Executive Functions, simply put, are important mental skills that allow us to set goals and get things done. It is an umbrella term used to describe mental faculties. The three main areas include working memory, flexible thinking, and inhibitory control (including self-control and managing emotions). One could say that Executive Functions are like mental building blocks for self-regulation, reasoning, planning, and problem solving.
Our work as the parents and Guides of young children is to help the child gain independence. Each individual is born with the potential to develop movement, language, culture, and personality. To help the child discover himself and help his quest for Functional Independence we need to understand the child. The young child strives for Functional Independence.
A Montessori environment is characterized by freedom when choosing the work to be done, but it doesn’t exist free of limits. What happens in a Montessori environment with respect to freedom and limits? A Montessori school is not a place where there is unbridled freedom, but neither is it a school in which children simply follow the teacher with blind obedience. It is in fact, a place that offers a prepared environment, available to children, in which freedom of choice is offered but clear rules that must be respected for the proper functioning of the environment are expected.
What is included in screen time? It doesn’t have to be hooked up to the internet to be included in this category. There is an abundance of tech toys with a screen that label themselves as educational. There are smart phones, tablets, computers, lap tops, televisions, etc. Screen devices are all around us. In our homes, schools, restaurants, vehicles, and in our hands but most importantly in our children’s hands.
While we’re in the season of Parent Teacher Conferences, it is a perfect time to reflect upon the dynamics that make a Montessori Children’s House so special. One of the first observation parents share is how peaceful the classroom. It is wondrous to witness a community filled with 26 children living in harmony while demonstrating selflessness, curiosity, and concentration.
The child is bestowed with an Absorbent Mind between the ages of 0-6. The child is able to effortlessly take in language, knowledge, and absorb information in their surroundings all day long. The Sensitive Periods are specific periods of time in the young child’s development when the acquisition of certain abilities and competencies happens most naturally and efficiently. These periods of time are critical passages in every child’s life, during which they are able to master essentials skills and capacities that are necessary to function as a human being.
Learning a second language is easier when done at an early age in comparison to learning as an adult. The child develops an unconscious way of learning where he uses his brain the same way he does when developing his native language. It is not impossible to learn another language as an adult, but our brains work harder and differently when doing so.
Grace and courtesy is an essential part of the Montessori curriculum, but what exactly is grace and courtesy? Why and how do we teach grace and courtesy? Who should practice grace and courtesy? Where and when should grace and courtesy be used?
Every May as the school year comes to a close, many parents’ ask their child’s lead guide what they can work on over the summer. There are many studies that show reading, math, and physical activity skills are lost over the summer months.
Children have the potential to develop life-long healthy habits by learning about nutrition at a young age. One of the sub-groups of our Practical Life exercises in the Children's House, is care of self. It is important for the children to create a positive relationship with food in preparation for understanding the interdependencies and connectedness of our planet.
We are always surrounded by mathematics in our daily life. From the design of buildings to architecture, from flowers in nature to the rhythmic meter in songs, from time in a day to the days in the week and seasons, all have mathematics naturally built into them. There is a universal human need to calculate and convey quantitative information. How can we explain this idea that we need to calculate? It’s part of our human nature. It’s our “mathematical mind.”
In a Montessori environment we don’t teach the children to read, we give them tools for them to learn how to do it. Each individual is different, therefore some children will learn to read later than others and the process can be long for some and short for others.
The development of a child’s spoken language qualities start long before they enter a Children’s House classroom. From the moment they are brought into this world, they experience language from many different sources: their parent’s voices, conversations between adults around the child, the singing of songs, the reading of books out loud, etc. The child is busy taking in many impressions of the world around him. When the child acquires spoken language, he is able to classify all of these impressions that were stored in his memory. In this way, the adult or Montessori Guide is the child’s first exposure to a language material.
As this Semester comes to a close, we’d like to take the time to offer some ideas of how to tie all of the wonderful information we’ve shared about Montessori at Home, Practical Life, Observations and Sensorial together this season and into the new year. It is evident that the child’s quest for independence is strong.
Dr. Montessori realized that there is a great benefit to “educating the senses” as a means for making the child’s senses more usable. Through her explorations she concluded that the sensorial exercises are the child’s sensory link to the outside world. The 5 senses are receptors for information and the child uses their senses to absorb qualities of everything around them in their environment. The sensorial materials allow the child to absorb the abstract qualities of everything through his senses.
Observation, a simple word that means more than we can imagine. Observation is a grand part of the foundation of a Montessori environment and it’s one of the strongest and most helpful and powerful tools a Montessori Guide can have. Through this we can obtain all the information we need to follow the children.
As Guide’s, we are often asked “how can we implement Montessori at home in order to support our child?” One of the best ways is through practical life activities at home. Practical life activities at home can include, but not limited to, food preparation, care of self, and care of the environment.
As a parent in a Montessori community you subsequently become familiar with various terms or vocabulary that we use to respect the child’s natural development. By attending classroom meetings, observations, parent-teacher conferences and through our blog posts, we reveal these terms and unveil their importance. Two of them, which may possibly the most frequently repeated are concentration and independence.
Happy Summer, Children's House Families! We cannot believe how quickly this year passed. We deeply encourage you to re-visit and re-read past blog posts. This is a way to begin to digest the processes of the child as they develop sequence and independence.
Nature Walks play a big role in our community as we try to connect the children to nature. As another connection to nature, Children's House children are exposed to real materials such as: wood, cotton, metal, bamboo, etc. It is important to implement the same concept of indoor to outdoor materials and furniture.