Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tips for Using Montessori at Home or at School

We wanted to share some tips and ideas for parents or teachers who want to use the Montessori approach to teaching at home or school.

1. The environment matters lots. Have at least one room that is equipped with low shelves and child-friendly material. Everything in this room should be touchable -- no glass tables that are off limits or adult computer equipment.

2. Have material on these shelves that addresses your child's needs. For example, if your child does not yet read, your basics should include the Sandpaper Letters, Movable Alphabet, Sandpaper Numerals, Spindle Boxes, Red Rods, Pink Tower, Geometric Solids, and the Geometric Cabinet (or equivalent).

3. Create a reading corner in this room or another quiet room. Your book shelf should have non-fiction books ranging from information on bugs and plants to trucks and tractors.

4. Have mats for floor work so your child can spread work out on the floor. The mats are carpet about the size of a yoga mat.

5. Practice introducing new concepts in a simple way. Looking at a mirror, introduce colors using the Color Tablets. Say "red" as you pick up the red tablet. Repeat for the other colors. Pretend you are teaching a friend who doesn't speak English the names of the colors. You wouldn't make long sentences, right? Because the words would get lost in the discussion. The goal is to associate the new word with the object in the most streamlined way possible.

6. Is your child or student working? Resist the temptation to check up on them or interfere. The goal here is to let your child cultivate his or her powers of concentration, becoming absorbed in the material that he or she is using.

7. Are you in a classroom setting? Start the morning off with a short group activity to get all the children focused on the day after their commute to school.

8. Speak quietly. If you raise your voice to be heard over the din of children talking, the whole class will get louder and louder. Practice speaking more softly so that everyone has to be quiet in order to hear you.

9. Resist using "No" to correct your child. If you ask your child to hand you the blue tablet and he or she hands you the red tablet, say "that is red" and add "can you find the blue". Notice how we cut out a lot of words here such as "No, that's not the right one...don't you remember" and etc. Make this a strict practice.

10. Video tape yourself teaching your child, practice on adults and older children, and sit down at the end of the day for ten minutes with a cup of tea to reflect and write down a review of your day's teaching.

Montessori curriculum for homeschooling and classroom use is available on our site!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Services In School For Children With Special Needs: What Parents Need To Know

This "Services In School For Children With Special Needs: What Parents Need To Know" is a useful article from "The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry" focusing on the laws that govern services public schools are obliged to provide special needs children.

The key points in this article:

These children with special needs are usually entitled to receive special services or accommodations through the public schools. Federal law mandates that every child will receive a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. To support their ability to learn in school, three Federal laws apply to children with special needs:

* The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (1975)
* Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
* The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (1990).

Different states have different criteria for eligibility, services available, and procedures for implementing their laws. It is important for parents to be aware of these laws and regulations in their particular area.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Reading and Language: Letter Sounds and Objects

This is the set up for introducing letter sounds and objects that start with that sound.

In our curriculum guide, the layout and instructions can sound a bit mechanical, so we wanted to show you a real life example. Notice how much fun the boys are having working together! You can also expand on this exercise to include more objects, more sounds, and more children to make a lovely group game.

More information on curriculum in our Montessori curriculum guide for toddlers on our site.