Preschool palisades park

Back to school tips that are common at the end of summer are no longer directed at the families of older children. Even families with two and three-year olds find themselves implementing back to school tips as they prepare for the start of another school year.
While many families prepare to send their children to a setting that may be very different from the days that they spend at home, Montessori families often try to incorporate the structure of prepared environments at home, creating a smooth transition.
Celebrating Dr. Maria Montessori’s Birthday Helps Families Remember the Theories That She Developed
Today, August 31, was the birthdate of Maria Montessori. Born in Italy in the year 1870, Montessori became physician, an educator, and an innovator when she went on to open the first Montessori classroom in Rome in 1907. Based on the principles of following the child above all other philosophies, Montessori developed child centered classrooms that included child size furniture and impressive goals. In multi-age settings, Montessori allowed children to work at their own pace using self directed settings.
With work materials, instead of toys, neatly arranged on shelves throughout the classroom, Montessori observed children selecting challenging tasks for themselves. With a goal of a two hour work cycle for even the youngest friends, Montessori students learn to develop a sense of purpose and a respect for both their environment and their classmates. And while some parents today may thing of back to school tips as a list of tasks that parents and children needed to follow, Montessori understood that perhaps the greatest back to school tips, had she ever used that phrase, would be the teacher’s task of a perfectly prepared environment that invites the children to work on increasingly more challenging tasks.
An examination of the five areas of the Montessori classroom helps explain the philosophy of the educator who would have been 146 years old:
Practical Life
Full of opportunities to explore the daily tasks of life, the Practical Life area in a Montessori classroom is appealing to the youngest learners. Montessori parents who are finding the right preschool for their children are often amazed at the concentration that a two or three-year old can have while cleaning a table or peeling a cucumber. Montessori understood, however, that even the youngest friends strive to act like their grown up models. Learning to tie shoes, scrub vegetables, and sweep the floor are opportunities for these children to practice what they see their parents doing on a daily basis.
High quality education must have at its basis children who are able to focus on a task for extended periods of time. Given that 75% of America’s children attend a preschool at some point, it makes sense that teaching these children the ability to focus on a task until it is complete is a valuable goal. In the Montessori classroom sensorial works that focus on teaching children the difference between long and short, thick and thin, and smooth and soft help students learn while they are developing this focus.
Obviously, one of the things to look for in a preschool is an attention to introducing and expanding basic math concepts. Montessori’s uniquely designed manipulatives teach even the youngest of children both concrete and abstract mathematical concepts. Young Montessori students are able to add and multiply at very early ages.
Sand paper letters and sound books are just some of the ways that today’s children are introduced to language. Montessori understood that children could have the ability to read long before they could write so language activities use a phonics approach for the youngest of learners. Not surprising, even the youngest Montessori children call these tasks work, as they see what they are doing as both valuable and important.
A combination of social studies and science, the cultural shelves in a Montessori classroom are inviting. Personally drawing maps of continents, young Montessori friends also study the animals and plants of regions around the world. After giving a detailed three part lesson, Montessori teachers invite students to explore the work themselves.
Would a Montessori classroom be the right choice for your family? Between the years 1990 and 2013, the percentage of three to five-year-olds enrolled in preprimary programs increased from 59% to 65%. Is your family part of this educational trend?

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