Third-Year Montessori

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“To prepare our students for world stewardship, we provide them with a foundation of learning that embraces the cultural, social, visual, historical, and physical aspects of life.” – HBMH Philosophy

This philosophy builds the structure of our kindergarten program.

From early infancy, we have been preparing our students for this very moment. Everything leading up to this point has been a preparation for their kindergarten year, and on. The most important commitment a parent can make to a Montessori child is to promise, both to the child and school, that the child will be allowed to complete the full three to four year primary cycle. The three-year old year is a time of discovery. The four-year old year is a time of solidification. The five-year old kindergarten year, hereon referred to as the “third year”, is a time for application of all the child has learned since early infancy.DSC_0286

The primary third year is critical to the development of self-confidence and independence. It is also the last chance to take advantage of the amazing abilities of the Absorbent Mind before it disappears forever.

Montessori children are given freedom to choose their own work. They know the expectations of the classroom, and they treat one another with grace and courtesy. Their work is respected by the guides and fellow classmates. We never interrupt their concentration, allowing them to develop their full potential.

Some parents choose to enroll their child in a new school for kindergarten because they believe this is the norm; that children of this age must go to public school. Montessori primary communities are well equipped for kindergarten-aged students. The curriculum is based upon the expectation that the child will remain in the same program through their 5th or 6th year.

Imagine working on a machine. You know you have six years to complete the project; the last year, you’ll have an opportunity to use the machine in the real world. You spend years perfecting and manipulating each piece of the machinery, preparing it for the last year when you’ll be able to present it to the community. Now imagine being pulled from the project on the 5th year, only to be told that you’re being moved to a new project, in a completely different environment. This is similar to what our kindergarten-aged students experience when they’re pulled out of their school environment before that last, critical year; the “application” year.DSC_0462

Unfortunately, not every school practices Montessori. A child who is used to working independently, getting one-on-one attention from the guide, completing each step at their own pace and not being rushed, working at the table or on a floor rug, and so forth, is now forced to sit at a desk all day, with restricted movements, listening to one teacher speak to the group as a whole. Montessori prepares the child to appreciate learning, develop a passion for discovery and research, use their creativity, problem solve, grace and courtesy, care for the environment, self control, amongst many other things. We want our children to leave our school, prepared to face each of life’s challenges and milestones with optimism and motivation. We want them to be young leaders of this world, tolerant and accepting of all cultural diversities.

In order for the child to succeed, they need to perfect their Executive Functions. According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, Executive Functions are a set of particular mental skills that help the child reach maturity, such as memory, mental flexibility, and self control. These skills, along with many others, are embodied in the lessons and materials that our students work with every day.DSC_0620

The primary third year is a time for the child to master life skills; skills that they’ve been working on their entire life. Skills that help prepare the child for the modern 21st Century. Many public/private preschools do not include these skills as a component of their curriculum, which are actually very critical to the child’s development. For instance:

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills
  • Collaboration and Leading by Influence
  • Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
  • Oral and Written Communication
  • Assessing and Analyze Information
  • Curiosity and Imagination
  • Love of Work

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

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“We need every worker to be a ‘knowledge worker’. How do you do things that haven’t been done before, where you have to rethink or think anew, or break set in a fundamental way, it’s not incremental improvement.” – Hellen Kumata, Managing Partner at Cambria Association

“Our children are allowed to choose, explore, manipulate objects. They are encouraged to formulate ideas, try these ideas out, and accept or reject what they learn.” – Tami Kinna, Owner/Director HBMH

Collaboration and Leading by Influence

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“My greatest concern is young people’s lack of leadership skills. Kids just out of school have an amazing lack of preparedness in general leadership skills and collaboration skills. They lack the ability to influence versus direct command.” – Mike Summers, VP of Global Talent Management at Dell Computers

“Classroom communities encompass a two-or three-year age span, which allows younger students to experience the daily stimulation of older role models, who in turn blossom in the responsibilities of leadership. Students not only learn with each other, but from each other.” – Tami Kinna, Owner/Director HBMH

Initiative and Entrepreneurialism

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“Leadership is the capacity to take initiative and trust yourself to be creative. I say to my employees if you try five things and get all five of them right, you may be failing.” – Mark Chandler, Senior VP and General Counsel at Cisco

“We encourage curiosity, creativity and self-directed development. The prepared environment creates innovation competence by means of including trained adults and the correct works and resources. The classroom is organized to support experimentation and learning rather than dictating what will be learnt and what the experiment will be.” – Tami Kinna, Owner/Director HBMH

Oral and Written Communication

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“We are routinely surprised at the difficulty some young people have in communicating: verbal skills, written skills, presentation skills. They have difficulty being clear and concise; it’s hard for them to create focus, energy and passion around the points they want to make.” – Mike summers, VP for Global Talent Management at Dell Computers

“Our students are encouraged to think for themselves and articulate their own opinions. Socially, they care about others, know how to work well in groups; take a long-term project and break it down into “do-able” parts, and they see assessments as feedback.” – Tami Kinna, Owner/Director HBMH

Assessing and Analyzing Information

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“There is so much information available that it is almost too much, and if people aren’t prepared to process the information effectively it almost freezes them in their steps.” – Mike Summers

“Montessori children are encouraged to observe, explore, question, and investigate everything. They are allotted the freedom and time for the conception of a problem or situation and the discovery of its solution. This gives them the opportunity to produce ideas through flexibility which allows for the ability to switch from one perspective to another.” – Tami Kinna, Owner/Director HBMH

Curiosity and Imagination

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“I want people who can think – they’re not just bright – they’re also inquisitive. Are they engaged, are they interested in the world.” – Clay Parker, President of the Chemical Management Division of BOC Edwards

“Children can compare, find similarities, and refine the powers of discrimination in order to create abstractions. They learn to distinguish similarities and differences, and learn to place these variables into an ordered progression. We foster an environment that inspires “what if” and curiosity.” – Tami Kinna, Owner/Director HBMH

Love of Work

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“Children know when their work is worthy and good. They know when it measures favorable against their inspirations, talents, efforts, values, and abilities. They learn to assess themselves and their ideas honestly.” – Tami Kinna, Owner/Director HBMH

HBMH’s kindergarten program gives children the opportunity to perfect all of these skills in a safe learning environment. Every parent must eventually make the decision where their child attends kindergarten. Of course, we respect your choice, whatever it may be. Our goal, as educators and Montessori mentors, is to encourage each child and family to reach and exceed their full potential. We are here to guide you through this decision, and find the right path for your child’s upcoming academic career.

Where is the Risk: Why Children should use Knives (and other dangerous things)

One of our absolute favorite blogs that we religiously follow, How we Montessori, posted a wonderful article explaining the benefits of allowing our children the opportunity to work with dangerous, or fragile things. In the classroom, our students are encouraged to work with challenging tools, such as scissors to develop fine and gross motor skills, they’re also allowed to grate/cut vegetables as part of food preparation/”practical life”, which teaches valuable life skills, and they’re invited to use glass tumblers to drink out of during mealtime. If they drop the glass, it’s not a problem. They’re well-equipped with problem solving skills to clean up any mess they make. We want them to learn how to handle delicate materials so that they will learn self-control, and self-discipline, amongst many things. We empower and enable our children to be self sufficient, working with tools that aid in their independence. Often times, learning from mistakes can be a powerful method.

Why children should use knives (and other dangerous things) at How we Montessori
Children need risk. Risk challenges them and keeps them alert, it makes them responsive and teaches consequences. However parents are often so afraid, it’s to the detriment of their children. Maria Montessori would call this oppression. 

Children are capable. But they need our help. We need to enable and empower them. 

Children need to learn new skills, real life skills. Once they are capable in one area they will have the confidence to work and excel in other areas. When they complete real work there is a powerful sense of  accomplishment which can build the child’s sense of self. Children need work and accomplishments they can be proud of.

– See more at: http://www.howwemontessori.com/how-we-montessori/2015/12/why-kids-should-use-knives.html#sthash.QiOTv0TZ.dpuf

Fun at the HBMH 6th Annual Fall Festival!

A BIG thank you to our entire community for coming out to our recent Fall Festival; we had a record turn-out this year! This has always been a successful fundraiser for us. It gets better and better every year. Thank you all for coming out and supporting our school!

Face painting, henna art and hair/nail salon was a big hit!
Thank you, Ms. Insiya for creating such lovely henna for our guests! Visit Insiya’s Temporary Body Art homepage for background on her beautiful work.

 

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Of course, everyone’s costumes were nothing short of amazing.

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Our First Annual Chili Cook-Off was a huge success! Congrats to Ms. Maya for winning on overall presentation and flavor of chili! Thank you to all of our participants!

Thanks to Jay’s help, our concessions this year included smoked ribs, chicken, and hot dogs…yum!

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The petting zoo came fully equipped with chickens, roosters, a calf, piglets, bunnies, and a few other furry friends.

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Mr. Monty was the “tractor conductor” and towed the kids in the barrels all night. They absolutely loved it!

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We had THREE bounce houses this time, which included obstacle courses and slides.

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Another “congratulations” goes to all of our silent auction basket winners. With your help, we raised over $1,800!

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Plenty of smiles to go around! This had to have been one of the funnest fall festivals yet.

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On behalf of the entire HBMH community, thank you to all who came out and supported our school. This event is always the largest fundraiser of the year for us. With your continued support, we raised funds that will go towards the growth and improvement of our school!

HBMH Giving Tree

Special “THANKS” to Mr. and Mrs. Edge for bringing our Giving Tree to life! They inspired and created this new addition to our school, to help raise funds for our overall growth and improvement.

So far, we’ve raised over $600 in donations!

Now is your chance to participate. Purchase your leaf on the Giving Tree, and forever be a part of HBMH. You can purchase for your family, child, grandchild, business, etc. If it’s for your family, you’re welcome to write a private quote, or “well wishes” for the school. If it’s for your business, give us your logo/slogan, and we’ll proudly post it. You’ll forever be a part of the HBMH legacy!

Leaves will be sold in different shapes and sizes for $25, $50, $75, and $100. As of right now, all donations will be put towards the backyard renovations and improvements.

Thank you to our parent community for your continued generosity and support!

The Power of Play: A Two-Hour Work Cycle

2-Hour Work Cycle
I’ve been stuck on a question from one of my new family tours earlier this week. They were fairly new to Montessori, in fact, they had never witnessed a Montessori work cycle in motion (something of which I was excited to show them). Many of the children were outside at the time, so we were able to walk inside the rooms and describe the layout, feel the works, and discuss what a typical day for their young toddler would be like. We talked more in depth about the various works, and their purpose in the environment. Unfortunately, they did not get to witness an active work cycle, since the children were outside, however I did my best to describe it to them, attempting to paint a picture in their minds. They asked me a few very familiar questions typical to non-Montessorians, “When do they play?”, “Are they just working all day?”, or “Do they just do chores all day?”, all of which made sense since we were discussing the dish washing work, hand washing, clothes washing, plant polishing, care of environment/self, and so forth. To children, this is purposeful work. To them, it is “play”.  They enjoy working with their hands, concentrating on the task at hand, free from unnecessary interruptions form the guides. By doing so, they learn that their work is essential to the community, and that they have a beneficial role in their classroom environment. I referenced the familiar quote by Dr. Maria Montessori, “The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.” It didn’t take long for them to catch on and start referring to the “toys” and activities as “work”.

“Here are five characteristics of play that allow the child the ability to move through his morning effortlessly, as described by Dr. Rachel E.White for the Minnesota Children’s Museum’s report, The Power of Play.

  • PLAY IS PLEASURABLE. Children must enjoy the activity or it is not play.
  • PLAY IS INTRINSICALLY MOTIVATED. Children engage in play simply for the satisfaction the behavior itself brings. It has no extrinsically motivated function or goal.
  • PLAY IS PROCESS ORIENTED. When children play, the means are more important than the ends.
  • PLAY IS FREELY CHOSEN. It is spontaneous and voluntary. If a child is pressured, she will likely not think of the activity as play.
  • PLAY IS ACTIVELY ENGAGED. Players must be physically and/or mentally involved in the activity.

When parents tour a Montessori school they often ask about the difference between play and work.  Play is the work of the child.  We use the term ‘work’ in order to hold it in high regard and respect it as purposeful and meaningful.”

Article Credit: http://mariamontessori.com/mm/?p=2727, Sarah Moudry, Parent Educator and Early Childhood Specialist

See What’s Happening in Our Own Backyard!

The latest in our backyard improvements: an awesome new Gravel Works area, complete with a covered tarp to provide much needed shade; blossoming garden beds filled with flowers, fresh lemon balm and basil, strawberries, peppers, and tomatoes, and a few other projects in the making. BIG THANKS to Mr. Monty, our honorary Projects Manager and Head of all backyard renovations and improvements. Donations raised from tomorrow night’s Parent’s Night Out will go towards these and many more renovations in the near future; thank you in advance for your generous donations towards the growth of our school!

Backyard Update_6.25.15Stop by the backyard to see the updates for yourself!

 

Friends Helping Friends

helping friendsFriends helping friends…

Pictured above, a few of our toddler friends helping one another to transfer laundry to/from their community. They depend on one another to properly carry the heavy basket in order to complete this necessary task. What a beautiful illustration of Montessori students working together for the good of their community.