Montessori Kindergarten: What Children Learn

The Montessori learning model stands out because of the unique and innovative approaches it takes when educating young minds. It is based on many years worth of research into all of the different aspects of a child’s development including: cognitive, emotional, neurological, physical, and more.

The goal behind Montessori educational programs is to provide a well-rounded learning experience that fits children of all ages and backgrounds. Here’s what children will learn in a Montessori kindergarten classroom.

Academic Intelligence

Unlike the traditional learning model found in public classrooms, Montessori programs focus on more than just gaining academic knowledge. However, Montessori programs understand so-called “book smarts” are extremely important to a child’s overall development. As academics are such a vital part of the Montessori learning experience, Montessori schools have taken great care to design curriculum that is both fun and educational.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is greatly underrated in our society, and that’s why the Montessori kindergarten program has developed new and exciting ways to enhance each students’ ability to process their thoughts and emotions in healthy and productive ways.

Much of our emotional intelligence is learned through simply knowing how to be self-sufficient and trusting our own judgments while still valuing the advice and guidance of others. Montessori schools will encourage their students to be independent and free thinkers alongside their teacher who will be there to guide them each step of the way.

Social Intelligence

Knowing how to start, grow, and maintain interpersonal relationships can be a deciding factor in our quality of life. That’s why Montessori kindergarten programs put special emphasis on teaching children how to relate to others.

Montessori educators believe it’s important to start this socialization process early so it becomes part of student as they continue to learn, grow, and develop throughout life. Every Montessori classroom is a place where differences and diversity are celebrated rather than just tolerated.

Critical Thinking

What does it mean to be a critical thinker? That’s a question we want every Montessori student to answer for themselves. Learning how to think critically is a process that must start early on to lay its foundations for the rest of their lives.

Critical thinking skills are what will allow students to stand out from the crowd later in life. It also gives students the tools they need to become expert problem solvers in all areas of their development, not just academically.

Key Takeaway

The Montessori kindergarten program works to provide children with a solid start in life by exposing them to a wide variety of skills, values, experiences, and academics. Not only that, each student is encouraged to work at their own pace and think for themselves. This natural and inclusive approach to education can make a huge difference in a child’s development – one that can continue to serve them all the way through to adulthood. Contact Montessori Children’s Center today to learn about our programs, including our Montessori kindergarten program. We invite prospective parents and teachers in to tour our classrooms and meet with our teachers.

Helping your Kindergartner get Organized for the First Day of School

The first day of kindergarten is something every parent and child looks forward to, but let’s face it – it can also be a little scary. The key to having a successful start in Kindergarten is in the preparation. Getting your child ready and organized for their first day will allow them to feel confident in starting their educational pursuits.

Here’s some helpful ways you can prepare your child for their first of school:

Explain the Schedule

Simply talking to your child about what they should expect while attending school will ease their mind. Explain how the day will start at a certain time and end at a certain time.

Share Your Experience

We all remember those first day jitters when starting a new school. That’s because every single one of us went through it at one time or another. Make sure your child knows it’s perfectly normal to feel a little nervous before the big day!

Talk about the Benefits

Knowledge is power. And as a parent, you of course want your child to grow up feeling powerful and capable in everything they do. Tell your child about the numerous benefits education will offer them – just don’t leave out all of the fun and exciting adventures they will also get to experience as a Montessori student.

Make Friends

If possible, introduce your child to a couple classmates before school starts. Let them play together and get to know each other a little beforehand. Then on their first day, they will already have some friends to make them feel more relaxed and comfortable with all of the changes they are experiencing during this time.

Meet the Teacher

Before their first day, have a short meeting with the teacher so your child will be familiar with them as soon as they get into the classroom. As soon as the teacher greets your child as a friend, they will feel right at home!

Get Involved

One of the scariest parts of starting Kindergarten for children is the fact they will be away from their parents for so long. That’s why it’s so important to reassure your child, explain to them you will always be there when school ends each day.

You can also get involved with activities at the school to help foster the educational community that exists there, as well as become an active participant in your child’s learning process.

Have a Routine

Perhaps the most important part of keeping your child enthusiastic and interested in school is having a solid routine they can always depend on. Start this routine early and it will become a habit for the rest of your child’s life, keeping them on track and focused on the goals ahead.

For more information on how to prepare your child for a life of success, contact the Montessori Children’s Center today!  Our teachers welcome prospective parents and students to visit their classroom and see the positive impact Montessori education can have on a child’s life.

Our Favorite Books for the Season

Holiday books are a perfect way to celebrate a season filled with various traditions. Getting children interested in books at an early age may result in a lifelong love of reading. Seasonal books add to the excitement of the holidays. Finding the right type of book for your child depends on your personal seasonal preferences. As you begin to search for seasonal stories, keep in mind the best way to peak your child’s interest is finding an age appropriate book.

Books for Age Two and Above

  • Christmastime by Alison Jay (2012) is a delightful tale of the different aspects of the wonderful Christmas season.
  • Little Blue Truck’s Christmas by Alice Schertle (2014) is a novelty book with lights. The book tells the story of the Little Blue Truck spreading Christmas cheer to various animal friends.
  • Peek-A-Who? by Nina Laden (2000) is a fun die-cut window book guiding children to a surprise ending.

Books for Age Three and Above

  • The Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood (2012) focuses on the quiet times of the holiday season.
  • The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen (2015) inspires the reader to realize true gifts only come from the heart.
  • The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert (2013) shares the story of Anja who wants to be one of Santa’s elves.

Books for Age Four and Above

  • A Bad Kitty Christmas by Nick Bruel (2011) tells a funny story on how a bad kitty finds the true meaning of the holiday season.
  • Daddy Christmas & Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko (2012) shares the delights representing two seasonal traditions in one household.
  • The Little Elf by Brandi Dougherty (2012) tells the story of Oliver, a small elf with the desire to do the best job in Santa’s workshop.

Books for Age Five and Above

  • Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R Tolkien (2013) shares the magical tales surrounding the adventures of North Pole living.
  • Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (1986) unfolds the magical tale of being welcomed aboard a train on Christmas Eve.
  • How to Catch Santa by Jean Reagan (2015) invites the reader to enjoy the different tips for catching Santa on Christmas Eve.

Books for Age Six and Above

  • The Santa Trap by Jonathan Emmett (2012) tells a funny tale of a boy trying to capture Santa.
  • Barbara Parks’ tale of Junie B., First Grader in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May) (2009) tells the story of finding out your secret Santa pick is the class tattletale.
  • The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tee: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston (1996) shares the story of Ruthie who wants to find the perfect Christmas tree for the little town.

Every book has a way to invite the reader into a season filled with joy and laughter. Deciding on just one book may be a difficult decision. For extra fun, you can always go with the classic tale of How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. The ending always makes you smile.

Montessori School of Newark can help your child excel in reading through Montessori education, where children are encouraged to work at their own pace and collaborate with others.  Call us today to schedule a tour and learn how Montessori education can be a fit for your family.

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.

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.

 

 

Summer Science Activities at Home for Kids

Just because school lets out for the summer, it does not mean that your child should stop learning or even that they want to stop learning.

Since Science is such an important subject, it is important that you keep your child interested while school is out. There are a few summer experiments that you can do with your children to peak their curiosity about Science, while teaching them something at the same time.

Build a Fizz Inflator

When baking soda and vinegar combine, ab acud based reaction is created. When the two chemicals come into contact with one another, they create carbon dioxide. This is a great way to teach that to your children.

You Will Need:

  • An empty soda bottle
  • A small balloon
  • A funnel
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar
  • Baking soda

Instructions:

  1. Pour the vinegar into a bottle
  2. Stretch out the balloon and fill it half way with baking soda, using a funnel.
  3. Put the neck of the balloon over the bottle, and try to avoid letting any baking soda into the bottle.
  4. Raise the balloon and allow the baking soda to pour from the balloon to the bottle. It will mix with the vinegar and then start fizzing.

Make a Paperclip Float

This experiment will teach your child about surface tension. This means that there is a ‘skin’ on the surface where the molecules hold together tightly. If the experiment is done properly, the paperclip will float.

You Will Need:

  • Clean, dry paperclips
  • A pencil with an eraser
  • Tissue paper
  • A bowl of water

Instructions:

  1. Fill a bowl with water, and put the paperclip in. Watch it fall to the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Tear a piece of tissue paper the size of a dollar bill.
  3. Drop the tissue paper onto the surface of the water gently.
  4. Place the paperclip on the tissue without touching the water or the tissue with your fingers.
  5. Using the eraser on the pencil, poke the tissue but don’t touch the paperclip. Push on the tissue until it sinks. The paperclip should continue to float on top of the water.

Blow Up a Balloon With Pop Rocks

This is a great experiment to teach kids about pressurized dioxide gas and how it can put air in a balloon.

You Will Need:

  • A 1-liter bottle of soda
  • 1 balloon
  • 1 packet of Pop Rocks

Instructions:

  1. Stretch out the balloon so that you can fit it over the top of the soda bottle quickly and easily.
  2. Slowly pour the packet of Pop Rocks into the soda bottle.
  3. Quickly, fit the balloon over the top of the bottle before the gas can escape.
  4. Watch the balloon inflate after the two ingredients combine.
  5. Explain to your child that Pop Rocks containe a small amount of pressurized carbon dioxide, which caused the balloon to inflate.

If you are interested in learning more about our authentic Montessori Preschool program, contact us to schedule a tour.

 

Fun Bugs and Insects for Kids

In a Montessori education, your child will learn about living and non-living plant-life as well as animal life. There will also be lessons on animals and their groups including their babies and where they live. In the summer, there are opportunities to study fun bugs and insects that do not fit into an orderly curriculum.

Seeing nature close up

This activity will expand your child’s experience with the natural world. They will develop sensory skills, language, practical life skills, the ability to observe quietly, and a respect for living things. Your child will go out to a grassy area with a magnifying glass and look for interesting things. They can look at simple things such as a blade of grass or rock and see the difference looking at it through the magnifying glass. As a model of respecting our earth, your child will be encouraged to look at items where they are and not pick them or take them from where they are found.

Other interesting things are observed such as; tiny plants, dandelions, sticks, and insects. When any of these items are found; your child is encouraged not to disturb their existence and to observe them where they are found. Your child will be allowed to investigate their world at their own pace and are only guided when they seem unsure of what to look at next.

Observing bugs

There are often bugs found inside like spiders or ants that can be caught with little bug catchers. This gives children the perfect chance to observe them close up and then teaches them to respect living things by releasing it back outside. There are then endless ways to introduce your child to a wide variety of fun bugs in our world. Using plastic bugs in pairs they are mixed up and the task is to match them in pairs, with printed cards of different butterfly species the children then match miniature pictures to the larger ones, through plastic versions or printed colorful cards the children will learn what are insects and what are not, and many other fun activities introducing your child to fun world of bugs

Learning in a Montessori environment

The Montessori environment is a child -centered educational approach. The approach values your child’s human spirit and their development as a whole person; social, emotional, cognitive, and physical. In the classroom, your child, the teacher, and the learning environment will create a triangle that encourages independent learning in a fun and individual process. Teachers encourage freedom within limits, provide a sense of order and allow your child to discover information about the world around them with a hands-on experience.

Your child’s education through Montessori will develop their potential and prepare them to understand and appreciate learning and their world. If this sounds like the kind of education you want for your child, you will love the Montessori approach. Contact our Mission Valley Kindergarten to schedule a tour of our school.

Sensory Roller Painting

Montessori principles base learning on a child’s natural development in a well-prepared, enticing environment. Children love the opportunity to explore the world around them. Montessori instructors use children’s natural curiosity to build upon interests and desire for knowledge. According to Montessori principles, children have an absorbent mind with individual interests and needs.

Hands-on activities inspire and teach children by engaging all of their senses. By pursuing every opportunity for hands-on learning, a young child will have actual experiences prior to learning the concepts or names of objects. Art especially messy art is one of the best opportunities to engage in the senses.

Sensory Roller Painting

Sensory roller painting can be done in different ways. For example, securing bubble wrap around rolling pins or other circular objects provides a perfect opportunity for administering paint to large pieces of paper. As watch the project unfold, you may just view children at play. The project is actually an integral part of learning. The project enhances the senses of touch, smell, and hearing.

Creativity and Imagination

Painting with various colors and textures enhances creative expression and develops the child’s imagination. Creative expression helps with cognitive development. Children want to explore and think about the project.

Linguistics

Young children are learning new words every day. Sensory activities help children learn a new vocabulary. The names of colors, shapes and textures are just some of the new words that can be incorporated into the project. .As children work with others around the sensory table or art area, discussing the project will enhance communication skills.

Fine Motor Skills

When using rolling pins or paint brushes, children are using fine motor skills as part of the application process. The continuous use of fine motor skills helps in the development muscles in the hands and wrists. As the muscles develop, an increase in hand and eye coordination will be fine-tuned. The simple sensory, art project also aids in the development of concentration which will help in later stages of learning.

Social and Emotional Sills

Under most circumstances, more than one child will want to learn how to do the sensory rolling painting project. The involvement of other children actually helps in the learning process. When working alongside peers, children develop social and emotional skills. For example, introducing new paint colors or other textures to the project will help in teaching children to wait their turn. As children engage and experiment with colors, socialization will increase throughout the work area.

Sense of Achievement

By finishing a sensory roller painting project, children gain a sense of achievement which boosts confidence levels. The excitement of completing a project will inspire a new sense of wonder to explore with further activities.

Of course, the project is a fun activity. When children have fun, the process becomes part of the learning experience.

If you would like more information on how sensory roller painting activities or other art related projects can help your young children learn, please contact the Montessori School in Newark for a tour. One of our highly trained instructors will be more than happy to answer all your questions about our kindergarten Newark program.