Behavioral Strategies in the Preschool Classroom

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When children misbehave in the classroom, it disrupts the educational potential for all students and requires the teacher to focus more on the disturbing student and less on others. There are methods and procedures used in Montessori preschool which are intended to limit the disruption and get the classroom back on track.

Why Children Misbehave

According to the Montessori Method, children are not inherently naughty. They misbehave as a result of previous, possibly external experiences. Montessori preschool teachers are tasked with understanding the nature of the disruption without interfering with the rest of the class unduly. But keeping in mind that children are reacting rather than displaying is vital to proper classroom management.

Discipline the Montessori Way

The Montessori teacher acts as a guide, as much to proper behavior as to choosing study topics and learning practical life lessons. As a guide, she is able to offer guidance and suggestions, but should not command, reward, or punish. Self discipline must be learned and practiced, and classroom misbehavior should be addressed constructively. Maria Montessori recognized discipline as something which is learned through observation and example, focusing on helping a child learn the wisdom to recognize his actions as being disruptive and non-productive.

Redirection for Purpose

In Montessori, the behavior of the child is observed and ways to redirect that child’s energy are presented. The goal is for the child to become interested in a particular activity and find a more socially acceptable outlet for his behavior. Learning about tolerance and patience are important facets of Montessori education and addressing potential classroom disruption constructive provide learning opportunities for everyone involved.

Gluing a Child

Disruptive children occasionally need to be kept under closer observation. When the teacher invites such a child to attend her personally, known as gluing, it is give her greater opportunity for observation and redirection during the process of administering the rest of the class. This should not be used in a punitive manner, instead it is a way to provide directed activity suggestions such as handing out items or arranging chairs to help the child focus on positive contributions.

Behavioral strategies in the Montessori classroom are often subtle and never intended to instill a sense of punishment or shame. While unwanted behavior must be addressed in a timely manner, it should always be approached from the point of view that the child is learning skills for later in life.

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Pool safety tips for your preschooler

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Montessori elementary school is out, and it’s time to go swimming! Pools are a summertime staple, but they can also be a little scary for preschoolers and parents alike. Here are a few safety tips to help maximize the fun and lessen the risks.

Learn to swim!

Many parents and caretakers agree that learning to swim is a healthcare priority like regular doctor check-ups. While being able to swim won’t mitigate all the risks your pool-going preschooler will face, it can significantly help. Also, as any swim instructor or lifeguard will tell you, learning this essential skill is not a “sink or swim” process. Like any learning process, it is most successful when approached in developmentally appropriate stages with the child guiding the pace and approach of the learning. For example, younger children are more likely to experience physical fatigue sooner and should have rest periods in their swim lessons. Alternatively, if a child is hesitant or anxious about going in the water, it is more likely they will achieve swimming efficacy if they can gradually engage with the water as their comfort level increases.

Explore water outside the pool

In many ways, pools are more than a mere diversion; they can also be an active, whole-body science experiment. What is a cannonball but a delightful display of physics in action? While this concept is not necessarily on the mind of your preschooler, you can introduce the science of water to them in fun, age-appropriate, and more controlled ways. Water tables or the bathtub, for example, can be places to learn what floats and what sinks, how air bubbles work, or what happens when you hold your breath. These simple learning experiences can help children better understand how water works and what to expect when they interact with it in different ways, which can, in turn, help them to be more skilled experimenters in the pool.

Create boundaries and expectations together

Boundaries and expectations are slightly different from “rules” in that your child formulates them through ongoing discussion. Like the process they use in their Montessori preschool, creating boundaries and expectations can build on what you and child need to make pool time fun and safe, what respectful use of the pool looks like, and what they can expect if boundaries are broken. You can start the conversation by asking your preschooler, “What part of the pool feels safest for you?” Alternatively, by connecting pool boundaries to other boundaries, such as “Do you feel safer when I hold your hand crossing the road?” and discussing the similarities with pools and grown-up supervision. It is also helpful to create a plan for what to do if your preschooler feels unsafe or sees someone else in danger. Discussing and reviewing when and how to alert a lifeguard or adult can help them take those steps in a scary situation. Lastly, but importantly, figure out together ahead of time what happens when a boundary is crossed: “What do you think is a fair consequence if you go into the deep end?”

When Should Your Child Learn a Second Language?

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Through the 1990s, the common approach to education was that a second language should wait until puberty. During that period, research emerged, which is now the accepted standard, that learning new languages is easier before puberty and may begin as soon as a child begins to talk. Your Montessori preschool embraces the idea of learning a second language at an early age, and so should you.

Benefits of Early Language Education

When young children learn a second language along with their primary language, it is easier to associate different words for items, and the learning process goes more smoothly. After about age 10 or 11, the brain has to work harder to make the same associations. Montessori preschool curriculums which include bilingual language arts offer the best headstart for young children.

Language and the Brain

The reason small children are better suited for learning a second language early on is that the brain is still forming in small children. This allows the child’s cognitive processes to develop more language connections and facilitates fluent learning. Modern research even goes so far as to question whether a person can ever be truly fluent in a language they begin learning after the onset of puberty.

Social and Cultural Learning

Languages tend to develop through the influence of culture and a society’s social structure. When children adopt a second language early, they are better able to absorb cultural and social nuances in the language. Consequently, the second language provides insight into cultural aspects that are not immediately evident through traditional language courses.

Exposure Vs Enrollment

Research indicates that another factor of learning a language is the amount of exposure the child has to the languages they are learning. Rather than participating in a language course, experts recommend being exposed to the second language regularly. Immersion into actual use of the language may be slower than a dedicated language course, but it also teaches children appropriate pronunciation and inflection which may not be obvious through course learning.

Whether you live in a bilingual household or simply want your children to be ready for a bilingual future, the best time to start learning a second language is as early as possible. Learn a word or two everyday and look for ways to integrate the second language into your daily routines to provide the best learning environment possible.

The Importance of Fine Motor Skills

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Fine motor skills are necessary for any type of productive participation, regardless of whether the child is playing at home or working on a project in the Montessori preschool setting. To help you understand the importance of fine motor skills we have put together some information to describe what they are and how they affect daily activity.

What are Fine Motor Skills?

For the sake of keeping things simple, think of fine motor skills as the ability to coordinate hand-eye movements to manipulate large and small objects. Your Montessori preschool promotes fine motor school activities on a daily basis in many ways. These are the skills necessary to do many things, from using a pencil or scissors to buttoning a shirt or catching a ball.

Academic Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are crucial to academic studies. They make it possible to properly hold a crayon or scissors, fold paper, and pick up small items. Children need to refine their fine motor skills before they can learn to write legibly or draw recognizable shapes.

Fine Motor Skills for Playtime

Games such as tag or catch depend on a child’s fine motor skills. The same muscular control is required for playing board games, stacking blocks, or manipulating the controls for phones, game consoles, or personal computers. When it comes to manipulating objects, fine motor skills are the most important aspect.

Personal Fine Motor Skills

Before your child can tie her shoes or button her sleeve cuffs she will need basic fine motor skills. Muscular control is also important for personal hygiene, including brushing teeth, combing hair, or even properly washing the face and hands. It takes time and practice for these skills to develop, starting at birth and culminating around the ages of 11 to 13, while some children will develop faster or slower than others.

Fine motor skill development should take place at home as well as school. When you encourage your children to participate in activities like cooking or cleaning, you are also helping them build strong fine motor skills which will benefit them throughout their lives.

Build your Childs Self-Esteem with these Activities

Building self-esteem begins in your child’s Montessori daycare and continues throughout the educational process. At home, there are many things you can do to encourage a sense of success and responsibility. Self-confidence is crucial to learning and development because it helps children see themselves as important parts of the family, the classroom, and their community at large.

Making Decisions

Montessori preschool relies on children’s ability to make their own choices, and you can do the same at home. When a child is able to make decisions for themselves, they gain a sense of control over their lives. You may need to create an appropriate set of options, such as providing the choices available for a breakfast menu, but allowing your child to choose between those choices will increase her sense of importance and value.

Assigning Chores

Helping out with odd jobs around the house is a great way to build self-esteem. When children can see the positive results of their labor, they gain an understanding of how they can affect their own environment. Even small things like placing food in a pet’s dish or setting the dinner table can have a huge impact on how your son feels about himself and his place in the world.

Participation

Giving your children a sense of belonging is perfect for building self-esteem. They can help you pack for a family trip, or help transfer items to the picnic table on a day at the park. This shows them that they have worth as a person and participant, and reinforces the idea that they have a role in your life.

Togetherness

Do things with your children. Whether you are building a tower with blocks, planting flowers, or rearranging her room, you will help her develop self-esteem by doing it with her. Children are often excluded from adult conversations and activities, so setting aside time every day that is solely for sharing experiences with your daughter will help her feel more important to you and better about herself.

Having a solid sense of self-worth will give your children the confidence to take on new responsibilities. Without that, they may be reluctant to get involved in group activities or interact with others. The more interest you show in what your child does, regardless of the activities involved, the more your child will feel confident that they are loved and valued.

Early math concepts for children

The founder of the Montessori method, Dr. Maria Montessori, believed that children have innately analytical minds. She observed in her research and work as an educator that children are naturally drawn to precision and have a desire to classify, organize, compare, and pattern objects in the world around them. These tendencies are also the foundational elements of mathematics, and the Montessori pre-school and lower elementary programs work to further foster children’s mathematical inclinations from a young age.

Mathematical Minds

One prominent aspect of the Montessori method is the concept of planes of development, or the developmental stages in which children are uniquely able to learn certain concepts and skills. The first plane of development, from ages 0-6, is called the period of the absorbent mind. In this stage, children learn through their experience and observation of the world around them and are particularly attuned to minute changes in the environment such as in order, sequence, and size. This observational capacity positions children to explore the initial concepts of math such as values, linear counting, and quantity. In Montessori schools, children are encouraged to explore numbers in a physical sense and lay the groundwork for the subsequent plane of development, the period of reasoning and abstraction.

Montessori Math

The Montessori approach to learning math has several components. One crucial aspect is the focus on achieving a process as opposed to an outcome. Because Montessori schools emphasize teaching the whole child, learning math is thought of as the development of a critical thinking process, not the ability to memorize facts and equations. In other words, the goal of math work is that a child found a way to an answer, not that it was the “correct” answer. For this reason, the Montessori approach to math first prioritizes teaching math concepts in a concrete, tangible way that can later evolve into more abstract thinking. This involves using Montessori Didactics, or learning tools, that were developed to introduce math in a sensorial way. Montessori Didactics for new math learners include number rods, sandpaper numerals, and math beads. These learning tools help provide physical renderings of math concepts that children can see and touch, and which help them physically manipulate the ideas presented in numerology, computations, fractions, measurement, geometry, and problem-solving. The Montessori Didactics can then be adapted for use in the more abstract math lessons of upper Montessori elementary programs.

Should my Child Stop Napping?

The question of eliminating daytime naps is an old one, and your Montessori daycare can tell you that there isn’t a set age when naps should stop. Instead, there are general guidelines for the amount of sleep young children need, and patterns to watch for which indicate your child may need to continue taking naps a little longer.

General Sleep Needs

There are general guidelines for the sleep needs of children. Speak to your Montessori daycare professionals to get more insight into the sleep patterns of young children. From birth to 1 year, most children will require anywhere from 12 to 16 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period, including mid-morning and mid-afternoon naps. Between 12 and 18 months of age, the 2 daytime naps can be consolidated into a single nap. Between the ages of 3 and 5, daytime naps can usually be phased out completely. Keep in mind that these are guidelines, and the amount of sleep your child needs will vary, sometimes significantly.

Behavioral Shifts

One of the most common indications that a child needs to take a nap is a shift in their behavior. Some children become cranky or fussy, for example, while others exhibit rebellious or antagonistic attitudes. If you notice that your little one is acting in an unusual manner, it could be a good sign that naptime is still important.

Indications of Weariness

Other signs of a child needing to take naps include such things as becoming less attentive, yawning, or even becoming fidgety and nervous. If your toddler is rubbing at his eyes or trying to find a comfortable position to lay down, his body is probably telling you that he needs to take a rest break. If this happens consistently, you may need to go back to having 2 naps for a little longer or reschedule naptime a little earlier in the afternoon.

Getting enough sleep is a critical factor in a child’s learning progress. Children who aren’t getting enough rest have trouble concentrating, may resist instruction, and have a tendency to be less sociable. Even if naps need to continue a little longer than you prefer, allowing your children to sleep as much as they need is going to benefit them in the long run.