When infants first interact with the world, they don’t have words to describe what they encounter, so they absorb their surroundings and new information through their senses. They experience the external world through the use of their senses. Our eyes help us see, our ears let us hear, our hands help us feel, our noses let us smell, and our tongues help us taste.
Children are spontaneous learners. Every day is a new opportunity for a child to learn. You can use almost anything surrounding you to help stimulate a child’s senses. Begin by experimenting with different smells, watch their expressive language for likes and dislikes. Visit a park, find nature objects to touch, taste, smell, using language to describe what you’re experimenting with. Children respond differently to sensory experiences. These experiences can greatly improve their motor skills, raise awareness of the world around them, and contribute to language acquisition. They can also be quite therapeutic. Enhancing and building upon the child’s senses helps improve their social, emotional, cognitive, physical and language development.
I had an interesting conversation with a prospective parent recently who teaches at a local college. She shared that she and her colleagues are constantly discussing “how underprepared kids are for college in terms of ‘soft skills.’” By soft skills she meant skills other than the purely academic — the personal qualities, habits and attitudes that make someone a successful college student and, by extension, a good boss or employee later in life. She had just come from an observation in toddlers and primary and was surprised to have seen that in Montessori, “starting in toddlers students develop the self-motivation, independence, and follow-through that many college students lack!” In other words, beginning at these very young ages, Montessori children are already developing the soft skills that will benefit them so greatly later in life.
It was a pretty astute observation for a prospective parent seeing Montessori for the first time, and it got me thinking. When I talk to parents, I often describe a Montessori learning material, like the binomial cube, detective adjective game, or golden beads, that leads to the acquisition of academic or “hard skills.” Obviously, hard skills are important, but soft skills are equally so. Continue reading
While assisting in the classroom this afternoon, I had the opportunity to observe a few students hard at work. They had completely put together a puzzle up-side down, from memory. I asked them what their strategy was, and they simply replied, “we just place the pieces that fit together.” This is a true example of Montessori students hard at work, finding variations and challenging ways to complete a work that’s been done many times before. A camera-worthy moment if I’ve ever seen one.
Summer Camp at HBMH is always an exciting time of the year. Over the past few weeks, our friends have been enjoying various lessons and art activities focusing on the United States of America. We learned about American history, the USA flag and Pledge of Allegiance, various significant landmarks, the different states and their capitals, studied flags, painted pictures, and so much more. It was fun-filled summer camp, packed-full of exciting activities!
Friends gather around the American and World Peace Flag to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
We colored pictures of significant landmarks in America.We made special hats, adorned with stars and stripes.Some of our older friends drew state flags from memory, using only a study book as a guide. The focus on detail is so amazing!A pin-pricking of the United States of America. A lot of concentration and focus went into making sure each line was carefully poked out.One of our kindergartners got creative and used the moveable alphabet to spell some of her favorite American landmarks.
Our next summer camp theme, “dinosaurs”, is set to be just as exciting as our recent camp. Stay tuned for more pictures and stories to come!
Did you know that potty training, or “toilet learning”, as we call it, should start before 18 months of age? In our school, children begin the toileting process as soon as they can pull themselves up and support their bodies. It’s not about setting high expectations, assuming child will learn how to use the toilet and control their bladder right away, but more of establishing a routine, and providing all of the tools the child needs to succeed. In time, they will recognize that using the toilet is a common routine. They will internalize the concept, ‘my urine goes in the toilet, not in my diaper or on the floor’. They recognize that you respect their time and space by providing a safe place for them to fulfill their bodily needs. Each meticulous step in the toileting process, is a step towards the child’s overall independence and self confidence.
What better way to welcome the new season of summer, than to celebrate with a fun Splash Day!
Our friends enjoyed a variety of water activities including a large inflatable water slide, water tables, sprinklers, and other toys to explore and have fun with. This is how we beat the heat at HBMH!