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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

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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

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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

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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

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