Wednesday, October 14, 2020

How to Plan Festival Activities for Kindergarten

How to Plan Festival Activities for Kindergarten

How to Plan Festival Activities for Kindergarten - private kindergarten - Montessori West

While private kindergartens offering large fall festivals may be on hold this year, you can still enjoy the semblance of normality with small festival-like groups. Planning festival activities will take a little work, but for small groups such as what is currently allowed it is easier than you might think. How many kids, what will they do, offer refreshments, and clean up when the day is done. Beyond that, you should be able to wing it.

Number of Children

Most localities currently prohibit private gatherings in large groups, sometimes as few as 10. Find out what the regulations are in your community, and plan to stay below that, even if it means only four or five children and their guardians. Keeping a small group engaged is an easier prospect anyway, requiring less supervision of children bored by inactivity or waiting.

Simple Games

For group entertainment, cooperative games keep everyone involved. Scavenger hunts are great for social distancing, along with silly obstacle courses and non-contact games like hot potato. The key is to get all of the kids involved and rely more on having fun than a strict tally of winners and non-winners.

Treats For All

Refreshments are a must-have for any group of kids. It is okay to have some sweets involved, but serve them early for burning energy and rely on healthier snacks like fruit or celery sticks to snack as the event progresses. Be sure to check with other parents to make sure you won’t be serving the wrong items to children with allergies or aversions.

The Clean-Up Game

Plan on the day coming to an end, and a grand finale of everyone chipping in to get the area cleaned up and organized. When the whole group is chipping in, tidying up is more like another game than a chore, making the work go faster and easier. You will still have some work to do later, but a cooperative effort beforehand will be a big time saver when you do. 

Whether in school or at an authentic Montessori private kindergarten, small groups of a few children can still enjoy seasonal fun. Focus on social distancing and hand washing, along with treats and activities that minimize direct contact with others.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Exciting Nature Activities for the Absorbent Mind

Exciting Nature Activities for the Absorbent Mind

Exciting Nature Activities for the Absorbent Mind - Montessori preschool - Montessori West

Maria Montessori identified the first six years of preschool life as the period of the Absorbent Mind. She recognized that children are more focused on learning and discovering new things during this phase of life, beginning with discovering their body and immediate surroundings before branching out into the larger world around them.

Bountiful Book of Bugs

Even though preschool parents might be a little squeamish, small kids tend to love bugs. One ongoing activity is to create a journal about the bugs found in the yard. Identifying ants and beetles and spiders and butterflies and all the hundreds of types of insects found in the yard or local parks is interesting for parents and children alike and teaches kids tremendous amounts of information about bugs and how they benefit the environment.

Build A Weather Kit

Another ongoing project is to gather and use a weather kit. Windsocks, thermometers, and a rain gauge are the basic tools to track weather day-by-day, and you can add a clock to measure how the days get shorter as the end of the year approaches. Not only is this a simple and educational activity, but it is also a practical life-long experience.

Visit a Corn Maze

Corn and sunflower mazes are popular with small children, and well-suited to a socially-distanced environment. It is a great activity for building critical thinking skills, developing fine motor skills, and establishing a firm foundation for self-esteem. Corn mazes tend to be on farms, and familiarity with farm animals and country living are typically part of the excursions. Due to group size limits, it is best to schedule your maze visit in advance. 

The Montessori philosophy encourages preschool kids love to learn, and Fall is an excellent time to get outside and take part in the natural world. Giving your child’s absorbent mind a world full of engaging discoveries is beneficial in ways that won’t be obvious for years to come.

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

How To Get a Picky Eater to Eat at Daycare

How To Get a Picky Eater to Eat at Daycare

How To Get a Picky Eater to Eat at Daycare - daycare - Montessori Fremont

A picky eater can be a disruptive influence in a roomful of daycare children. When one kid complains or outright balks at a specific type of food, it encourages the other students to behave in the same way. To avoid this domino effect, the best route is to bypass your child’s picky side before you even get to the school.

Know Your Child

Pay attention to the foods your daycare child enjoys and the ones she won’t touch at all. Use this knowledge of her preferences to plan the lunches and snacks you send to school. By reducing the potential confrontations before leaving home, you make it easier for your child and the daycare staff to manage meals and snacks satisfactorily.

Include Your Child

Ask your child to help you slice bananas or apples, spread the condiments, and generally participate in preparing his own meals. When he has some of his own effort invested in the food he eats, he will be much more agreeable to eating a variety of different things.

Make Meals Fun

Including a favorite fruit or tasty addition to her daycare meals will give her an incentive to eat what she brings to school. You can also experiment with cutting foods into fun shapes, using an assortment of colorful foods, or even making a game of eating the least attractive foods before moving on to the tasty bits.

Be What You Want To See

If you want your children to eat something, it should be part of your meals as well. Children tend to mimic the behavior of their parents, including avoiding foods you don’t care for and focusing on the things you find the most desirable. Because you are the major influence for your child, it is important that you demonstrate the behavior you are trying to elicit.

Playing “airplane” sounds like an adorable way to encourage children to eat, but it is an impractical approach for the daycare environment. Instead, providing tasty and exciting dishes gives your kid a reason to want to eat, and that helps meal and snack times more enjoyable for everyone.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Mapping Core Lessons in Private Kindergarten

Mapping Core Lessons in Private Kindergarten

Mapping Core Lessons in Private Kindergarten - Private kindergarten - Montessori West

The Montessori philosophy is the cornerstone of your child’s private kindergarten. By presenting children with exciting educational activities, children learn to enjoy learning as they develop the primary characteristics of successful young people.

Practical Life Experience

Practical life skills set the foundations for all academic learning. Performing ordinary tasks like stacking, pouring, and sorting teaches distinct math and science skills that will be applied over and over again as the child grows. Practicing routines like tying shoes or setting the table builds fine motor skills and provides exposure to orderly procedures.

Learning Leadership

Mixed-age classrooms are perfect for teaching children how to act in responsible leadership roles. Older kids are able to use their acquired skills to assist younger children, practicing diplomacy and problem-solving as younger kids learn to model their own social behavior in a similar manner.

Sensorial Activities

Discovering shapes, textures and groups are core parts of private kindergarten instruction. Sensorial activities engage all of a child’s senses, helping them understand science, math, and more. This in turn helps develop muscle control, critical thinking skills, and abstract concepts.

Exploring Language

Language is the ability to comprehend spoken and written words and sentences. It includes learning to write, awareness of cultural diversity, and serves to teach children effective communication skills. Immersing the child in language coincides with all other classroom experiences.

Mastering Mathematics

Your child’s private kindergarten has been slowly teaching math-related skills since daycare. Beginning with shape and color recognition, counting, and simple arithmetic, mastering math comes with working on other activities and seeing how numbers relate to real-world routines.

Investigating Cultural Diversity

We live in the most culturally diverse country in the world, a perfect environment for teaching children about the similarities and differences in all of us. From flags to traditional outfits, from cultural activities to multi-national foods, private kindergarten kids are introduced to cultural diversity as a matter of daily activities.

From learning courtesy and grace to developing a keen understanding of language, private kindergarten students are taught how to enjoy learning and then encouraged to pursue their favorite interests. At the same time, teachers are observing each child’s progress and guiding them to new discoveries and experiences.

Monday, June 8, 2020

5 Preschool Summer Activities

5 Preschool Summer Activities

5 Preschool Summer Activities - montessori preschool - Montessori West

Summer has arrived, and Montessori preschool kids are ready to spend more time outside and active. Keeping children engaged and active, especially with activities that broaden their horizons, will help every day flow smoother and add volumes to your child’s awareness of the world around them.

Water Balloon Pinatas

Montessori-inspired preschool activities should engage children on multiple levels, including sensorial and fine motor skills. Fill balloons with varying amounts of water, and hang them from a tree branch or other outdoor object. Add a young child with a stick and step back as the fun and wetness gets started. This is one of many exciting possibilities using balloons.

Explore the Area

Go for walks in the park, in the woods, or along the coast. Physical exercise is good for muscle development and fine motor control and stimulates young minds. Choose different locations to explore the terrain, climate, and biomes around your home and neighborhood.

Outdoor Art

Create montages of items collected on walks and excursions. Seashells, pine cones, and stones are excellent mediums for preserving an exciting day outside. On rainy days, make drawings or cutouts of sunny day things to brighten up the home.

Homemade Popsicles

Small children will love helping you mix up a batch of popsicles. You can use Kool-Aid or cut up bits of fruit to be blended into a freezable slush. Fruity popsicles are more nutritious and if you make more than one flavor, your kids can make a game of guessing what they get.

Something New

Make a game of choosing a list of new things to do every day. It doesn’t have to be anything major, but children are a blank slate when it comes to the world and a steady stream of exciting new ideas can work wonders for their participation and attitude.

Keep a notebook of your preschool child’s favorite activities so you can revisit again in the future, or present them a different way to add educational content. Learning is at the heart of all play-based activities, and summertime is perfect for discovering the world.

Monday, May 25, 2020

The Difference Between Public and Montessori Daycare

The Difference Between Public and Montessori Daycare

The Difference Between Public and Montessori Daycare - montessori daycare - Montessori West

The difference between Montessori daycare and public daycares can be tremendous. Certified Montessori daycares provide children with an organized and child-centric environment that is designed to engage children directly. It is a form of whole-child education that includes everything from fine motor skills to social interaction and academic education.

Montessori and Your Community

Montessori daycares are community schools. Parents are encouraged to take active roles in the Montessori Method, and we appreciate community support through the Arizona School Tax Credit. Your contributions help us achieve goals like funding our music program and providing other school programs. Taxpayers can support the qualified establishment of their choice and are not required to have an attending child to claim the credit. Your community benefits from well-funded educational facilities, and the AZ School Tax Credit allows citizens to make an active difference.

The Prepared Environment

The Montessori daycare is tailored around the children. From child-sized furnishings to decorations placed for the convenience of kids, the classroom creates a comfortable place for children to explore and learn. Through a variety of play-based activities, young children learn everything from fine motor skills to interacting peacefully with others. The underlying principle is that children are a blank slate and they will be eager to learn when given the tools to do so in their own way.

Focus on Individuals

Observation and guidance are at the heart of Montessori education. Instead of teaching the children the same material at the same pace, Montessori teachers pay close attention to the individual interests and activities, tailoring the early educational process around the child. This keeps children engaged and interested, encouraging them to enjoy the learning process. Self-paced learning also gives children the chance to spend more time on subjects that need more attention and move through areas that are easily grasped.

Some research says that children who begin in a Montessori environment have an advantage in kindergarten and beyond because they have already developed a love for learning and mastered the prerequisite skills. The underlying goal is for every child to become an educated and responsible young person.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Overview of the Montessori Planes of Development

Overview of the Montessori Planes of Development

Overview of the Montessori Planes of Development - Montessori preschool - Montessori West

Your Montessori preschool follows the Montessori planes of development to provide the best opportunities for young minds. The planes of development are divided into 4 distinct age groups, each group centered around a period of increasing absorption followed by a “cool down” period when the information is processed internally. These age groups, in turn, split into the mixed-age classrooms that Montessori education is known for.

The Absorbent Mind

From birth to around age 6, Montessori preschool children are discovering an entire world of new things. The first 3 years are spent absorbing new concepts and experimenting with how they work, while the second 3-year period applies those early concepts to personal and academic purposes. This is the time when children should be encouraged to learn about new things, try new flavors, or attempt new feats.

The Moral Mind

During a child’s second plane of development, social interaction becomes an important aspect of the world. This includes learning about empathy and thinking beyond one’s personal wants, as well as exploring concepts like problem-solving and diplomacy. Corresponding to the years of traditional primary schools, this period builds on the concepts learned during the first plane of development while a majority of actual development takes place in the form of physical and mental growth.

The Independent Mind

Beginning at around age 12, the third plane of development is when the young mind becomes an independent entity. Critical thinking skills, personal responsibility, and community involvement characteristics are introduced during the first half of the plane and then honed and improved upon during the 15-to-18 year period.

The Mature Mind

Between the ages of 18 and 21, young adults develop personal philosophies, social obligations, and moral characteristics they will carry throughout the rest of their lives. These traits are established during the first 3-year period of the plane, and then figuratively cemented into place during the second. By the age of 24, most people have developed their lifelong habits and routines without even realizing it has happened.

These planes of development can be witnessed in children as they grow, often in the form of periods of inquisitiveness followed by the experimentation and application of practice and repetition. Providing the appropriately timed encouragement will have profound impacts on your little one’s development.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Fun Free Resources for your AZ Preschooler at Home

Fun Free Resources for your AZ Preschooler at Home

Fun Free Resources for your AZ Preschooler at Home-Montessori daycare-Montessori Fremont

Staying home does not mean your daycare children have to be bored. A lot of top museums and special locations like the Monterey Bay Aquarium are combatting coronavirus by meeting parents and children online. Whether you prefer something close to home or want to explore the universe, There are plenty of online tools to help keep your children entertained.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

How to Get Your Picky Montessori preschooler to Eat

How to Get Your Picky Montessori preschooler to Eat

How to Get Your Picky Montessori preschooler to Eat - montessori preschool - Montessori Fremont

Like other children, Montessori preschool students can sometimes be picky eaters. On the other hand, the more foods your young son tries when he is little, the more foods will part of his diet as he gets older. Mealtimes should always be a pleasant affair, but your kids have to understand that they should try everything on their plate before balking.

Be A Role Model

Children imitate their parents, including the foods they do and do not eat. The best way to encourage your child to eat different things is to be an inspiration to him. Talk about the color, flavor, taste, and anything else that influences him to try a little. Don’t ridicule or punish, just show and encourage.

Pairing Foods

Putting a favorite food together with something your little one has been avoiding might help him give it a try. Things like peanut butter with celery or asparagus with cheese are tempting for young palates. There are a lot of ways you can visually or tastefully combine different items to come up with a more appealing result. And you can always ask your son for suggestions of his own.

Healthy Snacks

Limit everything but water between snacks and meals so that he will be hungrier at mealtime. Prepare healthy snacks like combos from above or fruit or vegetable slices. Letting your son help in the preparation may make him more willing to try new things as well. Having a personal stake in the food gives him a reason other than your demands, and that might be all it takes.

Be Consistent

Show a unified front between parents rather than one always making demands and the other giving in. Try to have meals and snacks at the same time each day. Make it clear that you are only preparing one meal, and then stick to your guns. If you want to moderate that a little, offer to make one his favorites for the next meal of the same type (breakfast, lunch, dinner). In the end, there will be foods that your children simply do not like. But teaching them that every item deserves a fair trial can lead to many wonderful taste adventures in the years to come. Be fair, but be consistent and remember that your job is to provide meals, not cater to complaints.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Activities to Help Motivate Your Team

Activities to Help Motivate Your Team

Activities to Help Motivate Your Team - team building cooking class

As a leader, motivating your team requires certain activities and interactions. Many choose to do group outings at sporting events, a restaurant, or pot lucks as a form of motivation. While these activities are popular and can be effective, there are less popular options that work well that need to be considered. For instance, a Team Building Cooking Class is a great way to get employees together for fun, learning, and a boost in motivation. The following activity ideas for team motivation are sure to give leaders inspiration in motivating their own teams. Additionally, understanding exactly why certain activities are motivational can help leaders to choose the best fit.

Team Building Cooking Class

Maybe a team building cooking class is something that hasn’t been considered as a motivational tool within your organization. There are a number of reasons it should not only be considered but at the top of your list of options. When it comes to motivation, taking a cooking class as a team benefits employees in 3 ways.

1. Team Bonding 

How does a bonded group of people lead to motivation? Individuals that know and trust their coworkers are more likely to put in the effort for one another. There will be no need for one person to carry the team since everyone is more willing to work for the team they are friendly with. It’s motivating to work with people that enjoy reaching the end goal together.

2. Health and Wellness 

Learning to cook is more than just a team bonding experience, but it’s one that encourages people to cook at home. Too often we find ourselves in a drive-thru eating unhealthy and fatty meals. When we teach employees to cook healthier options at home, they will see the effects on their work. Employees that eat healthier are employees that have more focus, an increased level of energy, less anxiety, and a better overall mood.

3. Positive End Results 

Cooking classes result in a delicious meal at the end of your session. Workers can then associate the positive end to a cooking class - eating something yummy - to the positive end of their work efforts - a completed project. It can be incredibly motivating when employees get a sense of accomplishment as they come to the end.

Other Motivational Activities

Giving employees a bit of competition is another activity that can increase the level of motivation within an office. That can be done with lessons learned from the above-mentioned cooking class, a project, or even a fundraiser for charity. Adding in competition in any form can be a way to inspire employees to do their best in all aspects of work life, as long as it’s done in a friendly and fun manner. A group field trip during working hours can be a fun way to motivate all employees, as well. For example, moving a meeting to a park on a nice day is a great way to get through a long day. Providing healthy breakfast options to get a kick start on the day is another idea. Finding what works for you and your team is a matter of simply listening to their needs and wants.

Motivate the Team

Whether a team building cooking class, pot luck, or regular office breakfasts motivate your team, ultimately what matters is being an employer that people want to work for. Offering these motivational activities and ideas is a great way to show employees that their organization cares. Knowing that a company does care about its employees is the biggest motivator there is.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Cultural Diversity in the Montessori Preschool Environment

Cultural Diversity in the Montessori Preschool Environment

Cultural Diversity in the Montessori Preschool Environment - Montessori Preschool

When we talk about cultural diversity in the Montessori preschool environment, the goal is to teach about inclusion and acceptance. Preschoolers who learn about the fun and exciting parts of other cultures are more inclined to be accepting of people who come from those places. To that end, the suggestions provided here are intended to avoid racial implications while opening the world up to the imagination of young minds.

The Clothes We Wear

From sombreros to fedoras, the hats people wear have origins from around the world. Teaching Montessori preschool children about hats and other traditional attire not only gives them a point of cultural reference, but it also helps them discover their own inherited ties to places they may never visit in person.

The Songs We Sing

Singing children’s songs is popular in the Montessori preschool. Learning the origins-- and native words-- to nursery songs is also another way for kids to learn about cultural diversity. Most of us know the English and French words to “Brother John,” but there are many other popular songs to investigate, including most of the collected rhymes of Mother Goose.

The Foods We Eat

The American diet is a smorgasbord of international cuisine. Learning about the origins of the food they eat gives young children a personal connection to cultures globally. For example, spaghetti, corn, and potatoes all have origins in other nations, as well as foods like pastries, bagels, and pork.

The Things We Do

Traditional and ceremonial dance styles of other cultures provide an entertaining way to learn about people all over the globe. Kids are also interested in customs practiced in other parts of the world, including recreational activities, architecture, personal fashion, and more.

The Flags We Fly

Drawing and learning about national flags helps children explore other nations and the cultures associated with them. A great class project is to represent every nationality in the class with flags and other cultural accouterments of every student. Keep in mind that most flag components have specific meanings, giving insight into how and why the nation exists.

Learning about cultural diversity in the Montessori preschool is also an opportunity for each child to have a moment in the sun. Taking turns sharing information about their own cultural origins opens a channel of communication that blur the distinctions of color, race, and creed.
Easter Dishes To Feed a Crowd

Easter Dishes To Feed a Crowd

Easter Dishes To Feed a Crowd - Large group cooking class

With Easter Sunday just around the corner, you may be wondering what you might make to serve your family. You may even need to create the perfect dish for a social gathering. No matter your need, there is an Easter dish for you. Whether your skill level is minimal or professional, cooking something delicious is entirely possible.

Simple Easter Dishes

Easy Easter dishes can vary in size and type - from a vegetable to a starch or something in between. Making a dish large enough for a group of people might seem stressful, but there are many options for the beginner chef. Some choices might include:

  • Butter & Herb Mashed Potatoes 
  • Roasted Asparagus 
  • Fruit Salad 
  • Scalloped Potatoes 
  • Baked Sweet Potatoes 
  • Deviled Eggs 
  • Green Bean Casserole

Choosing an easy dish to make is as simple as finding a recipe online. Many of the easy dish examples require no more than a few ingredients and are hassle-free in the kitchen. If cooking is not your strong suit, but it is something you and your family and friends would be interested in learning, a Large Group Cooking Class is a great way to get a jump start on your kitchen education! It also serves as a great way to bond this Easter.

Complex Easter Dishes

Perhaps you’re a bit more experienced in the kitchen and appreciate a challenge. If this is the case for you, bringing an Easter dish that impresses the crowd is the way to go. Whether you’re a baker or prefer to stick to the main dishes, some of the ideas listed below might provide some inspiration.

  • White Bunny Cake Lamb with a Red Wine Sauce 
  • Roasted Honey Ham with Pineapple 
  • Smoked Pork Butt 
  • Hot Cross Buns 
  • Bread Pudding 
  • Quiche 

With the influences above, your Easter dinner is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. As a professional in the kitchen or an individual simply experienced in cooking for your family, choosing the right option for you is a matter of skill and want.

Choosing the Right Dish

What dish should you choose to feed your Easter crowd? The more complex dishes offer a wide array of possibilities in skill - from a relatively easy, yet more complicated than “simple” quiche to the lamb with a red wine sauce. Not many new cooks have experience cooking lamb, so that option is one that is for those that want the challenge. By weighing your options and measuring your skill (and ability to follow a recipe), the perfect Easter dish can be as simple as picking what sounds like a success. The crowd that gets to enjoy your dish, whether it was created in a large group cooking class or in the comfort of your own kitchen, is a crowd that is sure to rave over your accomplishment.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

How Parents Can Support Their Montessori Preschool

How Parents Can Support Their Montessori Preschool

How Parents Can Support Their Montessori Preschool - montessori preschool

Authentic Montessori preschools rely on the interaction of parents for the Montessori Method to work correctly. The triad of child, parent, and school is a complicated but necessary relationship. It demonstrates to the child that parents and teachers are on the same team and opens the door to a seamless transition between school and home activities.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Cooking with Friends this Valentine's Day

Cooking with Friends this Valentine's Day

large-group-cooking-class-Kitchen on Fire

You don’t have to do the same tried and true Valentine’s Day date night or stay-in night. This year, try something new like a large group cooking class at Kitchen on Fire. Invite a friend, a lover, your office team, or go it alone and meet new people while creating and sharing a meal. Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world in varying degrees, but at heart, it is the celebration of friendship.

How to Cook with Friends

Feasting, or gathering together in large groups for communal eating, has been around for centuries. Studies, like the University of Oxford’s Breaking Bread: the Functions of Social Eating, show the sharing of a meal with others increases social bonding and the feeling of wellbeing. Benefits include increased self-esteem, team building, and deeper interpersonal connections. Here are some ideas to bring everyone together.

Host a Pot Luck Dinner Party:

Who doesn’t love a potluck? A laid-back dinner party that lets everyone relax and enjoy good friends and good food. Pick a theme or let everyone bring their favorite dish. Or, suggest everyone bring Grandma’s favorite recipe. This is sure to spark some great childhood stories celebrating family. Set up a buffet table or food stations then allow your guests to move around and mingle.

Share the Love:

Invite a group of friends to volunteer at a food pantry or community kitchen, like Loaves & Fish. You and your friends will get to meet and interact with other volunteers and visitors. Instead of eating together, you will provide nourishment to others preparing and serving meals. The act of cooking, serving and eating with friends, volunteers, and visitors will make everyone feel happy and connected.

Host a Cook-off:

Add a little friendly competition to your large group cooking class this year. A cook-off is a great way to bring different groups of friends together to have fun while breaking the ice. The dish chosen can set the theme for the evening. A signature cocktail can complement the dishes. Guests can bring their own wine too and cook side-by-side in the kitchen. Judging can be a blind taste test or have guests introduce and describe the dishes. You know your friends best, so choose what will be the most fun for the whole group.

Make it a Team Effort:

Pick a recipe that makes a large quantity to share, like pasta sauce. Have your friends bring the ingredients, you supply the drinks, and everyone goes home with a delicious memory. Set up a designated spot for each task and let guests pick their work station. Teamwork always makes dicing and peeling more fun. Once you’ve finished cooking, invite your friends to sit and relax while enjoying a home-cooked meal. Don’t forget to send everyone home with a healthy portion to remember the night.


Rather venture out instead? This Valentine’s weekend, Kitchen on Fire, is offering multiple cooking classes to help you cook the perfect meal with friends.

Schedule of Classes 

Couples Valentine’s Dinner: Kitchen on Fire Chefs 
Berkley and Oakland
Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 | 6:30 PM | 3hr
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, additional class - Oakland
*Pescatarian option available

Bourbon and Brunch: Chef Diema 
Sat. February 15, 2020 | 12:00 PM | 3 hr

Cook Like a Restaurant Chef: Chef Mat Wertlieb
Sun, Feb 16, 2020 | 5:00 PM | 3hr

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

What is the Montessori Work Period?

What is the Montessori Work Period?

What is the Montessori Work Period? - Montessori Elementary school - Montessori West

The uninterrupted work cycle is one question asked by many people who are new to Montessori preschool education. The concept is a crucial part of the Montessori Method and can be found in all schools accredited by the American Montessori Society. In fact, the existence of the uninterrupted work block is one of the key ways you can recognize an authentic Montessori school.

Defining the Work Cycle

Maria Montessori recognized that children learn at different paces and that longer work periods-- also known as work cycles-- were necessary for children to progress naturally. In the Montessori elementary school, this period is generally 2 to 3 hours long. The length of the work period will differ somewhat based on the age group in question because the long periods are often inappropriate for younger students. For these children, a 1 to 1 ½ hour work period is typically considered more beneficial.

Value of Uninterrupted Work Periods

Allowing children the opportunity to learn at their own pace is the rationale behind the Montessori work cycle. The idea is to provide each child with enough time to work on their projects and recognizes that some children require more time than others. Because of this difference in learning, the strict divisions of time adhered to by traditional educational systems often leave some children unable to complete their work before moving on to another subject or project.

Special Considerations

The usual work period also needs to be adjusted for some students, such as those with special needs. For these students, the schedule may be shorter or longer than for others and may include other considerations such as more one-to-one interaction between the student and their guides. The Montessori work period is a fundamental part of the Montessori Method. It provides children with ample time to explore concepts and produce more effective and accurate work results. It exists so that children are better able to absorb new information and work through problems at their own pace.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Teaching Manners the Montessori Preschool Way

Teaching Manners the Montessori Preschool Way

Learning to be polite is taken as a matter of course at your Montessori preschool. The Montessori Method is based on a hands-on approach to educating the entire child from academics to social interaction, with grace and courtesy as basic foundations.

Grace and Courtesy

Learning to accept praise and constructive criticism helps Montessori preschool children understand why grace and courtesy are important. By displaying behavior that is socially acceptable parents and guides tailor grace and courtesy lessons to match the children and situation. A runny nose is an opportunity to demonstrate the use of a tissue, for example, and a potential dispute is perfect for learning about individual diplomacy, sharing, and exhibiting the behavior we want to experience.

Polite Social Interaction

From the mixed-age classrooms to the carefully chosen workstations, Montessori preschool children are encouraged to work together in order to achieve goals. Building the concept of teamwork and inclusion helps develop a healthy self-esteem and opens the door for constructive dialogue between kids and adults.

Provide Demonstration

Keep in mind that adults, especially parents, are the role models that children will imitate. When they see you interacting politely and getting favorable results, they learn that courtesy makes other people more inclined to help. Conversely, asking for help will be better received when the request is genuine than, for example, demanding a friend or adult to perform some task.

Observation and Example

Children learn to be graceful and courteous in their own time and their own way. By observing your children interacting with other people you will notice indicators that it is time to learn more about the process. Providing examples of when to say “please” and “thank you” should begin when your child is still an infant, and other social graces can be added as they become appropriate. The adults in a child’s life are the best instruction for displaying good manners. From washing your hands before dinner to farewells when you part company, how Montessori preschool children see adults and older kids behaving is how they will act themselves.

Monday, January 20, 2020

What to Cook When Cooking for a Crowd

What to Cook When Cooking for a Crowd

team building cooking class - Kitchen on Fire

Considering a large group cooking class for a special event? Or are your friends coming over for a feast? Cooking for a crowd can seem complicated but having easy to prepare recipes for such groups can make the tasks much more manageable. Here are some excellent recipes for large groups:

Pasta dishes

Pasta is a great and easy alternative when cooking for a crowd. It is not only an affordable base for your food, but most people also like it too. Also, when baked well, pasta dishes tend to hold up very well even if your guests don’t eat them immediately. The dish is very versatile and has various ingredient options. This technically means you can prepare different options of the plate every time you entertain a crowd to avoid monotony.

  • Lasagna: Use cheeses, layer noodles, and sauce to create your lasagna dish. Assemble it before the party starts and store it in your oven before the ‘gang’ arrives.
  • Macaroni and cheese: Start with the regular Mac and cheese. Put it in a slow cooker so that it stays warm as you set up toppings like ground beef, buffalo chicken, grilled chicken, pork, chilli, spicy sausage, and bacon. Then your visitors can scoop some mac and cheese and then top it with what they want.
  • Baked Ziti: Mix baked ziti with some sausage and pasta. Then blend that with some gooey cheese, and you have something that everybody can enjoy freely. Hold any spare pans in a warm oven, so that they don’t get cold.


Sandwiches are another option when dealing with large groups. They are tasty, and everyone can personalize their dish to match their desire. You can opt for the regular meat sandwich or do hot sandwiches (a great idea, your guests will definitely love it).

Sandwich options:
  • Sausage sandwiches:
  • Pulled Pork:
  • Sloppy Joes:

Homemade Pizza

Prepare different types of pizza at home to appeal to different tastes. The best idea is to make cheese pizza and then add single topping pieces like pepperoni and sausage. Additional toppings like various types of cheeses and assorted cheese will also take your pizza a notch higher. Bake at least two pieces at a time to save time and then cut them into slices, so more guests can eat them while you bake the remaining ones. Assemble the pizza a few hours before the party starts and then store them in your fridge for easy baking. Also, pre-bake the crusts before you top them to save time.

Cooking With Large Crowd Tips

Choosing easy to cook recipes is just the first step in preparing food for large groups. There are more;

Plan the menu: Prior planning helps you shop for all the required ingredients and manage the preparation and cooking stages correctly. A team building cooking class in California can help you learn more about how to do with this.

Choose options that you are familiar with: You will have an easier time if you are preparing something that you already have an idea about. Chances of making mistakes with a new recipe are very high, so go for old favorites. You will be glad you did!

Prep Food: Do most of the work a day before the event. Making sauces, chopping ingredients, washing produce and peeling veggies are things you can do 24 hours earlier.

Go simple: Keep everything simple to minimize your stress levels. Large group cooking classes teach more on this along with knife skills.

Use slow cooker: It is an excellent tool for preparing dishes and keeping them warm. You can also keep meats, soups, appetizers, and dips in the device.

Accept help: Though it might feel awkward to accept help from large group cooking classes, and guests as well, then feel free to give them simple tasks here and there. This will help you work faster and minimize your stress load.

Wrapping it up

Still not sure of where to start or how to go about it? Large group cooking classes can also help. There are many large group cooking classes available in Oakland and Berkeley, CA. Now At the end of it all, when you throw a party or organize an important event, have fun! Enjoy the process, and you will have it easy. Of course, it may not seem like it is possible at first, but these tips can do the magic. The experience will be bliss once you crack it!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Why Preschool Education is Important for Your Child

Why Preschool Education is Important for Your Child

Montessori preschool - Fremont West

Quality Fremont Preschool Education: Insurance for Future Success

Every parent wants his or her child to be happy, accepted and capable. A quality preschool education is an important foundation toward meeting these goals. A preschool education will give your child the opportunity to:

  • Experience a constructive routine that leads to a positive attitude toward learning. 
  • Develop vocabulary skills in a wide variety of subject areas. 
  • Participate in activities that cultivate both large muscle coordination and fine motor skills. 
  • Learn information in new and interesting ways. 
  • Communicate with both adults and students as they participate in social interactions. 
  • Gain self-confidence in the ability to think and solve problems. 

It is well known that a child develops 85% of his or her intellect, personality and skills before the age of five. A quality preschool education stimulates your child's brain and allows it to develop to its full potential.

The benefits of a quality preschool education are immediate and also long lasting. Research shows that children who received early learning demonstrated increased intellectual development, improved health and positive behaviors. The Brookings Institute on Children and Family documented that children with early childhood education also showed improvement in later years. This included higher graduation rates, less need for special education classes and fewer incidents of criminal behavior. A Rutgers University professor emphasized it this way, "for many children, preschool programs can mean the difference between failing and passing, regular or special education, staying out of trouble or becoming involved in crime and delinquency, dropping out or graduating from high school."

You have the change to share a constructive experience with your child. As a supportive, involved preschool parent you are making a commitment to your child's future. Your child's preschool education will give him or her a great start in life-long skills-- reading, thinking, interacting, problem solving and language. This is the best insurance for your child's future success.

Montessori Children’s House, a Fremont preschool, has provided exceptional education to preschool children since 1998. Their teachers are dedicated to planting life long seeds of learning. Montessori Education focuses on eight traits: independence, confidence, self-discipline, intrinsic motivation, acute sensory perception, academic achievement, spiritual awareness and responsible citizenship. For more information about the program, contact Montessori Children’s House.

Barnett, Steven W. "Long-Term Effects of Early Childhood Programs on Cognitive and School Outcomes,"(

Isaacs, Julia B. and Emily Roessel. "Impacts of Early Childhood Programs." (
Elementary Montessori: Successful People who Credit their Achievement to their Montessori Education

Elementary Montessori: Successful People who Credit their Achievement to their Montessori Education

For more than a century, Montessori education has played a part in teaching students to think critically, enjoy learning, and to have the courage and curiosity to take on new ideas in creative ways. Several of the most successful men in internet technology attended Montessori schools, along with performers of both genders, and even a Nobel Prize recipient.

The World’s Most Famous Diarist

When her family moved from Germany to the Netherlands in 1938, Anne Frank was enrolled in a Montessori school, where she was encouraged to learn and practice her love for writing. According to a fellow Montessori classmate, Anne enjoyed writing and was possibly headed toward a career in the field of journalism. Unfortunately, World War II erupted, and Jewish families like Anne’s were forced to flee or go underground. Today, that little girl’s diary has become one of the most harrowing descriptions of the terror and mistreatment suffered by people during the short reign of the Third Reich.

Montessori’s Effect on Technology

Quite a few of the people involved in the technology behind today’s internet attended Montessori schools in their youth and attribute at least some of their success to the Montessori method. Here are four famously successful people who have played a hand in modern technology:

·        Jeff Bezos - The founder of Amazon, a major player in online shopping, began his education in a Montessori preschool setting. Today, Jeff is among the most successful men in the world.
·        Will Wright - Will Wright learned the importance of combining play with education from the Montessori method. He would go on to design the popular SimCity games, as well as The Sims, and Spore.
·        Larry Page and Sergey Brin - The founders of Google both attended Montessori schools in their childhood. Today, their creative brainchild, Google, is consider the #1 best company to work for in Canada, and ranks #2 for the same title in the United States. Google’s unique algorithms have transformed how we search for information, use maps, and among other impacts on internet technology.

Creativity and the Montessori Method

Montessori’s focus on creativity and personal application has also led to successful roles in music and acting. Two examples of creativity inspired by the Montessori method are Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs (also known as P. Diddy), and actress Dakota Fanning, who credits Montessori education with learning to read at the early age of 2. Julia Child, a world famous cook, once said that Montessori taught her that it was okay to make mistakes so long as you never stop trying.

Montessori and People With Global Influence

Credited with influencing the direction of modern literature, Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s autobiography discusses Montessori education and how “its teachers stimulated the five senses by means of practical exercises, and taught singing.” Montessori is also admired by royalty, such as Princess Diana’s children Princes William and Harry, as well as Prince William and Kate Middleton’s children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Montessori education has a profound and lasting effect on those who attend its school, specifically starting at a young age.  Maria Montessori believed in education children with skills and lessons used throughout their lifetime, methods still used by the Montessori School of Pleasanton today.  To learn more about Montessori education and our programs, contact us today.