Sunday, December 17, 2017

Strategies to help your Elementary Child Focus

Strategies to help your Elementary Child Focus

Everyone can get sidetracked now and then, but children, especially the younger ones, also have short attention spans. In order to help your child focus on the projects at hand, try out some of these tips to help put those projects into perspective, making them easier to pay attention to. Not only will these tips help your children focus better, they may assist you in your daily routines as well.

Minimize Distractions

It is far too easy to get caught up in the moment and lose yourself in more enjoyable functions. One of the best ways to have more focus is to reduce the number of distractions. For elementary children, this means more than just technology, too. It also means creating a quiet environment that allows greater concentration, with all the materials necessary close at hand. With less stuff getting in the way of making progress, it will be easier to get each job completed.

One Goal at a Time

Multitasking is great, but it is much easier to focus on a single thing at a time. Teach children to tackle one task and complete it before moving on to other projects. Similarly, break large projects down into smaller parts. This allows the child to put more concentration into the job at hand, in addition to giving them a sense of accomplishment each time another portion of the project reaches its conclusion.

Take Breaks

There is no shame in needing to take a break. Encourage children to take a short break every so often, so they can get their thoughts organized. The key is that a break is just that - an interval between bursts of concentration - rather than an invitation to put the project aside and move on to other activities. The timing for breaks should correspond to the attention span of the child, which means more frequent, short breaks for the smaller children and longer periods spaced farther apart for older kids. Taking breaks may be especially helpful for special needs children, such as those with attention deficit conditions.

Communicate About Pending Tasks

A lack of focus and enthusiasm may have underlying causes which need to be addressed. If you notice your child having more difficulty concentrating than usual, it could be because something else is on their mind. Communicating with your child is more than a good way to help them clear their mind, talking out potential problems is a great way to build confidence and a sense of importance for children.

A cornerstone of Montessori learning is making the educational process more enjoyable, and parents can adopt this approach at home. Turning a project that seems to be moving slowly into a more exciting prospect will help children find more energy and interest in the subject. Look for ways to combine exciting activities with the lessons at hand, and show your children that you are excited by the progress they make.  

Elementary students at the Montessori School of Pleasanton are taught these strategies and more to help them focus on different projects throughout the learning cycle.  If you are looking for ways to help your child focus, consider enrolling them in a Montessori school, where teachers are able to provide a more individual approach.  Contact us today to schedule a tour!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Preschoolers Learning about Calendars - days, weeks, months - oh my!

Preschoolers Learning about Calendars - days, weeks, months - oh my!

The preschool years are a great time for kids to start learning about the calendar. Many parents have wondered how teaching preschoolers about the calendar impacts their learning. The good thing to know is that your preschooler will benefit from opportunities to learn more about days, weeks, and months.

How to Introduce Calendar Time
One way to introduce calendar time into your child's routine is to make a calendar, either using poster board or felt or wood for greater durability. Asking your child questions about what day of the week it is, was yesterday or will be tomorrow is a great way to generate interest in the days.

Going With an Interactive Option
Instead of focusing on individual weekdays, you might prefer to use a calendar that focuses on the numerical dates. This is an interesting way to help spark your child's interest in numbers and make sure they recognize them easily. This method is a fun way for your child to learn to count down the days til their birthday or a holiday.

Take Advantage of Dry Erase Options
A dry erase board is a fun way to make a calendar that is fully customizable. Your child will enjoy filling in the squares with activities they're looking forward to for that day. Don't be surprised if he or she takes the initiative and starts filling in the calendar out of their own initiative.

Use the Calendar for a Matching Game
This option works best if you have the calendar filled out and have index cards with matching numbers handy. The object will be to have your child match the card numbers with the numbers on the calendar. Your child will be able to identify and match the numbers with total ease after a few tries.

Use Pictures for Greater Impact
Drawing pictures inside the calendar boxes helps put activities into the proper perspective. For example, pictures of pizza and ice cream can help remind kids that going out for these treats is part of the day's fun. Drawing a house with the name of one of your child's friends next to it can be a playdate reminder.

Even though specific days may be a vague concept for preschoolers, using a calendar will make it easier for them to put everything into perspective. Your preschooler will look forward to fun events in his or her life and learn from their anticipation.  Using an interactive approach to teach your child falls right in line with the Montessori Method that our teachers use at the Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnyside Campus.  Contact us today to schedule a tour and see how incorporate interactive and hands-on learning into our daily curriculum.
Creative Preschool Holiday Party Food Ideas

Creative Preschool Holiday Party Food Ideas

The holidays have officially begun, and that means it's time to start passing around the snack plate. So if you have a party for your preschooler coming up, here are some fun and creative ways to celebrate with festive food and snacks.

No. 1 - Snowman Juice Boxes

If you're looking for something simple, fun, and creative – these snowman juice boxes are perfect for you.
Here's what you'll need:
  • Juice Boxes
  • Thick Construction Paper
  • Sharpie
  • Buttons
  • Glue Gun
  • Ribbon for Scarf
Once each juice box is dressed up for the occasion, simply pack them up and enjoy watching all the happy faces once you reveal them to the party.

No. 2 - Rice Krispie Christmas Trees

Turning Rice Krispie treats into Christmas trees is the perfect snack to bring to your preschooler's party. And best of all, they are easy and fun to make with your kids who will love adding the frosting for garland and candy for ornaments.
Here's what you'll need:
  • Rice Krispies Cereal
  • Butter
  • Marshmallows
  • Green Food Coloring
  • Miniature Reese’s Cups
  • M&M Minis
  • Candy Stars
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Milk
  • Corn Syrup
For a full tutorial on how to make these Rice Krispie Christmas tree snacks, click here.

No. 3 – String Cheese Snowman

For something super fast but still festive, try making these cute string cheese snowmen with just the supplies you have laying around the house.
Simply draw on the snowman's face and buttons with a sharpie, use a small piece of ribbon for the scarf and then some black scrap paper for the hat. And because it's such an easy holiday snack, your kids can join in on the fun when creating them!

No. 4 – Snowflake Oreo Cookies

Who doesn't love Oreo cookies? But when you add sparkling white snowflakes on them with a blue background, these ordinary cookies turn into something extraordinary - with little effort on your part.
To make this yummy holiday snack, you'll need:
  • Oreo cookies
  • White chocolate
  • Edible white pearls
  • Sparkling sugar
  • Marshmallow fondant
  • Corn syrup
  • Paintbrush
  • Circle cutter
For a full set of instructions on how to create these snowflake Oreo cookies, click here.

No. 5 – Fruit Grinch Kabobs

If you want to bring a healthier snack to your preschooler's holiday party without being boring, try making these colorful fruit Grinch kabobs.
Just round up the following ingredients and shape them into the adorable Grinch kabobs you see here.
  • Green Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Toothpicks

The truth is, you don't have to spend a ton of time or money to create fun and festive snacks for your preschooler's party. The holiday snacks on this list are quick and easy, but they're still sure to bring a smile to everyone's face.  The teachers and staff at Montessori Children's House encourage parents to work with their students in creative activities outside the classroom, including being creative with food!  Schedule a tour of our Montessori classrooms before the winter break!