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Benefits Of A Full-Time Program

Watching your child grow up is bittersweet and we often think it goes by too fast. One day they can’t sit up by themselves and then at the blink of an eye they are ready for preschool. It’s hard, but every parent, without a doubt, wants the best for their child. Unfortunately that shock that your child is getting older, combined with the ability for a parent to stay home a few days of the week, often leaves parents opting for a part time program. Although it is better than not attending preschool at all, there are many benefits that your child receives at a full-time program that they will be missing by attending part-time.

The Journal of the American Medical Association found that children are better prepared for learning and social interaction in full-time preschools than in part-time programs. The article explains that students in full-day programs showed higher scores in social development, language, math and physical education than their part-time peers. Additionally, a study conducted by Arthur J. Reynolds, PhD, of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and his colleagues discovered that full-time preschool programs yield students better prepared for school than those who attended a part-time program. The children who attended the full-time program had higher scores on measures of school readiness skills, increased attendance and reduced chronic absences, when compared to those who attended a part-time program.

Although full-time attendance is important for all preschool students, it is even more critical for those in a Montessori program. A large aspect of the Montessori curriculum is consistency and constancy. Simply put, that means that students receive the full benefit of the Montessori program only through attendance of five days a week with three hour work cycles. There is no other way to achieve the full benefit of a Montessori education if not for consistent attendance. Part of a Montessori education and an aspect that we focus on in our classrooms is independent learning and student driven studies. We allow our students to choose what to focus on as well as learn at their own pace. A large part of that is if a student is learning something very interesting but time runs out, they know that their materials and everything else they need to continue will be there waiting for them the next day. This allows the student to continue thinking about a subject and the short wait time can often make them even more excited to continue. The issue arises, however, when a constant routine is not established. If a student doesn’t attend every day of the week, they often will have forgotten what captivated their mind the last time they were in school and have to get re-inspired to learn a topic. Having a part-time schedule leads to students not being able to truly be independent and the leaders of their own learning. Children flourish with routine and the best way to get a consistent routine is to get into the rhythm of school for five days a week and the weekend for anything else.

We know that seeing your child grow up is hard but our desire to provide the best possible education for our child and setting them on a path to achieve whatever they desire, begins now! Setting your child up for success starts at preschool and the most effective way to do that is with a full-time program.

April 11th, 2018

Posted In: Uncategorized

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8th, is fast approaching. Many know this as the day to celebrate the many women in their lives and their contributions, but where did this day originate from?

In the United States, the first National Women’s Day was observed on February 28, 1909. It was organized by the Socialist Party to celebrate the worker’s strike in New York where women gathered to protest poor working conditions. In 1910, the Socialist International established Women’s Day, in order to honor the movement for women’s rights and to build support for universal suffrage. The proposal was unanimously approved by the conference of over 100 women, from 17 countries, however no official date to observe it was set. On March 19, 1911, International Women’s day was marked for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, when over a million men and women attended rallies. However, despite the initial support, the holiday was not recognized by most countries in the same way until decades later. The Charter of the United Nations, signed in 1945, was the first international agreement to affirm gender equality, and since then the UN has been working to spread that message. However, it wasn’t until 1975 that International Women’s Day was celebrated by the United Nations on March 8th.

Although significant gains towards gender equality have been made, it is still important to recognize that about half of our population is still not treated completely equally. In developed nations, women still face issues of unequal pay for identical jobs, a double standard, and pressure to conform to gender roles. In less developed nations the inequality is even more severe where women still fight for the right to education, right to vote and even the right to marry who they choose.

Take the day to spread the message of equality. Teach your child about the vital role of women in society and the necessity to treat women as equal. Together, one step at a time, we CAN achieve gender equality.

March 5th, 2018

Posted In: Peace Education

How a Montessori Education Breeds Social Butterflies

Being able to effectively listen and communicate is one of the most valuable skills any child – or person – can have. Social learning is one of the most effective methods of learning possible, and one that children often don’t get to take advantage of in standard classrooms. These classrooms usually discourage free conversation between children, instead relying on them to listen and comprehend the curriculum to learn. Unfortunately, this limits the potential for both intellectual and social connections to be formed, taking away from the overall development of the child during a crucial developmental stage of their lives.

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Montessori classrooms understand the importance of social skills and social learning. Rather than discouraging communication, these classrooms use it as a cornerstone of their philosophy. Their emphasis on social interaction can be seen both in the classroom design itself as well as their approach to education.

The Classroom

A Montessori classroom’s setup is different from your standard classroom. Where you may often see rows of desks and a whiteboard, you will likely see a collection of group desks and a reading mat. These group desks are where children can sit and talk with each other, work with hands-on materials, and enjoy each other’s company. This is made even easier due to Montessori classrooms being stocked with a wide variety of learning materials certain to interest your child. Additionally, reading mats and other group areas offer places where kids can just be kids, relax, and make new friends.

The Philosophy

Montessori classrooms are based on the Montessori Method to education, which emphasizes hands-on and social learning as great ways for children to build greater connections to the materials they are being taught. When listening to a lesson, children can easily zone out, get bored, or flat out forget the information. This is because only one of their senses – their hearing – is being engaged.

When the students are encouraged to use their hands to learn, they are engaging sight, touch, and more which allows for them to better comprehend the materials. They can also communicate with their classmates, hearing and talking about the topics for further reinforcement.

Many parents fear that their child will struggle socially, but with early exposure they can develop into well-rounded social butterflies thanks to social learning. They will make more friends, be more interested in learning, and retain more information in a Montessori classroom.

February 20th, 2018

Posted In: About The Montessori Method

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Why Montessori Teachers Don’t Assign Homework

Homework is not something that many students, parents, or even teachers enjoy. Teachers have to grade it, parents have to help with it, and students have to worry about completing it on time. Despite its negatives, homework is still widely assigned in traditional school systems as a way of continuing the learning outside of the classroom. Because there is a lesser focus on the full understanding of topics during lessons, this homework often works as a patching together of the lesson through repetition.

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In a Montessori classroom, the focus on the lessons is much more emphasized than in traditional schooling, meaning that they don’t have to rely on repetition for students to learn and understand the information being taught. By emphasizing hands-on learning and taking the time to explore concepts in-depth, these classrooms work to build greater connections with the learning materials and content. This helps children to absorb, retain, and use the information more effectively, removing the need for homework and opening the free time to be better used.

Without needing to spend the time on homework, you and your child gain free time that can be spent working to improve your child’s development overall so that they can become well-rounded. To make the most out of this time, consider the following activities to encourage development.

Spend Time with Family and Relax

With so much new information being presented to them, kids can sometimes be overwhelmed by learning, and homework doesn’t help. Research has proven that taking time to relax and recharge allows children to see learning as less of a chore and more of an activity they enjoy and are motivated to do.

Spending time with family also helps to develop social skills and strengthen the bond with your child. Reading or watching TV together, talking, and other activities help children become more comfortable at home and help reinforce the importance of family, making them more likely to behave.

Explore Interests and Extracurricular Activities

Far too often children have to choose between homework and after-school activities. As demonstrated by the Montessori Method, activities and hands-on learning are just as important to development as learning new information. The lack of homework allows for children to play outside, join a sports team, and explore their own interests in order to develop greater coordination and a greater interest in learning.

Make Everyday Tasks Learning Opportunities

From collecting laundry to cracking eggs for a meal, there are tons of everyday tasks children can help with around the house. Including them in your routine can help to teach them valuable skills and encourage independence as they try new things and learn practical skills outside of the classroom.

Children of all ages dislike homework, and many would benefit from excluding it from the school curriculum entirely if it was replaced by a greater focus on learning in school. Fortunately, Montessori classrooms are ahead of the curve and already employ the best approach to help students develop into well-rounded children for years to come.

February 8th, 2018

Posted In: About The Montessori Method

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The Role of Social Interaction in a Child’s Development

Human beings are naturally social creatures, and children are no exception to that. Though they may be wary of others at the start, getting your child comfortable with social interaction offers a huge benefit to their development. They will develop greater self-esteem, improve their social and language skills, and learn to understand concepts better.

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No classroom better prepares your child for their future than a Montessori classroom. In these classrooms, children are encouraged to work together with their peers. This involves group tables and sitting areas where children can talk or interact with learning materials and each other. They can tell stories, show off their creations or knowledge, and make friends as a way to develop their skills.

Develop Language and Social Skills

When it comes to learning a language, repetition is key. As children are learning their native languages from scratch, the more often they can use their speech the better it will be! By encouraging social interaction, children are more likely to talk to each other and practice their communication. As they get more comfortable talking, they are able to express themselves better and have conversations with peers. This helps to improve their social skills and encourages them to make friends.

Reinforce Information by Repeating It

Children gain a better understanding of information as they form more or greater connections with it. Through their senses of hearing and speech, they can articulate concepts aloud. This allows for them to hear the information they or their peer are sharing and talk about it, utilizing 2 additional senses as compared to just reading it. Thanks to the hands-on emphasis Montessori classrooms encourage, they can also enlist “touch” by interacting with any of the learning materials related to the lesson.

Friendships Increase Self-Esteem

More social interaction leads to better social skills, which leads to more friends. Children with more friends are likely to develop greater self-esteem because they feel accepted and more comfortable around familiar faces. Children can also relate better to people their age, which makes social interaction easier with friends than others. They learn from their friends, and by learning they gain confidence in themselves and their abilities.

Parents often worry about unconventional schooling leading to social issues like anxiety and a lack of social skills. However, a Montessori education is not home schooling! Montessori classrooms actually encourage social interaction and help children develop better social skills than standard classrooms, making them a great option for raising a well rounded child.

January 9th, 2018

Posted In: About MKU Katy

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Celebrating the Holidays in the Montessori Classroom

In the Montessori environment, celebrating holidays is a magical, exhilarating experience for the students. For adults, it is easy to become stressed over the commercialism that comes with the holiday season. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of focusing on commercialism, we can encourage our children to develop healthy attitudes toward the holidays by introducing them to observances cherished by other cultures.

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Holidays are important, and children want to celebrate them. Students can revel in the festive holiday season as they discover cultural observances from countries around the world. What an opportunity to embrace the Montessori principles of inclusion and peace while simultaneously learning about celebrations that have significance within varying cultures!

To celebrate multicultural inclusion, teachers may choose to focus on holidays, such as:
The winter holidays bring a sense of light and happiness to the winter months. With shorter days and longer nights, many cultures celebrate light.

December embraces various cultural celebrations, including Chanukah, Pancah Ganapati, Dōngzhì, Yalda, and Bodhi Day.

And more! Wouldn’t it be fun to let students pick any country, and then learn about the significant holidays celebrated by its people? The varying cultural celebrations worldwide are endless.

Encourage children to learn about their culture(s) of choice and demonstrate it through art, song, dance, or even storytelling. They can work in groups or independently…however they choose. Children can focus on one culture, or perhaps they will choose to focus on more than one. Either way, it opens their minds to different cultures around the world, minimizing the commercialism that is tied to the American holiday season.

Holiday celebrations in America are joyous and should be appreciated and celebrated. But as parents and educators, we can also create a sense of community and provide an opportunity for children to learn about the history and culture of populations worldwide, encouraging them to appreciate differences in others.

December 19th, 2017

Posted In: About The Montessori Method

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Effective Teacher-Parent Communication in the Montessori Preschool

If you have a young child in preschool or are employed at a preschool, you know the importance of effective communication between staff and parents. Parents and Montessori teachers are dedicated to providing the best education possible for every child, and consistent, direct communication is the key to achieving that goal.

Educators know the value of parent involvement in their child’s education, and establishing a good relationship with parents is essential to student success. So, how do we build these valuable relationships? Read on for tips to set the groundwork for effective teacher-parent communication.

communication

Build Trust

Listening is crucial to gaining parent trust. It’s important to invite feedback from parents long before they have questions or concerns. Once that feedback is shared, be sure you are really hearing what the parent has to say. This builds a respectful, trusting relationship with parents that will in turn benefit the child. Parents will be more inclined to contact teachers with any concerns so they can be addressed as a parent-teacher team.

Be Honest

Honesty is the foundation of effective communication between parents and teachers. We all make mistakes. Hiding or altering the truth simply won’t end will. If you make a mistake…and you will…own it, learn from it, and work with the parent to move forward.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent-teacher conferences facilitate learning more about a child’s family. It also enables parents to discover what their child is learning at school, what their daily schedule is like, and helps them attain a sense of confidence in the school staff and program. It’s amazing what a 30-minute meeting with parents can accomplish.

Technology

With school websites and social media pages, there are ample opportunities to communicate often with parents. Teachers can even create a Facebook page for their particular class to keep parents informed.

A monthly e-newsletter that includes informative articles about Montessori education and a calendar of events would be a helpful tool for parents.

And of course, communicating via email with parents is a convenient way for both teachers and parents to stay abreast of a child’s educational needs.

At Montessori Kids Universe Katy, we strive to build lasting, trusting relationships with our parents. If you’re a parent, what is your preferred method of communicating with your child’s preschool? Please let us know so we can continue to improve our parent-teacher communication efforts.

December 6th, 2017

Posted In: About MKU Katy

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The Benefits of Caring for an Animal

“Can we get a puppy?”
The words many parents fear hearing from their children. Even though they promise to walk it and feed it, you know owning a pet is a big commitment. That’s why it is important to understand the benefits a pet offers – especially for children – to help you make the decision.
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Aside from being bundles of joy, pets affect many different parts of children’s development. The same way a Montessori classroom encourages learning through interaction, interacting with an animal can help build skills that will stick with them through their entire lives. Physically, mentally, and emotionally, pets can be a great addition to a child’s life.

Pets Offer Comfort and Security

Everyone who has seen a picture of a child sleeping on a dog knows just how comforting a pet can be. Whether it is cuddling up on the couch or standing guard for the boogeyman, animals like dogs are truly child’s best friend. They offer unconditional love and can act as a listener for your child’s secrets, allowing them to express themselves without worrying about the consequences. Studies have even shown that pets lower anxiety and can help aid special needs children cope with their problems.

Pets Teach Empathy and Responsibility

You may as well take your children up on their offer of taking care of the pet! Not only does it alleviate some of your workload, but it can also help your child develop emotionally and gain confidence. By taking care of the pet, your kids will begin to learn when it is happy, sad, hungry, or needs to go outside without using words. They can then use their understanding to take care of the pet, building their confidence and learning about responsibility because the pet relies on them.

Pets Enhance Social and Motor Skills

Kids love to talk to their stuffed animals, toys, and pets. While this is positively adorable, it also helps their speech and social skills develop. Similar to the philosophies of Montessori classrooms, practice makes perfect! Using their imagination, kids can have conversations with something that doesn’t talk back, letting them practice social interaction even if they are an only child. For shy children, this can be a great step towards further socializing.

Not only does an animal help socially, but physically as well. It can be hard to get a child motivated, but if their choices are to run around outside with a dog or sit on the couch, most kids would be outside before you could get their shoes on. By running and playing with an animal, your child is developing coordination and motor skills critical to their future.

A pet is not for everyone. Allergies, housing situations, and other factors can make it difficult to bring a pet into your home. However, the combination of a Montessori education and a furry friend is perhaps the best foundation a child can have during their development.

November 15th, 2017

Posted In: About MKU Katy

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The Life of a Montessori Student

Montessori Primary ChildMontessori education facilitates personalized growth and development for children. Development happens differently for each child, so the goal of Montessori-style learning is to provide as many opportunities for learning and growth as possible, while focusing primarily on the interests and abilities of each child.

A typical day at a Montessori school differs depending on the needs of the child and the age-related program they participate in, but all are nurtured fully so he or she can thrive academically and beyond. Programs offered vary from school to school, but here we’ll take a look at the life of Montessori infants, toddlers, pre-primary and primary children.

The Life of a Montessori Infant

Montessori infants are given a safe place to develop movement and independence. What we call the Nido (Italian for “nest”), is designed with materials for infants including a quiet sleep area, eating area, and a safe place for changing. Infants are in a nurturing environment while they grow into the next phase of Montessori education.

The Life of a Montessori Toddler

Once toddlers begin to walk comfortably, they leave the Nido and move to a space that encourages growth and independence. Toddlers enjoy a safe environment with minimal furniture, low-hanging art work, activities to promote coordination and early learning, as well as bathroom independence training. Toddlers are also encouraged to interact with other children for development of language and social skills. The goal is to provide an “I can do it” mindset that prepares the child for Pre-Primary class.

The Life of a Montessori Pre-Primary Child

Pre-Primary is for children 2-3 years of age. The environment is geared towards children with high energy levels who are transitioning from toddler to preschooler. The focus is to learn self-care, self-discipline, and the ability to make good choices. Pre-Primary children enjoy a variety of activities for learning things like numbers, counting, and basic skills for writing and reading.

The Life of a Montessori Primary Child

Primary class is for children aged 3 to 6, where each child learns in a hands-on environment. Primary classroom children thrive in a calm, structured space where they can experience a variety of activities for social, physical, and intellectual development. The main goal is to lay a foundation for positive attitudes towards self, interaction with others, and learning. These mindsets continue to help the child thrive throughout their lives.

The Montessori method of education is loved by children of all ages. Each child is given individualized attention and tools for reaching his or her full potential while growing self-esteem, independence, strong social skills, and a positive “I can succeed” attitude.

October 25th, 2017

Posted In: About MKU Katy, About The Montessori Method

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Montessori Classroom Setup

Everyone is familiar with the standard image of an average classroom. A teacher stands at a board facing the students and goes over the lesson while the students try their best to understand. Unfortunately, not all the kids understand the information the way it is taught. Early education is where the future of a child’s interest in learning is molded, so it’s important to make sure that everyone can keep up and are given equal opportunities to learn. This starts with creating a learning environment that aids the learning process. One of the best ways to achieve the ideal learning environment is by using the Montessori Method in the classroom.

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Montessori classrooms are arranged in a way that allows for a different, unique, and better learning environment. Instead of the standard rows and columns in other classrooms, they utilize an open design that allows students to explore and choose how they work either in quiet independence or with others. There are usually designated areas for different subjects that contain different ways that the student can interact with the information. This can be something like a number line on a rug for counting, a collection of blocks used to spell, or a dinosaur chair next to a shelf of books about dinosaurs.

Another unique aspect of Montessori classrooms are group tables where different students can come together and share their work. This collaborative approach is fundamental to Montessori classrooms and can help students better understand what they or a classmate are doing. They also heavily emphasize “hands-on” learning and “learning by doing”, so the content and option rich environment lets them learn the way they want to and the way that works best for them. These features allow for more connections with the content and better understanding overall.

Not only is the classroom arranged to aid learning, it is also created with a familiar and welcoming tone in mind. Classrooms can often mimic homes including features like carpeting, soft furniture, and shelves with books throughout the room. Because these things are familiar to the students, it allows them to stay relaxed while they learn and makes them more comfortable with exploring on their own.

All of these features equate to probably the most important part of a Montessori classroom which is that the students aren’t taught the information, they learn it while being guided by the teacher. Instead of teaching the class as a whole, each student is treated as an individual and thanks to the resources available in the classroom, everyone can learn their own way.

October 11th, 2017

Posted In: About The Montessori Method

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