Friday, July 24, 2015

Adult Success linked to Social Skills in Kindergarten

In June we had an early childhood specialist come to observe in our school. Although she had observed in hundreds of preschool classrooms, this was the first time she had been in a Montessori school. After observing, she remarked to me how amazed she was by the children's ability to problem-solve and work through disagreements without much or any input or prompting from the teachers. This was something that in all of her years in traditional preschool education she had never seen on this scale. She saw a classroom full of 3-6 year old children cooperating, helping each other, sharing, taking turns, and genuinely caring for the feelings of their classmates.

This calm and respectful environment is something wonderful that happens for a variety of reasons. 
  1. The Montessori culture curriculum promotes respect and admiration for people who are different than ourselves.
  2. Children are taught how to be peaceful through peace education.
  3. Children are taught to respect nature, others, and the self.
  4. Conflict resolution is modeled early and often.
  5. Children are respected as individuals with individual needs and feelings. Because they are not taught in a "herd" they gain respect for themselves and know that their feelings do matter, as do the feelings of others.
  6. Expectations are clear and consistent.
  7. Routines are established and maintained providing a sense of security for the children.
Recently the American Journal of Public Health published the results of a 20-year longitudinal study out of Pennsylvania State University. It asked the teachers of 753 kindergartners in Nashville, Seattle, rural Pennsylvania, and Durham to rate the children on skills in eight areas:
  • resolves peer problems on his/her own
  • is very good at understanding other people's feelings
  • shares materials with others
  • cooperates with peers without prompting
  • is helpful to others
  • listens to others' point of view
  • can give suggestions and opinions without being bossy
  • acts friendly towards others
The study then tracked those children to age 25 and compared their social competencies at age 5 with their accomplishments by age 25. What they found was that those children who had high levels of social competencies were more likely to have graduated college, be employed, and have fewer incidences of criminal activity, regardless of socio-economic status, race, or early academic ability.

To read more on this study, click here to be redirected to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Summer is a great time to make incredible memories with family. Some of the best memories can even come from day trips around the state.

I came across a great online resource recently at They put together a list of 101 places to visit with children in New Jersey. It is such a thoughtful list that I thought I would share it with you here.

Enjoy your summer adventures!!

Sit Back and Relax or Explore
1. Wildwood Beaches
2. Hopatcong State Park
3. Waywaywanda State Park
4. Bass River State Park
5. Sandy Hook

Favorite Cities to Explore
6. Montclair
7. Bridgeton
8. Princeton
9. Morristown
10. Lambertville

Day at the Museum
11. Franklin Mineral Museum
12. Jersey Shore Children's Museum
13. Liberty Science Museum
14. Marine Mammal Stranding Center
15. Insectroplois
16. Garden State Discovery Museum

Up Up and Away!
17. Zoom ZipLines
18. TreeTop Adventure Course at Turtle Back Zoo
19. Ironwood Outdoor Center
20. Skyride Seaside Heights
21. Hunterdon Ballooning

22. Delaware River Tubing
23. Slide The City

You Light Up My Life
24. Cape May Lighthouse
25. Twin Lights
26. Sandy Hook Lighthouse
27. Tuckers Island
28. Finn's Point
29. Absecon Light
30. Barnegat Lighthouse

Water Parks
31. Sahara Sams
32. Coco Key Water Resort
33. Breakwater Beach
34. Hurricane Harbor
35. Runaway Rapids
36. Tomahawk Lake
37. Thundering Surf
38. Action Park
39. Crystal Park Water Park
40. Ocean Oasis

Planes, Trains and Automobiles
41. Naval Air Station Museum
42. Spacefarms
43. NJ Museum of Transportation
44. Millville Army Air Field Museum
45. Diggerland
46. Northlandz

Boats and Maritime
47. Battleship New Jersey
48. New Jersey Naval Museum
49. Museum of NJ Maritime History
50. The A.J. Meerwald
51. Intrepid Museum

Visit the Animals
52. Space Farms Zoo
53. Cape May County Zoo
54. Lakota Wolf Preserve
55. Turtle Back Zoo
56. Great Swamp Wildlife Refuge
57. Adventure Aquarium
58. Jenkinson's Aquarium

Theme Parks
59. Storybook Land
60. Bowcraft Amusement Park
61. Field Station: Dinosaur
62. Six Flags Great Adventure
63. Wild West City

I Am An Island
64. Ellis IslandGet Outdoors
65. Cattus Island
66. Island Beach State Park
67. Branch Brook Park
68. Grounds For Sculpture
69. Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge
70. Deep Cut Gardens

Go Jump Off a Cliff
71. FreeFall Adventures

Go Take a Hike
72. Baldpate Mountain
73. Rancocas Nature Center
74. Cheesequake State Park
75. Double Trouble State Park
76. Hacklebarney State Park

Go Jump in a Lake
77. Carnegie Lake
78. Round Valley Recreation Area
79. Tomahawk Lake
80. Shepard Lake
81. Lake Nummy

82. Buttermilk Falls
83. Ramapo Falls
84. Tumble Falls
85. Bridal Veil Falls
86. Silver Spray Falls
87. Tillman Ravine

Visit a Grande Hotel
88. Congress Hall
89. The Bernard's Inn
90.Westminster Hotel
91. Stockton Seaview
92. The Westin Governor Morris

Take a Trip Back in Time
93. Waterloo Village
94. Dey Mansion
95. Thomas Edison National Park
96. Historic Cold Spring Village
97. Allaire Village
98. Batso Village
99. Grover Cleveland Birthplace
100. The Hermitage
101. Monmouth Battlefield State Park