Happy Independence Day!

Happy Birthday America! This year marks the 238th Birthday of our nation. There are so many ways to celebrate this special day from family BBQs to community firework shows.

Check out these interesting facts that you may or may not already know about the 4th of July.

If you’re looking for a few July 4th, montessori centered, at home activities and crafts to do with your children take a look at these ideas:

Beat The Heat

Let’s face it, summer is amazing, but summer is also really hot and being outside for long periods of time is not always the most comfortable or safest thing for you and your family. For those days that you just need to stay indoors here are some fun activities that should inspire you and your child.

Enjoy and stay cool!

Revolutionary Learning

In renowned creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk, “Bring on the Learning Revolution,” he speaks about the crisis of human resources, poorly used talents, and a life that people endure versus enjoy. Across the world, educational systems are seeking reform. Sir Robinson believes that “reform in no use anymore. Because that’s simply improving a broken model.” He calls for arevolution in education.

Many elements of the revolutionary environment Robinson describes are found in a Montessori classroom, which begs the question, “Shouldn’t every school be a Montessori school?”

Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk

Applying Montessori Principles at Home 4

Today, we conclude our look at 8 principles of Montessori education and how they can be applied in the home, as explored in Angeline Lillard’s book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. In our last three posts on Applying Montessori Principles at Home, we discussed Movement and Cognition, Interest, ChoiceAvoidance of Extrinsic Rewards, and Interaction with and Learning from Peers. Today we conclude by examining the final three principles, Learning in Context, Communication, and Order the Environment and Mind.

Learning in Context

“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.” – Maria Montessori

Create a meal from scratch, or make ice cream from a recipe

Visit a museum – bring a sketch pad and colored pencils and have the child create their own art

Spend time in the garden studying bugs, flowers, and listening to the sounds of peace and quiet

Allow your child to have their own shopping list at the grocery store – have them record their prices and add their total

Communication

“If we could say, ‘We are respectful and courteous in our dealing with children, we treat them as we should like to be treated ourselves,’’ we should have mastered a great educational principle and be setting an example of good education.” – Maria Montessori

Have family meetings – discuss family expectations regarding behavior and academics

Create chore lists together where each person chooses their assigned chore(s)

Create an annual family newsletter

Involve your child in rearranging their bedroom or playroom

Do things you wouldn’t normally do or do not like to do – children need to see that you are flexible and willing to do new things or do things you do not like to do

Order the Environment and Mind

“The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult.” – Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood, 1966

Adopt the “ten minute tidy” to end of the day

Keep the environment clear of clutter

Have child’s belongings displayed on low shelves and not in toy boxes

Applying Montessori Principles at Home 3

Today, we continue our look at 8 principles of Montessori education and how they can be applied in the home, as explored in Angeline Lillard’s book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. In our last two Applying Montessori Principles at Home posts, we discussed Movement and Cognition, followed by Interest and Choice; today we move on to examine Avoidance of Extrinsic Rewards and Interaction with and Learning from Peers.

Avoidance of Extrinsic Rewards

“The prize and the punishment are incentives towards unnatural of forced effort, and therefore we certainly cannot speak of the natural development of the child in connection with them.” (Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method, 1912)

Challenge children to reach goals.

Praise effort in completing a task. Do not over praise; authenticity is important.

Ask the child, “How do you feel about accomplishing…?”

Interaction with and Learning from Peers

“There is a great sense of community within the Montessori classroom, where children of differing ages work together in an atmosphere of cooperation rather than competitiveness. There is respect for the environment and for the individuals within it, which comes through experience of freedom within the community.” (Maria Montessori, The Essential Montessori, 1986)

Host playdates with friends from school

Schedule outings with other families and observe how the children play together

Host family game nights with another family

Join us on Friday as we continue our exploration of the 8 principles of Montessori education and how they can be applied in the home!

Applying Montessori Principles at Home 2

Today, we continue our look at 8 principles of Montessori education and how they can be applied in the home, as explored in Angeline Lillard’s book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. In our last post, we began with Movement and Cognition; today we move on to examine Interest and Choice.

Interest

“An interesting piece of work, freely chosen, which has the virtue of inducing concentration rather than fatigue, adds to the child’s energies and mental capacities, and leads him to self-mastery.” (Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, 1995)

  • Have different genres of books readily available in basket or on low shelf
  • Play educational board games focused on language or math skills
  • Take mini field trips to pet store after researching an animal
  • Write letters to family members in other areas of the world
  • Have a basket of interesting pictures available during dinner time and discuss the pictures together
  • Allow children quiet time to think and develop their own interests

Choice

“No one can be free unless he is independent. Therefore, the first active manifestations of the child’s individual liberty must be so guided that through this activity he may arrive at independence.” (Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method, 1912)

  • Place a few choice shirts, bottoms, socks, and underwear in drawers the child can reach and allow the child to choose his own clothing
  • Place a basket in the refrigerator with snack items from which your child may choose
  • Allow your child to set the table for meals by making place settings (plates, bowls, utensils, cups) available in a low cabinet
  • Allow your child to serve himself food (small pitchers make serving himself easier)

Join us next week as we continue our exploration of the 8 principles of Montessori education and how they can be applied in the home!

Roots and Wings

The following speech, entitled “Roots and Wings,” was given by Maddie Hoggan at our 2014 8th grade graduation ceremony. Please enjoy this perspective from the eyes of an FMS graduate!

One day, a sprout popped out of the earth. The beautiful days and the sun helped to make it grow bigger and bigger. Once in a while, a gust of wind would blow, helping the plant’s roots get stronger. One day, a storm came and bent the plant, but that never stopped it. This plant grew into a beautiful, tall tree. To me, this is what childhood is like, never stopping to look back, wishing for the day when you are finally a year older. But at the point when you stop growing, you need more than just a trunk, leaves, and roots. You need something that will push you into the world. You need wings to soar as high as you can and as fast as you can. You can take your roots everywhere you go, but you have to leave the place where you grew them. This is where all of us are, we are ready to use our wings and fly to different places.

I’ve been going to FMS for 10 years, during that time, I have developed deep roots. When I first came to this school, I was so quiet I would barely talk to anyone, but after FMS encouraged me, I found the confidence to talk forever. My first memory at this school was of pouring water, making sure not to lose any. This developed my patience and my fine motor skills. One of my other memories from primary was reading the Bob books, which were books that consisted of sentences like, “Bobplayed,” or “Bob sat.” I remember being so proud of myself when I was finally put into a group where I could read the Bob books. This increased my self-confidence by reading with the teacher. In lower elementary, I remember trying so hard each week to finish my goals. This developed the drive in me to accomplish anything I worked hard at. In upper elementary, more freedom was given to accomplish what needed to be done; you had to plan out your day. In middle school, the standards of work increased, in preparation for high school. Each of these things helped grow my wings and prepare for me to leave this school.

Although our school experience has been incredible, there have been a few bumps in all of our roads. For me, my experience was when I was four, I decided to try to get to my room with my eyes closed, and promptly, I fell down the stairs and broke my arm. A few trips to the emergency room, more broken bones, and stitches also crossed my path. But everyone should have bad experiences, because they are as important as good experiences. A philosopher once said, “For a tree to become tall, it must grow tough roots among the rocks.”

But, of course none of us would be here without support and help along the way. All of the teachers at this school are so supportive and dedicated. They have helped all of us mature and grow. Our minds are filled with knowledge because of them; I think we are all confident to use what we’ve learned and fly to new places. The most supportive people of all are our parents. Not only have they allowed all of us the incredible opportunity to go to this school but they will be with us forever. They help us through hard times and encourage us through everything else. Not only are they responsible for our roots, but they have the hard job of giving us our wings. We are all grateful for them.

Even though this is the end for us here, we will never forget FMS, the great memories, and close friendships this school has created. Leaving something you care about is hard, but as Dr. Seuss so perfectly said, “Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened.”

Applying Montessori Principles at Home 1

At its core, Montessori philosophy celebrates and nurtures each child’s authentic nature, his part in a bigger picture, and his intrinsic desire to learn. Montessorians view Montessori philosophy as a way of life; carried throughout all facets of the child’s life. So if Montessori isn’t just something that happens at school, how can it be practiced at home?

To help build a bridge from home to school, let’s begin with a look at 8 principles of Montessori education. In Angeline Lillard’s book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius, she discusses Montessori’s holistic approach to educating the child. Today, we begin with the first principle of a Montessori classroom, as explored in Lillard’s research on Montessori education, Montessori’s thoughts, and ideas for the home.

Movement and Cognition

“The child needs activity concentrated on some task that requires movement of the hands, guided by the intellect.” (The Science Behind the Genius, 1966)

Tips for the Home:

Dance to music in the house – count the beats

Ride bikes together

Play at the local park

Count the number of steps up to the slide

Play hopscotch

Play I-Spy

Explore unstructured art and crafts

Work with mazes

Try intricate coloring patterns

Play together with wooden blocks and games: pattern games, Legos, etc.

Develop structures, pulleys, vehicles

Allow your child alone-time to explore his own creativity

Join us on next Tuesday as we explore two more principles of Montessori education and how

they can be applied in the home!

Summer Camp Week 2 – Science Week

Welcome to the laboratory where students will conduct multiple experiments using the miracle of nature, better known as the egg. Did you know you can walk on a carton of eggs with the right amount of surface tension and not break them? Let your child see the amazing transformation of an egg from the carton to what it feels like after sitting in a glass of vinegar for a week. Students will explore the concepts of flexibility, shrinking, and even erupting of the egg membranes. Immerse your child in the science of physics and chemistry and activities that are engaging, visually stimulating, and all tied to fundamental science.

The week of science camp will explore colors and how a homemade color wheel can be designed and used to trick the brain into thinking it sees secondary colors when the wheel is spun in motion. Chemical reactions will be engaged in making “elephant toothpaste”, plastic, and determining the density of skittles. All of these activities will give your child the joy of using common kitchen materials in the classroom while witnessing the marvels of nature as fundamental laws of physics and chemistry are explored.

Summer Reading

Are you looking for some fun, interesting ways to keep reading a part of your child’s days this summer? In addition to regular book time together, these tips from Baan Dek Montessori in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, will help incorporate reading into your everyday activities to keep skills fresh.

And here is a link to a great local summer reading program.

Henderson Libraries