In a Montessori environment we don’t teach the children to read, we give them tools for them to learn how to do it. Each individual is different, therefore some children will learn to read later than others and the process can be long for some and short for others.

We talked about spoken language during our last parent night as well as last month’s blog. The exercises of spoken language continue to be part of the process parallel with reading exercises; this means that we continue to give lessons to the children in spoken language and writing while they are learning how to read. We play sound games with them, read out loud, sing, give the language of the sensorial and practical life materials, etc. The process of reading is interactive and fun.

The child explores the phonetic sounds of the letters in many ways in a Montessori classroom. The movable alphabet gives them the opportunity to build words and sentences that the child will later be able to read. Therefore Montessori is known for learning how to write before reading versus traditional education where reading comes first. Writing before reading is a more efficient way to guide the child in a successive, unconscious and pressure free manner. Once the child has acquired the knowledge of the phonetic sound of the letters, recognizes their symbols with the many sound games and the sandpaper letters, we begin to introduce reading exercises. The children begin to read phonetically in many ways. One of the lessons we offer is a box of little items that he can see and touch to be able to identify the reading label by reading it. For example, we have a box with 6 items: a little bat, can, mop, cat, dog, and fan. We introduce this items to the child by their name. Then we write the item names one by one showing it to the child and asking him to read it to us. Once they do this, they can match it with the object. We have many tangible materials, books, and cards that will focus on phonetic reading.

Phonetic sandpaper letters and essential sandpaper phonograms are presented in tandem to help the child procure the keys to language in a natural way. After that we begin with a box with objects but the names of the items will now contain a phonogram. For example: spoon, broom, leaf, shirt, chair, etc. Once again we follow the same procedure by matching the names with the items and continue the process with books, labels, cards, etc. Just to make it more interesting, we begin introducing sight words, aka Montessori's “puzzle words”. These are the words that don’t sound like they look!

This is just the beginning of reading in a Children’s House. The children love exploring the classroom labeling materials, reading and follow recipes, composing and reading poems, playing with word order (syntax), and finally be able to understand their surroundings by themselves with the beautiful gift of reading. The different groups in the language area are function of words (grammatical forms), sentence analysis, interpretive reading and word study.

The end goal is to help the child develop his/her personality through total reading: 

  1. Understanding literal and implied meaning of text
  2. Comprehension of informative thought and comprehension 
  3. Recognition and expression of style of writing
  4. Understanding historical and cultural context 

How you can support your child with reading at home: 

As parents we always hear “read to your child!" Yes, this is a key for helping your child to be able to learn how to read so please continue to do the amazing job you do by introducing your child to books. Remember to offer your child stories based on real life rather than fantasy, their brains are little sponges right now that will absorb all the information you are reading to them. How wonderful to get to know who Chopin or Frida Khalo were through the art of literacy! 



Peek Inside our Children's House Classrooms



Hello Jackrabbit families, what a busy couple of months. The children are looking taller and growing more independent day by day. Welcome to our new Jackrabbits Elliot and Cora! Our beautiful class has double in size since the beginning of the school year and we love it. The children are so welcoming to our new friends. 

We have been talking a lot about birds in our classroom. The children are loving to discover what kind of birds live in Arizona and using binoculars to observe them. This activity encourages them to wait patiently for the birds to come to our feeder and to remain calm and quiet so the birds don’t get scared and fly away. This past weekend the teachers had a refresher course. The speaker was amazing and really made us think of what we do in our classrooms every day. One of the points was how to expose the children to nature. It’s such a pleasure to see the children waiting quietly for a bird to arrive to our outdoor environment.  I admire their patience, independence, self control, concentration, respect for nature, etc. 

We must fill our child’s lives with experiences. The speaker said “what good is to tell a child from the window that those flowers smell beautiful if we don’t give them the sensorial experience to take them outside to smell them? The experiences that go through their senses will be the ones that will remain in their brains, and perhaps their souls, for the rest of their lives. Dance in the rain, take them for walks, pick up sticks, rocks, leaves, go hiking to these beautiful mountains that our state offers us, rivers, plant a tree, and have fun!


Cactus Wren 

Dear Cactus Wren Families,

What a wonderful explosion of learning happening in the Cactus Wren Classroom. With the warmer weather, comes the natural curiosity of nature. The children are busy finding and examining the many insects in the garden. They are enjoying sitting in the garden and basking in the warmth of the sun. Our garden has many flowers, the beautiful water fountain donated by the Shah family, and many vegetables.

In the classroom, we have been discussing fossils. How fossils are created, where we can find them, and how current day items are being fossilized today. Our special interest tray includes a Carcharodon Megalodon shark tooth fossil along with a Trilobite Fossil from Utah.  

We look forward to continue the explosion of knowledge, growth, and community in our every growing Cactus Wren Classroom.

With peace,

Ms. Johna and Miss Eugenia



Dear Bobcat families~

It's hard to believe that we are on the tail end of the school year.  February has been a very exciting month with so many holidays and events to discuss and read about.  Our bookshelves are flowing over with texts about the Olympics, Valentine's Day, President's Day, Chinese New Year and Black History Month.  What a month full of information and discussion!  It is such a pleasure to hear their inquisitive minds.  

This month we also have been perfecting our sugar cookie recipe with busy bees at the baking work every day.  The children are really loving the process that involves precise measurements and the use of a rolling pin and cookie cutters.  When you are looking for family friendly activities over the weekend, why not make some cookies?  Fun for the whole family!

With love,

Ms. Carmen and Ms. Liz


Gray Fox 

Dearest Gray Fox Families,

Is it Spring yet? It sure feels like Spring!  We are loving the weather lately and the children have been taking full advantage of their outdoor space. February was a delightful month in the Gray Fox Children’s House as we welcomed new friends, Valentina and Oliver. The children were busy out in the garden preparing for the new season.

We have been reading many stories about gardens and the purpose of worms in the dirt. We’ve been focusing on respecting nature and patience. The children were also excited to taste some cauliflower from the Cactus Wren classroom earlier in the month. We’ve had some interesting show & share including a pet guinea pig and a pet bird. It’s amazing to see how gentle the children are with these tiny creatures.

Please enjoy this poem we’ve been reciting in class:

A Little Seed

A little seed for me to sow

A little soil to make it grow

A little hole, a little pot.

A little wish, and that is that.

A little sun, a little shower.

A little while –

And then, a flower!


Warmest wishes,

Ms. Lauren & Ms. Yadira






AuthorMarcela Durlanich

As this Semester comes to a close, we’d like to take the time to offer some ideas of how to tie all of the wonderful information we’ve shared about Montessori at Home, Practical Life, Observations and Sensorial together this season and into the new year. It is evident that the child’s quest for independence is strong. We’ve highlighted the development of concentration as a foundation for academic success. Finally, we’ve expressed and you’ve practiced the importance of objective observations.  

Using our previous blog posts as the bedrock, let’s unveil a few thoughts for winter break. We hope you find these helpful and that they elicit ideas unique to your child's and family's interests. 

Q: What are some ways over winter break to put this information to practice?

-When looking at the sensorial development of the child, we can’t quite imagine a more perfect time to explore the senses than winter! The weather is cool, the scents of gingerbread and cookies waft through the air. Take the time to let your child explore with their hands. Slow down, focus on the qualities of the season. Play games to compare textures, scents, tastes, and sights. Provide your child with specific vocabulary for ingredients, patterns, shapes and colors.

-Embrace the importance of giving AND receiving gifts. This is something we discuss and practice in our classrooms through Grace and Courtesy lessons. We roll play how to express meaningful sentiments and how to say thank-you; give your child the opportunity to exercise this.

Q: How can we best support the 3-6-year-old at home through activity and quality time?

-Traditions are cherished throughout all cultures. Explaining the uniqueness of your family’s heritage to your child is always a wonderful way to incorporate geography and history. You can create a family tree with your child, explaining the relationships between family members.

-In a culture of cellphones and media at our fingertips, we often overlook the importance of sharing photographs with our children. Winter break is a perfect opportunity to create a scrapbook or photo album with your child reflecting on the past year. Allowing them to concentrate on creating pages or cutting out shapes to personalize their pages is a total bonus and a priceless keepsake.

-Mindful Walking: There is much to be said about the power of taking a walk with your child. Although their pace is slower and motives differ from adults, as the child often walks with no end goal; they simply observe their environment and appreciate the intricacies of nature. It can also be beneficial to take a silent walk with your child. Some of the most famous intellects to date including Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and Nelson Mandala have been noted to walk for at least 45 minutes a day. Consider following a path, a line, walking on an incline or log for balance. This is a type of meditation and important for processing.

The practice of mindful walking is a profound and pleasurable way to deepen our connection with our body and the earth. We breathe, take a mindful step, and come back to our true home.
— Thich Nhat Hahn, Princeton and Columbia University Professor

Q: What are some ideas for gifts or experiences for the young child?

-Books! Surely you’ve heard your guide preach about our reality-based approach as well as outline the reasons why. Non-fiction books are treasures to the 3-6-year-old. They can find keys to the world, explore nature and make sense of the world around them as they classify and discriminate elements. Books are also diverse. We can find books about poetry, artists, composures, math, science, nature, emotions, feelings, and basically anything your child is interested in! It is impactful for the young child to have a library of quality books that he/she can hear or read many times. They are also timeless and make excellent hand-me-downs to neighbors, friends, siblings or donations.

-A trip to the ballet! Children love watching their favorite composures come to life through the performing arts. A seasonal favorite across our level is the Nutcracker!

-Binoculars or a magnifying glass and a book of southwestern birds/insects/animals. Help your child become familiar with the creatures at his fingertips or in his own backyard.

-Creating a reading nook, or a quiet area with a CD player for your child to listen to their favorite tunes can impact your child’s quest for independence.

-A day trip to the zoo! Bring along a sketching pad and some pencils for your child to draw pictures or write the names of each animal she sees. Take the time to allow them to copy the names into their journal. Hidden bonus: this makes for an excellent show and share!

-A basket containing a few instruments. Children love to explore melodies and listen to music.

-Quality art materials. Simply show your child a technique and let their imagination take the lead. In the Children’s House, we typically begin by introducing the child with the primary colors of any medium, adding one more as time goes on. For example, A tray with cardstock, a small dish with red, blue and yellow oil pastels.

-TIME. We've all said it before, it FLIES. It is gone within the blink of an eye. Out of all of the above, this is the most treasured "gift" you can give your child. Time with you and those they care most about is what they truly need the most. Be creative, have fun, turn off all electronics, bake a cake, build a fort, play catch, have as many conversations as you can, laugh and enjoy these precious moments. 

Links and additional ideas: 

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You Are My Little Bird
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Match a Pair of Birds: A Memory Game
Laurence King Publishing
Toys and games have their place of course in our western culture, but having only toys to play with is a waste of energy that could be spent in more valuable occupations. In places like Bhutan where children are included from birth on in the daily life of those around the, there are definitely some advantages. Children are given toys with which they can play, but which create illusions and afford no real productive contact with reality. Toys furnish a child with an environment which has no particular goal and, as a consequence, they cannot provide it with any real mental concentration but only illusions. They can stir up a child’s activity like a puff of air that rouses as tiny flame concealed by the ashes of fire. But the flame is soon spent and the toy is soon thrown away. And yet toys are the only outlets that adults have found for a child’s voluntary activity.
— Montessori, The Secret of Childhood


Peek Inside

Gray Fox 

Dear Gray Fox Families,

As we take time to reflect on the individual and group accomplishments of the Gray Fox students, it’s bittersweet to say ‘au revoir’ to 2017. The memories we made this year are hardwired into the growing minds of each child and adult involved alike. Although the memories made are priceless, the hope of tomorrow brings so much promise. With the excitement of the New Year in the foreseeable future, we begin planning. We enjoy setting new goals and work hard to formulate plans to reach them. After discussing traditions that this season brings in various cultures around the globe throughout the month of December, the children were mindful of reoccurring goals they each present: harmony and peace to all.

To preserve this theme, the children have had some passionate ideas about how to ‘give back’ in hopes to help others feel loved as well as caring for the Earth. Plans included in our discussions were: limiting water use, picking up trash at the park, cooking meals for families in need, writing letters to children around the world, helping grandparents with chores, making a card for a friend, and so forth.

So, Gray Fox families, Ms. Yadira and I challenge you to brainstorm with your children and create goals to help others in your family, community or around the globe. Whether simple or complex, we believe in the power of thoughtfulness. Also, it’s never too early to demonstrate the importance of goal-setting to the young child! Feel free to share photos or send us a note via email over break to let us know what you’re up to. Otherwise, we look forward to hearing about your unique acts of kindness in January.

We wish you all the joy of the season. Here’s to a very happy New Year!

Ms. Lauren and Ms. Yadira


Cactus Wren 

Dear Cactus Wren Families,

We have been busy tending to our wonderful garden. The green, yellow, and red bell peppers are coming in great. Our tomatoes are not far behind. The broccoli and cauliflower plants are growing huge leaves.

Inside the classroom, we finished up our study of apples. They children enjoyed bringing in apples to share with their friends, tasting all different varieties of apples, and exploring the many shapes, textures, names, and colors of the apples.

As the year draws to an end, Miss Eugenia and I would like to thank all our families for your support and lovely children. It is a pleasure to spend time with them. We see something new everyday through their eyes. They remind us daily of how compassionate, loving, forgiving, generous, and understanding little people they can be. We relish in the “ah-ha” moments when they discover their independence. We rejoice in their laughter and giggles. Our hearts break when they are sad. We are amazed at their thirst for knowledge. We are truly blessed.

Have a peaceful and relaxing break and we will see you in the new year.


Ms. Johna and Miss Eugenia



Happy December! The children have been busy as they continue to get new lessons and practice their old ones. We continue to work on a daily basis with our “grace and courtesy lessons” as well. We have finally harvested some green peppers from our garden and used them as a part of snack!

As the weather gets colder, please remember to write your child’s name in their winter attire. This is a good time to practice some practical life skills at home by encouraging your child to dress himself, including jackets and shoes. This helps not only to accomplish a task, but also to become more independent from adult help. Your child will feel accomplished and successful. Children are more capable than we can imagine. At this age (2-6 years old) they should be able to dress themselves with little help, eat a meal using utensils, drink from a regular glass, and even help at home by folding laundry, setting up the table, sweeping, dusting, watering plants, cleaning windows, unloading the dishwasher, etc. Consider implementing more age appropriate chores on their daily schedules to help with independence.

We would like to thank Nicholas and his family for taking care of our bids Charlie and Lucy during Thanksgiving weekend.

Another year comes to an end! As the holiday season is soon approaching, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for being part of Creo’s community. We wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday and a very happy new year. See you in 2018!