What Nature Teaches Children

Children are born with a natural curiosity to learn about the world around them. As a parent or educator, building upon their natural desire to learn will help in a child’s overall development. Part of a valuable learning experience is exposing children to nature. Being outdoors or bringing nature items indoors has numerous benefits. For young minds, the potential learning opportunities are endless.

Learning in Nature

Indoor classrooms have limits for the safety of the children. Introducing children to an outdoor environment has fewer restrictions. Encouraging children to run, skip, hop, and simply play brings numerous benefits to each child’s development.

  • Encourages Creativity and Imagination: Being outdoors allows children to approach the natural environment in different ways. The interaction provides children a chance to engage in physical activity. As children begin to explore the different smells, textures, and hear various natural sounds, the endless world of imagination and creativity about the environment will follow.
  • Allows for Additional Learning: The natural curiosity about the outdoor surroundings encourages children to ask questions. Responsible caregivers will build upon the questions, providing more opportunities to learn.
  • Promotes Autonomy: As children explore, a sense of independence develops, thereby providing children with the confidence to learn about the various aspects nature has to offer. Fostering a sense of independence will help children grow in future academics.
  • Encourages Personal Responsibility: As children learn about the environment, personal responsibility develops. Learning how the living world works will allow children to view consequences.
  • Development of Fine and Large Motor Skills: Being outdoors allows children to engage in physical activity which aids in the development of large motor skills. Just as important, the outdoor environment provides children a chance to develop fine motor skills. Picking up small stones, acorns, or sticks for further exploration requires the use of fine motor skills or simple hand movement. Establishing a foundation for further learning, building fine motor skills helps in hand/eye coordination. Later, the skill will develop into the ability to write.
  • Develops Social Skills: Being outdoors in a group of peers provides numerous opportunities for interaction with others. Sharing discoveries, discussing the environment, or simply engaging in creative play develops valuable social skills. The interaction provides opportunities to build vocabulary, learn from peers, and self-regulation to rules.
  • Encourages Fun: Like adults, children are often subject to busy schedules. Spending time outdoors reduces stress from everyday commitments. Outdoors, children engage in self-directed learning. Having the opportunity to explore the outdoors is fun.

Being outdoors allows children to grow physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually. As they explore, children learn to discuss their personal experiences, providing teachers and parents a chance to find additional materials. Children will use their natural curiosity to continue learning. Exploring the outdoor world allows children the opportunity to appreciate the natural environment.

At Montessori Childrens House, we incorporate nature and outdoor learning into our Montessori approach.  We encourage students to discover and explore on their own.  Contact us today to see the Montessori difference!

The Toddler Tantrum – How to Approach and Diffuse

Children are famous for throwing tantrums when they reach the toddler stage. Some parents will call them the ‘troubled twos’, others refer to the ‘terrible threes’, but what we all realize is the phase does pass. What we call or recognize as a ‘tantrum’ is often just a young child being unable to express themselves verbally. Even as adults, we get frustrated when we cannot make someone understand our feelings, but we have the know-how on how to handle ourselves. A toddler frustrated can only act out as they don’t yet know how to handle their frustration.

The Toddler Tantrums – How to Approach and Diffuse

The first step in handling a tantrum is learning what the cause is. It isn’t always easy as the tantrum can result from anger, frustration, sensory overload, fear, and a number of other reasons. While it is a very loud and attention-getting form of communication, it is not always a clear form and us as adults may not be able to determine the exact cause.

Tantrums are Usually Reactions

When a child is having a tantrum, you should assume they are reacting to a situation they are not able to handle. Since they cannot talk to you and explain how they are feeling and tell you exactly what they want or expect, the toddler will become overwhelmed by emotion and unleash feelings in quite a dramatic fashion – the tantrum. This doesn’t always mean they are consciously and willfully acting out wrong – it is more that they are displaying a learned behavior. Your goal as a parent or teacher is to help the toddler unlearn this type of response.

Assess the Reaction

The first thing you will need to do is find out what is triggering your particular child’s tantrums. Looking at what has happened immediately before, during, and after the tantrum might tell you a lot about why they are happening. Most kids prone to tantrums do them at very predictable times – bedtime, time to put toys away, not being able to have a toy or some other personal situation that involves their play or comfort time.

Reacting to the Tantrum

At the Montessori Preschool, toddlers who experience situations that they feel warrant a tantrum are met with positive reinforcement. As a school that is also a community of other children their same age, it is normal they will find themselves in situations from time to time where things are not going as they want them to. When the tantrum is met with a calm demeanor, persistence, and patience, the tantrum can almost always be diffused. Montessori instructors know how to choose a strategy that is in tune with each child’s individual needs and personality.

Contact Montessori Children’s House in the Bay Area today, and schedule a tour to see how their educational program will benefit your child. Speak with the instructors and learn how they value each student as an individual, ensuring your child receives the education he or she deserves.

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.

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.

 

 

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.

Summer Camp Education

A Montessori Summer camp is a combination of fun and learning for primary and elementary aged students in a nurturing educational environment that adds so much more in the way of also having outstanding experiences. Campers range in age from 2 to 12, and they do not have to be currently enrolled in a Montessori school to participate in this unique summer adventure.

The Goal

The goal is to strengthen the imagination, stimulate creative talents, foster friendships, teach new skills, and give unforgettable memories. It is an exciting chance for children to explore unique experiences and to follow their personal paths of curiosity and creativity while they also have the freedom of summer activities.

Additional Benefits to the Child

  • Encourage the normal desire for independence.
  • Have them obtain a high sense of self-esteem.
  • Awaken the child’s imagination and spirit.
  • Develop the self-discipline and kindness and courtesy to other people.
  • Help the child to learn how to observe, question, and then explore ideas independently.
  • Be exposed to diversity and connect with children of different nationalities and cultures who they may not normally meet.

What is included?

Activities are age appropriate, and there is special attention given to every camper’s individual needs.

Music, art, literature, and outdoor adventures are in every camp. The elementary program for campers 6 to 12 years old adds visual and performing arts, science experiments, foreign culture and language, math, drama, building things, exploring nature and the environment, sports, fitness, swimming, cooking, playing games and other team-building activities, time management skills, and learning about accountability and responsibility. In addition, there is usually a weekly Trip Day to local museums, attractions, a zoo or wildlife preserve, an amusement park, or hiking on nature trails and through forests and valleys.

Campers work both independently and in groups. Montessori instructors and a teaching assistant comprise the staff, give experienced guidance and care, and are dedicated to the support of growth in every child. Presented is a balance of group projects and times when children can choose their own activities.

Learn More

Camp Montessori experience is a continuation of your student’s regular Montessori education with an emphasis on fun and holistic youthful activity.  To learn more about our Montessori summer camp, contact us to inquire about our two week sessions.

Art and Science Activities at Home

It is a mission of the Montessori Schools to encourage parents to continue to do at home some of the proven Montessori methods of early learning activities that teachers incorporate. Young children have a keen desire to have caring demonstration and encouragement to support and foster their ongoing excited efforts.

What is learned?

Whether the projects are in science or art, actual hands-on experiences are the quickest and easiest way for a child to learn how to accomplish the desired results. Coloring, drawing, painting, using stickers and embellishments, and other skills can be the start of a budding artist. Observing seeds turn into plants, viewing animals and insects, watching flowers bloom, and similar experiments can teach physical science.

Materials Needed

There are hundreds of child-size age-appropriate materials and publications, as well as, simple household objects that can be used in many forms of creativity and problem-solving.

  • Jumbo Thermometer
    • This oversized sturdy plastic weather tool, without mercury and with easy-to-read numbers can be used to teach the skills of observation, measuring, recording, math, writing, and learning the differences between the Fahrenheit and the Celsius (centigrade) scales.
  • Design Cards
    • Art, writing and language creativity can be accomplished on 4” x 6” cards that can be used by the children for birthday and other greeting cards, invitations, or as thank you notes for gifts received. Let the imaginations take over as they create with crayons, colored pencils, markers, paint, lace, small bows, ribbon, and stickers.
  • Body Doodlers
    • Children love face and body painting, and these washable non-toxic crayons glide on and wash off easily. A set of six would probably include white, black, green, blue, red and yellow packed in a convenient plastic case for storage. Not only meant for Halloween, they can be used for any birthday party, make believe plays that the children can put on, dressing up, or just any time for fun.
  • Real Bowles stethoscope
    • This is authentic and really works! It is chrome-plated, has white polyethylene ear tips and plastic flexible 24-inch-long tubing that can be cut to adjust the length. The children will be fascinated as they listen to their heartbeats and other noises in their bodies.
  • Bug Viewers
    • You can purchase real glass magnifiers with an extra-large non-scratch glass that are ideal for small hands and the big eyes of children as they are intrigued when observing insects as well as other small nature objects, leaves, flowers, and more in their outdoor explorations and field trips.

See for Yourself

If you would like to learn how a Montessori preschool education will benefit your child, feel free to contact our school for a tour. The knowledgeable instructors and staff at the Montessori Children’s House will be more than happy to answer all your questions.