Friday, April 29, 2016

The arts: more than play, more than “a play”

The arts provide opportunities for self-expression, help instill pride and cultivate real-life skills.

Whether it is music, drawing, acting, singing, or dance that they choose, the arts provide children with a natural outlet to express themselves and practice and hone their skills, including: critical and creative thinking, hand-eye coordination, motor and social skills. 

Join us tonight, April 29th, 2016 at 6:30 PM at the Valley View Chapel in Long Valley for a creative interpretation of John Lithgow’s “Marsupial Sue”. This performance is delivered by our Kindergarten class with chorus accompaniment by our second year Early Childhood children and highlights some delightful facts about the subject of our in-depth cultural exploration this year: The Continent of Australia. All are welcome!

For more reasons to help your child choose the arts, read here.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Our Shared World- Earth Day 2016

Happy Earth Day! This year at Westmont we are enjoying some outdoor planting with the children, the observation of lady bug chrysalis, making bird feeders and hatching chicks! 

Earth Day reminds us of the beauty of the cultural curriculum in the Montessori classroom which is a window into the universe at large. The same water that we use in our daily lives has been on our planet since its formation. It is the essence of life that has connected all living beings on this planet, as is the air and the soil. We invite children to develop an awareness of how their world came to be and cultivate an appreciation for all the things, big and small, which coexist in it. Learning about our natural resources (land/air/water; sink or float; parts of a plant; how to grow a plant), the seasons (seasons sorting cards), the elements on our planet (magnetic vs. non-magnetic), the flora and fauna (vertebrates vs. invertebrates; extinct vs. non-extinct), the vastness of our world (the solar system; the colored globe; the continent maps) as well as the concept of time (calendar; telling time) –these are all ways we help children to discover our natural world.

By exposing each child to the cultural area of the classroom—Geography, Science, Botany, Zoology, and History—we invite them to explore the universe at large, using their own curiosity and drive. We learn about different cultures and about how we have a shared world. Through this hands-on exploration, children are on a path to discovering the world around them.

Dr. Montessori believed that there is a purpose and an order to the universe—it is a “gift” to mankind to be treasured and protected. Each of us is responsible for protecting the environment upon which we depend for our existence.  Our classrooms are a place where we foster this awareness in children. And thus, they create the beautiful possibilities of a more peaceful world.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spring into Math

It’s Mathematics Awareness Month, 2016!

Mathematics deals with the study of quantity, shapes and their arrangements. Children learn to recognize quantities and symbols, associate quantities to their respective symbols (numerals) and combine and manipulate them into larger or more complex concepts. Process is taught using hands-on materials and math facts come later.
The children begin their mathematical journey in the Montessori classroom even before they touch any of the math materials. Children start to build mathematical thinking in the other areas of the classroom (Sensorial, Practical Life and Culture) by using concrete materials to prepare the mind for abstract thinking.
Both Montessori and Aristotle believed that “the formation of abstract ideas is accompanied by the gradual elimination of matter.” (Standing, “Montessori: Her Life and Work”, p.165). Eventually as the child matures and begins to think more abstractly, she will rely less and less on the concrete materials, although they will continue to fill the classroom with alluring beauty.
Here are some ways you can engage in math activities at home:
1.      Counting and grouping with natural materials.
2.      Open-ended play with playdough.
3.      Math in the kitchen ideas.
4.      Hands-on Math printables for home.

 #Montessori #Math #Concrete to #Abstract #IloveMath