Kids in the classroom

The Metamorphosis Of Childhood

Written by Maren Schmidt on March 19th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 10.23.25 AMMost ten-year-olds can tell you the stages of development for a butterfly or a frog. A butterfly begins as an egg, becoming a larva, a caterpillar, then a chrysalis emerging into a butterfly. A frog starts as an egg, hatching into a tadpole, turning into a polliwog, at last transforming into an adult frog. At each stage of change the frog and butterfly have differing needs for nourishment and environment.

As human beings, we also go through distinct changes, perhaps not with the physical drama of a butterfly or frog, but with identifiable changes in behavior with indicated physical and psychological needs. Too many times children are treated as though they are miniature adults. The human being, though, does not fully reach adulthood until around the age of twenty-four years.

In the infant who cannot feed him or herself, it is easy for us to observe the swift changes of the first two years of life. By the age of three years, a child learns to crawl, walk, talk, and eat table food, along with a multitude of self-care skills that help the child become more independent from caregivers.

Unfortunately for many of our children, this early independence leads adults to think that children three years and older are tiny grown-ups.

Many of us are more aware of the requirements of cocoons and polliwogs than children’s needs between the ages of three to six years.

The three to six-year-old is in a period of unconscious learning, absorbing information about his or her time and place from every aspect of the immediate environment. The child is unaware of learning and chooses to place his or her attention on activities that are repeated frequently. The child watches, listens, copies others and learns. This style of learning creates the following distinct needs for the young child:

  • A need for an environment rich in language and experiences as vocabulary and story-telling capabilities are developed.
  • A need to use his or her hands to connect the body and the brain to the realities of life.
  • A need to create an emotional foundation built on the love, trust and respect of surrounding adults.
  • A need to repeat activities in order to develop self-mastery and independence.
  • A need for direct guidance on how to interact with people–within the family and the larger social network of school, church and other activities.
  • A need for opportunities to refine the five senses of hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling and touching and to connect precise language to those experiences.
  • A need for truthful and accurate information as the young child doesn’t have a wealth of experiences to discern between fact and fiction, fantasy and reality.
  • A need for movement as the brain requires the body’s motions for optimum neural development.
  • A need for opportunities to exercise his or her will by having freedom within limits that enlarge as skills grow.

During this period of building foundational skills, the child is laying the groundwork for the adult he or she will become. The child is father to the man.

As the first tooth is lost and adult teeth emerge around the ages of six or seven years, the child begins a different phase of development. At this age, we notice that the baby face look of the younger child is replaced by a taller thinner appearance. The older child wants opportunities to go out into the world and step outside the familiar circle of family, school and church; desires novel experiences; is concerned with friends and working in a group instead of focusing on personal skills; wants to know why and problem solve; is concerned with learning about right and wrong; desires an idea of the big picture of the universe.

Observe the differences between a four-year-old and a seven-year-old and you should see creatures as different as a larva to a caterpillar, or a tadpole to a polliwog.

We’d make sure a caterpillar had the right leaves to eat, and a polliwog had a pond. Let’s use our influence as adults to create a world where our children have the opportunities to grow and change in the time specific ways children need.

 

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Montessori vs. Nursery School or Daycare

What’s the Difference between Montessori and Nursery School or Daycare?

Although there are many high quality daycare centers and nursery schools where creative daily programs are followed, most do not follow a single philosophy of child development as does Mount Lebanon Montessori School. The Montessori method is a complete integrated approach to childhood education based on a single individual’s life work. Dr. Montessori’s incredible insight and her scientific observations of children’s development have proven accurate many times over, all around the world. The “secret” lies in the way the children are respected, and the way their inner needs are met through a carefully prepared Montessori environment.

Differences Between Montessori and Daycare

  • Montessori is an individualized program, geared to your child’s interests, using specially designed materials
  • Daycare teaches concepts to the group, with no materials specifically designed to teach individually, or choice in what is learned
  • Montessori teachers are taught to observe and follow the child
  • Daycare workers work with the group as a whole
  • Montessori fosters independence in children and children learn as they play and socialize on their own
  • Daycares exist primarily to care for children all day, and the education of the individual child is not a priority
  • Our Montessori Casa (3-6) Program is neither a babysitting service nor a play school to prepare your child for kindergarten. It is a unique program designed specifically for the 3 important years between 3 and 6.

Dr. Montessori wrote, “The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six. For that is the time when man’s intelligence itself, his greatest implement is being formed. But not only his intelligence: the full totality of his psychic powers. At no other age has the child greater need of intelligent help, and any obstacle that impedes his creative work will lessen the chance he has of achieving perfection.”

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Keeping Your Child in Montessori for Kindergarten

36 Reasons to Keep Your Child in Montessori for Kindergarten
By: Tim Seldin

1. Does your child love school and can’t wait to go every day? If so, consider yourself lucky. Why tinker with a winning school situation when so many families are frustrated and disappointed?

2. Your child has waited two long years to be one of the five-year-old leaders of her class.

3. The third year is the time when many of the earlier lessons come together and become a permanent part of the young child’s understanding. An excellent example is the early introduction to addition with large number through the Bank Game. When children leave Montessori at age five, many of their still-forming concepts evaporate, just as a child living overseas will learn to speak two languages, but may quickly lose the second language if his family moves back home.

4. As a five-year-old, your child has many opportunities to teach the younger children lessons that he learned when he was their age. Research proves that this experience has powerful benefits for both tutor and tutoree.

5. As five-year-olds, Montessori children normally go on to even more fascinating lessons and more advanced Montessori materials, such as the Stamp Game.

6. The Primary Montessori curriculum is much more sophisticated than that found in most kindergartens.

7. Having spent two years together, your child’s teachers know her very, very well.

8. Your child already knows most of her classmates. She has grown up in a safe, supportive classroom setting.

9. If your child goes on to another school, he will spend the first half of the year just getting used to the new educational approach.

10. Montessori introduces young children to basic geometry.

11. Montessori math is based on the European tradition of unified mathematics.

12. In many Montessori schools, five-year-olds are beginning to read the Junior Great Books.

13. Five-year-olds have a real sense of running their classroom community.

14. Montessori children learn how to learn.

15. In Montessori, five-year-olds learn to love learning.

16. Even in kindergarten, Montessori children are studying cultural geography and begin to grow into global citizens.

17. In Montessori, your child can continue to progress at her own pace. In traditional kindergarten, she will have to wait while the other children being to catch up.

18. In Montessori, five-year-olds work with intriguing learning materials, such as the Trinomial Cube.

19. With the Land and Water Forms, he’ll learn about lakes, islands, isthmuses, straits, capes, archepellagos, peninsulas, and other geographical forms, rather than circles, squares, and rectangles.

20. In art, she’ll learn about Picasso and Renoir, rather than learn her basic colors.

21. In Montessori, your child has been treated with a deep respect as a unique individual. The school has been equally concerned for his intellectual, social, and emotional development. Unfortunately, despite lip service to the contrary, this is often not the case in traditional classrooms.

22. Montessori schools are warm and supportive communities of students, teachers, and parents. Children can’t easily slip through the cracks!

23. Montessori consciously teaches children to be kind and peaceful.

24. Montessori classrooms are bright and exciting environments for learning.

25. In Montessori schools, learning is not focused on rote drill and memorization. Our goal is to develop students who really understand their schoolwork.

26. Montessori students learn through hands-on experience, investigation, and research. They become actively engaged in their studies, rather than passively waiting to be spoon-fed.

27. Montessori is consciously designed to recognize and address different learning styles, helping students learn to study most effectively.

28. We challenge and set high expectations for all our students, not only a special few.

29. Montessori students develop self-discipline and an internal sense of purpose and motivation.

30. Montessori schools normally reflect a highly diverse student body and their curriculum promotes mutual respect and a Global perspective.

31. Montessori instills within students a love for the natural world. Natural science and outdoor education is an important element of our children’s experience.

32. The Montessori curriculum is carefully structured and integrated to demonstrate the connections among the different subject areas. Every class teaches critical thinking, composition, and research. History lessons link architecture, the arts, science, and technology.

33. In Montessori schools, students learn to care about other through community service.

34. In Montessori schools, we not only teach; we facilitate learning, coach our students along, and come to know them as friends and mentors.

35. Students in Montessori schools are not afraid of making mistakes; they see them as natural steps in the learning process.

36. Montessori students learn to collaborate and work together in learning and on major projects. They strive for their personal best, rather than compete against one another for the highest grade in their class.

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