Thursday, June 18, 2015

Preschool or Pre-K – What’s the Difference?

Preschool or Pre-K – What’s the Difference?

If your child is turning 4 this year, you may be considering enrolling him in a preschool or pre-K program. With many programs available of both types, it's important to know the differences between the two, so that you can choose the program that will best meet the needs of you and your child.

There are many factors that highlight the difference between preschool and pre-K:
  • Curriculum: Preschool tends to be more play-based and is less regimented. Its purpose is to provide children with a classroom experience before they actually enter elementary school. A pre-K program typically has more educational standards, since the purpose of pre-K is to prepare kids for kindergarten. The kids will do more kindergarten-type work in class, and may be assigned light homework.
  • Age Range: Preschool typically allows children between the ages of 2 and 6. Some kids can attend up to 4 years of preschool. However Pre-K programs are aimed at kids aged 4 and 5 and last just one year prior to starting kindergarten.
  • Funding: In recent years there has been a big push for state funding of Pre-K programs while preschool programs remain strictly private. Around 70% of Pre-K programs on closely affiliated with an elementary school, which eases the transition for the child from Pre-K to kindergarten. Many of these schools do indeed receive state funding.

Are you interested in getting more information about our Montessori preschool programs? Contact us today to schedule a tour and we will be happy to answer any further questions you might have.
Five Most Important Qualities in a Preschool Teacher

Five Most Important Qualities in a Preschool Teacher

What are the most important qualities that make a great preschool teacher? Parents ask this question whenever they are thinking of placing their child in a preschool. Educators, looking to staff their preschools, also ask themselves the same question. Let’s explore some of the qualities you will find in the teachers at our Fremont preschool.

Preschool teachers should have a well-rounded education. While many preschools do not require a degree, most Montessori preschools require a Bachelor's degree or early childhood Associate degree, followed by training specific to Montessori methods if applicable. 

For a person to be an effective preschool teacher, they must have a passion for teaching, but for learning as well. Often teachers learn as much from their students as the students learn from their teachers. A passion for learning is contagious. Children will pick up on the teacher's enthusiasm for teaching and learning and will get more from their preschool experience. 

Creativity is an essential quality for a preschool teacher. To encourage children's inherent creative nature, it is imperative that teachers appreciate and nurture it. Teachers also must be creative in the way they relate to children. In schools where resources are limited, it takes a creative teacher to use those resources wisely.

Energetic and Enthusiastic 
An important quality of a preschool teacher is to be energetic. Children of every age are high energy and enthusiastic about life. They are also very perceptive and will be able to tell immediately if their teacher is enthusiastic about the subjects they are teaching.  

Love of Children and a Good Sense of Humor
Foremost, a good preschool teacher must have a sincere and unconditional love for children. Again, children are incredibly perceptive and they know at once if a person is or is not happy being around them. A good preschool teacher also must have a good sense of humor. A sense of humor can turn a difficult situation into a manageable one. It also makes the day more pleasant for the children and the teacher. 

A good preschool teacher loves being with children. More than likely he or she has had experience with children prior to becoming a preschool teacher. He or she chooses this field for their love of children, teaching and learning. To schedule a tour of of the Montessori Childrens Center, contact our school in Fremont today. 
Montessori Science Activities

Montessori Science Activities

Italian physician Maria Montessori’s vision for schoolchildren everywhere was to help each child achieve his or her individual potential through a life-long love of education and learning. Through scientific observations of children, Dr. Montessori’s method of education embraces diverse cultures and appeals to their natural curiosity and eagerness for knowledge. Learning is fostered in a supportive environment with an approach that not only develops the child’s physical, emotional and social capabilities, but also values her or his human spirit.

Science activities play a crucial role in the Montessori setting, with the teacher giving gentle direction and guidance in accord with your child’s instructional level. The Science area in a Montessori environment might explore the world of plants through topics such as pollination and seed dispersal, the plants we eat and the use of tree identification cards. Weather and astronomy experiments delve into types of clouds and weather and moon phases. Montessori students learn about the U.S. space missions and enjoy using weather tracking and astronomy cards to broaden their understanding of the sky.  Examination of forms of energy and Newton’s three laws of motion bring light to Science theories, and your child will learn about his or her own place in the world as they explore animals and their place in the animal kingdom. In accordance with Montessori principles, subjects evolve as children show other new interests.

Starting your child’s education at a Fremont Montessori school will give her or him the skills needed to succeed in today’s challenging world, in an inclusive environment that allows them to stretch beyond traditional teaching methods. If you’ve been wondering if our innovative teaching methods, Montessori philosophy and rigorous curriculum can help your child, schedule a tour with us to learn more.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Qualities of a Good Montessori School

Qualities of a Good Montessori School

Perhaps you're considering sending your child to a Montessori preschool or perhaps you have already made up your mind. Regardless, when it comes to Montessori preschools, there are no set standards as to the extent a school needs to conform to Montessori practices in order to claim this status. Therefore, it is important that you consider the qualities of a good Montessori school in Newark when choosing the school.

  • Check to see if the school is officially recognized by a professional organization, like the American Montessori Society (AMI.) 
    • In order for a school to be considered a full member Montessori school, the head teacher in every classroom has to have earned credentials from a program that has been accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education. Make note, the American Montessori Society only offers accreditation to full member Montessori schools. In addition, preschools are often licensed by the state or a local agency. This license helps to assure safety, health, and teaching standards have been met at the school.
  • Make an appointment to see the school in action for yourself. 
    • Check out the classroom. It should be clean and organized, and rather than have desks, it should have areas meant for group activities, as well as comfortable areas for solo activity. All of the items in the classroom should be easily accessible to the children to help promote independence. There should also be defined areas for each part of the curriculum, such as math, language, practical life, and so forth. 
    • Watch the students. There is generally a three-year age range in each classroom and the older children should serve as helpers to the younger children. The children should be able to move freely about, speak with one another as they choose, and pick the activity in which they would like to participate. Respect is taught and this should be seen in classroom interaction and the handling of learning materials. 
    • Make note of the teacher and her role in the classroom. She should serve as a guide and a resource to the students, and shouldn't be the center of attention. Instead, she should be seen circulating the room, demonstrating activities, and teaching small group lessons. She should act with kindness and empathy and encourage individual responsibility. 
Are you searching for a Montessori preschool? If so, make sure to contact us at Montessori School in Newark today to schedule a tour of our school.  
Montessori Preschool Activities

Montessori Preschool Activities

Education for children has been introduced in various formats for centuries. Dr. Maria Montessori created a system of educational learning for children based on learning naturally. She opened her first preschool in Rome of 1907. Her unique way of educating children is still being used in thousands of Montessori schools around the world for over 100 years.

Dr. Montessori suggested that learning through sensory motor skills are a more formative way to teach children of an early age. By introducing this method, children rely on their sense of sight, smell, taste, sound, touch, and movement for learning. Preschoolers are taught to learn through activities created to encourage learning by experience.

Montessori Preschool Activities

Montessori preschools are found to use a variety of activities to help students advance in their awareness of the environment. Since preschoolers explore with their hands, activities catering to this desire will help them teach themselves, with teachers as their guides.
Below you will find some preschool structured activities you may in a Montessori school in your area:

Practical Life Development – concentrates on activities preschoolers can use for hands on experience to learn more about themselves and their environment.
  • Sweeping – showing a sense of order and cleanliness
  • Gardening – an opportunity to interact with nature and learn how things grow.
  • Food preparation – helps with concentration skills while learning self-care.
Sensory Skills – show how to use senses as guides, such as touch exploration for recognition of shapes and sizes and comparing their differences.
  • Graduated blocks
  • Pressure sensitive containers
  • Colored tablets
Mathematics – children learn by sorting and classifying numbers.
  • Flash cards
  • Abacus
Language – uses letters to familiarize the child with sound and how to correlate those sounds through:
  • Reading
  • Vocabulary
  • Handwriting
Culture – children will understand who they are, where they come from, and what their place in the world is through basic structures for:
  • History - timelines
  • Geography - maps
  • Science - nature and environment

In Pleasanton you can find many Montessori preschools, but we encourage you to schedule a tour and see the quality education your child will receive at Montessori School of Pleasanton. See for yourself what makes a Montessori school the best place for your child to develop individually through discovery and experience.