Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Rotation Ideas for Preschool Centers

Rotation Ideas for Preschool Centers

It can be difficult to transition preschool aged children from one activity to another. They may be easily distracted or may not follow instruction well, which can make the transition period frustrating for all involved. However, this doesn't have to be the case, as there are several ways you can rotate preschool children from one learning station to the next. 

Move the Children in Groups

At the beginning of the school day, inform the children of the plan for the day, which should include which learning stations they will be participating in. Divide the children into small groups and dismiss each group to one of the learning stations. Give the children 15-20 minutes at their learning station and then have each group move on to the next station. Continue this type of rotation through all of the stations.

Clothespin Method

This method is great for preschoolers who can count and who can move about with little supervision. Put a sign on each learning station that indicates what that station is and how many children can be at that given station at one time. Each child should have a clothespin with his or her name on it, which they can attach to the learning center they choose. If the station already has the maximum number of children at that center, the child must pick a different station. 

Play a Game

Take a photo of each of the learning centers, making enough copies for each child in the classroom. Prepare an envelope for each of the children with his or her name on it and put three photos in the envelope. Each photo should be labeled with a number 1, 2, or 3. When you hand the envelopes out to the children, tell them that it's their specials assignments, and dismiss the children to their first assignment. 

Sing a Song

Have the children sing a song as they transition from one learning center to the next. This song could be anything, since it is meant to be a signal that it's time to clean up the current learning station and then move on to the next one. 

If you are interested in learning more about our preschool program or would like a tour of our Pleasanton school, please don't hesitate to contact us. 
How to Teach Children Diversity

How to Teach Children Diversity

The preschool years are exciting for both parents and children alike. One of the most interesting things about this age group is the fact that they are learning more about people outside their homes. This is a great age for kids to start learning more about diversity.

Globes and Maps Can Enrich Lessons

Preschoolers are naturally curious about where other places are, especially when they encounter other children from a different culture. One of the advantages of using maps and globes is the fact that it encourages kids to explore, which is very much in keeping with the Montessori philosophy.

Hands-On Activities to Learn About Other Cultures

Preschool aged children are likely to respond well to activities that involve sampling new foods. It is very likely that kids growing up in the Bay Area have already tried ethnic cuisine, and they will find it interesting to learn about what life is like for children in other countries. Music is also a fun way to introduce kids to new cultures, as preschoolers are very receptive to new music. Preschoolers are also at a great age to start learning foreign languages, as they will be better able to retain what they learn.

Use Books and Movies That Honor Diversity

Many kids' books feature diverse characters. Some of these books also teach children about the importance of honoring diversity in an age-appropriate way. Kids' books, besides honoring racial and ethnic differences, might also include stories about interracial or intercultural families and disabilities.

Movies often present new places and cultures in exciting ways for preschoolers. Many of the Disney movies, for example, highlight other cultures. Children will often glean interesting details from watching movies and are likely to ask a lot of questions.

Mission Valley Montessori School offers an exciting learning experience for preschool age children and kindergartners in Fremont, CA. Contact us today if you'd like to schedule a tour to see what we offer for your child.
What You Can Learn in the Practical Life Work Station

What You Can Learn in the Practical Life Work Station

In the Montessori preschool program the classroom is the living room. They work in a defined area to start and over time develop into a community including high concentration and few distractions.

The Water Pouring Exercise

This Practical Life workstation is designed for children starting at about 15 months old. You will want to use dry ingredients to start as you gauge the child's readiness for liquids in this area.

This exercise will help a preschooler develop:
  • Hand to eye coordination
  • Concentration
  • How to aim for a specified direction
  • Overall fine motor skills.

Another skill incorporated with this workstation is learning how to clean up if spills occur.

Materials You Will Need:

Two small pitchers that are either identical or closely resemble each other. The small creamer size is perfect for this age group. You can find them at thrift stores and they can be used for other Practical Life activities later. You will need water to put in the pitchers, cloth to wipe up spills and a tray.

How to Conduct Activity
  1.      The child should carry all the materials on the tray to a table you have set up for this specific activity – a place you will not mind if spills occur. Have the child sit in front of the tray and you can sit on either side of her.
  2.      Fill the pitcher on one side with a small amount of the water and show her how to use care when pouring to the second pitcher.
  3.      Demonstrate how to wrap the fingers around the handle and support the pitcher with the other hand.
  4.      Have the child practice pouring the water back and forth between the two pitchers. If there are spills, consider them part of the lesson and instruct your child on how to clean them up.

As a child's skill improves with this activity, you can move to having her pour her own juice, water or milk for snack. She can then move onto pouring for others at meal times. You will not believe how important a young child will feel being given this small piece of responsibility.

You can contact the Montessori Children’s Center to schedule a tour today. Get your child started on the right path to ensure she has the development skills needed to grow physically and mentally. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Importance of the Preschool Library Corner

The Importance of the Preschool Library Corner

Children develop reading habits when they are young, and exceptional reading habits begin early. If you want to promote kindergarten readiness, the key is to introduce literature to children in preschool. Doing so fosters a love of reading and language arts and promotes earlier literacy. A preschool library corner is home to picture books, board books, early readers, and comfortable seating, and it is in a distinct area of the classroom. 

Creating a library corner promotes critical thinking skills, enhances creativity, and social development.

Literacy Skills

If you want to promote early literacy skill, it is a good idea to provide a variety of different books in your library corner. Books should vary in type and reading level. Books of poetry and rhyming books help teach children phonological awareness. Books about counting help children learn to recognize numbers and helps them learn to count. Alphabet books help children recognize letters, learn their names, and learn the sounds each letter represents. Your preschool library should also include oversized books that can be used as tools to help teach them how to handle books, point out letters, words, and utilize other features.

Creativity and Critical Thinking

Library corners help preschool children develop creativity and critical thinking skills. It’s a good idea to read both nonfiction and fiction books to preschool children and then engage them in focused and free discussions about the books. Ask them questions that help them relate the contents of the books to their own lives, and encourage them to compare the book with other books they know well. It’s also a good idea to have kids try and predict what happens next in the book you are reading. These activities help children learn to express themselves.

Social Development

A library corner is a place where kids can be exposed to different group reading activities, and this helps preschoolers learn social skills. Reading books to groups of children helps them learn to pay attention during large group activities. Group reading also helps children learn to take turns and how to share.

Ready for Kindergarten

A preschool library corner helps children get ready for kindergarten by improving their literacy and teaching them listening skills. Children entering kindergarten need to know how to hold a book, turn its pages, and figure out how the pictures relate to the story. Library corners boost these skills. 

Please call today to schedule a tour of our Fremont preschool. We’d be happy to show you our library reading area and all the other educational areas and tools we have to offer.
Preschool vs. No Preschool Statistics

Preschool vs. No Preschool Statistics

As a parent with a young child, the decision whether or not to send your little one to preschool is not one that should be taken lightly. This is a highly personal decision and one that could indeed affect your child's future. Make note of the following things to consider when deciding whether or not to enroll your child in a preschool program. 

Quality of Preschool

When deciding if you want to send your child to preschool, take the quality of the school into consideration. Programs that are licensed locally, or by the state, must follow certain standards, which help to assure it is a quality school. School accreditations from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, or another reputable organization, also helps to ensure it is a high quality program.  

Learning at Home

Choosing to keep your child home rather than send him or her to preschool, does not mean learning does not take place. You can play an active role in helping your child learn through activities and home-based lessons. You can also enroll your child in a community based class or sport for additional learning and socialization with children of the same age.  

Success Later in Life

Studies have shown that children who attended high quality preschools have higher rates of success later in life. For instance, the HighScope Perry Preschool Study found that those in the preschool group had higher paying salaries, were more likely to have a job, and were less likely to have committed crimes, than those in the non-preschool group. Another study, the Abecedarian Study, found that children who had attended preschool were more likely to attend college. 

Developmental Benefits

It has been shown that children who attend preschool show a developmental benefit. For instance, the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort found that those who attended preschool gained math skills, were able to recognize letters and comprehend language, knew their colors, and also gained social skills. Children who don't attend preschool can still develop social skills by playing with other children and communicating with adults, but a school setting provides an ideal environment for developing these skills in a group setting. 

For more information about our school in Fremont, CA, please contact us for a tour today.