Montessori Schools of Fremont

Providing premium Montessori education since 1974

Tips to Incorporate the Montessori Method outside of School — May 24, 2017

Tips to Incorporate the Montessori Method outside of School

Trying to draw a line between learning and the home life can be both confusing and discouraging for kids. Parents can be very helpful to their children and their educators by following some simple advice on integrating the Montessori classroom with the home environment. The first step is to be as inclusive as possible with your children by communicating with them regularly and making them feel like an important part of your daily life. After that, bringing parts of the Montessori method into the home will benefit all aspects of your children’s lives.

Scaling to Size

Set aside a section of the home for your children to learn and grow. Incorporate furniture that is built for children, including appropriately sized chairs, tables, and bookshelves. When a child can personally relate to an area as their own, they are going to be more likely to spend time there. The educational tools should be similarly selected. Small children will be attracted to objects that are easier to grasp, for example, and replacing the items with things that are appropriately sized as the child ages reinforces a sense of importance and belonging.

Encourage Self Expression

Children learn differently from one another. Trying to impose a rigid set of rules or behavior patterns will not encourage them to learn and grow, but providing an environment that is exciting and educational will. If a child expresses an interest in music, then make song and dance opportunities available. Likewise, make an effort to fit into your children’s environment instead of forcing them to adapt to yours.

Understand Your Child

Your daughter is not a miniature version of you, regardless of how much you want that to be true. Hang pictures that she likes on the walls at her eye level. Talk to her about what she likes and do things that she enjoys. Montessori education promotes a sense of self, and fostering that confidence is an important role for parents to continue when the school day is done. Do not spoil your child, but make an effort to include her.

Promote Order and Organization

To a large extent, children need to have some order in their lives. While it is okay for there to be a bit of daily fluctuation, too much variation can be confusing. This is true of the subjects you cover as well as the structure of the environment. Encourage putting things away when you are done, and provide a positive example by doing so yourself. When a child learns to organize and prioritize, they gain a sense of structure and will be better at planning out their own projects and goals.

Children do not stop learning at the end of the school day. When parents blur the distinction between learning and living, children gain a different perspective. As parents, we all want our children to be the best that they can be, and incorporating the Montessori method into the home will be a huge step in the right direction.

At Mission Valley Montessori, our teachers work with our parents to assist them in continuing the Montessori method outside of the classroom.  We believe in teaching the child as a whole and instilling the same values both at home and at school.  If you’re looking to learn more about the Montessori method, contact us today to schedule a tour and talk with our teachers and parents about how Montessori education has had a positive impact on their lives.

Teaching your Preschooler Responsibility through Household Activities — May 4, 2017

Teaching your Preschooler Responsibility through Household Activities

As a parent, you want the best for your child at each step of development. You want your child to learn and grow into a self-reliant, independent individual. Providing children with necessary life skills at an early age builds a foundation for the future. Participating in simple household activities can teach your child responsibility.

4 Ways to Teach Your Preschooler to be Responsible

Instilling responsibility in your child at an early age teaches self-awareness, accountability, and encourages independence. One of the best ways to show your preschooler to be responsible is modeling acceptable behavior. For example, with your preschooler present, put your clothes in the laundry basket. The action shows your preschooler the correct way for caring for dirty laundry.

Use Age-Appropriate Activities for Your Preschoolers

Preschoolers do not understand broad concepts at this stage of development. When picking out the household activities for your preschooler, use precise directions. Making the selected tasks age appropriate will help build your preschooler’s self-esteem for accomplishing simple household activities. Begin by teaching your child the correct way to finish a task will help ensure a job well done.

Consider the following examples for your preschooler to engage.

  • Putting toys or books in the proper place
  • Helping with watering household plants or garden
  • Helping with setting or clearing the table
  • Using a cloth for removing dust
  • Folding simple laundry items, wash cloths, or kitchen towels
  • Putting clothes in the lower drawers
  • Helping put groceries away
  • Feeding the family pet
  • Helping prepare lunch or snacks

As your preschooler works through the household activity, remember the outcome may not be perfect.

Assisting Your Preschooler

Allow your preschooler plenty of time to finish the chosen household activity. Failing to be patient, many parents take over the activity. Instead, if you observe your preschooler becoming frustrated or overwhelmed with the task, provide assistance. You can easily turn the household task into a game. Working together, in the beginning, will help ease the transition for your preschooler to finish the task alone.

Provide Positive Acknowledgement

Preschoolers like to help around the house. Participating provides a sense of importance in the family dynamics system. As your child finishes a household activity, use positive reinforcement. For example, thanking your preschooler for putting the books on the shelf or helping with chosen task provides acknowledgment and recognition.

Build an Established Routine

Your preschooler can learn the process of completing household activities by establishing a regular routine. A habitual routine or schedule allows your preschooler to recognize that household activities are a regular part of daily living. The recognition helps in building future life skills.

Teaching responsibility allows your preschooler to learn valuable skills for the future. In most situations, your preschooler will be more than happy to help. By establishing the routine at a younger age, you will be able to build on the tasks throughout your child’s development.  Responsibility is one of the key traits incorporated into daily learning at Day Star Montessori and the Montessori Method as a whole.  Our teachers encourage independent learning while guiding students to become well-rounded individuals.  Contact us today to learn about the Montessori difference.

What to Consider in a Montessori Middle School — April 17, 2017

What to Consider in a Montessori Middle School

Montessori is more widely associated with elementary education than middle or high school. This is because people accept the Montessori approach for young children, but until fairly recently have failed to appreciate how well it works for older kids as well. When looking at a Montessori establishment for middle school children, there are some important aspects that should be considered.

Teacher to Student Ratio

Ideally, the Montessori method allows for one teacher per student. In practice, this is not a feasible goal for middle school children, but every effort is made to keep the ratio low. In a large Montessori classroom, one teaching instructor and one non-teaching aide will serve a maximum of 30 students, often far less. At the same time, teachers will focus attention on one child at a time, while the class as a whole pursues various self-instructive topics and courses.

Groupings and Interaction

Middle school children in a Montessori environment are encouraged to form spontaneous groups and interactions. Groupings tend to range over a 3 to 6 year age level, and the children are allowed to form their own interactive groupings inasmuch as the subject matter and individual lesson plans permit. Because children are encouraged to pursue subjects of their own choosing, these small groupings tend to form, dismantle, and reform over time as students progress from one area to another. The essential factor is that the children are working together as well as teaching one another.

Montessori Work Centers

Unlike a traditional classroom, the Montessori environment is arranged around subject areas. Children move about, from work area to another, learning at their own pace and moving forward. There is no definitive time limit that a child can spend on one particular subject, and during the course of the day, all subjects are studied at a wide variety of educational levels.

Subject Integration

One of the failings of traditional education is the disconnect between subject matter and our day-to-day lives. In the Montessori environment, course subjects are integrated, and often presented in a hands-on approach. This helps children understand the connection between social studies and mathematics, for example, and allows a child who is particularly entranced by a subject to focus on that subject, integrating their subject’s studies into the subject of choice.

Student-Teacher Contracts

Older Montessori students learn to manage their own time and resources. Study goals are devised by the students themselves and form student-teacher contracts where the students have an obligation to meet the goals they work out with the teacher. This teaches responsibility along with other subject matter, and helps kids learn to see the interactions that different obligations will share in one’s life.

Montessori education is a unique learning method which shows a great deal of promise in helping children learn more, and learn faster than traditional teaching methods. Because the Montessori method is so different from conventional methods, parents may want to spend some time learning about the process and comparing it to conventional techniques.  At Montessori School of Flagstaff Cedar Campus, we invite prospective students and parents to take a tour and visit our classrooms to see the Montessori method first hand.  Getting an up-close look will show parents and students alike how Montessori education teaches the child as a whole.

Five Healthy and Delicious After-School Snacks for your Preschooler — April 10, 2017

Five Healthy and Delicious After-School Snacks for your Preschooler

Getting rid of the junk food is the first step in providing young children with healthy and delicious snacks after school. Preschoolers especially need foods with kid-friendly ingredients that will appeal to their eyes so it can make it to their mouths. These are just a few of the many recipes and foods that will keep your preschooler healthy and happy.

Five Healthy and Delicious After-School Snacks for Your Preschooler

Kids are hungry when they come home from school. Between lunch and dinner is a long time for young children, and they will need a snack to get them through. You will not want to feed them anything that will ruin their appetite, but the snack should be something that is fun, healthy, and one that your child will enjoy. You can turn unhealthy snacks into parent approved ones with just a few smart choices. These are five healthy after-school snacks for your preschooler.

Cereals with Whole Grain

A power-packed snack that is great for your preschooler is a bowl of fortified whole grain cereal with milk. When you add some fruit to your bowl, you will create a fun and flavorful twist to an ordinary bowl of cereal. There are some great cereals made of clusters covered with yogurt that includes dried strawberries or other dried fruits that children enjoy. These are also perfect for packing along with your child when they head out to preschool for a snack or to their daycare.

Healthy Nachos

Nachos can be a high fat snack, but there is an alternative way to serve them that turns them into a healthy choice. Add some fresh salsa and guacamole to top the nachos or provide as a dip for your child to grab on their own, and you’ve created a snack that is high in fiber, yet low in calories.

Cheese

Kids love cheese, and it will provide your child with the protein they need to get them through to dinner. An ideal way to serve them that will appeal to your child is stick cubes of low-fat cheese onto some salt-free pretzel sticks. Cutting cheese into fun shapes with cookie cutters is also an excellent way to serve this kid-friendly snack.

Pizza in Bite-Size Bites

For those days when your child needs a bit more to get them through until dinner, you can provide a richer, more filling snack. Using mini pita bites, you can top them with sauce and a little cheese. Microwave for a few minutes, and you have created a little bite of pizza.

Sippable Treats

Kids love smoothies. When you start out with nonfat vanilla yogurt, 100% orange juice, and some banana, you’ve got the base to start adding more of your child’s favorite fruit and creating a fantastic snack complete with your child’s daily fiber requirements.

Milk and cookies might be a classic snack, but these five snacks will provide your child with the nutrients they need in fun and tasty alternatives.  Living a healthy life, physically, emotionally, socially, and intellectually are all part of the Montessori curriculum.  At Montessori Childrens Center, preschoolers learn to make independent, healthy choices both inside and outside of school.  To see how the Montessori method focuses on the child as a whole, contact us today to schedule a tour.

Teaching Your Child Through Nature — April 5, 2017

Teaching Your Child Through Nature

In the Montessori school environment, it is believed your child deserves individualized learning. Every child is unique, and your child’s interests and needs are respected and honored at Montessori, so they are able to receive the best education. Through this respect, your child will be encouraged to explore and learn about the world around them. You can follow the Montessori approach by teaching your child through nature and allow them to explore their world at home.

Teaching Your Child Through Nature

Children learn differently than adults, and during their first six years, they will learn effortlessly from their environment. They are able to soak up impressions like a sponge during this age period. Maria Montessori, the founder of the Montessori Method, believed when children are young, they have inner aids that help with their development. This age is when the mind is absorbent and called a ‘sensitive period’ in their growth. During this time in your child’s life, you can teach them great lessons through nature found near your home.

Allow Freedom

Your child will need to be allowed freedom to explore outdoors and indoors. You need to display a positive manner, and while ensuring they are safe, let them find what interests them. Through your guidance and your child’s independence and self-direction, you will help them learn about their environment. These will be both valuable and important lessons that will stay with your child throughout their life.

Practical Life Activities

When children are in their preschool years it is important you emphasize practical life skills and implement sensory activities. This means you will show them how to take care of their environment outside as well as inside the home. You can help your child develop concentration, independence, and coordination through activities that will refine their senses. This learning process will indirectly help your child to prepare for later academic learning. Maria Montessori believed in creating a connection between children and nature through the care of plants and animals. By allowing your child to have hands-on experiences with nature, you will create an opportunity to expand their knowledge and respect for objects and living creatures in their personal environment.

Allow Personal Development

It is important to allow your child to develop at his or her own pace. Let them continue to examine and interact with objects as long as their interest is genuine. There should be no competitions, rewards, or punishments attached to their learning process. When you and your child are beginning an activity, demonstrate first how it should be completed – don’t automatically assume they will know appropriate behavior. Understanding your child needs to develop a sense of satisfaction of the work they perform when it is done well will help you create a learning environment to advance your child’s learning potentials.

Following the Montessori principles will help your child naturally develop positive skills and traits to build a strong foundation in life. Your child will develop independence, self-discipline, and they will display a love of learning.  At Montessori School of Newark, students are introduced to nature early in the learning process. Following the Montessori method, teachers encourage students to explore on their own and at their own pace.  Contact us today to see how Montessori education can be a fit for your family.

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.