Friday, July 29, 2022

5 Examples of Differences Between Montessori and Traditional Public Schools

Preschool children tend to perform well in a Montessori environment. As an alternative to traditional schools, Montessori stands apart from other educational strategies because the Montessori Method is designed around children, focusing on helping each child develop in a natural manner using special activities and a completely different teaching style.

  1. Children First

Traditionally, all of the children in a class are expected to always be on the same page, working on the same projects, and using the same materials. By contrast, Montessori preschool students work individually. This is only one example of how Montessori puts individual development first, but the classroom itself is another example, with everything designed to be more comfortable and appealing to the children in the room.

  1. Observation and Guidance

Montessori teachers are called guides because guidance, not instruction, is their primary function. Student guides do not spend the day lecturing to the class as a group. Their approach is to observe the progress of individuals and gently guide them toward new activities or goals that help each child at a personal level.

  1. Hands-On Activity

Independent research has demonstrated the effectiveness of learning through doing, but Montessori students have always used a play-based educational system. Maria Montessori recognized that children are learning when they are at play and designed activities around the idea that children will learn more readily when the task at hand is also enjoyable and engaging.

  1. Mixed Age Groups

Children in the Montessori preschool are learning different skills at different speeds. In a traditional classroom where all of the kids are within months of the same age, this method would be problematic but in a class with a 3-year age spread every child has ample opportunity to learn at a pace that suits them instead of struggling to stay in step with other students.

  1. Practical Experience

There isn't much room for learning to perform practical tasks in a traditional public school environment. Montessori teaches children to perform these tasks as a fundamental part of the educational process, including routine chores and lessons about culture, language, and math, and as a tool for developing important social skills. The end result is a child who not only learns academically, physically, and socially but gains practical experience in real-world tasks as they do so.


Montessori is vastly different from traditional educational approaches. It allows more freedom of choice but demands more focus on learning. It is self-guided and self-correcting, and Montessori is more fully involved in helping the child develop along several developmental paths in unison.


Monday, July 18, 2022

Do Mixed Age Groups in Montessori Schools Benefit the Children?

Over a century ago, Maria Montessori observed that children develop more effectively when they are members of a mixed age group. Through further research, she realized that mixed age groups in Montessori daycare correspond to learning phases, beginning with the absorbent mind period that spans from birth to 6 years and can readily be divided into 2 distinct groups split at around age 3. 

A Natural Order

Montessori's mixed-age groups were inspired by the natural order of things. In an unstructured environment, this grouping happens by default, based on things like interacting with siblings to the age distribution that occurs within a community of children. Even more importantly, mixed ages have an impact on a variety of developmental goals, critical thinking skills, and social interactions.

Learning Paces Vary

Children do not absorb the same information or reach the same mental or physical development milestones at the same time. By mixing the ages of the children in a classroom, each child can develop individually while allowing all of the kids to achieve the same milestones before moving on to the next mixed-age group. And since some children develop more quickly, they have the abilities and experience to help guide the development of those who follow.

Building Future Leaders

When older children are encouraged to identify and assist others, they are building strong emotional skills such as empathy and practicing leadership skills such as diplomacy. Montessori is renowned for producing adult children who have done extremely well in leadership positions, and this is related-- at least in part-- to having begun learning to be leaders at an early age.

Bolstering Self Esteem

Immersion in a mixed-age group helps children develop vital social skills, but to do that they must also have a healthy sense of self-confidence. The self-esteem to help others and the willingness to ask for help when it is needed are both based on developmental skills that are available through social interactions in a mixed-age classroom. This effect is part of Montessori's method as well and corresponds to the observation that children need to feel good about themselves before they can feel good about learning, or even interacting appropriately with others.

 

Not only does mixing the age of students benefit them, but the idea itself is also one of the founding principles that Montessori relies on to work so well. Just as children need to develop practical experience with tools and utensils, they also perform at their best when they have practical experience with social interactions that involve people of different ages than their own.


Monday, June 27, 2022

3 Developmental Music and Movement Activities I Can Do With My Preschool Child

Preschool children have a lot to gain from activities that involve music and movement. Songs and music teach language, and songs that provide movement incentives help develop skills needed for other activities. Putting their right foot in and pulling their right foot out bolsters coordination, teaches children the difference between right and left, builds vocabulary, and encourages the development of fine and gross motor skills.

  1. Be a Role Model

When your Montessori preschool children see you singing along to the radio or dancing about the room, they want to imitate what you do. To that end, the single biggest thing you can contribute in early child development is to be a great role model, showing your children the kind of activities you want them to mimic. Sing to your child, hold his hands and dance with him, and encourage him when he begins to be-bop around the room himself.

  1. Sing-Alongs

Singing along to children's songs helps preschool children develop a stronger vocabulary, helps them learn valuable lessons about themselves and the world, and more. Set aside a little time each day to sing along to some songs, take note of the ones your child enjoys the most, and encourage him to sing along when a favorite tune comes on the radio. Because whether you are singing Itsy-Bitsy Spider or a top-10 pop song you are helping your child learn to speak more fluently and providing other important developmental skills in language, fine motor skills, and more.

  1. Dance With Me

Clapping their hands, stomping their feet, and swaying to and fro in time to music helps children develop vital fine and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills are necessary for gripping and manipulating small objects, and gross motor skills are used for running, jumping, climbing, and more. Dancing with your child is a valuable activity that goes far beyond the actual music and movements taking place.


If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands, and encourage your preschooler to sing along, move along, and participate. Praise his style and ability, because your praise builds his self-esteem, and children who feel good about their abilities are more willing to use them. For small children, everything they do is an educational activity and the more ways you are able to encourage his participation, the faster and easier early childhood development will be.


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

3 Helpful Tips for Following Montessori's Theory On Sleep


Montessori daycare children are especially susceptible to learning and behavior issues related to improper sleep schedules. They can become irritable, have trouble concentrating, or become classroom disruption, and in severe instances, the child may have trouble staying awake during periods of activity. Children need to get enough rest, and these tips will give you some insight into how that can be accomplished.
  1. Self-Regulate

Maria Montessori's observations regarding sleep underscored that children's sleep cycles are commonly adjusted for the benefit of adults. This sometimes results in children not getting enough rest, being forced to sleep when they aren't tired, and more. The end result is often a child who is restless, disruptive, or unable to concentrate on tasks. Her recommendation was that children should be allowed to self-regulate their sleep, including having a bed they can enter or exit at will.

      2. Know Your Child

Just as Maria Montessori developed the Montessori Method through careful observation, parents can become more attuned to the patterns of their children by watching them without interference. When your child is tired, she will sleep if permitted to do so, and she will continue her activities when she awakens. You will see patterns developing that help you adjust her sleep schedules to match her natural rest patterns.

      3. Do Not Use Sleep As A Punishment

Forcing Montessori daycare children to go to bed when they aren't tired disrupts their ordinary sleep schedule. Because she understood the importance of a well-rested child, Montessori was very clear that sleep should never be used as a punishment. Using timeouts to address behavior problems isn't an issue, but combining time in bed with the timeout can lead to additional errant behavior rather than solving existing ones.

Parents have busy schedules, but they need to take care not to allow those schedules to interfere with the natural development of their children. Watch and listen to your daycare child. You will quickly learn how her natural rhythms work, and that will allow you to set up a sleep routine that works as well for her as for you.


Monday, May 16, 2022

3 Examples of Preparing Your Child for a New Baby's Arrival

As soon as you find out that your family is expecting a new addition, you should take steps to prepare your daycare children for the new arrival. You can do this in a number of ways, and the underlying goal is to make sure your son understands that he is not being replaced as the favored child, but is instead being given the gift of a new playmate and a chance to show his love and affection for others,

The Stress of a New Sibling

A popular song in the late 70s was about a boy of daycare age who was devastated by the arrival of a baby sister after he had become accustomed to being the only child of the family. This is a very real situation for first-born children, but parents can sideline the emotional trauma by acclimating the older child early and making him part of the arrival of a new family member.


  1. Talk About What's Happening

Talk to your son about the expected baby. Appropriately explain what pregnancy is, and help your child learn about the beauty of birth and the miracle of new life. Young children love to learn about new things, and preparing for a new brother or sister is a learning experience that can help them develop strong emotional and critical thinking skills.

  1. Inclusion Over Exclusion

A very big mistake that parents sometimes make is to put too much focus on the new baby's arrival. Your older child has been the only child for as long as he can remember, and suddenly feeling like he has been pushed aside can lead to unwanted behavior such as sullenness, unruliness, and unexpected anger or aggression. Remember that this can be a very stressful time for your older child and be patient with him as he adjusts to life as part of a family team instead of being the sole center of attention.

  1. Little Kids Become Big Helpers

A new baby in the family is a great time for your small son to transition into being the big boy of the family. This can be done by encouraging him to help his mom during the pregnancy and to learn how to do little things that help care for the new child after it arrives. Since learning to be an important part of the family and community is an important part of the Montessori Method, providing opportunities that teach important practical life experiences is actually a boon to the development of his physical, social, and even academic skills.


The worst mistake parents can make in regards to preparing a child for a new baby in the household is to pretend it isn't happening or to neglect the feelings and assumptions the older child has to deal with as the big day gets closer. Start early and stay patient, and your daycare son will quickly become your preschool helper.


Tools to Reduce Stress and Help Your Child Focus in School

When children graduate from the preschool class to private kindergarten, they will sometimes feel a bit stressed out. More is expected of them at this stage in life, and coping with expectations and trying to meet expected timeframes may seem like a daunting task, leading to less productive studies or even unwanted behavior patterns. To help alleviate the stress in your child's life, try these established tools that reduce stress and impress focus in children.

One Thing Then Another

Overloading Montessori kindergarten children with a list of things that need to be done overwhelms them, and that often leads to reduced performance. A better approach is to show what needs to be done, and then help your kids prioritize the schedule so that they can focus on a single thing at a time. There may be a lot to do, but accomplishing the list in single-task increments reduces the stress of expectations.

Physical Activity 

Research shows that physical activity helps reduce stress. The Montessori Method already puts a lot of emphasis on physical activity because it is beneficial for childhood development. At school and at home, giving children plenty of opportunities to get outside and be active will always be a great approach to better physical, mental, and emotional health.

Communication

Just like their adult counterparts, kindergarten children excel when they feel as though their concerns and needs are being addressed. Communication allows them to voice their wants and needs, express their problems, and work out appropriate solutions. Inclusion is an important part of the Montessori Method, and communication is a big step toward making young kids feel like part of the family and the community at large.

Established Routines

Setting up and sticking to regular routines is a great stress reliever for everyone, including school children. For kindergartners, things like a regular sleep schedule, helping prepare and clean up after dinner, and playing a leading role in caring for the family pet are all ways that children can establish reliable routines that make them feel more comfortable. Additionally, getting enough sleep at night and preparing for school efficiently every morning means they will be in a more relaxed frame of mind, and that allows them to focus on the tasks at hand instead of feeling like the things that are expected of them are one big jumble of "do this and do that."


The important thing to remember is that children are really just small versions of adults that have less real-world experience to draw from. They tend to model their behavior after what they observe in the adults around them, so practicing good emotional behavior at home encourages children to do the same. A good rule of thumb is that worrying about things does not accomplish much and that everything will happen in due time if we slow down and focus on what is important.


Friday, April 29, 2022

4 Examples of Using Coloring to Promote Early Childhood Development


Far from a way to keep Montessori daycare children busy, coloring activities promote a range of developmental traits that will benefit children as they grow. This is where kids learn the foundations of holding a writing implement and making controlled lines, a skill that will morph into writing in a few more years. To illustrate the importance of coloring in a Montessori classroom, consider these 4 areas of development derived from coloring activities.

  1. Fine Motor Skills

Learning to grip a cylindrical object and manipulate the tip of it to make lines or just coloring within lines is a major developmental achievement in daycare. Coloring is one of many ways your Montessori daycare will help develop fine motor skills, often in conjunction with other learning activities. 

  1. Critical Thinking

Coloring helps kids learn to stay within the lines of an image, but it also promotes critical thinking skills and creativity when children are given the freedom to color what and how they please. Coloring is also useful in learning to count, sort, and other activities, or even embedded into science activities.

  1. Self-Expression

Learning to think creatively bolsters self-expression, encourages a healthy sense of personal value, and opens the door for a whole new way that children can communicate with others. This helps children think more independently, and act on their conclusions in a positive manner. The psychology behind coloring is even more in-depth than you might think, making it an excellent tool for child development.

  1. Preparation for Writing

Even before they learn to draw letters, children are ready to learn how to make lines and curves using a marker or crayon. Picking up these skills as early as possible provides the child with the necessary developmental tools she needs to transition from one educational phase to the next.


Coloring is a great way for young children to develop important skills like gripping, moving objects, creative thinking, and much more. Whether they are enjoying a favorite coloring book at home or working in the classroom, children are unknowingly teaching themselves as they play.