Montessori Schools of Fremont

Providing premium Montessori education since 1974

Teaching Elementary Students about Citizenship — March 8, 2017

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.

The 5 Most Important Aspects to Consider in a Preschool —

The 5 Most Important Aspects to Consider in a Preschool

It is important for children to attend preschool. Not only does it give children the knowledge that they need to start school, it also gives them a chance to develop their social skills and to work on separation anxiety from their parents before they move on to kindergarten. If your child is ready to start preschool and you are trying to find the best school, there are a few aspects that you should consider.

Reputation

It is important that you find a school with an excellent reputation. If you are looking for schools, you should start by asking other parents with older children who have been to preschool. If they were happy with the school when their child attended, you should be as well. You can also ask to observe a class. If the kids seem to be enjoying themselves, it’s a good start.

Safe Environment

Safety is very important in a preschool. You should request a tour so that you can see the food preparation area and the children’s restrooms. Next, make sure that the toys and playground equipment are safe. Finally, find out what the policy is for visitors, end of the day pick up, and the security measures used to keep the children in their designated areas. It is important to know that your children are safe while they are in school.

Caring and Qualified Staff

A school is only as good as its educators. It is important to find out the educational background of the teachers and the administration. Teachers should have a background in early childhood education. You should also find out the child to teacher ratio. If there are too many students in each room, your child won’t get the individual attention that they may need.

Curriculum

It is important for your child’s preschool to have an age appropriate curriculum. There is more to preschool than your children playing outside and having fun. They should be learning their alphabet, how to count, animal sounds, and manners. They should also be developing their fine motor skills. If there is no set curriculum, it may not be the best school for your child.

Established Ground Rules

Structure is very important, even for children who are in preschool. Make sure that the school has a strict behavior policy, and they stick to it. It is important that the rules of the school are similar to your rules at home. Ask how the school will handle social and emotional issues. The school of your choice should also have an open door policy that allows parents to be part of the school community.

Preschool is the first major step in your child’s life. For some children, it is the first time that they are separated from their parents. For others, it is the first time they will be in a structured educational environment. Since this is such a big step, you should be very thorough when choosing the best preschool for your child.

The Montessori School of Flagstaff Westside Campus invites parents and students to see how these aspects are incorporated into the Montessori method.  Teachers work to address the needs of each student, while still maintaining a balanced classroom environment.  Call us today and schedule a tour to learn what sets the Montessori method apart.

Can you deduct your preschool expenses? —

Can you deduct your preschool expenses?

Preschool gives children a head start when they enter kindergarten. In an economy where both parents often hold full-time jobs, preschool is also a necessary fact of life. Preschool is a household expense for those parents and may take a significant chunk out of the family budget. To compensate, the best thing to do is look for tax deductions that will ease the burden.

Defining Preschool Expenses

Under federal tax law, tuition expenses are not tax deductible. On the other hand, the need to have qualified care for your child is recognized. For that reason, preschool costs should be considered childcare expenses – a tax deduction waiting to be claimed. This allows you to claim preschool, furthering your child’s education, as a necessary part of maintaining your household.

Federal Childcare Deductions

You are allowed to claim up to $3,000 on childcare expenses on your federal tax return. If you are claiming more than one child, the maximum allowable deduction is $6,000. According to IRS publication 503, you must file an itemized tax return, not the 1040EZ. The IRS provides free documentation for using a childcare deduction, and a handy reference guide is available.

State Deductions

If you have a state income tax, you may be able to claim childcare expenses at the state level as well. Some states, such as Illinois, also allow you to claim education expenses. Since the regulations vary from one state to another, you should consult the tax department of your state.

Deductions for Special Needs

The cost of paying for special needs education is also deductible at the federal level. This can be important as the deduction for special needs, including attention disorders, may be considered a medical expense. In this way, the cost of caring for your child may entitle you to a double deduction under the law. There are minimum costs and parameters which must be met to use this deduction. Keep in mind that this deduction applies to special needs dependents of all ages, including adult as well as preschool dependents.

Where private or parochial schools are concerned, the deduction may be affected by a number of factors, including the type of education provided. In general, education itself is not a deduction for preschool, but childcare falls into a different category. In most situations, you will need to file IRS Form 2441 to claim your preschool expenses. Enlisting the aid of a tax professional may help you locate other deductions and reduce the possibility of being audited.

Enrolling your child in preschool is beneficial for more than just monetary reasons. At Montessori Childrens Center, preschool children are encouraged to work with older students to learn new skills.  The Montessori method focuses on self-discovery and hands-on learning.  To learn more about preschool offerings at Montessori Childrens Center, call us today!

Teaching Children to be Big Helpers — December 19, 2016

Teaching Children to be Big Helpers

As a parent, it is up to you to teach your children to be helpers. You need to motivate them to want to do chores. It is what will teach them to be responsible adults in the future. When kids are very young, they might want to help out; however, when they get a little older, it can be more difficult to motivate them. There are a few ways that you can teach your children to be helpers.

Withhold the WiFi Password

Most kids today, regardless of their age, rely on the WiFi password to play their games and communicate with friends. If you want to motivate your kids to do their chores, give them their list and tell them that they cannot have the WiFi password until their chores are done. Chances are they will get to work as soon as they get home from school so they can get the password as quickly as possible.

The Chore Bowl Punishment

It is not uncommon for kids to leave things laying around the house. Rather than getting mad about having to pick it up, use it as an opportunity. You can write down chores on small slips of paper and keep them in a bowl. If you pick up something that your child left lying around, they would be required to do one chore from the bowl in order to get it back. Not only will this teach your kids to pick up after themselves, you will also get some extra chores done.

Create a Chore Punch Card

Have you ever gone to a sandwich restaurant and have a card punched each time you buy a sandwich? After all of the holes are punched, you get a free sandwich. You can use the same concept with chores. Each time your child does a chore, punch their card. When the card is full, they get a reward.

The Chore Wheel

A chore wheel is a great way to get kids to do their chores without getting bored with the same one. You can create a wheel with several chores. Each child will spin the wheel and whichever chore the wheel lands on would be their chore of the day. It is a great way to mix things up a little.

Work For Hire Board

If you have older children and jobs that need to get done that are time-consuming, such as cleaning out the garage, cleaning the refrigerator, or mowing the grass, you can create a work for hire board. You would take a chore with a description of how you want it done and clip some money to the chore. If your child does the chore properly, they get to keep the money. Not only is it a good way to get things done around the house, it will teach them a valuable lesson about work ethic.

Any of the suggestions listed above will make helping out more fun and possibly lucrative for your children.  Teaching children to be big helpers, independent thinkers, and responsible citizens are important in Montessori education.  Contact Montessori Childrens House today to schedule a tour and learn about how Montessori education can be a fit for your child.

What Age is Right to start a Montessori Education —

What Age is Right to start a Montessori Education

Believing children are born with a natural curiosity, the Montessori educational approach provides a safe and nurturing environment for learning. Learning through hands-on educational activities and play, Montessori schools welcome children of any age. The goal of the Montessori classroom is to provide children with valuable educational resources for continuing learning. Instructors carefully plan and design the learning environment to allow each child to develop cognitively, socially, emotional and physically for maximum growth.

Ideally, children should begin the Montessori educational program by the age of three. At this stage of development, children’s natural curiosity provides an effortless manner for absorbing new material. Children want to learn, discover and explore everything about the world. Observing children’s individual interests, teachers will design a classroom environment to inspire self-directed activities to instill confidence and foundation for learning.

The Montessori Classroom

The multi-age classroom provides a family style environment to foster learning among a group of peers. Engaging in educational activities, older children naturally inspire younger ones. Children learn responsibility and natural consequences for individual actions in a fully-enriched learning environment.

Communication and Language

Beginning at age three, the Montessori approach focuses on age appropriate activities for development and enrichment. Children learn to develop important language skills. Using this crucial stage of development, Montessori promotes clear communication with peers. Developing effective communication skills promotes confidence to engage with other students and adults. As children continue to learn from classroom resources and older peers, vocabulary will continue to increase.

Social Skills

Developing communication skills promotes the advancement of social skills. Simple conversations over classroom activities expands social interaction. Children learn the importance of using words to communicate feelings and ideas. Along with expressing interests, children learn to respect others within the classroom. As the development continues, students learn natural consequences for actions which aids in the self-regulation process.

Physical Development

Building on students’ natural interests, educational activities will promote physical development, including fine and large motor skills. Coordination of movement inspires children to actively run, jump and play, increasing physical development. Sensory perception and the use of smaller objects promotes fine motor skills while developing into other areas of cognitive learning.

Promoting Independence

Montessori directs children to focus on specific tasks to promote self-motivation, responsibility, and regulation. For example, each child is responsible for cleaning up toys or other activities after use. The simple task of cleaning up promotes a general understanding of the rules and expectations within the classroom.

Self-Expression

Providing children chances to explore creatively inspires imagination. For example, children exploring different art mediums develop a sense of confidence through self-expression. A desire to learn about art or imaginary worlds allows the teacher to provide other educational resources.

Parents want the best for their child. Providing a foundation for learning, the Montessori classroom provides educationally-enriched activities. Engaging in the activities and resources allows children to explore and learn.  Contact the Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnyside Campus to learn more about enrolling your child in a Montessori educational program.