Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What’s the link between outdoor playtime and more concentration in school?

Why do we go outside and play, even when it’s cold and/or snowing?

Research shows that physical activity is linked to better academic performance. But that’s not all… Many kids use their recess time to run around but even those who choose to rest or socialize get a boost from recess.

“Free time helps kids develop communication skills and strengthen self-control, studies show. They learn to cooperate, negotiate, share, solve problems and cope with stress.” (Read more here in the article featured in the Washington Post). Plus, they get lots of oxygen, which helps boost brain activity. So during the winter break, make sure you step out into the sunshine. You can practically do it in your shorts this year!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

What’s in a Montessori Education… a testimonial from a young Alumnus

One of the greatest advantages of the Montessori method, particularly during the early learning years, is the focus on hands-on learning. The emphasis is on concrete, rather than abstract learning, as students work on activities that teach language, math, culture and practical life lessons.  One young Alumni (hint—she is now working at Westmont as an assistant teacher!) tells her story of her early childhood education… can you recognize her?

Read more about what this young teacher remembers from her Westmont experience.

And for more details about the benefits of a Montessori Early Childhood Education, refer to this article from education.com which shares some key findings from the research conducted by Dr. Angeline Lillard, a professor of psychology from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. Dr. Lillard examined the abilities of children who have been taught in a Montessori school.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Nurturing Altruism

"Children are eager to help with all sorts of troubles. And what's more, they seem to enjoy it!" This remarkable statement from The Human Sparks series on PBS, highlights how humans are naturally altruistic. They get great pleasure out of accomplishing tasks for others. 

In the Montessori classroom, we help to nurture altruism by creating an environment that belongs to the children. The children learn to put their work away on the shelves, roll up their rugs, and push in their chairs not because the teacher tells them to but because it is helpful to their friends. With multi-age classrooms, children are given many opportunities to help each other as well. Older children can give lessons to younger children, help them put on their coat, and work together with them on tasks. It is the work of the children to take care of and respect the environment, themselves, and others - and they derive great joy in doing so!

If you would like to watch the segment of The Human Spark that shares some examples of the studies from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, take a look at the clip below.