Most people have heard the basic information that exercise and physical activity has many important benefits. But what many don’t realize is the benefits of physical activity also apply to children. In fact, there are some unique benefits for children. Here are some of those important benefits to encourage you to have an active child.
The most obvious benefit of physical activity is the physical health benefits. Children who are active at least 60 minutes a day, demonstrate lower rates of obesity. They also have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Physical activity also reduces blood pressure, lowers cholesterol levels, strengthens bones and builds up muscles.
An extensive review of 14 different studies, ranging from as few as 50 to as many as 12,000 participants found that the more physically active children are, the better they do academically. The strong belief is that regular participation in physical activity enhances brain function and cognition which thereby improves academic performance. Although it has not been proven, there are several most commonly held beliefs as to how this occurs. The first theory is that increased activity causes increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain heightening cognition. Another theory is that increased levels of norepinephrine and endorphins that result from the activity act to decrease stress, improve mood, and thereby inherently lead better academic performance. That improved academic performance translates into higher reading and math test scores.
Many studies have proven that physical activity in children improves sleep patterns and a lack of physical activity has the opposite effect. For example, a research study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood reports that every hour of inactivity adds three minutes to the time it takes children to fall asleep. Additionally, it also reported that children who fall asleep quicker also sleep for longer. Another study analyzed level of physical activity and its correlation to time it took for the child to fall asleep. The study found that children who had higher levels of physical activity fell asleep faster than their inactive counterparts.
With many health benefits, improved academic performance, as well as improved sleep patterns, physical activity has a plethora of clear benefits for children.
Admin June 18th, 2018
Posted In: Uncategorized
One of the main differences between a Montessori education and a traditional one is that the Montessori method focuses on individual learning at a child’s individual pace. Although it may seem as if that would slow the child down, it actually does the opposite. Because students are permitted to explore areas that they are most interested in, they are naturally encouraged to explore more challenging areas and dig deeper into a topic. The measures of achievement look at individual progress and development rather than traditional methods like grades and tests. A study conducted by the University of Virginia found that Montessori students had significantly better scores when tested against non Montessori students in mental performance, academic abilities and social and behavioral skills. The study further showed that the Montessori students were better equipped to adapt to changing and complex problems. This ability is often treated as a predictor of future success, another indicator that a Montessori education better prepares students for future success.
Another key value of a Montessori education is its emphasis on fostering independence among the students. In her book The Absorbent Mind, Maria Montessori writes, “The child’s conquests of independence are the basic steps in what is called his ‘natural development’, labeling independence as one of the key aspects of development. It is vital to begin fostering independence at a young age and Montessori allows that to occur.
The Montessori Method, especially when paired with Reggio Emilia enrichment, also serves to grow a child’s creativity. With Montessori, children are encouraged to follow their interests, leading to an inherent growth in creativity as they are doing tasks that they want to rather than to prepare for an exam or because they are told to do so. This allows children to enjoy the process of learning rather than just the end result allowing for a creative process to occur and for a child’s love of learning to grow. In an environment where students are forced to learn “for the test” or because the “curriculum says so” a student’s natural love of learning is often extinguished and along with it the ability for creative expression. A Montessori education avoids those issues by working for the opposite goals: fueling a child’s love of learning and allowing a child to explore his or her passions. When a Montessori education is also paired with the Reggio Emilia designated creative art space, creativity increases even more.
A Montessori education has many unique benefits that are vital to lifelong success and are not accessible with a traditional education.
Admin May 2nd, 2018
Posted In: Uncategorized
Watching your child grow up is bittersweet and we often think it goes by too fast. One day they can’t sit up by themselves and then at the blink of an eye they are ready for preschool. It’s hard, but every parent, without a doubt, wants the best for their child. Unfortunately that shock that your child is getting older, combined with the ability for a parent to stay home a few days of the week, often leaves parents opting for a part time program. Although it is better than not attending preschool at all, there are many benefits that your child receives at a full-time program that they will be missing by attending part-time.
The Journal of the American Medical Association found that children are better prepared for learning and social interaction in full-time preschools than in part-time programs. The article explains that students in full-day programs showed higher scores in social development, language, math and physical education than their part-time peers. Additionally, a study conducted by Arthur J. Reynolds, PhD, of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and his colleagues discovered that full-time preschool programs yield students better prepared for school than those who attended a part-time program. The children who attended the full-time program had higher scores on measures of school readiness skills, increased attendance and reduced chronic absences, when compared to those who attended a part-time program.
Although full-time attendance is important for all preschool students, it is even more critical for those in a Montessori program. A large aspect of the Montessori curriculum is consistency and constancy. Simply put, that means that students receive the full benefit of the Montessori program only through attendance of five days a week with three hour work cycles. There is no other way to achieve the full benefit of a Montessori education if not for consistent attendance. Part of a Montessori education and an aspect that we focus on in our classrooms is independent learning and student driven studies. We allow our students to choose what to focus on as well as learn at their own pace. A large part of that is if a student is learning something very interesting but time runs out, they know that their materials and everything else they need to continue will be there waiting for them the next day. This allows the student to continue thinking about a subject and the short wait time can often make them even more excited to continue. The issue arises, however, when a constant routine is not established. If a student doesn’t attend every day of the week, they often will have forgotten what captivated their mind the last time they were in school and have to get re-inspired to learn a topic. Having a part-time schedule leads to students not being able to truly be independent and the leaders of their own learning. Children flourish with routine and the best way to get a consistent routine is to get into the rhythm of school for five days a week and the weekend for anything else.
We know that seeing your child grow up is hard but our desire to provide the best possible education for our child and setting them on a path to achieve whatever they desire, begins now! Setting your child up for success starts at preschool and the most effective way to do that is with a full-time program.
Admin April 26th, 2018
Posted In: Uncategorized
As a person who attended summer camp for most of my youth, summer camp memories are some of the best I have. Spending days with my friends, learning from the counselors and just getting out of the house, made for incredible memories. On the contrary, the one summer I spent without camp I remember feeling trapped at home and simply bored out of my mind. My friends who attended camp echo the sentiment that simply put, summer camp rocks!
On a more psychological and developmental level, Peter Scales, Ph.D., a senior fellow with the Search Institute in Minneapolis, explains that “camp is one of the few institutions where young people can experience and satisfy their need for physical activity, creative expression and true participation in a community environment”. He further analyses that in a structured environment, such as camp, children get the opportunity to interact with positive role models who have time to talk, relax, and reflect. Children also learn to work together, make choices, take responsibility, develop creative skills, build independence and self reliance, and gain confidence. All of those skills are necessary steps on a child’s path to a healthy, productive life. Bruce Muchnick, a licensed psychologist explains that “the camp community seeks to satisfy children’s basic need for connectedness, affiliation, belonging, acceptance, safety, and feelings of acceptance and appreciation”.
The difference between us and most other summer camps is that while we are focused on providing a fun experience, we also aim to keep each child mentally stimulated and learning. According to the Wallace Foundation Study, by the end of summer, students perform, on average, one month behind where they left off in the spring – and these effects are cumulative. To combat such negative effects, the study identifies that students must continue to be mentally engaged. If a child experiences severe skill deterioration over the summer, they are likely to fall behind their peers the following year, and that cycle is very likely to continue if summers are wasted.
Summer camp offers so much for every child. It offers great memories, a great community, a fun learning environment, lays the groundwork for future success, and so much more.
Admin April 9th, 2018
Posted In: Programs
International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8th, is fast approaching. Many know this as the day to celebrate the many women in their lives and their contributions, but where did this day originate from?
In the United States, the first National Women’s Day was observed on February 28, 1909. It was organized by the Socialist Party to celebrate the worker’s strike in New York where women gathered to protest poor working conditions. In 1910, the Socialist International established Women’s Day, in order to honor the movement for women’s rights and to build support for universal suffrage. The proposal was unanimously approved by the conference of over 100 women, from 17 countries, however no official date to observe it was set. On March 19, 1911, International Women’s day was marked for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, when over a million men and women attended rallies. However, despite the initial support, the holiday was not recognized by most countries in the same way until decades later. The Charter of the United Nations, signed in 1945, was the first international agreement to affirm gender equality, and since then the UN has been working to spread that message. However, it wasn’t until 1975 that International Women’s Day was celebrated by the United Nations on March 8th.
Although significant gains towards gender equality have been made, it is still important to recognize that about half of our population is still not treated completely equally. In developed nations, women still face issues of unequal pay for identical jobs, a double standard, and pressure to conform to gender roles. In less developed nations the inequality is even more severe where women still fight for the right to education, right to vote and even the right to marry who they choose.
Take the day to spread the message of equality. Teach your child about the vital role of women in society and the necessity to treat women as equal. Together, one step at a time, we CAN achieve gender equality.
Admin March 5th, 2018
Posted In: Peace Education
When it comes to a child’s development, most of the emphasis is placed on academic, social, and physical growth. However, the emotional intelligence of the child often fuels this growth, as when your child develops emotionally they are able to better stabilize themselves to allow for other aspects to develop unhindered.
This is why Montessori classrooms place such an emphasis on getting to know the students and helping teach self-control, allowing them to focus on their education. Unfortunately, you cannot bring the classroom home with you, so it is important that you learn to help your child with their emotions just like a Montessori instructor does. Therefore, one of the best practices you can employ at home is to help your child process emotions safely and effectively by keeping the following guidelines in mind:
Children often act out when they are sad, frustrated, mad, jealous, and more. This is simply a child’s way of processing the new information they are learning every day and reacting to it. Just because they are upset doesn’t mean that it is a bad thing to be upset. However, how they react to their emotions is important.
The last thing anyone wants is for their child to suppress their emotions because they are afraid to get in trouble, so be sure to establish a dialogue with them whenever you notice they are upset. Humans of all ages benefit from talking about their feelings and venting, and children are no exception. That is why Montessori instructors work individually with each student to ensure their concerns are met and their emotions are addressed, minimizing the chances of frustration building and boiling over. After all, if you had to learn everything all over again, you would be overwhelmed too!
An effective practice when it comes to managing emotional situations is to attempt to make a lesson out of it or to solve the problem. If your child is upset because they can’t have more snacks, you can explain to them that they can eat again at dinner time. If your child is mad that someone is trying to play with their toy, you can teach them about sharing. If they are sad because it’s raining out, you can create a new activity inside. This helps them to understand that not all problems are absolute, and problem-solving skills begin to develop.
In any classroom, emotional situations can spring up at any time. However, with the right guidance negative emotions can be heard, addressed, and solved so that the child can begin to process their emotions more effectively. The Montessori Method heavily emphasizes well-rounded development, which is why you will see academic, social, physical, and emotional development address in a Montessori classroom. From the learning materials to the instructors, it is the perfect environment for children to begin learning, problem solving, and making friends.
Admin February 20th, 2018
Posted In: Montessori Classroom
It’s amazing how much children appreciate and respond to music. Early involvement with music has multiple benefits, as it inspires the part of the brain linked to pattern recognition and mathematics, thereby laying a solid foundation for future academic success. So, wouldn’t you think that creating a musical environment at home for your preschooler may positively impact her future success? We certainly do!
Your preschool child spends more time at home than anywhere else, making it the primary source of most interactions. Because music is such a crucial component in your child’s educational success, we recommend that parents take advantage of the amount of time young children spend in the home by creating an environment that is engrossed in music. After all, it can’t hurt…and we think your toddler will love it!
Try these simple steps to jumpstart your music-friendly home environment:
As a parent, what you do and what you are interested in is important to your child. If you convey to her that music is important to you, it will become important to her. If you instill the value of music in your child at a young age, they will be grateful when they’re older as they continue to explore the endless opportunities music provides.
Admin February 8th, 2018
Posted In: Montessori Method
With technology always expanding, it has found its way into more and more aspects of our lives. A source of learning, entertainment, communication, and more is available at your child’s fingertips. However, technology does not offer the same benefits that good ol’ fashioned exercise offers. When that exercise comes in the form of a soccer or other team, the benefits are even greater.
The same aspects of the Montessori Method utilized in Montessori classrooms are often present in children’s sports, and for good reason. They provide benefits that are incredibly important to the development of children. Some of these aspects are:
There is a reason the Montessori Method is regarded as one of the best approaches to child development there is, and its influence can be seen in team sports for children. This makes children’s team sports great for helping your child develop practical skills outside of the classroom, and gives them a way to stay healthy and have fun while doing it.
Admin January 9th, 2018
“Learning by doing” is not a new concept, however it is heavily underutilized in classrooms all over the world. There’s a reason children are always grabbing things and playing with them; they want to play and have fun. When this desire to play can translate to the classroom with benefits in coordination and comprehension, it is a no-brainer to emphasize tactile learning as much as possible.
Montessori classrooms are the pinnacle of a tactile, or hands-on learning experience for children. They are carefully crafted to appeal to children of all interests and learning levels, and they allow children to learn without even realizing they’re doing it. Whether it is stacking blocks to spell their name or painting a picture, children are developing their abilities and having fun doing it.
Practice makes perfect, and in a hands-on learning environment there is plenty of time to practice! By using their hands and bodies to interact with their lessons, children develop better coordination and motor skills. Activities like painting, drawing, and writing help to reinforce hand-eye coordination and allow the child’s creativity to flow. Dancing and other physical activities also help to develop motor skills like balance and movement, which can help keep them safe and healthy.
Information means nothing if it can’t be used or understood! Unfortunately, it is easy for information to travel in one ear and out the other in children. While they may remember the lesson in the short term, they often struggle to put it into practice. With a tactile approach, each lesson and the information that comes along with it has a physical connection formed with it. This appeals to and incorporates the child’s senses, which helps them to better understand what they are learning.
Simply put: if a child isn’t enjoying what they are doing, they won’t be doing it long! To get a child to learn, they need to be interested enough to truly listen. Not only does the standard classroom format make information hard to comprehend, it also can be boring! By offering tons of activities and learning materials, a Montessori classroom keeps learning fun by letting kids be kids. After all, nobody knows their interests better than them!
There’s a reason hands-on learning is widely regarded as one of the best ways for preschoolers to learn. By encouraging interaction with learning materials, Montessori classrooms allow for a well-balanced development of children’s interest in learning, ability to learn, and motor skills.
Admin December 19th, 2017
Posted In: Montessori Classroom
For much of their childhood, children’s lives are separated into two sections: in school and out of school. When they are in preschool, your child is learning new things every day. They are receiving guidance through their learning materials and developing everyday skills and knowledge that will benefit them for years to come. However, learning is unfortunately often limited to just school hours and the time out of school doesn’t contribute effectively towards development.
Fortunately, you can change that. Montessori classrooms are widely regarded as one of the best learning environments for children. They emphasize action and “doing” to help kids better understand what they are learning by using their senses, and foster development by encouraging independent learning. These ideals can be replicated at home, and by employing a similar approach you can help facilitate learning in your home.
A major part of why Montessori classrooms are so effective in encouraging learning is because of their layouts. They create an open area with a wide array of learning materials spread out throughout the classroom. This can be replicated at home by making your home child-friendly, allowing for free movement and supplying various toys, books, and more that interest your child so they want to learn themselves.
While technology can be a useful supplemental learning tool, it should not be the focus for learning at home, specifically for younger children. Preschoolers are primarily tactile learners, meaning they benefit from physical interaction with materials, something that cannot be achieved through computers and other screens. Blocks, paig materials, and interactive number lines are all good examples of hands-on learning materials.
Another large part of a Montessori education is collaborative learning. Though it may not always be in an educational setting, developing social skills by talking to peers is a great way to reinforce learning. By encouraging social interaction, your child will want to share their learning materials and knowledge with their friends (or you)!
Outdoor and physical activity should also be encouraged, as the hands-on approach taken in Montessori classrooms believes in developing motor skills by “doing”. Chasing the dog, playing catch, and more will all contribute to better coordination.
By adapting the characteristics of a Montessori classroom in your home, you can help to facilitate learning in your preschooler. Learning materials that require interaction are a great way to encourage learning, and a great alternative to less interactive technology. You can supplement the learning by moving out of the house into your yard, where physical activity will be great for your child’s health and motor skills. Be sure to arrange play dates as well, because social interaction is a great way to reinforce learning. With all these considerations, you can offer a great learning environment away from school that lets your child learn without knowing they are!
Admin December 6th, 2017
Posted In: Montessori Classroom