Parents who are considering the Montessori approach for their children will be interested to learn that a single Montessori classroom holds children from a broad age spectrum. It’s a significant departure from the model of public school, where children are strictly grouped according to age.
What are the advantages of having an age-diverse classroom? As a parent, you’ll be interested to know the unique benefits that can come from mixed-age classrooms.
If you were to walk into a traditional preschool classroom, you might notice the décor first. Many classrooms fill the walls with brightly colored charts, posters, and decorations. Some of these items have educational purposes, such as bulletin boards to track students’ progress, but many are simply intended to liven up the space.
In a Montessori classroom, you might also notice the décor first, but not because of its bold colors. In this blog, we discuss the principles behind Montessori classroom elements and how those principles benefit students.
From the time babies are born, they begin to learn about the world around them. How your child speaks, plays, and acts can give you clues to how well he or she is learning. Not every baby develops the same skills at the same time. However, you can look for milestones around certain ages to ensure your baby is learning essential developmental skills.
Look for the following milestones in your infant to ensure he or she is developing properly.
Your child knows a lot about the outside world. Thanks to his or her education and your own family activities, your preschooler or elementary school-aged child spends time in nature and knows a lot about the city or state in which you live.
But while you want your child to love life in your area, you also want him or her to grow into a global citizen-and there’s no better time to help your child become a compassionate, helpful member of the global community than while he or she is young.
Fortunately, you don’t always have to pay for international travel to help your child grow. Parents and teachers alike can help young children foster an interest in the rest of the world from right here in Minnesota-just follow the tips in this blog to help your child learn more about the globe.
When children take tests or learn new skills, their confidence level often determines their success. Therefore, it’s important for parents to help their kids develop a can-do attitude that prepares them for challenges both in school and in life.
If you want to help your child develop confidence as he or she grows, try the confidence-building tips below.
Another year is upon us, which means one thing: it’s time to set New Year’s resolutions. Even if you haven’t had success with resolutions in the past, setting a few with your children can help them learn self-discipline, as well as the value of setting and achieving goals.
If you’re not sure how to help your kids set healthy, realistic resolutions, don’t fret. We want to see your kids succeed just as much as you do, so we put together the following guide with potential resolutions and ways to turn them into reality.
The more you observe the world, the more you want your children to grow into strong, tolerant, and understanding people. You want to make sure your kids have the mental and emotional capacity to positively interact with people from diverse backgrounds.
But how do you help them develop that capacity?
First, you start early by exposing your children to other cultures and beliefs. And part of that exposure includes other languages, especially those languages that your kids might come across on a regular basis, like Spanish from Latin America or French from Canada.
As your kids learn these languages, the cultures and peoples associated with those tongues won’t seem so unapproachable to them. They’ll grow up with fewer cultural barriers. They’ll also reap the benefits listed below.
As a parent, you know that many of your child’s advantages and experiences come from the programs he or she participates in. You understand that organized sports offer structure and physical activity, while music lessons cultivate your child’s talents and hone his or her fine motor skills.
But what about preschool? You may have heard conflicting ideas about how a child benefits from programs before he or she enters kindergarten. In this blog, we list six of the studied benefits of high-quality preschool programs.
How well do your kids know your neighborhood and city? You may take them to the Minnesota Zoo or to Longfellow Gardens-but have they ever visited the Union Gospel Mission or taken a trip to a nearby animal shelter?
The Twin Cities area offers plentiful opportunities to community volunteers. Whether you work a few hours at a soup kitchen or regularly donate to another local cause, you’ll find many organizations in need of your service. Most local societies are happy to receive adult volunteers.
But adults often forget how generous children are. Sometimes parents and teachers are so busy going over homework or running to sporting events that they forget to teach community service. Once kids experience the fun of giving and helping, they often continue serving their community as adults.
If you’ve always wanted to involve your children in service projects, start small. Here are a few fun ideas you can try now.
- Sell Cupcakes for Charity
Most kids love to help make cupcakes (or frost them and add sprinkles). Regardless of your child’s age, let him or her help you prepare cupcakes in some way. For example, if you plan to donate to a breast cancer organization, you can use pink sprinkles or outline the shape of a ribbon by using pink M&Ms.
Once you have a few dozen treats, walk with children through your neighborhood, telling residents that you’ve made cupcakes for a particular charity. Most people are only too happy to donate 25 or 50 cents per cupcake. Then, your children can help you tally the donations and take them to a local charity in person (or donate online).
- Donate Garden Goods
If you grow your own garden-even if it’s only several tomato plants on your balcony-you can teach young children to share the bounty with others. Fill small plastic bags with extra zucchini or a few cherry tomatoes, and donate them to a neighbor who just lost a job, or to a community or church function as a fresh relish tray.
- Treat Those Who Serve You
If your children are small, plan a day to give back to service personnel in your area. If the weather is particularly hot, serve your neighborhood garbage collector a popsicle or cool glass of homemade lemonade.
This concept also works nicely for those who deliver your mail or sweep and shovel roads. It can make a busy driver’s day to receive a handmade card from a five-year old. And your children will love offering a cup of hot chocolate to your landlord or plumber on a dreary winter day.
- Volunteer With a Church Group
If you belong to a local congregation and it regularly participates in community outreach projects, involve your kids whenever possible. If you’re cleaning the church grounds, give your child his or her own small garbage sack and pair of worker’s gloves. Likewise, if you’re helping deliver meals to a shut-in, let your child carry a few food items when you go to the door.
If your church sponsors a children’s group, offer to chaperone during a trip to a senior living facility where the children may sing songs or present residents with a small handmade gift.
- Work at a Food Shelter
Some local shelters allow families to serve meals. If so, give each child a specific task. One might help you fill or re-fill water glasses. Another can help you wipe down each table before serving or take away empty plates. One child can be a runner who informs adults when a food item runs low.
If your local food pantry or soup kitchen doesn’t need servers, ask if you can donate funds or actual food items. Your child may agree to give a bake sale or lemonade stand’s proceeds to a food pantry. These funds help pantry workers purchase needed food items when inventory is low.
- Remember Animal Shelters
Most kids love animals. If your child wants to donate to an animal shelter, consider helping him or her create a few easy chew toys from old denim jeans or colorful fleece scraps knotted together. Or, make handmade cards together that you can sell. Use proceeds to help animal shelters purchase dog food or other supplies.
If neighbors need help walking dogs during vacation, ask for a one-time donation that your child will give to the local animal rescue association. Then, set up a routine for your child to follow. This task works best for older children or those who know how to handle pets.
- Show Kindness
It’s not difficult to teach children to show kindness in your community. Opportunities lie everywhere-at your grocery store, on the sports field, at school, at the Laundromat, and just about any other place.
Help your child create some simple pass-along cards that say things like “Thanks for your smile,” “We appreciate you,” or “Thank you for being so helpful.” Carry these with you to give to a kind grocery bagger, favorite teacher, or helpful store clerk.
You never know what creative and fun service opportunities lie beyond the lemonade stand! Help your child get more involved in the community by volunteering today.