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Benefits of Physical Activity

Most people have heard the basic information that exercise and physical activity has many important benefits. But what many don’t realize is the benefits of physical activity also apply to children. In fact, there are some unique benefits for children. Here are some of those important benefits to encourage you to have an active child.

The most obvious benefit of physical activity is the physical health benefits. Children who are active at least 60 minutes a day, demonstrate lower rates of obesity. They also have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Physical activity also reduces blood pressure, lowers cholesterol levels, strengthens bones and builds up muscles.

An extensive review of 14 different studies, ranging from as few as 50 to as many as 12,000 participants found that the more physically active children are, the better they do academically. The strong belief is that regular participation in physical activity enhances brain function and cognition which thereby improves academic performance. Although it has not been proven, there are several most commonly held beliefs as to how this occurs. The first theory is that increased activity causes increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain heightening cognition. Another theory is that increased levels of norepinephrine and endorphins that result from the activity act to decrease stress, improve mood, and thereby inherently lead better academic performance. That improved academic performance translates into higher reading and math test scores.

Many studies have proven that physical activity in children improves sleep patterns and a lack of physical activity has the opposite effect. For example, a research study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood reports that every hour of inactivity adds three minutes to the time it takes children to fall asleep. Additionally, it also reported that children who fall asleep quicker also sleep for longer. Another study analyzed level of physical activity and its correlation to time it took for the child to fall asleep. The study found that children who had higher levels of physical activity fell asleep faster than their inactive counterparts.

With many health benefits, improved academic performance, as well as improved sleep patterns, physical activity has a plethora of clear benefits for children.

June 18th, 2018

Posted In: Uncategorized

Importance of a Montessori education for lifelong success

One of the main differences between a Montessori education and a traditional one is that the Montessori method focuses on individual learning at a child’s individual pace. Although it may seem as if that would slow the child down, it actually does the opposite. Because students are permitted to explore areas that they are most interested in, they are naturally encouraged to explore more challenging areas and dig deeper into a topic. The measures of achievement look at individual progress and development rather than traditional methods like grades and tests. A study conducted by the University of Virginia found that Montessori students had significantly better scores when tested against non Montessori students in mental performance, academic abilities and social and behavioral skills. The study further showed that the Montessori students were better equipped to adapt to changing and complex problems. This ability is often treated as a predictor of future success, another indicator that a Montessori education better prepares students for future success.

Another key value of a Montessori education is its emphasis on fostering independence among the students. In her book The Absorbent Mind, Maria Montessori writes, “The child’s conquests of independence are the basic steps in what is called his ‘natural development’, labeling independence as one of the key aspects of development. It is vital to begin fostering independence at a young age and Montessori allows that to occur.

The Montessori Method, especially when paired with Reggio Emilia enrichment, also serves to grow a child’s creativity. With Montessori, children are encouraged to follow their interests, leading to an inherent growth in creativity as they are doing tasks that they want to rather than to prepare for an exam or because they are told to do so. This allows children to enjoy the process of learning rather than just the end result allowing for a creative process to occur and for a child’s love of learning to grow. In an environment where students are forced to learn “for the test” or because the “curriculum says so” a student’s natural love of learning is often extinguished and along with it the ability for creative expression. A Montessori education avoids those issues by working for the opposite goals: fueling a child’s love of learning and allowing a child to explore his or her passions. When a Montessori education is also paired with the Reggio Emilia designated creative art space, creativity increases even more.

A Montessori education has many unique benefits that are vital to lifelong success and are not accessible with a traditional education.

https://www.education.com/magazine/article/10-benefits-montessori-preschool/

http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/education/blog/pros_cons_montessori_education/

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2006/sep/29/schools.uk

May 2nd, 2018

Posted In: Uncategorized

Benefits of a Full-Time Program

Watching your child grow up is bittersweet and we often think it goes by too fast. One day they can’t sit up by themselves and then at the blink of an eye they are ready for preschool. It’s hard, but every parent, without a doubt, wants the best for their child. Unfortunately that shock that your child is getting older, combined with the ability for a parent to stay home a few days of the week, often leaves parents opting for a part time program. Although it is better than not attending preschool at all, there are many benefits that your child receives at a full-time program that they will be missing by attending part-time.

 

The Journal of the American Medical Association found that children are better prepared for learning and social interaction in full-time preschools than in part-time programs. The article explains that students in full-day programs showed higher scores in social development, language, math and physical education than their part-time peers. Additionally, a study conducted by Arthur J. Reynolds, PhD, of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and his colleagues discovered that full-time preschool programs yield students better prepared for school than those who attended a part-time program. The children who attended the full-time program had higher scores on measures of school readiness skills, increased attendance and reduced chronic absences, when compared to those who attended a part-time program.

 

Although full-time attendance is important for all preschool students, it is even more critical for those in a Montessori program. A large aspect of the Montessori curriculum is consistency and constancy. Simply put, that means that students receive the full benefit of the Montessori program only through attendance of five days a week with three hour work cycles. There is no other way to achieve the full benefit of a Montessori education if not for consistent attendance. Part of a Montessori education and an aspect that we focus on in our classrooms is independent learning and student driven studies. We allow our students to choose what to focus on as well as learn at their own pace. A large part of that is if a student is learning something very interesting but time runs out, they know that their materials and everything else they need to continue will be there waiting for them the next day. This allows the student to continue thinking about a subject and the short wait time can often make them even more excited to continue. The issue arises, however, when a constant routine is not established. If a student doesn’t attend every day of the week, they often will have forgotten what captivated their mind the last time they were in school and have to get re-inspired to learn a topic. Having a part-time schedule leads to students not being able to truly be independent and the leaders of their own learning. Children flourish with routine and the best way to get a consistent routine is to get into the rhythm of school for five days a week and the weekend for anything else.

 

We know that seeing your child grow up is hard but our desire to provide the best possible education for our child and setting them on a path to achieve whatever they desire, begins now! Setting your child up for success starts at preschool and the most effective way to do that is with a full-time program.

April 11th, 2018

Posted In: Uncategorized

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8th, is fast approaching. Many know this as the day to celebrate the many women in their lives and their contributions, but where did this day originate from?

 

In the United States, the first National Women’s Day was observed on February 28, 1909. It was organized by the Socialist Party to celebrate the worker’s strike in New York where women gathered to protest poor working conditions. In 1910, the Socialist International established Women’s Day, in order to honor the movement for women’s rights and to build support for universal suffrage. The proposal was unanimously approved by the conference of over 100 women, from 17 countries, however no official date to observe it was set. On March 19, 1911, International Women’s day was marked for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, when over a million men and women attended rallies. However, despite the initial support, the holiday was not recognized by most countries in the same way until decades later. The Charter of the United Nations, signed in 1945, was the first international agreement to affirm gender equality, and since then the UN has been working to spread that message. However, it wasn’t until 1975 that International Women’s Day was celebrated by the United Nations on March 8th.

 

Although significant gains towards gender equality have been made, it is still important to recognize that about half of our population is still not treated completely equally. In developed nations, women still face issues of unequal pay for identical jobs, a double standard, and pressure to conform to gender roles. In less developed nations the inequality is even more severe where women still fight for the right to education, right to vote and even the right to marry who they choose.

 

Take the day to spread the message of equality. Teach your child about the vital role of women in society and the necessity to treat women as equal. Together, one step at a time, we CAN achieve gender equality.

March 5th, 2018

Posted In: Uncategorized

Mixed-Age Group Learning – Making It Work

The conventional classroom has been dissected, rearranged, and debated for years. Parents, teachers, and children are constantly being subjected to “new and better” methods of classroom management. Mixed-age group learning is among the methods currently being implemented. But can teachers successfully balance a mixed-age group?

Montessori_classroom1

Some experts agree that the best way for children to learn is through collaboration with older, more skilled children who can set good examples for cognition and behavior.

Benefits of mixed-age group learning in the preschool environment include:

  • Working with older children enhances learning for younger children, enabling them to learn more than they would on their own
  • Older children are encouraged to practice leadership skills and positive behaviors, such as helping and sharing
  • Minimizes age-based comparisons and competition between children
  • Mixed-age groups generally keep the same teacher with the same group of students each year, which eliminates the stress of sudden classroom and teacher changes for younger children

On the other hand, concerns with mixed-age group learning exist, including:

  • Older children may not be adequately challenged
  • Older children may not participate in teacher-led activities as much due to the difficulty in appropriately planning for a broad age range
  • The younger children may benefit more than the older ones

The good news is that there are classroom management tips to effectively instruct mixed-age groups so that all students benefit. Consider the following guidelines:

  • Plan open-ended activities
    Plan activities that implement items such as LEGO bricks, sensory tubs, and unit blocks that children of all ages enjoy. A younger child can learn cause and effect at the water table while his older peer is focusing on volume and capacity.

February 19th, 2018

Posted In: Montessori Educators

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Tips for a Misbehaving Toddler

Every parent fears the sudden and drastic outburst toddlers are prone to having, especially out in public. Screaming, kicking, and crying are all very common when your child is confused, angry, or doesn’t get their way. While it can be frustrating to deal with a child having a temper tantrum, it is important that you take steps to curb the behavior appropriately rather than resorting to excessive punishment or ignoring it altogether.

USS Freedom (LCS 1) Crew 102 homecoming

The key to managing misbehaving toddlers lies in how you handle these outbursts, as almost all children are prone to tantrums. By handling them appropriately or even working to prevent them, you can work to minimize the occurrences and help them learn to manage their emotions themselves. There are several different strategies that are employed in Montessori classrooms that you can implement at home. These strategies are crucial to developing the independently motivated and emotionally mature students that are formed in a Montessori classroom.

Work to Prevent Tantrums

The famous quote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies incredibly well to temper tantrums. Tantrums and misbehaving are caused by children becoming upset or frustrated, so naturally working to prevent them from becoming frustrated or upset is the best way to avoid having to manage the outburst at all.
Some common forms of prevention are:

  • Giving the child attention – Children sometimes misbehave because they want attention. By actively interacting with your child regularly like a Montessori teacher guiding a student, you can ensure they feel like they are receiving proper attention.
  • Offering choices so they feel in control – Children like to feel in control of what they do, and by simply phrasing tasks as a question, you can make it so that they don’t feel forced to do something. This is presented in a Montessori classroom by the huge assortment of learning materials available to the students, letting them choose how to learn.
  • Recognizing signs of a tantrum and de-escalating them – If you see a child struggling with something or getting visibly upset or frustrated, offering help or talking to them calmly can have a soothing effect on them and stop their frustration from growing.

Show Understanding Rather Than Anger or Indifference

Parents and children feed off each other emotionally, making it important that you work to manage how you react to any tantrums that occur. Keep in mind that in many cases, the tantrums aren’t meant maliciously but instead occur due to frustration, anger, or sadness because of a lack of understanding. Their brains are not fully developed, meaning that they lack emotional intelligence required to appropriately handle stressful situations, leading to the outbursts.

Montessori teachers understand that it can be hard to process the constant stimulation they are experiencing, so they emphasize keeping a level head and reacting calmly and with care to any kind of emotional distress. By maintaining a calm environment and caring demeanor, they can manage tantrums effectively and work to discourage the behavior from escalating.

February 8th, 2018

Posted In: TIps

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How to Motivate Your Toddler to Learn

Every parent dreams of their child loving school, learning, and excelling academically. Because education and success are closely linked, you try your best to instill good habits in your child for them to carry through their life. Unfortunately, they don’t always cooperate (what else is new)!

toddler

A child’s academic success often depends on their interest level in learning. If they are interested in the subjects, if they are progressing quickly, or are gaining confidence by learning independently there is a good chance they will be more interested in learning. This is why Montessori classrooms contain many different learning materials, so that every child has a chance to find something that resonates with them and helps them better develop. With the tips mentioned in this article, you’ll be able to foster your child’s motivation to learn and help set them up for a future of success.

Make It Fun

An important part of motivating your child to learn is catering to their interests. Montessori classrooms are set up so that they can appeal to a wide array of children’s interests, keeping them interested and willing to learn. A child who likes dinosaurs but dislikes math may be more interested if they are counting dinosaur eggs or the teeth on a dinosaur toy rather than a number line. Children also like to play, so arts and crafts and other interactive materials are a great way to make learning fun and form a better connection with the information.

Recognize and Encourage Progress

Everyone likes being good at something, and the recognition that comes along with it is a great confidence booster, making it important that you recognize your child’s accomplishments. You can motivate your child by congratulating them when they do something new or by enthusiastically talking to them about what they know. They will gain confidence because they will feel that you are pleased, which in turn will make them want to learn more.

Encourage Independence

While entirely independent learning can be ineffective, guiding your child while they choose their own learning path can be a great way to raise their confidence and interest in learning. Children are controlled in many parts of their lives, and when they are forced to do anything, they are more likely to become opposed to it over time. By allowing them to be free, you can ensure that they are learning comfortably and forming a better connection with the material. This is why the teachers in our Montessori classrooms are more guides than instructors.

January 9th, 2018

Posted In: About Montessori Education, Montessori

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Preschool Children and the Internet…Does it Work?

Because computer knowledge is essential in our society today, most children are comfortable on the computer by the preschool years. But is it wise for young children to be working with computers? Let’s consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of encouraging computer use for preschoolers both at home and at school.

internet-classroom

Advantages
There are advantages for children who use computers at an early age, including the following:

  • Academic Growth- Academic software introduces educational skills, such as reading and writing
  • Increases spatial and logical skills
  • Boosts self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Develops problem-solving skills
  • Enhances language comprehension
  • Improves long-term memory
  • Develops cooperative problem-solving skills when children work with peers or adults
  • Expands children’s world view. They can experience life in other countries, learn about differing cultures, and speak with pen pals via email.
  • Encourages creative expression- Software is available that helps develop imaginative skills in photography, drawing, and more.

Disadvantages
Despite the educational benefits of computer use among preschoolers, it also has its down side, to include:

  • The computer may inevitably be used as a babysitter
  • May impede physical development because children are sitting for long periods
  • Vision problems may result from sitting too close to the computer screen.
  • Deters from healthy activities such as reading together, having family discussions, or playing outside
  • Limits interaction with people, which inhibits social and communication skills
  • Children may be exposed to harmful sites if not supervised properly
  • Responsible Computer Usage

Is there a happy medium? We think so. To make computer use a success for children, consider the following steps:

  • Implement rules and time limits. Use a timer to signal when computer time is over to help avoid arguments.
  • Shop for software programs that stimulate creativity and problem solving. For example, programs that support open-ended, discovery-oriented learning are industrious educational tools.
  • Set up a separate profile on the computer for preschoolers to prevent them from entering harmful sites or deleting important files.
  • Balance computer time with healthy activities like reading, drawing, and playing outdoors.
  • Most importantly, always supervise your child’s computer activities. Do not leave her alone on the computer.

When computers are used responsibly, they are phenomenal tools for inspiring learning, both at preschool and in the home. But it’s important to teach your child appropriate computer use and supervise her to ensure that computer time is productive and useful.

December 19th, 2017

Posted In: About Montessori Education

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How Montessori Children Have Fun

Most people have heard of the Montessori Method, a reputable teaching technique that strives to develop the whole personality of the student through unique educational principles. However, there are still misconceptions surrounding this method…one being the misinterpretation that a Montessori education does not allow children to have fun.

boy-having-fun

We know that students of all ages learn better when they are having fun. Learning moments occur when children are enjoying themselves… they are actually unaware that they are learning. While Montessori classrooms concentrate on work, children are encouraged to participate in activities that interest them.

In a typical Montessori environment, the teacher is not the focal point of the classroom. The children are. Students are encouraged to participate in activities of their choosing by themselves or with their classmates. They work on their projects and even stop to observe what their fellow students are engaged in…quietly and respectfully. While many may translate the calm atmosphere to unhappy students who are not having fun, we believe, as indicated by Dr. Montessori, that young children play through their work.

The Montessori Method asserts that student learning is improved when they are permitted to work independently to acquire new skills versus being forced to partake in adult-led instruction. Our teaching methods originate from the belief that children want to work and find delight and self-confidence in successfully completing tasks. In fact, students are more content and less pressured…and yes, even much happier, in this learning environment.

Studies indicate children retain more information when learning becomes a byproduct of participating in activities they like. When children participate in enrichment activities like those offered at Montessori Kids Universe, such as gardening, cooking, music, and Yoga, they are receiving a well-rounded educational experience via activities that entice them. So, how do Montessori children have fun? Simply put…through learning!

For many parents, the focus on work may prevent them from selecting a Montessori education for their child. But it shouldn’t. Montessori Kids Universe provides child care programs that make learning both meaningful and fun.

December 6th, 2017

Posted In: About Montessori Education

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A Typical Day for a Montessori Student

As a parent, choosing the right kind of education for your child can be difficult, so learning about your options is important. One of the great things about Montessori school is their students have extra support for reaching their full potential. Montessori educators understand that each child is different and learn at their own pace and in their own way. With individualized attention, this method encourages confidence and success in each academic area. If you were to observe a typical day in a Montessori classroom, you’d see an inviting and comfortable alternative learning environment, geared specifically towards young, developing minds.
Montessori Student

The Classroom

The classroom is where your child will spend most of their time. The Montessori classroom is very different when compared to traditional classrooms, offering a more child-centered learning environment. Here are some things you can expect to see each day:

Organization. Montessori classrooms are naturally lit and well organized. The learning space remains uncluttered and soft colors provide a calm environment. Materials are easily accessible, giving students’ independence as they move through their daily activities.

Nurturing. Infants are made to feel safe through nurture and acceptance. Basic needs such as eating, sleeping, and bathing are all given their own space which allows for security within a routine.

Toddler Learning. Toddlers enjoy art and learning materials within reach and eye level. This promotes motor skill development as well as independence. These smaller children are gently urged to interact with their peers and develop basic social skills.

Pre-School Learning. Pre-school age students follow a simple curriculum of numbers, shapes, and basic writing skills. Small chores shared in the classroom teach self- discipline and respect for their environment.

Primary Learning. The education of primary-age students is similar to pre-school while gently encouraging children to move to the next level. A hands-on approach to learning promotes self-esteem and keeps the school day interesting. A variety of enrichment programs are available at many Montessori schools, including science, dance, art, and music.

Student-Teacher Interaction

Montessori teachers are highly trained in child development and education. Each teacher utilizes the Montessori teaching style to its fullest potential. Your child can expect:

Individualized attention. You will not find our teachers in the traditional position in the front of the classroom, but instead interacting with the students one-on-one. Your child is directed towards activities that suit their developmental needs and given encouragement to do for themselves.

Working in groups. Children often work in small groups, helping one another learn and complete tasks. This promotes social development, especially team-building skills. The teacher observes the group and helps students when needed.

Continued growth. Classrooms are thoughtfully constructed and continue to develop throughout the year to meet the individual need of each child. Our teachers educate beyond reading, writing, and math. Cognitive, emotional, and social development plays just as big a part in a typical school day.

There are so many things to consider when it comes to the education of your child. All of these elements combined are why Montessori style teaching truly is education that transforms lives.

November 15th, 2017

Posted In: Montessori Educators

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