Montessori Schools of Fremont

Providing premium Montessori education since 1974

Is Your Child Getting Enough Sleep for School? — March 15, 2017

Is Your Child Getting Enough Sleep for School?

Do you know whether your child is getting enough sleep? Or did you know that what seems like hyperactivity to you, including behavioral problems and a lack of attention span, can actually be caused by your child not getting enough sleep?

Getting enough sleep at night is important at any age, but especially when a child is in school during the day. All children vary somewhat, and may not all need the same amount of sleep, but here are some general guidelines to help you send your child to school well-rested and ready to learn.

Babies

Infants need the most sleep, as much as 17 hours out of every 24 during the first few weeks of life, and leveling off to around 12 to 15 hours a day by the time they’re a few months old. Even before your baby starts school, it’s important to make sure they get enough sleep, as you’re establishing self-soothing and sleep routines during this stage that will take them through childhood.

Toddlers

Little ones, 1 to 3 years of age, don’t need as much sleep as they did as infants, but they still need quite a bit. On average, toddlers need 11 to 14 hours and should get no less than 9 hours of sleep out of every 24. This includes not just overnight sleep, but also naps, with your toddler transitioning from two naps a day to one longer afternoon nap. As their world changes and grows, and especially as they start a daycare or early childhood education program, it’s important at this age to make sure your toddler gets enough sleep.

Preschoolers

Around when your child reaches age 4 or 5, expect to see their sleep requirements going down again. At this age, they may start to give up their afternoon naps altogether. While they still need between 10 and 13 hours of sleep, you may need to put them to bed a little earlier every evening to make sure they get it. Ensuring they get enough sleep will enable them to pay better attention in school and to fine-tune important behavioral skills such as self-control.

School Aged Children

Once kids give up their naps and move into grade school, it’s easy to forget that they still need enough sleep every night to be on their best behavior every day. Don’t be tempted to view your school aged child as a little adult. They still need between 9 and 12 hours of sleep every night. Find a bedtime that provides them with enough sleep to perform at their best in class during the waking hours, and still have enough energy to carry them through extracurricular activities, homework, and family time in the evening.

Kids’ brains and bodies are changing so fast that they need their sleep even more than we do to help them grow and develop. Kids who aren’t getting enough sleep will have trouble paying attention or controlling their behavior, so plenty of sleep is also a necessary foundation for a successful education.

For more information about our Montessori schools, our teachers’ sleep recommendations, and how we promote healthy sleep habits in the classroom during nap time, please contact us today to schedule a tour.  At the Montessori School of Fremont, we focus on nurturing the child as a whole; this includes encouraging regular sleeping patterns to ensure children are well rested and well prepared for the day ahead.

Understanding the Setup of a Montessori Classroom — March 12, 2017

Understanding the Setup of a Montessori Classroom

To understand the essence of Montessori education, you need only to step inside a classroom. Inside, you will feel how beautifully inviting the room feels and notice how thoughtfully it has been arranged to implement Dr. Maria Montessori’s approach to your child’s education.

Understanding the Setup of a Montessori Classroom

Your first reaction to a Montessori classroom has you noticing the uncluttered spaces, natural and soft lights, and how activities are focused and calm. Materials in the classroom are set out on open shelves that will instill independence in your child. The room is arranged with furniture that meets the appropriate height of your child’s age, so he or she will feel comfortable exploring and learning about their world.

Design of the Classroom

The flow inside the Montessori classroom creates an environment that provides choices for your child. There are areas designed specifically to meet your child’s interest and learning ability. You will not find the traditional rows of desks as children are encouraged to work on tables or the floor, wherever they feel more comfortable. Areas are designated to meet different parts of the curriculum such as math, culture, or language. In each area are tables or shelves with materials that will invite your child to explore the subject.

The Montessori classroom is not plastered with brightly colored images of popular commercial characters, but instead highlights local interest areas such as museums or photographs of select locations, and even artwork done by the students. There are also quiet areas where your child can relax without peer interaction and enjoy some meditative thought.

Organization within the Classroom

Montessori classrooms are designed to meet the needs of its students. Furniture is sized to the age-group so smaller children are not challenged to climb into over-sized couches or chairs. If your child is a preschooler, they will enjoy an environment designed to their height including reachable shelves, child-sized tools, and small comfy couches. The size-appropriate furniture helps to allow independence for your child and helps them develop small motor skills.

As the age group goes up, the Montessori classroom environment grows with them. The elementary students will find classrooms to meet their needs such as areas for science labs, interactive whiteboards, and tables for group work. All of the Montessori classrooms are well-organized and inviting. Your child will feel relaxed and ready to learn in all the various environments.

Learning Materials within the Montessori Classroom

The Montessori approach to education is hands-on learning. Materials are designed to be investigated and manipulated, so students are able to master their meaning. They are displayed where your child will be able to reach them independently and not have to rely on adult assistance. Items are arranged, so children are introduced to those pertaining to their curriculum and will be able to progress through the material at their learning level. When teachers observe the growth in your child’s understanding, they will introduce newer material to stimulate their curiosity and educational growth.

At Montessori School of Flagstaff Westside Campus, our classrooms are set up to meet the needs of our students.  Open shelving allows students to explore independently, and appropriately sized furniture allows students to be comfortable in their learning environment.  To see how the Montessori classroom differs from a traditional classroom, visit our school today.

 

Teach Your Kindergartner Why Sharing is Caring — March 9, 2017

Teach Your Kindergartner Why Sharing is Caring

Sharing is a fascinating topic. In social settings, adults expect children to be generous and aware of the needs of the children they’re interacting with. What most adults don’t realize is that sharing is an adult virtue. Children are not born with the instinct to share; they need time and practice to learn this concept.

Teach Your Kindergartner Why Sharing is Caring

As a parent, you may wonder how kindergartners are ever taught to share with each other. You many even envision hectic interactions for favorite toys and stressed teachers attempting to dole out ‘fair’ rules for the use of popular items. This vision is not the case in the Montessori classroom. Conflicts over popular or favorite items are one of the least common occurrences between kindergartners. The philosophy of sharing goes back to the words of Dr. Montessori, who originally founded the Montessori classroom structure.

Dr. Montessori’s Belief

Dr. Montessori was an Italian physician and educator. She is known for the philosophy that an educational approach should be based on scientific observations of children from their birth to adulthood. She emphasized independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child be implemented within the classroom.

During play time within the classroom, Dr. Montessori believed children engaged in active and productive activities would lose their possessiveness. She firmly believed they would turn their energy towards productive development and not focus on their ‘wants.’

Setting Limits

Setting limits helps to remind children that if another child is using an item, it is theirs until they no longer want it. Choices work great to help a child wait for their turn. Offering an alternative item or the option to sit and wait until the item is available will show the child they cannot always have what they want but have to share its time with others.

Sharing Emerges With Age

Sharing cannot be taught – it has to be learned through experience and age. You cannot force your child to talk, and you won’t be able to make them spontaneously happy with sharing. Some parents resort to threatening their child with a negative action if they don’t share a toy. This threat will lead to resentment in your child and give them a feeling they don’t have control over their own belongings. As your child gets older, it will be an intrinsic desire for them to care about others and want to share with them.

Montessori Can Show Your Child How to Share and Care

In the Montessori classroom environment, your child will learn how to share and care through an atmosphere of sharing. Your child will be exposed to these values even without being aware they are learning them. Through grace and courtesy lessons, your child will learn how to wait their turn, serve snacks to others, ask for help, and much more. Your child will learn about choices and their ability to create actions. These lessons will start your child on a path of being more caring and wanting to share.

At Montessori Childrens Center in Fremont, the teachers and staff incorporate sharing into the everyday curriculum.  Through play based and hands-on learning, kindergartners are able to interact with and learn from older students.  Contact our school today to schedule a tour and see Montessori education firsthand.

Fun Valentine Crafts for 3 to 5 Year Olds — March 8, 2017

Fun Valentine Crafts for 3 to 5 Year Olds

Valentine’s Day is a great reason to get your preschoolers working on some fun craft projects. Not only can they get their creative genius out, but they can create fun gifts for friends and family. Here are some fun ideas for your 3 to 5 year olds to try out this Valentine’s Day.

Fun Valentine Craft Ideas for Your 3 to 5 Year Olds

  • Valentine Wreath – This Valentine wreath is a great hands-on craft activity. It may take a little preparation on your end depending on your child’s scissor skills. You will need a blank cardboard wreath or circle and construction paper cut into heart shapes. Glue the construction paper onto the cardboard and attach some ribbon at the top.
  • Valentine’s Butterflies and Bugs – Kids love bugs and butterflies so why not turn them into cute Valentine’s decorations. You will need felt and sequins for this cute craft. Cut out hearts and small circles with the felt. Use glue to attach the pieces to make a butterfly or a caterpillar using the hearts for the body and circles for the heads. Use the sequins for eyes and decoration.
  • Keepsake Card – If you are looking to make cards for your family, a cute keepsake card is the way to go and your child will love getting their feet messy. For this project, you will need cardboard, markers, and pink or red paint. Cut out a large heart with the cardboard (large enough for your child’s feet and words). Have your child step into the paint and then onto the card. You can now write a cute poem, verse, or note around the painted footprints.
  • Pom Pom Painting – Some cardboard or rigid paper, small pom poms, a wooden clothes peg, and paint is all you need for this cute project. Cut out a heart shape or a butterfly. Then have your preschooler dip the pom pom into the paint, pressing down onto the card.
  • Bee Mine Valentine Bee – For something different, let your kids create a bumblebee for friends and family. You will need construction paper in bright yellow, black, and pink. The bright yellow paper will be the body and the head; you will need an oval and a heart shape. Cut out black stripes with the black construction paper and a pink heart from the pink paper. Have your child assemble the bee using glue. Then add the heart to the body at the end. On the heart, write Bee Mine! This is simple and cute, and kids will use those important fine motor skills to assemble the bee.

Here at Montessori School in Newark, we believe that arts and crafts are an important part of your child’s education. If you are looking for a preschool where your child can learn and discover the world at their own pace, contact us today to schedule a tour and learn more about the Montessori approach.

Teaching Elementary Students about Citizenship —

Teaching Elementary Students about Citizenship

For elementary students, citizenship lessons help teach cooperation and interaction. Once acquired, citizenship skills will carry throughout the student’s life. In its simplest form, citizenship means following the Golden Rule – treating others fairly with the expectation of being treated fairly in return. There are six basic components to citizenship:

Honesty

The cornerstone of good citizenship is honesty. This includes being honest with others as well as yourself. A good citizen does not try to lie, cheat, or steal from others. An honorable person is one who can be trusted, a critical factor in learning to get along in society.

Compassion

Coupled with honesty, compassion forms the rest of the Golden Rule. Compassion means to use empathy, understanding how others feel and react. Compassion ranges from simple consideration for someone who is feeling ill to generosity in assisting someone who is unable to perform a task alone. It is also important to learn that compassion extends beyond immediate surroundings, encompassing your community, people from other races or religious beliefs, and even understanding and caring for all living things.

Self-Discipline

Learning to accept that you cannot always get what you want can be a tough lesson for young students. Self-discipline includes controlling behavior such as blurting out answers without being called on, avoiding emotional outbursts such as crying or getting angry, and following through on goals and obligations. Self-discipline comes from honesty and compassion, and results in being able to master respect and responsibility.

Respect

Respect for others means addressing people of authority correctly, such as saying “Yes, sir,” or “No ma’am.” It also means being understanding of someone’s property, culture, or disabilities. You do not have to agree with someone or something, but you should disagree respectfully. Self-respect is important as well, and that means learning to feel good about yourself and ignoring urges to cause yourself pain or unnecessary confrontation.

Responsibility

Responsibility means doing what is expected of you, even when you do not want to do it. Examples of responsibility include behaving courteously, doing homework, and always acting appropriately. When someone else is doing something they should not be doing, we have a responsibility to refrain from joining in, as well as making sure that the proper authority figures are aware. For example, if someone is stealing from your friend, you should notify an adult rather than participating in the theft or even fighting with the person who is stealing.

Courage

Courage combines all of the other traits of good citizenship and helps every student learn to be a better person. Courage means reporting theft or bullying to a teacher even though other students may call you names. Courage also means you standing up for what is right, such as refusing to allow a bully to ridicule you or someone who is differently abled. Courage means rising to meet a challenge despite obstacles, but it also means being able to resist being lured into fights or bullying yourself.

At Montessori School of Pleasanton, we teach our students to be upstanding citizens. Our teachers embrace our diverse cultures and backgrounds and actively engage students in learning about the world around us.  To experience the Montessori difference firsthand, call us today to schedule a tour.

Learning from the Outdoors —

Learning from the Outdoors

Connecting children to the world they live in is an important part of a Montessori education. Maria Montessori herself said, “The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.” In an age of rising tides, increased extinctions, and historic droughts, learning to understand the world around us is more vital than ever before.

Learning Through Discovery

Montessori learning includes nature as a tool for education. Children are encouraged to spend time outside, exploring the world, observing natural events, and investigating how all of nature works as a system. This could be anything from charting the weather to studying an anthill. The important thing is for the children to be immersed in nature in such a way that the world they live in becomes part of the educational process.

Outdoors Education

Another way to get children involved in nature is to allow them more access to the outdoors. In Montessori learning, that may be as simple as reading a book while soaking in a few rays. Children are already fascinated by living things, they simply need a little guidance and a lot of freedom to explore and learn.

Nature, Math, and Sciences

Everything in nature can be defined through mathematics and the sciences. Biology is the study of living things, for example, and physics is a collection of the rules that allow the cosmos to function in a clockwork fashion. Even geometry is well-represented in such random things as the petals on a flower, the seemingly random design of a snowflake, or the shape of a pine cone. With Montessori education, children are able to use real-world examples as part of their everyday learning material.

Interconnectedness

There is an invisible thread which ties all things together, living and nonliving alike. Heat creates clouds, and clouds make rain, which nourishes living things and slowly erodes the mountains themselves. By allocating a portion of each student’s day in this elegant dance, the kids are able to learn from examples and natural portrayals, giving them concrete awareness of how our world interacts at all levels. The fact that Sir Isaac Newton identified gravity and then created a whole new kind of advanced mathematics from what he learned is proof that awareness of the greater world outside is an educational benefit.

Learning from the outdoors was once the way all children were taught, before brick and mortar schools with dictated curriculums separated them. In Montessori education, the goal is to combine the modern goals of education with the ancient ambiance of the world. Understanding the function we play in the world at large is becoming an imperative for the next generation, and Montessori education is taking important steps in the right direction.

At the Montessori School of Flagstaff Cedar Campus, we incorporate outdoors learning into our everyday curriculum.  Students are encouraged to learn from nature and incorporate their new knowledge into other subject areas.  To see how we teach middle school students to embrace the outdoors, call us today to schedule a tour!

Celebrating Different Cultures in Preschool — February 6, 2017

Celebrating Different Cultures in Preschool

The preschool years are a great time for children to learn about other cultures. During this time, kids are naturally curious about new experiences and very accepting of others’ differences. Both helping children learn about the importance of accepting others and learning about their cultures are important for children.

Bringing Diversity Into the Classroom

There are two ways of helping children learn to understand and appreciate cultural differences. One is by fostering a multicultural environment that helps kids accept each others’ differences. The other is through the use of lessons and activities that help put this understanding into focus.

Examples of encouraging multiculturalism include:

  • Placing books with multicultural characters in the classroom
  • Taking advantage of so-called teachable moments when students have questions
  • Use posters depicting children of diverse backgrounds
  • Offering crayons and paint in enough shades to allow children to color and paint in the shades of their choice
  • When possible, use dolls of different backgrounds and with ethnic clothing, as appropriate

Accepting Differences and Recognizing Similarities

Children need to accept differences, but also remember that we have much in common. Cultural differences should not be taught in a way that makes kids treat those different from them as oddities. A sense of mutual respect in the lessons will help children learn to accept the culture and values of others.

Some of the ways to achieve this balance include:

  • Encouraging an atmosphere of respect for all
  • Helping children express themselves while embracing the self-expression of their peers
  • Don’t discourage children from asking questions

Fun Activities to Encourage Multiculturalism

Some of the best ways for children to learn to appreciate other cultures are through activities. These help children learn about other cultures together. The group setting provides an interactive element that you can be sure kids will love.

  • Consider having a teacher and students from a class in another country talk with your students via videoconferencing
  • Put together a bulletin board display with family photos or other pictures celebrating your students’ heritage
  • Encourage everyone to sing familiar songs in different languages, or even the alphabet or numbers

Group activities for kids that involve other cultures help give them more of a sense of familiarity. They will be able to learn that, although there are differences, the lives of kids in other cultures have many similarities to theirs. Because kids learn most of their lessons about tolerance at any early age, these efforts will make a difference.

Montessori School of Fremont uses the Montessori Method to let children explore different cultures through hands-on and interactive learning experiences.  They embrace diversity and encourage children to learn what makes each of us unique and special.  Schedule a tour today at Montessori School of Fremont to see how our teachers foster inclusion and open mindedness both inside and outside the classroom.