As a person who attended summer camp for most of my youth, summer camp memories are some of the best I have. Spending days with my friends, learning from the counselors and just getting out of the house, made for incredible memories. On the contrary, the one summer I spent without camp I remember feeling trapped at home and simply bored out of my mind. My friends who attended camp echo the sentiment that simply put, summer camp rocks!
On a more psychological and developmental level, Peter Scales, Ph.D., a senior fellow with the Search Institute in Minneapolis, explains that “camp is one of the few institutions where young people can experience and satisfy their need for physical activity, creative expression and true participation in a community environment”. He further analyses that in a structured environment, such as camp, children get the opportunity to interact with positive role models who have time to talk, relax, and reflect. Children also learn to work together, make choices, take responsibility, develop creative skills, build independence and self reliance, and gain confidence. All of those skills are necessary steps on a child’s path to a healthy, productive life. Bruce Muchnick, a licensed psychologist explains that “the camp community seeks to satisfy children’s basic need for connectedness, affiliation, belonging, acceptance, safety, and feelings of acceptance and appreciation”.
The difference between us and most other summer camps is that while we are focused on providing a fun experience, we also aim to keep each child mentally stimulated and learning. According to the Wallace Foundation Study, by the end of summer, students perform, on average, one month behind where they left off in the spring – and these effects are cumulative. To combat such negative effects, the study identifies that students must continue to be mentally engaged. If a child experiences severe skill deterioration over the summer, they are likely to fall behind their peers the following year, and that cycle is very likely to continue if summers are wasted.
Summer camp offers so much for every child. It offers great memories, a great community, a fun learning environment, lays the groundwork for future success, and so much more.
Admn March 30th, 2018
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We live in a world overrun by technology and our kids are growing up in an era when technology is at the forefront of almost everything they do. While it’s clear that we will not be returning to the days of Leave it to Beaver, we have to be careful not to embrace technology to the point of excluding other modes of fun, communication, and learning.
The Montessori classroom does a fantastic job of keeping the focus on learning through hands-on manipulation and through doing, versus studying from a screen. Montessori materials are designed to bring out critical thinking skills that develop patience, multi-step processing, creativity, and problem solving. When students learn math, they don’t do so through computer games that provide an array of answers and make jubilant sounds when the correct answer is chosen. Instead, students select the material that catches their eye and are guided through a process of learning that leads to self-discovery and long term understanding of math concepts.
Likewise, in language arts, they form letters in sand and learn to trace on sandpaper letters. This tactile approach is a proven method for memory, much more so than typing or reacting to a computer screen. And it should come as no surprise that science comes alive through manipulation of materials, witnessing real-life changes in structure, studying animals and plants up close and personal, and planting and tending to a garden.
According to the National Academy of Pediatrics, the average American child spends 7 hours a day in front of a screen of some sort, whether it be a TV, computer, or phone. The recommended amount of time is one hour per day. Yet parents still question if Montessori schools shouldn’t use technology more in the classroom.
The answer is that many Montessori schools have found a beautiful balance that welcomes technology while making sure kids have plenty of time on the floor, being active and engaged. For instance, students can use computers to create documents, learn how to submit papers on popular share drives such as Google Docs, and discover how to use email to communicate. But for every hour spent on these pursuits, the students spend 5 being physical and social. The belief is that in these realms, real learning takes place. And it’s a given that once they’ve left the Montessori environment, students will have plenty of time to use technology at home.
The key is balance. Montessori Kids Universe offers that much sought after healthy balance where students can discover the joy of learning while also discovering the wonderful world of socializing with friends, following good examples set by adults, and getting physical exercise for good overall health.
manager March 5th, 2018
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Christmas is coming and many of us still have some last minute gift shopping to do. However, it is difficult to find the perfect present for each loved one. Especially kids.
Every year, toy manufacturers develop numerous new toys and games for children. Most of them are made from intricately-designed plastic pieces while others come with bells and whistles.
Regardless of which toy you buy, most offer very little educational value – and in the end, you spend a lot of money on something that usually ends up in the toy bin.
Montessori toys are different. They are usually made from wooden material and last for years to come. Montessori inspired toys not only offer children educational support but also encourage imagination. Moreover, these toys are safe, non-toxic, and quiet – in short, they will not pollute your home with chemicals and noise.
If you are also in search of a perfect gift for the youngsters, then you are in the right place. This guide consists of some of the best gifts for a Montessori toddler.
Stacking and nesting cups:
The perfect gift for children between the age of 6 months and 1 year, stacking cups not only help fine tune children’s motor skills but also develop hand-eye coordination and balance control. Stacking and nesting cups are available in varied shapes and colors.
Wooden stacking rings:
Wooden stacking rings promote a child’s understanding of colors shapes, and sizes. They also teach children the basics of problem solving. These come in various lengths, shapes, and colors and are the perfect gift for children above the age of 1 year.
Shape sorters are a classic favorite amongst toddlers. The challenge to put the shaped block in the right hole keeps kids mesmerized for unlimited hours. With these shape sorters, children learn to identify shapes and colors while developing hand-eye coordination.
Lacing toys are fun especially for those children who are aspiring to become crafters. These toys are also available in various shapes and offer children unlimited lacing and tying practice fun.
The wooden block set is a great addition to any children’s toy collection. They provide years of building, designing, and inventing fun for children (and even adults) of all ages.
The abacus is helpful for improving children’s mathematical skills. It also teaches them logic and is a great way to exercise the brain. In ancient times, the abacus was used to calculate, but now these are used as one of the many brain development tools for children.
This year, think about going for the classic toys that make learning fun. You’ll give your kids a gift that will teach, entertain, and develop creativity – what more could you want?
manager December 22nd, 2016
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Christmas is just a few weeks away and even if you have completed your holiday shopping in advance – there are some people you are likely to have accidentally overlooked. As parents we know that it’s far easier – and faster – to keep the kids at home to complete the shopping list. Unfortunately, this may not be feasible and you have to make the dreaded trip to the mall with kids in tow.
To help you out, here are some tips that can make the shopping experience, despite the traffic and crowds, pleasant for both you and the little ones.
Before going out, prepare a shopping list so you know what to look for and where. Try to pre-plan your parking to be close to the section of the mall where you need to shop. Pack some snacks and lightweight books/puzzles ready in your bag for kids if they become cranky. It is easier to shop if your kids have something that entertains them and bringing along a favorite activity will go a long way in keeping your kids’ attention.
Just as you have rules for proper behavior at home, you should have rules for proper shopping behavior. Make these clear to your kids ahead of time so they know exactly what’s expected of them. Remember safety and make sure you tell your children that stores will be crowded and they are to stick next to you. You can also offer rewards for good behavior, such as a stop in their favorite store or a milkshake in their favorite flavor. Everyone needs incentives, and if it will cut your shopping time in half to promise a treat at the end, it’s well worth the reward.
No one likes to stand around feeling useless, even little kids. Give them a task according to their age. If they are young, ask them to hold on to the shopping list and track your progress. Or ask them to select between two shirts for grandpa and actually listen to their opinion. By making them feel useful and important, you are likely to limit any behavior issues. They will naturally want to help when they see you value their input. In addition, you are showing your respect for them as little people, and they appreciate that!
Are your kids acting up? Are they cranky? Maybe they are tired, hungry, thirsty, or just plain bored! Take a quick rest by having a snack or maybe even a nap for the little ones. Visiting Santa is also a great activity that kids look forward to when in the mall. Grab a bite to eat, get off your feet, and take a few minutes to rejuvenate. After a little break, everyone will be back in shape to finish off the shopping list.
Shopping doesn’t have to be a chore. Make it fun by singing carols on the way to the mall or skipping from store to store. By keeping your kids happy and entertained, your shopping trip will go by in a breeze. Remember that learning can be fun and keeps little minds engaged, so get them to help you with the math of a purchase or aid you in finding the best price. Ask them to count how many people they see wearing red sweaters. Games can come out of the smallest moments, but they make a big impact when it comes to creating a pleasant shopping experience. They also make long memories that your kids will treasure when they get older.
With these tips in mind, your holiday shopping trip will be a fun experience for all and not an overwhelming hassle, like you expected. Give these tricks a try and happy shopping!
manager December 12th, 2016
Posted In: Uncategorized
Tags: child development, children, Christmas, christmas shopping, education, family time, learning, Montessori, parenting, pre-school, school, school age kids, shopping with kids, sugar land, toddlers
Doing chores is (and should) be a tradition in a family. Children learn responsibility by doing their chores and of course, by sharing chores with the family members.
Not sure where to start and which chores to give your little ones? Don’t worry! We’re here to help and make doing chores a positive experience for all.
By giving children responsibility, they feel needed and know that they are making a contribution to the family. If children learn to help in their younger years, they will work harder later in life. Even children as young as two years old can help around the house and are more able than you think they are. They can easily use the modern gadgets, so tasks at home are simple. However, they are not born knowing everything and just like you taught them how to walk and talk, you must teach them how to do tasks that are appropriate for their age group. Don’t insist on perfection but praise them as they struggle through each job that you have assigned them.
Make a Chore Chart
Create a list of jobs for every member of the family. Hang it in a place where everyone can see and follow. Rewards can also be given to children to motivate them to do their tasks on time.
2-3 Years old
4-5 years old
6-7 years old
8 years old and up
With these tips in mind, you will be well on your way to creating a chore system for your household. We at Montessori kids Sugarland also believe that children should take care of their own belongings so we encourage them to clean up their class work and lunches. With this partnership. Children learn responsibility and feel that they are members of the larger community.
manager December 5th, 2016
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For many children, saying goodbye to a parent or guardian brings tantrums, screams, wails, and tears. Young children are in a close relationship with their parents and are often hesitant about leaving them or seeing them go somewhere – even if they are just leaving the room for a minute.
However, it is perfectly normal for young children to feel anxious and worried when separating from their parents or important caregivers. And although it might be difficult for you to leave your clinging child, it is a normal part of growing up and fortunately for you, it can be relieved with patience and understanding of your child’s unique situation.
But before we look at ways to cope with separation anxiety, let’s learn more about what causes it.
When does Separation Anxiety occur?
Separation anxiety develops after children gain an understanding about your presence – usually around 8 months. Once they realize you are gone (even if you have just gone to the bathroom), they become unsettled and cry their hearts out until the parent or caregiver is back in the room.
The feelings of anxiety become stronger after the children’s first birthday. Children at this age become more independent and thus are more uncertain about their parent’s whereabouts.
Most cases of separation anxiety ease after the children turn 2. However, certain life-changing stresses can again trigger the feelings. These situations include starting school, having a new sibling, relocating, or dealing with an illness in the family.
How to survive separation anxiety?
There are several steps you as a parent can take to ease your children through this challenging phase.
As hard as it might be for you, do your best not to cave in. have confidence that the caregiver or the school that you have chosen for your children will handle any situation. And it’s likely that by the time you are back in your car, your child will be happily engrossed in other activities.
Remember, in most cases the phase passes during the preschool years. However, if you feel that your child’s separation anxiety persists even after the preschool years, consult your doctor or a child specialist.
manager November 28th, 2016
Posted In: Uncategorized
“Why is the sky blue?”
“Why do I need to eat my vegetables?”
“Why do we sleep in the night and not in the day?
Why, Why, and Why? Studies have claimed that children between the age of 2 and 5 ask as many as 200 – 300 questions per day. Although it might seem to parents that the continuous chatter of questions is mainly to exasperate them, the queries are just a genuine attempt by the kids to understand more about the world in which they live.
Toddlers are instinctively curious and look up to their elders for an explanation about the things they see, hear, and do. Of course, ignoring the question or replying with an “I don’t know” or “You will know when you are older” stifles their curiosity and eagerness to learn which is something I’m sure no parent wants to do.
Research conducted by the University of Michigan also claims that children continuously ask the same “why” questions until they are satisfied with the answers. During one study, 42 preschoolers ages 3 to 5 were provided various materials involving books, toys, and videos that prompted them to ask questions. The group that was given an explanatory answer to their question was more satisfied and avoided re-asking the question when compared to the group who was given a non-explanatory answer.
Another reason children ask “Why” questions is that they have found another easily articulated word (the first being “no”) that gets your immediate attention and better – a response. Children need constant attention and when they don’t get enough of it, they find an alternate way to get it.
THE MAGIC PHRASE TO USE WITH KIDS ASKING WHY:
Experts recommend that parents not answer questions asked by children instantly. Instead, they should probe them further by saying:
“You tell me why.”
By asking them the question in return, children will get a chance to think more about the answer to their “why” question. They might need a little nudge from you but it will help them explore the answer that will build up their problem-solving skills for the future.
For example, if your child asks “Why does the cat have fur?” before giving them a full response, allow them to come up with an answer. You can also research the topic more with them by taking the children to the library and showing them books about the subject.
HOW CAN PARENTS FOSTER THE HABIT OF ASKING QUESTIONS?
Asking lots of questions and getting accurate replies is an important part of children’s learning. As a parent you can support their learning by:
Remember, your children won’t be toddlers forever and they may find other activities to drive you bonkers (especially in their teenage years), so make the most of your time with them and as much as you dislike all these “why” questions, try to see them as wonderful learning opportunities.
manager November 8th, 2016
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Potty training is a major milestone in the life of both parents and children. The secret to being successful? A lot of patience and good timing!
Is it the right time?
Not all kids are ready to be toilet trained at the same, so as parents, it is important to look out for signs of readiness from your children. Otherwise, starting too early or rushing the process might be frustrating for both of you and make the process longer.
Generally, most children exhibit signs of readiness around by the time they are 2 years old, although some may be ready earlier or later. Instead of using age as an indicator, parents should look out for the following signs that will tell them whether their children are ready to “ditch” the diaper or not.
If most of these attributes are present in your child, then he or she might be ready for toilet training. If not, you should wait a few more weeks before starting the toilet training process. It is also a good idea to wait a while if children have recently faced or will be facing a major change in life such as the arrival of a new sibling, moving to a new house, or recovering from an illness.
Invest in the right equipment.
Now that you have decided to take the big step, it is time to buy the right equipment. Parents have two basic potty options which include:
Set a schedule and have a plan.
Toilet training might take weeks, even months. It is not a competition so don’t be pressured by other parents. Just relax and let your children get the hang of it at their own pace.
manager October 31st, 2016
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Screen time is an inescapable reality of modern childhood, with kids of all age groups spending countless numbers of hours in front of their iPads, smartphones, and television sets.
Although experts have revealed that some “quality” screen time is required to sharpen the children’s brain development and communication skills – not to mention that they keep the children entertained while parents hurriedly finish their daily task –too much exposure can delay the child’s cognitive and physical development.
According to recent studies, excessive use of the screen can result in:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting screen time for children aged 2 -5 to an hour per day. They also emphasize that children under 18 months of age not use any form of media apart from video chatting.
Most readers will agree that our culture is addicted to the screen and most parents find the digital devices a “convenient” form of babysitter. To inspire our parents, here are some tips for limiting children’s screen time so they can enjoy other activities.
It may seem like an “impossible” battle, but the less you and your children depend on digital devices, the easier it will become. And trust us, in the end. it will be worth the effort!
manager October 24th, 2016
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The school-age years have now begun and children at this stage are spending more time at their respective educational institutes and less time at home. They are now more influenced by their teachers and peers and learning many different skills that help them in both – inside and outside the classroom area.
As a parent, it is important to observe the children’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth and seek help if needed. To help you out, here are some developmental milestones to look out for after the children celebrate their 5th birthday.
Children are very energetic at this age and are constantly running around, especially with their friends. It is a good time to get them started on a sport they show interest in. This will help them build self-confidence and the ability to set and achieve goals.
Children after the age of five are more confident at climbing, sliding, swinging, and balancing on one foot. They can also learn to skip with a jumping rope and do somersaults.
Their fine motor skills are improving and they may be able to tie laces, dress and undress, use utensils, and go to the toilet more with little or no assistance from your side.
At this age, the children are also able to:
Five-six-year-olds love to talk, especially about their day at school. Give them lots of opportunity to talk by listening attentively and asking questions. Children at this age are also given opportunities to participate in “Show and tell” at school where they can enjoy telling their school friends about certain items and toys they bring from home.
Social and Emotional Milestones:
These children like to be recognized for their achievements and are especially pronounced when given evaluation from their schools for their academic performance.
5-6-year-olds are likely to:
Children this age are active learners meaning they like to take charge of their own learning. They can now count 10 or more objects and say the complete alphabet. They are also attempting many new experiences and don’t hesitate to take risks to develop new skills.
What can you do to help?
Children progress at different paces so don’t worry if your child exhibits these milestones a bit earlier or later than other children. However, if you feel that there is a significant delay in your child’s development – consult a child specialist.
manager October 17th, 2016
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