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Parenting

Montessori Extras Parenting Teaching

What Kind of Learner is Your Child?

By Anitra

 

Everyone in the world has their strengths and weaknesses.  Some are natural athletes; while others have to practice and train to become a good athlete.  Some people are naturals when it comes to academics; while others mat struggle a bit and have to study in order to do well in school.  People are so different; it is even amazing to see how different or similar your child are to you, and to see how different or similar siblings can be.  For instance, I have two daughters.  One is in college, and the other is in high school.  My daughter in high school goes to the same school her sister did.  She has many of the same teachers as well.  They didn’t actually go there at the same time; my oldest was a freshman in college when my youngest was a freshman in high school.

 

There are many kids and teachers alike that are shockingly AMAZED that they are sisters!  My oldest daughter was not as social as my youngest is.  Academics came easier for my oldest daughter and she had to work hard to excel in sports.  My youngest daughter on the other hand is a natural athlete, and learns better with visuals. Unfortunately, most public schools are do not teach using many visuals. So you see, although they are siblings, they are like night and day!  My oldest daughter is more like me; academics comes fairly easy to me and my youngest daughter is more like my husband in that he also learns better by seeing.

 

It is important to realize how your child learns early on. If you have younger children, it can help you in deciding what type of preschool to enroll them in; or if you should home school them.  Determining what type of learner your child is also is important in the later years of schooling as well.  Not all children are meant to sit for hours at a desk and listen to a teacher teach from the front of the classroom.  Some children need to be engaged in their learning, they need to be able to freely move about, explore, and actively take part in how and what they learn. There is so much to consider when choosing the right school path for your child.  Being aware of how your child learns will help you decide what is right for your child.

 

So…Do you know what type of learner your child is?

 

According to psychologist Howard Gardner, there are eight types of intelligence. Early on in his research, Gardner had discovered seven intelligences, but later added the eighth.  He believes that everyone has a small part of all the intelligences within them.  But he also believed that over the years; a person develops one area of intelligence more thoroughly than the other areas and that becomes their primary way of learning.  To learn more about Howard Gardner and his theory of multiple intelligences and to find out your multiple intelligence, please click here.

 

What kind of learner is your child?

 

Interpersonal

-Thinks by bouncing ideas off other people

Also known as “The Socializer”

LIKES TO:

  • have lots of friends
  • talk to people
  • join groups

IS GOOD AT:

  • understanding people
  • leading others
  • organizing
  • communicating
  • manipulating
  • mediating conflicts

LEARNS BEST BY:

  • sharing
  • comparing
  • relating
  • cooperating
  • interviewing

 

 

Musical

-Thinks via rhythms and melodies

Also known as “The Music Lover”

LIKES TO:

  • sing, hum tunes
  • listen to music
  • respond to music

IS GOOD AT:

  • picking up sounds
  • remembering melodies
  • noticing pitches/rhythms
  • keeping tune

LEARNS BEST BY:

  • rhythm
  • melody
  • music

 

 

Bodily-Kinesthetic

 

-Thinks through somatic sensations

Also known as “The Mover”

LIKES TO:

  • move around
  • touch and talk
  • use body language

IS GOOD AT:

  • physical activities
  • crafts

LEARNS BEST BY:

  • touching
  • moving
  • interacting with space
  • processing knowledge through bodily sensations

 

 

Naturalistic

-Thinks by relating to the outside world

Also know as “The One With Nature”

LIKES TO:

  • grow things
  • be in nature
  • camp, hike, and bike

IS GOOD AT:

  • memorizing
  • observing
  • recognizing patterns in nature

LEARNS BEST BY:

  • classification
  • exploration
  • touching
  • examining

 

 

Spatial

-Thinks in images and pictures

Also known as “The Visualizer”

LIKES TO:

  • draw, build, design
  • daydream
  • look at pictures
  • watch movies
  • play with machines

IS GOOD AT:

  • imagining
  • sensing changes
  • mazes/puzzles
  • reading maps/charts

LEARNS BEST BY:

  • visualizing
  • dreaming
  • using the minds’ eye
  • working with colors/pictures

 

 

Logical-Mathematical

-Thinks by reasoning

Also known as “The Questioner”

LIKES TO:

  • do experiments
  • figure things out
  • work with numbers
  • ask questions
  • explore patterns and relationships

IS GOOD AT:

  • math
  • reasoning
  • logic
  • problem solving

LEARNS BEST BY:

  • categorizing
  • classifying
  • working with abstract patterns/relationships

 

 

Linguistic

-Thinks in words

Also known as “The World Player”

LIKES TO:

  • read
  • write
  • tell stories

IS GOOD AT:

  • memorizing names, places, dates and trivia
  • word puzzles
  • writing

LEARNS BEST BY:

  • saying
  • hearing
  • seeing words

 

 

Intrapersonal

-Thinks deeply inside of themselves

Also known as “The Individual”

LIKES TO:

  • work alone
  • pursue own interests

IS GOOD AT:

  • understanding self
  • focusing inward on feelings/dreams
  • following instincts
  • pursuing interests/goals
  • being original

LEARNS BEST BY:

  • working alone
  • individualized projects
  • self-paced instruction
  • having own space

 

Finding out your child’s learning style and strengths is important in finding the right learning environment for your child.  There are many alternatives to public school.  Charter schools, home school, private schools, Montessori schools, and  hybrid schools are all environments that accommodate the various types of learning styles.  One of my favorite quotes is pictured below; it speaks volumes and is a huge part of my personal teaching philosophy.

 

 

 

I am more of a Linguistic learner…

What’s your learning style?  What is YOUR multiple intelligence?

Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Anitra

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classroom Content Math Montessori Extras Parenting Science Sensorial Teaching

20 STEM Activities perfect for your child and home

By Anitra

 

This post contains affiliate links.  Please see disclosure policy for more information.

 

Are you intrigued how the latest ideas are being created?  How Elon Musk, Owner of Tesla Inc. came up with the fully electric vehicle and the world’s first fully electric semi-truck?  Ever wonder how a 3-D printer was made?  I know I am curious and downright fascinated by the inventions that have taken over our world in recent years.  Without showing my age, I remember being in high school and the technological innovations that were all the rage were the world wide web, DVD’s, and the Prius; the first mass-produced hybrid was introduced!! Isn’t that crazy?!

With everything we do being so technologically based, it is no wonder that STEM is becoming one of the fastest growing educational programs out there.  All the newest advances, all the newest ideas and all the newest breakthroughs are science, engineering and technologically based.

 

In order to keep up with the technology of the world, it is important to introduce these types of activities, skills, and thinking to children.  STEM has slowly made its way into the mainstream public school system, but has had a place in private schools, Charter Schools and alternative schools around the country.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  According to the U.S. Department of Education website, the goal of STEM is to provide opportunities for the youth to thrive “where success is driven not only by what you know, but by what you can do with what you know and have the skills and knowledge to solve tough problems, gather & evaluate evidence, and make sense of information”.

Children must be exposed to situations in which they can learn, develop and use the skills necessary to compete in our ever changing world.  I have compiled a list of 20 STEM activities that you can incorporate in your classroom or home to give them exposure to these objectives.  The activities are geared for children three years of age and older.  Due to small parts/objects, these activities are not intended for use with children under three years of age.

**Important note: an item search from any of the links will take you to the desired product**

Item descriptions courtesy of discountschoolsupply.com.  Used with permission.

 

20 STEM Activities for your child and home

 

1. Exploring Circuitry Light Blocks

Item #LSTAX

Explore circuitry and creativity through illuminating open-ended play! Using LED technology, each block lights up when connected to the base or another lit block. A glowing introduction to engineering and STEM.

 

2. Primary Science Color Mixer

Item #COLMIX

Let’s mix some color up and experiment!

 

3. Tornado Tube

 

Item #TORN

Tornado Tube employs hydraulic principles to create the vortex of a tornado within a bottle. Connect 2 empty plastic soft drink bottles together, fill one of the bottles 2/3 full with water, turn it over, spin, and watch the tornado appear.

 

4. Rainforest Cloud Biome Kit

Item #RAINFST

Grow your own tropical rainforest in this unique planter! Rain swirls on top of containers help regulate where water falls to maintain the best conditions for your plants to flourish.

 

5. Solar Building Windmill

Item #SUNMILL

Easy build-it-yourself windmill powered by the sun!

 

6. Brilliant Builders

Item #STRAW

Make structures big enough to sit in or as small as a shoe box.

 

7. Blue Sands Alive

Item #COLSABL

A soothing sensory experience

 

8. Snappy Sticks Building Set

Item #SNAPSTIX

Imaginative open-ended hands-on fun!

 

9. How Long Is It? Measuring Tape

Item #BIGM

This oversized measuring tape is scaled in inches and centimeters. With a large carrying handle, rewind knob with a clicking action, and a 36″ tape, young children will find it easy to manipulate and learn the skill of measuring.

 

10. Platform Scale

 

Item #SCALE

See and compare weights and measurements. Easy to read and accurate with metric and standard English display. Scale measures liquids and solids in the removable pan.

 

11. Height and Depth Measuring Blocks

Item #DEPTH

A unique way to learn about both height and depth!

 

12. STEM Exploring Engineering Set

Item #STEMSY

STEM learning made simple! Introduce and explore all 6 simple machines as you make amazing discoveries, design solutions for real-world problems and conduct your own investigations.

 

13. Hydroponics Lab

Item #H2OGROW

Investigate the hidden magic of plant roots!

 

14. Botany Lab Experimental Greenhouse

Item #BOTANY

Students learn about plants and seeds by conducting experiments in a specially-designed botanical laboratory with greenhouse domes.

 

15. STEM Force and Motion Discovery Set

Item #FORCE

Design engineering challenges with this exclusive STEM set! Discover science concepts while predicting, measuring, collecting and comparing data.

 

16. Classroom Measurement Set

Item #MEASURE

Children can practice customary capacities, liquid measurement and metric conversions with this set.

 

17. Smartcar Logic Puzzle

Item #SMARTCAR

Challenge kids to build a car with 5 different blocks in this unique logic game!

 

18. Number Tower

Item #NUMTOWER

Select a number block then stack the cubes, counting each as you go – it’s fun to learn about numbers! 22 pieces total, numerous ways to use, self explanatory with lines indicating cube spaces on the back of each number block.

 

19. Jenga

Item #JENGA

The original wood block stacking game!

 

20. Root-Vue Farm

Item #ROOT

Watch carrots, radishes and onions take form before your eyes through a sturdy, styrofoam surround with break-proof acrylic viewing window. Complete instructions plus tested experiments.

 

STEM Related Books

 

1.Our Physical World Books-5Titles

Item #EBOOKS

The perfect introduction to physical science. Easy to understand explanations of how basic physical principles of science relate to our world.  Titles in set include: All About Matter, Electricity All Around, Learning About Rocks, A Look at Magnets and Soil Basics

 

2. Science Vocabulary Books-4 Titles

Item #NATWORLD

Explore nature from the smallest insects to the tallest trees!  Includes these titles: Learning About Animals, Learning About Trees, Learning About Insects, Learning About Plants

 

3. Weather Watchers Books-6 Titles

Item #TWISTER

Young readers fascinated by the changing skies can focus on different types of weather and its causes.  Titles Included: Clouds, Lightning, Rain, Snow, Sunshine, Thunder, Wind

 

4. How Do You Measure? 4 Titles

Item #MEABKS

Learn about measuring units and picking the right tools.  Titles Included: How Do You Measure Weight?, How Do You Measure Liquids?, How Do You Measure Time?, How Do You Measure Length and Distance?

 

These activities and books are meant to be an introduction to STEM education.  Giving children the opportunity to engage in hands on learning is important and imperative to the future of science, technology, engineering, and math.

 

I have found a few new activities from this post that I will be incorporating into my classroom.  I hope that you are able to find and add some of these interesting, fun, exciting activities to your environment as well!

 

Enjoy!

 

Anitra

 

 

Classroom Content Montessori Extras Parenting

6 tips on finding a Montessori preschool for your child

By Anitra

 

Are you interested in finding a quality Montessori preschool for your child?  There are many things to consider when searching for a Montessori school for your child.  It is not an easy feat to entrust your child and their safety & well being to others.  It is important for you as a parent to feel comfortable, confident, and trust in the place where you will leave your child.  It is also equally important for your child to feel safe, be happy, and feel welcomed to a place where they will spend a good amount of their time.

 

 

With that being said, please know that not all preschools, schools or child care centers are created equal.  Things to consider are school philosophy, program type, extracurricular activities offered, location and price.  There are also other things to look into as well; considering each Montessori school is privately owned and operated.  The Montessori name, method, philosophy, teachings and materials are not trademarked.  Each Montessori school owner has the right to interpret the Montessori method and philosophy as they see fit.  Which means that two Montessori schools right down the street from one another can have many similarities, and just as many differences.  For more information on what makes Montessori unique, please check out my post What’s so special about Montessori…? EVERYTHING!.  If you would like more information in the work and materials in a Montessori classroom, please check out my post What is all the hype about? A detailed look inside a traditional Montessori classroom.

 

When you are ready to begin looking at schools to choose, first start with an internet search of local Montessori schools in your area.  Narrow it down to no more than 5 schools.  Look through their websites, check out any online reviews they may have, and call the school for additional information on their enrollment process.  Once these things are complete, you are ready to incorporate the tips below in selecting a school for your child.  I have included a free checklist at the bottom of the post as well!

 

These 6 tips will help you select the right Montessori school for your child

 

Tip #1

Visit and tour the school(s) you are interested in

It is important for you to go to the school and tour the facility.  During the tour, the school administrators should walk you around the entire school and the playground as well.  Take special note of the cleanliness of the school overall and the condition of the playground & equipment.  The school should look appealing to the eye, and the playground should have safe, child appropriate equipment & toys.  If anything catches your attention or stands out, be sure to ask the administrator about it.

 

 

 

Tip #2

Ask about the schools philosophy

Of course the main philosophy of the school will be the Montessori method.  But each school has a separate school philosophy on how they view early childhood education.  It is important to ask about how they deal with behavior problems, if they are religiously based, and most importantly, their take on how children learn and develop.  See if they follow authentic Montessori practices such as the 3 year age span, allowing children to be independent, and providing a child based environment.  Make sure that their school views are similar to your own personal views on what you expect for your child.

 

 

 

Tip #3

Ask to observe a classroom in action

While on the tour of the schools, most administrators will show you a classroom in action.  Seeing a classroom in full swing will give you a small idea of how the children move throughout the environment, if they seem comfortable in the classroom, and how the teacher(s) interact with the children.  Look for any clues of children being excluded,take notice of the teacher’s tone of voice, and watch to see how they children interact with each other.  In a true Montessori classroom, the children move about freely & confidently and seem engaged in their work with a buzz of conversation happening around them.  The teacher(s) are engaging and interacting with the children in a positive, respectful manner.

 

 

 

Tip #4

Ask administration about teacher turnover rates

In the child care industry, Teacher turnover rate can be common and can be higher than in other professions.  This occurs for a number of reasons, but when a school can retain their teachers for more than two years, that is a positive sign.  If teachers stay for extended time at a particular school, it may be due to the school being supportive of their staff and their needs.  When schools value their teachers, and the teachers feel needed & important, they tend to stay at a school for a longer period of time.  Ask the school administrator how long their teachers have been at the school.

Tip #5

Ask neighbors, friends and co-workers about the school

The best way to get an accurate review or opinion on a school you’re interested in is to ask around.  Ask your neighbors where they send their children, ask friends and co-workers if they have had any positive or negative experiences with a school you may want to tour.  Let’s face it; if you’re interested in trying a new restaurant, you reach out to others to get their opinions about the restaurant.  So why not do the same for a school you may be interested in sending your child too?  You can never be too safe when it comes to your child.

 

Tip #6

Check to make sure the school is licensed with the state

Every child care center, preschool, or day care center providing care to children in a business capacity should be licensed in some form or another by the state they are conducting business in.  Here in California, EVERY child care center, preschool, day care center or home day care MUST be licensed by the state in order to operate.  Each child care facility goes through a rigorous checklist of standards BEFORE they are licensed.  They are also subject to frequent inspections from the state at any time.  California has an online database of all licensed care providers that are licensed in the state.  By simply going to the state website, you can enter in the name of the child care facility you are interested in, and get detailed information about that facility.  Such things as licensing date, licensee name, any violation of state standards they have received, and the amount of children they are allowed to have at the facility.  This information is public knowledge, and available at all times.

 

 

Following these tips can definitely help in finding the right Montessori school for you and your child!  I always say that I don’t just have the child in my classroom, but the entire family as well.  It is important for you as a parent to be able to interact, communicate, and mesh well with the school and the teacher.  You must feel welcomed and part of the overall school community in order for you and your child to have a great experience!

 

 

Interested in getting the FREE checklist for Selecting a Montessori Preschool for Your Child?

It’s yours, just click below for your FREE download!

 

Montessori Extras Parenting

New You for the New Year-12 months to an even better you

By Anitra

It’s that time of year again when its time to say goodbye to another year.  You reflect on the past year and ask yourself if you’ve accomplished all that you set out to accomplish at the beginning of 2017.  I know that for me, I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to, but I did accomplish some amazing things this past year.  At the end of every year, people set unrealistic goals and make unreasonable resolutions for themselves; (trust me, I am guilty of this as well).

 

Here are a few of the most common New Year’s resolutions are:

1. Exercise more

2. Lose weight

3. Eat more healthy

4. Stop smoking

5. Drink less alcohol

6. Save money

7. Get organized

 

These resolutions always sound good, and you start out strong on accomplishing them.  But as the year progresses, they get harder and harder to keep up with.  Want to know why?  These are unreasonable and unrealistic goals.  I’ve learned over the years after failing at accomplishing my resolutions, that the common resolutions are so overwhelming to do all at once.  I chose to do a few at a time, and I had better results.  Maybe try a few of these each year, but trying to do them all at once makes it almost impossible to complete.

 

With that being said,  I think that it’s time to make some goals and resolutions that are actually reasonable and realistic, and you will definitely be able to accomplish!  By the end of 2018, you’ll have hopefully developed a few new habits that are a part of your daily life and that you can carry and build upon going in to 2019!

 

Monthly ideas to have your best year yet

 

January-Get more sleep:

Getting enough sleep is good for your heart, mind, and overall wellness.

 

February-Practice mindfulness:

Mindfulness is a way to be aware of thoughts & feelings.  It helps to reduce stress and strengthens mental health.

 

March-Take up an anti-stress activity:

Yoga, meditation, coloring books & gardening are inexpensive ways to reduce your stress levels.  Less stress leads to a better you!

 

April-Value experiences over things:

Plan a weekend getaway, plan a family night once a week, take a spur of the moment drive…These experiences are so much more valuable than buying things.  Create memories.  Experiences last longer than items.

 

May-Learn a new skill:

Learning a new skill will get you out of your comfort zone.  Dance class, a cooking class, a new language, sewing & ceramics are just a few suggestions.  You may end up finding something that you never knew you were good at!

 

June-Start a journal:

Write down your goals, your dreams, or your thoughts in a journal.  Writing can release stress and can be therapeutic.  Try writing in your journal at least once a week.

 

July-Unplug and unwind:

Put away technology for at least an hour and devote that time to yourself and/or your loved ones.  Talk about your day, play a game, or spend quality time together doing something you all enjoy.

 

August-Get outside & enjoy nature:

Go on a walk, a bike ride, go to the park, or go camping.  Getting outside is a good way to reduce stress and take a step back.  Nature has so much to offer, take advantage of it!

 

September-Complete a 30 Day Challenge:

Participate in a 30 Day Challenge of your choice.  Challenges related to fitness, health, money-saving, organization, fashion & gratitude are all popular challenges.  There are so many other activity challenges you can do; just do an online search for a topic you are interested in.

 

October-Read a book:

Take time to start reading a book.  Reading is a relaxing activity.  Find a book on the bestseller list, or ask a friend for a recommendation.

 

November-Practice generosity:

Volunteer your time at a charity or organization for a cause that interest you.  Volunteering and giving back to others leaves a positive impact on you as well.

 

December-Start one thing you’ve been putting off:

Whether it’s a small task that you’ve been putting off forever, or something big that you’ve been wanting to start; just get started on it!  Break it up into smaller chunks, and work on it throughout the month.

 

 

Many of these monthly activities can be shared with others in your family.  Besides, it is much easier to accomplish your goals when you have someone to encourage you!  I don’t know about you, but accomplishing my goals is SO much easier when I have the encouragement and support of my family or friends.  Without their support, I wouldn’t achieve half of what I’d like to.

 

So grab your better half, your kids, and your friends and start knocking out those goals!  You’re on your way to a better you; make 2018 your best year yet!

Remember…the best way to succeed at resolutions is to create new habits that are easily attainable and realistic!

 

Anitra

 

Classroom Content Montessori Extras Parenting Teaching

5 things to NEVER ask your child’s teacher

By Anitra

 

Being a parent and putting your child in school for the first time is not an easy thing to do.  I know how hard it can be for parents to leave their child for the first time at a child care center.  I remember when I had my first daughter, I stayed home with her until she was about 18 months old.  When I landed my first teaching job as an Assistant at a Montessori school, I had the opportunity to take her with me.  She was in the Toddler classroom, while I was in the Preschool classroom.  Dropping her off with complete strangers was just as traumatizing for her as it was for me.  She cried; I cried…I tried going to check on her, and I was not allowed.  The teachers in the room said it was best for me not to let her see me, as it would make her adjustment even harder. The hardest thing for me to do as a mom was to trust in the teachers and their professional abilities and opinions.  But in order for your child to have a successful time in school, you must trust and believe in your child’s teacher(s).  It is not easy to do, but it is necessary for your child’s educational journey.

 

 

Fast forward to when she moved into the Preschool and a lot of academics began to be introduced.  I wanted her to learn everything possible, learn her shapes, write her name, read at an early age, know all of her numbers, and be one of the smartest children in the classroom.  I wanted to see instant results and her progress lined out, but her teachers informed me that it is just not that easy.  I was confused and frustrated, and as I learned more about child development, what they were telling me started to make sense.  I knew to trust in her teachers and in my child’s inner abilities and development.  I knew to trust in what they do and the process.  So you see?  I get it, I understand as a parent that you want the best for your child, and want your child to learn as much as possible.

 

With all this being said, as a teacher, I understand how my daughters teachers felt at the time.  When curious about your child’s progress, ask specific questions about their development.  There are a few questions that you should NEVER ask your child’s teacher.  Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of other things that you CAN ask your child’s teacher, but there are 5 questions that educators prefer you never ask…

 

 

5 things to NEVER ask your child’s teacher…

try to avoid asking these questions when seeking information regarding your child’s learning

 

 

1.How is my child doing?

Most times, this is asked at a time when the parent is on their way to work and don’t have a lot of time to get this answered accurately.  This question is too generic and extremely hard to answer.  It is a very broad question, and without having a more specific question, the answer you get may also be broad.  When I get asked this question, I commonly answer with, “Good.” I am unsure of exactly what they are asking to know about, so the generic question unfortunately gets a generic answer.   Instead of asking “How is my child doing?”, you could ask, “How is my child doing on learning their numbers?” or “How is my child doing on writing their name?”.

 

2. Why isn’t my child learning to…?

This question is one of the hardest questions to answer.  I understand that parents we have an idea of what we feel our kids should be learning and at what pace.  The one thing that most parents don’t realize is that children develop at their own pace.  We can expose them to various activities and lessons, but they will master these skills when they are ready to.  It cannot be rushed or forced, and it is important for educators and parents to follow the development of the child.

 

3. Is my child behind at all for their age?

The answer to this question is one that many parents do not like to hear.  It is difficult to pre-determine exactly what a child will have mastered by a certain age.  The answer to this question goes back to the previous question.  If you follow the development of the child, then they are not behind for their age.  Children advance at different stages and ages, and children will progress at a pace that is right for them.  It is sometimes difficult for parents to accept this answer, but reassuring them of their child’s natural abilities to learn helps to put them at ease.

 

 

 

 

4. Where is my child in comparison to other kids their age?

The worst thing a parent can do is to compare their child to other children.  It is a common practice, but it does nothing except put undue pressure on the child.  When parents compare their child to other children, it leads to them setting unrealistic goals for their child, which they, in most cases, cannot reach.  Again, remember that each child develops at their own individual pace, and will progress at their own stage.  Some children reach some milestones at earlier ages than others, but it is important to remember that it is not important when they reach the milestone just as long as they reach it.

 

5. Is there anything I can work on at home?

If your child is in preschool, you are entrusting the school educators to teach your child.  You are leaving them in our care so that we can teach them things like academics, socialization skills, and following directions to name a few.  As an educator, it is my responsibility to teach every child skills that will be needed later on in their educational journey.  I teach them based on their personal developmental needs and abilities, and try to instill a love of learning in every child that comes through my classroom.  I feel that having parents work on skills or tasks at home may overwhelm children.  I encourage parents to leave the teaching to us educators in the classroom setting, and just let their children play, relax, and enjoy quality time with them while at home.  There will be plenty of time in the future when they will have tons to work on at home later on in school.

 

I have been teaching for over 17 years, and these 5 questions are questions that are always asked by parents.  As a professional educator, who has studied child development, I feel that letting children develop naturally at their own pace they will reach their full potential.  As Maria Montessori said, “Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.” 

 

Trust me, your child’s teacher will thank you for not asking these 5 questions!

 

Anitra

Art Montessori Extras Parenting

Easy Christmas hanging photo tree craft

By Anitra

 

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see disclosure policy for more information.

It’s that time of year where shopping for gifts is in full spring!  I personally always LOVED when my daughters would give me handmade gifts for holidays; these are the ones that I still have and hold dear to my heart.  When children make things, they feel a sense of pride, accomplishment, and joy knowing that they created something so special for someone they love!

 

With that being said…Are you looking for an easy child made craft to give as a Christmas gift?  This hanging photo tree is fun and would make a great gift for parents in your classroom, grandparents, or other relatives!  I am actually making these this year in my classroom, and I am getting quite a few compliments on them from the other teachers in the school!  It is fairly easy and inexpensive, but it does require an adult’s aid. Hope you like our parent gifts for this year!

 

Christmas Hanging Photo Tree Craft

Materials/supplies needed:

clothespins

Christmas ribbon

-Beads (either Fused beads or Pony beads)

White wire hangers

Wire cutters

Hot glue gun

Hot glue sticks

Acrylic paint

 

Step 1:

Cut the wire hanger to your desired length with wire cutters.

 

Step 2:

Determine how many clothespins you would like your photo hanger tree to have, and paint them with acrylic paint.  I decided that six clothespins would be efficient, and I chose to paint them green.  Make sure to paint all sides of the clothespins.

 

Step 3:

Decide what kind of beads you would like on your photo hanging tree.  Put the beads on the wire base.  I decided to use the Fused Beads in green and red.  For the beads, I used fourteen of them, in alternating colors.

 

 

Step 4:

Put your freshly painted clothespins on your wire base.  Place each clothespin in between every two beads.  I also left two on each end to complete the look.

 

Step 5:

Using the hot glue gun, glue a fused bead onto both ends of the wire base.

 

 

Step 6:

Using the hot glue gun, glue the end of a pre-cut piece of ribbon onto the fused beads on the ends of the wire base.

 

Step 7:

Your hanging photo tree is complete!  Just add pictures and hang!

 

 

 

This was a really fun activity that the kids made.  The only part that I would suggest an adult do is cutting the wire hangers with the wire cutter and any part of the project using a glue gun.  Other than that, children can do the rest!  We will be wrapping these up for the parents and giving them for presents in a few weeks!  I’m happy with how they came out, and they didn’t take long at all to do.  I actually did 21 of these, and it didn’t take long at all!  The acrylic paint dries fairly quickly, so it made it easy to paint all sides in one day.

 

I hope you enjoy our craft, and hopefully you will make your own hanging photo tree!

 

Anitra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parenting

Holiday gift ideas that are educational…and still fun!

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.   Please see disclosure policy for more information.

 

Oh boy, it’s that time of year again…Christmas gift shopping time!  I know that many of you have probably already started (or even finished) your gift shopping, but there are many of you that haven’t started because you have no idea what to get your children.  There are many desirable toys out there right now, and trying to get your hands on the latest toy may be close to impossible.

 

As a mom, I understand how much you dread adding to your child’s already large collection of toys.  Toys that make noise, toys they begged for and no longer play with, toys that they haven’t played with in months, but if you try to throw them away or donate them, that will probably start World War III!!!

 

Sound familiar?…I had this happen to me over and over again; year after year.  Now that my girls are older, I don’t have to worry about this.  But for those of you who have younger children, I am here to help in your search for great gifts for your children that are educational, and yet, still fun!!!  Why not get them something that they can actually learn some valuable skills from?  The items on the list can educate your child in a variety of subjects; the body, rocks & minerals, geography, art appreciation, shapes, sorting, math, time, language, and one of my personal favorites, yoga! They are also for many ages, as young as birth and up to age 8!

 

As a mom and an educator, I tried to pick the best options that I would pick if my girls were still little.  I hope you enjoy my choices!

**Brief descriptions under products are from Montessori Services®, used with permission**

 

 

True-to-Life Human X-rays

Ages 5+

“Children can feel their bones from the outside through their skin and muscle. This x-ray set shows children what their bones actually look like. Showing the body’s outline around the skeleton, young children are able to relate the x-ray bones to visible body parts (arms, legs, etc.). Young children might assemble a 5′ 6″ skeleton with these x-rays or guess which body parts belong to which bones.” -Montessori Services®

 

 

Rock Science Kit

Ages 5+

“Children will learn to look for luster (the way a mineral reflects light) and hardness (measured on the Mohs scale), for example. This starter kit includes 15 numbered specimens that represent the full range of types of rocks, a small magnifier, and activity guide offering more test ideas for further study.”-Montessori Services®

 

 

Mineral Science Kit

Ages 5+

“Children will learn to look for luster, (the way a mineral reflects light), hardness (measured on the Mohs scale), and color (with a streak test) with this starter kit.  This kit includes 15 numbered specimens that represent the full range of types of minerals, a small magnifier, a nail and tile for testing, and activity guide offering more test ideas for further study.”-Montessori Services®

 

 

Shape Sorting Box

Ages 2+

“Toddlers love matching these simple blocks to the cutout shapes in the lid of the box. In fact, they love it so much they do it over and over!”-Montessori Services®

 

 

 

Yoga Pretzels Card Deck

Ages 4+

“Pick a card from any of nine categories and find an imaginative way to start your children bending, breathing, and stretching with yoga.  This mind/body practice develops children’s strength and flexibility, helps improve their concentration, and builds self-esteem. Engaging step-by-step illustrations show a playful, imaginative pose or activity on one side, with activity instructions or simple visualizations on the other. Try partner poses or choose a fun group game, such as “Yoga Pretzels.” The companion booklet helps any adult design a safe and fun practice for children.”-Montessori Services®

 

Beginner’s World Atlas

Ages 5-8

“Large, easy-to-read maps introduce youngsters to the world and each of its seven continents. Stunning photographs, carefully selected for their appeal, supplement the maps.” –Montessori Services®

 

 

Famous Paintings Cards

Ages 3+

“You’ll learn where Dali’s inspiration came from, why Magritte painted improbable scenes, how many dots are in a Seurat painting, and so much more.  These cards beg to be lingered over—looking at the painting on one side, reading the interesting facts on the back. Young children will enjoy the pictures; older ones will love the stories of the paintings and the artists; adults will find them engaging, too.”-Montessori Services®

 

 

Classic Judy Clock

Ages 4+

“The Judy Clock has movable hands and large, clear hour numbers on the face.  Grasp the knob on the minute hand to turn it and watch the visible, working gears simultaneously move the hour hand. Children clearly see that turning the minute hand one complete revolution causes the hour hand to move forward one hour.”-Montessori Services®

 

 

Sum Swamp

Ages 5+

“Take a skill-building journey through a whimsical land where adding and subtracting dice numbers determines your fate.  Players will master basic operations and learn about number relationships such as even and odd or “less than” and “greater than.”-Montessori Services®

 

 

Count Your Chickens

Ages 3-5

“All 40 baby chicks are out and the fox is loose. Young children will be eager to work together to collect the chicks. Picture-based play makes it easy for everyone to participate.  Spin the spinner, count the spaces together, and move the mother hen. Then return that many baby chicks to the safety of the coop.  A very appealing way to learn and reinforce counting skills.”-Montessori Services®

 

 

Happy Hats Beginning Reading Game

Ages 4+

“Play and read with your favorite characters from the popular Bob Books® series.  Children explore initial consonant and short vowel sounds as they form simple words. For each word they create, they collect a “Happy Hat.”  Includes board, 44 hat token, 40 word ending cards, 4 characters & stands, spinner, a word list, and complete instructions.”-Montessori Services®

 

 

My First Dictionary

Ages 5-8

“A brilliant bridge between a picture dictionary and a text-only dictionary! Early readers will find a picture clue alongside the definitions for words selected with early readers in mind.  Alphabetical listings help children look up and decipher unfamiliar words. Includes tips for parents and nine dictionary games.”-Montessori Services®

 

 

A few other great gift ideas…

Do you have a child that LOVES books?  Well, Scholastic has a wide selection of books that any child will love!!  Simply search by age, author, or title!

Scholastic Books 

Do you have a younger child or infant?  MontiKids provides quality, educational Montessori products for children birth to three years of age.  Check out their toy timeline, which gets more challenging as your child works their way through each level!  Materials sent directly to your home every three months!

MontiKids

 

 

These are some of my favorite products as an educator.  Many of these products I have even used before in my classroom, so I have first hand knowledge of how awesome they are!!  I hope that I helped you out with your shopping list for your littles, and I wish you a happy shopping season!!

 

Anitra

 

 

Parenting

Tips on being a SuperMom without going Super crazy!

By Anitra

With it being back to school time, it means back to a schedule, back to routines, back to homework. Back to school time is full of helping with homework, helping with projects, book reports, and research.  It means making sure your family gets dinner, baths/showers, and making lunches.  There are practices to attend, school events to attend, and finding time to squeeze in time with your family and friends.  Back to school means back to being SUPERMOM.  Trust me, I know all to well the stress and pressure of being SuperMom.  Being everywhere at every time, being everything to everybody…being SuperMom can make you go super crazy; quickly!!

 

 

It doesn’t have to be that way.  Coming from me, someone who tried so hard for so long to be “that” mom, it is impossible and will wear you out.  Trying to do everything and please everyone all the time will make you a grumpy, unhappy, tired mamma that is no fun to be around.

 

I have two daughters, am a wife, and have always worked a full time job.  Both of my girls always did some sort of extra curricular activity; dance, gymnastics, cheer, soccer, track, softball, ASB, golf…they were always busy.  When they were really young, their extra curricular activities were at the preschool they attended so I didn’t have to take them anywhere for practices.  There was an occasional recital or performance that was not at the school, but that was a twice a year occurrence.  Once they got older and in elementary school, the practices that required me to take them to began.  Each year, it got to be more and more driving around town; and to the adjoining towns as well.  I was still working full time, making dinner every night, and helping with homework and those dreaded projects that we all love as parents! 😉

                                     

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was burnt out, tired, and grumpy.  Once my oldest daughter started high school and the youngest was in middle school, it got a little hard to be at every game, practice, performance, school function AND make dinner and still be able to help with homework and such.  I decided that I would stop trying to be SuperMom, and made a decision to just be a super mom.  I figured that they wouldn’t starve if I didn’t make them a home cooked meal every night.  I actually found that they were capable of making their own food; even my husband…amazing, right!?  The best thing I found from this is that they didn’t love me any less for not being a SuperMom.  They aren’t mad, or disappointed, or let down that I am not “that” mom.  They are actually glad to see that I am human, that I am not perfect, and that I can only do what I can do.  All that you can do is do your best!  I know that many people are in the beginning stages of their journey of being a mom and a wife, and working away from the home.  These tips are from my experiences over the years, and by experiences, I mean my trial and errors!

Tips on being a super mom, not a SuperMom

 

 

-They are capable of making their own meals or snacks and doing their own chores.

Like I said earlier, they will not starve if you do not make a home cooked meal everyday. Even if you have younger kids, teaching them how to make their own snacks or quick meals will go a long while (the Montessori child!).  I also taught both of my daughters at a young age how to do their own laundry.  They also learned how to use the iron, vacuum, and clean their bathroom.

Tip: Make a little extra sometimes so that there are leftovers for the next day for those days that you do not want to make another meal.  Start off teaching your child small, easy tasks that they can complete, then work up to bigger chores and tasks.  Even little ones can help with dishes, sorting laundry, or helping to clean up around the house.

 

-Make it easy on yourself and ask for help

I decided to leave the big family style dinners to Sunday’s.  The other days, it is something easier and quicker to make.  It is still home made, just not as extravagant.  Prepping ahead of time will save you time, energy, and stress!  I have found that asking for help will also save me from wanting to pull my hair out.  Remember, being a super mom is about delegating tasks to others when necessary! 😉

Tip: If you don’t have a crock pot, get one asap!  These are great for whole chickens, chili, or soups.  I prepare the night before, then put it on when I leave for work in the morning.  Dinner is ready and waiting when I get home.  If my husband or kids gets home before me, I have them finish the meal if necessary.  I also have a deal with my husband, I do laundry every week, and he washes my car every week…mom and wife score!

 

-Let them eat sandwiches…or whatever

Not every meal has to be hot or cooked!  We have sandwiches often, especially in the Summer when it is 100+ degrees, or breakfast for dinner!  My favorite is what I have deemed; “Whatever for Dinner Night”, and anything and everything is fair game, as long as I don’t have to cook it!

Tip:  A few good ideas are deli sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly, tuna, hummus and veggies, or our personal favorite cereal

 

-Just do what you can and breathe!

Don’t kill yourself trying to do everything!  If things start to get or feel overwhelming, take a break and breathe!  It is better to take a quick moment than to drive your self into a nervous breakdown over unfinished laundry or a messy house!

Tip: I think as moms, we tend to think that doing everything and having everything done all the time is what makes us feel accomplished and successful.  Not the case, you are an amazing mom and are successful regardless if you get everything done or not.  Don’t be so hard on yourself.

 

-They will love you, no matter what!

No matter if you put a meal in front of them that you spent hours prepping and cooking or if you give them something that only took you 30 minutes from beginning to end, they will still love you; no more, no less.  If you don’t finish the laundry, it’s ok, do it tomorrow.  Honestly, I highly doubt these things bother your family at all.  We as moms just overthink some of these things, and bring undue stress on ourselves sometimes.

Tip: The love of your family is not based on the amount of time you put into a meal or if all the laundry got done. They will love you regardless and unconditionally!!!

 

 

 

 

My oldest daughter is starting her third year in college, and lives about six hours away.  Even though she is not close to home, I have found that you parent the same amount if even they are off at college!  My youngest daughter has now started her junior year in high school, and is on a competitive club soccer team.  She has been playing competitively for over seven years now.  This year however, practices have increased from two nights a week, to three nights a week from 7:30 to 9:30!  We are out late many school/work nights, so these tips have become second nature for us at my house.  I am continuously trying to find easy and efficient ways to juggle the demands of  being a full time working mom, a full time mom, and a full time wife.  Over the years, I have learned a lot about the mom I was trying to be and the mom that I am.  I can’t be the best at everything, but I can always try my best and that’s all that my family expects of me.

Anitra

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