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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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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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Handling Temper Tantrums in Preschoolers

Handling Temper Tantrums

Temper tantrums are a very tricky and stressful subject for most parents of preschool age children. The fact is, temper tantrums are a relatively normal part of life for children around age one through five. Thankfully, there are many ways to ease the strain of this time in a child’s development.

Coping with Tantrums

At the age between one and five, children are beginning to learn how to express themselves and that everything doesn’t always go their way. As parents and teachers, it is our job to help them learn how to handle their emotions and show them a more positive way to deal with them. It can be terribly upsetting to see a child scream and whine for what seems to be the littlest thing. It is important to recognize the normality of this and how much your child needs help during this time. They are overwhelmed and rely on us as adults to keep calm. Children learn to deal with emotions peacefully through positive example.

Avoiding Tantrums

It is preferable to prevent a tantrum from happening in the first place than to deal with it when it hits. There are ways to ward of a tantrum when your child sends the telltale signals of a meltdown.

  • Be prepared for the fit. Having distractions at the ready can be very helpful. Small snacks, games, or activities can make a child forget their tantrum quickly if caught early. Though it is important to not give food as a comfort mechanism or to simply “give them what they want” to make them stop crying. The idea is to distract them before the tantrum is thrown.
  • Teach them to label emotions. Putting a name to what they are feeling can be very helpful to a small child. Oftentimes, children throw a fit from lack of ability to express themselves. Teach them how to say they are mad, tired, or sad, etc. Then they can use their words instead of screaming aimlessly.
  • Let them show you what is upsetting them. Instead of loudly demanding they stop their negative behavior, give a child the opportunity to “show” what is making them upset. This will encourage language skills and shorten the length of a temper tantrum.
  • Give choices. For example, “would you like to put on your socks or jacket first”? This gives kids an opportunity to think about what they want to do rather than focus on their frustration.
  • Maintain a Routine. Children thrive on structure. If they know what to expect, they are more able to keep calm throughout the day.

In order to quell the dreaded tantrums of a preschooler, it is important to think like a child. They need constant support and guidance to learn how to handle emotions as well as developing expression skills. We can be there to help them gain control of themselves and live a calmer life as a result.

May 29th, 2017

Posted In: About MKU Katy