Friday, December 30, 2022

Why is Nature Such an Important Part of a Montessori Preschool Curriculum?

Why is Nature Such an Important Part of a Montessori Preschool Curriculum?

Maria Montessori recognized the importance of nature in a well-rounded preschool education. Nature has implications that affect our daily lives, and children thrive when they are given ample time outside. To make sense of the importance of nature in education, here are a few key areas where nature is a big benefit.

Sensory Development

Nature engages all five senses regularly. Birds are chirping, flowers smell pretty, blackberries are sweet, the sky looks blue, and everything has a texture all its own. Getting knees-dirty and hands-deep in nature gives children a front-row seat to the best sensorium in the world: The world itself. From exploring the sound we make walking on different surfaces to discovering the scent of honeysuckle in bloom, nature is important because it has so much to teach. And because nature is engaging for all Montessori preschool children, it makes an excellent medium to work with.

Physical Development

Nature is an excellent place to use pent-up energy, running, and climbing, and bending. Developing physical skills is important in preschool, including fine motor skills like picking up small objects and gross motor skills like skipping. And while it is true that outdoor activities and nature aren't exactly the same, a natural setting is the best classroom.

Nature and Social Responsibilities

Learning to understand and care for the environment begins by getting involved in nature's rhythms, and discovering how everything plays a part in keeping the world healthy and clean. By exploring how vulnerable the local environment is, children discover how easy it is to tackle environmental problems one person at a time until everyone is involved.

Language and Math

Every species of tree is known by a different name, and many times the thing which sets that tree apart is a different number of lobes on a leaf or some other mathematical factor. Delving into the science of nature provides a constant flow of vocabulary and the use of math concepts and operations. Additionally, using concrete examples for math functions makes it easier to grasp concepts and better retention.

From a little time on the playground to hikes through local parks and forests, nature is everywhere you look, and plays a very helpful role in early learning. In Montessori, nature has always held an important place in the prepared environment and teaching structure that engages children by presenting them with educational activities that they enjoy. Every academic or developmental target is a little easier to hit with some help from nature and the world around us.
4 Private Kindergarten Activities That Promote Inclusion and Diversity

4 Private Kindergarten Activities That Promote Inclusion and Diversity

 It is important for every private kindergarten child to feel like part of the class, family, or group. Being included makes them feel better about themselves, especially when it gives them the opportunity to share experiences and activities. From working together to discovering how we are all the same to exploring foods and customs from around the world, activities that promote diversity and inclusion can take many shapes.

1. Team Activities

Montessori kindergarten activities that involve working in pairs or groups gives every child an opportunity to be part of something larger than themselves. Working with other children gives each child some insight into communication, teamwork, and accepting the differences of others. Everyone excels in different ways, and we should be as accepting of others as we want them to be for us.

2. One Human Family

Underneath the culture and geography, we are all just parts of one human family. Like snowflakes, no human beings are exactly alike, but every child has a lot in common with all the others. Just like everyone in the immediate family has different traits, children can use the family model to begin understanding differences in physical abilities, races, and everything else. We are all different, but we are also all the same.

3. Foods and Cultures

People come from all over the world, and their geographic origins determine cultural customs, belief systems, and the kinds of foods they eat. Learning about the origins of fruits or food is a good introduction to how every corner of the globe contributes to the things we enjoy.
Leaf Analogies

Nature can be used to demonstrate diversity and inclusion. Start with leaves from the same tree and take note of how each one differs from the others. Next, expand the analogy leaves from different trees, and then look at the leaves of flowers, shrubs, and other growing things. Each one is different from every other one, varying in size, shape, and color. It takes all of the trees to fill the forests of the world, and every one is uniquely suited for the purpose it was meant to fulfill.

Children can see the physical attributes of different races, but they don't know anything about prejudice unless they learn it from someone else. By making diversity an important part of the classroom experience, kids can be guided toward a better, more peaceful world where everyone is on the same team and share the same goals for the future of mankind.
5 Suggestions to Help Teach Your Middle School Kids Internet Safety

5 Suggestions to Help Teach Your Middle School Kids Internet Safety

Today's middle school students will mature into a much more digitally-pervasive society than their parents have ever known. That makes it very important that this generation of students learn to use the Internet in a safe manner now. Here are 5 tips that address the major security problems Internet users need to be careful of.

1. Careful Contact

Montessori middle school children need to be taught at an early age to protect themselves and their privacy. People are not always what they appear to be online, and new contacts need to be monitored. Similarly, teach your children not to give out certain information like their address and phone numbers without obtaining your approval first. Making new friends is wonderful, but they need your help to guide them safely.

2. Virtual Etiquette

Cyberbullying needs to be avoided. Children should be taught how to communicate politely and why pressuring their peers can be devastating. The tween years can be difficult for kids to get through in the best of circumstances, and everyone benefits when we are kind to each other.

3. Log Out for Safety

It is important to log out of accounts. It may be tempting to get up and walk away from an app when you are done using it, but logging out protects private information and makes it more difficult for someone to "hack" your account. This is a common mistake that children make, and it can cause a lot of problems for everyone - from the account holder, to the people they care most about.

4. Secure Websites

There are two kinds of website URLs that children should learn to recognize. One is the old-fashioned "http:" style website and the other is the more secure "https:" website. The first uses older HTML coding and doesn't provide a secure connection. The second type is only used for secure point-to-point connections while HTML connections may be open to anyone who knows your IP address. Staying safe begins with knowing when the website should be trusted with confidential information.

5. Kid-Friendly Websites

There are all kinds of kid-friendly websites with carefully selected and examined content. Middle school kids may enjoy National Geographic for Kids, Reading Rocket, etc. The point is that there are websites designed just for kids where they can do everything from setting up daily news feeds on kid-centric subjects to using play-based materials that teach them academic subjects in an enjoyable format.

The Internet's importance in our lives is only going to grow over the next decade or so, and that means teaching your kids about Internet safety today will be a lesson that benefits them for many years to come.