Parent Education: Practical Life – Part 1

Today we are looking back at a series that we posted back in the summer, Practical Life. 

In a Montessori classroom, the Practical Life area is one of the first areas that a child explores. This section of the classroom provides the child with real-life materials that help to develop coordination, concentration, independence, and order.

Through the exercises of Practical Life, the child learns the skills that enable him to become an independent being. From birth, the child is striving for independence and concerned adults, parents, and teachers should help him on his path by showing him the skills he needs to achieve this end. Having been shown a skill, the child then needs freedom to practice and perfect.

In a Montessori classroom, preschool children learn basic motor skills in the Practical Life areas by teaching themselves and learning from other children rather than by specific adult instruction. As the child becomes absorbed in an interesting activity, he develops concentration. If the activity is appropriate and meets a need, it will be interesting for the child. The longer the child is absorbed by an activity the  better for the development of concentration.

Through activity, the child learns to control his movements. The idea that the path to intellectual development occurs through the hands is a major theme in the Montessori Method. The exercises of Practical Life provide opportunities for the development of both gross motor and fine motor movements. In addition, the child learns to keep the environment in a clean and ordered way, putting everything away in its right place. He is taught to approach each new task in an ordered way, to carry it out carefully, to complete the activity, and finally, how to clean up and put the materials away. Engaging in this complete process encourages logical thinking.

Another great post on Practical Life can be found here as well.

Feeding Your Preschooler: What’s a Normal Daily Menu?

We’re pulling from our archives to talk about daily menus for toddlers.

“My child isn’t eating,” is a common statement from parents of three-year-olds. At the end of a school day, parents are often surprised that the lunch they so lovingly prepared is barely touched. When teachers are asked, they often say they encouraged the child to eat but the chip simply was not hungry. So, what’s a parent to do?

One thing to consider is the amount of water the child has consumed during the day. Water is readily available in the classroom and on the playground. Children are encouraged especially on hot days to drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration. This high water consumption keeps them hydrated but also decreases their appetite.

Another factor in food intake can be distraction. During the third year of life, preschoolers are very active and mobile. Often at lunchtime, they are socializing with their friends, looking around the room – seemingly focusing on everything except eating.

Their appetite also begins to fluctuate greatly. Sometimes they get stuck on one food. These “only eating chicken nuggets” moments usually don’t last long if you don’t accommodate them. We recommend that you continue to serve a wide variety of nutritious foods.

A healthy child is most important. Speak with your child’s teacher about what foods are successful with other children. Many children like items that are easy to manage: finger foods, enriched drinks, and yogurts, for example. If you are concerned about your child’s eating habits, please contact your pediatrician.

Super Kids Nutrition, a nutrition education and healthy eating website for parents and kids, offers this Sample Daily Menu for the average Three-Year-Old child. This menu provides a good understanding of basic needs – often smaller in size than parents expect, though rich in nutrients – within the framework of your particular family’s preferences and appetites.

Why Montessori?

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Montessori’s education program is unique. Children are encouraged to make decisions and play an active role in the classroom. A solid foundation at each level promotes strong academic skills and a true love of learning. An authentic Montessori program is based on self-direction, builds a strong sense of self, sustained concentration and development of independence.

What sets Montessori apart from other programs?

• Emphasis on the whole child
• Mainly individual and small group instruction
• Child works at his/her pace
• Children are encouraged to collaborate, teach, share ideas and help each other
• Environment and method encourage self-discipline
• Develop leadership skills
• Mixed age groups

Montessori grows a child’s love of learning by providing an excellent foundation, creating a well-rounded individual that leads the way to a more advanced education.

Would you like to share this content with friends and family who are curious about Montessori or interested in enrolling? Click below to share via email or post to your social networks – or get a printable version here.

Spanish Immersion Program at MASS

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Spanish Immersion Program coming to MASS!

MASS is excited to announce we are offering a Spanish/English dual immersion program beginning this August for the 2014 school year. In this program, your child will be immersed in a rich, dual-language environment incorporating Montessori materials represented in BOTH Spanish and English. A certified teacher will guide your child and help improve their cognitive skills, increase creativity, achieve higher academic achievement, and a heighten communication skills.

Please call MASS at 770-205-6277 to find out more, or take a moment to stop by the newly created Spanish vignette in the Primary building at MASS to see some hands-on Spanish materials and literature.

Thank you Ms. Nena, Mrs. Gilbert and Ms. Cattell for presenting “Spanish Night” on January 21, 2014 at the MASS campus. We are excited to get this educational program started!