Bay Area Haunts for Your Young Ones

Whether you have just moved to the Bay Area or you are looking for new places to take the kids, there are plenty of Bay Area haunts for the whole family to enjoy. Here are just a few you may want to check out.

Bay Area Haunts for Your Young Ones

  • Inside the Children’s Creativity Museum you will find a fun hands-on museum in Buena Gardens. Join in on the activities, run and jump in the colorful playground or visit the historic carousel that is just a few minutes away.
  • In Oakland, you will find the unique Museum of Children’s Art. This is a museum that only displays the work of children. For a small fee, your kids can join in on one of the studio sessions. The museum itself is free.
  • The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is a great place to visit if you have kids that are interested in all that happens under the sea.
  • The Bay Area Children’s Theatre offers great adaptations of all your favorite children’s books.
  • Want to visit a farm and teach your children about history? Ardenwood Historic Farm is the place to visit. This is a Victorian era working farm that includes pigs, sheep, rabbits, chicken, turkey, goats, and cows.
  • Want to feed the Otters and Bobcats? CuriOdyssey at Coyote Point in San Mateo is the place to visit. Plus, they offer daily feedings.
  • The Oakland Zoo is less crowded than the San Francisco Zoo and is a great size for little ones to get around by themselves. Rides are additional but offer plenty of extra fun for the kids.
  • The Bay Area Discovery Museum is also a great place to visit. There are great playful permanent exhibits, an art studio and plenty of activities to keep the kids interested.
  • The Tech Museum in San Jose is another great place worth checking out. Social robots, exploration galleries, and a fun play zone make this a great place to spend the day. There is a cafe on site if the family gets hungry.

If your child is curious, independent and loves to explore the world, the Montessori style of education might just be a perfect fit. If you would like to learn more, come and take a tour or contact our staff at Montessori School of Fremont, who will gladly answer your questions. At our Montessori schools, we pride ourselves on helping children grow in all areas of their life, providing a safe space to grow and explore.

When Should Your Child Stop Napping?

Nap times are needed by both parents and children when children are young. For the children, it helps with the growth emotionally, physically and mentally. For the parents, it is a time to get things done or to recover from a busy morning. Naps are a wonderful thing, but maybe your child has stopped taking them, and you are worried they still need them or maybe you are wondering at what age does a child stop napping.

When Will My Child Stop Napping?

On average, many children stop napping altogether when they are nearing 4 years old. This is certainly not an age that is set in stone, in fact, many kids 4 and over continue to take naps. There are signs that your child may be ready to give up their nap; these include:

  • Restlessness and fidgeting at nap time.
  • No afternoon meltdowns when a nap is missed.
  • Consistent energy levels and attitudes.
  • Too much napping makes it hard for them to sleep at bedtime.
  • A consistent struggle to get your child down during the day.

If your child is at the stage of consistently showing the above signs, then nap time may be coming to an end.

How Much Should My Child Nap?

In general, your child likely needs the following amount of sleep during the day:

  • 0-6 months: 3-4 naps with a total of 2-4 hours at a time
  • 6-12 months: 2 naps a day with a total of 1-3 hours at a time
  • 12-18 months: 1-2 naps a day with a total of 1-3 hours at a time
  • 2- 3 years: 1 nap with a total of 1-3 hours
  • 4-5 years: 1 nap with varying durations

If your child is constantly fighting nap time yet you still feel like they need a nap for their physical and emotional health, there are a few things you can do to make napping a little easier.

  • Stick to a nap routine so your child knows when nap time is.
  • Put your child down to nap before they are overtired.
  • Keep the room quiet and dark – you may want to use a noise machine.
  • As they get older, read together at the beginning of nap time.
  • Don’t keep them up later at night thinking it will help with nap time – this can have the opposite effect.

If you feel your child is ready to give up their naps but you both still need a little down time, turn nap time into quiet time. Teach your child that it is time for reading or quiet play. This is a great transition and can allow you to have the time you need without fighting nap every day.

Here at Montessori Children’s House, we believe that children need downtime to be at their best.  To learn more about Montessori education and the programs we offer, contact us today and schedule a tour.

Kid Friendly Halloween Alternatives

Whether you just don’t care for Halloween or you are looking for some alternative ways to have fun in October, these kid-friendly Halloween alternatives are sure to be a hit with the whole family!

Fun Halloween Alternatives that are Kid-Friendly

  • Give Instead of Receiving – This activity can actually be done anytime of the year. Have your children help you bag up some candy, then deliver them to friends and family. No tricking here – just treating!
  • Host a Harvest Party – Instead of scary Halloween decorations and costumes, have a harvest party. Do some fun fall crafts, bob for apples, create a caramel apple bar, and have fun celebrating the season.
  • Decorate some Pumpkins – Whether you do this as a family or you have a fun party and invite some of your children’s friends over, decorating pumpkins is always a big hit. You can paint, draw, stick on googly eyes or carve, whatever makes it enjoyable for everyone.
  • Host a Neighborhood Chili Cookoff – A fun neighborhood block party doesn’t have to be fancy. Ask everyone to bring a pot of chili, set out a table, some bowls, spoons and voting cards. Let everyone taste and vote on each pot of chili. The winner gets the knowledge of knowing their chili is the best, until next year!
  • Pumpkin Bowling – For this fun activity, you need a big round pumpkin and 9 gourds that will stand up on their own. You can play this one on the footpath or in your driveway.
  • Pumpkin Chunkin – If you have ever been to a pumpkin throwing event, you might just get the appeal. If you have a garden, large yard or a park nearby, host a pumpkin throwing competition. Have prizes for different age groups and see who can throw that pumpkin the furthest. You may want to take it a step further and have friends and family create their own pumpkin throwing machines.

There are plenty of fun non-traditional and non-scary ways to celebrate this wonderful season – all it takes is a little imagination and some friends and family to help you celebrate.

If you are looking for a school that can help wake up your toddler’s imagination Montessori schools could be the perfect choice. Call Mission Valley Montessori today and  take a tour to find out why our schools are different to other preschools in the area. We focus on blending fun with learning, helping your child discover the world at their own pace.

Three Toddler Friendly Apps

The toddler years are a great time for children to get used to the idea of apps and the many ways they can teach them about the world. Even the littlest ones who aren’t talking much and have only started walking can get excited seeing the bright colors and hearing the sounds associated with these apps. Why not make the experience both educational and fun for your child?

Three Toddler Friendly Apps

The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends – First Words

This app is available for Apple devices, including the iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone and recommended for ages 2 and up. A digital format uses the pop-up images associated with the classic children’s book that teaches toddlers words. Because the app is available in five languages, it is perfect for parents who want to teach their child a second language. You can easily explore the app together with your child while knowing it’s easy for them to use alone.

The illustrations in the app are as high-quality as the illustrations from the book, helping a new generation learn to love this book. There is a conversational quiz that allows kids to practice their new words very easily.

Pat the Bunny

Available for the iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone, this app is another new, interactive take on a popular children’s classic. Several page elements are interactive, bringing the story to life in a unique way. You can record your own voice reading, which will help your child 2 and up learn the story by heart.

A fun coloring feature, activated by your child brushing a finger along the screen, will help foster creativity. Devices that have cameras can display your child’s face in pictures with a mirror. One of the things parents like the most about this app is how quickly children learn to navigate it.

Five Little Monkeys

Available for Apple devices, Android, and the Kindle Fire, the app teaches your toddler how to count by using a fun song. With a choice of three music styles, the song will never get boring for your child. There are other items that appear on the screen your child can interact with in addition to the monkeys.  Kids will learn to appreciate the good, clean humor behind this colorful app. Fun touches include the monkeys’ mom heading to the phone to call the doctor. The doctor, portrayed as a wise owl, gives the monkeys a gentle admonishment.

These are just a few of the fun apps for toddlers that will help them get a head start on learning in a very fun way.

Though much has been said about the academic achievements of Montessori children, the main value of the educational method lies in the self-discipline, self-motivation, independence, and love of learning that the children achieve.  To see if a Montessori education is right for your child, contact one our Fremont Montessori schools.

Transitioning from an In-Home Daycare to Montessori

Children develop and are able to transition at different ages which is often stressful for you as a parent. Knowing when and if your child is ready to move from an in-home daycare to a more structured environment is not always an easy decision. Choosing the appropriate environment can make the move a lot easier.

Transitioning from an In-Home Daycare

When you are considering the move for your child from an in-home daycare setting to a more structured environment, you should arrange to meet the teachers they will work with. Building a good relationship with your child’s future teacher will help to ease some of the stress you may be feeling. Talk to them about any concerns or anxieties you may have, and share how you would like to be contacted regarding your child’s progress.

Gradual transition

Many children do better if they are gradually introduced to a new environment. Discuss with the school whether it is possible to start out with shorter classroom times and slowly introduce your child to a classroom setting. There are also children who do better if they are not expected to go back and forth so you will need to know your child and which will work best for them.

Children need time to adjust

Children need time to adjust to change. Make sure you give yourself and your child the time to adjust and become comfortable in the new environment. Your child may need time to actually ‘grieve’ leaving the setting they have become attached and comfortable with. This is part of a transition period and your child will need time to build a new relationship and adjust to their new setting.

Expectations of the classroom

Many parents think that by moving their child from an in-home daycare which has been low-key and relatively quiet to a classroom will be drastic. They often envision a room full of bustling children creating a lot of noise. The Montessori environment radiates with respect and harmony. Parents will find a busy hum as the children interact, yet there is great respect for quiet play.

Students in the Montessori classroom are encouraged to work together and care for their environment. They take turns caring for the room and any pets, plants, or other items that need daily attending to. They are taught to live in a community and to become independent within that environment.

The Montessori classroom

There are often students of mixed ages within the Montessori classroom. The flow and design of the classroom is to create a learning environment for your child that will encourage choice and interest. Spaces are suited for groups to play and there are quiet areas where you child can find time to be alone. There are also well-defined areas for the curriculum where your child will be encouraged to investigate.

Start your child on a successful start to their future. Contact our Bay Area Montessori school today and schedule a tour to see what they have to offer your child.

 

 

The Supportive Parent & Successful Child

In order for a child to be successful in school, they need to have supportive parents.

While children get on the bus and head to school on their own, they still need to know that their parents are there in spirit supporting them. If you want to be as supportive to your child as possible, there are a few things that you can do.

Ask Questions

It is a good idea to ask your child questions about school often. When you ask them what they are doing in school and what they learned each day, they will see that you are as interested in their education as they are. When you ask questions, it will make your child feel more comfortable coming to you if they are struggling in any areas.

Meet Your Child’s Teacher

It is a good idea to attend the open house at your child’s school, as well as the parent-teacher conferences. When you know your child’s teacher and you can keep up with their progress, you will have a better idea of what your child is excelling in and what they need to work on. You will also know that if your child needs any specialized services, such as a tutor or extra help after school.

Set Up a Regular Homework Time

Part of being a supportive parent is being a strict parent. It is a good idea to set a regular time each day for your child to work on their homework. Make sure that they are in a well-lit area, with all of their school supplies, and they the area is free of distractions. After your child has completed their homework, you should check it. When your child sees that you are as invested in their homework as they are, they will feel that you are being supportive.

Help Your Child Prepare for Tests

When your child has a test coming up, you should do everything that you can to help them prepare. You can quiz them on their facts while you are cooking dinner, or you can create a practice test for them to complete. The more help you give your child before a test, the better they will do on the test.

Get Involved with School Events

Supporting your child in their education includes more than supporting them academically. It is a good idea to get involved with the events that are going on at school. If there is a parent-teacher organization, you should join. If your child’s class needs chaperons on a field trip, you should volunteer. If your teacher is looking for help in the classroom, volunteer. The more involved you get with your child, the more they will feel supported.

The teachers at Montessori School of Pleasanton focus on helping your child succeed. They also make parent involvement a top priority. For more information about our Montessori program, contact the school to set up a tour.

Helping Your Child Read at Home

As parents, you want to provide all your children with the best foundation for educational success. Learning to read is an integral part of your child’s academic process. Children learn vital language skills from their everyday environment.

Encouraging Reading at Home

Providing a learning environment at home to encourage language skills will aid in your child’s future reading ability. Enhancing your home environment for reading potential does not require large changes.

  • Be an Example: a child who sees parents reading will want to mimic the task. Reading books, magazines, or newspapers show your child you value the practice. While you are engaged in reading, let your child read. He or she may not understand the word. The natural curiosity through mimicking you will help down the road.
  • Read to Your Child: Even a short book with pictures will aid in the learning process for language skills. As you and your child look at the pages, sounding out the words is a vital learning experience.
  • Play Games: With the numerous games available, learning the correct phonetics of words helps a child’s natural progression toward reading. Tracing letters in sand or using picture cards may be a simple project with a beneficial outcome. Building blocks with letters help children identify the basics of the language through play.
  • Get Moving: Numerous age appropriate songs encourage both movement and language skills. Duplicating the songs instructions provides a fun home activity.
  • Use Art: Children love to get messy. Use art as a way to inspire creativity and build language skills. Painting traced letters will provide both a learning and fun experience. Or, use glue to trace a letter. As you child glues pasta noodles to the letter, discuss the sound of the letter. Provide examples of the words that begin with the same letter.
  • Use Conversation: In the Montessori school setting, the multi-age group learning environment allows younger children to converse with older peers. Resulting in the fine-tuning of language skills. Use the same process at home by encouraging conversation.

Duplicating Montessori language projects at home will provide numerous activities to gain your child’s interest in reading.

Your Montessori school teacher will prepare a language enriched environment to help nurture your child’s natural curiosity for learning. The primary focus of both classroom and home environment for Montessori language is your child’s personal interests.

To see how a child-centered learning environment would be beneficial for your child’s natural learning process, please contact us at Day Star Montessori for more information and to schedule a tour.

Tips for Developing Your Child’s Self Esteem

Self-esteem, or a belief in oneself, is crucial for a child’s development. Healthy self-esteem will help your child interact with peers and grow throughout their time in school, as well as help them persevere in the face of challenge. A strong belief in oneself will allow your child to resist the negative pressures that could prevent them from achieving their goals. Children as young as three or four can start showing signs of healthy or unhealthy self-esteem. Moreover, because children are so heavily influenced by their parents and role models– it is crucial that parents are aware of the ways they can help build up their child’s self-esteem from an early age.

As parents, your role in your child’s development cannot be overemphasized. They will look to you and your actions as an indicator of their own self-worth, so setting a proper example is crucial. If you do not take care of yourself, your child will follow suit: by setting a negative precedent, your child will be unable to take proper care of himself or herself.

Here are some specific steps you can take to encourage your child’s healthy self-esteem levels:

  1. Talk to them in positive ways. Showing that you value them as a parent demonstrates to them that they are indeed worthy of value.
  2. Point out how they have grown and matured. Children often want to grow up faster, a natural desire acquired from hearing phrases like, “You’ll be able to reach that when you’re older.” While you can’t actually speed up their growth, pointing out how much they have already grown (physically and mentally) can help them realize how far they’ve come.
  3. Point out how they are still growing. Giving your child an idea of how much they will continue to grow will give them something to look forward to. If possible, show them how they can improve a  current skill such as reading or handwriting.
  4. Praise their effort. Children are easily discouraged when they do not achieve something exactly the way they wanted. Be sure to let them know that the effort they put in is just as important as the end result.
  5. Discuss ways that they can improve when they fail and start to feel down. By showing your children that they can work towards their goals by understanding their mistakes, your child can learn to overcome failure at an early age.
  6. Treat their opinions with respect. They need to know that their ideas are valued. If they contribute something that cannot be used now but can be brought back up again later, don’t forget to revisit their idea and remind them they were in fact the one’s who came up with it.

Remember, many of these tips are skills that take time to learn and require practice.  Empower your children with the self-esteem to live a happy and productive life: show them that their ideas and opinions truly matter.

We invite you to schedule a tour of the Day Star Montessori Children’s Learning Center and see how a Montessori education may help develop your child’s confidence and self esteem.

Fun Summer Math Projects for Toddlers

Before your toddler starts kindergarten, it is a good idea that they have some basic math skills. The summer before school begins, there are a few fun math projects that you can do with your toddler to help them learn these basic skills.

Counting With Egg Cartons

This is a great game to teach children to count, and you likely have all of the necessary items right in your home.

You Will Need:

  • An empty egg carton
  • A bag of M&M’s

Number the spaces in the egg carton from 1-12. Have your child place the number of M&M’s in each numbered hole. If they get all of the answers right, they can eat the M&M’s as a reward.

Number Recognition Game

This game will teach your child to recognize numbers 1-9. It is also fun.

You Will Need:

  • Bag of balloons
  • Laundry basket

Blow up 9 of the balloons. Number each balloon and place them on the ground. Give your child a number and have them find the balloon that coincides with that number. Have them place the balloon in the laundry basket. This time, give the child a number again and have them find it in the laundry basket. When your child finds the balloon, they can pop it.

Counting in Nature

This game will give your child a chance to get some fresh air while they are building their math skills.

You Will Need:

  • A notebook
  • A pen

Before your nature hike, make a list of things in nature for your child to find. The list should include one item, then two of another item, three of another item, and so on. The game ends when your child has found all of everything on the list.

Grocery Shopping Fun

You can make your weekly grocery shopping trip, and turn it into a learning game.

You Will Need:

  • A supermarket trip

While you are shopping, but your child in charge of putting items in the cart. For example, you can tell your child to get 5 cans of vegetables. They would need to count out the 5 cans and put them in the cart. You can even add some subtraction to the game, and tell your child to get 7 potatoes, and then take 3 away.

Funny Money

This game will not only teach your child to count, it will also introduce them to money and budgeting.

You Will Need:

  • A package of play money
  • Post-It notes
  • A sharpie marker

Write money amounts between $1 and $9 on several Post-It notes and stick it on various items around the home. Have your child choose the items that they want to buy, and pay you for each item with their fake money.

The Day Star Montessori Children’s Learning Center applies the educational philosophy and methods of Maria Montessori, M.D., a renowned Italian physician and child educator. For our Montessori children math is more than rote memorization. Our children learn the base 10 system with cube material that is properly scaled. For more information on math for toddlers, contact us today.

 

Three Magnet Activities for Kids

Magnets are a fun learning activity for your child.

Teaching how they have a North end and a South end can be both entertaining and interesting as your child learns how they repel each other. Gathering different items and placing them in a tray to explore which are attracted and which aren’t is also a great learning idea. Use different items such as pencils, paper clips, eraser, and other small items can provide simple but educational time for you and your child. These are three other magnet activities for kids.


Going Fishing

This is a great activity to create for your child they can play with you or even all by themselves. Attach a magnet to the end of a stick. Using a shallow box place a variety of different items inside. Use some items that are magnetic such as paper clips, small scissors, screws, or any other smaller objects the magnet will have the strength to lift. Include some items that are not magnetic such as; pencils or small plastic toys your child plays with.


If your child is playing alone, he or she can simply see how many of the objects they can remove by ‘fishing’ them out. If they are playing with a partner, have each player call out what they are going to remove, then attempt to lift it out. They can continue ‘fishing’ out the items until all those the magnet will attach to are out. The one with the most ‘fish’ will have won the game.


Magnet fun with pipe cleaners

Pipe cleaners are great to use with magnets and your young child. You can create ‘a wand’ by attaching a small rectangular magnet found at a craft store to a popsicle stick and then make a face on one side. You can even paint the creation to give it more of a character look. Using plastic eyes and a pom-pom nose will give it personality.


Cut assorted colors of pipe cleaners into 1 1/2 inch pieces and place into a bowl. When your child dips the ‘magic wand’ or personalized character into the bowl they will be amazed at the ‘hair’ their wand character comes out with.


Painting with magnets

Using the character you created in the previous activity, have your child paint a design. Place a piece of paper inside a shoe box with a few drops of different colored paint placed on it. Place a slightly bent paper clip on the paper. When your child moves the ‘magic character’ created underneath the box they move the paper clip through the paint to create a unique design.


The Montessori School in Newark applies the educational philosophy and methods of Maria Montessori, M.D., a renowned Italian physician and child educator. The Montessori concept of education allows children to experience the joy of learning at an early age.  To learn more about our Montessori Primary and Kindergarten program contact us to schedule a tour.