Superwoman Was Already Here! – Daniel Lipstein

“According to a recent Newsweek article, preschool children on average ask their parents about 100 questions per day. Sometimes, parents just wish it would stop. Tragically, it does stop. By middle school, children have pretty much stopped asking, and student motivation and engagement plummets. Kids don’t stop asking questions because they lose interest. They lose interest because they stop asking questions. In a Montessori classroom, this does not happen, because questions matter more than answers; a child’s natural curiosity is welcomed, not shunned. In fact, a child’s curiosity is also what drives the lesson forward.

…Preparing children for the future demands that we encourage and inspire them to ask questions, and teach them how to explore those questions for themselves.”

Really interesting video created by a Montessori father, talking about the positive impact Montessori education has on our young children. Definitely worth 6 minutes of your time!

A Helping Friend

Parent Discovery Session: “Third Year Montessori”

photo_1 - Copy

“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” – Jane D Hull

We had a great turn out for last night’s Discovery Session, “See. Experience. Believe. Third-Year Montessori.” Families from all our classrooms came to witness our senior primary students presenting lessons in the classroom. Our friends were very excited to display works that they’ve been practicing for many months now! This was truly an enlightening, informative night!

photo 2 - Copy

One of our friends showing the short chain of 1-5 to her parents. The beads allow the child to visually see number quantities, and skip count (3…6…9…and so forth). This is an important step in learning enumeration; a lesson that is taught all throughout their three-year primary cycle. It was so neat to witness our young friend teach her mom and dad this special lesson!

photo 3

Everything the child learns as a young infant, prepares them for works such as this. When they first enter the primary community at age 3, they’re given the opportunity to explore and discover their new community. The second year is a time of solidification, further refining these new-found skills. And the third year (5-6 years old) is a time for application. Each lesson builds upon itself, ultimately preparing the child for the last year in our primary community.

photo 4

I practiced for such a long time on the Map of Europe. My muscle memory allowed me to do the entire puzzle off the board, and without a control chart. I was so happy to include my mom and dad in this work!

Thank you, parents, for supporting your young ones, and being a big part of their educational development!

Summer Camp at HBMH – 2016

Summer Camp at HBMH – 2016

Third-Year Montessori

DSC_0674 (1)

“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

DSC_0674 (1)

“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

DSC_0228 (2)

“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

DSC_0350

“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

DSC_0508

“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

DSC_0690

“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

DSC_0604

“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

DSC_0249

“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.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

DSC_0265

Our primary friends made special cookies and Valentines treats for a special cookie exchange. It was fun to see their faces light up when they received a cookie, and how happy and generous they were when sharing their baked goods with their friends.

DSC_0273DSC_0268DSC_0280DSC_0285We incorporated a few Valentines-themed activities to the shelves, for the children to enjoy this holiday. Pin-pricking hearts was very popular. DSC_0272

DIY Montessori: Stringing

imageWhat you’ll need:

  • felt or foam shapes
  • pipe cleaners (or string)

One of my son’s favorite things to do is string beads, or shapes onto string. We chose pipe cleaners today. This sensorial DIY Montessori work is great for fine motor refinement, concentration, small muscle control, and hand-eye coordination. I couldn’t cut shapes fast enough to keep up with my little one!

Here are a few other DIY stringing activities to try at home:

Large Bead Stringing – Carrots are Orange

Montessori-Oriented Pipe-Cleaner-and-Bead Valentine’s Day Activity – Living Montessori Now

Montessori Lacing Beads for Toddlers – Fine Motor Development Practical Life – Natural Wood Toy – Etsy

Toddler Bead Boxes – It’s Our Long Story

Happy DIY-ing!

World Map

🌍 #worldmap #painting #writing #afghanistan #primary #montessori

A photo posted by Healthy Beginnings Montessori (@healthy_beginnings_montessori) on

Happy Birthday HBMH!

Green Spaces Linked to Kids’ Cognitive Development

(Photo: PhilipYb Studio/Shutterstock)
“Children spend a considerable part of their active daily time at schools, and ‘green exercise’ has been related to greater mental health.”

Parents, as a rule, want to give their children every possible academic advantage. While this usually takes the form of tutors or computers, a new study suggests a surprising factor they may want to consider when checking out a new school, home, or neighborhood: Whether it provides adequate access to the natural world.

New research from Spain finds that, among second-, third-, and-fourth graders, quality time spent climbing trees and playing games on grass helps mental abilities blossom.

“Our study showed a beneficial association between exposure to green space and cognitive development among schoolchildren,” writes a research team led by Payam Dadvand of Barcelona’s Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology. This is partly, but not entirely, explained by the fact that kids who get to play in nature are exposed to less air pollution than those who hang out on city streets. Continue reading