Sunday, November 19, 2017

Fun Map Activities to teach your Preschooler about Basic Geography

Fun Map Activities to teach your Preschooler about Basic Geography

Geography is a challenging subject for many school-age children, and part of it may be not being taught enough of it at an earlier age. Perhaps because so many adults find geography difficult and unexciting, they're unlikely to find fun ways to teach it to younger children.

Here are a few ideas for making geography memorable for your preschooler, not to mention fun for both of you!
  • Puzzles: There are many geography puzzles that make geography easier and more fun to learn. For instance, you could get a floor puzzle of the United States to help kids learn where all the states are, or even a map of the world to help teach the locations of major countries and give your child a sense of scale of the world we live in.
  • Geography Bingo: Make or buy Bingo boards with states, countries, rivers, mountain ranges, or other features. For younger kids, you can randomly call out the names on their boards, or even make their boards the pictures or shapes of the states instead of the names. For older or more proficient kids, you can make it more challenging by making it into a memory game. For instance, you could call out the capitals, and they would have to choose the corresponding states on their board.
  • Geography Twister: Get an old flat sheet at a thrift store or repurpose one from your own closet for this fun game. Using a permanent marker, draw a map of the US or the world on the sheet. Your preschooler will love to help by coloring in or painting the states or countries. Also make a deck of cards with the names of states or countries on them. Shuffle and draw the cards one at a time to tell your kids where to put each hand or foot.
  • Hopscotch: Grab some sidewalk chalk and head outside to play this fun game! Draw a simple map of the United States, the continents, or whatever other geography you want to teach. When your child plays hopscotch on the map, they have to name each state they hop in.

Learning geography doesn't have to be either boring or difficult. These fun games will help your child better remember basic geography such as the US states, European countries, or continents. At the Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnyside Campus, our teachers incorporate hands-on and interactive learning techniques throughout the subject areas, including geography.  To find out more about how our Montessori program works, contact us today to tour our school.
What to Expect: Parent-Teacher Conferences at a Montessori School

What to Expect: Parent-Teacher Conferences at a Montessori School

Most Montessori schools hold periodic parent-teacher conferences, under one name or another. Each conference is a short, personal dialogue between parents and classroom staff, aimed at improving the performance of the children, or working out a plan to incorporate the home environment into the Montessori method. Neither you nor your children are on trial, and the meeting should not be thought of as any sort of mark against your kids. The idea is to keep you informed and in the loop.

You’re On The Same Team

Before you even head out the door for your first parent-teacher conference, remind yourself that you and the classroom staff are both interested in the best outcome for your children. Before you become defensive, take a moment to hear out the instructor and consider what they are trying to say. Having a united front between the parents and teachers provides children with an example that education is an enjoyable part of life.

Communicate and Inquire

The student guide, as teachers may be referred to, is going to spend around 15 minutes or so with each parent. During that time, the goal is to communicate to you any strategies being looked at to assist your child, and you have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have in a formalized setting. Keep in mind that your children are the focus of the meeting, and prepare yourself accordingly.

The Montessori Environment

If the meeting is held inside your child’s classroom, the teacher probably had to bring in a piece or two of adult-sized furniture. You will notice that most of the room is designed around the perspective of a child. The idea of meeting in a child-centered classroom is to allow parents to experience the way the room is designed around the children’s activities rather being built to adult scale with a few child-sized items. Feel free to ask about any of the items in the class, and how they can be used to teach various lessons.

Your Child’s Strengths and Challenges

The Montessori method is a total life-skills approach to education. During your conference, the teacher will talk with you about the perceived strengths your child has exhibited, and discuss challenges that may need to be addressed. The subject of the conversation may include many different topics, including your child’s behavior, dietary concerns, areas of special achievement, and more. This is a good time to share insights, and ask pertinent questions.

Parent-teacher conferences help you establish a direct involvement in your children’s education. They are a good time to talk about any worries or joyous occasions related to Montessori method. The idea is to keep parents and teachers on the same page, and lay the groundwork for future educational strategies.  To schedule an introductory meeting and get a better understanding of the Montessori method as a whole, contact the Montessori School of Pleasanton today.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

History Lesson for Preschoolers: Pilgrims and Native Americans

History Lesson for Preschoolers: Pilgrims and Native Americans

Even young children associate Thanksgiving with Pilgrims and Native Americans. However, are there ways to present the Thanksgiving story in a way that's culturally sensitive, accurate and age-appropriate? The good thing to know about this is that it is possible, and by taking these ideas into account when discussing Thanksgiving with your child, he or she will be more likely to have a better understanding of what the day is about.
Among other things that your child will learn, he or she will:
  • Learn a greater respect for those who differ from them
  • Appreciate the value of offering help to and accepting help from others
  • Have a greater understanding of the idea of giving thanks

Read Some Books About Thanksgiving

Two helpful, age-appropriate books for preschoolers are "The Story of Thanksgiving" by Nancy J. Skarmeas and "The First Thanksgiving" by Lou Rogers. Both of these books are age-appropriate and have colorful illustrations that help make everything come to life.

After reading the books, take some time to talk to your child about what he or she learned. Depending on your child's age and curiosity level, you might want to think about discussing why we use the term Native Americans, why the Pilgrims came, and how the local tribes might have helped them find food.

Make a Fun Treat

Preschoolers will appreciate learning about how Squanto taught the Pilgrims to plant corn, especially when taught using an edible example. To do this:
  • Put some chocolate pudding into small cups with crumbled graham crackers on top to represent dirt
  • Place a piece of candy corn into the cups to represent corn seed, with a goldfish cracker or Swedish fish to stand in for the fish used as compost
  • Cover the candy corn and fish with the "dirt", then serve

Discuss Thanksgiving Foods

A preschooler should be able to name the foods they like the most on Thanksgiving. As they name the foods they like, help them learn to categorize them.
  • Is it a type of meat? Explain how Native Americans and Pilgrims hunted for some meats because there were no stores.
  • Are certain foods fruits or vegetables? Tie this in with your earlier corn-related activity and explain that early Americans grew certain foods that we buy now.
  • Discuss certain Thanksgiving favorites that people like now that wouldn't have been present at the first Thanksgiving meal. This can be a good way to discuss the importance of traditions.

Taking time to discuss Native Americans and Pilgrims is a great way to help your child appreciate the significance of the holiday.  At Montessori Children's House, we teach students about every holiday using hands-on and interactive learning techniques.  We enjoy teaching our students through history and encourage them to learn more about holidays through their families own unique traditions.  Contact us today to see our hands-on teaching approach firsthand.