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The Montessori Mat at Work

A few years ago while scouring for a Montessori for my son, I had the chance to visit several primary classrooms. Apart from the well-organized and attractive classroom environment, I was impressed with the different sets of materials that were being used effortlessly by the children. Another feature that appealed to me was the use of work mats. Although there were quite a few child-sized tables and chairs in the classroom, many children were utilizing the small mats for their individual activities.

At that time, I thought they were given to the children to minimize mess and make cleanup easy. However, I was wrong and cleaning had nothing to do with it. In fact, the lightweight work mats hold significant importance in the Montessori prepared environment.

The Montessori work mat is used to reinforce the primary principle of the Montessori prepared environment – freedom within limits. The mat defines a child’s personal space while other students are taught to respect the classmate’s work and privacy. The mat is considered a child’s sacred space and no one can interrupt the child unless they are willing to interact. Other children make sure to walk around the mat carefully and only join a classmate when given permission.

Another advantage of a Montessori mat is that the children can come back to their activity if they have to leave their work for any reason. For example, a child takes a bathroom break or has snack time. They can leave their belongings on the mat and return to find their work in the same place, undisturbed.

Each activity in a Montessori classroom starts with the mat. Children are trained to first unroll a mat on their desired space after which they can select an activity. Once they have completed their activity, each child rolls back his or her mat, being careful about keeping the edges even, and puts it along with the others in a basket. This not only teaches children order but also improves their practical life skills to help children become more independent and adaptable to society.

At Montessori Kids Sugarland, the work mats are the foundation of everything the children will learn. Visit us and see how the mats are integrated in every activity to create the perfect work space for each child.

November 16th, 2017

Posted In: About MKU, Montessori Education

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How to Get Young Children Back on Track After a Natural Disaster

Students Natural Disaster

Hurricanes, like the recent life-threatening Harvey and Irma, can cause tremendous turmoil in people’s lives. It can take months or even a year or more for family members, especially children, to feel that life is back to normal.

The psychological bearing of a storm differs between people based on factors such as age, prior experiences with natural disasters, and the amount of stress that already exists prior to the storm. The effects of natural disasters on children can vary based on the extent of the disaster, maturity, age, and personality. They can also differ based on the way the parents handle the disaster and work toward restoring normal life for the family. It’s important for parents to talk with children and respond to their needs to facilitate coping and recovery mechanisms.

Read on for ways to restore order and calm to your children’s lives in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Talk it Out

Talk with your children about what they were feeling during the storm. It’s common for children to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress, depression, or anxiety following a disaster. They may even have difficulty focusing in school. Talking through a crisis can help reconnect with your children and can give them a positive means of expressing their fears. Furthermore, it enables parents to identify children who may need additional help dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster so they can seek assistance from professionals or school administrators.

Restructure Routines

The most important thing you can do for your children is get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible. Routines instill a sense of safety in children and ensure that everything is okay. Everyone, even adults, draws strength and refuge from a structured daily routine, so it’s important to start practicing bed time, dinner time, going to church, etc., even if you are staying in a hotel or with extended family. Children respond to these rituals by feeling safe and secure, regardless of the stressful changes taking place around them

Help is Available

Keep in mind that as a parent, you can’t be expected to guess how your child is feeling. It’s best just to ask them. If children assert that they are fine and seem to be functioning well, take it at face value. However, if you or your children need additional help coping with the aftermath of a natural disaster, you may want to consider the following resources:

National Association of School Psychologists

Red Cross Disaster Relief

Coping with Disaster | FEMA.gov

October 25th, 2017

Posted In: About MKU, Montessori Education

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Easy Tips to Promote Language Development in Toddlers

Educators and parents alike know how crucial language and communication skills are to a child’s development. Because parents are a child’s first teacher, it’s important for them to comprehend language development in toddlers as it expands their ability to work with their child to enhance communication skills.

Montessori Kids Sugarland

Communication refers to both speech and language. Speech is the actual sound of spoken language. Language denotes words and symbols—written, spoken, and body language—used to communicate meaning. Mastering these skills empowers children to socialize and learn from their daily surroundings, as well as through classroom instruction.

Development of early language and communication skills is vital for student success both in school and later in life. This includes the ability to understand others and appropriately express oneself using words, gestures, and facial expressions. Children who master age-appropriate language and communication skills tend to have a greater desire to learn when they arrive at school and are more likely to have higher levels of achievement in both school and beyond.

Children’s brains are developing quickly during their first years, so it is important for them to have meaningful interactions with the adults in their lives. Parents, along with our teachers at Montessori Kids Universe, have ample opportunity to provide toddlers with exchanges that enhance growth and development, specifically language and communication skills.

While every child does not develop at the same pace, there are practices that parents can incorporate into their child’s daily schedule to develop speech and language skills.

• Elicit regular conversations with your child throughout the day.
• Use advanced grammar and vocabulary.
• Provide children with descriptions of objects, emotions, activities, and events.
• Read, read, read! Read with your child several times each day. Point to pictures and identify images.
• Use props. Introduce objects that spark interest during story time.
• Use dramatic gestures with words to emphasize meaning.
• Children love music. Be sure to engage in musical activities every day.

These daily interactions benefit children from numerous language and cultural backgrounds, including dual language learners. By implementing these activities, parents and early childhood educators can team up to provide children the extensive experience and opportunities needed to enhance their language and communication skills.

To help your children reach their full potential, Montessori Kids Universe embeds this philosophy within its curriculum through social interaction with other children, development of language and practical life skills, and music and movement activities.

Sources:
https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-development/language_development/#.WXDJ3IjyuUk

http://mtbt.fpg.unc.edu/more-baby-talk/10-ways-promote-language-and-communication-skills-infants-and-toddlers

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6219/42027fbae548dd516980766203a157fb1427.pdf

https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/communication-disorders/difference-between-speech-impairment-and-language-disorder

August 23rd, 2017

Posted In: About MKU, Montessori Education, Tips

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Building literacy every day

showing book

The ability to read, write, speak, listen, and understand starts at birth. These skills are considered the key to success in school and practical life. Researchers also agree that the time frame from birth to the age of 8 years is crucial for children’s development.

Although children learn primarily from their homes, preschool teachers also play an important role in laying the foundation for early literacy development. By exposing children to expanding vocabulary, knowledge, and experiences, the teachers at Montessori Kids Universe use a variety of fun and engaging strategies to develop literacy in the classroom.

Here are some literacy activities that are favorites in our classroom:

Read aloud

Reading aloud is one of the most important activities teachers and parents can do with children. In classrooms at Montessori Kids Universe, children gather in a circle while the teacher reads from a book holding it up so children can see and discuss the illustrations. The teachers also ask the children to make future predictions which enhances their understanding about how stories are structured.

Reading aloud builds many important foundation skills including introduction to new vocabulary, provides children with a model of fluent reader, and helps children gain an interest in what reading for pleasure is all about.

Nursery rhymes

Nursery rhymes provide great opportunities for children to learn early language and vocabulary skills. The repetition of rhymes teaches children how phonics work and sharpens their memory capabilities. According to experts, children who know eight nursery rhymes by heart at the age of four are usually amongst the best readers and spellers by the time they reach grade 3.

Most importantly, rhymes are fun and considered a great group activity where even the shyest students become confident as they take part in singing, dancing, and acting with their fellow classmates.

Storytelling sessions

Whether the stories are read from a book or told from the mind, children love to hear them. Good stories not only teach children new vocabulary but also enhances their emotions. Done correctly, this time should be interactive and allow children to take part by asking questions.

Usually, children talk more than they listen. However, by encouraging them to participate in storytelling sessions, they develop the habit of listening and become better listeners in the future.

Print awareness

Preschoolers at Montessori Kids Universe are surrounded by printed words. They are everywhere around the classroom – bulletin boards, cubicles, furniture, and materials are all labeled so children can learn to correspond spoken words to written ones.

Alphabet and numbers

Learning letters and numbers is crucial to the foundation of education for preschoolers. Through various activities and resources, children are taught to recognize and distinguish letters and numbers. In fact, every material found in the Montessori classroom is designed to be used in multiple ways over the months or years students spend in the classroom. Children don’t tire of the materials because the possibilities for learning are endless.

To see Montessori learning in action, check us out and schedule a tour at www. MontessoriKidsSugarLand.com.

 

January 16th, 2017

Posted In: About MKU

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How Montessori Students Have Fun

As a parent, you want your child’s learning experience to be an enjoyable one. Montessori educators prefer real-life lessons over fantasy play and make believe. Some parents are concerned that this serious approach does not allow room for fun. This is untrue! The Montessori method of teaching provides high-quality education without sacrificing entertainment.

Independent Learning

Montessori children have a large variety of options when it comes to learning activities. There are many prepared assignments for students to choose from. Children have free choice on what work they will complete in a day. This creates an empowering environment in which the child can learn what interests them the most.

Enticing Classrooms

Montessori style classrooms go against the traditional rows of desks found in a typical classroom. These rooms are designed to be stimulating and exciting. Students work on floor mats and large tables where they can spread out learning. Children move from area to area freely. This keeps things fresh and interesting. Allowing children to change-it-up often prevents boredom and promises deeper absorption of information.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Many Montessori schools provide extra learning activities in addition to their regular day-to-day education. Most Montessori educators teach as generalists, meaning that they are qualified to teach all subjects of the curriculum. Many schools also provide “specialists” in subjects such as art, dance, music, foreign language, and science. This allows children to further explore their interests and develop their sense of self.

Family Environment

Montessori classes generally have a 3-year age range between children. Older children are mentors for the younger, creating a brother-sister environment. This teaches respect for your peers and encourages friendship. Montessori students have the same teacher, classroom, and classmates for three years. This supplies security and structure ensuring that children are comfortable in the learning environment.

Montessori education provides high quality learning as well a fun filled environment. When children enjoy their work, their ability to grow and reach the next level increases with each lesson. Parents seeking education for their children need look no further than a Montessori school.

October 7th, 2016

Posted In: About MKU