Friday, September 11, 2020

Why is Learning Through Nature So Successful?

Why is Learning Through Nature So Successful?

Why is Learning Through Nature So Successful? - Montessori daycare - Montessori West

Authentic Montessori daycare foster a love of nature and the environment. Maria Montessori observed that people are becoming further and further removed from intimate involvement with nature. Instead of spending time in the forests, on the beaches, and climbing the mountains, we are more and more content to see those things from a distance and tend to a small plot of ground around the home. She sought to address the separation of people from the natural world by giving children access to as much nature as she could.

Concrete Vs Abstract

Daycare children learn better by doing than being told. It is one thing to be told that a plant grows out of the soil, but it is a completely different experience to nurture a seedling and care for the plant until it produces a flower or a vegetable. By providing children with the tools and ability to work directly with living things, the Montessori Method teaches the connection between abstract concepts and the natural world. By caring for nature, we discover that we are part of nature.

Learning Through Doing

Providing young children with tools and activities that they can wrap their hands-- and minds-- around gives them an incentive to want to learn and do. Learning with hands-on activities is at the very foundation of Montessori education, and there is no better example of it in action than to watch children “playing” at a real-world goal like growing plants.

We Are the World

Through hands-on activities like sorting leaves by type of tree, or counting wildflowers children discover that nature is all around them, all the time. This is especially beneficial for the smaller kids, because of the vast assortment of textures, colors, and scents provided by interaction with nature. 

Maria Montessori pointed out that nature is important in many ways, culturally, physically, and intellectually. Simply exploring the variety of plants or insects in the yard is an engaging way to spend time with small children. It opens their minds to the bounty of the world and gives them real-world opportunities to learn everything from counting to language and the arts.

Monday, September 7, 2020

How to Instill Confidence in Toddlers at Home

How to Instill Confidence in Toddlers at Home

How to Instill Confidence in Toddlers at Home - daycare - Montessori West

Just as your daughter is given a “can-do” attitude in daycare, you can help build confidence at home. This starts by simply spending time at her level. Participating in her activities and games with enthusiasm shows her that what she does matters to you. And that is the start of a positive attitude you can expand on.

Encouragement Over Discouragement

Teaching daycare children confidence begins by believing that you can accomplish your goals. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right.” It is of the utmost importance to encourage your children to try and then try again. Success is always on the horizon for those who are willing to attempt things one more time.

The Importance of Inclusion

Helping do small jobs in the yard, helping prepare dinner, and being asked for opinions on various matters are all important for both the confidence doing those things entails and the feeling of inclusion they instill. If your child is always left out of the current activities she will develop an attitude of being an outcast that will make it difficult to take chances and show initiative as she gets older.

Appropriate Responsibilities

Your daughter may not be ready to do the laundry, but she is capable of taking on small responsibilities like watering the flowers, feeding the family pet, picking up behind herself, and much more. By establishing a routine of regular household activities for your daughter, you show her that you have faith in her abilities to achieve goals, and your confidence will be contagious. 

Look for opportunities to praise your child for a job well done, whatever that job may be. Remember, she only has a handful of years in this world, and her experiences so far are few. By showing her that what she does is important to you, you are also teaching her that doing things will gain favor with other people, and that will give her the confidence to try instead of being caught in the web of what she thinks she cannot do.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

 The Most Effective Montessori Preschool Workstations

The Most Effective Montessori Preschool Workstations

The Most Effective Montessori Preschool Workstations - private kindergarten - Montessori West

Your Montessori private kindergarten classroom is a scientifically designed space known as a prepared environment. Every aspect of the room is designed to appeal to children and to encourage them to want to use the educational activities it contains.

The Tools of Montessori Preschool

An authentic Montessori Preschool classroom is divided into sections known as workstations. Each section contains carefully designed activities that are indistinguishable from toys. They can be used by young children for several years because they are applied in progressively more advanced ways. Typically made of wood, they entertain, teach, and encourage a love of learning.

The Best Montessori Preschool Workstations

These are a few of the most effective workstations found in an authentic Montessori setting: 

The Pink Tower - Consisting of 10 cubes of increasing dimensions, the Pink Tower teaches children about sizes, sorting, and counting. It is visually self-correcting, which helps children confidently teach themselves. 

Cylinder Blocks - These 10 cylindrical blocks fit in a specific order inside their storage case and have a knob on one end. The knobs are designed to be gripped like a pencil, building fine motor control. 
The Broad Stair - Also called the Brown Stair, this group of 10 wooden prisms stacks together to form a uniform tower of steps. It is designed to teach proportions such as width, length, and height, among many other uses. 

Knobless Cylinders - This workstation contains 4 boxes of cylinders, each box a different color, and containing cylinders with different proportional aspects. Like all authentic Montessori tools, this activity is self-correcting and used for a variety of lessons across several years of education. 
Binomial Cubes - From simply stacking cubes to learning more advanced mathematics, this box of 8 cubes teaches 3-dimensional skills, the ability to follow a printed pattern, and the basic principles of geometry. 

Trinomial Cubes - More advanced than the binomial cubes, this activity contains pieces of varying dimensions that will fit the container in specific orders. Both trinomial and binomial cubes can be mathematically described with geometric equations, introducing children to more advanced concepts as they grow. 

All authentic Montessori preschools will use workstations of a similar type, although some schools include additional tools that are inspired by the Montessori Method such as tactile rugs, kitchen areas, and more. Using activities with multiple applications allows children to devote more of their playtime to education and less adjusting to new sets of tools.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Why Is Math Important in Montessori Preschool?

Why Is Math Important in Montessori Preschool?

Why Is Math Important in Montessori Preschool - Montessori daycare - Montessori West

Your child’s Montessori daycare takes a whole-child approach to education. Academic skills, social skills, and physical and emotional development are all presented as a seamless learning system. Physical and emotional development are ofter the focus of discussions about the Montessori Method, but the inclusion of subjects like math should not be overlooked.

Authentic Montessori Learning Tools

The tools that were designed for Montessori daycare education are intended to provide lessons in many ways. Items like the Pink Tower and Brown Stair are inherently mathematics and teach simple skills like counting, sorting, and geometry, all without pressure or confusion. And since the same tools will be used for ever-advancing lessons over the years, they simplify the learning process by reducing the adjustment process of newly introduced objects and processes.

Practical Life Experience

Math is fundamental to our lives. We use it to purchase things, cook dinner, and manage our schedules. Through play-based activities, math is a built-in function of the Montessori Method. Enjoyable activities encourage children to learn about everything from sorting to addition and subtraction. More complex concepts come into play as your child becomes familiar with the basic ideas, presented in a seamless extension of what she has already learned.

Simple Tools, Complex Concepts

Some of the tools of Montessori learning are more complex than they appear. The binomial and trinomial cubes, for example, begin with sorting and stacking before progressing into critical thinking concepts like 3-dimensional puzzles. Children who remain in Montessori for the elementary years will even experience more advanced ideas from them like factorial applications and the principles of quadratic equations.

Montessori Math at Home

Education does not end when the school day is done. At home, including your child in activities like cooking will help him grasp math concepts like measuring, portioning, and time. Simple outdoor games like counting trees or drawing in the sand help develop an understanding of the importance of math in nature and encourage children to explore geometry and other advanced math functions. 

When your son’s favorite play-based activities incorporate those ideas as a natural matter of course he will be more inclined to pursue the use of numbers and less afraid of the unrealistically daunting operations that they require. Learning by doing is the key to success, and the Montessori Method is built around real-life activities.

Saturday, July 18, 2020