with your job search.


Financial support to reach the next step in your career
Eastern New Mexico University has the second lowest bachelor's and master's-level tuition in the state of New Mexico and has one of the most affordable graduate tuition rates in the United States. And if you are an out-of-state student enrolling in 6 or fewer hours per semester, you'll pay tuition and fees at the low in-state rate.

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.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Positive Effects of Daycare on Children


While daycare is sometimes seen as a lesser alternative to sole care by a child’s parents or primary caregivers, a nurturing, quality, and structured daycare environment, such as those that Montessori schools provide, can create significant positive effects for a child’s development. Montessori school’s self-directed learning and social-emotional growth can lead to greater language development, social skills, and preparedness for later school environments.

Language development
When a child enters daycare, they need to learn how to communicate with a range of individuals – other children their age, caregivers, teachers, other parents – who don’t know how to interpret your child’s wants and needs as you do. This requires your child to enhance their verbal and non-verbal communication skills and their ability to reframe their ideas and questions so they are understood. Through these incidental learning experiences, as well as focused learning activities, children who attend daycare can become positive, assertive communicators and, in a study completed by the National Institute for Health, are shown to “attain higher vocabulary scores upon entering school.”

Social connections
One of the most obvious and consequential positive effects of daycare is on a child’s ability to build social connections. Children in daycare gain experience in relating to more and different children and adults and learn to negotiate their wants and needs and those of others. This can teach them invaluable social skills such as generosity, fairness, politeness, and how to help a friend. This form of intelligence is difficult to teach and is primarily attained through hands-on experiences and trial and error. In the structured and supportive daycare environment of Montessori schools, children are encouraged to lead their own learning, grow from their mistakes, and experience the value of collaboration.

Preparation for school environments
The shift to a school environment can feel abrupt and disorienting for a young child. One of the more challenging components of this can be developing the skills to cope with separation from their parents. While this can feel overwhelming to both a child and their parents, cultivating these skills at an early age in partnership with a daycare can make that first day of kindergarten a more joyful experience. Daycare can also provide a supportive first exposure to the structure children will encounter in their school-age years. They have the opportunity to learn how to participate in a schedule, how to respect and assert boundaries, and, through familiarity and comfort with a structure, gain confidence and independence as they navigate the activities and environment of their daycare. Additionally, daycare lets children practice utilizing teacher-figures as resources and supports, which can enhance a student’s learning experience at any age.


At the Montessori School of Flagstaff Westside Campus, we offer Montessori programs for children ages 3-6 years old.  We understand how important it is to teach our youngest children the foundational skills they will use throughout the rest of their education and later on in life.  To learn more about our Montessori programs, contact us today!