Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Montessori Homework?

Homework is one of those hot-button topics with which parents and teachers typically have either a love or hate relationship. Those that believe homework is an essential task that children should learn at a young age have many valid points; it prepares children for higher grades, practice is essential to success. But studies are continuing to find little linking early homework to future success, and current best practices suggest not requiring more than five minutes of homework for each grade of school (first grade=5 minutes, fourth grade=20 minutes, etc.).

There is a type of “homework” though that Montessorians have found to be quite valuable to the development of children – home-work! If the goals of homework are to lay the foundation of future success, then having children help at home is a great way to teach them both personal and community responsibilities. For example, by having your child take charge of making his own lunch you give them not only the skills involved in the process (pouring, closing ziplock bags, making healthy choices) but it also teaches time-management skills, as there is a definite deadline for the work to be done.

By having regular home-work that your child is responsible for, you teach essential skills that make the transition to later school assignments at home easier.

Some of the home-work that children can be responsible for include:

Ages 2-3
·         Put toys away
·         Place dirty clothes in basket
·         Fold washcloths
·         Help set the table
·         Put away silverware
·         Get dressed with little help
·         Water plants
Ages 4-5
·         “Age 2-3” items
·         Feed pets
·         Wipe up spills
·         Help pack their lunch
·         Prepare snacks
·         Fold towels
·         Clean windows
·         Dusting
·         Help with recycling
Ages 6-9
·         “Age 4-5” items
·         Sweep up messes
·         Empty dishwasher
·         Match clean socks
·         Rake leaves
·         Make salad
·         Fetch items at the grocery store

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

#PEACEDAY – The United Nations’ International Day of Peace

If we are to teach real peace in this world... we shall have to begin with the children."
—Mahatma Gandhi

Each year on September 21, The Westmont Montessori School students, faculty and staff, honor the United Nations’ commemoration of International Day of Peace with song, art, readings, etc. as a means “to strengthen the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.” 

What a lofty goal for one day!   Lofty it is, but if the September 21 Peace Day builds an awareness of peace and the classroom becomes the vehicle by which peace is elevated to the same importance as reading, writing and arithmetic, peace becomes less insurmountable.   We strive daily here at school, a microcosm of the world, to provide lessons and to role model peace as a means to provide the children with the tools to resolve conflict and to collaborate.

Today, the children will gather as a school to sing Light a Candle for Peace and Hello from All the Children of the World as a means to convey our love for one another.

For more information on the UN’s International Day of Peace, please visit: .

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Positive Parenting Tip

Colette B. Cross

Replace Don’t with…………………….
Some simple advice to keep in mind during day to day interactions with your child.
One of my favorite positive parenting expressions is, model the behavior you desire to see in your child.  This will come in handy when trying to rephrase your “don’t” to “no”.   To foster impulse control and create desired behavior, phrase sentences to create positive images in your child’s mind and positive interactions.  For example instead of saying “Don’t run,” try rephrasing your request and say: “Use walking feet.”  Instead of saying “Don’t hit,” or “Don’t throw,” try saying “Soft touches,” or “Gently touch your brother,” or “Let’s put the toy here.”  You can also try to model the desired behavior while saying the words.  You are now not only telling your child how to do something the right way, you are also showing, as well as teaching a solid skill. 
Paying close attention to the number of times you say, no or don’t will remind you to keep your redirection as positive as you can.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Library.

Social and Emotional Development.