Happy Summer, Children's House Families! We cannot believe how quickly this year passed. We deeply encourage you to re-visit and re-read past blog posts. This is a way to begin to digest the processes of the child as they develop sequence and independence. Furthermore, you can witness the development of concentration which is the fundamental preface to complex understanding and logic. Dr. Montessori observed that the children who develop this ability are immensely happy.

Concentration is the bedrock of Montessori Education.

This is something that a Montessori guide observes day after day. Given the opportunity to explore and expand his interest the child's experience is almost euphoric. Concentration and joyful engagement is a solid foundation of mind-body integration supporting the nervous system. 

With this principle in mind, we find it crucial to revisit the difference between concentration and stimulation before we dive into summer. Your child has likely developed the ability to joyfully engage and concentrate with intent, deliberation and control. The correlation between the Montessori environment and home is pivotal. It is important to keep in mind that the brain is in constant dance with the environment. The qualities of the environment (beauty, order, reality, simplicity and accessibility) lead to self-effort and consciousness. Movement is an important part as is promotion of cognitive development and self-control. Joyful engagement and concentration is DIFFERENT than stimulation which promotes work from the child for iPad and screen time. Technology offers the child the wrong time of stimulation during this period in development. It does not promote respect as eye contact and human interaction is missing. Less stimulation causes more reality, which allows more clarity. So, let's get outside (or to the museum) and have a commercial free summer! 

 
 

Practical Life at Home 

Practical life exercises are “chores” adults may do to maintain their home environment. However, for the first plane child, these activities are an exercise in turning chaos into order, self-perfection, concentration, and self-confidence. The young child loves to imitate mom or dad working around the house. The summer months are a great time to add some items to your environment to help the child “help himself” and set up a routine where your child can help throughout the year around the home.

Please keep in mind, that a child thrives on order, consistency, a place for everything, and visually appealing work spaces. Items to include in the home should be child-size, easily accessible, and at the child’s height.

  • Dust pan and hand-held broom
  • Mop (an adult size mop can easily be cut)
  • Rags for easy clean up or dusting
  • Plates, cups, utensils, pitchers, etc.
  • Aprons

Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind when setting up new routines:

  • Include your child when setting up the above mentioned items.
  • Take it slow. Allow yourself plenty of time to work with your child on an activity.
  • Add one activity at a time. Show the child how to do the activity in a slow precise manner; where to find the items needed; and how to replace the items.
  • Give the child time and space to do daily activities. 
  • Allow the child time to internalize a job well done. When they look to you for approval, give a warm acknowledging smile and ask how they feel about the work they just completed.

Children enjoy being productive and helping out. This is a great age to guide your children to skills they will need for a life time. 

 

 
 

 

Local Events and Summer Ideas 

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

·      Exhibit Display Dates

Through Closing Date August 20, 2017

This is one of the greatest opportunities to expose the children to one of a kind masterpieces of the artists Frida and Diego at the Heard Museum.

The Addams Family: A New Musical

·      The mysterious Addams family is coming to Scottsdale.

A musical, playing at Desert Stages Theatre through Sunday, November 1. 

here is the event website

http://desertstages.org/show/the-addams-family-a-new-musical-comedy-68

Glendale Summer Band Series (Thursdays June 1- July 20)

·      Music lovers of all ages will be entertained by this community band of approximately 100 musicians with its renditions of marches, polkas, movie medleys and other worldly tunes

Murphy Park Amphitheater, 58th and Glenn drives, Glendale. 623-930-2299

Good Sport (through Sept 17)

·      Exhibiting art works from baseball, tennis and ballet to bullfighting from 19th- 20th century. It is a combination of Asian, European and American art.

Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix. 602-257-1880

http://www.phxart.org/exhibitions/fb2eaea4-ce20-00ab-efe4-ae7166dee003

Rainforest Reptile Exhibit

·      Taking place at the Butterfly Wonderland, the children can enjoy a guided tour at the conservatory.

http://butterflywonderland.com/event-calendar/

Butterfly Wonderland, 9500 E Via de Ventura, Scottsdale 480-800-3000

Topia (Tues-Sat May 23-June 10)

·      Performed by Ballet Arizona, a dance in the desert combines movement, sound and multimedia on a stage that holds the desert as a background.

 Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N Galvin Parkway. 602-381-1096 or balletaz.org

 

Peek Inside

 

Gray Fox 

Dear Gray Fox Families, 

Thank you for an outstanding year full of growth and memories. The children developed stronger personalities, academic skill-sets and friendships as each day passed. They are truly a remarkable group of children and it has been an honor to serve them this year. We encourage you to allow your child to have many opportunities to play with school friends this summer. We are extremely proud of the children who are 'Flying Up' to Elementary this week. It has been an honor to watch these children flourish over the three years they have been with us. Congratulations! 

Best wishes for a relaxing summer break! We are eager to see your bright smiling faces return in August. 

Ms. Lauren and Ms. Yadira 

 

 
 
 

Bobcat

Dear parents,

As the school year has come to an end, I would like to take a moment and thanks all the Creo parents. As part of the Creo Community, we have tried our best to serve the children in a positive happy environment to fulfill their potentials. We truly have enjoyed all the hugs and smiles your children have shared with us throughout the year.  

The children are greatly excited for their peers who are flying up to Elementary next year and were glad to celebrate their Flying Up ceremony with them. Along with the daily materials, the children got to work on their "Mother's Day" gift and were thrilled to learn that they are going to plant seeds with their Moms. We hope we could help them to express how much you mean to them and how precious these little experiences are in life.

At last, thank you for supporting all our efforts in providing an authentic Montessori education to your children. We couldn't ask for a better group of students. They are amazing and we were very fortunate to be part of their lives.  

We hope you have a fun and safe summer

Cheers,

Ms. Mahsa & Ms. Dinora

 
 

 

 

Cactus Wren 

With this being our last post of the year, I would like to share my warmest thanks to all the parents who entrust your little one to us. We are so grateful to have them in our lives. Each day we are touched by their growth, loving spirits, and innocent view of life. They refresh our faith in mankind. 

Have a peaceful and restful summer and we will be here with open arms to welcome all the children.

Ms. Johna and Ms. Eugenia

 
 
Posted
AuthorLauren Marques
There must be provision for the child to have contact with nature; to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony and the beauty in nature.”  -Dr. Montessori

The Importance of Nature

Dr. Maria Montessori believed that the outdoors should be an extension of the classroom. she had a deep respect for nature and believed it can be a point of inspiration for children.

Nature Walks play a big role in our community as we try to connect the children to nature. As another connection to nature, Children's House children are exposed to real materials such as: wood, cotton, metal, bamboo, etc. It is important to implement the same concept of indoor to outdoor materials and furniture. The tools should be child-size as we are ensuring the proper use of the materials and the children's independence and less involvements of adults. Montessori believed nature offers infinite ways to support child's cognitive, emotional and physical development. Nature is connected to many of the activities inside our classrooms such as the study of Botany; the child then has the opportunity to observe a real leaf before get the presentation on the shape and name of that leaf. 

“It is also necessary for his physical development to place the soul of the child in contact with creation, in order that he may lay up for himself treasure from the directly educating forces of living nature.” 
-Maria Montessori 
 
 
Man still belongs to nature, and especially when he is a child, he...draws from it the forces necessary to the development of the body and of the spirit. We have intimate communications with nature which has an influence, even a material influence, on the growth of the body.
— Maria Montessori

The Prepared Outdoor Environment 

As with the carefully prepared environment of the Montessori classroom, so is the environment of the outdoor area. Thus, making it an extension of the classroom. This area is prepared for independent work and gives the child the opportunity to explore, learn, thrive, experience, and care for their surroundings.

The exercises of the Outdoor Environment allow for the child to practice and further develop the skills that are taught in the classroom exercises. The open area encourages gross motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and concentration works. Some of these exercises include watering the garden, hammering, raking the leaves, and sweeping.

Some exercises encourage language skills. There may be an exercise that names the plants around the garden, parts of a leaf, parts of a bird, or label cards for all the items in the environment. The children are able to explore the insects and may find one that is interesting and want to learn more about it. 

All the Children's House classrooms are also learning about ways to compost. We have begun to share with the children, items that can be placed in the compost bin we have on the school grounds. The children love adding scrapes from snack preparation to the bin. We are anxious to see our efforts with nutrient rich soil.

 
 

Observations in Nature

The Montessori Guide has been described as a skillful observer within the Prepared Environment. She is constantly seeking cues of interests, skills, analysis of movement and much, much more from the child’s daily activity. There is a harmonious intertwinement to nature that is not only apparent within each child’s natural development; it is crucial in developing his personality. The child himself is innately observant, learning vicariously from peer to peer. The instinctive need to observe can be especially present when a child is given the opportunity to explore the Earth’s wonders.

Our goals in supporting these opportunities for the child include, allowing them to develop an appreciation of life and an awareness of the interdependence/interrelatedness of nature. For example: all living things have a life-cycle. What are the specific classifications of living things? From plants to animals, mammals, invertebrates and invertebrates; What is life composed of? What makes these ‘living things’ grow? How can we help the earth to grow and sustain health? What makes us grow and sustain health? We open the door for practical ways to give the child tools which guide their observations of nature. We help the child establish a framework in which he may begin to relate his experiences. These concepts are supported through Language, Sensorial, Mathematics, Practical Life, Culture and Science extensions over the Three Year Cycle. 

 
 

A Peek Inside our Children's House Classrooms

Bobcats

Dear parents,

It is hard to believe that another school year is coming to the end. However, the children are as energetic and excited as the beginning. It has been a great privilege to watch them flourish every day. We were honored to be a host to another Student Teacher, Ms.Sherry, during the last few weeks. The children were excited to get new lessons and learn new songs from her. We wish Ms.Sherry the best of luck with her new career as a Montessori Lead Guide.

At last we would like to thank all the parents who took the time to participate in our last Social of the year and hope everyone had a great time. Thank you to all who have dedicated their time to set up and clean up and brought the delicious food.

Warmly,

Ms.Mahsa & Ms.Dinora

 
 

Cactus Wren

Many thanks to all who supported our Annual Charity Event!!!! It was a great success, crazy fun, and all for a wonderful cause. It is so humbling to see such care and support for our community. A heart-felt thank you to all the parents that spent time helping the children with the art project and donations to the basket. The children were so proud of their work!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Thank you to all the families that attended our Spring Social. It is nice to relax, laugh, and get to know everyone on a more intimate level. 

We are trying hard to enjoy the Outdoor Environment while it is still rather pleasant in the afternoon hours. We continue to harvest vast amounts of tomatoes and mint leaves and serve them for snack. The children are enjoy wondering up to our cilantro and basil plants and have a taste. We recently planted sweet peppers and squash. Our strawberries are slowly coming along.

We look forward to our Parent/Teacher Conferences in May and a wonderful end to the school year.

With peace, 

Ms. Johna and Ms. Eugenia

 
 

Gray Fox

Dear Gray Fox Families, 

April was another wonderful month in our Children's House. We are truly seeing the magic of the environment unfold as each child displays their understanding of classroom Grace and Courtesy lessons. It has been a pleasure to welcome a few new students, the seasoned children astound us with their hospitality and friendliness. The temperatures are quickly rising, please remember to send your child to school with sunscreen pre-applied as they often work in outdoor environment and go on nature walks. 

The bonds in our community are becoming stronger, thank you to all who attended our final Social of the 2016-2017 school year. We were thoroughly impressed by the turnout we had; it was a lovely gathering! 

Believing in every child, 

Ms. Lauren and Ms. Yadira

 
 
Posted
AuthorJohna Martinez

Introduction 

Mathematics is the basis of all practical things and the imagination. A child needs to understand mathematics in order to adapt and orient himself to his own time and place. Dr. Montessori borrowed the term ‘Mathematical Mind’ from Pascal, the French Philosopher and Mathematician. Pascal said that a man’s mind is mathematical by nature. He believed that knowledge and progress come from accurate observation. A mathematical mind is a combination of abilities:

·      Curiosity leads to investigation.

·      Interest in the world which is an affective quality that desires accurate observation especially in calculation and measuring (interest in an emotion). It’s an emotional state that begins at birth, and if nurtured, interest in the world grows with the person.

·      Cognitive ability to reason and make judgements (cognition).

·      Ability to make order out of chaos (remember us mentioning this in our community meeting about Sensorial?!)

·      Language to help organize and classify data.

·      Ability to move physically and mentally using repetition, exactitude and precision. Mathematics shows us how to achieve harmony.

·      Ability to abstract from the above and the development of the imagination constructs.

As you might begin to notice, all preceding and intertwining activities the child experiences in the Children’s House is preparation for mathematics. Think of the one-to-one correspondence involved in setting the table each day for lunch. Recall the discrimination, recognition of similarities and differences, comparison and construction of series and finding relationships to understand exact terminology the child experiences in the Exercises for the Education of the Senses. The child has had innumerable opportunities to build a concrete understanding of the world around her which will aid in her ability to abstract.

The Learning Pattern for Mathematical Concepts

For Each new concept we follow the same 5 steps:

1.     Sensorial, concrete experience associated with language

2.     Written signs associated with language

3.     Bringing together the concrete, sign and language

4.     Practice

5.     Test (a material for the child and adult to see what she knows) 

Mathematics is how we explore the patterns of the universe and the life within it.
— Keith Devlin

Numbers 1-10 

An early example of the number progression is as follows: The exercises with the number rods piggy-back the Red Rods in Sensorial. They offer the same dimensions with a new mathematical concept for the child to discover. The child will discover the idea of quantity 1-10. Each quantity is represented as a whole with its own name. The Sandpaper Numbers represent the written symbol of the name, are presented separately and lend muscle memory for number writing. The number rods and cards bring quantities, symbols and language together. The child will later use the materials to prepare herself indirectly for addition, subtraction and multiplication. After work with number rods the child will work with quantities as separate entities with spindle boxes, cards and counters and memory game of numbers. 

There is nothing easier than to do things that we know how to do. It seems so simple… To go from nothing to something is creation. To create is the most difficult thing in the world, the growth from materialization to abstraction is a difficult new path into new fields, new abstraction. The child’s progress is very, very gradual until he has acquired a certain level. After this level is reached, everything becomes very easy.
— Dr. Montessori
 
 

Decimal System 

The Golden Bead Material shows the different categories of the Decimal System; units, tens, hundreds and thousands. The child sees, handles and uses language to gain a sensorial experience of the relationship between these different categories. The child will soon learn to read quantities conventionally through Formation of Numbers (i.e., one thousand, two hundred and twenty four; opposed to one thousands, two hundreds, two tens and four units). Next the child will experience all four mathematical operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division simultaneously. The lessons are presented in groups, are full of movement and directed by mathematical laws. It is the process of the operations that are important during this stage; not the answer. Once the child has had much practice with an operation, he will practice through an independent exercise called Stamp Game which is a step toward abstraction. The essence of carrying form one category to another is emphasized with Dot Game. The test of this area is in Word Problems for each operation. 

Joining amounts is a very simple thing. It consists in bringing together separate things and this we can do with any objects… when dealing with numerical quantities, there is a pre-established order, a kind of rigid discipline that directs the groupings according to a well-defined law.
— Dr. Montessori
 
 
The study of the details can be conducted simultaneously. It is not necessary to systematize them; all that is needed is to study “all” the details… a person doing a piece of embroidery, drawn out as a whole, may start whenever he thinks fit: he starts on one side and then follows on another, which has nothing to do with the first. In the same way, exercises with the details that relate to the decimal system may be completed simultaneously without the need for one to precede the other, because they are guided by a preset overall view.
— Dr. Montessori

Counting Exercises 

Just like most of Montessori’s mathematic activities, counting, also is not thought to a child as an abstract exercise. After a child learns the decimal system, they learn the teen numbers through a combination of gold bars and units. The child gets the language of the numbers from 11-19 while later they can visually see the association of the numeric symbols and beads. This activity is called Teen Boards and the same concept applies to the next activity which is Ten Boards. These two activities give the child the opportunity to sensory see the amount (using beads) while they learn the name and symbolic form of numbers from 11-99.

Linear counting exercises come after when the child works with the golden chains. In the 100 and 1000 chain, the child becomes comfortable with the sequence of numbers from 1-100 or 1-1000. The counting, then becomes mechanical and with repetition, the child can count automatically from 1-1000.

The Chain Cabinet contains the square and cube of each number from 1-10. After the child works with the Gold Chains and gets comfortable with the sequence of counting by 10, the child gets introduced the Long chains which are the cubes. For instance when a child works with the cube chain of 6, he learns how to count the chain while skipping 6 units at a time.

Gradually the child realizes the different quantities in square and cube of each number. This method of counting also is an indirect preparation for Multiplication. When a child counts the square chain of 5, he literally sees by counting of the strain of 5 units 2 times, makes 10.

 
 

 

Memorization 

In Children’s House, “memorization” is embedded in many of Math activities. From Snake Game to Strip or Work Charts and Bead frames; this concept applies to all the mathematic operations. Although the materials themselves are designed to give the child a tangible experience but throughout the repetition, the child realizes that for example does not need to put the strips of 3 and 5 together in order to make 8. For instance, the Work Charts, either for addition, subtraction, multiplication or division, designed in a way to display series of operations with different ways for the child to discover the answers. While the following charts eliminates more information from the chart, makes it more challenging for the child to find the answers. At last the Chart is only given the necessary elements of the operations with no answers and here is where the child has to refer to his memory to remember the answer.  

However, there is memorization towards the completion of these activities, the fact that the child can rely on his memory to find the answers is very satisfying and fun for him. The memorizations are not based on abstract concepts thus the child can indicate what he has been sensory exposed to earlier in order to analyze an equation.

Passage to Abstraction 

Up to now, the sequence of introducing mathematics to the child has been the same: introduction to the quantity, introduction to the symbol and then the association of the two together. In the Passage to Abstraction, the child moves towards working with new materials, such as the small bead frame, that rely on his work with the four operations of the decimal system and the memorization work through the charts.

With this knowledge, the child begins to take an equation, calculate it abstractly and have the material confirm his calculations. He records his findings on notation paper that imitates the traditional way of documenting his work. This reinforces that there are no more than 9 in any category, the use of zero as a place holder for a category, and the importance of organization of the numbers on the sheet to keep each category of numbers in their correct column.

We then introduce the child to the wooden hierarchical materials in it’s concrete form. This allows the child to calculate numbers into the ten thousand, hundred thousand, and the millions. Once this is done, the large bead frame is introduced as another tool to work with addition, subtraction and multiplication and the racks and tubes which works with division.

Fractions

When the child has a solid understanding of whole numbers, the fractions frames and the four mathematical operations with fractions are introduced in it’s most simplistic form. Throughout my training and parent meetings, I often hear “If only we were taught about fractions this way.”  

Cultural Extensions 

Time: In the Children’s House we introduce time based vocabulary to the children. We discuss night and day; darkness and light; yesterday, today, tomorrow; season; and names of the days and months. The clock is also introduced to give the child the concept of how we measure the time of the day.

Science: In the Montessori Environment, science is presented to the older child in the Children’s House. They will better understand the concepts behind the science activity. Such activities include: Sinking and Floating, living and non-living, light and shadows, magnification, magnets, and prism for light refraction. We also introduce basic temperature and weather observations.

 
 

 

A Peek Inside our Children's House Classrooms 

Gray Fox 

We can hardly believe that it's already Spring! The children have been absolutely thriving and we continue to celebrate their growth with them each day. They are respectful, courteous, cohesive and eager to learn from one another. We have had a few new students join us this month and it's heartwarming to observe the more seasoned children welcome them with open arms and hearts. If you happen to notice new parents at drop off or pick, please extend a friendly hand and smile! 

The children were busy harvesting and exploring new recipes with the fruits and vegetables in our garden this month. We also prepped and planted new seeds and transplanted a few vegetable plants. The seedlings are already sprouting, it is true magic! 

Thank you for your support and donations for the charity event. Our project and basket exceeded our hopes and dreams and your contributions make a difference for the children in our community! 

Believing in the children as hope for tomorrow, 

Ms. Lauren and Ms. Yadira 

When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength.
— Dr. Montessori
 
 

 

Cactus Wren 

Hello Spring!!!

We spent a wonderful day planting!! The children were excited to get their hands dirty. However, the joke was on me when I was the one with the most dirt on my clothes. All the children had a wonder laugh!! The day was beautiful as we planted flowers and vegetables. Our tomatoes are still producing and the children are enjoying them at snack time. 

A big thank you to all your support and donations for the upcoming auction. Our classroom art project, "When you wish upon a star" looks amazing. The children all had a great time creating their stars. The photo book that accompanies the art piece is so beautiful. It features the children creating the art piece. Our classroom basket, "Family Outings" is full of incredible activities for the family to do throughout the year.  Hope to see you all at the auction.

with peace,

Ms. Johna and Miss Eugenia 

 
 

Bobcats 

March has been a fantastic month as we welcomed spring and talked about Nowruz, the Persian New year, starting on the first day of spring. We have been enjoying discussing this month’s musician, “Chopin”. The children showed great interest in learning about a musician’s childhood and culture. We also got to play few pieces of Chopin’s work during our daily work time.Gardening had played a huge rule in our schedule in the past few days. The children had a chance to plant flowers, seeds and different vegetable plants in our garden. The vegetable plants were chosen purposefully to serve our food preparation activities.

The auction class project has also been a highlight of our events this month. We were proud to be part of Creo’s third Charity event and delighted to present our Copper Framed Mirror, embossed by the children at Bobcats.

Thank you to all who attended Creo’s Charity event, all the contributions, donations and to all the volunteers who made that magical night happen.

 

Warmly

Ms.Mahsa, Ms.Dinora

 
 
Posted
AuthorLauren Marques

Introduction to the Preparation of Reading

In the Children's House, the preparation for reading is writing. We start by preparing the child's hand through many fine and gross motor skills. Some of these exercises would include, but are not limited, to the knob cylinders, tracing of the geometric shapes, dressing frames, and rough and smooth boards.  

As the child is working to develop his/her hand, we introduce the analysis of sounds, such as through sound games like I Spy and the introduction of the sandpaper letters. The sandpaper letters develops an interest in visually connecting the written symbol to the sound representing this symbol.

The synthesis of sounds develops an interest in phonetically building words. The moveable alphabet helps the child strengthen by sounding out all the sounds heard in a particular word the child chooses to build. 

 
 

Total Reading

There are three areas in the development of total reading in the Montessori environment. This is done through the exercises of mechanical, classified, and interpretive reading.

Mechanical Reading

Mechanical reading starts with the decoding and sounding out words. This is supported with the language exercises of the phonetic object box, phonetic reading cards, rhyming words, phonetic labels of items found in the environment, phonetic commands, and phonetic word charts.

Puzzle words are introduced to the child. These are high frequency words that are meant to be memorized not phonetically sounded out.

The phonogram object box explores a combination of sounds or a singular sound that produces a whole different sound. The children work with phonogram sandpaper letters, phonogram booklets, phonogram cards, and are introduced to the exploration of a consonant phonogram.

Classified Reading 

In Classified Reading, labels and definitions of similar objects are brought together. The child starts with the knowledge of words and what they mean from the spoken language exercises in enrichment of vocabulary. Then, the child is guided to read words that she already knows. Later, she will read definitions that she's already familiar with from the spoken language exercises. In this path of classified reading, the child organizes for herself a good deal of precise knowledge about biology, geography, history, music, etc. These readings urge the child on to further studies and research. The lessons include but are not limited to: 

  • Language related to the names and qualities of sensorial materials 
  • Objects in the environment 
  • Classified reading Three Part Cards. For example, parts of the starfish, bird, types of tools, vegetables, landforms, etc. 
  • Definition Booklets and Definitions in Three Stages. 

Interpretive Reading 

These are the exercises that have a grammatical base. In Function of Words, the child goes from reading only one word at a time to reading two words together, three words together and finally, longer phrases. These, as in all of the reading exercises, include motor activity on part of the child so that she gets a clear impression of what she reads. She also gains appreciation of syntax and the function of words. Later on, the child will study style with the exercises. An example of a Function of Words work would be the child experiencing verbs by running, hopping, singing and so forth. The child will work with the noun, article, adjective, conjunction, preposition, verb, adverb and pronouns with these exercises. The symbols we use to identify these functions correspond with those used in Montessori Elementary; they offer the child a continuum. 

Reading Analysis and Word Study 

The child will read in complete sentences. A thought must be read and understood. The child is then shown the various parts of the sentence in a sensorial way to analyze sentence structure. The child is also introduced to punctuation and story webbing through these exercises. In Word Study, the children have opportunities to explore reading parts of speech and the technicalities of the English Language including spelling with homophones, rhyming words, singular and plural, suffixes, etc. 

 
 

Extensions into Culture and Science

Geography is a study of how humans live, it is a study of the places, societies and cultures. In the Children’s House, once a child is a reader, she is extremely enthusiastic to use this new tool to connect to the world outside of his daily environment. She likes to read about the countries which she previously has been working on through Puzzle Maps, and to read about celebrations and culture facts of these countries. Learning about the food, clothes, festivities, etc. is quite an amazing experience for the child. The Geography Folders contain classified pictures for each of the continents and a detailed explanation at the back. The child whom has been working with Land and Water forms can now read and label the Land and Water Form’s Classified Cards.  

The interest in nature is a natural thing in every human specially in children. We can divide it into two major fields, Botany and Zoology. Botany is the analysis of the classification of plants and their structure while Zoology is study of animals and their classifications. In the Children’s House, both fields are covered as extensions to reading. For instance, the study of “Part of a Butterfly” focuses on the external body parts of a butterfly. When the child learns the parts and how to label the parts, later the child will earn to read a few sentences regarding each part and learn to match the paragraph with a proper label. At last, the child is comfortable enough to read the sentences of the paragraph in separate labels and make the proper paragraph according to its label. These definition sets come as “Part of …” external body parts of animals or parts of a tree or leaf etc. Labeling the leaves at the Botany Cabinet is another activity as the extension of botany to reading.

Reading plays a big role in Music in the Children’s House. As we spoke about written language in our last blog, we mentioned how the child learns to compose or write music using the Montessori Bells. The child learns to label each tune and read a series of labels (melody) from the Music Staff board. This is quiet an astonishing experience to be able to read a musical note made from someone else’s thought or his own.  Music, as an extension of language, additionally contains the name of composers and their work, as well as the classified cards about Musical Instruments. 

 
 

A Peek Inside Our Children's House Classrooms

Bobcats

It has been blissful to observe the children enjoy the materials. We are establishing relationships with new children who recently joined our classroom since returning from Winter Break. We take this as a golden opportunity to represent Grace and Courtesy lessons to the whole class. We are reaching our full capacity and it is amazing to see how the children’s characteristics blend in with one another and form a calm yet busy environment. 

As the weather is getting warmer we are preparing our garden to start planting new plants. The children are greatly excited to take a role in picking up dead leaves and preparing the soil for our new vegetable plants and flowers.

 I would like to thank all the parents who attended our last community meeting. Your positive comments and continued support is always appreciated.

Sincerely, 

Ms. Mahsa and Ms. Dinora

 
 

Cactus Wren

The weather has been amazing. The children are enjoying the Outdoor Environment. Recently, they discovered a pair of morning doves that were building a nest above an outdoor light fixture. This has caused an interest in where animals and people live. We have read books about the different areas animals call home. We even explored different homes from around the world. The children were surprised to learn that there are homes around the world where the bathroom is outside of the home!

Thank you again for all your support and your commitment to your child's education.

Ms. Johna and Ms. Eugenia

 
 

Gray Fox 

Happy almost Spring, dear families! This time of year is always so magical as the sun beats upon our souls, creating new life and love as the vegetation springs back and new creatures appear in our gardens. We can say with confidence that through our observations we constantly note the happiness of the children. We are always giggling with them in our Gray Fox class. They are beaming with joy as friendships flourish, independent confidence continues to strengthen, and the unique personalities display themselves in new ways.

And whoever is happy will make others happy too.
— Anne Frank

We have been focussing on kindness over the past several weeks, how to demonstrate care for one another as well as the Earth, our home. We have started the process of getting our compost up and running again by discussing which types of things can be composted. Our goal is to bring awareness of (recycling and reducing) the waste we produce and to reinforce the importance of eating nutritionally. The children have been excited for the opportunity to dissect and press their beautiful plants and flowers, thank you for your support and contribution. We are looking forward to our Charity Event, it will be nothing short of wonderful. 

Warmly, 

Ms. Lauren and Ms. Yadira 

 
 
Posted
AuthorMahsa Abdoos

The purpose of the Exercises of Language is to give help to the child in organizing and building his personality; the totality of one’s potentialities, both physical and mental. Physical Potentialities are a system of relationships involving the brain, sense organs and muscles. They are powerful because they are closely related to mental abilities, especially the will. They are developed separately at first, then integrated with the mental potentialities. Mental Potentialities include one’s intellectual, volitional, affective and moral abilities. Potentialities express themselves in either virtuous or deviant behavior. Montessori uses the word character to denote the virtuous behavior. The cause of organization of personality comes from within. Inner activity is so important. The child has to fulfill his potential for human language in order to adapt to his culture. Language is one of the means for raising/expanding consciousness. Language is not an end in itself.  The word language comes from the latin word tongue or speech. Our speech and the written counterpart: writing and reading, serve the communication need for people. Montessori language exercises compliment the child’s development of the elements of language.

 
Language is the road map of culture.
 
 

The Elements of Language 

  1. Sounds are the product of coordinating the muscles that control the larynx. In infancy, the baby learns to create a broad spectrum of sounds; more than she will need for her own language. It is said that there are 44 sounds in the English language. Most languages use about 50 sounds. The word for the sound is phoneme. 
  2. Words are the most elementary steps for meaning. Words mean things. It is the verb that gives emotions to our communication. 
  3. Sentences are the major units of meaning. A sentence conveys a complete thought. The word order (syntax) and the grammar of the language are apparent in its sentences. The way a sentence is constructed and the words that are used, give style to the communication. 
  4. Grammatical Forms are ways of altering words to add meaning to the sentence. In English the verbs are the most obvious grammatical forms. 
Not only does he create his language, but he shapes the organs that enable him to frame the words. He has to make the physical basis of every moment, all the elements of our intellect, everything the human being is blessed with.
— Dr. Maria Montessori

Help to Guide the Child’s Acquisition of Language

In the Children's House, our first and foremost goal is helping the child in constructing his unique personality. We hope for the child to gain self-confidence. Having conversations with the children help them to build skills for effective and thoughtful communication. When language is built on self-confidence, the child's life is immeasurably enriched. When the child is needing corrections in spoken or written language, it is done in an indirect way. The books we read to this age group should be focused on reality; we are preparing the child with means for a full and rich life, thus fantasy comes later. We present the child with vocabulary words about the things around us, guided by sensorial exploration. The Children's House environment is prepared with a full range of geography, art, biology, botany, zoology, cultural items, etc. that are rotated out throughout the year and incorporated into all core areas. 

Language Training/Spoken Language Activities 

The presentations in Language Training are geared to help the child learn to express her ideas clearly and in logical sequence. They are preparation for written composition and help the child acquire self confidence. Sometimes they are presented in small groups, whole group or to an individual child. The presentations include: Natural Conversations, Telling True Stories, Presentation of Question Game, Presentation of an Object or Picture, Classified Picture Books, Presentation of a Book to Read Aloud, Presentations of Poems, Presentations of Singing Songs, introducing new songs and Word Games. 

Enrichment of Vocabulary

Once the child enters the Children’s House, he is given language lessons on regular basis. The child learns from the most basic words in his environment such as chair, table, floor, etc. to more complex words.

There are different games which could help the young child to feel connected to his environment while learning the names of the objects and materials in his setting. For instance, “What Is It game” and “Bring Me game”. The child gets to expand his vocabulary through learning the names of objects and materials in his environment, Classified Cards and Nomenclature Cards.

These lessons are given to the children as a form of three period language. For instance, if the child is getting a lesson on words “sour”, “sweet” and “salty”, after receiving the Tasting activity, he can then learn the names of the tastes by the three-period language. The guide isolates the three tastes and asks the child to taste each bottle one at the time while giving the name of each taste. The child is asked to repeat. This is followed by the Second Period when the guide asks the child, "Where is 'sweet,'" or "Show me 'salty.'" The Third Period is simply asking the child, “What is this?" While the guide isolate each tasting bottle, the child whom already got the vocabulary can taste and name them.

Classified Cards and Nomenclature Cards are brilliant ways to expand the child’s vocabulary. In Children’s House, there is a variety of Classified Cards. They can be as simple as “Fruits and Vegetables” to more complex sets such as “Parts of a Spider”. There are more than 100 sets of cards which gets to rotate regularly to gain the child’s interest in learning new words. 

Written Language

Unlike the traditional concept in teaching Language, Dr. Montessori’s approach was to teach writing before reading. When the child learns writing before reading, he is creating words from his own thoughts and not someone else’s. The child feels ownership to the sounds and words he writes. Once he starts reading, he is reading familiar words which he feels connected to. When the child sounds out the phonemes in a word to write/make with materials, he is indirectly training himself to read. For instance, in using the Movable Alphabet, making a word at the first presentation, using a word given to the child or one he choses on his own, he sounds it out, picks the loose movable letters and puts them together in the order he hear them; without him knowing, he uses the same technique once he starts to read.

 

 
 

 

Indirect Preparations to Prepare the Hand to Write

In the Montessori environment, the Practical Life and Sensorial Areas introduce many purposeful movements. One of these movements is the proper use of the three finger grasp. Coordination of the use of these three fingers of the hand allow the child to practice and perfect the grasp of a writing utensil. In the Practical Life area, some of these works include but not limited to, spooning, tonging, stringing beads, and polishing. In the Sensorial area, the refinement of the three finger grasp is encouraged through the Cylinder Blocks, Rough and Smooth Boards, and the Progressive Exercises of sorting.

Through lightness and delicacy of touch exercises, the child indirectly prepares the hand to move in a manner that is needed for cursive writing. Tracing the Geometric Shapes and the Botany Cabinet Shapes, allows for whole hand movement, movement of the wrist as well as precision and perfection to lightly follow the contour of the shape the child is working with.  

 
 

Preparation of the Mind for Writing 

The area of Spoken Language allows the child to develop their vocabulary before the ability to read. Lessons in art, culture, biology, and music offer the child a chance to classify the impressions they have previously absorbed and now they can put names and descriptive attributes to these impressions. With the sandpaper letters, the child begins to associate the sound with the letter and the muscular ability to trace it. Later, the child will graphically compose words by analyzing their sounds and choosing the corresponding letters. 

Parallel Between Acquiring Speaking and Writing

The child is exposed to sound games through works such as "I Spy", vocabulary enrichment cards, poetry, story telling, and the use of clear and precise language used by the adults in the classroom. The opportunity to work with the sandpaper letters give the child a visual conception of sounds and through the work with the Moveable Alphabet, the child is able to utilize his motors skills of building and writing words. 

As the child progresses through this process, they are also working with the metal inset. This work is essential in allowing the mastery of the hand to control a writing instrument, preparing the hand for writing, developing a sense of geometric designs, and to stimulate and artistic sense.

Role of the Adult

Our role as the Guide is to respect the child's interest in exploring the sounds of our language. The focus is on language. The process of writing will come naturally later. We do not put pressure on the child or have unrealistic expectations, and we do not shy away from using complex words in our discussions. Both written and oral language is imperative, so using a vast, large spectrum of words is key.  As a whole, the emphasis is not on the spelling of words as it is not allowing the child to express themselves and exploring new ways to transmit their thoughts and ideas.  This emphasis can come later once self confidence is stronger.  

A Peek Inside our Children's House Classrooms 

 Bobcats

Dear parents,

Happy New Year to you all. We hope this yea so far has been filled with nothing but peace, blessings and good health. The children indeed enjoyed their break and are ready to start a New Year full of laughter and new experiences. It has been a delight to welcome new friends in our classroom over the past few weeks. The children welcoming new friends have been very helpful, welcoming, and try their best to begin to make relationships. Our focus has been to reinforce Grace and Courtesy lessons to help our new students settle in and become acclimated.  This reinforcement and review of Grace and Courtesy in the room also allows for our older children or those who have been with us a while to take a leadership and mentor role to our new children.  It has been wonderful to see our community supporting and helping one another.   We are looking forward to a blissful year.

Warmly

Ms. Mahsa & Ms. Dinora

 

 
 

Cactus Wren 

Dear Parents,

Happy New Year!!! We hope everyone had a peaceful winter break. The children were so excited to share their adventures with us. This break is always a nice one because it is just long enough for the children to miss their daily routine. They are eager and excited to revisit lessons they have mastered and to move on to more challenging work.

This is also a time where as a group, we review the many Grace and Courtesy lessons that have been given thus far. We role play lessons such as: How to say excuse me; How to help a child; How to ask for help; conflict resolution; acceptable classroom and playground behavior. 

We look forward to an amazing second half of the year and being part of every child's social, emotional, and academic growth.

Peacefully,

Ms. Johna and Ms. Eugenia

 

 
 

Gray Fox

¡Feliz año nuevo! Happy New Year! We are looking forward to another successful year full of growth with the children. From the stories they share, it sounds like everyone had a jolly holiday break. We are so blessed here in Arizona to continue our work in the outdoor environment and play outdoors throughout the winter season. The children have been enjoying our nature walks and harvesting lettuce, tomatoes, green bell peppers, radishes and basil from our gardens. It has also been a pleasure to welcome a couple of new students into the environment. The children are such wonderful hosts and definitely know how to make them feel welcome. In addition, they had the opportunity to learn a little bit about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from a historical standpoint. Their continued understanding and dedication to peace can be observed through their interactions with each other. There is much to look forward to in the coming months as Spring approaches. 

Thank you for your continued support, 

Ms. Lauren and Ms. Yadira 

 
 

Posted
AuthorLauren Marques

Culture is a nature as adapted by mankind. It is embedded in who we are, what we do, what we say, and how we live. In the Montessori Children's House, culture is deeply rooted in the core areas, such as Geography, Practical Life, Art and Music. The cultural topics spoken to the children are in child’s time and place,  and not in terms of History; for instance, the child learns what other children around the world eat or wear. The goal is to assist the process of cultural adaptation and develop the child’s awareness of the oneness of mankind.

Below, we explain how culture is implemented in the Montessori Children’s House and what a huge impact it has on children in their first plane of development. 

 

Music