Teaching Courage in School

Courage is a virtue that should always be of great importance in and out of the classroom. Children can appreciate courage the most when they realize that bravery is just one small part of having courage. Some of the ways that kids can learn about this important concept are:

  • Hearing stories about people who did courageous things
  • Reading books about those who exemplified courage
  • Taking part in storytelling about this and other important virtues

Writing About Courage

As children learn more about courage, they are likely to think of times in their lives when they’ve shown courage. Perhaps it was standing up to a bully, or coping with a serious illness at a young age. Keeping a journal is one way to write about these ideas in a meaningful way. Younger kids might share their stories of courage through verbal storytelling or art. Ideas for putting these ideas into practice include:

  • Having the class keep journals and encourage sharing times
  • During sharing times, encourage students to ask each other questions
  • Allow children to act out some of what they write about, within reason

Courage in Art

Art is an effective way for children to express their ideas about courage. There are so many different mediums children can use that they are assured of never running out of ideas. Another advantage of art is that it is a good medium for younger children who have yet to master writing skills. Putting all of the courage-related artwork into one display is also a good motivator to encourage kids to work together.

  • Consider allowing access to magazines or catalogs that students can use to create collages
  • Encourage kids to create a mural as a group activity about courage
  • Do an art activity as a follow-up to the journal entries

Field Trips

There are many examples of courage in history, making field trips a good way to learn about historical figures who exemplify this virtue. A trip to a museum or state historic site is a great way to introduce students to these figures. Sometimes experiencing certain exhibits or displays help bring the idea to life for kids.

  • Consider a reading or storytelling activity before the visit with a story related to the trip
  • Incorporate relevant cultural activities into the lead-up to the field trip
  • Encourage your students to write about the experience or share about it drawings

Teaching kids about courage is vital to their later success in school and larger life. These and other activities will play a role in helping children learn about vital virtues.  At Montessori School of Fremont, our teachers encourage students to be courageous as they grow and learn throughout their school years.  Parents and potential students are invited to tour our school and see our classrooms in person.  Contact us today to schedule a tour.

Using Meditation to Teach Your Child

Teaching your child through Meditation

Meditation and mindfulness are not considered just adult pursuits any longer. These techniques are now being taught to children to help them with relaxation and ways to reduce stress. These calming methods also help children to connect with their inner source of calm. Many Montessori centers are now offering programs for young children to learn meditation techniques.

Using Meditation to Teach Your Child

You don’t need to hire an expert to teach your child how to find this inner peace; you can teach them techniques as a complete beginner. Not all children will be able to do meditation, but they can learn breathing techniques to help them regulate and not lose control. Parents are beginning to realize that meditation can calm their over-active young children. These are some tips to help you teach your child.

Breathing will be the Beginning

Breathing is the beginning and finishing point for meditation lessons. Your child’s breath goes with them every moment of their day, and they need to learn how it can be an anchor. Show them how they breathe, how their chest rises and falls by placing their hand on their tummy, so they feel how it moves with each breath. Doing this with your child will put both of you anchored together in the moment.

Learn that it’s a Personal Journey

Children don’t always respond to new situations the way you want, and meditation will not be any different. You can ask them to sit, close their eyes, breathe, and so on, but if they don’t want to close their eyes, you shouldn’t force them. If closing their eyes is uncomfortable, you can give them an object to focus on instead.

Be Imaginative

Don’t think analytically or rationally as most adults. Use your imagination and create a safe and beautiful place and describe this to your child, so they too feel safe, peaceful, and curious. You know your child has a big imagination; this is the ideal time to let them show you how to use yours.

Use Patience

There are a lot of ways for you to approach the teachings of meditation and mindfulness with your child. What you don’t want is to set a goal you expect to reach. Have an intention, but not one you are determined to achieve. To make the most of your teachings, join in with your child. Asking them to relax means you must relax, and as they notice their body, you must be aware of your own. Teaching your child mediation will be a valuable experience for you both.

Meditation and Montessori

Montessori believes in children practicing meditation to find their quiet inner space. By creating a peaceful and relaxing environment, your child is encouraged to relax and listen to music as they leave any stress they feel behind. This practice has shown incredible success with children finding more control over their own emotions. Contact Montessori School of Fremont, a Private Elementary School in Fremont, CA, to find out how your child can benefit with our unique and successful learning experiences.

 

Special Needs and the Montessori Classroom

 

Montessori Method with Children of Varying Abilities

All children benefit from the Montessori method, but very few parents understand how well it works for those with special needs. The important thing is to acknowledge that Montessori is a learning strategy rather than a teaching strategy. In other words, emphasis is placed on providing children with the appropriate tools for them to learn at their own pace and not on giving teachers a curriculum that all students must be molded to fit.

The Origins of Montessori Learning

Maria Montessori was a doctor who became one of the first advocates of special needs education. In her professional role, she was positioned with the task of working with children who had mental and physical disabilities during an era when such children were considered to be unteachable. Maria did not agree with that viewpoint, and began studying how children learn so that she could make an impact. She later transitioned to teaching “normal” children, but continued using her experiences with special needs children as her guide. The result of her work was the development of the Montessori method, used today by more than 7,000 schools worldwide.

Materials and Organization

The Montessori school is commonly referred to as the “Children’s House.” Each classroom is designed around the children who will use it, including child-sized furnishings and decorations. Even the materials are selected to match the children, such as the progression of beads and bars found in all Montessori classrooms. The materials are arranged for maximum benefit, and children are able to move about the room and up through the progression of materials as they master new educational skills.

Mixed Ages and Special Needs

Since the classroom is designed around mixed ages, there is no social catastrophe when a child needs to be “held back.” Children of differing ages are also motivating for the students, as older kids gain self esteem from helping little ones, and the younger see benefits from having in-class examples of what their goals can become. Cooperation is one of the foundations of Montessori learning, and it creates an environment of helpfulness and acceptance.

Student Goals and the Montessori Method

Some special needs students need special education strategies, and may require specialized guidance or therapy, including speech and behavioral guidance. But even these special needs can be worked into the student’s personal goals, building a more rounded child by matching his needs to his daily educational program. The structure of the Montessori classroom has been shown to assist in the development of children with conditions such as autism.

The Montessori method uses a hands-on approach to learning that appeals to children – having the freedom to work on projects at their own pace, and being immersed in an environment that teaches real-world skills is a comfortable and intuitive way for the special needs student to become all that they can be.  At our private day care in Fremont, CA, the staff at Montessori Childrens Center welcome children of all abilities. Contact us today to schedule a tour!

How Music Plays an Important Role in Montessori Education

Music is more than entertaining for the Montessori student. It plays a role in the education process itself. Music and singing are both used nearly everyday in the classroom, both for the purpose of music education and for the scientifically understood benefits that music can have on the ability to learn and grow. Montessori learning teaches that music is common to all students, but the science behind music in the classroom is equally important.

Montessori Bells and Tone Bars

Early music appreciation is an integral part of the classroom for students. The familiar “Bells,” for example, are used to help children learn to identify musical notes. As a young child becomes more familiar with the sounds of the bells, they are able to identify notes by ear, sorting the bells into correct order, and then using that knowledge to create simple melodies. Adding the equally familiar tone bars expands on early musical education.

Brain Stimulation

The process of making up a song or singing along stimulates the brain. Since music and reading are processed by opposite sides of the brain, associating the alphabet or written words with a melody will encourage higher brain function, bridging the cranial hemispheres. One result of this interaction is the ability to memorize things more accurately when they are associated with music. Another, equally important effect of music on education, is that children are encouraged to enjoy reading when they associate it with music.

Music and Movement

Physical responses, such as clapping in time to the rhythm of music, helps establish and reinforce balance and coordination. An excellent example of how music is applied in this respect can be seen in video and television targeted at early education. Age-old musical songs use repetitive actions to underscore the meaning, and some songs are designed expressly to increase motor control skills.

Growing with the Music

The traditional practice of keeping children in strict classroom desks and positions may be more harmful than helpful. In Montessori learning, attention is paid to the importance of movement, beginning with a distribution of study centers around the classroom, and continuing through the encouragement of physical activity combined with particular subject matter and study sets. Movement encourages physical and mental growth, and the active role of music encourages movement.

Music In the Home

Music appreciation does not end with the school day. At home, parents are encouraged to listen to a variety of music with their children. Sing songs together. Make up new songs together. Treat music as an interactive art form, including group and individual participation, dancing, and other forms of musical expression.

The benefits of including music as an integral part of the educational process are well defined and numerous. It is a tool in the Montessori classroom and should be encouraged at home as well. If you have questions about how to use music in your home parenting programs, contact the Montessori School of Fremont to find out more.  We invite parents and students to tour our school and classroom to learn about the Montessori method firsthand.

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.

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.