Montessori Schools of Fremont

Providing premium Montessori education since 1974

The 5 Most Important Aspects to Consider in a Preschool — February 6, 2017

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.

The Best Neighborhoods to see Holiday Lights —

The Best Neighborhoods to see Holiday Lights

In the Bay Area, Christmas comes to life in many locations, especially in and around Fremont. Load up the family and go for a holiday drive, or plan several excursions to enjoy all of the sights available. Most of the selected sites include many homes, so only the road names are provided. The displays will be obvious when you arrive.

38643 Glencoe Drive

Featuring animated dioramas, the Gonzales family brings Christmas to life. Motion detectors activate the displays as visitors stroll past to make sure everyone gets to enjoy the scenes. Lighted pathways allow a closer look at the details, featuring singing bears, a life-sized grinch, and characters from Santa’s workshop enjoying a ride on a Ferris wheel.

Redwing Place

Off Whimbrel Road, several homes along Redwing are decorated annually to celebrate the season. Some homes may not be set up until after December 18, but others are already available. Light displays feature everything from Santa Claus to polar bears, along with a plethora of lighted trees, hedges and homes.

La Purissima Place

La Purissima is one of many homes in this “walking neighborhood” that bring the spirit of the holiday to grand proportions. Many of the displays are homemade, and the neighborhood has everything from angels and a polar bear trying to take a tree home, to Santa. In all, more than 11 homes make up this neighborhood display.

Zacate Place

Another walking neighborhood, this area features Victorian-style homes decorated in lights. The neighborhood is well lit by posts wrapped in Christmas lights, and visitors are encouraged take a leisurely stroll. This area is ready for family fun by the 2nd week of December every year.

Espada Court

For 18 years, this neighborhood has been making the holidays more exciting for everyone who comes to take a walk. Large lighted displays feature commercial as well as homemade designs. Many of the homes in the area are decorated as well, and more join in every year. Snowmen, elves and Santa are everywhere, spreading joy and the promise of a merry Christmas.

Wellington Place

Possibly the largest collection of Christmas displays in the Bay Area, the Wellington neighborhood has become known as Crippsmas Place. For more than 40 years, this walking neighborhood has been delighting children and adults alike. Donations are accepted, and 5 health- and community-oriented charities benefit from the proceeds. You will find everything from inflatable snowmen to animated movie characters, and there is even a candy handout for the little ones.

40012 Catalina Place

You might consider visiting this location as a family outing by itself. Visitors are encouraged to take pictures under the mistletoe or with a classic VW Beetle being towed by reindeer, among other settings. A different Christmas movie is shown every night until Christmas, and nightly family-oriented films are shown through January 1st. And to make sure everyone has a good time, free refreshments are served, and there is a marshmallow roast planned for Christmas Eve if the weather cooperates.

At Mission Valley Montessori in Fremont, we encourage our students to think and explore creatively, just like those who have created these holiday light displays.  Contact us today to learn about the Montessori education difference.

How Effective is a Montessori Education —

How Effective is a Montessori Education

When many people think about Montessori schools, they think preschool. However, a Montessori school can go well beyond the preschool years. In fact, our educational programs can give those in elementary school a big boost when it comes to learning and becoming independent individuals that go on to succeed in all areas of their life.

Montessori schools have the unique ability to allow your child to work at their own level and at their own pace. This helps your child become confident in what they are learning as they learn to work through problems on their own.

The self-paced and self-discovery part of our education programs allows your children to dive deeper into subjects they are interested in. As adults, we understand how powerful it can be to be allowed to spend time learning about the areas we love the most. It is no different with children; when given the time, children will dive deeper and deeper into their favorite subjects.

There was an article on education.com that described some of the benefits of a Montessori education, and we tend to agree. Here are some benefits you can expect to see when it comes to keeping your child in a Montessori school through their elementary years.

  • Self Discipline – Thanks to our unique method of education, your child will choose the activities and tasks they want to do, while there may be ground rules your child gets to follow their instincts in the classroom. This helps your child become self-disciplined as they learn to take control of their own education and experiences.
  • The Advantages of Order – In a Montessori classroom, you will see order. Each activity and learning piece has its own unique spot. Your child learns to place things back in the right spots during the day, helping to keep the environment clean and orderly. We have found this order actually helps with focus and creativity.
  • Children are Guided not Directed – Our programs are set up so that the teacher is there to facilitate and guide children through their day. Rather than directing and determining how your child will learn and how quickly they should learn, teachers are there to guide them and allow them to go at their own pace.
  • Hands on Learning – Hands on learning is a key part of the Montessori program and this hands-on learning can bring many benefits to your child. If your child is a hands-on learner, our program will see them excel as they touch, feel, and experience their way through their learning years.

This is just a small look at the benefits of a Montessori education.  By covering a full range of subjects including math, language, history, geography, art and physical education, your child will explore the subject they love at their own pace.  To learn more about our school and the Montessori Method, contact Montessori School of Pleasanton to explore our programs and tour our school today.

 

Montessori Daycare and Preschool Approach — December 14, 2016

Montessori Daycare and Preschool Approach

The Montessori approach has steadily become more and more popular since its early days in Italy over a hundred years ago. Many daycares, preschools, and even elementary schools have been established using this method. These days, almost every parent has heard of Montessori, yet the approach is still not always understood.

Have you ever wondered what the Montessori approach is truly about? Let’s take a virtual tour of a Montessori classroom, noting the things that tend to stand out most about the approach.

The long work period

The first thing you notice, when you walk into a Montessori classroom, is all the kids intent on their tasks. The longer you observe, though, the more you notice something odd: This “work cycle” seems to stretch on and on, for two or three hours to be exact. If you’re more accustomed to traditional schools, this might seem ludicrous, but Maria Montessori and those who practice her method have found that kids do the best learning when you ask them to focus for a longer period of time. Usually the most intense focus comes after the “false fatigue,” which is roughly the same as an adult taking a coffee break before getting back to work.

Children moving freely about the classroom

The next thing you’ll notice is the impression of controlled chaos in the classroom. With every child doing a different, largely self-directed task, there’s no better way to describe the effect to someone unfamiliar with the Montessori method. Although the teacher sets the lesson plan for the day, the kids are largely free to explore learning on their own, and can move about the classroom from activity to activity as they wish.

Kids learning on their own

In addition to children choosing their own activities and moving freely about the classroom, most activities are self-directed, allowing the children to discover things for themselves. For instance, whereas a traditional lesson plan might dictate what to teach about dinosaurs, the Montessori method allows them to, say, assemble a dinosaur skeleton puzzle, or do research in books and online about dinosaurs.

Peer learning

Finally, you’ll notice that the Montessori approach encourages children to help one another learn. Traditionally, the Montessori approach groups a variety of ages together, so that the older children can help the younger ones. In addition to teaching the younger children, this provides an opportunity for older children to practice their skills. This also prepares children for the real world, in which age segregation is rare and peer learning is frequently an expectation, such as in the workplace.

Although this little virtual tour can give you an idea of what to expect when you walk into a Montessori classroom, some things need to be seen to be believed. If you want to learn more about the Montessori approach to preschool and daycare, and how it can benefit your child, contact the Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnyside Campus today to schedule a complete tour of our school and the Montessori approach up close.