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5 Ways the Montessori environment may be ideal for children on the Autism Spectrum

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  I may receive a small commission if you click on the links and purchase products.  Please see the disclosure policy for more information.

 

Could a Montessori environment be a good fit for a child on the autism spectrum?

 

The Montessori Method and environment is very unique.  The philosophy is based on individual learning, child led instruction and the development of the child.  The environment is carefully and thoughtfully set up & maintained based on the needs of the children, their various developmental levels and is inviting to the children.  The Montessori environment is aesthetically appealing to the eye, is strategically designed and provides a sense of calm and order.  For children who are on the autism spectrum, the Montessori environment has characteristics that may be ideal for their success and overall learning.

 

DISCLAIMER:

The following information is for informational purposes only.  The following information is not meant to diagnose or treat and should not take the place of seeking the advice of a trained and qualified healthcare or medical professional.

 

As stated by Dr. Lori Ernsperger, an autism specialist with over twenty years of experience; “the best way to make sure your students learn well is to ensure that the physical layout of your classroom is maximized and workstations are clearly delineated.”  Following what Dr. Ernsperger has presented, a Montessori environment fits the description on what she has determined is an ideal environment for children on the autism spectrum.  A Montessori environment is very distinct and individualized.  The materials are mostly made of natural wood, and along with neutral colors are meant to soothe the senses, attract the children to the materials, and not distract from their learning. Environments that contain bold, bright colors can often be overstimulating to the children and the adults in the room.   Montessori classrooms are open, light & airy; and are peaceful and uncluttered.

 

All learning environments can be an integral part of a child’s learning.  An enriching, inviting and  stimulating environment can provide an increased chance of children being successful in their learning.  Not only will they learn more, they will enjoy it and be more willing to learn!  If an environment is boring, drab, dark and not visually appealing, it could be harder for the children to want ti engage and learn; AND make it hard for the teacher to find ways to motivate themselves to teach.  I must say, personally, if my classroom was drab and boring, it would be a STRUGGLE for me to want to teach.  I prefer an environment that is fun and lively, but not overstimulating and distracting.

 

5 ways a Montessori environment may be a good fit for a child on the autism spectrum

 

 

These tips on selecting an appropriate environment for a child on the autism spectrum are recommended by a autism specialist.  Please note that each child is different, and not every Montessori environment is the right fit for each child.  There are many things to consider when choosing a learning environment for your child.

 

  • Pay special attention to the physical  design and layout of the classroom

Always consider the flow of the classroom.  Think about how children and adults are able to manuever and move throughout the classroom; making sure to keep it as easy as possible.  Provide areas that are intended for smaller and larger group activities, and arrange the furniture and shelving to assist in that.  Montessori environments are well known for their design and layout characteristics; since they allow for children to roam freely through the classroom during the work period.

 

  • Be mindful of sensory stimulation

It is probably best to try to avoid overly stimulating the senses.  As stated before, overstimulating can be a distraction and disrupt concentration.  Consider things like lighting, windows, floor & window coverings and ceilings.  Equipping the classroom with carpet or investing in large area rugs to reduce the noise level, have dimmer settings on lights and use window coverings that allow natural light in; but not too much.  That is one of the things that makes a Montessori environment different; we try not to overstimulate the children with bold, bright colors on the walls, shelves and materials.

 

  • Try to eliminate or reduce clutter as much as possible

Excess or unused furniture, classroom teaching aids and even teacher collectibles can be a distraction.  Try to keep the classroom free of unused or rarely used items so that the children will not be distracted by them.  If possible, store these items away and bring them out as necessary or when needed.  If you walk into any Montessori classroom, you will notice how organized and orderly the materials and shelves are.

 

  • Use visual aids to define spaces and increase independence

Using visual aids throughout the classroom can help children in a variety of ways.  It helps them to understand the flow of the day, anticipate what activity comes next and can keep the day running smoothly.  Using visual aids on shelving can remind children how and where to put their work away.  It increases their independence and boosts their confidence as well.  Montessori classrooms use subtle visual aids as well to help children learn how to put their work away and where the group area is as well.

 

  • Have an area of the classroom where children can calm down and regroup

Preparing a calm down area for children to use if needed is important part of the environment.  Make sure the area is free of distractions and can be used for as long as the child needs.  This calm down area should never be used as a form of punishment, but an area for a child to relax, calm down and refocus.  In a Montessori classroom, this area is referred to as a Peace Area or Corner.  Sometimes it has a table, small floor pillows or a chair placed in an area of the classroom that is not near the hustle and bustle of the classroom.  It has items that are good for reducing stress and provide calming effects.  These are special items that are specific to the peace area, and are not found in other areas of the classroom.

 

 

As you can see, there are many benefits and positives when considering if a child on the autism spectrum will thrive in a Montessori classroom environment.  The Montessori environment provides many of the characteristics of an ideal learning environment that are recommended by professionals.  With Montessori being an individualized, child-led learning philosophy, the non-traditional, open flow of the classroom may be worth looking in to for your child.

 

Looking for more resources or information for children on the autism spectrum? Check out these books!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope that this information is helpful and insightful to parents and teaching professionals!

 

Anitra

Montessori Extras Parenting Teaching

5 Key Tips on Implementing Montessori at Home

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  I may receive a small commission if you click on the links and purchase products.  Please see the Disclosure Policy for more information.

 

Do you homeschool? Looking in to the Montessori Method for your homeschooling needs? Are you a daycare provider that would like to develop a specialized home space for your child? Are you a parent that would like to introduce key elements, thoughts, and practices of the Montessori Method into your home on a regular basis?

 

Are you interested in developing a better understanding of the Montessori Method?

 

Are you unfamiliar with the Method and its’ principles?

 

Don’t know where to begin?

 

Well, you are in luck! Whether you are familiar with the Montessori Method or not, there are some basic ideas and principles that you should know before you decide on fully implementing the practices of Montessori. There are many types of publications, websites, and information available that explains the Montessori Method. The information can come from various organizations and/or people, that provide information on the method. The main problem that I have noticed is, that the information is not always verified or come from a reputable source.

So, why not learn the ins and out of the Montessori Method from a trained Montessori teacher? Montessori trained teachers learn, study, and analyze Maria Montessori, her teachings and publications; as well as her philosophy, writings, and materials regarding the development of children and their education. Based on some of her writings, the tips below will give you a bit of insight on the basis of the Montessori Method, as well as tips on implementing the ideology.

 

The beginnings of the Montessori Method:

The Montessori Method is an educational and teaching system that was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori. Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator whose philosophy is based on creating a self-directed, hands on learning environment where children are encouraged to be the natural learners that they are. Independence, character development, and the development of their natural abilities are key components of the Montessori philosophy. Children thrive in an environment where they are active participants in their learning, are encouraged to explore their surroundings and have free choices in selecting activities. The method promotes child centered, developmentally appropriate activities, and fosters the development of the “whole child”. To learn more about the Montessori Method, be sure to check out the American Montessori Society website.

 

5 Key Tips for Implementing the Montessori Method at home
 
  1. Montessori activities should be child centered:

“The free choices made by the children enabled us to observe their psychic needs and tendencies”.-Maria Montessori, The Secret of the Child

One of the key concepts in introducing Montessori practices and principles is to ensure the environment and activities are child centered. Provide activities and items in the environment that are developmentally appropriate. Furniture should be child sized and items for the child’s use should be easily accessible for the child.

 

  1. Montessori activities should follow the child and their interests:

“The first thing to be done, therefore, is to discover the true nature of a child and then assist him in his normal development”. –Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood

When preparing the environment and activities, be sure to take into consideration what your child enjoys doing and learning. Provide activities that are focused on the child’s interests and allow them to decide on their activity choices, as well as taking note of things that may be of little to no interest to them.

 

  1. Montessori environments foster independence:

“The child’s conquests of independence are the basic steps in what is called his “natural development”.-Maria Montessori, Absorbent Mind

Create opportunities for your child to be independent. Providing opportunities for children to be independent builds confidence and fosters a sense of accomplishment. Encourage your child to do things independently; start with simple activities; then following the child’s development, increase to more complex activities.

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  1. Montessori fosters the development of the whole child:

“There is in the child a special kind of sensitivity which leads him to absorb everything about him, and it is this work of observing and absorbing that alone enables him to adapt himself to life”.-Maria Montessori, Absorbent Mind

Create and provide a wide variety of activities that encompass many different topics, subjects, and skills. Support the development of their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive needs by introducing your child to activities that will stimulate and foster their overall growth.

 

  1. The Montessori Method and environment contributes to the thought that children are natural learners:

“Before elaborating any system of education, we must therefore create a favorable environment that will encourage the flowering of a child’s natural gifts”.-Maria Montessori, The Secret of the Childhood

 

Prepare an environment that allows your child to learn from it. Have various activities that teach many different concepts, so that your child can intuitively learn from the activities. Introduce activities that allow your child to explore, create, and motivate their ability to learn naturally.

Are you intrigued to learn more about implementing the Montessori Method at home? Need ideas on activities to implement into your home? Please feel free to email me so we can discuss the details of my Montessori in the Home Activity & Ideas Plan!

 

Want to learn more about the Montessori Method and implementing it in your home?  Check out these books to give you more insight and understanding into the principles.

 

How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way

by Tim Seldin

 

 

Montessori at Home Guide

by A. M. Sterling

 

 

Teaching Montessori in the Home: Preschool Years

by Elizabeth G. Hainstock

 

 

Montessori at Home: A Complete Guide to Teaching Your Preschooler at Home Using the Montessori Method

by Heidi Spietz

 

 

Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook: A Short Guide to Her Ides and Materials

by Maria Montessori

 

Hoping that you have greater knowledge on the Montessori Method!

Keeping these tips in mind when implementing the Montessori Method will put you on the right path to creating a child centered and independent learning environment for you child.

 

Anitra

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4 of the best kids subscriptions you need to sign up for RIGHT NOW!

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  I may receive a small commission if you click on and purchase products.  Please see the Disclosure Policy for more information.

 

The latest, newest, and most popular thing nowadays are subscriptions.  There are subscriptions and subscription boxes for anything and everyone in your family.  Clothing, razors for shaving, shoes, toys, educational homeschool items…you name it, there is a subscription for it!  Obviously subscriptions make life for a busy family EXTREMELY easy; you can pick what you want or need online, and it gets delivered right to your door!  it doesn’t get any easier or convenient than that, that’s for sure!

 

 

With all the buzz and hype surrounding subscriptions, I decided to give you my list of top 4 subscriptions for kids.  Each subscription varies in price, products, ages, and frequency of the subscription.  A few of these I remember having a subscription to when I was younger, and I absolutely loved them!  I subscribed to a few of these for my daughters when they were in elementary and middle school as well, and they still talk about how much they loved getting “mail” and having their own products delivered to our house that belonged to them.

 

Subscriptions are great for everyone; and depending on what topics interest your child or children, you are surely to find one or more of these subscriptions that your child will fall in love with!

 

The 4 BEST kids subscriptions you need to sign up for RIGHT NOW!

 

Little Passports has four different monthly subscriptions ranging in ages from three to twelve years old. Little Passports is an award winning subscription that allows children to learn about the world through monthly subscriptions and activities.

The Little Passports Early Explorers

Ages 3 to  5

The characters take you on a worldwide adventure, perfect for the younger learner!

The subscription comes with:

  • high quality stickers
  • trading cards
  • flashlight game
  • photo postcard
  • letter from characters Max and Mia
  • fun souvenirs
  • activity booklet

Skills taught:

  • Geography
  • Following directions
  • Color recognition
  • Fine motor control

 

The Little Passports World Edition

Ages 6 to 10

The characters take you on a trip around the globe and teach your children about world cultures!

The subscription comes with:

  • high quality stickers
  • activity sheets
  • photo postcard
  • letter from characters Sam and Sophia
  • fun souvenirs
  • bonus recipes and crafts
  • online games and activities

Skills taught:

  • Geography
  • Country recognition
  • Imagination
  • Empathy and Memory

 

The Little Passports USA Edition

Ages 7-12

The characters take you on trip to explore and visit the 50 states, famous landmarks, and state history!

The subscription comes with:

  • 32 page state journal
  • educational stories
  • hands-on activities
  • tasty recipes
  • fun facts
  • 3D landmark models
  • online photo album and more

Skills taught:

  • State recognition
  • Creative thinking
  • Reasoning and logic
  • Focus and attention

 

The Little Passports Science Expeditions

Ages 9+

Help the characters solve scientific mysteries while they collaborate with international scientists!

The subscription comes with:

  • achievement badges
  • 8 page experiment guide
  • 16 page comic book with glossary and activities
  • lab notebook prompts
  • experiment kits
  • bonus online video

Skills taught:

  • Experimentation
  • Problem-solving
  • Observation
  • Note taking

 

Little Passports also has a huge selection of individual products as well as the subscriptions.

 

 

Curiosity Pack is a monthly subscription that inspires a love of learning through activities that teaches children to be caring and empathetic while learning letters, numbers, science, and art; just to name a few.  They have two subscription options; and a Personalized Learning Plan, perfect for home school, depending on what your needs are.

Countdown to Kindergarten

Ages 3 to 5

Teaches the academic and social skills children need for Kindergarten.

The subscription comes with:

  • Curiosity pack or a book pack
  • Curiosity packs include: the Letters pack, the Numbers pack, and the Feelings pack
  • Each pack includes parent education, ready to use activities and information about child development

Skills taught:

  • real world learning situations with numbers and letters
  • feel more comfortable about a new environment
  • develop empathy

 

Change Makers Club

The Change Makers Club is an 8 week subscription that teaches children to be empowered to change the world for the better!

Ages (0-5) Know Your Power

Ages (6-8) Connect & Amplify

Ages 9+ Be the Change

The subscription comes with:

  • Weekly email plans
  • Downloadable activities to print and complete
  • Scripts and questions
  • Profiles of other kid heroes that have mad a difference

Skills taught:

  • Explore and learn from your community
  • Help your child identify themselves as a helper
  • Articulate and communicate values

 

 

Highlights Magazines have been a childhood favorite for more than 70 years!  Their subscriptions magazines provide opportunities to learn through games, puzzles, rhymes and more!

High Five Magazine

Ages 2 to 6

The monthly High Five Magazine is geared toward the younger, inquisitive learner.

The subscription includes:

  • Easy recipes and crafts
  • Action rhymes that encourage exercising
  • Stories from other parts of the world and cultures
  • Hidden pictures

Skills taught:

  • Boosts thinking and problem solving
  • Includes basic concepts of science, nature and art
  • Teaches word recognition
  • Introduces math concepts
  • Promotes values and creativity

 

Highlights Magazine

Ages 6 to 12

The monthly Highlights Magazine is designed for school aged children to build upon and expand on the skills they learn while in school.

The subscription includes:

  • Hidden pictures
  • Stories from other parts of the world and cultures to expand empathy
  • BrainPlay and other features to let them know their opinion is valued
  • Crafts and science experiments

Skills taught:

  • Attention to detail and concentration
  • Fascinating science and nature topics
  • A chance to see their own creative work in print
  • Critical thinking and creativity

 

Highlight has many other products as well, such as clubs, apps, toys, and books.  Check out all they have to offer here.

 

 

Zoobooks Magazines teaches children about all things related to animals.  They have three different subscriptions, that are great for child up to twelve years old!

Zoobies

Ages 0-2

The subscription comes with:

  • Lift the flap and peek-a-boo features
  • Beautiful photography
  • Durable toddler tough pages

Skills taught:

  • Mind building concepts like colors, shapes and sizes
  • Ideas for nature fun for the whole family

 

Zootles

Ages 3 to 6

The subscription comes with:

  • Amazing photographs
  • Fun cartoon characters
  • Fascinating illustrations

Skills taught:

  • Games, puzzles and activities in the Fun Pages
  • Access to online learning
  • Loads of ideas for extended learning opportunities

 

Zoobooks

Ages 6 to 12

The subscription comes with:

  • Amazing wildlife photography
  • Games and puzzles
  • Online access to Secret Jungle Club

Skills taught:

  • Learn about animal habitats
  • Social life of animals
  • Conservation
  • Encourages kids to be life long learners

 

 

These subscriptions provide variety for all ages and all stages of development.  Any one of these would be a great addition to any classroom, home school curriculum, or as a beginning to your child’s life long learning adventure!

 

Happy subscribing, and I hope you find a subscription that fits your child’s educational needs!

 

Anitra

 

 

 

Montessori Extras Parenting Teaching

Which school model is best for your child? Traditional or Alternative

By Anitra

 

Keeping with the theme about the various learning styles of how children learn and the multiple intelligences, I find it only fitting to now discuss school choices.  I thought that it would be good to discuss and compare the two educational models.  My hopes in comparing and laying out the differences in the models would be that parents have enough information to make an informed decision on choosing what type of school is right for their child (ren).  Although I am a Montessori trained professional, I support any and all educational settings that have the best interest of the child and their needs as their objective.

 

 

Last week, I posted about the different learning styles and intelligences on how children learn. According to psychologist Gardner, there are eight different learning styles.  In case you missed it, you can read it here.  Like I stated before, it is important to find out what type of learner your child is so that you can decide which type of school environment fits their learning style the best.  There are two main educational models to choose from when selecting a school for your child.

 

I will break down and compare both educational paradigms so that you have a clear understanding of each type, and can make an informed decision when selecting a school for your child.  This comparison is helpful when selecting a preschool, elementary school, middle school or high school.  There are many choices that have become popular over the last ten years, and the different types of educational environments either supports one of the two models I will discuss or a sort of combination of the two.  Each type has very distinct characteristics that set it apart from the other.

When I was younger there was one choice; public school.  Many of the alternative schools that exist and that are popular today weren’t an option or even a possibility.  Now, parents have the choice to choose the educational environment that they feel is best for their child.

 

Comparison of two educational models

 

Traditional Model:

Founded on the theory of Behaviorism

Example: Public school education                                                               

1. The student is viewed as the passive recipient of the transmission of knowledge.  The learning environment is teacher centered and directed

2. A product oriented, linear curriculum: building block type of model; in which a foundation of information is built upon. Once information is presented, it is rarely revisited.

 

 

Focuses on:   

*group orientation and instruction

*students are taken through a predetermined curriculum

*information is disseminated through lecture, reading of textbooks, rote memorization of abstract facts, testing the facts in a standardized manner, and evaluation is through a system of grading.

*subjects are offered as separate disciplines

*chronological grouping of students

 

Fosters:    

*knowledge of basic skills: recall of facts and surface information, mechanical use of abstract operations

*a perspective of heteronomy: refers to action that is influenced by forces outside the individual

*an external locus of control

*dependence upon the authority figure

*convergent thinking (finding a single best solution to a problem)

*competitive organizational structure based on mutual respect

 

Alternative Model:

Founded on the theory of Constructivism

Example: Montessori Education

1. The student is viewed as an active participant in constructing knowledge.  The learning environment is child led and directed.

2. A process oriented, non-linear curriculum: spiral type of model; in which knowledge areas are visited and revisited at higher and higher levels of difficulty and complexity.

 

Focuses on:

*individualized orientation and instruction

*the curriculum is developed to meet the needs of the students

*information is disseminated through demonstration, hand-on use of concrete materials, shared inquiry, child/teacher collaboration, portfolio assessment, and descriptive evaluation.

*subjects are offered as integrated disciplines

*multi-aged grouping of students

 

 

 Fosters:

*an understanding of the process underlying learning, knowledge of basic skills: functional application, ability to access information,

problem solving, and critical thinking skills

*a perspective of autonomy: refers to action that is not influenced by forces outside the individual

*an internal locus of control

*independence and self-responsibility

*divergent thinking (finding a variety of possible solutions to a problem)

*cooperative organizational structure based on mutual respect

 

 

 

It is important to take many factors into consideration when selecting a school environment for your child.  Their individual learning style, the philosophy of the school, the academic structure of the school and compatibility with your personal learning goals for your child should all be considered.

As stated above, an example of the traditional model is public school education and an example of the alternative model is Montessori education or other academic/philosophical based schools.  An example of a mixture of the traditional and alternative models is a charter school.  Many charter school offer a blend of sit down classes as well as home school or independent study.  There are so many choices to choose from, and it is important that each parent and family to research and determine what is the right fit for their child(ren) and family.

 

Anitra

 

 

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 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

Classroom Content Teaching

Teaching young children 101-Learn to laugh at yourself!

By Anitra

Early on in my life, I knew that I wanted to be a Teacher.  I would play “school” with my stuffed animals in my bedroom, I wanted to be a Kindergarten teacher. I would play that way for hours.  When I first started going to college, I began taking Early Childhood Education classes, and figured out early on that I wanted to work with younger, preschool aged children.  When I discovered the Montessori method and took the training, I discovered that I had definitely found my niche.  For me, my Montessori instructors were fun, lively, silly, and complete down to Earth people.  They showed me that teaching young children takes a very special individual, who has a special heart.  Teaching young children is not for everyone; not for the weak at heart; you will get sneezed on, coughed on, hit, kicked, and have a sad child screaming in your ear that they want their mom!  You will also be so loved, get endless hugs, called “mom” accidentally, and get the most fabulous homemade drawings you’ve ever seen!

Want to know the secret to being a successful teacher of young children?  Wait for it…BECOME A PRESCHOOL TEACHER!

Hahaha!  Good one, right?  No, but seriously, I think that sharing my experiences to help others become successful preschool teachers is the least I can do.  I had people who shared their amazing experiences with me at the beginning of my career, and it has helped me and mold me into the teacher that I am today.  Proud; I sure am.  I take great pride in what I do, and I love each and every child that is in my class (past, present, and future) as though they are my own.  They all have a special place in my heart forever…

I assure you, if you adopt these simple tactics, your days of teaching young children should become easier, more fun, and hopefully more memorable!

Teaching Young Children 101

1. Learn to laugh at yourself!– young children like when you can laugh if you make an “oopsie”.  It is important for them to see that no one is perfect, and it is ok to make mistakes. Trust me, I make these on a daily basis, and when I do, I just LAUGH…seriously. Like the saying says; “Laughter is good for the soul”; try it sometimes!

2. Don’t take yourself too seriously!– ask anyone who knows me, I am a kid at heart! I love to do fun things in my class. Have fun with them, smile, be silly, do anything except BE SERIOUS!!!

3. Relate to their interests– one of the best things a teacher can do is to be interested in what the children do or enjoy.  Do you know how many cartoons I’ve watched? A million; I know all about Doc McStuffins (one of my favorites actually), Littlest Pet Shop, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Imagination Movers…I could go on for hours.  The important thing is that they LOVE when I can talk with them about these things! It makes them feel so special!

4. Have fun and don’t be afraid to join in– Halloween; dress up! Join in on any of the activities or celebrations the children have.  Just like you would encourage children to join in on the fun, it is always a good idea for you as their teacher to do the same!

The important thing to remember is, yes; you are there to teach them, but you are also there to teach them to have fun and enjoy themselves!  They are kids after all!

Anitra

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